The leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds Forces, General Qassem Soleimani, mocked President Donald Trump on Thursday and warned that if the United States starts war with the Islamic Republic, it would “destroy all that you possess.”
“As a soldier, it is my duty to respond to your threats,” Soleimani said on Thursday, telling Trump that he should direct his threats at him and not President Hassan Rouhani. “If you want to use the language of threat … talk to me, not to the president (Hassan Rouhani). It is not in our president’s dignity to respond to you.”
Soleimani then reportedly mocked Trump as a man who uses “the language of night clubs and gambling halls.”
Tensions between Trump and Iran’s leadership have increased after the commander in chief stood up to the regime’s rhetoric with strongly-worded and threatening tweets, a move that lies in stark contrast with previous administrations that would allow Iran to continue with its harsh rhetoric unchallenged.
“You know that this war will destroy all that you possess,” Soleimani was quoted as saying by Iran’s Arabic news network Al-Alam. “You will start this war but we will be the ones to impose its end. Therefore you have to be careful about insulting the Iranian people and the president of our Republic.” He reportedly added, “You know our power in the region and our capabilities in asymmetric war. We will act and we will work.”
“This is a war of words,” an unnamed senior Iranian official told Reuters. “Neither side want a military confrontation. But of course, if America attacks Iran, our response will be crushing,” the official said, echoing his seniors.
This week Rouhani warned Trump that “war with Iran is the mother of all wars” and cautioned, “Mr. Trump! Do not play with the lion’s tail, (because) you’ll regret it. You are unable to provoke the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests.”
In response to this, Trump warned Rouhani to no longer threaten the United States.
To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) July 23, 2018
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also responded.
COLOR US UNIMPRESSED: The world heard even harsher bluster a few months ago. And Iranians have heard them —albeit more civilized ones—for 40 yrs. We’ve been around for millennia & seen fall of empires, incl our own, which lasted more than the life of some countries. BE CAUTIOUS!
— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) July 23, 2018
Also on Thursday, Soleimani reportedly threatened that he would start shipping oil across the Red Sea – considered one of the world’s most important trade routes for oil tankers. He said the Red Sea “which was secure is no longer secure with the American presence … (U.S. President Donald) Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him.”
On Tuesday, Iran-backed Shi’ite Houthi rebels in Yemen attacked a Saudi oil tanker in the Red Sea causing “minor damage” to the ship, according to the Associated Press.