0746 GMT December 16, 2018
“It is true that there is a real threat to our region and to international peace and security: that threat is the Trump administration's sense of entitlement to destabilize the world along with rogue accomplices in our region,” the top Iranian diplomat said in a tweet on Friday, adding that Washington “must start acting like a normal state.”
Separately on Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to take action against Iran in case of any attack on American interests in the Middle East.
In an interview with the CNN, Pompeo warned that Washington would hold Tehran responsible for any attack on its interests in the region.
"We have told the Islamic Republic of Iran that using a proxy force to attack an American interest will not prevent us from responding against the prime actor," he said. "We will not let Iran get away with using a proxy force to attack an American interest; Iran will be held accountable for those incidents."
Asked if the US response included a military action, Pompeo said, "They're going to be held accountable. If they’re responsible for the arming and training of these militias, we’re gonna go to the source.”
Both the US Embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Basra came under attack earlier this month amid a fresh wave of violence in Iraq.
The Iranian Consulate and the provincial office of Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi were also gutted in the rampage.
At the time, the White House blamed Iran for the “life-threatening attacks” against its diplomatic missions in Iraq and warned that Washington would hold Tehran responsible if there are future assaults.
This drew a reaction from Iran's Foreign Ministry which rejected what it described as “astonishing, provocative and irresponsible accusations," stressing that Washington could not cover up its involvement in fomenting tensions in Iraq through blaming others.
Meanwhile, several Iraqi officials confirmed that the US had instigated the chaos in Iraq in a bid to sow discord among political parties.
Tensions have ramped up between Tehran and Washington after the American president in May fulfilled his election campaign promise and pulled his country from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
Washington claims the agreement was ineffective as it failed to halt Iran's nuclear activities and its development of ballistic missiles.
This is while the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has on multiple occasions reaffirmed that Iran is in full compliance with the JCPOA. In his introductory statement to the IAEA's Board of Governors in Vienna on September 10, Yukiya Amano, the director general of the agency, said Tehran was living up to all its commitments under the nuclear accord.
The US president also alleged that the JCPOA had placed no limits on Iran’s activities to influence conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and other parts of the Middle East.
The withdrawal took place despite stern warnings from the other signatories – the UK, France, Russia, China, and Germany – as well as the United Nations and the European Union, which all called the landmark deal pivotal to regional and international peace and security.
“Mutual trust isn't a prerequisite for engagement or conflict resolution. Confidence evolves from implementation of agreements like JCPOA –unapologetically grounded in mutual mistrust. But engagement requires mutual respect, credibility & willingness to abide by one’s commitments,” Zarif said in another Twitter post on Friday.
Under the JCPOA, Iran undertook to put limits on its nuclear program in exchange for the removal of nuclear-related sanctions imposed against Tehran.
However, since its withdrawal from the JCPOA, Washington has sought to build up international pressure on Iran by reinstating Washington’s unilateral sanctions that were removed under the deal. It also plans to impose new ones on the Islamic Republic.
Furthermore, the US administration introduced punitive measures – known as secondary sanctions – against third countries doing business with Iran.
A first round of American sanctions took effect in August, targeting Iran's access to the US dollar, metals trading, coal, industrial software, and auto sector. A second round, forthcoming on November 4, will be targeting Iran’s oil sales and its Central Bank.
Back in July, Iran lodged a complaint with the International Court of Justice (ICJ) over the US “unlawful” move to reimpose “unilateral” sanctions against Tehran.