Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says a war with America is not likely to happen. He also reiterates that Iran is not going to negotiate with the United States over Tehran's nuclear program.
Speaking during a meeting with Iranian state officials in Tehran on Tuesday May 14, Khamenei likened negotiation with America to "poison".
"There will be no war, and the Iranian nation's final choice is resisting against the United States," adding that "In this confrontation, it is America who will be forced to withdraw," said a defiant Khamenei.
He further explained, "This is not a military confrontation as a war is not supposed to happen. Neither us, nor them are after a war. They know that it is not in their interest."
Khamenei made the remarks only hours after U.S. President Donald Trump denied planning to deploy 120,000 troops to the Middle East to confront Iran.
During the past weeks, while calling on Iran to return to the negotiating table, U.S. officials spoke about their preparedness to confront the Islamic Republic. At the same time, they ruled out the possibility of an attack on Iran.
However, following "sabotage attacks" on a number of commercial ships and oil tankers off the United Arab Emirates port of Fujairah, Trump warned that Iran will be in trouble if Tehran does any mischief.
"It is going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens, I can tell you that," Trump told reporters.
In one of the latest developments following the Fujairah incident, pro-Iran Houthi rebels in Yemen launched a drone attack on a Saudi oil establishment Tuesday morning.
Meanwhile, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also said that the United States was preparing both military and diplomatic initiatives for "an appropriate response" in case Iran "makes a bad decision" and attacks U.S. interests.
In his speech on Tuesday, Khamenei said that Iran's missile program and its "strategic depths" are among the country's points of strength and cannot be the subject of any negotiation.
"They say let us talk about your defensive weapons and the range of your missiles, so that if we strike, your missiles would not reach our bases," said Khamenei, adding "such a negotiation is a mistake as the Americans will not stand by their promises."
Earlier, Iranian officials had warned that in case the United States attacks Iran, the region will not remain peaceful and that Iran will attack U.S. bases in the Middle East and also target Israel and the United States' Arab allies.
Speaking on Trump's remarks about protest demonstrations in Tehran, Khamenei teased the U.S. president by saying, "You see how wrong are their calculations. Their President says there are anti-regime demonstrations in Tehran every Friday. But he should know it's not Fridays. It's Saturdays. And it is not in Tehran. The demonstrations are in Paris!"
Two years ago, an interior ministry official had said that there have been 43,000 protest demonstrations in Iran since Rouhani took office in 2013, which makes it 30 demonstrations a day.
According to a CNN report, Trump has given his phone number to Iran via the Swiss embassy which runs the U.S. interest section in Tehran just in case Iranian officials wanted to call Trump.
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi responded by telling reporters in Tehran: "U.S. officials have our number!"
The Iranian government's critics have occasionally lashed out at Tehran for not reaching out to Washington for negotiations. "It's really bad that Trump is holding the flag of negotiations and we turn our back to him," Said former deputy interior minister Mostafa Tajzadeh.
Meanwhile, a hardliner cleric in Tehran, Mahmoud Nabavian, suggested that Iran should send IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani to negotiate with Trump.