Iran accused the United States Thursday of an "unacceptable" escalation of tensions and said Tehran was showing "maximum restraint" despite Washington's withdrawal from a nuclear deal with world powers.
"We exercise maximum restraint... in spite of the fact that the United States withdrew from JCPOA last May," Zarif said earlier, referring to the agreement on Tehran's nuclear program known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
Later, Zarif told reporters there was "no possibility" of negotiations with the United States to reduce spiralling tensions, describing US pressure as an "act of suicide".
Zarif's comments came after the US on Wednesday ordered non-emergency staff evacuated from its Baghdad embassy due to an "imminent" threat from Iranian-linked Iraqi militias.
Two major pro-Iran armed groups in Iraq rejected suggestions the embassy personnel were at risk.
But the move added to growing fears that the long-time rivals could be on course for conflict despite both sides stressing they have no desire for war.
"I'm sure that Iran will want to talk soon," the president tweeted.
He also blasted media reports of White House turmoil over Iran, saying "there is no infighting whatsoever. Different opinions are expressed and I make a final and decisive decision."
Zarif late Thursday dismissed Trump's prediction of talks, telling reporters: "I don't know why President Trump is confident." Opponents of Trump say hardliners led by national security advisor John Bolton, who has long advocated toppling the Iranian regime, are pushing the country into war.
According to Iranian state media, Zarif is set to visit China on Friday for discussions on "regional and international issues" including the 2015 nuclear deal with global powers.
"It is directly linked to Iran, multiple threat streams directly linked to Iran," said one official.
"This is an imminent threat to our personnel," said a second official.
Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on Tuesday insisted the showdown with the United States was a mere test of resolve.
"This face-off is not military because there is not going to be any war. Neither we nor them (the US) seek war," he said.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo echoed that sentiment, saying in Sochi, Russia: "We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran." World powers have rushed to urge calm and US allies continued to show skepticism over Washington's alarm bells.
After Ghika's comments drew a sharp retort from the US Central Command, Britain's defence ministry said Wednesday they have "long been clear about our concerns over Iran's destabilizing behaviour in the region" -- while still not confirming any new imminent danger.
Some observers speculate Tehran is seeking to retaliate over Washington's decision in April to put Iran's Revolutionary Guards on a terrorism blacklist -- a move designed to stymie their activities across the Middle East.
But since the first US warning on May 5, the only incident has been a still-mysterious "attack" Monday on tankers anchored off Fujairah, an Emirati port located at the strategically crucial entrance to the Gulf.
One or more vessels incurred light hull damage, but what caused the damage and who was behind it remains unknown.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)