Washington: The US on Thursday warned of giving a “swift and decisive” response to Iran’s “threatening actions”, amid mounting tensions between the two countries.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran has engaged in an escalating series of threatening actions and statements in recent weeks. The response of the United States and our partners and allies has been clear: We do not seek war,” US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said in a statement.
“But Iran’s forty years of killing American soldiers, attacking American facilities, and taking American hostages is a constant reminder that we must defend ourselves,” he added.
Pompeo further said, “The regime in Tehran should understand that any attacks by them or their proxies of any identity against US interests or citizens will be answered with a swift and decisive US response. Our restraint to this point should not be mistaken by Iran for a lack of resolve.”
Pompeo accused Iran of indulging in “violence,” which he said, has been the regime’s “default option”.
“To date, the regime’s default option has been violence and we appeal to those in Tehran who see a path to a prosperous future through de-escalation to modify the regime’s behaviour. As President Trump stated yesterday, he ‘looks forward to someday meeting with leaders of Iran in order to work out an agreement and, very importantly, taking steps to give Iran the future it deserves’,” he further said.
Earlier in the day, Trump said that the US is “open to talks” with Iran, urging Tehran to “call him” and make a “fair deal” with Washington.
Ties between the US and Iran soured after Washington pulled out from the 2015 nuclear deal or the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last year.
Following this, the US slapped a multitude of sanctions on Iran, citing the latter’s support to state-sponsored terrorism and conflicts.
On Wednesday, the Trump administration imposed fresh sanctions on Iran targetting its steel and mining industries, amid rising tensions between the two nations.
The sanctions were slapped on Iran’s steel, aluminium, iron, and copper sectors and the move came after Tehran announced its partial withdrawal from the nuclear deal.
The partial withdrawal would mean that Iran would stop exporting enriched uranium stocks as against what was stipulated by the 2015 agreement.
Tehran warned that the remaining signatories — the UK, France, Germany, China, and Russia — had 60 days before it would resume high-level enrichment of uranium.
Meanwhile, the US has said it would continue to “impose maximum pressure” against Iran till the regime gives up its “destabilising ambitions” of expanding its nuclear programme.
Washington also recently announced that no fresh sanction waivers will be issued for Iranian oil imports to eight countries, including India.