USA says Iran threats are 'on hold' after deploying bombers
USA says Iran threats are 'on hold' after deploying bombers
Iranian Foreign Affairs Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif speaks in New York
22 May, 2019, 04:10
Shanahan said he talked to lawmakers about what the Department of Defense has been doing since May 3, when "we received credible intelligence about threats to our interests in the Middle East and to American forces".
While Iran has repeatedly denied allegations that they are responsible for recent tensions and said that they prefer diplomacy to threats, Shanahan on Tuesday was certain that Tehran's risky behavior had only been curbed by the US's proactive measures.
Mr Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon: "I think our steps were very prudent and we've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans and that is what is extremely important".
"If America is attacked, America needs to be united in responding to protect American interests", Pompeo told Salem radio host Hugh Hewitt before the briefing.
"That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away".
Tehran and Washington have been escalating rhetoric against each other this month, following Trump's decision to try to cut Iran's oil exports to zero and beef up the US military presence in the Gulf in response to what he said were Iranian threats.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, left, and U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speak to reporters after briefing senators on Iran in Washington, U.S., May 21, 2019.
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The US military deployed a carrier strike group, bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East earlier this month in response to what Washington said were troubling indications of possible preparations for an attack by Iran.
Iran has kept to the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - the 2015 deal which limited the scope of its nuclear programme, and has called on other parties to uphold the deal despite the United States withdrawal. "Never threaten the United States again", Trump said in a tweet.
Trump, veering between bombast and conciliation in his quest to contain Iran, threatened Monday to meet provocations by Iran with "great force", but also said he's willing to negotiate. U.S. government sources said Washington strongly suspected Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
"Secretary Pompeo made a very lengthy political argument and he argued, "Here are all the bad things that Iran has done", and he spent about 10 minutes until I cut him off", Representative Adam Smith, the Democrat chairman of the House Armed Services Committee, told reporters after the briefing for House members.
"It was made very clear ... there is no intent to go to war in the region", he added.
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Kumar too will be attending the dinner along with party leaders RCP Singh and K.C. Nalin Kohli, a spokesman for the BJP, declined to comment.
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The tensions have been rising in the area, as the U.S. has deployed additional warships and planes to the Gulf in recent days. Graham, an enthusiastic supporter of U.S. military interventions, said that Trump should "stand firm".