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Khamenei adviser says US could spark 'full-fledged war' with strike

Khamenei adviser says US could spark 'full-fledged war' with strike
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An adviser to Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said that any U.S. attack could spark a "full-fledged war" during President TrumpDonald John TrumpMinnesota certifies Biden victory Trump tells allies he plans to pardon Michael Flynn: report Republican John James concedes in Michigan Senate race MORE’s final weeks in office.  

“A limited, tactical conflict can turn into a full-fledged war,” Hossein Dehghan told The Associated Press in an interview. “Definitely, the United States, the region and the world cannot stand such a comprehensive crisis.”

The New York Times reported on Monday that Trump held a meeting in the Oval Office to discuss options concerning a military strike on Iran to halt its growing nuclear program. One day earlier, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Tehran's uranium stockpile was 12 times higher than allowed under the Iran nuclear deal, which the Trump administration left in 2018. Vice President Pence, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBiden's State Department picks are a diplomatic slam dunk Kissinger tells Biden to go easy on China Saudi-Israeli diplomacy progresses amid looming Middle East challenges MORE, acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and Gen. Mark MilleyMark Milley Top Pentagon official tests positive for COVID-19 Khamenei adviser says US could spark 'full-fledged war' with strike Biden faces mounting hurdles on path to rejoin Iran deal MORE, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, reportedly advised the president against a strike.

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“We don’t welcome a crisis. We don’t welcome war. We are not after starting a war,” Dehghan said Wednesday. “But we are not after negotiations for the sake of negotiations either.”

Dehghan, a possible Iranian presidential candidate, said that negotiations with the U.S. would not include its ballistic missiles, which he told the AP are a “deterrent” to Tehran's adversaries. 

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not negotiate its defensive power ... with anybody under any circumstances,” he said. “Missiles are a symbol of the massive potential that is in our experts, young people and industrial centers.”

The Trump administration on Wednesday imposed sanctions on senior Iranian officials and organizations connected to Khamenei over their roles in cracking down on anti-government protests one year ago. 

The sanctions build on the administration’s maximum pressure campaign against Iran for its human rights abuses, military actions in the Middle East and buildup of its nuclear program.