US President Donald Trump’s fledgling administration has spent the past week trading barbs with Iran, marking a sudden escalation of tensions between two nations whose icy relationship was just beginning to thaw.
Travel bans, missile tests, sanctions and insults have been ping-ponged in a provocative show of force by both sides. It all raises concerns over the future of a deal, brokered by the Obama administration, that requires Iran to heavily restrict its nuclear program.
Here’s how it unfolded:
January 27: Trump signs an executive order banning nationals from seven Muslim-majority nations, including Iran, from entering the United States for 90 days and suspending all refugee admission for 120 days.
January 28: Iran’s Foreign Ministry slams the ban as “an obvious insult to the Islamic world and in particular to the great nation of Iran” and says that it “will be recorded in history as a big gift to extremists and their supporters.”
Iran threatens reciprocal measures through legal, consular and diplomatic actions.
January 29: Iran conducts a ballistic missile test, the first such test since Trump took office.
January 30: US officials confirm that Iran carried out the missile test and request an urgent closed-door meeting of the United Nations Security Council, saying the test is a violation of a council resolution.
Iran establishes a committee to deal with the US travel ban. The committee is tasked with issuing directives to Iranian embassies worldwide, aimed at “upholding the dignity of Iranians outside of the country, especially those in the United States,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi says.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tweets that he will discuss the renewal of sanctions against Iran with Trump. Netanyahu is due to visit the White House on February 15.
“It cannot be that Iranian aggression will remain without an answer,” Netanyahu says, adding he has ways of “undoing” the Iran nuclear accord.
January 31: UN Security Council holds talks on the missile test.
An Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says the missile program is “solely for defensive purposes” and is not within the “sphere” of the UN Security Council’s resolution on the issue, claiming ballistic missiles are not designed with the capability to carry nuclear weapons.
The test “is absolutely unacceptable,” US Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley says. “We will act accordingly … we will be loud.”
State Department spokesman Mark Toner says the US is “well aware of and deeply troubled by Iran’s longstanding provocative and irresponsible activities.”
Iran suggests Trump is trying to detract attention from a fallout over the travel ban.
Iran’s Foreign Ministry says it will mull whether to allow the US wrestling team to enter the country for the World Cup.
February 1: Trump’s national security adviser, Michael Flynn, says the US is “officially putting Iran on notice,” condemning the test as a “provocative” breach of a UN Security Council resolution.
Iran’s defense minister, Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehqan, officially confirms the missile test, even though other officials have previously commented on it.
February 2: Trump says, “Nothing’s off the table,” when asked if he might respond to the missile test with military action.
Ali Akbar Velayati, adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, says the country will continue its missile activity and accuses Trump of “baseless ranting.” He says even Americans are not satisfied with “Trump’s extremism,” calling the leader “inexperienced.”
Sources tell CNN that the White House is expected to impose additional sanctions on Iranian entities.
February 3: The Trump administration enacts new sanctions on Iran. The Treasury Department says it is applying sanctions on 25 individuals and companies connected to Iran’s ballistic missile program and those providing support to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Qods Force.
In response, Iran’s Foreign Ministry says it will implement legal measures against Americans and US companies that have played a part in “creating and helping extremist terrorist groups in the region.”
US District Judge James Robart of Washington state suspends Trump’s travel ban nationwide. Iran does not immediately respond to the decision.
February 4: The Iranian air force conducts military drills, including missile systems, radar and electronic warfare command and control exercises. US Defense Secretary James Mattis calls Iran the “single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world.”