Iran has warned the US not to set the two countries on a collision course over Tehran’s nuclear enrichment program, as heightened diplomatic tensions reflect growing concern that the Middle East might be on the verge of a new conflict.
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi spoke amid reports that the Israeli Prime Minister -Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to rally support within his country for an attack.
The Guardian revealed that the UK was advancing contingency plans to join US forces in a possible air and sea campaign against military bases in Iran.
The revelations led to NATO insisting on Thursday that it would play no part in any military action and provoked the rebuke from Salehi, who insisted that any attack by either Israel or the US would provoke immediate retaliation. He also accused Washington of recklessness.
“The US has unfortunately lost its wisdom and prudence in dealing with international issues,” he told reporters during a visit to Libya. “Of course we are prepared for the worst, but we hope that they think twice before they put themselves on a collision course with Iran.”
In a separate interview with a Turkish newspaper, Salehi claimed Tehran was ready for war with Israel.
“We have been hearing threats from Israel for eight years. Our nation is a united nation ... such threats are not new to us,” he said. “We are very sure of ourselves. We can defend our country.”