Tensions between the United States and Iran continue to rise, with U.S. President Donald Trump most recently issuing sanctions against the Middle Eastern country after it shot down a U.S. drone that it claims was in its airspace, per The Inquisitr.
Trump’s sanctions cut off Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s access to the U.S. financial system along with his assets in the U.S. and also targeted high-ranking officials in the Iranian government, including Ali Reza Tangsiri, Amirali Hajizadeh, and Mohammad Pakpour. U.S. officials say they are also looking to sanction foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, per The Associated Press.
On Tuesday, just one day following the issuing of the sanctions, The Hill reports that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized the move and said the Trump White House was “afflicted by mental retardation.”
“You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks,” Rouhani said, calling the sanctions “outrageous and idiotic.”
Rouhani also criticized Trump for sanctioning Khamenei, an 80-year-old Shiite cleric with no plans to travel to the U.S.
“The fruitless sanctions on Iran’s leadership and the chief of Iranian diplomacy mean the permanent closure of the road of diplomacy with the frustrated U.S. administration,” said Abbas Mousavi, a Foreign Ministry spokesman, according to a state-run IRNA news agency.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slammed the latest economic penalties from the U.S., calling them "outrageous and idiotic."https://t.co/Yo3PIGSoRV
— POLITICO (@politico) June 25, 2019
The Associated Press reports that the Middle East crisis can be tied to Trump’s decision to withdraw the U.S. from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal, as well as sanctions imposed on Tehran, the country’s capital. In response to sanctions, Iran quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium, which puts it on the path to break one of the deal’s terms by Thursday.
The news of Rouhani’s comments comes not long after Trump reportedly called off a strike against Iran after learning it would cause 150 Iranian deaths.
“These measures represent a strong and proportionate response to Iran’s increasingly provocative actions. We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran until the regime abandons its dangerous activities and its aspirations including the pursuit of nuclear weapons,” Trump said.
As The Inquisitr previously reported, Trump’s flip-flop on military action against Iran, as well as his subsequent flip on deportation, earned him criticism from San Antonio, Texas, Mayor Julian Castro, who called his two reversals “bull***t.”
“This is bull***t. This is bull***t politics. People need to see through that and see that this guy is a political con-man.”
Castro suggested that making arbitrary decisions was a pattern for Trump, despite Trump’s claims otherwise.