No war with Iran: Trump
Iran urges China, Russia ‘concrete action’ to save nuclear deal
WASHINGTON, May 17: President Trump has sought to put the brakes on a brewing confrontation with Iran in recent days, telling the acting defense secretary, Patrick Shanahan, that he does not want to go to war with Iran, administration officials said, while his senior diplomats began searching for ways to defuse the tensions.
But he has also made clear that he will protect US interests in the region, one official said. U.S. intelligence showed heightened activity by Iran or its proxies that U.S. officials took as a threat against American targets in the region.
Trump has said publicly he wants to pursue a diplomatic route with Iran a year after withdrawing the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. He has said privately that he was worried that some of his advisers, such as White House national security adviser John Bolton, were pushing for war, two officials said.
The Pentagon has prepared options for potentially sending U.S. troops to the region if needed ranging from a relatively small number of troops up to 120,000, although officials stressed these are the types of options that are always considered for hot zones.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday urged China and Russia to take "concrete action" to safeguard the 2015 nuclear deal as he warned of a "dangerous" situation amid rising tensions with the US.
Tensions have ratcheted up with the US deploying an aircraft carrier group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf last week over alleged threats from Iran.
On a visit to Beijing, Zarif said he would talk with Chinese officials about "bilateral ties and the very dangerous issues that are ongoing in our region today", according to a video published on the Iranian foreign ministry website. -AFP