An oil production platform in Iran's Soroush oil fields. Photo: Reuters / Raheb Homavandi

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stirred up his American counterpart on Sunday with sharp words cautioning against picking a fight.

“The Americans should learn well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars,” President Rouhani said at a meeting of Iranian diplomats on Sunday, according to PressTV.

US President Donald Trump was not amused by the comments. The twitterverse, however, was amused by Trump’s outsized response.

“NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE,” America’s commander-in-chief tweeted on Sunday night.

“WE ARE NO LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!” he added.

Brent crude dropped sharply after the tweet, falling almost 2%, before recovering much of its losses by late Monday morning Eastern Standard Time.

Many were quick to draw a comparison between the president’s flamboyant choice of words and previous threats, directed at North Korea, warning of “fire and fury,” which resulted in an unprecedented presidential embrace of the North’s Kim regime.

A former Barack Obama administration National Security Council official, Rob Malley, relayed his impression of reaction from conversations with European officials, listing three thoughts:

  1. “They are not really taking it seriously, assuming it is a chiefly way to distract from [Robert] Mueller and [Vladimir] Putin. One can only hope they’re right
  2. To extent they take it seriously they think it’s part of a North Korea-like maximum pressure campaign designed to get Iran beg for a new deal. To which they (and I) say: good luck
  3. What they are paying attention to are US efforts to curtail/eliminate Iran’s oil exports. Those will go far & entail sanctioning insurance/reinsurance companies with potentially very severe implications”

Trump, however, has for decades been supportive of a policy of regime change in Iran, which has also been advocated by his national security adviser, John Bolton.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech on Sunday decrying Iran’s government, but stopped short of explicitly calling for regime change. Nonetheless, during his speech he announced policy initiatives aimed at bolstering political opposition within Iran, including stepping up efforts to broadcast Farsi-language content on television, radio, digital and social-media formats, and to circumvent Iranian government censorship.

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