Iran tells US it does not seek 'expansion of tensions'

Iran's top diplomat said Thursday his country has told the United States that it is not seeking escalation after an unprecedented attack on Israel.

The Islamic republic carried out its first-ever direct attack on Israel, firing drones and missiles on the weekend. The barrage — to which Israel's army chief has vowed a response — was retaliation for an April 1 air strike on Tehran's consulate in Damascus. Iran blamed Israel for the consular attack.

Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who is in New York to attend a U.N. Security Council meeting, said his country has "tried to tell the United States clearly" that Iran is "not looking for the expansion of tension in the region," he said in a video posted by his ministry.

Iran and the United States have had no diplomatic relations since 1980, but neutral Switzerland represents Washington's interests in Iran. Both the U.S. and Iran have alluded to the Swiss role as an intermediary.

According to Amir-Abdollahian, Iran communicated with Washington "before and after" launching its attack on Israel.

Iran informed the United States that the decision by the Islamic Republic of Iran to "respond to the (Israel) regime is final," and the matter concluded, he said.

Iran's retaliation against Israel left a girl severely wounded but caused little damage. It followed the strike in Damascus that killed seven members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, including two generals.

"Before the operation, we clearly told the American side that we will not target American bases and interests in the region," Amir-Abdollahian said.

The Islamic republic has celebrated the attack as a success but President Ebrahim Raisi warned of "a fierce and severe response" to further ...

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