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Trump warns Iranian president against threatening U.S.

Donald Trump | AP file photo

WASHINGTON — The White House says President Donald Trump’s threatening tweet shows he’s not going to tolerate critical rhetoric from Iran, but claims the U.S. leader isn’t escalating tensions between the two countries.

Press secretary Sarah Sanders says that “if anybody’s inciting anything, look no further than to Iran.”

Sanders said on Monday that Trump has been “very clear about what he’s not going to allow to take place.”

Her comments follow a late-night tweet from the president Sunday addressed to Iran’s leaders: “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Trump was responding to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani comments that “America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”

A prominent Lebanese analyst says he is concerned the latest harsh words exchanged by the U.S. and Iranian presidents have brought the two countries to the brink of war.

Kamel Wazne says Iran cannot trusts America after Trump pulled his country out of the nuclear deal with world powers and re-imposed sanctions on Tehran.

Wazne says Iran could well go to war to protect its oil exports, the foundation of its economy.

He says: “Iran has said very clearly that any war with them will be very costly, and this means American bases throughout the region could be a target.”

Wazne, the director of American Strategic Studies institute in Beirut, warned that “it needs just one mistake to have a major regional war.”

Germany is calling for restraint amid escalating rhetoric.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Christofer Burger told reporters in Berlin on Monday: “We support dialogue and talks, and we call on all sides to exercise restraint and rhetorical disarmament.”

Burger said that “threats of military force are never helpful, and I think that particularly in the tense situation in the Middle East this is not a helpful means of discourse.”

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is praising Trump for his “strong stance” on Iran.

Netanyahu says that Trump and his secretary of state were taking a clear position against “Iranian aggression” after years in which the “regime was pampered by world powers.”

The Israeli prime minister spoke at his weekly Cabinet meeting Monday, after Trump the previous night warned Iranian President Hassan Rouhani of dire consequences for threatening the United States.

On Sunday in California, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was strongly critical of Iran, calling its religious leaders “hypocritical holy men” who amassed vast sums of wealth while allowing their people to suffer.

In the speech at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum, Pompeo castigated Iran’s political, judicial and military leaders, accusing several by name of participating in widespread corruption. He also said the government has “heartlessly repressed its own people’s human rights, dignity and fundamental freedoms.”

He said despite poor treatment by their leaders, “the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government’s many abuses,” Pompeo said.

“And the United States under President Trump will not stay silent either.”