world

U.S. officials seek to tone down Trump rhetoric on Iran

43 Comments
By Patricia Zengerle

U.S. officials who briefed Congress about Iran on Tuesday sought to convince lawmakers that President Donald Trump's administration wants to deter Tehran's aggression, not attack the Islamic republic, members of Congress said.

"I hope they're tamping down (the rhetoric). They tried to give that impression," Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the Foreign Affairs Committee, told reporters after the classified briefing for the full House of Representatives.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman General Joseph Dunford and Acting Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan held the briefing after lawmakers, including Trump's fellow Republicans as well as Democrats, clamored for weeks for more information about escalating tensions with Iran.

The administration officials held a similar briefing, also behind closed doors, for the full Senate later on Tuesday.

At the closed-door sessions, they spelled out to lawmakers what they described as the imminent threat from Iran, or its proxies, to U.S. personnel in the Middle East. Several Democrats said they were skeptical about the extent of the threat, but Trump's fellow Republicans generally agreed there was a heightened risk to Americans.

"There is no intention to go to war in the region. This is a deterrent operation to stop Iran's escalation and aggression," Representative Mike McCaul, the ranking Republican on the House foreign affairs panel, told reporters.

After speaking to lawmakers, Shanahan said the administration does not want the situation to escalate and that its actions to date had deterred attacks by Iran on U.S. forces.

"This is about deterrence, not about war. We're not about going to war," Shanahan told reporters.

Pompeo, who has been an Iran hawk since he served in the House, made only a general comment that the administration officials had discussed their "strategic campaign" in the briefings.

Tehran and Washington have been escalating rhetoric against each other this month, following Trump's decision to try to cut Iran's oil exports to zero and beef up the U.S. military presence in the Gulf in response to what he said were Iranian threats.

Trump said the tightened sanctions were intended to push Iran to make concessions beyond the terms of the 2015 international deal to curb Iran's nuclear program. Trump withdrew the United States from the pact a year ago.

Last week, Washington pulled some diplomatic staff from its embassy in Baghdad following attacks on four oil tankers in the Gulf.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday rejected talks with the United States, after Trump said Iran would call and ask for negotiations "if and when they are ever ready."

After the Senate meeting, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said they had told lawmakers the recent attacks on shipping and a pipeline in the Middle East were directed by the Iranian government and that U.S. officials had detected worrisome communication between Tehran and a Shi'ite militia that prompted the military to quickly relocate an aircraft carrier.

"They explained to us how the Iranian threat streams were different than in the past, that the attack on the ships and the pipeline was coordinated and directed by the Iranian government, the ayatollah," Graham told reporters.

Some House Democrats accused the administration officials of twisting intelligence to make the case for what they see as an aggressive response to any Iranian actions.

"In my opinion, there was not any information there that pointed to any reason why we should be engaging in talk of war with Iran," said Representative Ruben Gallego, a Democratic member of the House Armed Services Committee.

Democrats also faulted Trump's administration for, as they put it, lacking a long-term plan to deal with Iran now that Washington has withdrawn from the nuclear agreement.

"They're just hoping that in the end the Iranians decide to come to the table, without any clear plan on how that is going to happen," Democratic Senator Chris Murphy, a Foreign Relations Committee member, told reporters.

© (c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

©2019 GPlusMedia Inc.

43 Comments
Login to comment

How long until Bolton is fired?

8 ( +8 / -0 )

How long until Bolton is fired?

He wont be. Bolton wants his war and he will do all he can to get it

5 ( +5 / -0 )

There is no possibility of having an easily winnable war against Iran. Look at the Iraq War and Afghanistan War for examples of a similar quagmire that would result from a shooting war against Iran.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

There is no possibility of having an easily winnable war against Iran. Look at the Iraq War and Afghanistan War for examples of a similar quagmire that would result from a shooting war against Iran.

That is what common logic would dictate yet Bolton isn't interested in that. As he has stated "my field is policy, not war" so he has no interest in the abstractions of was or its results. He does policy and his policy requires a war with Iran. This is the mentality the world is dealing with

6 ( +6 / -0 )

U.S. officials seek to tone down Trump rhetoric on Iran

Or, the few adults left in the administration try to get the Great Orange Fifth Grader to keep his mouth shut, as he doesn't have the faintest idea what he's talking about...

As one of the adults who left already has said, "he's a danger to the republic"...

