Iran’s president has mocked Donald Trump by claiming the White House is “afflicted by mental retardation”.
Hassan Rouhani made the remarks after the Trump administration imposed sanctions on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and his associates.
Mr Rouhani described the move as “outrageous and idiotic”.
Iran’s president, speaking in a televised address on Tuesday, also expressed exasperation at Washington for wanting to sanction Iran’s foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
Mr Rouhani said: “You sanction the foreign minister simultaneously with a request for talks?”
The foreign ministry has said the sanctions spell a “permanent closure” to diplomacy between the US and Iran, according to the Middle Eastern country’s state-run IRNA news agency.
Iran’s UN ambassador has said talks with the US are impossible amid escalating sanctions.
Tensions have further increased between the two countries after Tehran shot down an unmanned American drone last week.
Mr Trump initially told reporters the sanctions were in response to the attack on the aircraft, but later claimed they would have been imposed regardless of the incident.
Russia has supported Iran’s claim that the aircraft was in Iranian airspace when it was downed.
Nikolai Patrushev, secretary of Russia’s security council, also said US evidence alleging Iran was behind attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman was poor quality and unprofessional.
His remarks come after Russia said it would counteract Washington’s “illegal” sanctions on Tehran.
Moscow has also called for dialogue between the US and Iran.
Mr Patrushev was speaking at a high-profile trilateral security summit alongside his US and Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem on Tuesday.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton has said Mr Trump is open to negotiations and “all that Iran needs to do is walk through that open door”.
He said US envoys are surging across the region to find a path out of escalating tensions between the US and Iran, and added that the silence of the Islamic Republic has been “deafening”.
Mr Bolton continued: “There is simply no evidence that Iran has made the strategic decision to renounce nuclear weapons.”
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said his country, the US and Russia have a common objective to remove Iranian forces from Syria.
He added that doing so will “create a more stable Middle East”.
Iran and Russia have played a key role in backing Syrian President Bashar al Assad and helping him overcome rebel forces in his country’s civil war.
Mr Netanyahu claimed Iran was now looking to leverage that influence into establishing a military foothold along Israel’s northern front.
The White House has launched cyber attacks against Iran, saying it disabled the country’s intelligence systems which controlled its rocket and missile launchers.
It comes after Mr Trump said last week that he pulled out of airstrikes in retaliation for Iran’s downing of the US drone because it would have killed 150 people.
Tensions between the two countries have been rising since the US pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal that world powers signed with Iran and reinstated crushing sanctions on the country’s economy.
Source: SKY NEWS