Iran says it won’t fire first.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country was keeping a close eye on US activities in the region, but would never be the first to initiate conflict between the two countries.
Rouhani made the remarks Saturday in a private phone call to Qatar’s Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Thani. The news was first reported in Iranian state media, before later being picked up by Reuters.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran follows America’s activities and movements closely, but it will never be the one that starts conflict and tension in the region,” Rouhani reportedly said.
The comments come amid escalating tensions in the region between Iran and the United States. In January, the United States killed Iranian major general and terrorist kingpin Qassem Soleimani in a strike at Baghdad International Airport. Iran retaliated with rocket attacks on a US airbase in Iraq’s Anbar province, which housed US troops.
The country has lately taken to harassing American ships in the region and President Trump officially authorized the US Navy to take action against any future provocation.
“I have instructed the United States Navy to shoot down and destroy any and all Iranian gunboats if they harass our ships at sea,” he said in a tweet Tuesday.
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