BEIRUT (Reuters) – A senior Iranian military commander poured scorn on U.S. threats to tighten sanctions on Tuesday, saying the Islamic Republic’s people would respond by punching U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the mouth.
Pompeo on Monday demanded Iran make sweeping changes that would effectively force it to reverse the recent spread of its military and political influence through the Middle East to the shores of the Mediterranean Sea.
“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,” Ismail Kowsari, the deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards base in Tehran said, according to the Iranian Labour News Agency.
Limiting Iran’s missile capabilities was one of the main aims highlighted by Pompeo.
“Who are you and America to tell us to limit the range of ballistic missiles?” Kowsari said, according to ILNA. “History has shown that with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki America is the top criminal with regard to missiles,” he added.
Qassem Soleimani, the head of the branch of the Revolutionary Guards that carries out operations outside Iran’s borders, was singled out by Pompeo as a top troublemaker in the Middle East.
Kowsari said that the Iranian people back Soleimani.
“Soleimani is not a single person. The great people of Iran support him,” Kowsari said.
Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Andrew Heavens