The US said Friday Iran has no right to respond to diplomacy “with military force”, a day after Tehran shot down a US reconnaissance drone over the Strait of Hormuz.
“Our diplomacy does not give Iran the right to respond with military force,” Brian Hook, the US special representative on Iran, told reporters in Saudi Arabia.
“Iran needs to meet diplomacy with diplomacy, not military force.”
The downing of the drone — which Washington insists was over international waters but Tehran says was within its airspace — has seen tensions between the two countries spike further after a series of attacks on tankers the US and its staunch ally, Saudi Arabia, have blamed on Iran.
Tehran denies having been behind the attacks but has frequently threatened in the past to block the vital sea lanes into and out of the Gulf.
“Iran is responsible for escalating tensions in the region. They continue to reject diplomatic overtures to deescalate tensions,” Hook said.
The US diplomat was in Saudi Arabia, where he met deputy defence minister Prince Khaled bin Salman on Friday morning.
The two discussed efforts to counter Iranian actions, Salman said on Twitter.
“We affirmed the kingdom’s support for the United States’ maximum pressure campaign on Iran, which came as a result of continuing Iranian hostility and terrorism, and discussed latest Iranian attacks on the kingdom,” he said.
US President Donald Trump, who has repeatedly said he does not want war, offered mixed messages over the drone, warning that Iran “made a very big mistake” — but also suggesting a “loose and stupid” Iranian general accidentally shot it down.
Tensions between Tehran and Washington have grown sharply since May last year when Trump unilaterally abandoned a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran, and reimposed sweeping sanctions.
The US has since bolstered its military presence in the Middle East and blacklisted Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation.
Trump has said he remains open to negotiations with Iran, but its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei last week categorically ruled out talks with Trump after his abandonment of the nuclear deal.
Iran “has no trust in America and will not in any way repeat the bitter experience of the previous negotiations with America,” Khamenei said.
Trump ramps up new Twitter attack on four female Democratic lawmakers — raging they are ‘weak & insecure’
Faced with a continuing firestorm over last Sunday's racist Twitter attack on four Democratic lawmakers -- who all happen to be women of color -- President Donald Trump was again returned to Twitter to attack the women instead of letting the issue die.
Moments after he used Twitter to attack the Washington Post for reporting on the turmoil he created -- which has been unversally condemned by Democrats and conservatives alike -- the president thought it was a good time to add fuel to the fire.
Trump launches furious attack on Washington Post for new report about his racist tweet debacle: ‘Presidential harassment!’
President Donald Trump launched yet another attack on the Washington Post on Sunday morning, accusing the paper of "Presidential harassment!" for reporting on the fall-out from his racist tweets and his equally racist rally in North Carolina.
Responding to the Post's report that Kellyanne Conway was forced to tell the president that he had set off a firestorm last Sunday with his tweets attacking four Democratic lawmakers, the president pushed back using his old stand-by: "Fake News."
Fox News’ Geraldo Rivera turns his back on Trump after racist furor: His ‘critics were much more right than I’
Deep in a report on the fissures Donald Trump created between himself and some of his defenders, after he launched a racist attack on four Democratic lawmakers that led to an equally racist chant at a North Carolina presidential rally, Fox News contributor Gerald Rivera admitted that he now finds it near impossible to defend the president.
In an interview with the New York Times that came after Rivera blew up on a fellow Fox News host over the "send her back" chant aimed at Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) the longtime Fox personality said he has all but given up on Trump.