A day after the Trump administration put Iran on notice for its launch of a ballistic missile, a war of words erupted between the American president and the Iranian government, with President Trump insulting Tehran on Twitter and the Iranians responding in kind.
A top adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Thursday that Iran would not be intimidated by threats from “an inexperienced person.” Mr. Trump’s national security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, had warned Iran that it faced unspecified reprisals from the United States if it did not cease aggressive behavior toward its neighbors.
Mr. Trump echoed Mr. Flynn’s threat with a pair of early morning Twitter posts, in which he accused the Iranians of ingratitude for the nuclear deal negotiated with the West, which he asserted had rescued Iran from collapse.
In his first post, Mr. Trump said, “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!”
In the second, he said, “Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion.”
Hours later, the Iranian supreme leader’s top adviser, Ali Akbar Velayati, responded forcefully, saying, “This is not the first time that an inexperienced person has threatened Iran,” according to the semiofficial Fars news agency. “The American government will understand that threatening Iran is useless.”
A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry condemned Mr. Flynn’s comments about the missile test as “repetitive, baseless and provocative.” The spokesman, Bahram Ghasemi, even appeared to mock the language in the national security adviser’s statement.
“Instead of thanking Iran for its continued fight against terrorism,” he said, “the American government is practically helping the terrorists by claims about Iran that are baseless, repetitive and provocative.”
In the statement issued by Mr. Flynn on Wednesday, he said, “Instead of being grateful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened.”