US, Iran say not seeking war as tensions spike

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday (May 14th) said his country is not seeking war with Iran, despite a spike in tensions, AFP reported.

Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meanwhile insisted the showdown between the two countries was a test of resolve rather than a military encounter.

"We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran," Pompeo said during a visit to Russia.

But Pompeo added: "We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion."

Khamenei echoed Pompeo's rhetoric in a speech to officials.

"This face-off is not military because there is not going to be any war. Neither we nor them (the US) seek war. They know it will not be in their interest," he said, quoted on his website.

The US has slapped sweeping sanctions on Iran in an all-out effort to reduce its regional clout, and has recently ramped up the pressure, deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and bombers to counter alleged threats from Iran.

During Pompeo's visit, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said Moscow would work "to ensure this situation does not descend into a military scenario".

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