Iran says risk of war with Israel is great, ready to work with Gulf nations for regional security

REUTERS
MUNICH - DUBAI
Published 17.02.2019 13:44
Updated 17.02.2019 23:10
Iranian soldiers take part take part in the ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi (Freedom) Square in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 11, 2019. (EPA Photo)
Iranian soldiers take part take part in the ceremony marking the 40th anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi (Freedom) Square in Tehran, Iran, Feb. 11, 2019. (EPA Photo)

Iran's foreign minister accused Israel of looking for war and warned that its behavior and that of the United States was increasing the chances of a clash in the region.

"Certainly, some people are looking for war ... Israel," Mohammad Javad Zarif said Sunday at the Munich Security Conference.

Accusing Israel of violating international law after bombing campaigns in Syria, Zarif also criticized European powers for not calling out Israel and the United States for their behavior in the region.

"The risk (of war) is great. The risk will be even greater if you continue to turn a blind eye to severe violations of international law. Israeli behavior is putting international law on the shelf, U.S. behavior is putting international law on the shelf," he said.

Earlier, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tehran wanted to establish close ties with all countries in the Middle East, where Iran has been involved in proxy wars with Saudi Arabia for decades.

"Iran is ready to work with regional states to preserve security in the Middle East ... Our enemies, America and Israel, want to create division among Iranians," Rouhani said in a public speech in southern Iran, broadcast live on state TV.

Iran and Saudi Arabia are backing opposing sides in the wars in Syria and Yemen, while Saudi Arabia welcomed President Donald Trump's move to pull the U.S. out of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and re-impose sanctions on Tehran.

Rouhani said the U.S. approach towards Iran was doomed to failure.

"We will not succumb to pressure from America and Israel," Rouhani said in the southern city of Bandar-e Gonaveh.

Tehran has suggested it could take military action in the Gulf to block other countries' oil exports in retaliation for U.S. sanctions intended to halt its sales of crude.

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