EghtesadOnline: Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said his country will not be drawn into any military conflict with Iran, declaring that Canberra’s commitment is limited to protecting freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz.
US President Donald Trump, who flagged the prospect of a military strike against Iran during a Friday meeting with Morrison at the White House, announced a decision to send additional troops and enhanced air and missile defense systems to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in response to a drone attack on Saudi oil facilities on Sept. 14, which the US blames on Iran. However, Trump later backtracked and said his preference was for restraint.
Iran has denied any involvement in the attacks claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement that has been facing indiscriminate airstrikes from a Saudi coalition attempting to reinstate the ousted Yemeni president, Abd-Rabbuh Mansur Hadi.
Trump is expected to use the looming opportunity of leaders’ week at the United Nations to try to cajole other nations into participation, according to Financial Tribune.
Morrison told reporters after a reception at the private residence of Australia’s ambassador in Washington that Australia was engaged in the Strait of Hormuz and “that’s where our involvement is”, The Guardian reported on Sunday.
“There was no discussion about anything else. There was an appreciation of our involvement in that particular operation, which I remind everyone is about freedom of navigation in the Straits of Hormuz,” the prime minister said.
“That’s what that is about. The other matters that are being pursued by the United States are matters that they’re pursuing, and I made it very clear when we announced our involvement in [the Strait of Hormuz] that it was very much about that freedom of navigation issue and that’s what it is about and that’s appreciated.”
Morrison praised Trump’s restraint on Iran.
“I made a point of commending the president yesterday on what I understand to be his natural instinct of restraint on these matters.”
He said people needed to avoid “getting ahead of themselves” about what Trump might or might not do in relation to Iran. He said these issues were “dealt with I think in a very iterative way and I think that’s what you’re seeing”.
Trump told reporters during his meeting with Morrison that he could launch a military strike on Iran “right here”.
“It’s all set to go. I could do it right here and then you’d have a nice big story to report,” he said. But moments later he suggested holding off was the better course of action.
“I think the strong person’s approach, and the thing that does show strength, would be showing a little bit of restraint,” Trump concluded with a surprisingly strong dose of insight.