A close adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned US President Donald Trump on Tuesday that it “looks like you are going to get a war” with Iran, as the US deployed additional warships to the region amid rising tensions.
In an English-language tweet tagging Trump, Hesameddin Ashena said, “You wanted a better deal with Iran. Looks like you are going to get a war instead.”
He added, in an apparent reference to mustachioed US National Security Adviser John Bolton, “That’s what happens when you listen to the mustache.”
“Good luck in 2020!” he added sarcastically.
@realDonaldTrump : You wanted a better deal with Iran. Looks like you are going to get a war instead. That’s what happens when you listen to the mustache. Good luck in 2020!
— Hesameddin Ashena (@hesamodin1) May 14, 2019
On Tuesday, in a rare television interview, Tehran’s envoy to the United Kingdom, Hamid Baeidinejad, dismissed the US deployments as “theatrical maneuvers by the US administration,” and warned the US not to “try to test the determination of Iran.”
In an interview with Sky News, Baeidinejad said, “While we have renounced any escalation in the region, I would assure you that Iranian armed forces are fully ready for any eventuality in the region, so they should not try to test the determination of Iran to confront any escalation in the region.”
The comments come amid rising tensions in the region that saw the deployment earlier this month of an American aircraft carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf. On Sunday, four ships, including two Saudi oil tankers, were reportedly attacked off the United Arab Emirates coast in an attack US officials reportedly suspect was carried out at Iran’s behest.
Iran has called for an investigation into what it called an “alarming” incident, while a senior member of Iran’s parliament blamed Israel on Tuesday for the attacks on the ships, for which no one has yet claimed responsibility.
The attacks “appeared to be Israeli mischief,” Behrouz Nemati said after a closed-door session of parliament, quoted by state news agency IRNA.
Also Tuesday, drone attacks by Iran-aligned rebels in Yemen shut down one of Saudi Arabia’s main oil pipelines, further ratcheting up Gulf tensions after the mysterious sabotage of the tankers.
The assaults came days after an Israeli television report said Israel had warned the US that Iran was considering targeting Saudi oil production facilities.
Tensions have risen since Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers, and restored US sanctions that have pushed Iran’s economy into crisis. Last week, Iran warned it would begin enriching uranium at higher levels in 60 days if world powers failed to negotiate new terms for the deal.
European powers have vowed to fight to save the nuclear deal and the European Union has urged Iran to respect the international agreement, saying it aims to continue trading with the country despite US sanctions.
An American military team’s initial assessment is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies used explosives Sunday to blow large holes in four ships anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a US official said.
The incident came after the White House ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region on May 4, and has reportedly been reviewing a plan to send as many as 120,000 US troops to the Middle East if Iran accelerates its uranium enrichment or attacks American targets. Trump has denied the claim of planning to send troops to counter Iran.