Potential for Iran attacks 'put on hold'

Pedestrians pass a mural in Tehran on Saturday

Pedestrians pass a mural in Tehran on Saturday

Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Gen. Joseph Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, presented a classified briefing Tuesday to House lawmakers to mixed results.

The nature of the threat has remained vague, although it reportedly included sightings of missiles being loaded on Iranian dhows in the Gulf.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Iranian threats against USA forces in the Middle East have been "put on hold" after the Trump administration deployed a aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region.

Shanahan said he's confident they have deterred attacks against American forces "based on our reposturing of assets".

"We're in a period where the threat remains high and our job is to make sure that there is no miscalculation by the Iranians", Shanahan said. But if Iran attacked US military forces first, four out of five believed the United States should respond militarily in a full or limited way, the May 17-20 poll showed.

Speaking of the threats, Romney said, "They were specific".

"We were lied to in terms of Iraq supposedly having weapons of mass destruction", said Vermont Sen.

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The survey showed that 51% of adults felt that the United States and Iran would go to war within the next few years, up 8 percentage points from a similar poll published last June. "Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate", Shanahan said.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top Trump administration officials are briefing Congress behind closed doors about the situation in Iran.

Meanwhile, former Central Intelligence Agency irector John Brennan also visited Capitol Hill Tuesday after congressional Democrats invited him to give them their own briefing on the situation in Iran during their private weekly caucus meeting. Republicans also favored the accord negotiated by the Democratic administration of President Barack Obama, with a little more than half saying they supported it.

The competing closed-door sessions come after weeks of escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf that have raised alarms over a possible military confrontation with Iran.

Historically tense relations between Washington and Tehran worsened in May after U.S. President Donald Trump hardened his anti-Iran stance and restored all sanctions on Iranian oil exports following his decision a year ago to pull the United States out of a 2015 worldwide nuclear accord with Tehran.

Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for an event in Pennsylvania that he was willing to have talks with Iran "when they're ready" but no discussions were going on now. He said Iran has been "very hostile".

Brennan told Democrats that while Iran wants to avoid conflict, the country's leadership will not capitulate to Trump.

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