BEIRUT • A senior Iranian military commander poured scorn on the US' threats to tighten sanctions yesterday, saying the Islamic Republic's people would respond by punching US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the mouth.
Mr Pompeo said on Monday that Washington would impose new penalties if Teheran did not make sweeping changes, including dropping its nuclear programme and pulling out of the Syrian civil war.
Two weeks after US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran, his administration has threatened to impose "the strongest sanctions in history", setting Washington and Teheran further on a course of confrontation.
Deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards base in Teheran Ismail Kowsari was quoted by the Iranian Labour News Agency (Ilna) as saying: "The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them."
Limiting Iran's missile capabilities was one of Mr Pompeo's main demands. General Kowsari said, according to Ilna: "Who are you and America to tell us to limit the range of ballistic missiles?"
Separately, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the rest of the world no longer accepts Washington making decisions on their behalf. "Who are you to decide for Iran and the world?" Mr Rouhani said in a statement carried by multiple Iranian news agencies.
"The world today does not accept that the United States decides for the world. Countries have their independence," he added.
"The era of such statements has evolved and the Iranian people have heard these statements hundreds of times, and no longer pay attention," he said.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE