In comments carried by state-run RIA Novosti news agency on Friday, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov called on Washington to weigh the possible consequences of conflict with Iran, warning rising tensions were extremely risky.
US President Donald Trump said on Saturday his administration was “moving forward” and that he will impose additional sanctions against Iran in an effort to prevent Tehran from obtaining nuclear weapons.
It follows the downing of a USA drone by Iranian forces on Thursday.
Hajizadeh said the debris were picked up from Iranian territorial waters. Crude (CL=F) was up by 0.5% to $57.39.
But the tensions reached a fever pitch in recent weeks after two oil tankers were attacked, supposedly by the Iranian forces as the regime flexes its muscles over tough sanctions that caused its currency to drop by about 60 percent in 12 months while food and drug prices are up 40 and 60 percent, respectively. In response to this, Iranian officials released video evidence that the drone was infringing on the no-fly zone, and also claimed that they chose not to shoot down a second American aircraft with 35 passengers that was also infringing on the territory. Tehran has also said it is not seeking a war but has warned of a “crushing” response if attacked.
The Pentagon says the Global Hawk drone – one of the most expensive pieces of equipment in the USA arsenal, costing over $120 million apiece – was 34 kilometres (21 miles) from Iran when destroyed by a surface-to-air missile in an “unprovoked attack”.
On Friday, Iran told the United States via the Swiss ambassador at Washington would be responsible for the consequences of any military action taken against it, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.
The shoot-down by elite Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces marked the first time the Islamic Republic directly attacked the American military amid mounting tensions over Tehran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.
“I think it was clear that Iran was trying to provoke the United States into forcing them to choose between going into a military conflict without global support or looking weak by not striking back”.
Trump later pulled back and called off the attacks at the last minute.
The US president had struck a combative tone in initial comments Thursday about the downing of the Global Hawk surveillance aircraft, but as the pre-dawn incident whipped up fears of open conflict, Trump moved to dial back tensions.
The president said he called off the air strikes after being told 150 Iranians would be killed.
The California Democrat said in a statement Friday that “We are in an extremely risky and sensitive situation with Iran”.
He did not respond directly to Iranian charges that the US was warned several times prior to the missile launch by the IRGC that the Global Hawk and the P-8 Poseidon were in violation of Iranian airspace.
Iran has threatened to breach the deal if the European signatories to the deal fail to salvage it by shielding Tehran from US sanctions.