6 ( +6 / -0 )

One of the most bizarre things about this Boltonesque tragedy in the making is that underlying all the US threats is a notion that Iran has no legitimate interests in the region in which it is located. Yet Iran is a big country in a very dangerous part of the world. Seven countries border Iran, and three of them are very unstable. Several ongoing military conflicts are nearby. Counting the Americans, nuclear forces face them on all four sides. Saudi radicalized Sunnis attack Shia in every adjacent and nearby country.

And from two continents away Bolton pontificates about how the Iranians should not do what no other country on earth does: look out for itself in its region.

7 ( +7 / -0 )

Love Bolton, always respected the man, but I fail to see what’s the problem, rockets aren’t flying, No one was killed and you would think thousands were killed this week by the sheer lunatic behavior from all the liberals. If the president doesn’t do anything then liberals will say, how can he just sit there and do nothing, how can he just sit there and give no response, and when he does take action and threatens them verbally, then they complain he’s a warmonger, he’s going to get us all killed, so what do you liberals want? I don’t even think they know what they want. ROFL!

-9 ( +0 / -9 )

Why does the US have so much against Iran while selling weapons and sucking up to Saudi Arabia, one of the most vile countries in the world? SA is a dictatorship, spreader of Wahabism, military aggressor, one of the worst violators of human rights in the world. Yet hawks in Washington push for war against a peaceful democratic country that has breached no contract, followed the rules. while ignoring all the bad SA does to gain access to that sweet sweet oil trade.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

Dumping down Trump’s and Bolton’s rhetoric is good idea.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

If the president doesn’t do anything then liberals will say, how can he just sit there and do nothing, how can he just sit there and give no response, and when he does take action and threatens them verbally, then they complain he’s a warmonger, he’s going to get us all killed, so what do you liberals want? I don’t even think they know what they want. ROFL!

What liberals (and Americans) want? They want the person who made this statement in 2018 to remember it and not do another flip-flop...

"Was it the Civil War? Nah. The failure to stop Sept. 11? Nope. How about Pearl Harbor? Not even close."

“The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush,”

https://thehill.com/hilltv/rising/407398-trump-slams-bush-for-worst-single-mistake-in-us-history

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Why would anyone love or respect the main architect of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

“The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush,”

Some might agree, some might disagree, but one thing is for sure, No one misses the butcher of Baghdad.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

“The worst single mistake ever made in the history of our country: going into the Middle East, by President Bush,”

Some might agree, some might disagree, but one thing is for sure, No one misses the butcher of Baghdad.

That's a direct quote from your President - why is he now flip-flopping and following the architect of the Iraq war John Bolton into another one with Iran?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

That's a direct quote from your President

Ok, that’s his opinion, unlike liberals, we are independent of thought. I was happy that Saddam was dealt with.

why is he now flip-flopping and following the architect of the Iraq war John Bolton into another one with Iran?

Nothing happened and we don’t know what Bolton, Trump, Pompeo or the Pentagon knows about Iranian threats that they feel needs a strong military visual response.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

That's a direct quote from your President

Ok, that’s his opinion, unlike liberals, we are independent of thought. I was happy that Saddam was dealt with.

Got it - you disagree with Trump and think he's wrong - looks like some sun is starting to shine through...

why is he now flip-flopping and following the architect of the Iraq war John Bolton into another one with Iran?

Nothing happened and we don’t know what Bolton, Trump, Pompeo or the Pentagon knows about Iranian threats that they feel needs a strong military visual response.

Flip-flop. Explain why he is re-creating what he called the single biggest mistake in our history?

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Ok, that’s his opinion, unlike liberals, we are independent of thought. I was happy that Saddam was dealt with.

Was that the same Saddam the CIA supplied weapons with? You are happy Saddam was dealt with even with the cost of nearly one million civilian deaths and total destruction of Iraq seems more like a bridge too far.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Got it - you disagree with Trump

I agreed with Bush and I agree with Trump.

looks like some sun is starting to shine through...

Thank you.

Flip-flop. Explain why he is re-creating what he called the single biggest mistake in our history?

He didn’t no bombs were fallen and don’t get all worked up, it’s not healthy.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Was that the same Saddam the CIA supplied weapons with?

Yes.

You are happy Saddam was dealt with even with the cost of nearly one million civilian deaths and total destruction of Iraq seems more like a bridge too far.

Yes

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Got it - you disagree with Trump

I agreed with Bush and I agree with Trump.

Even though one started the Iraq War and the other said it was the single biggest mistake in our history - don't think agreeing with both is an option...

Flip-flop. Explain why he is re-creating what he called the single biggest mistake in our history?

He didn’t no bombs were fallen and don’t get all worked up, it’s not healthy.

