Iranian leaders rejected outright Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s demands for dramatic changes in Tehran’s foreign policy and nuclear program. “It is in no way acceptable that a man who had been working in a spy center for years tells Iran and other countries what to do,” President Hassan Rouhani said in an address to doctors and university professors. “Who are you to decide for Iran and the world, telling Iran what to do and what not to do with its nuclear technology?”
Earlier in the day, Pompeo outlined the Trump administration’s new strategy for dealing with Iran following the U.S. withdrawal from the nuclear deal. He warned Iran that the U.S. will apply military and economic pressure, including the “strongest sanctions in history,” unless it changes its behavior in the Middle East. Pompeo outlined 12 demands that he said should be included in a new deal that would address Iran’s nuclear program in addition to its ballistic missile program, support for extremist groups, and threats against its neighbors and U.S. allies. The following are excerpted reactions from Iranian leaders.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
"There is no doubt that the Americans will be defeated ... provided Iranian officials fully perform their duties."
—May 21, 2018, according to Iranian state television, via Reuters
President Hassan Rouhani
“Last year, we promised that we wouldn’t return back to the way things were and we didn’t; but today, a government is in office in the United States that returned their country 15 years back overnight and is repeating the same words of 2003 and 2004.”
“Americans who had experienced what was being said during George W. Bush’s term, know it was wrong and had taken steps to correct that. But again, a group came into office that is repeating the same words. The world will not let the U.S. decide for other countries.”
“All countries of the world want to have independence in their decisions, and Americans may be able to do something through pressure, but logic does not accept that they decide for the world.”
“It is in no way acceptable that a man who had been working in a spy center for years tells Iran and other countries what to do as Sectary of State of the United States. Who are you to decide for Iran and the world, telling Iran what to do and what not to do with its nuclear technology?”
“These words are like the same words that Americans have said before and the Iranian nation have been, and are, indifferent to them and will continue along their path together.”
—May 21, 2018, in an address to university professors and doctors
“What US leaders are saying today is not new to Iranian people, because these words belong to 40 years ago."
"Except an illegitimate regime and a few small countries, all countries throughout the world have showed objection to US’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and this is a victory for Iran in political and legal stages."
“Today, we are negotiating with the other five countries party to the deal. Although they say they are committed to the JCPOA in words and political announcement, but we must see how they act."
“If these five countries can guarantee our interests, especially economic interests, in the JCPOA, the deal will continue to be implemented without the United States, or else, we will take the necessary decisions and our country will be run perfectly with or without the US."
“We have no doubt that while the Iranian nation are united behind the Supreme Leader of the Revolution, no power can bring this nation to its knees."
“Today, international conditions are also different, and the United States is in isolation, and the Islamic Republic of Iran is recognised as the country of law and peace and the country that keeps its promises and is praised by the public opinion of the world."
"In the first two months of year 1397, non-oil income has increased 28.5 per cent compared to the same period last year."
“In this period, inflation rate has been single-digit and the capital market has increased around three times compared to year 1392."
“Sanctions and pressures will not have any impact on our plans for 1397 and the next years."
“Maybe Americans thought that the Achilles heel of our country was foreign currency and turmoil in the exchange market, but we predicted this from months ago, therefore we made the necessary planning for any conditions even without the JCPOA and people’s required foreign currency needs will be met in any conditions."
—May 24, 2018, at a meeting of authorities and officials with the Supreme Leader
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
US diplomacy sham is merely a regression to old habits: imprisoned by delusions & failed policies—dictated by corrupt Special Interest—it repeats the same wrong choices and will thus reap the same ill rewards. Iran, meanwhile, is working with partners for post-US JCPOA solutions.— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) May 21, 2018
"Mr. Pompeo and other American authorities are not only imprisoned by their delusions, but also by the past, and worse than that, the corrupt pressure groups. This indicates the bankruptcy of US foreign policy."
"We have our won ways and plans that you will see in the coming weeks."
—May 23, 2018, to reporters, according to Mehr News Agency
"Mr. Pompeo's remarks were so groundless and bereft of civility and logic that they do not warrant an answer."
“This indicates the bankrupt nature of US foreign policy, which has been put up for rent. Any pressure group that spends more money can lead the foreign policy in the direction of its own choice."
“They even use an erroneous term when referring to the Persian Gulf, or prevent the Iranian people from visiting their families in the US, denying them visas."
—May 23, 2018, to reporters, according to PressTV
Iranian Foreign Ministry
“Pompeo’s remarks once again revealed the poor intelligence, weak oversight, analytical backwardness and confusion in decision-making processes in the United States, and showed radical and hawkish currents in the US neither know history, nor can learn lessons from it."
“The American regime which, despite opposition by all countries in the world except a handful of small regimes, has reneged on all its political, legal and international obligations, is not in a position to set conditions for a major country like Iran, which has made good on its commitments.”
“The American regime must know that the United States’ evasion of law and violation of its commitments not only will not create any rights for that regime (the US), but puts the international responsibility for the consequences of its breach of law on the shoulders of the officials of that regime as well as its corrupt and mafia-linked supporters both at home and abroad, and this is while a new scandal emerges every day before the world’s public opinion.”
