A top Iranian general delivered a fiery speech Thursday, calling Trump sleazy and warning the U.S. President that “we are ready” for war.
The attack comes days after Donald Trump posted an all-caps tweet warning Iran never to threaten the United States.
The remarks by Major-General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force — the unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps responsible for overseas operations — ratchets up the rhetoric between the two countries, following Trump’s bellicose post earlier this week.
In a tweet directed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani Monday, Trump appeared to threaten a nuclear attack: “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before.”
Speaking in the Iranian city of Hamedan Thursday, Soleimani returned fire. “Trump’s language is still the ethics of nightclubs and gambling halls,” he said, according to a Reuters report citing the Iranian Young Journalists’ Club.
Soleimani said that if the U.S. started a war with Iran, Iran would prevail, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.
“We are near you, where you can’t even imagine … Come. We are ready. If you begin the war, we will end the war,” he said.
“Trump should know that we are [a] nation of martyrdom and that we await him.”
He also goaded Trump to direct his threats at him, rather than at Rouhani. “As a soldier, it is my duty to respond to Trump’s threats. If he wants to use the language of threat, he should talk to me, not to the president,” he said.
Trump tweeted his warning Monday in response to comments from Rouhani during a televised speech, in which he cautioned: “Do not play with the lion's tail or else you will regret it… Peace with Iran would be the mother of all peace and war with Iran would be the mother of all wars.”
The Trump administration has taken an increasingly hawkish approach to Tehran, directing a stream of angry rhetoric towards the Islamic Republic since it pulled out of the Iran nuclear accord in May, with Trump labelling it the “worst deal ever.”
Cover image: Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani attends Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's meeting with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps in Tehran, Iran on September 18, 2016. (Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)