Friday, June 21, 2019

Rumors Of War: Trump To Iran - Hold Talks Or We'll Strike

Trump sent message to Iran: Hold talks or we'll strike

US President Donald Trump on Thursday night urged Iran to come to the table to hold talks in a message conveyed through Oman, and warned that a US strike against the Islamic Republic could be imminent, according to a report Friday morning.
“In his message, Trump said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues… he gave a short period of time to get our response, but Iran’s immediate response was that it is up to Supreme Leader [Ali] Khamenei to decide about this issue,” an unnamed official told Reuters.
Another official said: “We made it clear that the leader is against any talks, but the message will be conveyed to him to make a decision… However, we told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will have regional and international consequences.”

The report comes after American officials said the US made preparations for a military strike against Iran in retaliation for the downing of a US surveillance drone, but the operation was abruptly called off with just hours to go.
The official, who was not authorized to discuss the operation publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the targets would have included radars and missile batteries. The New York Times reported that Trump had approved the strikes Thursday night, but then called them off. The newspaper cited anonymous senior administration officials.

The White House on Thursday night declined requests for comment.
Asked earlier in the day about a US response to the attack, Trump said, “You’ll soon find out.”
The swift reversal was a stark reminder of the serious risk of military conflict between US and Iranian forces as the Trump administration combines a “maximum pressure” campaign of economic sanctions with a buildup of American forces in the region. As tensions mounted in recent weeks, there have been growing fears that either side could make a dire miscalculation that led to war.
According to the official who spoke to The Associated Press, the strikes were recommended by the Pentagon and were among the options presented to senior administration officials.
It was unclear how far the preparations had gone, but no shots were fired or missiles launched, the official said.
The military operation was called off around 7:30 p.m. Washington time, after Trump had spent most of Thursday discussing Iran strategy with top national security advisers and congressional leaders.
On Thursday night Israeli security sources told Channel 13 they were concerned a lack of a decisive US response would embolden Iran to become more aggressive.

The downing of the US drone — a huge, unmanned aircraft — over the Strait of Hormuz prompted accusations from the US and Iran about who was the aggressor. Iran insisted the drone violated Iranian airspace; Washington said it had been flying over international waters.
On Friday morning Iran released photos of what it said were the drone’s remains.
Trump’s initial comments on the attack were succinct. He declared in a tweet that “Iran made a very big mistake!” But he also suggested that shooting down the drone — which has a wingspan wider than a Boeing 737 — was a foolish error rather than an intentional escalation, suggesting he may have been looking for some way to avoid a crisis.
“I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said at the White House. “I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it.”
Trump, who has said he wants to avoid war and negotiate with Iran over its nuclear ambitions, cast the shoot-down as “a new wrinkle… a new fly in the ointment.” Yet he also said that “this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you.”

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