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US Vows to Respond With Military Force if Iran 'Attacks American Interests'

© REUTERS / Rodi SaidUS forces are seen at the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria April 25, 2017.
US forces are seen at the Kurdish People's Protection Units (YPG) headquarters after it was hit by Turkish airstrikes in Mount Karachok near Malikiya, Syria April 25, 2017. - Sputnik International
The development comes just a few weeks after the United States deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf in what White House National Security Adviser John Bolton described as a "clear and unmistakable message" to Iran.

US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said on Thursday that Washington would retaliate with military force if Iran "attacks" American interests in the Middle East.

"If we are attacked we will respond with military force. We have redeployed our forces in the region. We think that this redeployment has a deterrent effect on possible erroneous calculations of the regime", he said.

Hook also said that the US is waiting for the results of an investigation into alleged attacks on four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, off the UAE's coast earlier this month, which have been blamed on Iran by Washington and its allies, before discussing a proper response.

Hook on EU's Mechanism to Bypass US Sanctions on Iran

The US is ready to impose sanctions on the EU's Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges, or INSTEX, designed to bypass American penalties against Iran, Hook said.

US President Donald Trump tweeted a Game of Thrones-inspired meme promoting his impending sanctions against Iran. - Sputnik International
US Threatens EU With Sanctions Over Mechanism to Bypass Iran Penalties - Reports
In addition, he expressed doubt that Tehran would be able to build a "mirror mechanism" in order to ensure that transactions were conducted on their part. The US also does not see corporate demand for work with this mechanism, Hook specified.

His comments were made just a day after Bloomberg cited a letter penned by the Treasury Department's undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence, Sigal Mandelker, as saying that the Trump administration would ban the mechanism from the US financial system if it comes into force.

Bolton Warns Iran Against Making 'Big Mistake'

In a parallel development, White House National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Thursday that it would be a "big mistake" if Iran or "its surrogates attacked" American interests, and that a "quick response" and the dispatch of US military assets in the Persian Gulf served to "deter" Tehran.

Bolton continued by claiming that the Iranian "threat is not over" and added that the United States was not pursuing a policy of regime change in the Islamic Republic.

READ MORE: Iranian Presidential Aide REVEALS Tehran's Strategy Toward US

The national security adviser then blasted Iran for "threatening" Washington and its allies as "unacceptable behaviour" which has to stop if they want to negotiate.

John Bolton, consejero de Seguridad Nacional de EEUU - Sputnik International
Moscow Mistrusts Bolton's Claims Iran 'Almost Certainly' Attacked Oil Tankers
The Trump administration has piled pressure on Tehran since withdrawing from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, last May and reinstating all sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Earlier this month, the US upped the ante by deploying the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Gulf to send a “clear and unmistakable message” to Iran. In addition, President Donald Trump has confirmed that the Pentagon will deploy 1,500 more troops to the region.

Tehran, meanwhile, announced that it would partially suspend its commitments under the nuclear deal, having set a 60-day deadline for the five remaining signatories to the deal – Russia, China, the UK, France, and Germany – to ensure that Iranian interests are protected or else the country would resume enriching uranium at higher levels.

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