Pompeo says 'quite possible' Iran behind Gulf attacks


Trump has told his top advisers he does not want to get the United States involved in a war with Iran, three US officials told Reuters on May 16. But skeptical Democrats sought out a second opinion, holding their own briefing with former Obama administration officials.

The competing closed-door sessions Tuesday, unusual and potentially polarizing, come after weeks of escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf that have raised alarms over a possible military confrontation with Iran.

Trump did not elaborate, nor did the White House.

US President Donald Trump has denied that he was ready to negotiate with Iran, saying Tehran should take the first step.

A U.S. State Department official noted on Sunday that there had been no claim of responsibility for the rocket attack, and that no U.S. -inhabited facility was affected, but said "we will hold Iran responsible" if such attacks were carried out by proxy militia forces.

Hours later, two influential Shiite figures in Iraq warned about pulling their country into a war between the United States and Iran, saying it would turn Iraq into a battlefield and inflict much harm.

He cautioned that the lack of attacks on Americans doesn't mean the threats have gone away.

Zarif criticized the United States for sending the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Gulf.

Trump said his administration hasn't discussed the option of finding a diplomatic solution in the current standoff with Iran.

The relationship between Iran and the U.S. has been on the rocks ever since Trump came to power.

The Trump administration revoked this month two waivers that enabled Iran to send surplus heavy water to Oman and ship out any enriched uranium above the 300 kg limit in exchange for natural or "yellowcake" uranium.

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Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented a classified briefing Tuesday to House lawmakers to mixed results.

Iran's president said the country has no choice but to resist.

"U.S. sanctions and pressure have made the lives of the Iranian people more hard, but they have failed to break our steadfastness", Rouhani added.

French Economy Minister Bruno Le Maire said the Iranian threats were not helpful: "I do not think that Europe will get drawn into this idea of an ultimatum", Le Maire told reporters.

Rouhani admitted that the U.S. sanctions crackdown on Iran has taken a toll on its economy, having severely impaired the Islamic Republic's worldwide trade, considering that some 87 percent of global financial transactions are conducted in dollars.

President Donald Trump is already engaged in a war of words with Iran.

"I have yet to see any exhibited strategy", said Democrat Congresswoman Abigail Spanberger of Virginia as she left the meeting with Brennan. There is every indication that Washington is preparing to eclipse these massive war crimes with an even greater bloodbath in the form of a war against Iran, a country with more than twice the population and almost four times the land mass of Iraq.

Trump's allies in Congress, including GOP Sen. The unilateral nature of Washington's sanctions is prime evidence of Iran's victimhood, Rouhani said. The US military command confirmed there were no US or coalition casualties.

In the time since, officials in the United Arab Emirates allege four oil tankers sustained damage in a sabotage attack.

Bolton, who advocated regime change in Iran before joining the White House past year, is "just in a different place" from Trump, a senior USA official told The Post, although the president has been a fierce critic of Iran since long before he hired Bolton. Both U.S. and Iranian vessels patrol in the Strait of Hormuz.