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© Reuters / Leah Mills / Carlo Allegri
US President Donald Trump may not want war, Iran's foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has said, but that won't stop the hawks in his administration and Israel from "luring" him into one, possibly with a false flag attack.

"Those who have designed the policies that are being pursued do not simply want a negotiated solution," Zarif told Reuters in an interview, suggesting that the president's virulently anti-Iran neocon "B-team" - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, and Israeli PM Benjamin Netanyahu - might try "to plot an accident" to create an opening to attack Iran.

"Iran is not seeking confrontation, but will not escape defending itself," Zarif said, elaborating on the warning he gave earlier on Wednesday that the US must "be prepared for the consequences" if it attempts to stop Iran from selling its oil. Despite "absurd" provocations such as Trump's decision to classify the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a "terrorist organization" and the ending of sanctions waivers that had allowed eight countries to continue buying Iranian oil without incurring America's wrath, Iran will "exercise prudence" - unless the US decides to "change the rules of the game."

"There are always ways of going around the sanctions," Zarif said, joking that "We have a PhD in that area." Aside from a brief period of cooperation under former President Barack Obama, who signed the JCPOA nuclear deal, Iran has been under US sanctions for most of its recent history.

When asked where Iran might sell its oil in the future, though, Zarif opted to keep silent. "If i told you, we wouldn't be able to sell it to them."