Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Tuesday said Tehran does not seek war with the U.S. in spite of mounting tensions between the two arch-enemies over Iranian nuclear capabilities and its missile programme.
Khamenei, in comments to senior officials carried by state television, also reiterated that the Islamic Republic would not negotiate with the U.S. on another nuclear deal.
“There won’t be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance.
“We don’t seek a war, and they don’t either. They know it’s not in their interests,” Khamenei was cited as saying by the state media
President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. a year ago from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers under which Tehran curbed its uranium enrichment capacity, a potential pathway to a nuclear bomb, and won sanctions relief in return.
Since then, Trump has ratcheted up sanctions on Iran, seeking to reduce its lifeblood oil exports to zero, to push Tehran into fresh negotiations on a broader arms control deal, targeting in part the Iranian ballistic missile programme.
“Such negotiations are a poison,” Khamenei said.
The United Arab Emirates reported on Sunday that four commercial vessels including two Saudi oil tankers had been sabotaged offshore from the UAE emirate of Fujairah just outside the Strait of Hormuz.
U.S. national security agencies believed proxies sympathetic to or working for Iran may have been behind the attacks.
Iran has rejected the allegation and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that “extremist individuals” in the U.S. government were pursuing dangerous policies, stoking a war of words with Washington over sanctions.
Trump warned on Monday Iran would “suffer greatly” if it targeted U.S. interests after Washington deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Middle East.