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Mattis denies that the US is planning a missile strike against Iran

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James Mattis
Defense
Secretary James Mattis on Friday flatly denied reports the US is
planning a missile strike against Iran.

Yuri Gripas/Reuters

  • Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday vehemently
    dismissed reports in the Australian media the US military is
    planning a missile strike against Iran’s nuclear
    facilities.
  • Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also denied
    the report.
  • This all comes just days after President Donald Trump
    tweeted an all-caps threat directed at Iranian President Hassan
    Rouhani. 

Defense Secretary Jim Mattis on Friday vehemently dismissed
reports in the Australian media that the US military is planning
a missile strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

“I have no idea where the Australian news people got that
information,”
Mattis told reporters
. “I’m confident it is not something
that’s being considered right now, and I think it’s a complete –
frankly, it’s – it’s fiction.”

The Australian outlet ABC on Thursday published
a report
claiming officials from Australian Prime
Minister Malcolm Turnbull’s government said the US was
planning a potential strike and further claimed Sydney might help
identify “possible targets.”

Like Mattis, however, Turnbull flatly denied the
reports. 

“President Trump has made his views very clear to the whole
world, but this story … has not benefited from any consultation
with me, the Foreign Minister, the Defence Minister or the Chief
of the Defence Force,” Turnbull stated.

This all comes just days after President Donald Trump
tweeted an all-caps threat directed at Iranian President Hassan
Rouhani. 

On Sunday, Trump tweeted,
“To Iranian President Rouhani: NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED
STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH
FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE. WE ARE NO
LONGER A COUNTRY THAT WILL STAND FOR YOUR DEMENTED WORDS OF
VIOLENCE & DEATH. BE CAUTIOUS!”

Trump’s tweet came after Rouhani warned a conflict between
the US and Iran would be the “mother of all wars.”

The tweet prompted concerns of Trump’s intentions toward
Iran, especially in relation to his decision to
withdraw the US from the landmark Iran nuclear deal
back in
May.

The Obama-era deal was designed to prevent Iran from
developing nuclear weapons in exchange for the easing of economic
sanctions, and was widely viewed as a major step toward
establishing more stable, amicable relations between the US and
Iran.

Trump’s decision to walk away from the Iran nuclear deal
was met with harsh criticism by key US allies, including France,
the UK, and Germany. 

That said, the president has repeatedly signaled he’s open
to new talks with Tehran and did so again Tuesday. 

During a speech to the Veterans of Foreign Wars in Kansas
City, Missouri, Trump said, “We’ll see what happens, but we’re
ready to make a real deal, not the deal that was done by the
previous administration, which was a disaster.”

Mattis appeared before reporters on Friday after coming
under
sharp criticism for avoiding the press
. His last on camera
briefing at the Pentagon was in April.

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