Iranian president warns 'single blunder' could 'fuel a big fire'

Iranian president warns 'single blunder' could 'fuel a big fire'
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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday warned that a “single blunder” in the Gulf region could “fuel a big fire.”

“Our region is on the edge of collapse, as a single blunder can fuel a big fire,” Rouhani told world leaders assembled at the annual United Nations General Assembly meeting in New York.

“We shall not tolerate the provocative intervention of foreigners,” he continued. “We shall respond decisively and strongly to any sort of transgression to and violation of our security and territorial integrity.”

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Rouhani’s warning comes amid heightened U.S.-Iran tensions that have kept the international community worried about a military confrontation for months.

Tensions have been high since 2018 when President TrumpDonald John TrumpGraham to introduce resolution condemning House impeachment inquiry Support for impeachment inches up in poll Fox News's Bret Baier calls Trump's attacks on media 'a problem' MORE withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and other world powers.

The most recent spark for tensions were attacks earlier this month on Saudi Arabian oil facilities. The United States quickly blamed Iran for the attack, though Yemen’s Houthi rebels took responsibility. U.S. allies Britain, Germany and France have since joined in blaming Iran for the attacks.

Prior to the attacks, expectations had been raised that Trump and Rouhani might meet at the U.N. General Assembly. French President Emmanuel MacronEmmanuel Jean-Michel MacronMacron urges EU to condemn Turkish invasion of Syria US should support, but also prod, Ukraine Civil liberties groups sound alarm over online extremism bill MORE reportedly launched a failed last-ditch effort Tuesday to broker a meeting.

In his U.N. speech Tuesday, Trump accused Iran’s leaders of “bloodlust” and vowed sanctions would not be lifted.

“As long as Iran’s menacing behavior continues, sanctions will not be lifted; they will be tightened,” Trump said. “Iran’s leaders will have turned a proud nation into just another cautionary tale of what happens when a ruling class abandons its people and embarks on a crusade for personal power and riches.”

On Wednesday, Rouhani reiterated Iran’s position that it will not negotiate with the United States until sanctions are lifted.

“Our response to talks under pressure is 'no'," Rouhani said.

Rouhani also accused the United States of “merciless economic terrorism” and “international piracy” with its sanctions.

Rouhani also said that if the United States wants a new deal that goes beyond the parameters of the 2015 accord, “you have to pay more.”

“The Iranian nation will never, ever forget and forgive these crimes and criminals,” Rouhani said of the United States.