President Donald Trump has warned Tehran that it would be “the official end” of the Islamic Republic if it threatens the US, just as Washington builds up its military presence near Iran under the pretext of national security.
It’s unclear what triggered the US leader this time around, as Iranian officials have consistently said in recent days that they want to avoid a military confrontation with the US. Earlier on Sunday, the commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, insisted that Iran only wants peace, but isn’t afraid to fight America.
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
Earlier, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also said there will be no war in the Persian Gulf. However, he added that Tehran won’t be involved in talks on a new nuclear deal with the US.
The Trump administration has recently been increasing pressure on Iran with sanctions and a military buildup near its territorial waters. The US and its allies began enhanced maritime security patrols in the international waters of the Persian Gulf this week after Washington beefed up its Fifth fleet.
A USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group was deployed to the Persian Gulf and B-52 bombers were sent on patrol in the area in a move to send a message to Tehran.
Tensions in the region escalated after the US started building up its military presence, citing “a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” coming from the Iranian side. It has not yet been revealed what led to the escalation, with various media reports suggesting versions from misunderstanding to Israeli influence.