Washington, May 17: Amid escalating tensions between US and Iran, US President Donald Trump is hoping of not going on war with Iran, he told reporters outside White house making it clear that he is firm in saying he did not want a military clash with the Iranians
Earlier on Wednesday, the US State Department partially evacuated facilities in Iraq citing threatening activities in neighboring Iran as the US continues a military buildup in the Persian Gulf. "I hope not," Trump said when asked if the United States was going to war with Iran. The New York Times, citing unnamed administration officials, reported that during a meeting at the White House on Wednesday Trump told Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that he did not want to go to war with Iran.
Tensions have been soaring between the United States and Iran over the past week as Washington has stepped up its military forces in the Middle East in what White House National Security Adviser John Bolton has called "a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime." The deployment includes a carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, B-52 bombers and F-15 fighters, according to the Pentagon.
US officials have repeatedly cited unspecified "troubling" behavior to justify the escalation against Iran. US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi said during a press conference on Thursday that she likes what she has heard from Trump, who she believes has no appetite for a war with Iran.
Pelosi noted that she and seven other top lawmakers, four Democrats and four Republicans known as the "Gang of Eight," would attend a closed-door briefing on Iran by senior White House officials later this afternoon, Sputnik reports. Trump in a twitter post earlier this week denied reports that there was infighting within his administration over Iran policy.
The escalation comes in the wake of the one year anniversary of Trump's exit from the Iran nuclear deal, which Washington marked on May 8 with new sanctions on Iran's metals’ industries. Tehran, on the same day, announced that it would enrich uranium at higher levels.
On Wednesday, Iranian Defense Minister Amir Hatami said that Tehran had "the highest level of defense-military preparedness to confront any type of threat" from the United States and Israel. (UNI)