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A top-ranking commander of the Iranian special forces issued a direct threat to President Donald Trump over the outcome of war between the two countries.
Major General Qassim Soleimani, who leads a special forces unit of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards, has been quoted as stating that if the U.S. attacks Iran it "will destroy all that you possess."
The outburst is seen as a response to Trump's tweet warning Iran's President Hassan Rouhani to "never, ever" threaten the U.S.
According to reports citing the Iranian news agency Tasnim, Soleimani said Thursday that it was "my duty to respond to your threats," before adding "Talk to me, not to the president (Rouhani). It is not in our president's dignity to respond to you."
The commander then engaged in the sort of language likely to worsen relations between the United States and the Islamic republic.
"We are near you, where you can't even imagine. Come. We are ready."
"If you begin the war, we will end the war. You know that this war will destroy all that you possess."
The report added that Soleimani derided the U.S. president for using the language of "night clubs and gambling halls."
Sunday's tweet from Trump to Rouhani was considered political bluster when just two days later the U.S. leader said he was "ready to make a real deal" with Iran.
But the two leaders have been at odds ever since Trump announced that he would withdraw the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The JCPOA is another name for the Iran nuclear deal in which the Islamic republic was asked to stop enriching uranium in exchange for a lifting of economic sanctions.
In May 2018, Trump said the United States would exit the Barack Obama-era agreement, calling it "defective to its core." Trump is also asking countries to reduce oil imports from Iran to zero by early November.
The European Union has said it is determined to preserve the Iran nuclear deal and France, Germany and Britain have stated individually that they remain committed.