Iranian president Ebrahiim Raisi said on Friday (Feb. 02) that the country has no intention to start a war but that it will give a “strong response” to those who try to “bully” them.
His speech came after the U.S. said it is weighing the response to the attack to its base in Jordan where three American soldiers were killed.
The U.S. government said this week that the Islamic Resistance in Iraq, an umbrella group of Iran-backed militias that includes the group Kataib Hezbollah, had planned, resourced and facilitated the drone attack.
“(We) will not start a war, but if a country, if a cruel force wants to bully us, the Islamic Republic of Iran will give a strong response.” Raisi told dozens gathering in Minab city, located in the Hormozgan province near the Strait of Hormuz.
While Biden and White House officials have stressed that they don’t want a broader war with Iran, the administration has also warned that its response to the deadly assault won’t be a “one-off.”
Raisi said that previously when the US wanted to talk to Iran they “used the language of threats.”
“Now, you don’t hear these words. You even hear from that side: ‘we have no intention of a conflict with the Islamic Republic of Iran’,” he added.
Earlier this week the U.S. said the response to the deadly attack in Jordan, could include striking militia leaders and targets in Syria, Yemen and Iraq.
The deaths of the soldiers were the first U.S. fatalities blamed on Iran-backed militia groups, who for months have been intensifying their attacks on American forces in the region following the onset of the Israel-Hamas war in October.