Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif yesterday warned that US President Donald Trump was mistaken in thinking a war between their countries would not last long.
“’Short war’ with Iran is an illusion,” Zarif tweeted a day after Trump said he does not want a war with Iran but warned that if fighting did break out, it “wouldn’t last very long”.
The foreign minister also tweeted: “Whoever begins war will not be the one ending it.”
On Wednesday, Trump hinted that any conflict would be waged with air strikes, saying there would be no US boots on the ground.
In an interview on Fox Business Network, Trump was asked if America was going to go to war with Iran.
“Well, I hope we don’t but we’re in a very strong position if something should happen. We’re in a very strong position,” Trump said.
“It wouldn’t last very long, I can tell you that. And I’m not talking boots on the ground.”
His remarks came after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani tried to rein in the crisis between the archfoes, saying that Tehran “never seeks war” with Washington.
The United States has ratcheted up economic sanctions on Iran after Tehran shot down an unmanned US drone in the Gulf region on June 20, following a series of attacks on tankers that Washington blamed on the Islamic republic.
Earlier yesterday, Iran warned the United States against violating its borders, with parliament speaker Ali Larijani threatening a stronger reaction, the Tasnim news agency said.
“The downing of their drone was a good experience for them to avoid any aggression against our borders,” the semi-official agency quoted Larijani as saying late on Wednesday.
“Iran’s reaction will be stronger if they repeat their mistake of violating our borders.”
Iran said the unmanned US aircraft was in its air space, which Washington denied. Trump ordered retaliatory air strikes but called them off at the last minute, later saying too many people would have died.
Meanwhile, acting US Defense Secretary Mark Esper yesterday told Nato allies that Washington did not want to go to war with Iran but also could not tolerate any further incidents, according to allied diplomats present.
Speaking to Nato defence ministers in a closed-door session, Esper said the United States held Iran responsible for attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman but did not want the situation to escalate.