Iran looking to avoid military clash with US – NYT — RT World News

Tehran is currently awaiting Washington's response to the killing of three American soldiers at the hands of a militia

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered his officials to avoid provoking Washington into direct war, but to prepare to respond to any US strike on Iranian soil, The New York Times reported on Thursday.

Iran's Supreme National Security Council held an emergency meeting on Monday, less than 24 hours after an Iranian-aligned militia struck an American site in Jordan, killing three American soldiers and wounding dozens. The New York Times, citing three Iranian sources, reported that the council — which includes Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian and military leaders — discussed during the meeting how the United States would likely respond to the attack.

The sources claimed that the Council concluded that the United States would either attack Iran directly or limit its response to Iran-linked militias in Iraq and Syria.

After being informed of these possibilities, Khamenei responded with “clear orders” The newspaper wrote: “Avoid direct war with the United States and distance Iran from the actions of proxies who have killed Americans — but prepare to respond if the United States strikes Iran.”

These orders help explain several statements made by Iranian officials over the following days. Later on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Nasser Al-Kanaani denied any involvement in the Jordanian attack, stressing that various militias operating in the region “Do not receive orders from the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

The largest of these militias, Kataib Hezbollah based in Iraq, said a day later that it would suspend its membership “Military and security operations against the occupation forces [US troops]”,” Adding that it chooses the targets independently of Tehran.

Then Iran's envoy to the United Nations, Amir Saeed Iravani, issued a warning to the United States. He added that the Islamic Republic will respond firmly to any attack on the country, its interests and its citizens under any pretexts. Iravani said.

In a similar statement a day later, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, Major General Hossein Salami, said: “We will not leave any threat unanswered.” he added: We do not seek war, but we are not afraid of war either.”

US President Joe Biden told reporters that he holds Iran responsible for the killing of the three Americans “Meaning they are supplying weapons to the people who did this.” However, he chose not to attack Iranian territory in response. According to CBS and NBC News reports on Thursday, the United States will soon launch a campaign of air strikes against “Iranian individuals and facilities” In Iraq and Syria, which US officials told NBC may continue “Weeks.”

According to the New York Times, Khamenei told his closest advisers that open war would carry with it the dual risk of destabilizing Iran and diverting the world's attention from Gaza – both outcomes that the Islamic Republic seeks to avoid. However, the newspaper's sources said that Iran has put its armed forces on high alert, activated air defense systems, and moved ballistic missiles to the border with Iraq.

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