Iran showing maximum restraint, US escalation unacceptable: Zarif

Iran showing maximum restraint, US escalation unacceptable: Zarif

Iran is showing "maximum restraint" despite the USwithdrawal from a nuclear deal, the country's foreign minister said Thursday,accusing Washington of an "unacceptable" escalation in tensions.

"The escalation by the United States isunacceptable," Mohammad Javad Zarif said in Tokyo where he is holdingtalks with Japanese officials.

"We exercise maximum restraint… In spite of the factthat the United States withdrew from JCPOA last May," he added, referringto the nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

He added that Tehran remains "committed" to thedeal, and said continuing assessments showed Iran was in compliance with themultilateral agreement.

Tensions between the United States and Iran were alreadyhigh after President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal a year ago.

But they have been ratcheted up significantly in recentweeks amid increased US pressure over alleged threats from Iran.

Earlier this month, Trump's hawkish National SecurityAdvisor John Bolton announced the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincolnaircraft carrier strike group and a B-52 bomber force to the Gulf.

Days later, the Pentagon added a Patriot missile defencebattery and an amphibious assault ship to the deployment.

And on Wednesday the US ordered the partial evacuation ofits Baghdad embassy and consulate in Arbil citing specific threats posed byIraqi militias alleged controlled by Tehran.

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