Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday accused outgoing US President Donald Trump of inventing a “pretext for war” as tensions between the two countries mount.
His remarks come before the first anniversary of the assassination of the top Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani by the United States in a drone strike in Baghdad on January 3.
The US aircraft carrier USS Nimitz has been patrolling Gulf waters since late November, and two American B-52 bombers recently flew over the region.
“Instead of fighting in the US (the novel coronavirus), @realDonaldTrump & Cohorts are wasting billions flying B52 and sending armadas to our region,” Zarif wrote on Twitter.
Instead of fighting Covid in the US, @realDonaldTrump & Cohorts are wasting billions flying B52 and sending armadas to our region
Iraqi intelligence agencies suggest a conspiracy to create the pretext for war.
Iran does not seek war, but will openly and directly defend its people, security and vital interests.
– Javad Zarif (@JZarif) December 31, 2020
“Iraqi intelligence agencies suggest a conspiracy to create the pretext for war,” he added.
Trump ordered a drone attack on January 3 of this year to kill Soleimani near Baghdad International Airport.
Days later, Iran launched a volley of missiles at Iraqi bases that housed U.S. and other coalition forces, and Trump refrained from further military response.
“Iran does not seek war, but will defend its people, security and vital interests openly and directly,” said Zarif.
Trump said last week he would blame “Iran” for every deadly attack on Americans in Iraq after accusing Tehran of being behind a rocket attack on the US embassy in Baghdad on December 20.
At the time, Zarif warned the US president against any “adventurism” before leaving the White House on Jan. 20, saying “putting your own citizens in danger abroad will not divert attention from catastrophic domestic failures”.
The U.S. embassy in Iraq and other foreign military and diplomatic sites have been attacked by dozens of rockets and roadside bombs since late 2019.
Trump unilaterally withdrew the US in 2018 from a groundbreaking nuclear deal with Iran and the world powers and launched a “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran, in which crippling sanctions were again imposed and reinforced.
The two countries have been on the brink of war twice since June 2019, particularly after Soleimani was assassinated.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and posted from a syndicated feed.)