US President Donald Trump's has tightened economic sanctions against Iran and his administration says it has built up the US military presence in the region. Tehran has described the US moves as "psychological warfare" and a "political game."

The USS Lewis B. Puller warship has been deployed to the Arabian Gulf, May 11, 2019 as the US escalate tensions with Iran.
The USS Lewis B. Puller warship has been deployed to the Arabian Gulf, May 11, 2019 as the US escalate tensions with Iran. (Desiree King/US Marine Corps/Handout via Reuters)

The US President Donald Trump threatened Iran in a tweet on Sunday, raising concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict at a time when tensions between Washington and Tehran have risen.

"If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again," Trump said in a tweet.

Trump has tightened economic sanctions against Iran, and his administration says it has built up the US military presence in the region. It accuses Iran of threats to the US troops and interests.

Iran says does not want war

Iran's foreign minister downplayed the prospect of a new war in the region on Saturday, saying Tehran opposed it and no party was under the "illusion" the Islamic republic could be confronted.

"We are certain... there will not be a war since neither we want a war nor does anyone have the illusion they can confront Iran in the region," Mohammad Javad Zarif told state-run news agency IRNA at the end of a visit to China.

Iran-US relations hit a new low last year as US Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal and reimposed unilateral sanctions that had been lifted in exchange for Tehran scaling back its nuclear program.

TRT World's Reagan Des Vignes reports.

Saudi-Iran tensions

Saudi Arabia's Minister of Foreign Affairs Adel al Jubeir said on Sunday the kingdom does not want war but will defend itself.

A week ago, four oil tankers were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.

Saudi Arabia has blamed the pipeline attack on Iran. Gulf officials say an investigation into the tanker incident is underway.

That incident was followed by drone strikes on Tuesday by Yemen's Houthi rebels on a major Saudi oil pipeline, which provided an alternative export route if the Strait of Hormuz closed.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to prevent shipping in Hormuz in case of a military confrontation with the United States, which has imposed sanctions on Tehran in recent months

Despite international scepticism, the US government has been pointing to increasing threats from Iran, a long-time enemy and also a rival of US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Urgent meeting

Ministers from Gulf countries were to meet in Saudi Arabia later on Tuesday after Saudi Arabia called for an urgent meeting of the regional Gulf Cooperation Council and the Arab League to discuss escalating tensions in the Gulf.

The Saudi Press Agency said King Salman had invited Gulf leaders and Arab states to two emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss recent "aggressions and their consequences" in the region.

TRT World spoke to Mohamed Okda of Insight into Crisis, a Middle East risk consultancy firm, who explains why Saudi Arabia is trying to gain support in the region.

Source: TRTWorld and agencies