President Donald Trump offered some of his most bellicose rhetoric yet about Iran on Tuesday when he said Iran would have "bigger problems than they have ever had before" if the country's leadership dared to restart its nuclear program following a US pull-out of the JCPOA (otherwise known as the Iran deal), per the Times of Israel.
And today, a top Iranian general hit back at Trump with an aggressive threat to sink US Navy ships, while warning that the US would find itself in a "catastrophic situation" if it withdraws from the deal and reimposes economic sanctions.
"The actual information that the Americans have about us is much less than what they think they have. When will they figure this out? When it is too late," the Revolutionary Guard Corps’s navy commander, Admiral Ali Fadavim, told Iranian television on Saturday.
"They will definitely figure it out when their ships are sunk, or when they find themselves in a catastrophic situation," Fadavi threatened in an interview with IRINN TV, according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute.
On Wednesday, a non-proliferation envoy confirmed that the US isn't seeking to renegotiate the JCPOA. Instead, the White House would like to pursue a separate agreement like the one French President Emmanuel Macron proposed during a press conference with Trump. And apparently, Macron's proposal took his European partners by surprise.
Admiral Fadavim's remarks followed a similarly stern warning from Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.
"I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments, the Iranian government will react firmly," Rouhani said.
"If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences," he added.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also reiterated over the weekend his warning that Tehran was ready to swiftly resume uranium enrichment if the US ditches the accord.
Meanwhile, Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, warned that Iran would consider withdrawing from the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty if the US reimposes sanctions.
Of course, by leaving both the Iran deal and the NPT, Iran would only lend credence to its adversaries' claims that the Islamic Republic is seeking to build a nuclear weapon - an accusation Iran has long denied. The White House has set a self-imposed deadline of May 12 for deciding whether to pull out of the deal.