Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 19 July 2019

Iran will not wage war against any nation, Hassan Rouhani says

Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the US have mounted since attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan June 15, 2019. Reuters
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) in Dushanbe, Tajikistan June 15, 2019. Reuters

Iran will not wage war against any nation, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday in a speech broadcast live on state TV.

Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, which Washington has blamed on Tehran. It was the second such attack in recent months.

"Iran will not wage war against any nation," Mr Rouhani said. "Those facing us are a group of politicians with little experience."

US President Donald Trump downplayed the impact of the tanker attacks, even as he authorised the deployment of 1,000 more US troops to the region.

"So far, it’s been very minor,” Mr Trump said in an interview with TIME magazine, referring to the attacks.

He singled out nuclear weapons as the one trigger for military conflict between the two countries.

Vice Chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen Paul Selva told a writers' breakfast in Washington on Tuesday that the US military would respond if Iran engages with US forces in the region.

The comments came on the same day that the Saudi military intercepted two bomb-laden drones launched by Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels.

Col Turki Al Malki made the remarks on Tuesday in a statement carried by the state-run Saudi Press Agency.

Col Al Malki says one drone targeted a civilian area in Abha, whose regional airport has become an almost-daily target of the Houthis.

Col Al Malki says the other drone was shot down over Yemen.

Also on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visited US Central Command military headquarters in Tampa, Florida, and was due to meet the European Union's High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini later in Washington.

At the Pentagon, former national security adviser Henry Kissinger was expected to meet US defence officials for the second day in a row.

Updated: June 18, 2019 06:23 PM

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