Friday, Tehran was given a message from the White House stating that an attack on Iran from the US was imminent but that President Donald Trump wanted to talk first. This message was received only hours after Trump had been reported to approve of military strikes on Iran.
Iranian officials reported that Trump’s last-minute message “said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues.” They added that “He gave a short period of time to get our response, but Iran’s immediate response was that it is up to Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali) Khamenei to decide about this issue.”
The message, delivered overnight through Oman, was said to be “conveyed” to Khamenei for him to make a decision, even though it was “clear that the leader is against any talks,” another Iranian official stated.
It was also noted to Omani officials that “any attack against Iran will have regional and international consequences.”
Trump’s message comes in response to the growing tension between the two nations over an array of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf region. Also, Iran reported on Thursday that it had shot down a US naval surveillance drone with a surface-to-air missile.
The drone, according to the Iranians, was spying on Iran’s coastal territory in Iranian airspace. However, US Central Command claims it was shot down over the Strait of Hormuz in international air. Independent confirmation of the drone’s last know location could not be found.
The incident has only served to increase the chances of war, as the US calls the downing of their drone an “outright attack,” while Iran claims it as an act of self-defense and one that is meant to “send a clear message” that they are not to be trifled with.
Tensions first began to rise in earnest last year when President Trump withdrew the US from a 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and several other nations, including several European powers. Since then, new sanctions have imposed on Iran’s oil trade, stifling the economy and interrupting its oil exports.
In retaliation, Iran has threatened to go beyond the limits of its uranium enrichment that was agreed upon as part of the nuclear deal.
The Strait of Hormuz is responsible for the travel of nearly a third of the world’s oil and connects it to markets around the globe. Tensions in the areas, especially in light of the six oil tankers that have been attacked in the last six weeks, have caused the price of crude oil to jump drastically, disrupting oil exports in the area.
The Islamic Republic of Iran has dismissed accusations from the US that they are responsible for such attacks but are still unwilling to proceed with peace talks.
US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell says, “The US wants the current Iranian regime to come to the negotiating table and to stop their support for terrorism, pursuit of ballistic missiles, nuclear program cover-ups, and human rights abuses.” He also adds that “Our European partners share these goals.”
Those European powers say that more evidence is needed for blame for the oil tanker attacks to be placed on Iran. They are trying to keep the nuclear deal alive even though the US has bowed out and Iran has threatened to if they are not able to put a stop to what they call an aggressive stance taken by Trump to create “Iran phobia.”