Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday accused U.S. President Donald Trump of attempting to fabricate a pretext to attack Iran, and vowed Tehran would defend itself forcefully.
Separately, a military adviser to Iran’s supreme leader warned Trump “not to turn the New Year into mourning for Americans”.
Zarif said in a tweet: “Instead of fighting Covid in US, @realDonaldTrump & cohorts waste billions to fly B52s & send armadas to OUR region. Intelligence from Iraq indicate plot to FABRICATE pretext for war.”
The U.S. military has flown nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East in a show of force to Iran and deployed a nuclear submarine to the Gulf, according to media reports.
The buildup comes as Iran prepares to hold events marking the first anniversary of the killing of military commander General Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. attack in Iraq.
“Iran doesn’t seek war but will OPENLY & DIRECTLY defend its people, security & vital interests,” Zarif wrote.
Hossein Dehghan, a military adviser to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said on Twitter: “I saw on the news that the Americans are on alert for fear of the revenge (over Soleimani’s killing) and have flown two B-52 bombers over the Persian Gulf”.
“All their military bases in the region are covered by our missiles. I advise the White House evictee (Trump) not to turn the New Year into mourning for Americans,” said Dehghan, a former defence minister.