Lawmaker says Iran doesn't want direct or proxy war with US

  • In this Monday, May 20, 2019 photo, released by U.S. Navy, an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the "Jolly Rogers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103 launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) on Arabian Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy via AP)

    In this Monday, May 20, 2019 photo, released by U.S. Navy, an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the "Jolly Rogers" of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 103 launches from the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) on Arabian Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy via AP) Associated Press

  • In this Monday, May 20, 2019 photo, an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the ìFist of the Fleetî of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25 lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy via AP)

    In this Monday, May 20, 2019 photo, an F/A-18E Super Hornet from the ìFist of the Fleetî of Strike Fighter Squadron (VFA) 25 lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Arabian Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy via AP) Associated Press

  • In this Sunday, May 19, 2019 photo, an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter transports cargo from the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln during a replenishment-at-sea operation in the Arabian Sea, as Mideast tensions remain high between Tehran and the United States. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Darion Chanelle Triplett/U.S. Navy via AP)

    In this Sunday, May 19, 2019 photo, an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter transports cargo from the fast combat support ship USNS Arctic to the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln during a replenishment-at-sea operation in the Arabian Sea, as Mideast tensions remain high between Tehran and the United States. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Darion Chanelle Triplett/U.S. Navy via AP) Associated Press

  • In this Monday, May 20, 2019 photo, released by U.S. Navy, an E-2D Hawkeye from the "Bluetails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) on Arabian Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy via AP)

    In this Monday, May 20, 2019 photo, released by U.S. Navy, an E-2D Hawkeye from the "Bluetails" of Carrier Airborne Early Warning Squadron (VAW) 121 lands on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln (CVN 72) on Arabian Sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Jeff Sherman/U.S. Navy via AP) Associated Press

  • In this Saturday May 18, 2019, photo, two U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornets fly alongside two AV-8B Harrier over the Arabian Sea. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group are conducting joint operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, as Mideast tensions remain high between Tehran and the United States. (Lt. Logan Holshey/US Navy via AP)

    In this Saturday May 18, 2019, photo, two U.S. F/A-18E Super Hornets fly alongside two AV-8B Harrier over the Arabian Sea. The Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group are conducting joint operations in the U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations, as Mideast tensions remain high between Tehran and the United States. (Lt. Logan Holshey/US Navy via AP) Associated Press

 
 
Posted5/22/2019 7:00 AM

TEHRAN, Iran -- Iran will "under no circumstances" enter a war either directly or indirectly with the United States, a prominent reformist Iranian lawmaker said Wednesday, as both Washington and Tehran try to ease heightened tensions in the region.

The reported comments by Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh come after the White House earlier this month sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the region over a still-unexplained threat it perceived from Iran.

                                                                                                                                                                                                                       
 

Since that development, Iran has announced it will back away from the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, an accord that President Donald Trump pulled America out of a year ago. The United Arab Emirates, meanwhile, alleged that four oil tankers were sabotaged off its coast, and Iranian-allied rebels in Yemen have launched drone attacks into Saudi Arabia.

Falahatpisheh's comments, reported by the semi-official ILNA news agency, carry additional heft as he serves as the chairman of the Iranian parliament's national security and foreign policy commission.

"Under no circumstance will we enter a war," Falahatpisheh said, according to ILNA. "No group can announce that it has entered a proxy war from Iran's side."

Since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, Tehran has worked to leverage relationships with the Lebanese militant group Hezbollah, Hamas in the Gaza Strip and others to counter what it perceives as the threat from America's vast military presence across the Mideast. Analysts believe that if attacked, Iran could rely on those militant groups to target American troops, Israel and other U.S. allies in the region.

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On Monday, Iran announced it had quadrupled its production capacity of low-enriched uranium. Iranian officials made a point to stress that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67% limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, making it usable for a power plant but far below what's needed for an atomic weapon.

But by increasing production, Iran soon will exceed the stockpile limitations set by the nuclear accord. Tehran has set a July 7 deadline for Europe to set new terms for the deal, or it will enrich closer to weapons-grade levels in a Mideast already on edge.

The U.S. Air Force announced Wednesday that a B-52 bomber deployed to America's vast Al-Udeid Air Base over the tensions took part in a formation flight with Qatari fighter jets. That come as Qatar has grown closer to Iran after facing a nearly two-year boycott by four Arab nations also allied with the U.S.

"This flight was conducted to continue building military-to-military relationships" with Qatar, the Air Force said.

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Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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