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Trump Threatens Iran with ‘Obliteration’ if US Assets Attacked

A day after his national security adviser extended an olive branch to Iran by reiterating a call for direct negotiations, US President Donald Trump warned that an Iranian attack on “anything American” would elicit an “overwhelming” response that could lead to the “obliteration” of some areas of the Islamic Republic. President Trump also tweeted that “Iran’s leaders only understand Strength and Power, and the USA is by far the most powerful Military Force in the world.” The comments come against the backdrop of heightened tension in the Middle East, where Washington has blamed Tehran for numerous recent attacks on tankers near the Strait of Hormuz. The US has also accused Iran of using its Shi’ite proxies in Iraq to target American positions, as well as encouraging the Houthis in Yemen to repeatedly fire missiles targeting critical infrastructure – including those civilian in nature – in Saudi Arabia. Most recently, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps downed a US drone flying over what the Pentagon insists were international waters. In response, US media reported that President Trump had ordered strikes on three Iranian military installations, only to cancel them just minutes before their execution. Instead, the US leader imposed new economic sanctions on Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, one of the architects of the 2015 nuclear deal from which President Trump withdrew last year. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the move was evidence that the White House was “mentally retarded.”