Spain plays down removal of frigate from US fleet approaching Persian Gulf

An EU statement called on Iran to continue to implement its commitments under the 2015 deal

An EU statement called on Iran to continue to implement its commitments under the 2015 deal Credit REUTERS Jon Nazca

"The U.S.is seeking by this step to intimidate the people and some military officials of the occurrence of war", the semi-official Fars news agency quoted Salami as saying at a parliamentary session on Sunday.

"An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6,000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past but now...the threats have switched to opportunities", said Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guards' aerospace division.

Margarita Robles insisted the decision was "not an expression of distaste" over the crossing into the Strait of Hormuz by the fleet headed by the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier.

Salami was appointed head of the Guards last month.

Meanwhile, Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guards' aerospace division, said, USA military presence in the Gulf used to be a serious threat but now is an opportunity, according to the Iranian Students' News Agency. Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told Israel's Ynet TV, "If there's some sort of conflagration between Iran and the United States, between Iran and its neighbours, I'm not ruling out that they will activate Hezbollah and Islamic Jihad from Gaza, or even that they will try to fire missiles from Iran at the State of Israel".

Washington also approved a new deployment of Patriot missiles to the Middle East, a USA official said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called for unity among Iran's political factions to overcome conditions which he said may be harder than those during the 1980s war with Iraq, Al-Jazeera reported on Sunday.

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US President Donald Trump on Thursday urged Iran's leaders talk with him about giving up their nuclear program and said he could not rule out a military confrontation.

The United States also imposed new sanctions on Iranian metals, including iron, steel, aluminum and copper which prompted rallies across the country supporting the Iranian government's hardline stance against the USA actions.

The carrier and a B-52 bomber task force were ordered towards the Gulf, as Washington reiterated that intelligence reports suggested Iran was planning some sort of attack in the region.

The US-Iran escalation has put into question the future of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that Tehran signed with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany.

Salami noted that "the American war against Iran is not possible, because Washington does not have the ability and the courage to wage war against it".

U.S. president Donald Trump's national security advisor John Bolton has said the deployment aimed to send a "clear and unmistakable" message to Iran about any attack against the USA or its partners in the region.

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