Iran's Rouhani warns U.S. "war with Iran mother of all wars"

Earlier this month Rouhani hinted that Tehran may block regional oil exports if its own sales are halted

Iranian President Hassan Rohani on Sunday cautioned the U.S. President Donald Trump about pursuing hostile policies against Tehran, saying "America should know. war with Iran is the mother of all wars", the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

"Mr. Trump, don't play with the lion's tail, this would only lead to regret", he said, Reuters reported, citing state-run media.

Addressing his U.S. counterpart Donald Trump, Rouhani said: "You declare war and then you speak of wanting to support the Iranian people".

"You can not provoke the Iranian people against their own security and interests", he said in a televised speech at a gathering of Iranian diplomats in Tehran.

In Washington, U.S. officials familiar with the matter told Reuters that the Trump administration has launched an offensive of speeches and online communications meant to foment unrest and help pressure Iran to end its nuclear programme and its support of militant groups.

Europe opposes the move and has vowed to find ways of maintaining its trade ties with Iran, which under the deal curbed its nuclear programme in exchange for a lifting of sanctions.

Having withdrawn from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, Washington is determined to isolate Iran and pile on economic pressure with a full reimposition of sanctions, starting in August. Rouhani made his comments a day after Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that negotiating with the USA would be useless.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei backed his president and said: 'If Iran's oil is not exported, no regional country's oil will be exported.

Iranian officials have in the past threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz in retaliation for any hostile US action.

Rouhani said such threats against Iran would have adverse effects. Separately, a top Iranian military commander warned that the Trump government might be preparing to invade Iran.

The Iranians described the US move as an economic war, said the report.

Iran and other members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, including Saudi Arabia and Iraq, ship much of their crude through the Strait of Hormuz.

The comments come as the USA demands all countries end imports of Iranian oil by November 4 as part of its new policy towards Tehran after Washington unilaterally pulled out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known colloquially as the Iran nuclear deal.

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