June 18 (UPI) — The United States faced criticism from Russia and Iran Tuesday after the Pentagon announced it was sending 1,000 more troops to the Middle East after oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman last week.
The Trump administration blamed the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps for the attacks, and the Department of Defense released images it says are IRGC members removing an unexploded mine from one of the ships.
Iranian security official Ali Shamkhani, at a security issues conference in the Russian city of Ufa Tuesday, blamed the U.S. for “illegal bullying” through economic sanctions and called on other world leaders to resist joining them.
“If a wide range of countries decide to stand up to the illegal U.S. blackmail and bullying, we can make the U.S. retreat and adopt a rational and responsible behavior in the international system,” Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, said.
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters Tuesday the U.S. is trying to start a war with Iran.
“For quite a while, we have been witnessing the United States’ continuous attempts to increase political, psychological, economic and military pressure on Iran,” Ryabkov said. “I think that such actions are rather provocative and cannot be considered as anything other than a deliberate policy to instigate a war.”
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday Tehran isn’t seeking war with any nation, but would be the winner of any battle.
“We will not wage war with any nation, those facing us are a group of politicians with little experience,” he said.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called for restraint after the two tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman. Peskov said he learned of the U.S. troop escalation from media reports.
“We call on all parties to exercise restraint,” Peskov said. “We would prefer not to see any steps that may escalate tensions in a region where the situation is already tense.”