President Trump on Wednesday said he hopes the US will not go to war with Iran — but that if the two nations end up in military conflict, America’s use of force would be overwhelming.
“I hope we don’t, but we’re in a very strong position if something should happen,” Trump told Fox Business Network when asked if a war was imminent.
“I’m not talking boots on the ground … I’m just saying if something would happen, it wouldn’t last very long,” he added.
Tensions between the two countries have mounted after Washington accused Tehran of attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Iran has denied being behind the attacks on the ships, but has acknowledged that the Revolutionary Guard Corps shot down an American drone.
The Islamic Republic has said the RQ-4A Global Hawk was shot down over its territory — while the US has insisted that the drone was in international airspace when it was brought down.
Last week, Trump pulled back a military counterstrike against Iran because he said he was told the US attack would have killed 150 Iranians.
On Monday, the president signed an executive order to slap “hard-hitting” sanctions on Iran that would also target the country’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.
Iran responded by declaring a “permanent closure” of a path of diplomacy between the two nations.
The war of words escalated Tuesday as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the White House’s actions were “mentally retarded.”
On Wednesday, Trump fired back in his interview on Fox Business Network.
“I don’t think their leadership is smart,” he said.
“Iran is going down the tubes,” he added, citing the biting US sanctions as well as unrest in the country and other economic pressures.