A senior Iranian military commander said on Thursday Donald Trump should address any threats against Tehran directly to him and he mocked the U.S. president as displaying the ethics of “night clubs and gambling halls”, the Iranian Young Journalists’ Club reported.
The comments by Major-General Qassem Soleimani, who heads the Quds Force of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps, were the latest salvo in a war of words between the two countries which has reached a new level of bellicosity.
“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 (Hassan Rouhani),” Soleimani was quoted as saying in the central city of Hamedan.
Iran has dismissed a warning from Trump that Tehran risked dire consequences if it made threats against the United States.
On Monday, Trump said in a tweet responding to comments from Rouhani: “Never, ever threaten the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before. We are no longer a country that will stand for your demented words of violence & death. Be cautious!”
Soleimani, who as Quds Force commander is in charge of the Revolutionary Guards’ overseas operations, responded: “Trump’s language is still the ethics of nightclubs and gambling halls”.
He also said that the Red Sea was not secure while U.S. troops were deployed in the area, Iran’s Arabic-language Al Alam television reported.
“Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him,” Soleimani was quoted as saying.
Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it was temporarily halting all oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb after an attack on two oil tankers by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement.
Yemen, where a U.S-backed, Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis for three years, lies beside the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most important trade routes in the world for oil tankers.