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If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran, Never threaten the United States again


If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran, Never threaten the United States again – US President Donald Trump

Iran rejects Trump’s ‘baseless, provocative’ missile warning
After US president puts Tehran ‘on notice,’ Iranian general says its ‘missiles, warships and defense missile launchers growing every day’

A long-range Qadr ballistic missile is launched in the Alborz mountain range in northern Iran on March 9, 2016. (AFP/Tasnim News/Mahmood Hosseini)
A long-range Qadr ballistic missile is launched in the Alborz mountain range in northern Iran on March 9, 2016. (AFP/Tasnim News/Mahmood Hosseini)
TEHRAN, Iran (AFP) — Iran on Thursday rejected a warning from US President Donald Trump over its latest missile test as unfounded and “provocative,” reflecting growing tensions between Tehran and the new US administration.

Trump is a strident critic of the Islamic republic and a vocal opponent of an international deal that saw Iran curb its nuclear program in return for sanctions relief.

He said on Thursday that Tehran was now officially “on notice” after Sunday’s missile test.

“Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the US. made with them!” Trump tweeted, echoing similar comments by National Security Adviser Michael Flynn a day earlier.

Flynn insisted that the missile test was “in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” which calls on Iran not to test missiles capable of delivering a nuclear weapon.

The remarks drew an angry response from Tehran.

“Claims made by US President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser are baseless, repetitive and provocative,” Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

Iran has confirmed that it tested a ballistic missile, but denied that it violated the terms of the nuclear deal.

Tehran says its missiles do not breach UN resolutions because they are for defense purposes only and are not designed to carry nuclear warheads.

The row comes against a backdrop of already difficult relations over Trump’s travel ban on citizens from Iran and six other Muslim-majority countries.

‘Sinister intentions’
The US warning prompted a defiant response from Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.

“The number of Iranian missiles, warships and defense missile launchers is growing every day, and the sky, land and sea is under the control of this nation,” said General Hossein Salami, the number two in the Guards which is in charge of weapons programs.

“This is not a land where an outsider can set foot with sinister intentions,” he said.

Iran has missiles with a range of up to 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles), sufficient to reach Israel as well as US bases in the region.

There has been scant detail from the White House as to what its warning over the missile test means in practical terms, and it remains to be seen if Washington will push for new sanctions.

Ghasemi said that the US warning came at a time when “the efforts by the Islamic Republic of Iran in fighting terrorist groups in the Middle East are known to all.”

“It is regrettable that the US administration, instead of appreciating the nation of Iran for its continued fight against terrorism, is in practice aiding terrorist groups by repeating baseless claims and adopting unwise measures.”

He referred to Syrian rebel groups which “directly or indirectly receive financial, logistic and intelligence support by the US and its partners.”

Ghasemi dismissed charges of Iranian meddling in the region, saying Tehran wanted good relations with its neighbors based on “mutual respect and non-interference in countries’ domestic affairs.”
US President Donald Trump has issued a stern warning to Iran, suggesting it will be destroyed if a conflict breaks out between the two countries.

“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran,” he said in a tweet on Sunday. “Never threaten the United States again!”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted in response that such “genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran'”.

The US has deployed additional warships and planes to the Gulf in recent days.

But Mr Trump’s tweet marks a shift in tone after recent attempts to downplay the possibility of military conflict.

In an interview with Fox News broadcast on Sunday, the president vowed that he would not let Iran develop nuclear weapons but said he did not want a conflict.

“I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly – by far most importantly,” he said.

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Iran has also moved to talk down concerns over the escalating tensions. On Saturday, its foreign minister insisted there was no appetite for war.

“There will not be a war since neither we want a war nor does anyone have the illusion they can confront Iran in the region,” Mr Zarif told state news agency Irna.

On Monday he dismissed Mr Trump’s tweet, saying the president “hopes to achieve what Alexander [the Great], Genghis [Khan] & other aggressors failed to do.”

“Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. #EconomicTerrorism & genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran’,” he added. “#NeverThreatenAnIranian. Try respect—it works!”

President Trump, after appearing to dial down the tensions with Iran, has now seemingly threatened catastrophic consequences if there is any attack against US interests or facilities.

It underscores the mercurial approach of the US president to world affairs – restraint one moment and bluster the next.

Such an approach is hugely destabilising and could contribute to Tehran misjudging US intentions.

All of the ingredients for a confrontation are there: a lack of clarity in the US approach; the potential desire by Iran to push matters to the brink; and a series of incidents in the region itself (the recent sabotage against a small number of oil tankers and the rocket attack near the US compound in Baghdad) which demonstrate that there are elements on the ground eager to inflame tensions and test the US administration’s resolve.

Why are there tensions?
The latest frictions come after Iran suspended its commitments under the 2015 international nuclear deal, and threatened to resume production of enriched uranium which is used to make reactor fuel and nuclear weapons.

The deal aimed to cut sanctions on Iran in exchange for an end to its nuclear programme, but the US unilaterally withdrew from the agreement last year.

Calling the deal “defective”, Mr Trump then re-imposed sanctions.

BBC’s Paul Adams looks at the recent developments behind the US-Iran tensions
Tehran has allegedly placed missiles on boats in the Gulf, and US investigators reportedly believe the country damaged four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, claims Iran has denied.

What’s the latest in the Gulf?
On Sunday, the Iraqi military said a rocket had been fired into Baghdad’s heavily-fortified Green Zone, which houses government buildings and foreign embassies.

It reportedly hit an abandoned building near to the US embassy. There were no casualties and it is not yet clear who was behind the attack.

A State Department spokesman however said the US will hold Iran responsible “if any such attacks are conducted by its proxy militia forces”.

Mr Trump’s threats on Twitter came hours after the first reports of the rocket attack.

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In recent days, the US has deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier to the region and reportedly drawn up plans to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East.

Diplomatic staff have been ordered to leave Iraq, and the US military have raised the threat level in the region because of alleged intelligence about Iran-backed forces – contradicting a British general who had said there was “no increased threat”.

Dutch and German soldiers said they had suspended their military training programmes in the country.

Separately, Saudi Arabia accused Tehran of a drone attack on a pipeline on Friday. It alleged that Houthi rebels in Yemen conducted the strike on Iran’s orders.

A state-aligned Saudi newspaper called for the US to launch attacks on the country.

Iran denies the allegations.