(CNSNews.com) – Iran’s “moderate” president lashed out at the United States on Sunday, accusing it of using after failing in earlier attempts to overthrow the regime, and warning President Trump not to “play with the lion’s tail.”
A war with Iran would be “the mother of all wars,” President Hassan Rouhani told a gathering of Iranian ambassadors and diplomats, and alluded – for the second time this month – to Iran’s control of key Persian Gulf oil shipping routes.
“Mr. Trump! We are the people of dignity and guarantor of security of the waterway of the region throughout history,” he said, according to a copy of the speech posted on the presidency website. “Don't play with the lion’s tail; you will regret it.”
“The enemies must understand well that war with Iran is the mother of all wars and peace with Iran is the mother of all peace,” Rouhani said. “We have never been intimidated and will respond threat with threat.”
“Anybody who knows a little politics doesn’t say he will stop Iran’s oil exports,” he said. “We have a lot of straits,” Rouhani added. “Hormuz is just one of them.”
The reference to oil exports relates to U.S. sanctions due to come into effect in November as a result of Trump’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal. The administration wants exports of Iranian crude oil cut to “zero.”
The speech in Tehran came hours before Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered an address at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library on “supporting Iranian voices” – the latest in a series of administration initiatives aimed at stepping up pressure on Tehran and backing Iranians protesting against their government.
Pointing to the U.S. support for protestors, Rouhani said the U.S. was “making a miscalculation by putting pressure on the Iranian nation to tire them and turn them into a rioting people.”
“They certainly don’t know anything about the Iranian nation’s culture and don’t know that the Iranian nation will never and under no circumstances be anybody’s slave.”
Rouhani outlined what he characterized as a history of U.S. hostility – policies of “overthrow, disintegration, boycott, and weakening” – towards the Islamic Republic.
During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s, he said, the U.S. “mobilized the entire world, except a few countries” against Iran, but failed to achieve its goals.
Having “failed in its conspiracy to break and disintegrate Iran,” he said, the U.S. turned its attention to the nuclear program, using it as a “pretext” for sanctions.
When the emergence of the JCPOA marked the failure of a 12-year U.S. plot against Iran, Rouhani charged, the U.S. tried to make Iran violate the nuclear deal, then tried to persuade the Europeans to change the agreement. When those efforts by Trump failed, “he had to exit the deal alone.”
Addressing the same meeting, Iranian judiciary chief Sadeq Amoli Larijani praised Rouhani’s remarks, declaring that all branches of government are in harmony in the face of U.S. threats and that every Iranian has “a religious, moral, and rational duty” to resist U.S. plots.
“Despite the illusions of the Americans and their delusional president that expects the Islamic Republic’s officials to make phone calls to him, the pressures of the U.S. and its regional puppets have made our nation more united,” said Larijani, who was targeted earlier this year for U.S. sanctions.
In less than three weeks’ time, the first U.S. sanctions being reimposed as a result of the JCPOA withdrawal are scheduled to take effect. A second set of punitive measures, targeting the oil and banking sectors, will follow in early November.
During a recent visit to Europe, Rouhani hinted that if Iranian oil exports are blocked, Iran would block all oil shipments moving through the Persian Gulf’s Strait of Hormuz chokepoint.
Addressing the same gathering of Iranian diplomats on Saturday, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei praised those comments.
“Remarks by the president that if Iran’s oil is not exported, no regional country’s oil will be exported, were important remarks that reflect the policy and the approach of the establishment,” Khamenei said.
He instructed the foreign ministry to ensure that those policies were “strictly pursued.”