Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reacted to the latest sanctions imposed on his country by President Donald Trump this week, by accusing the White House of being "afflicted by mental retardation."
What are the details?
President Trump issued an executive order
on Monday, placing additional sanctions on top of existing economic restrictions against the Islamic Republic. The president imposed the new sanctions targeting officials — in lieu of an airstrike — in retaliation for Iran shooting down a $100 million unmanned American drone on Thursday.
U.S. national security adviser John Bolton said President Trump "has held the door open to real negotiations" and "all that Iran needs to do is walk through that open door," Reuters reported. Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin announced Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif can expect to be sanctioned "later this week."
According to the Associated Press, Rouhani called the sanctions "outrageous and idiotic" in a televised address on Tuesday, saying, "You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks."
Rouhani added, "The White House is afflicted by mental retardation and does not know what to do."
Iran Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi also weighed in, issuing a statement saying, "The fruitless sanctions on Iran's leadership and the chief of Iranian diplomacy mean the permanent closure of the road of diplomacy with the frustrated U.S. administration."
The Trump administration is pushing for Iran to abandon its pursuit of nuclear weapons, and President Trump said over the weekend that he "look[s] forward to the day when sanctions can be finally lifted and Iran can become a peaceful, prosperous and productive nation."
"That can go very quickly. It can be tomorrow. It can also be in years from now. So I look forward to discussing whatever I have to discuss with anybody that wants to speak," the president also said, according to Politico. "In the meantime, who knows what's going to happen, I can only tell you that we can not ever let Iran have a nuclear weapon. And it won't happen."