'Sanctions Are Coming': Donald Trump Tweets 'Game of Thrones' Warning to Iran

President Donald Trump has warned of the upcoming sanctions his administration was soon set to impose on Iran using a reference to popular HBO series Game of Thrones.

In his latest presidential tweet, Trump shared a picture of himself with text reading "Sanctions are Coming" in the same font used by Game of Thrones, a show based on a fantasy book series A Song of Ice and Fire by author George R. R. Martin, and the date November 5. The phrase is an adaption of the famous "Winter is Coming" tagline used throughout the series to describe a long and difficult season that has no clear end. The date refers to the first day in which the next and harshest round of the Trump administration's sanctions against Iran will come into effect.


— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 2, 2018

In May, Trump quit the 2015 nuclear deal that his predecessor, President Barack Obama, struck with Iran, accusing Tehran of funding militant groups abroad and of destabilizing the region with ballistic missile technology. A previous round of sanctions affected some of Iran's most core industries, but the next installation will strike the energy sector, meaning tough restrictions on oil and gas exports.

However, Trump's attempt at pop culture humor ahead of Monday's new sanctions was met with mixed reviews. HBO responded by tweeting, "How do you say trademark misuse in Dothraki?," one of the fictional languages used by characters in Game of Thrones. Actress Maisie Williams, who portrays Arya Stark of Winterfell in the television series, simply replied: "Not today."

In a statement, the Washington-based National Iranian American Council called Trump "a literal White Walker, fear-mongering, war-mongering, and championing division at every opportunity for political gain," referencing the series' humanoid, zombie-like creatures that dwell in the frosty regions north of the wall in Westeros.

Trump's decision to abandon the accord came despite the International Atomic Energy Agency's repeated assurances that Iran was complying with the deal's terms, under which Tehran agreed to curb nuclear production in exchange for sanctions relief. The move also went against pleas from European allies France, Germany and the United Kingdom, and major powers China and Russia—all of whom signed the agreement in 2015 and remain parties to it.

These five countries have agreed to work with Iran to circumvent U.S. sanctions, potentially by using an alternative payment system that excludes U.S. dollars and financial institutions. Despite harsh warnings from national security adviser John Bolton in September, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that eight countries would be granted exemptions from Iran sanctions.

These countries included Italy, India, Japan and South Korea, according to the Associated Press. Reuters reported that Turkey was also included in this group.

For its part, Iran has remained adamant in resisting U.S. efforts to undermine its government, despite exacerbated economic difficulties caused by sanctions. Ali Movahedi-Kermani, the secretary-general of Iran's Combatant Clergy Association and Tehran's Friday Prayer imam, argued that the White House's failure to gain international support for sanctions showed the initiative was doomed to fail.

"The possibility that the U.S. can achieve its economic goals is very weak but it is certain that it will not reach political goals through the sanctions," the cleric said, according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

"This is the first time that Europeans, in addition to publishing a statement against U.S. policies, are also creating a mechanism to avoid sanctions and compensate for their consequences," he added.

This article has been updated to include reactions by HBO and actress Maisie Williams, as well as a statement by the National Iranian American Council.