Guterres concerned about rising rhetoric between Iran, US

UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres

United Nations,  UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is very concerned about the rising rhetoric between Iran and the US and warns that any action by either nation could be misinterpreted in a “very volatile region”, his spokesman has said.

“We are concerned about the rising rhetoric,” the spokesman Stephane Dujarric replied on Monday, when asked about the increasingly heated exchange of comments between Tehran and Washington, Xinhua news agency reported.

“We saw the rocket launch that seemed to be aimed at the US Embassy in Iraq, in Baghdad. That is also a concern.”

Dujarric was asked about Iraq’s concern that it could be caught in the middle of fighting between Iran and the US.

“It is a very volatile region,” he told correspondents at a regular briefing.

“We would ask all parties to lower the rhetoric and to lower the threshold of action as well,” Dujarric said.

US President Donald Trump tweeted over the weekend, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”

But when asked by a reporter if the US was going to war with Iran, Trump replied, “I hope not.”

Iran’s ambassador to the UN, Majid Takht-Ravanchi, sent a letter to the UN chief on Monday saying, “Iran will never choose war as an option in pursuing its foreign policy, but if war is imposed on us, Iran will vigorously exercise its inherent right to self-defence in order to defend its nation and to secure its interests.”

Tension between the two countries flared after a published report that the United States was preparing to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East in face of a threat from Iran.

Trump denied the report but said he would send a lot more than that number if there was going to be a fight.

The alleged threat came after the US dispatched an aircraft carrier battle group and aerial bombers to the Persian Gulf region.

The heightened tensions followed Trump’s announcement last year the US was pulling out of the multi-nation, UN Security Council-endorsed Iran nuclear agreement, limiting Tehran’s production of fissile material in exchange for an easing of UN imposed sanctions. European nations stayed in the accord with Iran.

In turn, Iran recently threatened to pull out of the accord entirely and renew production of the material that could be used for a nuclear weapon.

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