Skip to main content

Sign up for our newsletter.

Quality journalism. Progressive values. Direct to your inbox.

President Donald Trump speaks at the press briefing room flanked Attorney General William Barr, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley, National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien, and Chief of Naval Operations Admiral Michael Gilday on April 1, 2020 in Washington, D.C. (Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images)

As Trump Lobs Threats and Deploys Missiles, Iran Demands Halt to 'Warmongering During Coronavirus Outbreak'

"What kind of maniac risks such a war in the middle of a global pandemic? Answer: President Donald Trump, aided and abetted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser Robert O'Brien."

Jake Johnson

The Iranian Foreign Ministry on Wednesday called for an immediate halt to "warmongering during the coronavirus outbreak" as U.S. forces reportedly deployed Patriot missiles to Iraq and President Donald Trump warned—without presenting a shred of evidence—that Tehran is planning a "sneak attack" on American troops in the region.

Warning that heightened U.S. military activity in Iraq could lead to further "instability and disaster" in the Middle East, Iran's Foreign Ministry said the Trump administration should "respect the wishes of the Iraqi people and government and leave the country." The Pentagon insisted in a statement that the Patriot missiles were mobilized for purely defensive purposes.

"Now we discover that strangling the Iranian economy isn't enough for Trump and Co. They are bent on using the spread of a deadly disease as cover for a new war."
—Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept

As Common Dreams reported, Trump on Wednesday threatened Iran with a "very heavy price" if it attacks "U.S. troops and/or assets" in the region, ignoring pleas from advocacy groups and the United Nations for a global ceasefire and international cooperation against the novel coronavirus, which has devastated the U.S. and Iran and is spreading quickly in Iraq.

Trump's tweet came just over an hour after he attended an intelligence briefing with U.S. national security officials.

In a tweet of his own late Wednesday, Iran's top diplomat Javad Zarif urged Trump "not to be misled by usual warmongers."

"Unlike the U.S.—which surreptitiously lies, cheats, assassinates—Iran only acts in self-defense," said Zarif. "Iran starts no wars, but teaches lessons to those who do."

The New York Times reported last week that the Pentagon has issued a directive ordering "military commanders to plan for an escalation of American combat in Iraq" and "prepare a campaign to destroy an Iranian-backed militia group that has threatened more attacks against American troops."

"Some top officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Robert C. O'Brien, the national security adviser, have been pushing for aggressive new action against Iran and its proxy forces—and see an opportunity to try to destroy Iranian-backed militia groups in Iraq as leaders in Iran are distracted by the pandemic crisis in their country," according to the Times.

In response to the Times report, The Intercept's Mehdi Hasan urged the U.S. public to "beware of Trump using the coronavirus as a cover for war with Iran."

"Question: What kind of maniac risks such a war in the middle of a global pandemic? Answer: President Donald Trump, aided and abetted by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser Robert O'Brien," Hasan wrote.

"Less than two weeks ago, in a piece about the cruelty and callousness of maintaining sanctions on Iran while a pandemic rages across that country, I described the people in charge of the U.S. government as 'sociopaths,'" Hasan added. "Now we discover... that strangling the Iranian economy isn't enough for Trump and Co. They are bent on using the spread of a deadly disease as cover for a new war. Perhaps 'sociopaths' was an understatement."


Our work is licensed under Creative Commons (CC BY-NC-ND 3.0). Feel free to republish and share widely.

We've had enough. The 1% own and operate the corporate media. They are doing everything they can to defend the status quo, squash dissent and protect the wealthy and the powerful. The Common Dreams media model is different. We cover the news that matters to the 99%. Our mission? To inform. To inspire. To ignite change for the common good. How? Nonprofit. Independent. Reader-supported. Free to read. Free to republish. Free to share. With no advertising. No paywalls. No selling of your data. Thousands of small donations fund our newsroom and allow us to continue publishing. Can you chip in? We can't do it without you. Thank you.

Michigan Judge Blocks Enforcement of 'Chilling and Dangerous' 1931 Abortion Ban

The decision is a "welcome" development "but our work continues," said Gov. Gretchen Whitmer, vowing to use "every tool in my toolbox to fight like hell for women and healthcare providers."

Jessica Corbett ·


'Terrible Idea': Biden Preparing to Shift Costs of Covid Treatments, Vaccines to Patients

"We must push back," said one doctor. "Free provision of vaccinations, Paxlovid, and monoclonals has been critically important."

Kenny Stancil ·


Trump-Appointed Judge Permanently Blocks Biden's Oil and Gas Leasing Moratorium

Fossil fuel extraction on federal lands and waters has accounted for an estimated 25% of all U.S. carbon emissions since 2005.

Jake Johnson ·


In Landslide 1,108-to-387 Vote, Maine Nurses Reject Effort to Decertify Their Union

"They thought because we were a new union, they could manipulate Maine Med nurses and overturn our 2021 election," said one nurse. "But we just showed them the door."

Jake Johnson ·


Dems Threaten to Subpoena FTI Consulting Over 'Blanket Refusal' to Provide Info on Fossil Fuel Work

"FTI's refusal to cooperate with this congressional inquiry shows that they have something to hide, which will reveal the dangerous ways agencies like theirs have promoted fossil fuel greenwash and misinformation," said the Clean Creatives campaign's leader.

Jessica Corbett ·

Common Dreams Logo