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Iran not seeking war with US, but will protect itself from aggression - envoy to Russia

Iran, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter, took proportional actions for self-defense, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali said
Iranian Ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali Artyom Geodakyan/TASS
Iranian Ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali
© Artyom Geodakyan/TASS

MOSCOW, January 9. /TASS/. Tehran does not want escalation and war with the United States but will counter any aggression against itself, Iranian Ambassador to Russia Kazem Jalali said in an interview with TASS.

"Iran, in accordance with Article 51 of the UN Charter, took proportional actions for self-defense and targeted a base from where a coward armed attack was carried out against our country’s citizens and high-ranking officials. We do not want escalation or war but we will protect ourselves against any aggression," the diplomat stressed.

Washington bears responsibility for its illegal steps in the Middle East region and their consequences, Kazem Jalali said.

"The US government’s criminal acts are a gross violation of fundamental principles and are contrary to international norms and rules, in particular the principle enshrined in the UN Charter, and the US government is responsible for violations of these norms and rules and their consequences," Kazem Jalali said.

The Iranian ambassador noted that the US actions violated Iraq’s sovereignty and the country’s government complained about this in the UN. "Iran will definitely monitor this terrorist act by the American regime through the UN. In this context, Foreign Minister [Mohammad Javad] Zarif held a conversation and consultations on this issue in the first hours with UN Secretary General [Antonio] Guterres," the diplomat said.

The mere fact of including the country’s military force in the list of terrorist organizations like this was done against the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps violates the principles of international law, the UN Charter and the state’s sovereign rights, he noted. "This in no way can become a pretext for a threat or using force against them, in particular on other countries’ territory," Jalali said.

"America’s hypocritical policy runs counter to the country's international counterterrorism obligations, including [the UN] Security Council resolutions, and seriously weakens regional and global efforts on struggling against international terrorism. By this act America is actually waging war on those who are fighting terrorism," he stressed.

The ambassador recalled that over the past years Iran has been making efforts in anti-terror fight, meeting its international commitments and the UN Security Council’s resolution. He emphasized that Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, the head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, played an important role in providing assistance to regional nations in destroying the most dangerous terror groups such as the Islamic State (outlawed in Russia), which were recognized so by the UN Security Council.

Tensions around Iran flared up after the US launched a strike on Baghdad’s airport on January 3 killing General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ elite Quds Force. On January 8, Iran retaliated by launching missile strikes on two military facilities in Iraq used by the United States. According to the Pentagon’s spokesperson, Al-Asad Air Base and the airport of Erbil were targeted.

US President Donald Trump addressed the nation at the White House on Wednesday saying that the US was ready to embrace peace with Iran and was hoping that Tehran would live in harmony with all states around the world. At the same time, Trump announced that new "punishing sanctions" would be imposed on Iran.