DUBAI: Iran will not start a war in the Gulf but it will defend itself, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday.
“Will there be a war in the … Gulf? I can tell you that we will not start the war… but we will defend ourselves,” he said at the Norwegian Institute of International Affairs.
His comments came shortly after Iran displayed a domestically built long-range, mobile surface-to-air missile system.
Iranian state television showed President Hassan Rouhani attending an unveiling ceremony for the Bavar-373 system, which Iranian media have described as a competitor to the Russian S-300 missile system.
Speaking at the unveiling ceremony, Rouhani said that “talks (with the US) are useless” as Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers crumbles further.
Rouhani said “now that our enemies do not accept logic, we cannot respond with logic.”
He added: “When the enemy launches a missile against us, we cannot give a speech and say: ‘Mr. Rocket, please do not hit our country and our innocent people. Rocket-launching sir, if you can please hit a button and self-destroy the missile in the air.’”
Thursday’s unveiling takes place against a backdrop of rising tensions with Washington since President Donald Trump last year withdrew the United States from the nuclear deal and re imposed sanctions.
Iran shot down a US Global Hawk drone with a surface-to-air missile in June for allegedly violating its airspace, which the United States denies.