US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo on Tuesday said his country is not seeking war with Iran, despite a spike in tensions that has seen the Pentagon dispatch nuclear-capable bombers to the region.
Pompeo’s comments came during his first official visit to Russia, a key backer of Tehran which has blamed the current crisis on Washington’s decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal.
“We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran,” Pompeo said in a joint press conference following talks with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi.
But he added: “We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion.”
“We are looking for Iran to behave like a normal country,” Pompeo said, pointing in part to Tehran’s backing of Huthi rebels in Yemen who are under attack from US ally Saudi Arabia.