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Iran does not want ‘new tensions’ in Mideast, says Rouhani

Iran does not want “new tensions” in the Middle East, President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday in a telephone call with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

“Iran has always sought to reduce tensions in the region, trying to strengthen security and stability,” Rouhani said, according to a statement on the website of Iran’s presidency.

Rouhani did not mention Israel’s strikes Thursday against what the Jewish state said were Iranian targets in Syria, or those against the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights.

Britain on Thursday warned against “further escalations” after Israeli strikes on Iranian targets in Syria that Israel said were in response to rockets fired by Iranian forces.

“It is crucial to avoid any further escalations, which would be in no one’s interest,” Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said in a statement.

The minister condemned “in the strongest terms” the rockets fired on Israel, adding that “we strongly support Israel’s right to defend itself.”

He called for the Iranian regime to “refrain from further actions which will only lead to increased instability in the region.

“We also continue to call on Russia to use its influence to press those in Syria to cease their destabilising activity and work towards a broader political settlement,” he added.

Israel carried out widespread deadly raids against what it said were Iranian targets in Syria on Thursday after rocket fire towards its forces, which it blamed on Iran.

The incident came after weeks of rising tensions and followed US President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a key 2015 Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday, a move Israel had long advocated.

Johnson was in Washington earlier this week in an attempt to convince the US government to stay in the agreement.


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