Iran calls for calm in North Korea showdown



Tehran: Iran's foreign ministry on Sunday urged against "provocative conduct" in the Korean peninsula, saying stability there has been compromised by an American military build-up, media reported.

"Our advice to all sides involved is to not stoke tensions by engaging in provocative conduct," ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast said in remarks reported by the Mehr news agency.

"The climate should not remain one of threats," he said.

Mehmanparast accused arch-foe United States of provoking the crisis.

"The military build-up and provocative acts... By a country situated thousands of kilometres (miles) away is destabilising this region," he said referring to the United States.

He said, "the actions of all sides could spin out of control and damage the whole region."

Tensions in the peninsula have flared with Pyongyang issuing a series of apocalyptic threats of nuclear war and warning that the safety of foreign diplomats there could not be guaranteed after April 10 if a conflict broke out.

Exasperated by fresh UN sanctions following its nuclear and missile tests and by South Korean-US military drills, North Korea has also reportedly loaded two intermediate-range missiles on mobile launchers and hidden them in underground facilities near its east coast..

Mehmanparast's remarks came two days after an Iranian military commander said the North had no choice but to "confront" the United States.

"Tensions in the region are due to excessive demands by the United States... And its tightening of the noose on North Korea," armed forces deputy chief Brigadier General Masoud Jazayeri said on Friday.

As a result, "North Korean authorities are left with no choice but to confront the actions of the United States," Jazayeri said.

Pyongyang and Tehran have enjoyed good ties since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Both are under UN Security Council sanctions for their ballistic missile and nuclear programmes.

A 2011 UN sanctions report said Tehran and Pyongyang were suspected of sharing ballistic missile technology.

AFP