Iran says doesn’t seek tensions

December 28, 2020 - 22:52

TEHRAN – Iran once again on Monday condemned threatening remarks by U.S. leaders against Iran, saying that it does not seek to escalate tensions in the region.

Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, has responded to U.S. threats against Iran over a recent attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq, reiterating that Iran rejects such attacks on diplomatic missions. The spokesman said Iran does not want to escalate tensions.

Speaking at a weekly press conference, Khatibzadeh stated, “As I said last week, we fully reject attacks on diplomatic and residential areas. Iran’s diplomatic missions in Iraq had come under attack several times. We condemn and reject what [U.S. President Donald] Trump and [U.S. Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo said. The kind, timing and content of their statements and tweets are dubious and ill-intended. We have made it clear that while we are not after tensions, we will use everything in our power to defend the interest and national security of Iran.”

Last week on Sunday night, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad came under attack after weeks of relative calm. More than 20 rockets landed inside the Green Zone of Baghdad, a heavily fortified district in which the U.S. embassy and other government buildings are located. The U.S. embassy’s C-RAM defense system was activated to intercept the rockets, a move that frightened Baghdad residents.

The U.S. blamed the attack on Iran shortly after it happened. Pompeo claimed in a tweet that “Iran-backed” groups were behind the attack.

“Iran-backed militias once again flagrantly and recklessly attacked in Baghdad, wounding Iraqi civilians. The people of Iraq deserve to have these attackers prosecuted. These violent and corrupt criminals must cease their destabilizing actions,” Pompeo tweeted.

President Trump also pointed the finger at Iran, warning that he will hold Iran responsible if Americans die in an attack in Iraq.

“Our embassy in Baghdad got hit Sunday by several rockets. Three rockets failed to launch. Guess where they were from: IRAN. Now we hear chatter of additional attacks against Americans in Iraq. Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over,” Trump said in a tweet on Thursday.

Iran said these tweets were dubious and as if they had been already prepared to escalate tensions with Iran. During his last week's press briefing, Khatibzadeh called into question the U.S. statements against Iran.

“Unfortunately, Iran’s diplomatic places in Iraq had also been attacked. We had pursued a steady policy that targeting diplomatic missions and residential areas is unacceptable,” he said.

He added, “But the kind and timing of this attack [on the U.S. embassy], as well as the statement issued by the U.S. secretary of state, show that [the attack] is very dubious. Its timing is dubious. And more importantly, it seems that as if they had already prepared a statement to publish. And I strongly condemn the remarks of the U.S. regime’s secretary of state, who is known for his lies and cheating, whether in his current capacity or in his previous capacity as the CIA director. Therefore, I firmly and strongly condemn the remarks by the U.S. secretary of state.”

Khatibzadeh reiterated this position on Monday, accusing the U.S. of fomenting tensions in Iraq to harm Iran’s interests.

Responding to a question on Moqtada Sadr’s recent statement accusing Iran of turning Iraq into a battlefield to settle its differences with the U.S., Khatibzadeh said the U.S. is to blame for the current tensions.

“The U.S. and those who hatch these plots ate responsible for these tensions and their consequences. The Islamic Republic of Iran has always pursued the policy of good neighborliness and has never sought to settle its differences in another region,” the spokesman stated.

He also said that the U.S. has turned Iran’s neighbors into bases to threaten Iran’s interests and national security.

“We have told neighboring countries several times that they have indisputable sovereign responsibilities in the face of this White House’s insurrection and they need to perform their duties in this regard,” he continued.

Iran has also warned Trump against any “adventurism”. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that Trump will bear responsibility for any provocative move against Iran in the final days of his administration.

“@realDonaldTrump uses a worthless photo to recklessly accuse Iran. Last time, the US ruined our region over WMD fabrications, wasting $7 TRILLION & causing 58,976 American casualties. FAR WORSE this time. Trump will bear full responsibility for any adventurism on his way out,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet moments after Trump’s threat against Iran.

Tensions have soared in the region following the recent rocket attack on the U.S. embassy in Iraq. The U.S. has deployed new military assets such as B-52 bombers and USS Georgia submarine to the region after it accused Iran of targeting the embassy.

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