(Bloomberg) -- Iran won’t stand alone in fighting the U.S. if war breaks out between the two nations, the Islamic Republic’s Lebanese ally Hezbollah said.

Groups backed by Iran are currently in talks about the possibility of such a conflict, Hassan Nasrallah, chief of the militant organization, said in an interview broadcast Friday on its Al Manar TV.

“Are we going to sit back and watch? Iran won’t be alone in the war, that is clear,” he said.

Tensions have soared in the Persian Gulf region since the Trump administration stopped issuing sanctions waivers for buyers of Iranian oil and reimposed crippling economic measures against Tehran. The U.S. has blamed Iran for sabotaging oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, an oil chokepoint at the mouth of the Gulf, and for downing an American drone. Tehran denied responsibility for the ship attacks and said the drone violated Iran’s airspace.

The U.S. has attempted to open “channels of communications” with Hezbollah through a third party, Nasrallah said, describing America as “pragmatic.” Washington designates Hezbollah as a terrorist group.

The time isn’t right for Hezbollah to withdraw from neighboring Syria, said Nasrallah, whose forces are fighting alongside Syrian President Bashar al-Assad’s government. The group scaled back its military presence in the war-torn country after Assad’s army regained some capabilities, he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Dana Khraiche in Beirut at dkhraiche@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Shaji Mathew at shajimathew@bloomberg.net, Bruce Stanley, James Amott

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