Iran has urged the United Nations to help launch a diplomatic dialogue to ease an “alarming security situation” in the Gulf.
Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the UN, made the appeal in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the Security Council on Monday.
The letter came as tensions mounted between Iran on one side and United States and its Gulf allies, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, on the other.
On Sunday, US President Donald Trump warned Tehran of its “official end” should it threaten Washington. A day later, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced Trump’s “genocidal taunts” and urged the US to address the Islamic Republic with respect and not threats of war.
In Monday’s letter, Ravanchi warned that “the eruption of any possible conflict will soon cross over from the regional level and will definitely have serious and extensive implications on international peace and security.”
The ambassador added that Iran “will never choose war,” but that “if war is imposed on us, Iran will vigorously exercise its inherent right to self-defence”.
The latest escalation began earlier this month with the Trump’s administration’s deployment of bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Middle East. It cited unspecified threats from Iran for the move, which Tehran dismissed as “psychological warfare”.
In the ensuing days, officials in the United Arab Emirates alleged that four oil tankers sustained damage in a sabotage attack; Yemeni rebels allied with Iran launched a drone attack on an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia; and US diplomats relayed a warning that commercial airlines could be misidentified by Iran and attacked, something dismissed by Tehran.
On Sunday, a rocket was fired into the Green Zone of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which houses government offices and embassies including the US mission. It was not immediately clear who was behind the attack.
The tensions are seen as the culmination of Trump’s decision a year ago to pull the US out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.