Trump 'does not want war with Iran'

U.S. Air Force a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron takes off from Al Udeid Air Base Qatar

U.S. Air Force a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron takes off from Al Udeid Air Base Qatar

In Washington, a senior administration official said the U.S. "sitting by the phone" but has heard no message from Tehran that Washington is willing to talk directly.

The call followed Mr Pompeo's trip to Russian Federation, where he said his country "fundamentally" did not seek a conflict, but added that the United States would "certainly respond in an appropriate fashion" if USA interests were attacked. Acting Defense Secretary Pat Shanahan may be even less inclined to military action at this time.

Mr. Bolton, officials said, has quietly voiced frustration with the president, viewing him as unwilling to push for changes in a region that he has long seen as a quagmire.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is the perennial politician, a yes man looking out for his own career future, versus National Security Adviser John Bolton, a man at the end of his career who's aggressively pushing his own vision.

US National Security Advisor John Bolton is a fierce critic of Tehran and has been a vocal supporter of toppling its clerical and political establishment. The intelligence was one of the critical reasons the United States made a decision to move an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the region, several United States officials with direct knowledge of the situation told CNN. Other intelligence picked up chatter about possible attacks on USA commercial interests in the region and even American troops and diplomats in Iraq, with the chatter reportedly unusually frequent and specific. Trump's administration is teeming with Iran hawks, and Iran would surely demand, at a minimum, that Trump drop sanctions and revert to the Obama-era status quo on the nuclear deal before agreeing to talk.

Iranian officials have said that they could reach 20% enrichment within four days.

"I hope that the president's advisers recognize that they have no authorization to go forward in any way" against Iran, Pelosi said. Trump told reporters after being asked about the report.

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As military officials struggled to show that the threat from Iran was growing, intelligence officials declassified a photograph of one of the small boats, called dhows, carrying what was described as a functional Iranian missile.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Thursday that "the escalation by the United States is unacceptable and uncomfortable", and that despite the US withdrawal from the nuclear deal, Iran is exercising "maximum restraint". "If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake", he said.

Mohammad Javad Zarif chastised the worldwide community, saying that so far, it has "mainly made statements, instead of saving the deal", according to the official IRNA news agency. It also follows a the State Department earlier this week ordering all non-emergency government employees to leave the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and U.S. Consulate in Erbil amid tensions with Iran.

Republicans are scrambling to tamp down talk of war with Iran amid increasing concerns that the Donald Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign could inadvertently provoke a conflagration. He was quickly rebutted by a spokesperson from U.S. Central Command, who said an attack from Iran was possibly "imminent".

"We don't seek a war, nor do they", he said in remarks carried on state media.

Overhead imagery showed fully assembled missiles, stoking fears that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps would fire them at US naval ships.

The differences are that Iran has been more provocative and our allies have been less supportive, despite Iran openly abandoning its nuclear deal.

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