EghtesadOnline: A senior adviser to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the Trump administration should realize that threats won’t “be effective” after the U.S. president said Iran is “on notice” following its latest missile test.
Ali Akbar Velayati, speaking in a news conference on Thursday, described recent remarks by the White House as “groundless ranting,” according to state-run Press TV. “Iran doesn’t seek permission from any country to defend itself,” he said.
U.S. National Security Adviser Michael Flynn said Wednesday that Iran’s missile launch showed it to be “in defiance” of the United Nations Security Council resolution that endorsed the 2015 nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and six nations, including the U.S. and Russia, according to Bloomberg.
Iran says the resolution in question only bars it from testing missiles designed to carry nuclear warheads, armaments it doesn’t plan to obtain. Iranian missiles “aren’t designed to be capable of carrying nuclear warheads,” said Bahram Ghassemi, a Foreign Ministry spokesman. He called Flynn’s comments “baseless, provocative and repetitive.”
Beyond the tougher words, the Trump administration didn’t offer details of what policy or military options it may be considering. An administration official, who asked not to be identified, told reporters afterward that there are a range of options available to counter Tehran’s actions.
Trump’s election victory appears to be emboldening Republicans who have long criticized the 2015 accord but were stymied in their efforts to undermine it by the Obama administration. The president attacked his predecessor’s policy head on. “Iran is rapidly taking over more and more of Iraq even after the U.S. has squandered three trillion dollars there. Obvious long ago!” he said on Twitter Wednesday night.
Republicans in the House announced plans for legislation targeting Iran’s support for “terrorism, human rights abuses and ballistic missile program.” Among other steps, the measure would impose new sanctions on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and against people who “knowingly aid” its missile program. Similar legislation was previously introduced in the Senate.
Former Central Intelligence Agency Director David Petraeus, testifying to the House Armed Services Committee on Wednesday, said ending the nuclear deal would leave the U.S. isolated. He suggested Congress and the White House consider making a statement of national policy that Iran won’t be allowed to enrich uranium to weapons grade instead.
After a decade of isolation under U.S.-led international sanctions, Iran last year began seeing greater interest from businesses and banks in its $370 billion economy as the nuclear deal took affect. But the agreement didn’t unwind all U.S. sanctions, and Iranian officials have repeatedly complained that many foreign companies and banks remain reluctant of running afoul of those restrictions, limiting new investment.