Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said US President Donald Trump’s “maximum pressure” against the Islamic Republic will only increase tensions in the Middle East. Mr Zarif criticised Trump’s strict sanctions on Iran designed to cut the country’s oil exports. He went on to deny Iran is planning to target US interests, Newsweek reported.
Mr Zarif said in an interview with CNN: “Having all these military assets in a small waterway is in and of itself prone to accident, particularly when you have people who are interested in accidents.
“So extreme prudence is required, and the United States is playing a very, very dangerous game.”
His comments come two days after Trump wrote on Twitter warning of “the official end of Iran” in response to threats.
Mr Zarif added Iran is “not interested in escalation”.
But he added Iranians “will defend ourselves” if tensions do escalate.
Mr Zarif said a military confrontation would have “painful consequences” for both sides.
The tensions come after the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran.
Trump had condemned the deal, signed by his predecessor Barack Obama, as flawed for not covering Iran’s ballistic missile programme and or its role in other conflicts around the Middle East.
Trump is keen to negotiate terms of a new deal with Iran but Tehran has dismissed the engagement.
Mr Zarif told CNN: “Iran never negotiates with coercion.
“You cannot threaten any Iranian and expect them to engage.
“The way to do it is through respect, not through threats.”