“An inherent feature of the United States’ colonialist regime is to support terrorism, especially state terrorism. Terror groups such Al-Qaeda, ISIS, the MKO, Jundallah and other Takfiriterrorist groups, which continue to survive with American taxpayers’ money and with the support of incompetent systems in the Middle East, will incontrovertibly be defeated, and the US government and its allies will be disgraced.”
“The fathers of Al-Qaeda and hundreds of other terrorist groups which have jeopardized international peace and security, are not in a position to distort the Islamic Republic of Iran’s stabilizing and anti-terrorism measures in the region and in the whole world, and pursue its domineering illusions.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a system emanating from the Islamic Revolution of Iranian people, who have stood up to, and emerged victorious, in the face of all the wicked conspiracies of the US and its allies over the past four decades, and will continue to survive from now on and make the United States’ new plots go down in defeat.”
“We advise the senior officials of the US, especially its secretary of state, to take lessons from the fate of the United States’ past policies vis-à-vis the Iranian nation, and stop its interventionist and failed measures and policies which are seemingly aimed at driving a wedge between Iranian people and the popular system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and not to bring more disgrace upon themselves in the court of the world public opinion."
“The Islamic Republic of Iran rejects all the accusations and lies in this so-called new strategy, and regards the US secretary of state’s brazen remarks as gross interference in its domestic affairs and an illegal threat against a member of the United Nations, and reserves the right to take legal action.”
“The responsibility for any hit-and-run, illegal and bullying measure against the Iranian nation lies with the US government."
—May 22, 2018, in a statement
First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri
“The Iranian nation basically carried out the Revolution so that no [other] country could order them around."
“Eventually, Trump’s administration will have to accept, much like its predecessors, the realities of the region that Iran with its longstanding historical and civil background is a great country and nation in the Middle East, and should be addressed with the language of respect and logic, not threat."
—May 22, 2018, in a tweet, according to Mehr News Agency
Government Spokesman Mohammad Baqer Nobakht
"Are the tenants of the White House really sure that they can materialize the will that they intend to impose on the Iranian nation?"
—May 22, 2018, at a weekly press conference, according to Fars News Agency
“Prior (to the decision), Trump was willing to hold talks with us; however, with whom are we to negotiate? Are we to negotiate with the ones who renege on official agreements approved by the UNSC?”
“No, the Americans do not deserve to sit at the negotiating table with Iranian delegates.”
—May 22, 2018, at a weekly press conference, according to Tasnim News Agency
"Could the US [economic sanctions] weaken the Islamic Republic? Could they weaken our economy? I recommend reading the reports by the International Monetary Fund describing Iran as the eighteenth economy across the globe."
"We won't talk with those who do not deserve to negotiate with a country that has been faithful to its commitments."
—May 22, 2018, according to Iran Front Page News
"Do the Americans think that the silk glove that they've taken out and the iron hand that they've extended to the people, a hand that's backed by Israel and the [Mujahedin-e-Khalq Organization], will make Iranian people think that American wants democracy?"
—May 22, 2018, according to state media, via The Jerusalem Post
Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps
“The hegemony and arrogance system, particularly heads of the criminal, warmongering, deceitful and reneging US regime have gotten the message that aggression against the Islamic Iran will make them meet a fate not different from that of executed Saddam."
—May 23, 2018, in a statement, according to Tasnim News Agency
Iranian Minister of Defense and Armed Forces Logistical Support Brigadier General Amir Hatami
“Without being affected by the West's political propaganda, we won’t hesitate for a moment to enhance military and defensive capabilities of our country."
—May 23, 2018, at a ceremony held on the anniversary of the liberation of Khorramshahr, according to Mehr News Agency
Deputy Commander of the Sarollah Revolutionary Guards Ismail Kowsari
"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."
"Who are you and America to tell us to limit the range of ballistic missiles? History has shown that with the attacks on Hiroshim and Nagasaki, America is the top criminal with regard to missiles."
—May 22, 2018, according to Iranian Labour News Agency, via The Jerusalem Post
"The new US Secretary of State is not aware of international affairs, particularly of Iran."
"Who created the terrorrist groups like ISIL, Taliban, al Qaeda?"
"We will prusue our own policies [regardless of their threats]. These claims will strengthen the unity among the Iranian people and will make the whole nation stand firmly against them."
—May 22, 2018, according to Mehr News Agency
Lieutenant Commander of the IRGC for Political Affairs Brigadier General Yadollah Javani
“The US secretary of state’s remarks indicate that he has been sleeping over the past 40 years and is unaware of what has happened during these years in the world and the region."
"Iran has been present in Iraq and Syria at the invitation of the legitimate governments of these countries and sided with the regional nations based on the common interests of the countries."
“If anyone should leave the region, it would be the meddlesome US, which has done nothing but damaging the region during these years."
—May 22, 2018, to Tasnim News Agency
Iran's Ambassador to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad
"Iran is standing united and integrated against President Donald Trump's new policies."
"Enrichment is the most significant achievement of the JCPOA and a basic theme in it and itw as only shift in Obama administrations' policy regarding enrichment which marked beginning of the talks on JCPOA."
"Instaed of declaring new policies, Trump displayed US' arrogant nature."
—May 22, 2018, on his instagram page, according to Fars News Agency
"JCPOA is based on Iran’s right to enrichment and it’s impossible to revise the agreement in absence of enrichment plans."
—May 22, 2018, on his instagram page, according to Mehr News Agency