Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh has taken to Twitter to attack Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for allegedly trying to cover up the failures of the Trump administration’s foreign policy vis-à-vis Iran by using “cheap propaganda”.
“After 4 years of ‘Maximum Failure’, @SecPompeo is desperately turning to cheap propaganda to dress up the disaster he has promoted and instigated as a success,” Khatibzadeh wrote.
“News flash: People aren’t naïve. And the world has refused to be held hostage to your bullying. Good riddance,” the spokesman added.
After 4 years of "Maximum Failure", @SecPompeo is desperately turning to cheap propaganda to dress up the disaster he has promoted and instigated as a success.— Saeed Khatibzadeh (@SKhatibzadeh) December 30, 2020
News flash: People aren't naive. And the world has refused to be held hostage to your bullying. Good riddance.
On Tuesday, Pompeo fired off a fresh attack on Tehran on Twitter, accusing the “Iranian regime” of sowing “instability and terror, threatening the US and our allies”.
The Iranian regime has sown instability and terror, threatening the U.S. and our allies. The @realDonaldTrump Administration didn't accept the status quo and re-imposed sanctions, initiating a campaign of maximum pressure. America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. pic.twitter.com/z4JQTNOUnd— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) December 29, 2020
Pompeo accompanied the tweet with a three minute State Department video explaining the Trump administration’s policy toward Iran, reiterating tired claims about the Islamic Republic being the world’s “largest state sponsor of terrorism”, accusing Tehran of a host of crimes ranging from assassinations and illegal detentions to claims that the country carried out missile attacks against Saudi oil facilities in 2019. The video also echoed Israeli claims about Iran’s alleged “covert nuclear weapons programme”.
Iran maintains that it has no nuclear weapons programme, and has denied US and Saudi claims that it was involved in the Saudi oil refinery attacks. The country openly admitted to launching over a dozen ballistic missiles at US bases in Iraq in January, calling the strikes revenge for the 3 January assassination of Revolutionary Guard Quds Force Commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad.
Iranian-US relations have remained icy for decades since the Iranian Revolution of 1979, which deposed a pro-US regime. They worsened significantly under Trump, who pulled Washington out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in 2018, and slapped the Islamic Republic with crushing economic, energy and banking sector sanctions.
In 2019, a US military buildup in the Middle East, a series of oil tanker sabotage incidents and ship seizures and the shootdown of a $220 million US drone over Iranian airspace in the Strait of Hormuz brought the two nations to the brink of war. In late 2019, the US blamed Iran for an attack on an American military base in Iraq, and claimed the country was behind protests outside the US Embassy in Baghdad. In January, the US killed Soleimani in Baghdad. Iran responded with missile strikes against two US bases, giving over 100 troops traumatic brain injuries.
Iranian leaders have expressed cautious optimism about the incoming Biden administration rejoining the nuclear deal and easing sanctions pressure, but have also warned repeatedly that the deal was not up for renegotiation, be it under Trump or his successor.