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WASHINGTON: Battered at home for failing to stand up to his Russian counterpart at a recent meeting, US President Donald Trump warned Iran on Sunday night that threatening the United States would have consequences the likes of which have never been seen in history before.

As usual, Mr Trump used his twitter account to deliver this threat. The explosive, all-caps, tweet, released at 8:24pm and addressed to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said: “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”

In a veiled reference to his predecessor Barack Obama’s efforts to peacefully resolve Washington’s difference with Tehran, Mr Trump warned: “We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence & death. Be cautious!”

Earlier, President Rouhani had warned the US leader not to “play with the lion’s tail, this would only lead to regret.”

The Iranian leader, however, combined his warning with a reminder to Mr Trump that peace was a better option. “America should know that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” Mr Rouhani said.

President Trump’s tweet followed a speech by his Secretary of State Michael Pompeo in California where he told the 250,000-strong Iranian-American community that the Trump administration was ready to work with them to bring a change in Iran.

“Sometimes it seems the world has become desensitised to the regime’s authoritarianism at home and its campaigns of violence abroad, but the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses,” Mr Pompeo told a crowd of Iranian Americans at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, California. “The United States under President Trump will not stay silent,” he said.

President Rouhani also addressed the issue of alleged American interference in Iran’s internal affairs in his statement that caused the American president to tweet his threat. “You are not in a position to incite the Iranian nation against Iran’s security and interests,” Mr Rouhani said.

On Monday, the official spokesman for Iran’s Ministry for Foreign Affairs, Bahram Ghasemi, said that Iranian people will answer interventionist moves of US politicians with an unprecedented unity.

Published in Dawn, July 24th, 2018