Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif says on Twitter that Israeli “agent-provocateurs” are aiming to put outgoing US President Trump “in a bind with a fake casus belli.”

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, August 14, 2020.
Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks at the presidential palace in Baabda, Lebanon, August 14, 2020. (Reuters)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged US President Donald Trump not to be "trapped" by an alleged Israeli plan to provoke a war through attacks on US forces in Iraq.

He issued the warning on the anniversary of the US killing of top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani by a drone strike in Iraq. There was no immediate comment by Israel.

New intelligence reports suggest that Israel is plotting attacks on US forces in Iraq to provoke war between Washington and Tehran, Iran’s top diplomat said.

Foreign Minister Zarif said on Saturday that Israeli “agent-provocateurs” are aiming to put outgoing US President Trump “in a bind with a fake casus belli.”

He urged Trump to “be careful of the trap,” warning that “any fireworks will backfire badly.”

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have soared in recent weeks, following rocket attacks on the US Embassy in Iraq’s capital Baghdad, which American officials blamed on Iran.

On Wednesday, President Trump said there was “chatter” about more attacks against US forces in Iraq, warning that Iran would be held responsible.

READ MORE: Trump to hold 'Iran responsible' if Americans are attacked in Iraq

In response, Zarif said in a tweet on Thursday that intelligence reports indicate a “plot to fabricate pretext of war,” referring to possible false flag attacks in Iraq.

He said Iran “does not seek war” but is ready to “openly and directly defend its people, security and vital interests.”

Zarif’s message on Saturday was a continuation of his statement on Thursday, now directly pointing a finger at Israel.

Rocket attacks on Baghdad’s Green Zone, which houses the US Embassy, have increased since Iran’s top military commander Soleimani was killed in a US drone strike last January.

While Washington has directly accused Iran-backed militia groups in Iraq, especially the Kataib Hezbollah group, Tehran has maintained that the groups operate independently.

READ MORE: Iran: Qasem Soleimani’s killers 'will not be safe on earth'

'Act of aggression'

Ahead of the first anniversary of Soleimani’s assassination this week, speculation has been rife about Iran-allied groups in Iraq planning more attacks on American installations in the country.

Zarif’s warning of Israel planning false flag attacks in Iraq comes days after reports that Israeli and US submarines were moving in the Persian Gulf region.

The manoeuvres prompted Iranian officials to warn of a strong reaction.

Abolfazl Amouei, a spokesperson for the Iranian parliament’s foreign policy commission, was quoted as saying that the move would be viewed as an “act of aggression” and the vessels would be an “easy target” for Iran.

Killing of top nuclear scientist

Experts believe that Tel Aviv has been preparing for a possible retaliation from Tehran over the killing of its top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in November.

Iran has blamed Israel for the assassination and there have been growing calls for retribution within the country.

President Hassan Rouhani’s government, however, has opted for “strategic patience,” saying that it will exact its revenge at an “appropriate time.”

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Source: TRTWorld and agencies