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Rouhani Calls White House 'Mentally Disabled' After New Sanctions On Iran

Iranian President Hassan Rohani attends a meeting with health ministry top officials in Tehran, June 25, 2019
Iranian President Hassan Rohani attends a meeting with health ministry top officials in Tehran, June 25, 2019

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani in his first reaction to new U.S. sanctions targeting the office of the Supreme Leader, said the United States “has sanctioned all of the Iranian nation.”

U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order imposing "hard-hitting" sanctions on Iran, including on the office of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The sanctions will deny Iran’s leader and those close to him “access to key financial resources and support," Trump said as he signed the document in the Oval Office on June 24.

In a speech in Tehran on Tuesday, June 25, Rouhani said U.S. sanctions are anti-human and “against human rights”. He added, “The Supreme Leader does not belong only to Iran; all these people in Lebanon, Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan are his followers”.

Rouhani described the White House as “mentally retarded”, an insult Iran used in the past about Trump.

"The White House actions mean it is mentally disabled," he said "Tehran's strategic patience does not mean we are afraid."

Khamenei’s office controls economic enterprises and billions of dollars in state funds funneled to religious institutions and “charity”, but Rouhani claimed in his speech that the Supreme Leader has nothing except one religious center and his house.

The Iranian president also spoke about the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone last week and said, “It is not militarily easy to locate an aerodynamic drone” and “we kiss the hands of the Revolutionary Guards and the defense ministry” for shooting down the American drone.

Rouhani added that the U.S. is even angrier that Iran downed the aircraft with homegrown missiles and not with the Russian S-300 anti-aircraft system.

The US Treasury has said it would also blacklist Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif -- a figure considered moderate and key architect of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal -- and eight top commanders from Iran's Revolutionary Guards.

Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said Tuesday that "imposing fruitless sanctions against Iran's supreme leader and the commander of Iran's diplomacy is the permanent closure of the path to diplomacy with Trump's desperate government."

"Trump's government is destroying all established international mechanisms for keeping global peace and security," he said in a tweet.

U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, speaking after the United States increased sanctions against Iranian officials, said Washington was still willing to talk to Iran.

"The president has held the door open to real negotiations to completely and verifiably eliminate Iran's nuclear weapons program, its ballistic missile delivery systems, its support for international terrorism and other malign behavior worldwide," Bolton said in Jerusalem. "All that Iran needs to do is to walk through that open door."

With reporting by AFP, Reuters