Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said he does not believe a war will break out in the region as Tehran does not want a conflict and no country has the "illusion it could confront Iran," the IRNA state news agency reported. His statement came as fears of armed conflict were already running high in the Persian Gulf.
The head of Iran's Revolutionary Guard was similarly quoted as saying his country is not looking for war, in comments published in Iranian media yesterday.
"The difference between us and them is that they are afraid of war and don't have the will for it," Gen. Hossein Salami said.
Riyadh has accused Tehran of ordering Tuesday's drone strikes on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom, claimed by Yemen's Houthi group. Saudi Arabia's King Salman, meanwhile, called for a meeting of Arab heads of state on May 30 in Mecca to discuss the latest developments, including the oil pipeline attack.
The attack came two days after four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE).
Iran has denied it was behind the attacks which come as Washington and Iran spar over sanctions and the U.S. military presence in the region, raising concerns about a potential U.S.-Iran conflict.
The U.S. has already strengthened its military presence in the region, including deploying a number of strategic B-52 bombers in response to alleged Iranian threats.
Earlier this month, the U.S. sent the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf in response to unspecified threats by Iran and Iran threatened to renew some nuclear enrichment that had been halted under the 2015 nuclear deal.
Relations between Tehran and Washington took a turn for the worse last May when President Donald Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers and reimposed sanctions.
Washington has tightened sanctions on Iran this month, eliminating waivers that had allowed some countries to buy its oil, with a goal of reducing Tehran's crude exports to zero. Iran has responded by scaling back some curbs on its nuclear program, although it remains compliant with a deal to restrict its nuclear activity, which Washington abandoned a year ago.
The U.S. administration also blacklisted Iran's elite Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terrorist organization.
In a tit-for-tat response to Washington's decision, Iran accused the U.S. government of supporting terrorism and recognized the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) as a terrorist organization and vowed to take action against U.S. forces in the region.
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