News ID: 255927
Published: 0215 GMT July 17, 2019

Lavrov: US anti-Iranian line stokes Mideast tensions

Lavrov: US anti-Iranian line stokes Mideast tensions
FLICKR

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said the hostile policy being pursued by the United States against Iran has fueled tensions in the Middle East, warning that such an approach could have “catastrophic consequences” in the region.

In an interview with the Russian ‘Argumenty i Fakty’ weekly published on Wednesday, Lavrov said the current flare-up of regional tensions is the “direct consequence of Washington’s and some of its allies' anti-Iranian line.”

He also warned that Washington’s muscle-flexing against Tehran may lead to a “dangerous situation.”

“The US is flexing its muscles, it has launched a campaign to discredit Iran, has accused the Islamic Republic of all the sins,” Lavrov said. “It creates a dangerous situation where a spark would be enough to light a fire. The US would be responsible for any possible catastrophic consequences.”

The top Russian diplomat further stressed that Iran has repeatedly expressed its willingness to ensure regional stability through dialogue with all countries, including the Persian Gulf Arab states, which have interests in the region.

Moscow, he added, has been taking steps to ease tensions and promote collective security in the Persian Gulf through confidence-building measures.

“We are working with our partners to maintain multilateral agreements and resolve the situation surrounding Iran’s nuclear program,” Lavrov said.

Tensions have been running high between Tehran and Washington since last year, when President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew the US from the 2015 multilateral nuclear deal and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Recently, the US has taken a quasi-warlike posture against Iran and stepped up its provocative military moves in the Middle East, among them the June 20 incursion of an American spy drone into the Iranian borders.

The US says it is deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East in a “clear and unmistakable” message to Iran.

In May, Washington dispatched an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber task force, and an amphibious assault ship to the Persian Gulf, citing an alleged Iranian threat.

The military deployment sparked global concerns that the US may be planning to wage war on Iran.

 

US not seeking 'regime change' in Iran

AFP

Trump said on Tuesday that said the United States is not pushing to topple Iran's leadership but is determined to stop it acquiring nuclear weapons.

"We are not looking for regime change. We are not looking for that at all," Trump said during a cabinet meeting. "They can't have a nuclear weapon."

Iran has always stated its nuclear activities are for peaceful purposes including power generation and medical treatment.

Iran said last week that it had enriched uranium past the 3.67 percent limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal, and has also surpassed the 300-kilogram cap on enriched uranium reserves.

Tensions have soared since Trump pulled out of the deal, with the US calling off airstrikes against Iran at the last minute after Tehran downed an American spy drone, and Washington blaming the Islamic Republic for a series of attacks on tanker ships which Iran denies.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned on Monday that the United States is "playing with fire."

According to leaked diplomatic cables published at the weekend, Britain's ambassador to Washington believed Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal because it was associated with his predecessor Barack Obama.

"The administration is set upon an act of diplomatic vandalism, seemingly for ideological and personality reasons – it was Obama's deal," wrote the envoy, Kim Darroch, who resigned amid a storm triggered by the release of the sensitive documents.

Press TV and AFP contributed to this story.

 

 

   
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