President Donald Trump has said his administration has put Iran “on notice”, echoing comments from his top national security adviser that the US will act against Iran unless it stops testing ballistic missiles.
Mr Trump and his national security adviser Michael Flynn did not elaborate on what retaliatory actions the US could pursue.
The US president tweeted: “Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the US came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion.”
He added: “Iran has been formally put on notice for firing a ballistic missile.
“Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the US made with them!”
Mr Flynn on Wednesday forcefully denounced Iran’s behaviour in his first public remarks since Mr Trump took office.
He accused Iran of threatening US allies and spreading instability throughout the Middle East while faulting the Obama administration for doing too little to stop the Islamic Republic. “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” Mr Flynn said from the White House podium.
Senior Trump administration officials said they were actively considering a “range of options” including economic measures and increased support for Iran’s regional adversaries.
The warning was an early manifestation of Mr Trump’s promise of a tougher American approach to Iran. Administration officials emphasised their allegations were unrelated to Iran’s obligations under the Iran nuclear deal that President Barack Obama and world leaders negotiated.
Though Mr Flynn noted Mr Trump has criticised that deal, officials declined to say whether he planned to follow through on his campaign pledge to renegotiate it.
Mr Trump’s comments on Iran came after he strongly criticised a deal that would allow mostly Muslim refugees rejected by Australia to move to the US.
He called the agreement “dumb” and vowed to review it, although Australia’s prime minister insisted it was still on.
Mr Obama had agreed the deal to resettle refugees from among about 1,600 asylum seekers, most of whom are on island camps on the Pacific nations of Nauru and Papua New Guinea.
Mr Trump tweeted: “Do you believe it? The Obama Administration agreed to take thousands of illegal immigrants from Australia. Why? I will study this dumb deal!”
It came hours after the Washington Post published a story detailing a tense exchange between Mr Trump and Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull during their first telephone call as national leaders. The newspaper reported that during the call an angry Mr Trump dubbed the agreement “the worst deal ever”.
It said he accused Mr Turnbull of seeking to export the “next Boston bombers”.
Mr Turnbull declined to comment on the report, which also said Mr Trump abruptly ended the expected hour-long conversation after 25 minutes.