Russia’s Putin says a war between the U.S. and Iran ‘would be a catastrophe’ – NBC News

Russian President Vladimir Putin warned that a war between the U.S. and Iran would be a “catastrophe,” remarks that came as tensions between Washington and Tehran continue to escalate.

He gave the comment during an annual televised “direct line” with the Russian public on Thursday, an event that usually runs for hours and is heavily censored.

When asked about the possibility of war between the United States and Iran, Putin said it’s a scenario he hopes not to see.

“It would be a catastrophe, for the region at the very minimum, because it will lead to an increase of violence, and potential increase in refugees from the region,” the Russian president said. “But also, for those who would attempt it, it could have possibly sad consequences.”

The U.S. accused Iran of attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, which Iran has denied. And on Thursday, U.S. military officials said a U.S. drone was shot down in international airspace above the Strait of Hormuz, contradicting Iran’s claim that it had struck the aircraft after it entered Iranian airspace.

Both countries insist they don’t want war, but there are concerns about the possibility of a full-blown military conflict should tensions escalate further.

Putin said that Iran is ready to go “to the extremes” to defend itself, and that it’s hard to tell where that would lead.

He also said that he is satisfied that Iran has been abiding by its nuclear agreements, and that “the application of sanctions against it are not justified.”

President Donald Trump’s administration pulled out of an international nuclear agreement with Iran last year and reimposed sanctions on the country.

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Putin also weighed in on the possibility of improving ties between Russia and the United States.

Diplomatic relations between the two countries turned sour in light of Russia’s alleged role in the military conflict in eastern Ukraine, its annexation of Crimea, meddling in the 2016 U.S. presidential election and the poisoning of former Russian spy in the U.K. last year, for which most western allies have blamed Moscow.

Putin said Russia was ready for dialogue with the U.S. if the Americans agree to reciprocate.

But he suggested that the realities of U.S. politics could tie Trump’s hands when it comes to Russia.

“Even if the president wants to make steps towards each other, wants to talk about something, there are multiple restrictions coming from other institutions of power,” Putin said.

He added: “I don’t think things will be easy in our relations considering that part of the U.S. establishment is trying to speculate on the Russian-U.S. relations and gain something for itself.”


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