US President Donald Trump warned on Monday that Iran would “suffer greatly” if it targeted US interests.
“We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything, it will be a very bad mistake,” Trump told reporters at the White House, according to Reuters.
“If they do anything they will suffer greatly,” he added.
The comments come amid heightened tensions with Iran in the wake of the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal, and after Washington deployed an aircraft carrier and more jet fighters to the Middle East.
Last week, the US military deployed an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Middle East in a move that US officials said was made to counter “clear indications” of threats from Iran to American forces in the region.
Last Thursday, Trump urged Iran’s leaders to talk with him about giving up their nuclear program but also made clear he could not rule out a military confrontation with the Islamic Republic.
Trump’s comments on Monday came after the United Arab Emirates reported four commercial vessels had been sabotaged on Sunday near Fujairah emirate just outside the Strait of Hormuz. Iran sought to distance itself from the incident.
On Friday, the deputy leader of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ political bureau stressed that Iran will not engage in talks with the US and added that the United States would never “dare” to attack the Islamic Republic.
“We will not negotiate. There will be no negotiations on any issue with the US and the US will not dare to attack Iran,” said the senior leader, Yadollah Javani.
Later on Friday, a senior Iranian cleric warned that the US navy fleet deployed to the region could be “destroyed with one missile”.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo canceled a trip to Moscow on Monday and instead stopped in Brussels to share information on “escalating” threats from Iran with European allies and NATO officials, the US special representative for Iran said.
Pompeo last week threatened a "swift and decisive" US response to any attack by Iran.