Lavrov: Western reports could spark 'dangerous escalation' in Persian Gulf

US media reported that Saudi Arabia recently warned the US of an imminent attack being planned by Iran.

IRGC siezes ship near Bu Musa Island, Iran (photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)
IRGC siezes ship near Bu Musa Island, Iran
(photo credit: Wikimedia Commons)

Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov claimed that recent reports by US media of intelligence warning of imminent attacks by Iran against targets in the Middle East could turn into a "dangerous escalation" in the Persian Gulf, in a conversation with Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian on Wednesday.

"The harmfulness of the information campaign launched by the Western media was noted, which, in a difficult international situation, could turn into a dangerous escalation of tension in this strategically important region of the world," said the Russian Foreign Ministry in reference to the discussion, according to RIA Novosti.

The Wall Street Journal reported on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia recently warned the US of an imminent attack being planned by Iran on targets in the kingdom and in Erbil, Iraq.

The US military and other militaries in the Middle East have raised their alert level in response to the warnings, according to the report. The planned attacks are aimed at distracting from the protests that have swept Iran in recent weeks.

“We are concerned about the threat picture, and we remain in constant contact through military and intelligence channels with the Saudis,” said a US National Security Council spokesperson, according to the Wall Street Journal. “We will not hesitate to act in the defense of our interests and partners in the region.”

Saudi Aramco logo is pictured at the oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia October 12, 2019 (credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV)Saudi Aramco logo is pictured at the oil facility in Abqaiq, Saudi Arabia October 12, 2019 (credit: REUTERS/MAXIM SHEMETOV)

Unnamed US defense officials confirmed the report to CNN and other American news outlets later in the day, adding that energy infrastructure in the region was at risk.

Khamenei threatens response to Soleimani's 2020 assassination

In a ceremony ahead of Iran's commemoration of the takeover of the US embassy in Tehran in 1979, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei warned on Wednesday that Iran would respond to the 2020 assassination of IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani "in due time."

The Iranian leader added that "for those who think that the US is an unwavering power, it becomes evident that this is not the case when we look at the events that took place on this day (in 1979). The US is completely vulnerable."

Khamenei's Twitter account also tweeted on Wednesday "We will never forget the martyrdom of Martyr Soleimani. They should know this. We have spoken about this, and we are firm on it. It will happen at the proper time and in the right place, God willing. #SevereRevenge"

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani rejected the American reports concerning an imminent threat on Wednesday, saying "This type of biased news is made by some Western and Zionist circles with the aim of creating a negative atmosphere against the Islamic Republic of Iran and destroying the current positive trends with the countries of the region."

Kanaani stressed that Iran was continuing a policy of "good neighborliness" and "sees the establishment and promotion of stability and security in the region as a constructive interaction with its neighbors."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov also rejected the reports, saying "To be honest, we don’t have such information at all, and we don’t know where these speculations came from."

Iran blames Saudi Arabia, US, Israel for protests

Iran has blamed the US, Saudi Arabia and Israel for the ongoing protests in the country.

In his comments on Wednesday, Khamenei blamed the US for organizing the protests which swept Iran after the death of Mahsa Amini, saying in reference to the youth protesting, "These are our own children and we have no argument with them because they entered the field due to some excitement and emotions and some carelessness in matters, but the important thing is that [the US] is the main stage manager who entered with a plan and a design."

The supreme leader additionally claimed that there were Iranians connected to foreign organizations who "committed crimes" amid the protests. "This is a very important issue that should be given special attention," said Khamenei.

The IRGC launched a number of strikes against Kurdish militias in eastern Iraq shortly after the protests began, claiming that the militias were spreading unrest in Iran.

On Sunday, a red flag was raised over the dome of the Shahcheragh Shrine, where a number of Iranians were recently killed in a terrorist attack claimed by ISIS, symbolizing a demand for revenge against those who carried out the attack.