"Mental retardation": Iran's President mocks Donald Trump

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Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has mocked US President Donald Trump, saying the White House is "afflicted by mental retardation".

The shocking comments came as Iran slammed new US sanctions targeting the Islamic Republics supreme leaders and other top officials, saying the measures for the permanent closure for diplomacy between the two nations.

President Rouhani went on to call the sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "outrageous and idiotic," especially as the 80-year-old Shiite cleric has no plans to travel to the United States.

US President Donald Trump, with US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and US Vice-President Mike Pence signs the "hard-hitting sanctions" on Iran's supreme leader.
Camera IconUS President Donald Trump, with US Secretary of Treasury Steven Mnuchin and US Vice-President Mike Pence signs the "hard-hitting sanctions" on Iran's supreme leader.picture: AFP

From Israel, Trump's national security adviser John Bolton said talks with the US were still possible and that the US is leaving an “open door” for Iran to walk through.

The leaders of Tehran clearly showed their views on Washington and Tehran over its nuclear program and Iran's downing of a US military surveillance drone last week.

"The fruitless sanctions on Iran's leadership and the Iranian diplomacy mean the permanent closure of the road to diplomacy with the frustrated US administration," said Abbas Mousavi, to the Foreign Ministry spokesman, according to the state-run IRNA news agency.

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Camera IconIranian President Hassan Rouhani says the tough new US sanctions could mean "permanent closure" for diplomacy.picture: AP

The crisis gripping the Middle East is rooted in Trump withdrawing the US a year ago from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal and imposing crippling new sanctions on Tehran. Recently, Iran quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium to be at peace to break one of the deal by July next – if Europe doesn't offer a new deal .

Citing unspecified Iranian threats, the US has sent aircraft to the Middle East and deployed additional troops alongside the tens of thousands already there. All this has raised fears that a miscalculation or further rise in tensions could push the U.S. and Iran into an open conflict, 40 years after the Islamic Revolution.

President Donald Trump enacted the new sanctions on Monday against Khamenei and his associates.

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Camera IconDonald Trump has been mocked by Iran's President.picture: AP

The sanctions follow Iran's downing last week of US surveillance drone, worth over $ 100 million, over the Strait of Hormuz, an attack that sharply escalated the crisis in the Persian Gulf. Trump pulled back from the brink of retaliatory military strikes but continued his pressure campaign against Iran.

US officials also said plan sanctions against Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, something that drew Rouhani's anger during his televised address on Tuesday.

"You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks," an exasperated Rouhani said and called the sanctions "outrageous and idiotic."

"The White House is affected by mental retardation and does not know what to do," Rouhani added.

There was no immediate reaction from Washington to the remarks from Iran. The sharp comments are reminiscent of North Korea's verbal attacks on Trump before the dramatic change in the course of negotiations with Washington. However, in Iran's case, there are no signs Iranian leadership would welcome talks.

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Camera IconDonald Trump says he is open to real negotiations to eliminate Iran's nuclear weapons.picture: AFP, AP

Mousavi's statement echoed that of Iran's UN ambassador, Majid Takht Ravanchi, who warned on the situation in the Persian Gulf is “very dangerous” and said any talks with the US are impossible in the face of escalating sanctions and intimidation. Meanwhile, the US envoy at the United Nations, Jonathan Cohen, said the Trump administration's aim is to get Tehran back to negotiations.

The secretary of state Mike Pompey held talks in the Middle East with Saudi Arabia about the construction of a broad, global coalition that includes Asian and European countries to counter Iran. Pompey is likely to face a tough sell in Europe and Asia, particularly those still committed to the 2015 nuclear deal.

Meanwhile, US National Security Adviser John Bolton said Trump is an Iran's nuclear weapons program and "all that Iran needs to walk through that open door." Bolton was meeting with his Russian and Israel counterparts in a first- of-its-kind trilateral security summit in Jerusalem that was focused on Iranian involvement in conflicts across the region, particularly in neighboring Syria.

“As we speak, American diplomatic representatives are surging across the Middle East, seeking a path to peace. In response, Iran's silence has been deafening, "he said. "There is no evidence that Iran has made the strategic decision to renounce nuclear weapons and open realistic discussions to demonstrate that decision."

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