Iran on Saturday vowed that it would stand firm against any threats to its borders, and issued a warning to the US and its allies in the region, after US President Donald Trump said the military was “cocked and loaded” to strike against Tehran for downing a US drone on Thursday.
“Firing one bullet towards Iran will set fire to the interests of America and its allies” in the region, armed forces general staff spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi told the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
“If the enemy — especially America and its allies in the region — make the military mistake of shooting the powder keg on which America’s interests lie, the region will be set on fire,” Shekarchi warned.
“Regardless of any decision they make… we will not allow any of Iran’s borders to be violated. Iran will firmly confront any aggression or threat by America,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.
Also on Saturday Iran said its airspace was secure and safe to fly through, according to Reuters.
“Iran-controlled airspace over the Persian Gulf and other flight routes are completely safe,” said Iran Civil Aviation Organization spokesperson Reza Jafarzadeh.
On Friday, some of the world’s leading carriers including British Airways, Qantas, Singapore Airlines, Germany’s Lufthansa and Dutch carrier KLM suspended flights over the Strait of Hormuz.
The US barred American-registered aircraft from flying over Iranian-administered airspace in the Persian Gulf, affecting a region crucial to global air travel. The Federal Aviation Administration warned of a “potential for miscalculation or misidentification” in the region after Iran shot down the US Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk, an unmanned aircraft with a wingspan larger than that a Boeing 737 jetliner.
Trump tweeted that the US will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. But he said he’s in no hurry to respond to the downing of the US drone over the Strait of Hormuz.
He said US sanctions are crippling the Iranian economy and that more are being added.
US National Security Adviser John Bolton landed in Israel on Saturday ahead of an unprecedented trilateral meeting in Jerusalem of top security officials from the United States, Israel and Russia.
Bolton will discuss regional issues with his counterparts, Meir Ben-Shabbat and Nikolai Patrushev. Iran’s efforts to entrench itself militarily in Syria and the escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington are expected to top the agenda.
Moscow has said it will look out for Iran’s interests at the meeting.
“Iran is in Syria at the invitation of the legitimate government and is actively involved in fighting terrorism. Therefore, of course, we will have to take into account the interests of Iran,” Patrushev said.
Bolton landed Saturday afternoon and is expected to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Sunday morning, the Ynet news site reported.
On Tuesday, Netanyahu hailed the “historic and unprecedented” summit as an important step toward guaranteeing “stability in the Middle East during turbulent times.”
“What is important about this trilateral meeting of the two superpowers in the State of Israel is that it greatly attests to the current international standing of Israel among the nations,” he added.
“The fact that the Russians see value in these conversations, that they’re willing to do it publicly, I think is in and of itself quite significant,” the official said.
According to a report by the Kan public broadcaster, Israel and the US will offer Russia incentives for an effort to curb Iranian influence in Syria, which could include legitimizing the continued leadership of Syrian President Bashar Assad. It was unclear what Washington and Jerusalem would offer Moscow in return.
Moscow is a close ally of Tehran and Damascus, while Jerusalem and Washington are the Islamic Republic’s archenemies.
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