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Sending US troops to region is "psychological warfare": Takht-Ravanchi

ISNA - Iranian Students' News Agency

Wed / 15 May 2019 / 15:14

Tehran (ISNA) - Iran's ambassador to the United Nations stressed that US' plan to send troops to the Middle East is a "psychological warfare," citing President Donald Trump's public threats and his administration's military maneuvers.

Relations between the US and Iran have worsened in recent months, particularly after the US withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal last year, prompting Tehran to stop some of its commitments under the pact last week.

"These are all psychological warfare in our opinion. We are not in the business of trying to create conflict in our neighborhood, because nobody is going to have benefit from such a conflict in our region except for a few -- as I explained earlier -- some people in Washington and some countries in our neighborhood," Majid Takht Ravanchi told CNN's John Berman on "New Day."

The ambassador was responding to a report from The New York Times that said acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan recently presented a plan to top national security officials that would send as many as 120,000 US troops to the Middle East in the event that Iran strikes American forces in the region or speeds up its development of nuclear weapons.

"Iran has great relations with its neighbors. Iran is in the Persian Gulf area, we are not in Gulf of Mexico, so these questions (about Trump's warning) should be directed to those people who have come to our neighborhood from thousands of miles," he told Berman.

"So we are there, we are protecting our interest in our neighborhood and we are protecting the safety and security of the Persian Gulf area," Ravanchi added.

Trump also said last week he would like to see Iranian leaders call him, a move Ravanchi indicated would not happen as long as the US continues putting pressure on the country.

"The policy of maximum pressure and the offer of a dialogue are mutually exclusive. They cannot expect Iran to accept an offer under pressure," Ravanchi said. "Why? The policy of maximum pressure is creating problems for the Iranian people. We cannot accept a dialogue based on coercion, based on intimidation and threats."

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