Trump ‘does not want war with Iran’


WASHINGTON:    US President Donald Trump has said he does not want a war with Iran amid rising tensions between the two countries, according to senior officials.
In a meeting on Wednesday the president told aides he did not want US pressure to turn into a conflict.
The US has deployed warships and planes to the Gulf and withdrawn diplomatic staff from Iraq in recent days. Tehran has allegedly placed missiles on boats in the Persian Gulf, and US investigators reportedly believe the country damaged four tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates – claims Iran has denied.
But when asked by reporters on Thursday if the US was going to war with Iran, Mr Trump answered: “I hope not.” The New York Times reports Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is reaching out to allies in Europe and elsewhere for help to lower tensions.
A state department release says Mr Pompeo spoke with Oman’s Sultan Qaboos Bin Said Al Said on Wednesday about “Iranian threats to the Gulf region”.
The ruler has long served as an intermediary between Iran and the West, including during nuclear deal talks under President Barack Obama.
The call followed Mr Pompeo’s trip to Russia, where he said his country “fundamentally” did not seek a conflict, but added that the US would “certainly respond in an appropriate fashion” if US interests were attacked.
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei meanwhile said there would be no conflict. “We don’t seek a war, nor do they,” he said in remarks carried on state media. Reports say two US destroyers passed through the Strait of Hormuz without incident on Thursday.