Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has accused the administration of President Donald Trump of being “afflicted with mental retardation” in an inflammatory TV address on Tuesday.
It came after the US imposed sanctions targeted at the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Speaking in a live address Tuesday, translated and reported by The Associated Press, Rouhani also said that the sanctions will lead to the “certain failure” of US policy.
“How can a person lose their mind so badly and do something so outrageous and idiotic by sanctioning the leader of a country?” said Rouhani, according to a translation by Sky.
“They are suffering from metal disability. The White House is afflicted by mental retardation and does not know what to do.”
He also criticized plans by the US to sanction Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later this week.
He said the move showed that US claims to be seeking a diplomatic solution to the crisis were not serious.
“You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks?” he said, highlighting an apparent contradiction in the US approach.
In a tweet, Zarif echoed the criticism.
“But it’s now clear that the # B_Team is not concerned with US interests—they despise diplomacy, and thirst for war,” tweeted the foreign minister.
Iranian officials have previously described hawkish aides around Trump as the “B Team.”
The sanctions come after weeks of escalating tensions between the US and Iran.
Trump said he at the last minute reversed a decision last week to launch airstrikes against Iran in retaliation for the downing of a US drone.
In an interview with NBC News, broadcast Sunday, the president held out the offer of talks with Iran’s leader with no preconditions.