Iran will not start a war but will respond to bullies: Raisi

The Cradle, February 2, 2024 —

The Iranian president’s words come as the White House approved plans for ‘multi-day strikes’ against Iran-linked targets in Iraq and Syria.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi said on 2 February that his nation “will not start a war” but is ready to respond forcefully to anyone who tries to “bully” the Islamic Republic.

“We will not start any war, but if anyone wants to bully us, they will receive a strong response,” Raisi said in a televised speech from Hormozgan province.

“Before, when [the US] wanted to talk to us, they said the military option is on the table. Now, they say they have no intention of a conflict with Iran … The Islamic Republic’s military power in the region is not and never has been a threat to any country. Rather, it ensures security that the countries of the region can rely on and trust,” Raisi added.

His statement comes in the wake of a CBS News report that claims Washington has approved plans “for a series of strikes over several days against targets — including Iranian personnel and facilities — inside Iraq and Syria” in response to a deadly attack on a US army outpost in Jordan conducted by the Islamic Resistance in Iraq (IRI).

“We will continue to work to avoid a wider conflict in the region, but we will take all necessary actions to defend the United States, our interests, and our people, and we will respond when we choose, where we choose, and how we choose,” US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin told reporters at the Pentagon on Tuesday.

After launching over 150 attacks on US bases in Iraq and Syria since the start of Israel’s ethnic cleansing campaign of Gaza, some factions within the IRI announced this week the suspension of their military operations, reportedly under pressure from Tehran.

The Islamic Republic also instructed Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) advisors present in Syria to send their families back home, in a move that Reuters misreported as an “Iranian withdrawal” from the country.

Tensions flared in West Asia after 7 October, with the IRI, along with Hezbollah in Lebanon and the Ansarallah-allied Yemeni armed forces, conducting military operations in support of Palestinians in Gaza. Washington has blamed this flare-up on Tehran, ignoring continuous statements from Resistance Axis officials saying that all violence would cease once Israel’s genocidal campaign is stopped.

Instead of looking for a diplomatic solution, the US has inflamed the crisis by continuing to provide weapons to Israel and launching attacks on Yemen.

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