Trump steps up pressure, but Iran says it's 'unimpressed'


Washington and Tehran have been trading angry threats since Sunday, when Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned the United States "not to play with the lion's tail" and that conflict with Iran would be the "mother of all wars".

The kind of threat that Trump made on Twitter on Sunday could have attracted penalty from the social network for any regular person as Twitter's policy bars users from making threats of violence on its platform. "Empty/ridiculous United States rhetoric in response to same from Iran". "Now, if you believe that, I have some Florida real estate I could sell you", he said. And Iranians have heard them - albeit more civilized ones - for 40 yrs.

Asked on Monday whether he had concerns about provoking Iran, Mr. Trump said, "None at all".

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday supported Rouhani's suggestion of blocking oil shipments through the Persian Gulf if Iran is prevented from selling its oil by US sanctions which come into effect in November.

Democrats have expressed alarm about Trump's Iran bluster.

Tehran is already aware of what is coming from the administration as consequences of Trump's May withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear accord take shape.

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Ambassador John Bolton says he's spoken with Trump over the last several days and, "President Trump told me that if Iran does anything at all to the negative, they will pay a price like few countries have ever paid before".

Pompeo also slammed Iran's political, judicial and military officials, accusing several by name of participating in rampant corruption, and called its religious leaders "hypocritical holy men" who amassed wealth while allowing their people to suffer. But the White House blamed Rouhani for inciting the war of words with his comment that "America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars".

Trump earlier this year pulled the United States out of the global deal meant to prevent Tehran from developing a nuclear weapon and ordered increased American sanctions.

It's dubious that Iran will go that far and risk a military confrontation with the United States - especially since its naval forces in the area largely consist of ships dating back to the 1960s and '70s.

The exchange of harsh rhetoric was reminiscent of the threats that volleyed back and forth between Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un previous year - exchanges that disappeared after the two adversaries agreed to negotiate a nuclear deal at a summit this spring. Based on anonymous sources the outlet found that, "The Trump administration has launched an offensive of speeches and online communications meant to foment unrest and help pressure Iran to end its nuclear program and its support of militant groups".