Report: Iran denies counterattack plans against US

Zarif's comments come days after State Department officials began evacuating several of its embassies and consulates in the region, over fears of retaliatory attacks by the Iranian-backed terror group Hezbollah. 

Tehran, along with Russia, have been the biggest backers of embattled Syrian President Bashar Assad during the over two-year civil war in the country. 

Washington ordered the drawdown of non-emergency personnel in Beirut, Lebanon and Adana, Turkey, which is located five miles from the U.S. Air Force base at Incirlik.

The U.S. embassy in Baghdad was also placed on heightened alert after reports that intelligence agencies intercepted a message from Iran's Revolutionary Guards telling Shiite militia groups in Iraq to attack U.S. interests there. 

In August, Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan told local media he was considering re-opening the former U.S. Air Force base in Incirlik to American forces. 

The offer sparked assumptions the Turkish base could be used as an operational hub for anticipated U.S. airstrikes against military targets in Syria. 

The White House and Pentagon are seeking congressional approval for armed intervention in Syria, in response to alleged chemical weapons strikes against anti-government rebels in the country. 

For over two years, rebel forces have waged a bloody civil war against government troops, in an effort to overthrow the Assad regime. 

But Assad's reported use of chemical weapons crossed the Obama administration's so-called "red line," which triggered planning at the White House for the proposed strikes in Syria. 

While Tehran denied any plans to strike back against U.S. interests in the region, Zarif reiterated Iran's warning that American military action in the country would set off large-scale conflict across the Mideast. 

"We should not beat on the drums of war in the region, since beating will only start a fire that would spread to all countries in the region," he said Monday. 

In a direct message to Washington, Zarif added "those who insist on beginning a war are about to start a fire that will take over the entire region." 

His comments echo those of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who said that U.S. strikes "will be a disaster" for the entire Mideast. 

"The region is like a gunpowder store and the future cannot be predicted," Khamenei reportedly  told ISNA in August. 

That said, a majority of congressional lawmakers are pushing back against the White House's call to arms, over fear of entangling U.S. forces in another war in the Mideast. 

When Washington decides to use military force “it's military families like mine that are the first to bleed,” Rep. Tammy Duckworth (D-Ill.), who lost both legs during combat operations in Iraq in 2004, said in a statement last week opposing the Syrian action. 

The full Senate is scheduled to vote on a measure to authorize action in Syria this week, with House members expected to hold their own vote to authorize military force sometime this month. 

That said, several recent polls show most Americans oppose intervention. 

Gallup found that 51 percent opposed a strike, and 13 percent were undecided. A Washington Post/ABC News poll found 59 percent opposed a strike. And Pew’s survey showed 48 percent disapproved.