Iranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message from U.S. President Donald Trump warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent but saying he was against war and wanted talks on a range of issues, the news agency reported.
News of the message, delivered through Oman overnight, came shortly after the New York Times said Trump had approved military strikes against Iran on Friday over the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but called them off at the last minute.
“In his message, Trump said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues,” one of the officials told Reuters, speaking on condition of anonymity.
“He gave a short period of time to get our response but Iran’s immediate response was that it is up to Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei to decide about this issue,” the source said.
A second Iranian official said: “We made it clear that the leader is against any talks, but the message will be conveyed to him to make a decision. However, we told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will have regional and international consequences.”
After weeks of rising tension following a spate of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf region, Iran said on Thursday it had shot down an unmanned U.S. military surveillance drone with a surface-to-air missile, Reuters added.
Trump indicated after the drone’s downing that he was not eager to escalate a stand-off with Iran over its nuclear and ballistic missile activities and support for proxies in various Middle East conflicts.
He said the unmanned drone may have been shot down in error by someone who was acting “loose and stupid”. However, he added: “This country will not stand for it.”
The incident aggravated global fears of direct military confrontation between the longtime foes, and oil prices rose a further $1 per barrel to above $65.50 on Friday due to worries about possible disruptions to crude exports from the Gulf.