Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei lashed out at President Donald Trump’s speech to the United Nations General Assembly and claimed that Trump used “hostile and gangster-style” language against Iran because of America’s “defeats” in the Middle East. “These statements did not project power but stemmed from anger, frustration and weak mentality because the Americans are extremely enraged that their years-long designs in West Asia have been defeated with the effective presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said in a meeting with members of Iran’s Assembly of Experts earlier today. “For many years, the Americans designed a plan for West Asia and called it the ‘Greater Middle East’ and the three main pillars of this plan were Iraq, Syria and Lebanon. But they were defeated in all the three countries,” he claimed. The Supreme Leader added that Washington and its allies failed to undermine Iran’s interests in Lebanon and Syria and stressed that the military intervention in Iraq produced the opposite outcome for Washington.
Comment: Like Khamenei, other Iranian political and military leaders have reacted angrily to Trump’s speech and have threatened “painful” retaliatory measures. All Iranian leaders maintained that Tehran would resist American pressure and will not renegotiate the nuclear deal. Hardliners in Iran are also increasing pressure on President Hassan Rouhani not to give further concessions to Washington and leave the nuclear deal if the U.S. levies more sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Speaking at the U.N.G.A. yesterday, Rouhani hit back at Trump. “It will be a great pity if this agreement were to be annulled by rogue newcomers to the world of politics… By violating international agreements and its commitments, the new U.S. administration only undermines its own credibility and will lose the trust of governments and nations to negotiate with it in the future,” the Iranian president said. “I declare before you that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not be the first country to violate the J.C.P.O.A.; but it will respond proportionately and decisively to its violation [by other parties],” he warned.
The Trump administration argues that Iran has violated the spirit of the deal by increasing its malign activities in the Middle East and advancing its controversial missile program. Tehran says it will under no circumstances halt its missile activity.
The administration has hinted that it might not certify Iran's compliance with the nuclear accord next month. While the de-certification will not abrogate the agreement, it will give the Congress 60 days to decide whether to re-impose nuclear-related sanctions on Iran.