Iranian foreign minister: 'We will defend against any war efforts'

Iranian foreign minister: 'We will defend against any war efforts'
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Iran's foreign minister said Sunday that the country will defend itself against any "war efforts" amid rising tensions with the U.S., Reuters reported.

“We will defend against any war efforts against Iran, whether it be an economic war or a military one, and we will face these efforts with strength,” Mohammad Javad Zarif said during a joint conference with his Iraqi counterpart Mohammed al-Hakim, according to the news service.

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“We are saying very clearly and honestly that we oppose the unilateral actions taken by the United States. We stand with the Islamic Republic of Iran in its position,” Hakim added.

U.S.-Iran tensions have escalated in recent weeks after the Trump administration sent a carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Middle East amid what officials called  “troubling and escalatory indications and warnings” from Tehran that had not been publicly identified.

President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE said Friday that he would send about 1,500 troops to the Middle East to counter Iran's influence.

Iran has distanced itself from reported attacks on oil tankers that have contributed to the tensions.

Trump last year pulled the U.S. out of the Obama-era Iran nuclear deal, reimposing sanctions on the country.

Iran has been highly critical of that new round of sanctions.

“We believe that escalation by the United States is unacceptable and uncalled for. We have exercised maximum restraints,” Zarif said earlier this month.