TEHRAN, Iran — Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says that he doesn't believe the U.S. will pursue war with his country, because it will harm President Donald Trump's 2020 reelection bid.
Rouhani said on Sunday that Trump knows war with Iran will “ruin” his chances of winning the 2020 U.S. presidential election.
The Iranian leader added that war would be harmful to the U.S. interests and those of its regional allies, as well as his own nation.
“I think the Americans aren't after war since they know what harm it could do them,” Rouhani said during a news conference.
He added that Persian Gulf nations including the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Qatar have a lot to lose if the conflict between Iran and the United States escalates in to war.
Tensions have been escalating steadily since Trump pulled the U.S. out of Tehran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, and reimposed crippling sanctions on Iran. In addition, tensions rose in January following a U.S. drone strike that killed Iran's top general Qasem Soleimani in Afghanistan. Iran responded with missile strikes on a U.S. base in Iraq, injuring dozens.
During the news conference Rouhani encouraged Iranians to turn out for the country's parliamentary elections on Friday.
“Americans will not be happy with a high-turnout," he said. "Surely they will be happy with a low-turnout election.”
Iran is also seeing mounting pressure as diplomats push Iran to cooperate in the investigation of a Ukrainian airliner accidentally shot down by Iran. The incident killed all 176 aboard, including 57 Canadians and 11 Ukrainians. Iran has not turned over the black boxes or committed to compensation for the victims.