Trump Puts Iran ‘On Notice’ After Ballistic Missile Test

February 2, 2017 Updated: February 2, 2017
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WASHINGTON—President Donald Trump said Thursday his administration has put Iran “on notice,” echoing comments from his top national security adviser that the U.S. will act against Iran unless it stops testing ballistic missiles and supporting Houthi rebels in Yemen.

Trump and his National Security Adviser, Michael Flynn, didn’t elaborate on what retaliatory actions the U.S. could pursue.

Trump tweeted, “Iran was on its last legs and ready to collapse until the U.S. came along and gave it a life-line in the form of the Iran Deal: $150 billion.”

He also tweeted, “Iran has been formally PUT ON NOTICE for firing a ballistic missile. Should have been thankful for the terrible deal the U.S. made with them!”

Flynn on Wednesday forcefully denounced Iran’s behavior in his first public remarks since Trump took office. He accused Iran of threatening U.S. allies and spreading instability throughout the Middle East while faulting the Obama administration for doing too little to stop the Islamic Republic.

National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington on Feb. 1, 2017.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)
National Security Adviser Michael Flynn speaks during the daily news briefing at the White House, in Washington on Feb. 1, 2017.(AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)

“As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice,” Flynn said from the White House podium.

On notice for what, Flynn didn’t elaborate. 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 officials, who briefed reporters on condition of anonymity, declined repeatedly to say whether military action is being considered.

The warning was an early manifestation of Trump’s promise of a tougher American approach to Iran.

“The Obama administration failed to respond adequately to Tehran’s malign actions—including weapons transfers, support for terrorism and other violations of international norms,” Flynn said.

The White House also faulted Iran for backing Houthi rebels in Yemen who on Tuesday claimed a successful missile strike against a warship belonging to a Saudi-led coalition fighting to reinstall Yemen’s internationally recognized government. The media arm of the Shiite rebels said the vessel was believed to belong to the Saudi Arabian navy.

Administration officials said Iran was providing key support by arming, training and financing the rebels, with a goal of leveraging its relationship with the Houthis to “build a long-term presence in Yemen.”

The White House said the goal in putting Iran “on notice” was to signal to Tehran that it needed to rethink its behavior. Flynn said Iran specifically violated the U.N.’s ban on “activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology.”