Trump proposes new sanctions in Middle East to: 'Make Iran great again'

Monday, 24 Jun, 2019

Iran cautioned Saturday that it will "firmly" respond to any aggression or threat by the USA, a warning that comes after President Trump aborted a military attack while a US cyber team carried out a retaliatory digital strike against the regime.

Trump also told reporters he would impose more penalties against Iran with some implemented "slowly" and some "more rapidly", before departing for Camp David, Md., on Saturday. The US President threatened Tehran with more crippling sanctions saying it was not about oil, but to prevent the country from developing nuclear weapons.

"Regardless of any decision they [US officials] make. we will not allow any of Iran's borders to be violated", said Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi, also speaking to Tasnim on Saturday. "I hope that happens", he added.

Mr Trump has said repeatedly he does not want war with Iran, but he has offered little insight into his strategy, beyond inviting Iran's leaders to call him to reopen nuclear negotiations.

He said Friday he called off an attack because he decided there would be too many deaths for a proportionate response to the downing of the United States drone.

"Everyone was saying I m a war-monger, and now they say I m a dove", Trump said Saturday as he was peppered with questions about the Iran drama. "I think that was a very wise decision", Trump told reporters.

The downing of a US Global Hawk spy drone this week is the latest in a series of diplomatic rows between Washington and Tehran that have been escalating since the unilateral US withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in 2018.

"If the leadership of Iran behaves badly, then it's going to be a very, very bad day for them", he said.

Last year, Trump withdrew the United States from the deal created to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief, and reinstated measures created to choke off Iranian oil sales and cripple its economy.

The U.S. -Iran confrontation has been boiling since Trump backed out of the Obama-era nuclear deal in May 2018. The "diplomacy" advocated by U.S. officials recalls nothing so much as that practiced by Adolf Hitler in the Nazis' march toward the Second World War. The Trump administration has presented video evidence that seemingly implicates Tehran in the attacks, while Iran has denied having any role.

Following his comments, Iran said it had executed a man convicted of spying for the US.

The cyber-attack disabled computer systems controlling rocket and missile launchers, the Washington Post said.

"We'll see with Iran", he said.

In Iraq, security measures were increased at one of the country's largest air bases, which houses American trainers, a top Iraqi air force commander said Saturday.

On Thursday, the Pentagon launched a long-planned cyber attack in retaliation for the oil tanker incidents, Yahoo News reported, citing former intelligence officials.

Washington, meanwhile, accused Teheran of stepping up cyber attacks.

"Our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force", Hook said in the Saudi capital, Riyadh. Saudi Arabian Airlines joined some other worldwide airlines on Saturday in taking related precautions.

The Trump Administration has blamed Iran for the attacks, which damaged six ships in the waters off the Emirati port of Fujairah.