IRAN has branded Donald Trump “crazy” and his “administration” confused as tensions between the two countries reach breaking point.
The provocative move threatens to further inflame simmering hostility with the US following a series of dangerous escalations in the Middle East.
The escalation, sparked by Iranian-backed militias’ attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf, has triggered a war of words and additional US displays of military might in the region.
Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, Iran’s Director of Foreign Affairs, has now told CNN: “In his mind, Mr Trump thinks he has a gun to Iran’s head with sanctions and he is trying to shut down our economy.
“This is all in his imagination. Now he wants us to call him? This is a crazy president.”
In a reference to “warmonger” National Security Adviser John Bolton, he added: “Within the White House there is a lot of conflicting opinions.
“Also, Trump is not quite balanced and stable in his decision making, so we are dealing with a confused White House.
He added: “Iran receives various signals which show that no one knows who owns the White House.”
His comments come after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said he favours talks and diplomacy but not under current conditions.
He told state news agency IRNA: “Today’s situation is not suitable for talks and our choice is resistance only.”
This came after Iran’s foreign minister hit out at Donald Trump’s “genocidal” tweets after the US President threatened war would be the “official end of Iran”.
Earlier today Trump told reporters: “They’ve been very hostile. Truly been the number one provocateur of terror in this country and representing their country, but certainly our country has been very much involved because we’re trying to help a lot of people out and I don’t mind that at all.”
Meanwhile, Iranian production of low-enriched uranium has now increased fourfold, putting the nation on a path to exceed limits set under the 2015 nuclear deal.
However, the supplies in question are not enriched to a level suitable for weapons development.
But the increased output threatens to further erode the Iran nuclear deal and destabilise a region that provides much of the world’s energy supply.
Earlier this month, Iran threatened to stop respecting the limits set on its stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water – both of which can be used to make nukes.
Tehran has set a July 7 deadline for Europe to come up with new terms for the deal, or it will enrich closer to weapons-grade levels in a Middle East already on edge.
WAR WILL ‘END IRAN’
Tensions flared over the weekend after a rocket landed less than a mile from the US Embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone.
Trump responded by threatening Iran with total destruction.
The US President tweeted: “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”
He later told reporters on the White House lawn: “I think Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything.
“If they do something, it will be met with great force but we have no indication that they will.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hit back with a jibe about Trump’s advisers, including National Security Adviser John Bolton, who are reported to be steering Trump towards confrontation.
“Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. #EconomicTerrorism & genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran’.”
US RAMPS UP MILITARY PRESENCE
The social media exchanges come as US warships the USS Abraham Lincoln and USS Kearsarge conducted drills in the Arabian Sea.
The prospect of conflict between the two countries prompted Admiral Lord West, the former head if the Royal Navy, to warn war would be costly for the United States.
“They think they would destroy the Iranian armed forces, there would be regime change, and all the garden would be rosy,” he told the Daily Star.
“Invading Iran, taking it over, and then coercing into becoming a different sort of country, you would need a million men. “
Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen have said they carried out the drone strike at pumping stations 200 miles west of the capital Riyadh.
The rebels are now planning operations against 300 targets in Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who are both backing the government Yemen’s civil war, The National reported.
The Abu Dhabi paper quoted a rebel affiliated news agency, which said the pipeline strike was the beginning of wider operations.
Adel al-Jubeir,the Saudi minister of state for foreign affairs, has now issued a stark warning to Iran.
“The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that,” he said.
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“But at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests,
“We want peace and stability in the region, but we won’t stand with our hands bound as the Iranians continuously attack. Iran has to understand that – the ball is in Iran’s court.”
The US President appeared to have softened his tone in recent days, saying he expects Iran to seek negotiations with his administration.
Saudi foreign minister Adel al-Jubeir warned Iran that his country is prepared to fight[/caption]