Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Tehran was closely following United States activities, but would never initiate a conflict in the region, Al Jazeera reported.
Rouhani’s comments, which come at a time of rising tension between Washington and Tehran, were made during a telephone call to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, Iranian state media reported on Saturday.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran follows America’s activities and movements closely, but it will never be the one that starts conflict and tension in the region,” Rouhani was quoted as saying during the call.
President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he had instructed the US Navy to fire on any Iranian ships that harass American vessels at sea.
Earlier this month, the U.S. military said 11 Revolutionary Guard naval vessels came close to Navy and Coast Guard ships in the Gulf, calling the moves “dangerous and provocative”.
Tehran blamed its longtime adversary for the incident. Iranian officials on Thursday accused Trump of “bullying” and said he should focus on caring for U.S. service members infected with the coronavirus instead of making threats.