Firing the latest salvo in the war of words between Tehran and Washington, foreign minister Javad Zarif said American intervention in the Middle East has “only brought ruin” to the region. Iran’s attack came just hours after Mr Trump finished an 82-minute State of the Union speech in which he branded the Islamic Republic a “radical regime”. He told Congress that Iran does “bad, bad things” as well as chanting “death to America” and threatening “genocide against the Jewish people”.
The US leader said “Iran chants death to America and threatens genocide against the Jewish people”, adding: “We must never ignore the vile poison of anti-Semitism or those who spread its venomous creed.”
Mr Trump then went on to speak about a deadly attack on a Pittsburgh synagogue in October in which 11 people were killed and seven more injured after a heavily armed gunman opened fire.
Responding to the speech, Iran’s foreign minister tweeted: “Iranians—including our Jewish compatriots—are commemorating 40 yrs of progress despite US pressure, just as @realDonaldTrump again makes accusations against us @ #SOTU2019.
“US hostility has led it to support dictators, butchers and extremists, who’ve only brought ruin to our region.”
Relations between Washington and Tehran have soured since Mr Trump announced the US was pulling out of a landmark nuclear treaty and reimposing sanctions.
The 2015 accord was designed to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons by trading sanctions relief in exchange for major curbs on the Islamic Republic’s nuclear programme.
Quitting the deal last year, Mr Trump said Tehran was in violation of its terms despite international observers stating Iran was complying.
Defending his decision during last night’s address, the US leader said: “My administration has acted decisively to confront the world’s leading state sponsor of terror: the radical regime in Iran.
“To ensure this corrupt dictatorship never acquires nuclear weapons, I withdrew the United States from the disastrous Iran nuclear deal.
“And last fall, we put in place the toughest sanctions ever imposed on a country.”
Iran denies it is attempting to build nuclear weapons and insists its uranium enrichment programme is purely to make fuel for nuclear power plants.
Mr Trump has also warned Tehran poses a threat to stability in the Middle East because of its aggressive foreign policy and continued testing of rocket technology and medium-range missiles.
The Islamic Republic last month attempted to launch a satellite into orbit as part of its space programme, despite warnings from the US to suspend further tests.
Some in the US fear the rockets could be adapted into long-range ballistic missiles which could eventually carry nuclear weapons.