The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has urged avoiding dragging Iran into direct confrontation with the United States following the explosions in the city of Kerman, reports The New York Times, citing informed sources.

According to Iranian authorities, at least 103 people died, and over 200 were injured in the attack in Kerman at a memorial commemorating the fourth anniversary of Iran's top general Qassim Suleimani's assassination. Iran declared January 4 a national day of mourning in connection with the bombings.

New York Times reports that Ayatollah Khamenei has called on the leadership of Iranian security forces to exercise "strategic patience" and avoid involving Iran in direct military confrontation with the U.S. Sources cited by NYT indicate that Khamenei has ordered the military to limit retaliatory measures to secret operations against Israel or attacks by Shiite proxy groups on U.S. bases in Syria and Iraq.

The news article also notes that Ali Khamenei holds Israel responsible, believing that Israelis are not only behind the elimination of Sayyed Reza Mousavi, the coordinator of the Quds Force near Damascus, and the assassination of Hamas leader Saleh al-Arouri in Beirut, but also behind the explosions in Kerman, aiming to "distract attention from international outrage over the war in Gaza."

The Wall Street Journal writes that Israel has assured its allies that it is not involved in the blasts in Kerman.