Trump Doubles Down: "Iran Has Been Formally Put On Notice"

Echoing comments made yesterday by his national security advisor Michael Flynn, Trump started his Thursday morning on Twitter by first threatening to pull UC Berkeley's funding and congratulating Rex Tillerson, and then stating that Iran is now formally “on notice” for firing a ballistic missile. 

“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!” he tweeted, without providing any other details.

Trump then added that "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.”

During a surprise appearance in the White House briefing room on Wednesday, Michael Flynn vowed a forceful U.S. response to Iran’s “destabilizing behavior across the Middle East.” Flynn said Iran “continues to threaten U.S. friends and allies in the region,” with a ballistic missile test launch over the weekend and other actions. Flynn also accused Barack Obama for allowing Iran to become “emboldened.”

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” he said, without elaborating what that meant. 

Subsequently, the White House provided little clarity about the practical impact of Flynn’s comments. "There are a large number of options available to the administration. We are going to take appropriate action and I will not provide any further information today relative to that question,” a senior administration official told reporters.

“The important thing here is we are communicating that Iranian behavior needs to be rethought by Tehran.”

Trump has in the past criticized the international agreement to curb Iran's nuclear program, and vowed to abandon the agreement if elected. The agreement to offer relief from international financial sanctions in exchange for new limits on Iran's nuclear program isn't a treaty and therefore isn't binding from one administration to the next. 

In November, nuclear policy experts and lobbyists said President Obama's signature nuclear deal with Iran could be put in peril when Trump assumes office. On Wednesday night, the president tweeted that Iran is dominating "more and more of Iraq," despite U.S. efforts to secure the country.

Yesterday, in a move meant to gauge the US willingness to escalate, Iran confirmed it had test fired a new ICBM rocket.