Trump tamps down Iran war talk, calls reports of rising tensions ‘fake news’

Trump reportedly told his acting defense that he doesn’t want war with Iran.

By David Isaac, World Israel News

President Donald Trump denied news reports that the U.S. was preparing for war with Iran,  sending a number of signals that America is seeking a diplomatic solution to the recent tensions with the Islamic Republic.

On Friday, Trump tweeted his disagreement with news reports about U.S. readiness for a conflict with Iran. “The Fake News Media is hurting our Country with its fraudulent and highly inaccurate coverage of Iran,” he said.

“It is scattershot, poorly sourced (made up), and DANGEROUS. At least Iran doesn’t know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!” he added.

On Thursday, Trump met with Swiss President Ueli Maurer at the White House. Switzerland acts as a communication channel between the U.S. and Iran since the U.S. cut off relations in 1979.

It had been reported earlier that the U.S. had given the Swiss a direct line to the White House to pass on to the Iranians should they want to talk.

On Wednesday, administration officials said that Trump had told Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan that he does not want to go to war with Iran.

Also on Wednesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Oman’s Sultan Qaboos bin Said to discuss the Iran threat. Oman has acted as an intermediary in the past between the West and Iran, and served as the conduit for early secret talks between the Obama administration and Iran in 2013, The New York Times reports.

Trump’s recent messages are in contrast to two weeks ago when the U.S. appeared to be seriously weighing a military option against Iran. On May 5, National Security Adviser John Bolton announced the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a bomber task force to the Middle East.

It was then reported that Trump’s top security officials presented him with a number of war options, the biggest plan calling for the deployment of 120,000 U.S. troops to the Mideast. Violent activity in the region, including the sabotage of several oil tankers and the bombing of a Saudi oil pipeline by Iranian-backed Yemeni forces further fueled the growing tensions.

However, even on May 9, Trump signaled that he preferred a peaceful solution to the escalating conflict. “What I would like to see with Iran, I would like to see them call me,” the president said in the White House on May 9.