Trump vows new Iran sanctions, Tehran warns US against attack

2019-06-23 10:05

US President Donald Trump on Saturday pledged to hit Iran with "major" new sanctions as Tehran warned Washington that any attack would see its interests across the Middle East go up in flames.

The war of words heated up after Trump had pulled back from military action against Iran in response to its downing of a US reconnaissance drone.

That incident, which came after a series of attacks on tankers in the congested shipping lanes out of the Gulf that the US has blamed on Iran, exacerbated already tense relations between the two countries.

READ: Trump says he called off Iran strikes at last minute

Iran has denied responsibility for those attacks.

Trump, who spent Saturday huddling with his advisors at Camp David, initially told reporters that he was keen to be Iran's "best friend" - if the country agreed to renounce nuclear weapons.

"When they agree to that, they're going to have a wealthy country. They're going to be so happy, and I'm going to be their best friend," he told reporters.

Nuclear accord

Iran has denied seeking a nuclear weapon and says its programme is for civilian purposes.

A multinational accord reached by Tehran and world powers in 2015 sought to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief.

But Trump left that agreement more than a year ago and has imposed a robust slate of punitive economic sanctions designed to choke off Iranian oil sales and cripple its economy - one he now plans to expand.

"We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday," tweeted Trump, who has also deployed additional troops to the Middle East.

"I look forward to the day that Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again - The sooner the better!"

Added Secretary of State Mike Pompeo: "When the Iranian regime decides to forgo violence and meet our diplomacy with diplomacy, it knows how to reach us. Until then, our diplomatic isolation and economic pressure campaign against the regime will intensify."

But lest anyone think he was entirely ruling out military action, Trump tweeted Saturday evening that "I never called the strike against Iran 'BACK,' as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!"

A top Iranian military official warned Washington against any strikes.

"Firing one bullet toward Iran will set fire to the interests of America and its allies" in the region, armed forces general staff spokesperson Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi told the Tasnim news agency.

"If the enemy - especially America and its allies in the region - make the military mistake of shooting the powder keg on which America's interests lie, the region will be set on fire," Shekarchi warned.

Following his comments, Iran said it had executed a man, a contractor for the defence ministry's aerospace organisation, who had been convicted of spying for the US.

KEEP UPDATED on the latest news by subscribing to our FREE newsletter.

- FOLLOW News24 on Twitter

NEXT ON NEWS24X

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.

Inside News24

 
Traffic Alerts
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.