Iranian threats 'put on hold', says U.S. defence chief

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Iran's president said the country has no choice but to resist. "The Trump administration has shown incredible restraint in the face of escalating aggressions from Iran".

Lawmakers are warning the Trump administration it can not take the country into war without approval from Congress, and the back-to-back briefings show the wariness among Democrats, and some Republicans, over the White House's sudden policy shifts in the Middle East.

Earlier in the day, Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon, "I think our steps were very prudent and we've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans and that is what is extremely important".

"That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away". No casualties or environmental damage were reported after the incident.

Representative Michael McCaul, the top Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, said the administration made a convincing case that Iran and its proxies were behind numerous attacks - including a rocket that landed Sunday near the U.S. embassy in Baghdad, which has been evacuated. And Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan suggested the United States military response to Iranian threats has already had an effect. Other intelligence reportedly indicated Iran had plotted attacks via allied militias in Iraq, from which the US had recently pulled diplomatic staff.

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The administration, which is closely allied with Riyadh, instead vowed "maximum pressure" to weaken Iran's regional influence, including by trying to stop all oil sales by Tehran.

Rouhani made the remarks shortly before Trump's latest tweet on Iran in which he denied media reports that his administration was going the extra mile to bring the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table: "Iran will call us if and when they are ever ready".

On May 20, Rohani said that he was seeking expanded, wartime executive powers to deal with an "economic war" being waged against the country by the United States, according to the official IRNA news agency.

"What I'm interested in more right now is what the administration's strategy is - if they have one - to keep us out of war".

"Even a small confidence-building measure is a good thing, so it's absolutely the case that were they to release these Americans who are wrongfully held, it would be a good thing", Pompeo said.

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He added that it was a period where the threat remained high and the focus was on making sure there was "no miscalculations by the Iranians". "We have said very clearly that we will not be the party to begin escalation, but we will defend ourselves". "Our posture is for deterrence", he added.

The new developments will likely be part of Shanahan, Pompeo, and Dunford's briefing to Congress Tuesday as they try to tackle skepticism among some members of Congress about the credibility of U.S. intelligence that led to the military movements and ordered departure of non-emergency personnel from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Erbil.

He said: "We are not willing to talk to people who have broken their promises". The California Democrat said he has received the key intelligence assessments, but he still has questions for the Trump administration on Iran.

Sen. Tom Cotton (R., Ark.) said Tuesday that recent actions taken by the Trump administration were not girding for war with Iran but rather seeking to deter military action by Iran.

"Their plan is to just continue to push and push and push, and hope that eventually the Iranians change their mind".

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