Britain’s Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt on Monday warned the Islamic Republic against provoking the United States as tensions escalate between Tehran and Washington over the US deployment of an aircraft carrier, a bomber task force, and an assault ship to the Persian Gulf to counter alleged threats posed by Iran.
“I would say to the Iranians: Do not underestimate the resolve on the US side,” Hunt told reporters on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva on Monday, adding, “They don’t want a war with Iran. But if American interests are attacked, they will retaliate. And that is something that the Iranians need to think about very, very carefully.”
The administration of US President Donald Trump said the deployment of US forces in the Middle East was a “defensive” move against Iran, claiming it had received reliable evidence from various sources that showed Tehran was is conspiring to attack the US interests and those of its allies in the region.
Also on Sunday night, Trump took to his official Twitter page, threatening that the Islamic Republic would be destroyed if it attacked US interests.
“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again,” he added.
Elsewhere in his remarks, the British foreign minister said the solution to avoid conflict was that Iran refrained from what he described as “destabilizing activities throughout the region.”
Iranian authorities have frequently announced that the allegations raised by Washington regarding Iran’s threat to conduct attacks on US interests and wreak havoc in the region were based on “fake intelligence.”
Iran dares US to ‘declassify’ alleged intelligence on threatIran’s ambassador to the UN has called on the US government to declassify its alleged intelligence on “Iranian threat” in Iraq, saying Tehran is confident the claim is “fake”.
The British foreign minister had noted earlier this week that his country “shared the same assessment of the heightened threat posed by Iran.”
The deployment of US special forces to the Persian Gulf came following a series of attacks on oil tankers off the coast of United Arab Emirates.
Iran has warned that such sabotage operation may be part of a general ploy to target Iran amid increasing regional tensions.
IRGC chief: Iran not after war, but not afraid of one eitherThe chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps says enemies do not have the will to wage war and are afraid of fighting.
Several senior American politicians have warned that Iran hawks in Trump’s team are cooking up intelligence in order to convince Trump that Iran is indeed a threat, putting Washington on the same path that lead to the ill-fated invasion of Iraq back in 2003.
Iran has dismissed the possibility of war despite the US military deployment to the Persian Gulf. The US president has also reportedly ordered his administration to avoid a military confrontation with Iran.
Since its inauguration, the Trump administration has been leading a policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran.
The policy has Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as its alleged mastermind and National Security Adviser John Bolton as the person who is trying his best to escalate it into a military conflict.
Under the policy line, the US left a multi-lateral nuclear deal with Iran, which also has the UK and others as its signatories, last year. Washington has also been trying to reduce Iran’s oil exports to “zero.”
UN expresses concern over rising US-Iran tensions
In another development on Monday, the United Nations expressed concern about the rising tensions between the United States and Iran, calling on both sides to tone down their remarks.
“We are concerned about the rising rhetoric,” said UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric, adding, “We would ask all parties to lower the rhetoric and lower the threshold of action as well.”
Dujarric also noted that UN officials are holding contacts with the US and Iran at various levels to try to calm the situation, but he did not provide details of those talks.