Posted on May 20, 2019
“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran,” he said in a tweet on Sunday. “Never threaten the United States again!” The US has deployed additional warships and planes to the Gulf in recent days.
But Mr Trump’s tweet marks a shift in tone after recent attempts to downplay the possibility of military conflict.
In an interview with Fox News broadcast on Sunday, the president vowed that he would not let Iran develop nuclear weapons but said he did not want a conflict.
“I’m not somebody that wants to go into war, because war hurts economies, war kills people most importantly – by far most importantly,” he said.
Iran has also moved to talk down concerns over the escalating tensions. On Saturday, its foreign minister insisted there was no appetite for war. “There will not be a war since neither we want a war nor does anyone have the illusion they can confront Iran in the region,” Mohammad Javad Zarif told state news agency Irna. And on Sunday Iran’s Fars news agency reported that the commander of the elite Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Maj Gen Hossein Salami, also said Iran was not seeking a conflict – but added that the US was “afraid of war and don’t have the will for it”.
The latest frictions come after Iran suspended its commitments under the 2015 international nuclear deal, and threatened to resume production of enriched uranium which is used to make reactor fuel and nuclear weapons. The deal aimed to cut sanctions on Iran in exchange for an end to its nuclear programme, but the US unilaterally withdrew from the agreement last year. Calling the deal “defective”, Mr Trump then re-imposed sanctions.