A top Iranian military commander responded on Tuesday to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's demand that Iran end its domestic nuclear energy development, with a stern reminder that the United States has shown itself as the world's most dangerous and violent military and nuclear power.
"Who are you and America to tell us to limit the range of ballistic missiles?" Ismail Kowsari, deputy commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards base in Tehran, asked Pompeo in a statement. "History has shown that with the attacks on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, America is the top criminal with regard to missiles."
The Trump administration has spent much of the past year and a half demanding that other countries, including Iran and North Korea, end their respective nuclear programs, despite the fact that the U.S. and Russia hold more than 90 percent of the world's nuclear weapons.
Kowsari's remarks came two weeks after President Donald Trump announced the U.S. would violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, which was negotiated in 2015 by the Obama administration.
The deal had lifted harsh economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for restrictions on Iran's nuclear development. Trump pulled out of the agreement despite repeated assurances from international observers that Iran was in full compliance with the deal.
Pompeo alarmed European leaders—who said last weekend that they would seek to stay in the deal with Iran and maintain trade with the country—on Monday when he said in a speech at the conservative Heritage Foundation that Iran would face the "strongest sanctions in history," claiming the sanctions would bring the country to the negotiating table over its nuclear program.
He also demanded Iran end its enrichment of uranium—which Iran has repeatedly said it's developed for domestic energy and medical purposes—and outlined 12 demands for Iran's foreign policy, including an end to its involvement in the Syrian civil war.
"The people of Iran should stand united in the face of this and they will deliver a strong punch to the mouth of the American Secretary of State and anyone who backs them," Kowsari said in his response to Pompeo.