Iran has hit back at the US government after Washington admonished Tehran for conducting a ballistic missile test. With the Trump administration all set to impose sanctions on Iran as early as Friday, 3 February, Iranian officials said their country would not cave in to threats from an "inexperienced person".
Rejecting warnings from the Trump administration as unfounded, the Iranian foreign ministry said comments made by White House authorities are "baseless, repetitive and provocative". The ministry's spokesperson Bahram Ghasemi was quoted by local news outlets as saying: "Instead of thanking Iran for its continued fight against terrorism ... the American government is practically helping the terrorists by claims about Iran."
He added: "We stressed on the principle position of Iran without mentioning the validity of reported news; conducting any ballistic missile by Iran is in accordance with its absolute rights and international obligations. Iran to defend itself needs no one's permission. Our ballistic missile tests are not in contradiction with the resolution and we condemn the comments made by some countries which are politically motivated."
Iran had test-fired its ballistic missile on 29 January — a step that the White House labels as a blatant violation of UN Security Council resolutions but Iran insisted it was for defensive purposes. Tehran has denied claims the missile is capable of carrying nuclear warheads, but confirmed it had undertaken the missile launch.
The White House is mulling over pursuing an aggressive stand as earlier promised by the American president during his election campaign. Trump warned on 2 February that "nothing was off the table" when dealing with Iran. However, it is still unclear whether the sanctions the Trump administration has threatened to impose will be symbolic or have any real impact on Iran.
Trump had earlier tweeted that Iran has officially been put "on notice" over its latest acts. When asked to explain what kind of response the missile test would evoke, White House spokesperson Sean Spicer said: "We will have further updates for you on those additional actions, but clearly (national security adviser Michael Flynn) warned to make sure that Iran understood that they are on notice that this is not going unresponded to."