Iran's FM: Trump trying to create a 'pretext for war'

Iranian Foreign Minister criticizes US President a day after the US military flew nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East.

Elad Benari ,

B-52 bombers
B-52 bombers

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday accused US President Donald Trump of trying to create a “pretext for war” in the Middle East.

“Instead of fighting Covid in US, Trump & cohorts waste billions to fly B52s & send armadas to OUR region. Intelligence from Iraq indicate plot to FABRICATE pretext for war,” Zarif tweeted.

“Iran doesn't seek war but will OPENLY & DIRECTLY defend its people, security & vital interests,” he added.

The comments come a day after the US military flew nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East in a move meant "to underscore the US military's commitment to regional security and demonstrate a unique ability to rapidly deploy overwhelming combat power on short notice.”

The bombers were sent amid ongoing tensions with Iran and Iranian-backed militias in Iraq ahead of the first anniversary of the elimination of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, who was killed on January 3 in a US strike in the Iraqi capital.

Following a rocket attack on the US embassy in Baghdad, President Donald Trump last week warned that he would hold "Iran responsible" for any fatal attack on Americans in Iraq.

Zarif later warned Trump against any "adventurism" before leaving the White House.

Iran retaliated for the killing of Soleimani by launching a barrage of missiles on two Iraqi military bases hosting American troops. 34 service members were diagnosed with traumatic brain injury as a result of the attack.

However, there have been reports that Iran seeks to carry out another act of revenge, including a plot to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa. Iran denied that report.

The head of US forces in the Middle East said last week that Washington is "prepared to react" if Tehran launches an attack to mark the first anniversary of Soleimani’s death.