US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the United States does not seek a war with Iran. Mr.Pompeo’s comments came during his first official visit to Russia. He said the US 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.
The US has previously warned that “Iran or its proxies” could be targeting maritime traffic in the region and, in recent days, deployed warships to counter clear indications of threats from the country.
What has Pompeo said?
Mr 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:
Mr 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, Mr Pompeo said the US would not recognise Russia’s annexation of Crimea in 2014 and that sanctions would remain in place.
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 Mr 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.”