US President Donald Trump has said in an interview with Fox News that he does not want to go to war with Iran, but would not allow Tehran to have nuclear weapons — a goal the Islamic Republic has never pursued.
“With all of everything that’s going on, and I’m not one that believes you know, I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly by far most importantly,” Trump said .
“I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons you just can’t let that happen,” he added.
During the Sunday interview, Trump was asked to comment on Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s summary of their talks in January, when the two allegedly discussed the possibility of using military force in Venezuela. According to Graham, he warned Trump against such a move, while Trump allegedly surprisingly said: “You want to invade everywhere except where I want to invade.” The interviewer asked Trump to specify places where he wanted to invade.
“I want to invade, if I have to, economically,” Trump replied, praising his administration’s economic policies and stating that they had helped to create “a much stronger country economically.”
Trump appeared to have softened his tone in recent days, saying he expects Iran to seek negotiations with his administration. Asked on Thursday if the U.S. might be on a path to war with Iran, the president answered, “I hope not.”
Tensions mounted between Tehran and Washington last May, when Trump pulled his country out of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and re-imposed harsh sanctions against the Islamic Republic in defiance of global criticism.
On May 8, 2019, Iran announced the decision to partially discontinue its obligations under the deal. The United States, in turn, has stepped up its military presence in the Middle East in what White House National Security Adviser John Bolton has called “a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime.” The deployment includes a carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, B-52 bombers and F-15 fighters, according to the Pentagon.