Jan 16, 2020 14:30 UTC
  • Iran not interested in escalation of tensions: Gen. Baqeri

Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri says the Islamic Republic is not interested in escalation of tensions in the region, but is ready to give a crushing response to any act of aggression.

“Iran is not interested in further escalation of tensions, but will give a crushing response to any irrational action and act of aggression, and we hope that withdrawal of the US from the region would put an end to all [the existing] chaos and conflicts,” Major General Baqeri said in a phone call with Turkish Defense Minister Hulusi Akar on Thursday, Press TV reported.

Baqeri said the United States touched off “a new round of tensions in the region” through its recent assassination of Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and other acts of aggression, namely attacks targeting the headquarters of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) and some outposts in Syria.

He expressed his gratitude towards Akar for his condoling with the Islamic Republic over General Soleimani’s martyrdom, calling the atrocity that led to the late commander’s assassination a “disingenuous, inhumane, and immoral action that defied all legal and international principles.”

At the same time that they had put the region on the edge of large-scale conflict with the assassination of Lt. Gen. Soleimani and his companions, the Americans sent messages to Iran, purportedly seeking to prevent further escalation, Baqeri added.

Nevertheless, Iran’s revenge attacks against Ain al-Assad displayed its “resolve to defend its rights,” the Iranian military chief added, saying the counterstrikes proved that the US risked heavier retaliation “if it sought to keep up its acts of mischief.”

For his part, Akar affirmed that General Soleimani’s assassination touched off a series of back-to-back and sensitive developments in the region, “which can be extremely worrying.”

He, however, said the entire region stood to benefit from attempts at preservation of stability and calm.

The Turkish defense chief also hailed the countries’ “amicable and brotherly” relations, and urged joint efforts aimed at safeguarding regional stability “in order not to allow terrorists to abuse any opportunity for intensification of regional tensions.”