High-ranking Iranian officials have taken aim at President Obama in reaction to recent statements that American military action remains an option should Iran not compromise sufficiently in development of its nuclear program.
The Times of Israel reports that General Masoud Jazayeri, Iran’s Deputy Chief of Staff, mocked Obama directly: “The low-IQ US president and his country’s Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the effectiveness of ‘the US options on the table’ on Iran while this phrase is mocked at and has become a joke among the Iranian nation, especially the children.”
Jazayeri spoke in response to the US president’s Sunday Bloomberg interview in which Obama maintained that the Iranian leadership should take his “all options on the table” stance seriously, including its implicit warning of military action.
Obama told Bloomberg’s Jeffrey Goldberg: “We have a high degree of confidence that when they [Iranians] look at 35,000 US military personnel in the region that are engaged in constant training exercises under the direction of a president who already has shown himself willing to take military action in the past, that they should take my statements seriously.”
Jazayeri dismissed Obama’s statements regarding the deployment of US troops as “completely inexpert remarks far from the reality, and these statements can be used as the joke of the year.”
The Iranian general also threatened that should US forces engage with Iran, “the region will be turned into a hell for them.”
Meanwhile on Wednesday, Iran’s foreign minister firmly pushed back against calls for cuts to its nuclear program.
According to ABC News, Mohammad Javad Zarif said the West “cannot entertain illusions” of Iran ending its uranium enrichment program. Speaking in Tokyo, he also emphasized that his country is not going to give up finishing its plutonium-producing heavy-water nuclear reactor at Arak.
“We’re not going to close it. We’re not going to dismantle it. We’re not going to close or dismantle anything, that is our red line,” he told a news conference before meetings with the Japanese prime minister and foreign minister.
He also said Iran wants to benefit from Japan’s nuclear power technology. Iran has one completed nuclear plant, built with Russia’s help, and wants 19 more.
“We’re negotiating with Russia on further construction of other nuclear power plants, but it’s not an exclusive environment,” Zarif said. “Certainly Japan can play a role.”