The US secretary of state's remarks come after the US deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East. Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there would be no war with the US.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday that the United States does not want war with Iran but vowed to keep pressuring Tehran.
"We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran," Pompeo told a joint news conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov in the Black Sea resort of Sochi.
But he added, "We have also made clear to the Iranians that if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion."
Pompeo said that he spoke both to Lavrov and, on Monday in Brussels, to European allies about the threat the United States sees from Iran.
His remarks come after the United States deployed an aircraft carrier strike group and nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East, although President Donald Trump denied a report that he is considering sending 120,000 troops.
"We are looking for Iran to behave like a normal country," Pompeo said, pointing in part to Tehran's backing of Houthi rebels in Yemen who are under attack from US ally Saudi Arabia.
Houthi rebels "are launching missiles into areas where there are Russians and Americans travelling. These missiles could easily kill a Russian or an American," Pompeo said.
TRT World spoke to Moscow-based journalist Dan Ashby for his take on the latest US-Russia talks.
There will be no war with US – Khamenei
Meanwhile, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said there would no war with the United States despite mounting tensions between the two arch enemies over Iranian nuclear capabilities and its missile programme.
In comments to senior officials carried by state TV, Khamenei also reiterated that Iran would not negotiate with the United States on a nuclear deal.
"There won't be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance," he said.
TRT World 's Lionel Donovan has more.
Putin says wants to 'fully restore' Russia-US ties
Pompeo's visit followed the publication of the long-awaited report by Mueller into the nature of Russia's role in that election that spoke of "sweeping and systematic" interference by Moscow but did not establish that members of Trump's campaign conspired with Russia during the 2016 election.
Now that the Mueller report was out of the way, Russian President Vladimir Putin said he hoped ties would start improving.
"I've formed the impression that your president wants to repair Russia-US ties and contacts and wants to solve issues which are of common interest for us," Putin told Pompeo.
"We've said many times that we also want to fully restore our relations. I hope that the necessary conditions for that to happen will now be created."
Receiving Pompeo at his residence in Sochi, Putin also praised the recent Mueller report into Russian election interference, calling it "quite an objective investigation".
Warning against interference in 2020 election
Earlier, Pompeo told Lavrov that Washington would brook no interference by Moscow in the 2020 US presidential election, saying such a move would seriously harm already poor relations.
Visiting Russia for the first time as secretary of state, Pompeo publicly clashed with Lavrov on issues from Ukraine to Venezuela. After their meeting, both men said they had been far apart on many issues.
TRT World 's Kate Fisher brings more from Washington, DC.
But both signalled some modest progress had been made and said they shared a desire to improve battered ties despite not being able to confirm a suggestion from US President Donald Trump that he would meet Russian President Vladimir Putin on the sidelines of a meeting of the G20 in Japan next month.
"We had a frank discussion about many issues, including many places where we disagree. The United States stands ready to find common ground with Russia as long as the two of us can engage seriously on those issues," Pompeo told Lavrov.
"President Trump has made clear that his expectation is that we will have an improved relationship between our two countries. This will benefit each of our peoples. And I think that our talks here today were a good step in that direction."
Lavrov said the Kremlin would welcome an official request by Washington for a meeting between the US and Russian presidents.
"If such a proposal is submitted officially, we will certainly react positively to it," Lavrov said.
Ties between the two countries have long been poisoned by allegations – denied by Moscow – that Russia tried to influence the results of the 2016 US presidential election.
End support for Maduro, Pompeo tells Lavrov
Pompeo said he urged Russia to end its support of Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro.
Lavrov, in response, said US threats to Maduro have nothing to do with democracy.
Venezuela's political upheaval has been a growing issue in the divide between Washington and Moscow.
The United States recognises opposition leader Juan Guaido as the interim president.