Trump denies Iran talks approach as Britain warns Tehran not to provoke US retaliation

The USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea last week. Jeremy Hunt said Iranians should think very carefully about their actions. (AFP/File)
Updated 23 May 2019

Trump denies Iran talks approach as Britain warns Tehran not to provoke US retaliation

  • Comments follow warning from to Iran not to threaten the US again or it will face the 'official end'

GENEVA: President Donald Trump on Monday said Washington has not approached Iran for talks as Britain warned Tehran not to underestimate the resolve of the United States, warning that if American interests were attacked then the administration of Donald Trump would retaliate.

Trump said Iran would be making a very big mistake if they did anything but no indication they are, would be met with “great force.”
"I would say to the Iranians: Do not underestimate the resolve on the US side," Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters on the sidelines of the World Health Assembly in Geneva.
"They don't want a war with Iran. But if American interests are attacked, they will retaliate. And that is something that the Iranians needs to think about very, very carefully."
Hunt added that Britain has had a lot of discussions with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo over Iran. He said he hopes Iran starts to "pull back from the destabilizing activities" it conducts in the region.
The foreign secretary acknowledged the danger the tensions posed for the wider Middle East.
"We want the situation to de-escalate because this is a part of the world where things can get triggered accidentally," Hunt said.

Hours later, Trump said that if Tehran wants to negotiate, it will have to take the first step.
"The Fake News put out a typically false statement, without any knowledge that the United States was trying to set up a negotiation with Iran. This is a false report," Trump wrote in a tweet. "Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready. In the meantime, their economy continues to collapse - very sad for the Iranian people!" Trump tweeted.

Meanwhile, the UN says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is asking all parties involved in escalating tensions between the US and Iran “to lower the rhetoric and lower the threshold of action as well.”
UN spokesman Stephane Dujarric reiterated to reporters Monday that “we are concerned about the rising rhetoric.”
He said the secretary-general is also concerned at the rocket launch that seemed to be aimed toward the US Embassy in the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.
Dujarrics said: “It is a very volatile region. Any developments, whether they are actions on the ground or whether they are rhetoric, can always be misinterpreted and can only heighten the risk of a volatile region becoming even more volatile.”

On Sunday, Trump warned Iran not to threaten the US again or it would face its "official end," shortly after a rocket landed near the US Embassy in Baghdad.
Trump's tweet followed days of heightened tension sparked by his administration's sudden deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to theGulf over unspecified threats from Iran.



Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq's Basra

Updated 41 min 16 sec ago

Rocket hits site of foreign oil firms in Iraq's Basra

  • The rocket hit Burjeisa residential and operations headquarters west of Basra
  • Police said the rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile

BASRA: A rocket landed at the headquarters for several global major oil companies, including US giant ExxonMobil, near Iraq’s southern city of Basra early on Wednesday, wounding two Iraqi workers, police said.

The rocket hit the Burjesia residential and operations headquarters west of the city, they said. There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

A security source said Exxon was preparing to evacuate some 20 foreign staff immediately.

Other companies operating at the site include Royal Dutch Shell PLC and Italian Eni SpA, oil officials said.

Police said the rocket was a short-range Katyusha missile that landed 100 meters from the section of the site used as a residence and operations center by Exxon.

Burjesia is near the Zubair oilfield operated by Eni.

Exxon evacuated staff last month after the United States cited unspecified threats from Iran for a decision to take hundreds of diplomatic staff out of Iraq.

Exxon had begun returning staff to Iraq, however, before Wednesday’s incident.