President Trump said Tuesday that he hopes Iran got the “message” after his administration escalated sanctions against the regime following the downing of a U.S. drone, while firing back at the country’s leaders for declaring diplomacy between the two nations dead.
Speaking at the White House, the president reiterated his vow that Iran cannot be allowed to have a path to develop nuclear weapons.
"We're not gonna allow that to happen, can't do it," Trump said, calling on the regime to end the "hostility."
He said he hopes Iran gets the “message” from sanctions. Asked if there’s an exit strategy for Iran, Trump said: “You’re not going to need an exit strategy.”
The president also warned Iran earlier in the day that any attack on the U.S. would be met with “overwhelming force” following a fiery response from Iran to the latest U.S. sanctions.
Abbas Mousavi, a spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, had said that newly announced U.S. sanctions against Iranian leadership meant permanently closing the “channel of diplomacy” between the two countries. President Hassan Rouhani said the White House is “afflicted by mental retardation.”
“Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality,” Trump said in a late morning tweet. “Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration. No More John Kerry & Obama!”
Trump lamented that the people of Iran “are suffering and for no reason at all,” stating that the government “spends all of its money on Terror, and little on anything else.” Trump said that while “Iran’s leadership doesn’t understand the words ‘nice’ or ‘compassion,’” they do understand the words “Strength and Power.”
The statements come amid mounting tensions with Iran. The administration imposed new sanctions Monday against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates, after Iran shot down an unmanned American drone last week. That incident led to intense deliberations over a possible U.S. military strike, but Trump revealed last week that he called off such a strike due to the high number of expected casualties.
Officials, however, confirmed to Fox News that the U.S. military did carry out a cyberattack against Iranian intelligence in response.
Before the drone shoot-down, six oil tankers also had been attacked in the Gulf of Oman, which the U.S. and its Gulf allies blame on Iran.
The Trump administration's sanctions were just the latest installation in part of its “maximum pressure campaign” aimed at pushing them to the negotiating table to work out terms for a deal that would be better for the U.S. than the Iran nuclear agreement. Trump pulled out of that deal, hoping to reach a new agreement that would prevent Iran from having ballistic missiles, which were not covered by the old deal entered into by then-President Barack Obama.
Fox News' Edmund DeMarche and Lucas Tomlinson contributed to this report.