Iran FM: Trump doesn't want war, but could be 'lured into one'
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif says that Iran is confident in its ability to evade US sanctions, noting that the country has a "Ph.D in that area", APAreports citing Sputnik.
In an exclusive interview with Reuters, Zarif went on to say that he believes US President Donald Trump doesn't want to go to war with Iran, but that he could be "lured into one." In such an event, he noted that Iran would be ready to defend itself.
As for who might goad Trump into a conflict, Zarif named US National Security Adviser John Bolton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, among others. He warned that certain individuals could try to "plot an accident" that would ultimately cause a broader crisis, Reuters reported.
The official also indicated that US Navy ships will be allowed to pass through the Strait of Hormuz, as the Iranian government is committed to allowing freedom of navigation operations in the area.
Earlier this month, the US formally designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization. In turn, Iran designated the US military a terrorist organization.
Zarif told the outlet that the US' declaration was "absurd," but that Iran would exercise "prudence."
Regarding the Strait of Hormuz, Zarif previously stated that "it is our vital national security interest to keep the Persian Gulf open … We have done that in the past, and we will continue to do that in the future. But the United States should know that when they enter the Strait of Hormuz, they have to talk to those protecting the Strait of Hormuz — and that is the Iranian Revolutionary Guards."
This week, the Trump administration announced that it would not be renewing sanctions exemptions on Iranian oil exports that were provided to various countries, including China, Japan and Turkey, among others. Tehran has stated that it will continue to export however much oil that it needs to.
The US in May 2018 withdrew from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, re-imposing a series of sanctions on Tehran that had been lifted by the Obama-era deal.
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