Sunday 31 May 2020
News ID: 66027
Publish Date: 15 May 2019 - 21:24
WASHINGTON (Dispatches) -- The United States is not preparing for war with Iran despite recent escalating tensions, President Donald Trump said Tuesday.
Trump dismissed as "fake news” a report that the White House is considering sending up to 120,000 US troops to the Middle East if Iran steps up work on its nuclear energy program.
He told reporters he would "absolutely" be willing to send troops, but that he's not planned for that and hopefully won't have to plan for that.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave the same message as he arrived in Sochi, Russia for talks with his counterpart and Vladimir Putin.
"We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran,” he said.
Head of Iran the Iranian parliament’s National Security Foreign Policy Committee Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh said the international community must be wary of "making crises" surrounding the "sabotage" of four commercial ships off the coast of the United Arab Emirates over the weekend.
The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns these moves, the lawmaker said, and has demanded the perpetrators be identified.
Falahatpisheh said "Iran and the United States can manage the crisis by themselves".
"But there are third parties who might make the atmosphere of the region more sensitive in terms of security by making deviant moves," he said.
"There are different groups whose goal is to make the region unsafe. Therefore, there must be red lines between Iran and the United States in the management of the events which prevents third parties from making crises."
"We need to do a thorough investigation to understand what happened, why it happened, and then come up with reasonable responses short of war," U.S. Ambassador to Saudi Arabia John Abizaid said in Riyadh on Tuesday.
"It's not in Iran's interest, it's not in our interest, it's not in Saudi Arabia's interest to have a conflict."
The New York Times reported Monday that acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan had presented Trump with a military plan that could see 120,000 troops deployed in the Middle East.
Sanam Vakil, senior research fellow at the Middle East & North Africa Program of Chatham House, told ABC News such moves by the Trump administration should be taken as "bluster."
"Of course we can see the parallels with the run up to the Iraq war, but … this is a president who lives up to his campaign promises," she said. "He campaigned on leaving America's military footprint from the Middle East, not increasing it."
Maryam Agharabi, 35, local Tehran business owner from the northern city of Rasht, said the recent tensions are unsurprising, but the primary concern for most Iranians is "changing our life style to adapt to the deteriorating economic conditions."
"I do believe the sanctions on Iran should be called an 'economic terror' rather than an economic war," she said. "War is reciprocal, like what is going on between China and America, where the two parties have means to use against each other. What America is doing against us is totally unilateral."

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