Iran's Leaders Attack 'Bullying White House': 'U.S. Playing A Dangerous Game'
By Zak Doffman
Iran has “always emerged victorious against White House bullying leaders,” claimed the country’s president, according to Iranian state media on Wednesday. Hassan Rouhani was addressing a regional council session in Maku late on Tuesday, telling his audience that Iran will not “bow its head in the face of bullies.”
Rouhani described the United States as “the biggest arrogant power,” while painting Iran as “the symbol of Islam, dignity and independence in the world.” Rouhani described the standoff between the two countries as “the epitome of goodness encounter[ing] the manifestation of the evil,” adding that “this should be explained to the world.”
According to the state media reports, Rouhani also said that the U.S. will be “disgraced and regretful” against the Iranian nation and that the U.S. war is with Iran rather than the Iranian government, and the U.S. will definitely be defeated in this war. “Holding onto premature perceptions, they had thought they would be able to shatter Iran’s grandeur,” Rouhani said.
On Tuesday, Iran’s UN Ambassador wrote to the UN Secretary-General, claiming that “Iran has always rejected and continues to reject conflict and war. Iran will never choose war as an option or strategy in pursuing its foreign policy. It should, however, be obvious that if war is imposed on us, Iran will vigorously exercise its inherent right to self-defense in order to defend its nation and to secure its interests.”
A day earlier, Iran’s foreign minister had warned Donald Trump ‘never threaten an Iranian,” taking to Twitter to claim that the U.S. President “hopes to achieve what Alexander, Genghis & other aggressors failed to do. Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. Economic terrorism & genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran’.”
This came in response to President Trump’s Sunday tweet that “if Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”
On Tuesday, U.S. officials told lawmakers that military deployments were not intended to provoke Iran, despite “credible intelligence” that suggested an attack on U.S. targets in the region might be imminent.
“We have deterred attacks based on our posturing of assets – deterred attacks against American forces,” Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters. “Our biggest focus at this point is to prevent Iranian miscalculation. We do not want the situation to escalate. This is about deterrence, not about war.”
Rouhani said of this revised posture that “the White House announces that the people of Iran should be wary of an attack, however, two hours later, under pressure from the Pentagon, the U.S. President declares that Washington was not after launching an attack against Iran. This is the very power of the Iranian nation.”
Separately, on Tuesday Iran’s Interior Minister said that “any incident in the region not only disrupts the coherence of security but affects international security.” Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli added that “Iran has always agreed with rational and sensible treatments which are within the framework of international principles. But we will never accept force and threat.”
The minister even claimed that “Iran has always seen itself as the protector of regional security and actively taken measures in regional security, defensive and political relations such as fighting against terrorism, ISIS and Takfiri groups. Our country has the most number of martyrs, attempts and pledges in fighting with terrorism and fulfilled its commitments.”
Meanwhile, proxies continue to mobilize in Iraq and Saudi Arabia reels from another attack. On Monday, “Houthi militants” targeted a civilian facility in Najranm “with a drone carrying explosives. Saudi Arabia’s press agency reported a military official saying that “the Houthi-backed terrorist militia of Iran continues to carry out acts of terrorism that pose a real threat to regional and international security.”
On Wednesday, the former head of Iran’s nuclear-negotiating team suggested said that “someone in the U.S. says we are after crippling sanctions, and officially announces his decision to impose ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran. Aren’t they at war against the Iranian nation?” Saeid Jalili, now the Leader’s representative at the Supreme National Security Council, also suggested that U.S. sanctions against Iran amount to “an all-out military conflict.”
In an interview for CNN, Iran’s Foreign Minister warned the U.S. of the consequences of deploying forces to the Middle East. “Having all these military assets in a small area is in of itself prone to accidents,” Zarif said. “Extreme prudence is required and the United States is playing a very, very dangerous game.”
As Trump comes under increasing pressure at home to show some restraint in the ongoing rhetoric, the chance of unplanned escalation continues to increase. “Having all these military assets in a small waterway is in and of itself prone to accident,” Zarif told CNN, ”particularly when you have people who are interested in accidents.” He was referring to the U.S. and its regional allies Israel and Saudi Arabia. Thus far, though, the most likely triggers are all much closer to home.