U.S Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated Washington’s reluctance to engage in a military conflict with Iran, saying instead that the Pentagon’s military build-up in the Middle East aimed to deter Tehran’s aggression. “President [Donald] Trump does not want war, and we will continue to communicate that message while doing the things that are necessary to protect American interests in the region,” the top U.S. diplomat stressed. The comments came after President Trump, in an interview with Time magazine, described recent Iranian-attributed attacks on shipping assets in the Gulf as “very minor.” The U.S. leader implied that he would not go to war to uphold freedom of navigation in the seas – which is essential to the ongoing stability of global oil markets – but, rather, only “over nuclear weapons.” President Trump’s statements, in turn, followed an announcement that the U.S. was deploying an additional 1,000 troops to the region. All of this, meanwhile, comes on the backdrop of Iranian threats to exceed within 10 days the enriched uranium stockpile limit set by the 2015 nuclear deal. The regime also warned that unless European powers found a way to maintain the economic benefits to Iran stipulated in the atomic pact, the mullahs could begin enriching uranium to 20 percent, a technical step away from the 90% threshold required for nuclear arms.
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