TEHRAN (Dispatches) -- Iranian Foreign Minister Muhammad Javad Zarif on Monday hit back at U.S. President Donald Trump’s "genocidal taunts”, saying they will not "end Iran”.
"Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won't 'end Iran'," Zarif wrote on Twitter.
"Never threaten an Iranian. Try respect -- it works!" he added.
The riposte by Iran's top diplomat followed Trump’s threat of destroying Iran in his latest flip-flop of escalating tensions.
"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again," Trump tweeted.
Relations between Washington and Tehran plummeted a year ago when Trump pulled out of a landmark 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and imposed tough sanctions.
Iranian officials have repeatedly slammed the unilateral U.S. sanctions as "economic terrorism," saying that they have impeded the flow of essential goods.
Tensions have risen further this month with Washington announcing more economic measures against Tehran, before deploying a carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf over unspecified alleged Iranian "threats".
The Trump administration last week ordered non-essential diplomatic staff out of Iraq, citing the danger posted by Iraqi armed groups.
On Sunday a rocket was fired into the Green Zone of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which houses government offices and embassies including the U.S. mission. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
While the U.S. claim of Iranian "threats" has been met with widespread skepticism outside the United States, the mounting tensions have sparked growing international concern.
British Foreign Minister Jeremy Hunt on Monday tried to play a second fiddle to Washington’s threats, telling reporters in Geneva, "I would say to the Iranians, do not underestimate the resolve on the U.S. side in the situation."
"They don't want a war with Iran, but if American interests are attacked they will retaliate," he said.
US media reports say Trump's hawkish national security advisor John Bolton is pushing for war with Iran, but others in the administration are resisting.
Zarif's tweet said Trump is being "goaded by B Team," a term he coined to refer to Bolton as well as the occupying regime of Israel's prime minister and the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and United Arab Emirates who are all pushing a hard line on Tehran.
"Goaded by B Team, Donald Trump hopes to achieve what Alexander, Genghis and other aggressors failed to do. Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone,” Zarif wrote.
In a second tweet, Zarif put additional emphasis on the role played by the B Team in pushing the Middle East region toward chaos.
"Donald Trump rightly deplores ‘military-industrial complex’ pushing U.S. to wars,” he said.
"But allowing B Team to trash diplomacy and abet war crimes—by milking despotic butchers via massive arms sales—achieves nothing but empowering that same complex,” Zarif said. "Time to drain the swamp?” he added.
The Iranian foreign minister has played down the prospect of a new war in the region, saying Tehran opposed it and nobody was under the "illusion" the Islamic Republic could be confronted.
Iran is exercising "maximum restraint" in the face of an "unacceptable" escalation by the United States, Zarif said on Thursday.
Tehran has threatened to gradually withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal if partners still in the agreement -- Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia -- do not help it to circumvent U.S. sanctions.