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.



Algeria to go the polls on December 12, says interim president

Updated 15 September 2019

Algeria to go the polls on December 12, says interim president

ALGIERS: Algeria — whose president Abdelaziz Bouteflika resigned in April following mass protests — is to hold a presidential election on December 12, his interim successor announced Sunday.

"I have decided... that the date of the presidential election will be Thursday, December 12," said Abdelkader Bensalah, who is precluded from standing himself, in a televised address.

The announcement comes after army chief General Ahmed Gaid Salah, seen as the strongman in Algeria since the fall of Bouteflika, insisted that polls be held by the end of this year, despite ongoing protests demanding the creation of new institutions ahead of any elections.