Iran tells US it does not seek ‘expansion of tensions’

Iran tells US it does not seek ‘expansion of tensions’
Iran tells US it does not seek ‘expansion of tensions’

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Nevin Al Sukari - Sana'a - The Islamic republic carried out its first-ever direct attack on Israel, firing drones and missiles on the weekend. The barrage—to which Israel’s army chief has vowed a response—was retaliation for an April 1 air strike on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus. — Reuters pic

TEHRAN, April 18 — Iran’s top diplomat said today his country has told the United States that it is not seeking escalation after an unprecedented attack on Israel.

The Islamic republic carried out its first-ever direct attack on Israel, firing drones and missiles on the weekend. The barrage—to which Israel’s army chief has vowed a response—was retaliation for an April 1 air strike on Tehran’s consulate in Damascus. Iran blamed Israel for the consular attack.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who is in New York to attend a UN Security Council meeting, said his country has “tried to tell the United States clearly” that Iran is “not looking for the expansion of tension in the region,” he said in a video posted by his ministry.

Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic relations since 1980, but neutral Switzerland represents Washington’s interests in Iran. Both the US and Iran have alluded to the Swiss role as an intermediary.

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According to Amir-Abdollahian, Iran communicated with Washington “before and after” launching its attack on Israel.

Iran informed the United States that the decision by the Islamic Republic of Iran to “respond to the (Israel) regime is final,” and the matter concluded, he said.

Iran’s retaliation against Israel left a girl severely wounded but caused little damage. It followed the strike in Damascus that killed seven members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, including two generals.

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“Before the operation, we clearly told the American side that we will not target American bases and interests in the region,” Amir-Abdollahian said.

The Islamic republic has celebrated the attack as a success, but President Ebrahim Raisi warned of “a fierce and severe response” to further “aggression” by Israel.

During his trip to New York, Amir-Abdollahian is set to meet United Nations Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and his counterparts from other countries.

The United States, Israel’s top ally, has said it would soon impose new sanctions on Iran’s missile and drone programme following the strike on Israel, and said it expects allies to take parallel measures.

The US and other allies helped Israel intercept the Iranian strike. — AFP

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