Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said on Sunday that Tehran would strongly defend itself against any military or economic aggression and called on European states to do more to preserve a nuclear agreement his country signed with them.
Speaking in a news conference in Baghdad with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed al-Hakim, Zarif said his country wanted to build balanced relations with its Gulf Arab neighbors and that it had proposed signing a non-aggression pact with them.
Iraq stands with Iran and is willing to act as an intermediary between its neighbor and the United States, Hakim said, adding that Baghdad does not believe an “economic blockade” is fruitful, a reference to U.S. sanctions.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran have mounted steadily since Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 group of nations (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).
The Trump administration has also re-imposed sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors, while Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to U.S. oil shipments.