US not seeking war with Iran: top general

2018-10-04 22:37
Commander of United States Central Command Joseph Leonard Votel (Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP)

Commander of United States Central Command Joseph Leonard Votel (Yasser Al-Zayyat / AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Washington - The United States is not seeking conflict with Iran, the general overseeing America's military involvement in the Middle East said on Thursday, even as some Trump administration officials have stepped up rhetoric against Tehran.

"I don't think we're seeking to go to war with Iran, and I don't think that's what we're focused on," General Joseph Votel, who heads the US Central Command, told Pentagon reporters.

His comments came the day after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US was terminating a 1955 friendship treaty with Iran reached under its pro-Western shah.

And President Donald Trump's national security advisor John Bolton, a longtime mega-hawk on Iran, last week said the US would maintain a presence in Syria even after the Islamic State group has been defeated.

"We're not going to leave (Syria) as long as Iranian troops are outside Iranian borders," Bolton said.

"That includes Iranian proxies and militias," he added, going on to warn of Tehran of "hell to pay" if it threatens the US or its allies.

James Jeffrey, the US special representative on Syria, later said a continued US presence in the war-torn country did not necessarily mean American boots on the ground.

Votel has not received any "direct military tasks" in terms of the Trump administration's pressure campaign, but he said the Pentagon remains "prepared to respond rapidly and massively if the situation requires".

Russian air defenses

The Trump administration, which is close to Iran's rivals Saudi Arabia and Israel, this year withdrew from a key international deal aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear program and has vowed to challenge Tehran's influence in Syria, as well as Yemen and Iraq.

Trump has been clear the Iranian regime needs to "cease its destabilising behavior and policy that spreads violence and human misery throughout the Middle East," Votel said.

"The principle way that we are approaching that right now is through diplomatic and economic pressure. And I support that, I don't see that necessarily as being on the road to war with Iran."

Iran on Monday said it had launched ballistic missiles into Syria to kill jihadists in retaliation for a deadly attack on an Iranian military parade.

Such activities "give us a little bit of pause," Votel said, noting that Iran had not warned the US-led coalition in Syria about the strike, potentially putting coalition forces at risk.

I "characterise what they're doing as reckless, unsafe and escalatory," he said.

Separately on Syria, Votel blasted Russia over its "needless" deployment of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system, which Moscow installed after the accidental downing of a Russian military plane by Syrian forces.

Read more on:    iran

Join the conversation!

24.com encourages commentary submitted via MyNews24. Contributions of 200 words or more will be considered for publication.

We reserve editorial discretion to decide what will be published.
Read our comments policy for guidelines on contributions.
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Inside News24

 
/News
Traffic Alerts
Traffic
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.




Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.