Iranian officials accused “hardliners” in the United States and elsewhere of attempting to orchestrate an incident that would ratchet up tensions with the Islamic Republic, as the supreme leader vowed there would be no war.
The allegation by Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday came as tensions in the Gulf continue to rise as American military forces head to the region and amid a series of attacks on oil infrastructure.
Four ships – two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati – were damaged on Sunday off the coast of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) in what Emirati officials described as acts of sabotage near the port of Fujairah.
The incident happened 140km south of the Strait of Hormuz, where about one-third of all oil traded by sea passes through.
“We … talked about the policies that hardliners in the US administration as well as in the region are attempting to impose,” Zarif told Iranian state TV in India after a bilateral meeting with Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj.
“We raised concerns over the suspicious activities and sabotage that are happening in our region. We had formerly anticipated that they would carry out these sorts of activities to escalate tension.”