President Donald Trump fired a warning shot at Iran on Sunday afternoon, warning the world's leading state sponsor of terrorism that if they want to fight the United States, that will be the official end to their country.
"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran," Trump tweeted. "Never threaten the United States again!"
On Saturday, "a top Iranian official taunted the Trump administration with 9/11 imagery Saturday, making a cruel reference to the attacks on the 2001 World Trade Center," The New York Post reported.
"The [US political] system has an apparently huge body, but suffers from osteoporosis," Revolutionary Guard head Gen. Hossein Salami told the Fars news agency. "In fact, the US is like World Trade Building that collapses with a sudden hit."
Late last week, Politico reported that senators who attended a "lengthy classified briefing on Iran" left the meeting saying the threats coming from Iran are "credible" and "urgent."
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) described the threats from Iran as a "serious and potentially imminent threat to U.S. forces" and said Trump was correct in moving military assets to the region to be "position to retaliate" if Iran or any of the proxy terrorist groups it supports should launch any kind of attack.
"There are legitimate threats that we are concerned about to American lives, and I think that's why the preparations have been taken," Senate Majority Whip John Thune (R-SD) said. "Hopefully, Iran will think better of taking provocative action and doing anything stupid or crazy, but I think we have to be prepared, which is why I believe the administration is taking the steps that they are."
Former CIA Director David Petraeus warned Iran on Sunday to be "very careful" amid rising tensions in the region "because it's going to get worse" for them and if they do something stupid, they will receive a very serious response.
"They are going to have to make a decision. Either they are going to have to really tighten their belt and keep tightening, because it's going to get worse," Petraeus said. "There are going to be further screws tightening down in maximum pressure campaign and try to grit their teeth and get to November 2020 in hopes that their desired outcome emerges."
"They're going to have to be very careful not to overplay their hand and result in some kind of response that is quite punitive," Petraeus added.
At the beginning of the month, the Trump administration sent a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East to send a "clear and unmistakable message" to Iran in response to "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings."
"The deployment comes less than a month after the Trump administration designated Iran's elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) a terrorist organization," Fox News reported. "The deployment also comes amid the bloodiest fighting in five years between Israel and Palestinian militants in the Gaza Strip."
"In response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings, the United States is deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the U.S. Central Command region to send a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack on United States interests or on those of our allies will be met with unrelenting force," Bolton said. "The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack, whether by proxy, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, or regular Iranian forces."
This report has been updated to include additional information.