By Elena Teslova
MOSCOW (AA) - The U.S. is pursuing a 'conscious policy' of provoking war with Iran, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said on Tuesday.
Moscow closely follows the developments in the Middle East and sees U.S. actions against Iran as 'provocative', Ryabkov told reporters in Moscow.
"We have seen for a long time continuous attempts by the United States to increase political, psychological, economic and military pressure on Iran. Such actions, I think, are rather provocative. They can't be evaluated otherwise than a conscious policy of provoking war," he said.
Earlier U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Washington is examining all options to counter Iran in the region, including a military one.
Tensions have been rising between the U.S. and Iran since last year, when the U.S. administration unilaterally withdrew from a nuclear pact between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany.
U.S. President Donald Trump's administration has pursued a number of actions meant to scuttle the agreement, including the re-imposition of U.S. sanctions on Iranian oil.
In response, Tehran vowed to continue exporting oil despite the U.S. sanctions and threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz if it is prevented from using the strategic waterway.