Iran’s Rouhani: The White House is ‘mentally retarded’
By Yaron Steinbuch
Source: New York Post
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani slammed the US sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as “outrageous and idiotic” because the cleric has no assets abroad.
“The White House actions mean it is mentally retarded,” Rouhani said in a scathing televised address. “Tehran’s strategic patience does not mean we have fear.”
The Islamic Republic responded to President Trump’s decision to impose tough new sanctions on Tehran in the wake of Iran’s downing of a US drone by declaring a “permanent closure” of a path of diplomacy between the two countries.
Trump signed an executive order Monday to levy sanctions against Khamenei and other top Iranian officials — a move that Rouhani, who runs Iran’s day-to-day affairs with his cabinet, said was doomed to “certain failure.”
“You call for negotiations. If you are telling the truth, why are you simultaneously seeking to sanction our foreign minister?” Rouhani said, referring to remarks by US officials suggesting plans to sanction Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, according to the Washington Post.
The sanctions also targeted top commanders of the Revolutionary Guard Corps — which shot down the US Navy drone — and mean international financial institutions providing major “financial services” to the Iranian officials would be subject to US penalties.
Meanwhile, national security adviser John Bolton said in Israel that although the latest economic penalties are “significant,” Trump “has held the door open to real negotiations to completely and verifiably eliminate Iran’s nuclear weapons program, its pursuit of ballistic missile delivery systems, its support for international terrorism and other malign behavior worldwide.”
He added: “All that Iran needs to do is to walk through that open door.”
Bolton, who spoke at a press conference after a trilateral security summit in Jerusalem, was responding to a question about whether a military strike was still an option if Iran crosses the 300-kilo stockpile threshold outlined in the 2015 atomic accord that Trump abandoned last year.
Bolton, a longtime Iran hawk, said it would be “a very serious mistake for Iran to ignore those limits.”
Iran said it will possess over 300 kilograms of low-enriched uranium by Thursday, in violation of the deal.
Europe also faces a July 7 deadline imposed by Tehran to offer a better deal or the country will begin enriching its uranium closer to weapons-grade levels.
Bolton said Iran “should give up their pursuit of deliverable nuclear weapons.”
Also on Tuesday, Russia’s national security adviser rebuffed American and Israeli attempts to isolate Iran and is urging both countries to show “restraint” toward the Islamic Republic.
Nikolai Patrushev, who spoke with his Israeli and US counterparts in Jerusalem, said attempts to present Iran “as the main threat to regional security” or to equate it to international terrorist groups are “not acceptable.”
He added that “Iran is contributing a lot to fighting terrorists on the Syrian soil and stabilizing the situation there.”