The Iraq war was not healthy for over 4000 of our troops who I faithfully served with...committing military force is not something to take lightly or joke about.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yes

Terrible to admit so much death with a single word but the other day you also claimed to be pro-life? More selective reasoning? What did those death civilians do against you or America?

3 ( +3 / -0 )

Terrible to admit so much death with a single word

Of course I have empathy for the people we lost. But that was the job they signed up for and for better or worse the commander in chief felt justified in his decision.

but the other day you also claimed to be pro-life?

An adult making a decision is different than an innocent and helpless child that can’t make its own decision at 9 months.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Even though one started the Iraq War and the other said it was the single biggest mistake in our history - don't think agreeing with both is an option...

That’s your opinion.

The Iraq war was not healthy for over 4000 of our troops who I faithfully served with...committing military force is not something to take lightly or joke about.

I agree.

-3 ( +0 / -3 )

Bolton just seems to ratchet up the pressure without any real end goal or exit strategy in mind. It's just tension for tension's sake. He can't invade Iran or North Korea, he can't just hand them papers dictating terms, so he just seems to harass everyone and....that's it.

I don't think Trump will continue to see much use for him, especially if he keeps backing Trump into a corner and limiting his options.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Bolton just seems to ratchet up the pressure without any real end goal or exit strategy in mind. It's just tension for tension's sake.

Good! They should be kept under intense pressure, keep them in line and on edge, not knowing what and how they would be demolished if they tried something funny.

He can't invade Iran or North Korea,

Bolton or Pompeo or more importantly the Pentagon never made an accusation like that remotely close.

he can't just hand them papers dictating terms, so he just seems to harass everyone and....that's it.

Yes, he can.

I don't think Trump will continue to see much use for him, especially if he keeps backing Trump into a corner and limiting his options.

We shall see.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Easy solution; Trump is mentally unstable and a security threat to the American people and the globe and Congress needs to remove him from office and the American people need to pressure Congress to ensure their survival.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Even though one started the Iraq War and the other said it was the single biggest mistake in our history - don't think agreeing with both is an option...

That’s your opinion.

Trump is a criminal, Trump isn't a criminal - I guess you agree with both...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

bass4funk

Of course I have empathy for the people we lost. But that was the job they signed up for and for better or worse the commander in chief felt justified in his decision.

I wasn't stating the troops killed which number about 4,000 I say are you alright with one million dead civilians, to which you answered "yes!". Is that what you call empathy.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Trump is a criminal, Trump isn't a criminal - I guess you agree with both...

We are all guilty of one thing or another.

I wasn't stating the troops killed which number about 4,000 I say are you alright with one million dead civilians, to which you answered "yes!". Is that what you call empathy.

I think it’s terrible, but I don’t know these people, so my empathy is limited.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

Trump is a criminal, Trump isn't a criminal - I guess you agree with both...

We are all guilty of one thing or another.

Trump has Russian investments, Trump doesn't have Russian investments - I guess that's another one you believe too...

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Bass4funk:. Good! They should be kept under intense pressure, keep them in line and on edge, not knowing what and how they would be demolished if they tried something funny.

Tough talk appeals to the Trump base (unless Putin is involved), but there have to be accomplishments tied to it. Results. That's what Bolton is lacking.

Bolton or Pompeo or more importantly the Pentagon never made an accusation like that remotely close

They don't have to. Everyone knows Trump can't invade Iran or North Korea. That's why everyone is wondering what Bolton is up to. He has no endgame.

My guess is that Bolton will be replaced. And when that happens you will change your tune and say it's great Trump fired him so your opinion will match Trump's.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Trump has Russian investments, Trump doesn't have Russian investments - I guess that's another one you believe too...

I don’t unlike the obsessed liberals, I won’t speculate on what the man has or doesn’t have and I don’t care, but if you really care, then look around D.C. and look at all the building going all around, there is No way anyone could convince me foreign money isn’t flowing through the Nations Capitol. A lot and I mean a lot of politicians have money from various countries throughout the Capitol. Gee, what a shocker!

Tough talk appeals to the Trump base (unless Putin is involved), but there have to be accomplishments tied to it. Results. That's what Bolton is lacking.

Really? Hmmmm....I disagree.

They don't have to. Everyone knows Trump can't invade Iran or North Korea. That's why everyone is wondering what Bolton is up to. He has no endgame.

Well, if that’s the case, don’t worry, if Trump doesn’t give the order, then Bolton can’t do anything, relax and have a Stout.

My guess is that Bolton will be replaced. And when that happens you will change your tune and say it's great Trump fired him so your opinion will match Trump's.

