President Donald Trump took a hard line against Iran for the second straight day on Friday with a blistering tweet that preceded a new round of sanctions against Iran.
“Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!” Trump tweeted.
Reuters reported that the sanctions, which used existing authority to sanction Iran, targeted 13 individuals and 12 entities, some of which were located in the United Arab Emirates, Lebanon and China.
Iran is playing with fire – they don’t appreciate how “kind” President Obama was to them. Not me!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 3, 2017
“This action reflects the United States’ commitment to enforcing sanctions on Iran with respect to its ballistic missile program and destabilizing activities in the region and is fully consistent with the United States’ commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action,” the statement said, referring to the nuclear agreement among Iran, the U.S. and several allies.
Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., said the action “makes clear that it is a new day in U.S.-Iran relations and that we will no longer tolerate Iran’s destabilizing behavior.”
On Thursday, Trump had tweeted that Iran was “formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.”
Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile.Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) February 2, 2017
National Security Advisor Michael Flynn recently attacked Iran for its “destabilizing behavior across the Middle East.”
Iran, however replied with a slam at Trump, with Iranian spokesman Ali Akbar Velayati saying, “This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif added, “Iran is unmoved by threats as we derive security from our people.”
“We will never use our weapons against anyone, except in self-defense,” he later said.
On Sunday, Iran tested a ballistic missile, prompting an angry response from Trump and Congress.
“Iranian leaders must feel sufficient pressure to cease deeply destabilizing activities, from sponsoring terrorist groups to continued testing of ballistic missiles,” read a letter to Trump from a bipartisan group of senators.
“Full enforcement of existing sanctions and the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran for its ballistic missile program are necessary,” the letter said.
In the wake of the test, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley said America would respond.
“The United States is not naive,” she said. “We are not going to stand by. You will see us call them out, as we said we would, and you are also going to see us act accordingly.”
Trump has long opposed the nuclear agreement constructed by Iran with the United States and several European allies in which the U.S. and its partners dropped many sanctions against Iran in exchange for Iran’s word it would stop its nuclear program. Because other sanctions against Iran were in effect that were not covered by the agreement, the U.S. action Friday does not violate the terms of that deal.