U.S. President Donald Trump says he is "not looking for war" with Iran and willing to negotiate with its leaders without preconditions, but that under no circumstances can the Islamic Republic be allowed to mass a nuclear weapons arsenal.
Trump told NBC's Meet the Press show that if the U.S. went to war with Iran, "It'll be obliteration like you've never seen before."
"But," he added, "I'm not looking to do that."
The U.S. leader said, "Here it is. Look, you can't have nuclear weapons. And if you want to talk about it, good. Otherwise, you can live in a shattered economy for a long time."
Trump's comments, taped Friday, were aired after he announced Saturday, without providing any details, that he plans to impose "major" new sanctions on Iran on Monday. He said the sanctions would be dropped as soon as the country becomes "a productive and prosperous nation again."
Two other key U.S. officials, national security adviser John Bolton and Vice President Mike Pence, issued new warnings to Iran that Trump's last-minute decision to not militarily retaliate for Tehran's Thursday shoot-down of an unmanned U.S. drone near the Strait of Hormuz should not be viewed as a sign of "weakness."
"Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness," Bolton said in Jerusalem ahead of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.
Pence told the CNN television network, "Iran must not take restraint for a lack of resolve. This is a president who hopes for the best for the Iranian people...but we will stand up to their provocations."
Source : VOA