The Trump administration says it is putting Iran “on notice” following two incidents in the region in the past week, including an attack on a Saudi navy ship by Iran-backed Houthi rebels.
The comments came from President Trump on Twitter as he blasted the agreement to disarm Iran’s nuclear program.
Defense Secretary Jim Mattis answers questions from reporters during a flight to South Korea., Feb. 1, 2017. DoD photo by Army Sgt. Amber I. Smith
“Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion,” Trump said. Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them.”
The president also took aim at Iran’s successes in furthering its interests in Iraq.
“Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!”
On Wednesday, National Security Adviser Michael Flynn echoed Trumps words and cited examples of what he called Iran’s “destabilizing behavior across the Middle East.”
Iran, the top regional rival of Saudi Arabia and other Gulf states, also drew ire from the new administration for testing a ballistic missile, which Iran said was not in violation of any agreement.
“This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran,” Ali Akbar Velayati, a top aide to Iranian leadership said. “Iran is the strongest power in the region and has a lot of political, economic and military power … America should be careful about making empty threats to Iran. Iran will continue to test its capabilities in ballistic missiles and Iran will not ask any country for permission in defending itself.”
Iran was one of 7 countries named in Trump’s executive order prohibiting new immigration for 90 days, alongside Iraq, Syria, Sudan, Libya, Yemen and Somalia. In response, Iran said it was blocking entry to US citizens.
National security officials told reporters later Wednesday that the administration was considering a range of options, including economic sanctions and supporting forces that counter Iranian action in the region, according to reports.