Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Tehran does not seek war with the United States despite increased tensions between the two countries. Meanwhile, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stressed that his country is not interested in a military clash with the Islamic Republic.
"We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran," Pompeo said during a visit to Russia, but stressed that the US has "made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion."
"We are looking for Iran to behave like a normal country," Pompeo said, pointing in part to Tehran's backing of Houthi rebels in Yemen who are under attack from US ally Saudi Arabia.
Houthi rebels "are launching missiles into areas where there are Russians and Americans traveling. These missiles could easily kill a Russian or an American," Pompeo said.
In a speech on national television on Tuesday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has declared "there will not be a war with the United States," while stressing that Tehran will not renegotiate the nuclear deal with Washington.
Referring to the escalating tensions with the United States, Khamenei said, "This face-off is not military because there is not going to be any war. Neither we nor them (the US) seek war. They know it will not be in their interest."
"The definite decision of the Iranian nation is to resist against America," he said, adding that "in this showdown, America will be forced to retreat... because our resolve is stronger."
The supreme leader said negotiating with the US was "poison" because the Americans wanted to deprive Iran of its missiles and "strategic depth" in the region.
"Negotiating with the present American government is doubly poisonous... they are not decent humans, they don't stand by anything," he said referring to the US decision to withdraw from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and major world powers.
[Sources: AFP, Reuters]