Not really, I’ve always been a fan of Bolton, I doubt he’ll be fired, but you never know.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Well, if that’s the case, don’t worry, if Trump doesn’t give the order, then Bolton can’t do anything, relax and have a Stout.

Which makes all of Bolton’s rhetoric empty. No results on Iran, none on North Korea. I’m happy that harsh words are enough to satisfy you personally but others want to see results.

Bolton is a relic who still believes the US can operate under the threat of force, but we can’t here and everyone knows it. He’s just raising the tensions and accomplishing nothing except for raised tensions, and the word on the street is that Trump is starting to realize he doesn’t have many options anymore and is trying to clamp down on Bolton.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Which makes all of Bolton’s rhetoric empty. No results on Iran, none on North Korea.

The distorts Iran deal is for the most part dead and Kim couldn’t get any sanction relief, that’s something right there.

I’m happy that harsh words are enough to satisfy you personally but others want to see results.

Like the no collusion deal? You should be satisfied then. I prefer more rhetoric and less war, but optics wise to show a force of intimidation, most definitely.

Bolton is a relic who still believes the US can operate under the threat of force,

Which it can, relics are good, we need more of them.

but we can’t here and everyone knows it. He’s just raising the tensions and accomplishing nothing except for raised tensions,

Which is something in itself and is exactly the point.

and the word on the street is that Trump is starting to realize he doesn’t have many options anymore and is trying to clamp down on Bolton.

Stop reading and watching all the liberal networks. Trump didn’t do anything yet.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

The Iran deal was working and successfully took Iranian nukes off the table. Trump killed the deal, releasing Iran from their obligations.

Iran is now going to wait Trump out and wait for the next President and put the deal back together again. Some are saying this increase in pressure is Trump’s last hope at getting anything out of Iran. If he leaves the White House without a new deal then all he did was destroy a working deal and replaced it with nothing.

Bolton hasn’t gotten Trump any closer to getting any concessions out of Iran, he did the opposite by freeing them from the obligations of the nuke deal.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

The Iran deal was working and successfully took Iranian nukes off the table. 

And you believed the Ayatollahs? The same Ayatollahs that supplied terrorists with bomb materials that have killed an estimated 500 US servicemen in Iraq? Boy - you are as gullible as the Messiah Obama himself.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

The Iran deal was working and successfully took Iranian nukes off the table.

Not for the Israelis and the Saudis, which they would know about and I trust them over any political or business investor hack.

Trump killed the deal, releasing Iran from their obligations. 

As if they would have abided by them, you bought that line.

Iran is now going to wait Trump out and wait for the next President and put the deal back together again.

Well, the Israelis and the Saudis will have the ultimate last say, Trump or No Trump.

Some are saying this increase in pressure is Trump’s last hope at getting anything out of Iran. If he leaves the White House without a new deal then all he did was destroy a working deal and replaced it with nothing.

There was nothing to begin with. Can’t have something when there was nothing.

Bolton hasn’t gotten Trump any closer to getting any concessions out of Iran, he did the opposite by freeing them from the obligations of the nuke deal.

With the armada that’s building, Iran may be stupid, but they’re not suicidal....or are they?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

bass4funk: Not for the Israelis and the Saudis, which they would know about and I trust them over any political or business investor hack.

Trust? OK. That's great. But the countries who signed the agreement all agree that Iran is in compliance, unless you think Russia, China, and Europe would all agree to lie about it, which wouldn't make any sense.

Israel and SA will accept nothing less than regime change so to them any deal that doesn't include that isn't a good deal. And while you might want US foreign policy to exist for the benefit of those two countries at our own expense, I disagree.

There was nothing to begin with. Can’t have something when there was nothing.

This doesn't make any sense. There was a nuclear deal put in place, and Iran was complying. Trump came in and cancelled the deal without a replacement ready. It's been 2.5 years and he has made zero progress on a new deal. Essentially, his only action was to release Iran from their obligations. Tough talk and moving ships isn't getting us any closer to a better deal, which is the result we are expecting of Trump.

With the armada that’s building, Iran may be stupid, but they’re not suicidal....or are they?

You're free to start another thread for whatever it is you're saying here, but there's really no need to paste in what I said since your response doesn't align with it in any way.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Not for the Israelis and the Saudis, which they would know about and I trust them over any political or business investor hack.

Those countries weren't a signature to the nuclear deal reached with Iran.Its unlikely they ever would be since their demands would exceed those contained in a nuclear deal. The nuclear deal remains on the table for the time being but that could change.

