There's only a faint chance of war breaking in the Middle East, a top Iranian official was quoted by the country's state-run TV station as saying on Thursday, blaming any regional instability on the presence of Western forces.
The comment by Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Ramin Mehmanparast came after, on Monday, the U.S. Navy indicated it deployed a second aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf amid rising tensions with Iran over its nuclear program.
A top officer at the U.S. Navy's Fifth Fleet stationed in Bahrain said that the deployment of the nuclear-powered USS Enterprise along the Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group marks only the fourth time in the past decade that the Navy has had two aircraft carriers operating at the same time in the region.
The battleships will also patrol the Gulf's strategic oil routes that Iran has threatened to shut down in retaliation for economic sanctions.
Referring to the chances of a military confrontation in the Middle East, Mehmanparast told Iran's Press TV, citing the ISNA news agency, that there was only a faint chance of war breaking out in the Persian Gulf and the region, adding that the "presence of foreign forces in the Middle East is the root cause of regional insecurity. They should leave our region."
“The West seeks to cause conflict in the region and instability among regional countries, but the Islamic Republic of Iran is interested in stability and security of the Persian Gulf and the Middle East,” Mehmanparast added, saying that the West lost strategic assets following the Arab Spring.
The Iranian official's comments came a day after White House spokesperson Jay Carney said Wednesday that Iran could change its current international isolation by relinquishing its nuclear weapons program.
Addressing upcoming P5+1 nuclear talks, Carney said that there was an "international consensus about the absolute need for the Iranians to abide by their obligations, to forsake their nuclear weapons ambitions, to demonstrate verifiably that they can reassure the world that they do not seek to acquire nuclear weapons."
"And you know, our bottom line, our position is that Iran must -- lived up to its international obligations, including the full suspension of uranium enrichment, as required by multiple UN Security Council resolutions," Carney added.
Reiterating recent remarks by U.S. President Barack Obama regarding the "closing window" of opportunity to resolve the Iran issue, Carney said that the "Iranians need to demonstrate that they are serious, that they will engage in these talks seriously and focus on the issues that need to be resolved. Beyond that, we'll have to see how they go."
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