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President Donald Trump said he hopes the U.S. doesn’t go to war with Iran, as tensions rise with the Islamic Republic over his administration’s allegation that Tehran may be preparing an attack.
“I hope not,” Trump told reporters on Thursday after he was asked about going to war with Iran while greeting Swiss President Ueli Maurer for a meeting at the White House.
The U.S. hastened the deployment of an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf and withdrew some diplomatic personnel from Iraq after claiming intelligence showed a growing threat from Iran or its proxy forces in the Mideast. The New York Times reported on Thursday that aerial photographs recently showed the Iranians placing missile launchers on small boats, raising U.S. concern that Tehran may be preparing to attack American military or commercial shipping.
Trump’s national security adviser, John Bolton, has repeatedly warned Iran against any provocation.
Trump denied in tweets on Wednesday that there’s any “infighting” within his administration over Iran, and said he believes the country’s leaders “will want to talk soon.”
“The president was pretty clear in what his feeling was yesterday, that there isn’t division in the White House,” press secretary Sarah Sanders told reporters Thursday morning.
The Trump administration withdrew last year from a 2015 pact negotiated by former President Barack Obama to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions and has subsequently reimposed sanctions on much of the country’s economy.
Iran’s vice president said Thursday that the country’s leaders would only consider negotiating with Trump if the U.S. rejoins the nuclear deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.
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