The Russian president described Iran as “a Shiite nation … ready to defend their country to the hilt.”
“It’s very difficult to assess what will happen if military forces are engaged,” he said.
“I very much hope that events do not follow such a scenario.”
He made the comments during his annual marathon “direct line” phone-in show – a carefully-choreographed event, lasting several hours, that projects the president as Russia’s only all-powerful problem-solver.
This comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran after Iran shot down a US military drone using surface-to-air missile.
The Pentagon hit out at Iran, calling the incident an “unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace” while Iran says said the drone entered its territory near the Kouhmobarak district in the south of the country.
The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard warned in speech that it sent “a clear message” to America.