U.S. President Donald Trump and Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appear to be talking to each other via media headlines rather than any effective diplomatic channels.
While Khamenei says Trump is afraid of a military confrontation, the U.S. president in his latest remarks to Fox Business Network on June 26 that a possible confrontation with Iran "would'nt last very long".
Trump made the remark only one day after he said in response to insulting declarations by Iran: “Iran’s very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality. Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration,” Trump warned.
Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had charged that Trump was suffering from mental disorder.
Khamenei and IRGC commanders had also said sarcastically that Trump "lied" about going to a possible war with Iran. Khamenei went as far as saying that America was "terrified" by Iran's power and warned U.S. forces "not to approach Iran."
Trump said on Wednesday that he hoped there is no war going to happen between Iran and the United States, but if a war breaks out "We will be in very stronger position," Trump said.
President Trump also added that in case of a U.S. attack on Iran, the U.S. army will not enter Iranian soil and there will be no "boots on the ground."
Trump has repeatedly called for negotiation with Iran but Khamenei has ruled out talks with the United States and said once again Wednesday morning, "The Americans are scared of coming forward. That is why they want to negotiate." He dismissed the U.S. offer of negotiation as "deception."
Meanwhile, President Trump charged in an interview with Fox News that "The Iranian leadership is not intelligent," which was a very polite answer to Rouhani’s insult on Tuesday about his state of mind.
Tensions between Iran and U.S. grew dangerously high after Iranian revolutionary guards downed a U.S. drone last Thursday. In response to the unprovoked attack, President Trump ordered a military strike on targets in Iran but stopped the attack minutes before launch for what he characterized as humanitarian concerns about possible casualties.
Iranian officials and media took the move as a sign of Washington's weakness and in dozens of articles and speeches said the U.S. feared Iran's response after a possible attack. Iranian media portrayed the downing of the U.S. drone as a "victory for Iran" in eye-catching front-page headlines.
Subsequently, on June 24, President Trump warned that another Iranian attack on U.S. drones will have overwhelming consequences tantamount "to obliteration."
In another development, the U.S. government decided to sanction the Iranian Supreme Leader and his massive financial conglomerate, as well as several military commanders in response to the attack on the unmanned aircraft, rather than taking a military action.
Khamenei on Wednesday characterized the new sanctions as "oppressive," but maintained that Iranians will not put a step back as a result of these "insults."
Some Iranian officials appear to be in a state of denial about a possible U.S. attack on Iran. IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh said on Wednesday that the idea of a "looming shadow of war" is a product of the West's imagination.
Last week, when Iranian officials were upbeat after Trump called off the U.S. strike on Iran, U.S. national Security Adviser John Bolton warned them "not to mistake the decision with weakness."
Nevertheless, IRGC's top commander Hossein Salami characterized new sanctions against Iranian officials including Khamenei as a "passive reaction" to the downing of "an advanced U.S. drone," adding that the sanctions were "signs of the United States' desperation."
In the meantime, regional states appear to have taken the possibility of a U.S. attack on Iran more seriously as Iraqi President Barham Salih said on Wednesday that Baghdad will not allow U.S. forces to use bases in Iraq for launching attacks on Iran.