Iran has instructed its allies across the Middle East to be on high alert and avoid provoking tensions with the US that could give the outgoing Trump administration cause to launch attacks in Trump’s final weeks in office, Iraqi officials said on Friday, according to The Associated Press.
The request was delivered by a senior Iranian general to allies in Baghdad this week, according to the report.
There is growing concern over what Trump, who is refusing to concede the election, might do in the last days of his presidency, including a potential strike on America’s enemies abroad.
On Monday, a New York Times report said that Trump had asked senior advisers last week whether he had options to take action against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks.
The report said that a range of senior advisers dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike, warning him that such a move could easily escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of his presidency.
In response to the report, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei warned on Tuesday that any US attack on Iran would face a “crushing” response.
On Thursday, an adviser to Iran’s Supreme Leader told The Associated Press in an interview that any American attack on the Islamic Republic could set off a “full-fledged war” in the Middle East.
According to Friday’s report, Iranian Gen. Esmail Ghaani, head of the Revolutionary Guard's expeditionary Quds Force, delivered Tehran's request during a meeting with Iranian-backed Iraqi militia factions and Shiite politicians in Baghdad this week.
The message, according to sources quoted in the report, was they should dtand down to avoid giving Trump the opportunity to initiate a fresh tit-for-tat round of violence.
However, if there was a US aggression by the Trump administration, Iran's response would “be in line with the type of strike,” one of the sources cited Ghaani as saying.
An Iraqi government official also confirmed Ghaani’s meetings with Iranian-backed factions in Iraq this week.