Iran has probably increased it s production of enriching uranium, hich would be the fault of Trump pulling America out of the nuclear deal but having nothing to offer in return except, "they can call me".

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Trump could have kept the deal in place and used it as leverage if he wanted to extract more concessions out of Iran. The threat would have been to pull out of the deal.

But instead Trump just wasted that and now we're back at square 1 with Trump going at it alone and a wedge between us and our allies. And he's giving the hardliners in Iran more credibility by the day as they tell their people how Trump reversed the US agreement and can't be trusted with a new one.

It's just all so screwed up. Why destroy something that was working when you didn't already have an alternative? Have Tweets and troop movements brought Iran to the table ready to agree to new concessions? What's the result of all of this?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Trust? OK. That's great. But the countries who signed the agreement all agree that Iran is in compliance, unless you think Russia, China, and Europe would all agree to lie about it, which wouldn't make any sense. 

Yeah, we’ve heard that before and then this...

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2004/oct/10/france.iraq

Israel and SA will accept nothing less than regime change so to them any deal that doesn't include that isn't a good deal.

I agree and don’t blame them if I were in their shoes and lived in either of thousands countries.

This doesn't make any sense. There was a nuclear deal put in place, and Iran was complying. Trump came in and cancelled the deal without a replacement ready.

I think it makes perfect sense

The whole neighborhood will race to go nuclear. This deal most likely will accelerate nuclear proliferation. Because if regional powers feel threatened by the possibility of Iran getting a weapon and the penalty for producing nuclear weapons decreases, then why wouldn’t they?

**Tehran gets to keep its vast nuclear infrastructure and its missile program.**  And the promises from Iran only confirm the obvious: that the regime definitely has nuclear-weapons ambitions. After all, why have a massive ballistic-missile program and secret military nuclear facilities if the plan isn’t to build nuclear weapons?

Sanctions relief will make the region far less safe. The sanctions relief and the renewed ability to sell more oil on the open market could wind up bringing $300-400 billion into the Iranian economy, bolstering the Iranian government. Essentially, this means the deal will pay for undermining U.S. policy and interests throughout the region.

The deal is temporary, by design. Even the White House doesn’t claim it will permanently keep Iran from getting a bomb. So, what’s the point?

https://www.myheritage.org/news/4-reasons-why-the-iran-deal-may-be-the-worst-diplomatic-decision-in-history/

You're free to start another thread for whatever it is you're saying here, but there's really no need to paste in what I said since your response doesn't align with it in any way.

I understand. I feel the opposite.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

Trump could have kept the deal in place and used it as leverage if he wanted to extract more concessions out of Iran. The threat would have been to pull out of the deal.

I think him tearing up that disastrous deal was the best for everyone, including Israel, SA and ultimately the US.

But instead Trump just wasted that and now we're back at square 1 with Trump going at it alone and a wedge between us and our allies.

As if our allies have our best interest at heart, come on...lol

And he's giving the hardliners in Iran more credibility by the day as they tell their people how Trump reversed the US agreement and can't be trusted with a new one.

They have been saying to you is can’t be trusted since 1979, nothing new.

It's just all so screwed up. Why destroy something that was working when you didn't already have an alternative?

It actually wasn’t working and since Israel and the Saudis live in that region, they have the absolute to demand safety and security. They don’t trust Iran and they should make the call.

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

John Bolton, or "Dick Cheney Jr" leads Donnie by the nose just like Cheney led Bush and America becomes involved in another major middle east war...

And to top it off, Donne once described the Iraq war as the biggest mistake in our history - and he repeats the mistake again....

Republicans - they can't contain themselves when it comes to war in the middle east...

And how will they explain this one to all the grieving mothers, wives, husbands and children?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

bass: I think him tearing up that disastrous deal was the best for everyone

Great. Now Iran has no restrictions on what they can do since there is no alternative in place. I don't know why you support that, but I can't stop you from supporting it.

Bass: It actually wasn’t working and since Israel and the Saudis live in that region, they have the absolute to demand safety and security. They don’t trust Iran and they should make the call.

You want Israel and SA to dictate terms to the US, Europe, China, and Russia? Yeah. Pass. You've failed to explain why these countries should go against their own best interests all for the benefit of Israel and SA. If you want US troops to die in Iran for the benefit of Israel then I nominate you to lead the charge.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Login to leave a comment

Facebook users

Use your Facebook account to login or register with JapanToday. By doing so, you will also receive an email inviting you to receive our news alerts.

Facebook Connect

Login with your JapanToday account

User registration

Articles, Offers & Useful Resources

A mix of what's trending on our other sites