U.S. President Donald Trump said on Sunday he was not seeking war with Tehran after a senior Iranian military commander warned any conflict in the Gulf region could spread uncontrollably and threaten the lives of U.S. troops.
Tensions remain high after Trump said on Friday that he called off a military strike to retaliate for Iran’s downing of an unmanned U.S. drone because it could have killed 150 people.
“I’m not looking for war,” Trump said on NBC’s Meet the Press programme.
Trump has said he will impose further sanctions on Iran beginning on Monday, but has also indicated that he would be prepared to seek a deal to bolster its flagging economy, an apparent move to defuse tensions.
“I think they want to negotiate. And I think they want to make a deal. And my deal is nuclear. Look, they’re not going to have a nuclear weapon,” he added.
“I don’t think they like the position they’re in. Their economy is, is absolutely broken.”
Relations in the region began to worsen significantly when Trump pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six powers and reimposed sanctions on the country. The sanctions had been lifted under the pact in return for Tehran curbing its nuclear programme.
Iran has said it would respond firmly to any threat against it and warned on Sunday of the risks of a military confrontation.