Trump exploring options, including more sanctions.
Earlier this week, Iran performed a ballistic missile test in defiance of a UN resolution. President Donald Trump’s White House officially put Iran on notice for more consequences if the regime has more tests.
The regime has laughed at the threats:
“This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran,” [President Adviser Ali Akbar] Velayati said. “Iran is the strongest power in the region and has a lot of political, economic and military power … America should be careful about making empty threats to Iran.”
He added: “Iran will continue to test its capabilities in ballistic missiles and Iran will not ask any country for permission in defending itself.”
“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” said Michael T. Flynn, the national security adviser, making his debut in the White House briefing room to read a terse statement that was almost as critical of the Obama administration as it was of Iran.
“The Trump administration condemns such actions by Iran that undermine security, prosperity and stability throughout and beyond the Middle East, and place American lives at risk,” he said.
UN resolution 2231, adopted after the deal was signed, specifically states that Iran cannot conduct ballistic missile tests. Iran shot back saying that these missiles do not count since they cannot “carry a nuclear warhead.”
Other officials have said that Trump has started exploring options to take action against Iran, including more sanctions. Iran said new sanctions would violate the nuclear deal.
Another option includes “targeting Iran’s elite military unit, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard.” Congress has begun working on this measure with staff saying they could finish it by March.
But while senior officials within the administration agree the launch didn’t violate the nuclear deal, some said Iran needs to change:
“The important thing is here is that we’re communicating that Iranian behavior needs to be rethought by Tehran,” one senior official said. “That is something Tehran needs to think through, because we are considering these things in a different perspective.”
Trump trashed the nuclear deal on the campaign trail, saying he would either eliminate or revamp it. Back in January 2016, he told rally attendees that “the nuclear deal with Iran is so bad, he is close to wondering whether it was done poorly on purpose.” From The Hill:
“It’s almost like there has to be something else going on,” he said Saturday night at a rally in Biloxi, Miss. “I don’t think there is, I just don’t think they’re competent.”
Trump said he couldn’t believe the U.S. would agree to a deal with Iran that did not include the return of Americans held prisoner in Iran.
“Who would make that deal?” he asked, suggesting Tehran was celebrating as the agreement was being negotiated.
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