Top officials say US doesn’t want war with Iran

WASHINGTON (AP) — Top Trump administration officials have told Congress that recent actions by the U.S. have deterred Iranian attacks on American forces. But some lawmakers remain deeply skeptical of the White House approach in the Middle East.

After Tuesday’s closed-door briefings on Capitol Hill, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said their objective over recent days has been to deter Iran.

Shanahan says they now want to prevent further escalation, telling reporters, “We’re not about going to war.”

He says the administration’s goal “is to prevent Iranian miscalculation,” adding, “We do not want the situation to escalate.”

Democrats are pretending to be particularly concerned the administration may try to rely on nearly 20-year-old war authorizations rather than seek fresh approval from Congress for any action.

Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is trying to assure lawmakers that the administration is not rushing toward a military confrontation with Iran.

Shanahan says he outlined during closed-door briefings Tuesday what the Pentagon has done since receiving “credible intelligence about threats to our interests in the Middle East and to American forces.” He said, “This is about deterrence, not about war.”

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo briefed lawmakers alongside Shanahan and said he placed recent intelligence about Iran “in context.”

The briefings on Capitol Hill came after weeks of escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf. Lawmakers have criticized the administration for not communicating with Congress while responding to the threat. Many have warned that the Trump administration cannot go to war without authorization from Congress.

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