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  • U.S. President Donald Trump (left) and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani have exchanged statements as tensions escalate between nations.

    U.S. President Donald Trump (left) and his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani have exchanged statements as tensions escalate between nations. | Photo: Reuters/ Reuters

Published 23 May 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country will not surrender to the U.S., even if attacked, according to state media.

As tensions rise between Iran and the United States (U.S.), leaders of both nations have upped their dangerous war rhetoric. On Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that his country will not surrender to the U.S., even if attacked, according to state media.  

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"We need resistance so our enemies know that if they bomb our land, and if our children are martyred, wounded or taken as prisoners, we will not give up on our goals for the independence of our country and our pride," Rouhani said while addressing a ceremony in commemoration of the 1980s Iran-Iraq war. 

Rouhani made similar remarks on May 11 as he called for unity among political factions, warning that due to current economic sanctions, conditions may be harder than those faced in the 1980s war with Iraq.

Meanwhile, the Persian nation’s armed forces chief of staff, Major-General Mohammad Baqeri, has stated that "the confrontation and face off ... is the arena for a clash of wills," which neither seems willing to lose. 

This comes as a response to Sunday's tweet by U.S. President Donald Trump, where he threatened to end Iran if they went to war. About a week prior, Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard's aerospace division warned that "if the U.S. makes a move” they will “hit them in the head." 

Nevertheless, Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has emphasized that Tehran does not seek or want war with the U.S. despite mounting tensions. While the commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guard, Major General Hossein Salami, has downplayed U.S. actions, pointing out that the U.S. is just using psychological war to pressure the Iranian government.

This back and forth between both countries comes as Trump pulled out of the nuclear deal last year, and subsequently reimposed tough sanctions on Iran’s oil industry to strangle the country’s economy. 

On April 22, measures got worse as Trump decided to eliminate all waivers issued to eight economies allowing them to buy Iranian oil, basically imposing third-party sanctions. The Iranian response was to resume high-level enrichment of uranium if world powers did not protect its interests against U.S. sanctions, President Hassan Rouhani announced on May 8.

In a tit-for-tat, the U.S. increased their threat in the region by deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group, a bomber task force of B-52s and a Patriot missile defense battery in a bid to intimidate Iran. A U.S. official said the forces "have been ordered to the region as a deterrence."

However, it seems that not even U.S. citizens want a war with Iran. Around 60 percent said the country should not conduct a pre-emptive attack on the Iranian military, while 12 percent advocate for striking first according to a recent Reuters/Ipsos poll.

So for the moment, clashes continue, well at least those through Twitter and official statements.

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