Pompeo says US does not seek war with Iran
WASHINGTON (92 News) – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States does not seek a war with Iran, amid rapidly growing tensions between the two countries, British channel BBC reported.
Speaking in Russia, Pompeo said the US was looking for Iran to behave like a normal country but would respond if its interests were attacked. Meanwhile, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has also said there will be no war with the US.
Last week, the US deployed warships and warplanes to the Gulf. Tensions escalated even further after an incident with four tankers off the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, with US investigators reportedly believing Iran or groups it supports were involved. No evidence of Iran’s role has emerged and Tehran, which denies any involvement, has called for an investigation.
In another development, Spain withdrew a frigate from a US-led naval group in the Gulf as tensions between Washington and Tehran rose.
Pompeo, who held talks with Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov in the Russian city of Sochi, said the US fundamentally did not seek a conflict with Iran.
“We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion.” The talks between Mr Pompeo and Mr Lavrov to help improve ties between Washington and Moscow have underlined continuing differences:
Pompeo said he had urged Russia to end its support for President Nicolás Maduro but Mr Lavrov rejected this, saying the US threats against Mr Maduro were undemocratic
He also said he had warned Russia against interference in the 2020 US presidential election while Mr Lavrov said he hoped that tumult over allegations of Russian influence in US elections would die down
On Ukraine, Pompeo said the US would not recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and that sanctions would remain in place
What has Iran said?
In remarks carried on state media and on his Twitter account, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei repeated Tehran’s position that it would not negotiate with the US on a nuclear deal to replace the one President Donald Trump withdrew from last year.
But Khamenei said: “We don’t seek a war, nor do they.”
On Monday, President Hassan Rouhani told a meeting with clerics that Iran was too great to be intimidated by anyone, saying: “God willing we will pass this difficult period with glory and our heads held high, and defeat the enemy.”
What has Spain said?
Spanish frigate Mendez Nunez had been accompanying a US aircraft carrier’s strike group in the Gulf for a military exercise.
But on Tuesday, Acting Defence Minister Margarita Robles said it would be recalled because the original mission had changed. The Spanish daily El Pais said Madrid wanted to avoid being dragged into any kind of conflict with Iran.