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Trump’s genocidal taunts won’t end Iran: Iran foreign minister

Trump’s genocidal taunts won’t end Iran: Iran foreign minister
Mohammad Javad Zarif (File)
Tehran, May 21 (AFP) | Publish Date: 5/21/2019 12:01:13 PM IST

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday the “genocidal taunts” of US President Donald Trump will not “end Iran”, as tensions spike between the two countries.

“Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran’,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.

“Never threaten an Iranian. Try respect -- it works!” he added.

In another tweet, Zarif accused Trump of allowing his team to “trash diplomacy” and “abet war crimes -- by milking despotic butchers via massive arms sales”.

The riposte by Iran’s top diplomat followed an ominous warning by Trump, who on Sunday suggested the Islamic republic would be destroyed if it attacked US interests.

“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again,” Trump tweeted.

The US president took to Twitter again on Monday, saying Washington has not reached out for talks with Iran and that if the Islamic republic wants to negotiate, it will have to take the first step. “Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready. In the meantime, their economy continues to collapse -- very sad for the Iranian people!” Trump said.

A Senator close to Trump, Lindsey Graham, warned Iran of an “overwhelming military response” for any actions against US interests.

Relations between Washington and Tehran plummeted a year ago when Trump pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and imposed tough sanctions.

Iranian officials have repeatedly slammed the unilateral US sanctions as “economic terrorism,” saying that they have impeded the flow of essential goods.

Tensions have risen further this month with Washington announcing more economic measures against Tehran, before deploying a carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf over unspecified alleged Iranian “threats”.

The Trump administration last week ordered non-essential diplomatic staff out of Iraq, citing the danger posed by Iranian-backed Iraqi armed groups.

On Sunday a rocket was fired into the Green Zone of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which houses government offices and embassies including the US mission. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.

While the US claim of Iranian “threats” has been met with widespread scepticism outside the United States, the mounting tensions have sparked growing international concern.

The United Nations expressed concern about the “rising rhetoric”. “We would ask all parties to lower the rhetoric and lower the threshold of action as well,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric.

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