TEHRAN (Press Shia) – US President Donald Trump played down tensions with Iran, saying his administration currently sees no signs of threatening actions by Tehran.
“We have no indication that anything’s happened or will happen, but if it does, it will be met, obviously, with great force. We will have no choice,” Trump told reporters on Monday as he exited the White House for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania, The Washington Post reported.
The Trump administration has been on high alert in response to what officials have claimed to be specific and credible threats from Iran against US personnel in the Middle East.
But the US president is frustrated with some of his top advisers, who he thinks could rush the United States into a military confrontation with Iran and shatter his long-standing pledge to withdraw from costly foreign wars, several US officials said recently.
National Security Adviser John Bolton is “just in a different place” from Trump, a senior US official told The Post. Trump “wants to talk to the Iranians; he wants a deal” and is open to negotiation with the Iranian government, the official said.
On Sunday night, Trump issued a warning to Iran, tweeting, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”
In his exchange with reporters on Monday, he left the door open to negotiations.
“If they called, we would certainly negotiate, but that’s going to be up to them,” Trump said, adding that Iranian officials “don’t have to bother” if they are not ready.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif recently ruled out any prospect of negotiation with the United States, calling the Washington regime a “bully” trying to force all others into acting illegally.