Iran never seeks war with US, is committed to regional peace, says President Hassan Rouhani

He, however, asserted that if the United States wanted to trespass on Iran’s territorial waters, its armed forces would deliver a resolute response to them.

File image of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. | AFP

Iran President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday said that Tehran “never seeks war” with any country including the United States, state news agency IRNA reported. This came after United States President Donald Trump on Tuesday threatened Iran with obliteration and said an attack on “anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force.”

“Iran has no interest to increase tension in the region and it never seeks war with any country, including US,” Rouhani was quoted as saying in a telephonic conversation with French President Emmanuel Macron. Rouhani, however, asserted that if the US wanted to trespass on Iran’s territorial waters, its armed forces would deliver a resolute response to them.

“We have always been committed to regional peace and stability and will make efforts in this respect,” Rouhani told Macron.

Rouhani again blamed Washington for regional tensions between both the countries, which had heated up on June 20 when Iran shot down an American drone after claiming it had flown over its air space. Rouhani reiterated that the drone had been targeted only after it had been given a warning for violating Iran’s air space. Washington, which has maintained that the drone was in international skies, had then appeared to come close to attacking Iranian military targets, with Trump saying that he had aborted a retaliatory air strike just 10 minutes before it was to be launched.

On Tuesday, Rouhani had called the White House “mentally retarded”, an insult that Iran has used in the past for Trump. The Iranian president had also dismissed the “hard-hitting” financial sanctions imposed on its Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Rouhani had said that sanctions against Khamenei would fail because he had no assets abroad, and called the latest round of sanctions a sign of US desperation. The sanctions were aimed at cutting off Iranian leadership’s access to financial resources, and barring them from using the United States’ financial system or having access to assets in America.

Washington has also blamed Tehran for attacks on tankers in the Gulf in recent weeks, which Iran has denied. On Monday, the United States said it was building a coalition with allies to protect Gulf shipping lanes.

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