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EghtesadOnline: US President Donald Trump told his top advisers he does not want to get the United States involved in a war with Iran, three US officials said on Thursday.

“He doesn’t want to go to war. It’s not who he is,” one official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

Trump has communicated to his national security team and other aides that wants to keep tensions with Tehran from boiling over into an armed conflict, Reuters cited the officials as saying.

But he has also made it clear that he will protect US interests in the region, one official said. US intelligence has purportedly showed heightened activity by Iran or its “proxies” that US officials took as a threat against American targets in the region, Financial Tribune reported.

Trump won the 2016 election in part by promising to stay out of conflicts abroad after what he viewed as costly wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. 

The US president told reporters on Thursday that he hoped the United States was not heading to war with Iran as he met with Switzerland President Ueli Maurer, whose nation has served as a liaison conduit between the two countries since they do not have diplomatic relations.

“Hope not,” Trump said when asked by reporters if Washington was going to war with Tehran.

Tensions have escalated in recent days with increasing concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict. Earlier this week, the United States pulled some diplomatic staff from its embassy in Baghdad following weekend attacks on four oil tankers in the Persian Gulf.

“The president has been clear, the United States does not seek military conflict with Iran, and he is open to talks with Iranian leadership,” said Garrett Marquis, spokesman for the White House National Security Council.

Trump has said publicly he wants to pursue a diplomatic route with Iran a year after withdrawing the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. He has said privately that he was worried that some of his advisers, such as National Security Adviser John Bolton, were pushing for war, two officials said.

White House Spokeswoman Sarah Sanders told Fox News that there is no friction between Trump and his advisers, and he welcomes different viewpoints.

“He’s the one the American people elected. He’s going to take in the information and the guidance from all of his national security team and he then will make a decision on what he thinks is the best and safest thing for the American people.” 

US House Speaker Nancy Pelosi on Thursday welcomed what she called Trump’s lack of “appetite” for military conflict with Tehran.

 

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