Following a series of US strikes on Iranian militia in Syria, reports say Washington has told Tehran through various channels that it does not seek to heighten tensions in Syria.
An article by the New York Times quoted a US official as saying that the Americans made clear to Iran, through private channels as well as publicly, that they were not trying to escalate hostilities but only sought to protect US interests.
US President Joe Biden told Congress on Thursday, August 25, that he ordered the strikes on the Iran-backed militia “to degrade and disrupt” attacks on US forces.
On Friday, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman Nasser Kanaani rejected Biden’s argument that the US is responding to threats against American forces. Knaani on Wednesday had denied any links between Iran and the militia forces in Syria.
Militias backed by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards attacked a US military base in southern Syria with drones on August 15 and on the same day, a different base used by the US-led coalition near Syria’s eastern border with Iraq came under rocket fire, triggering a string of tit-for-tat attacks this week, including airstrikes on three consecutive nights against Iran-linked targets.
Senior US officials said the August 15 attacks on the two US bases in Syria could have been an Iranian attempt to avenge a previous Israeli attack, as the attack on US base at al-Tanf -- near the border in southern Syria -- came a day after Israel struck bases in the Syrian provinces of Damascus and Tartus, where Iran-backed fighters are often stationed.