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Trump playing down threat of war with Iran

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President Donald Trump says he hopes the U. S. is not on a path to war with Iran amid fears that his two most hawkish advisers could be angling for such a conflict with the Islamic Republic…
WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump says he hopes the U. S. is not on a path to war with Iran amid fears that his two most hawkish advisers could be angling for such a conflict with the Islamic Republic.
Asked Thursday if the U. S. was going to war with Iran, the president replied, “I hope not” — a day after he repeated a desire for dialogue, tweeting, “I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon.”
The tone contrasted with a series of moves by the U. S. and Iran that have sharply escalated tensions in the Middle East in recent days. For the past year, national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been the public face of the administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.
The friction has rattled lawmakers who are demanding more information on the White House’s claims of rising Iranian aggression. Top leaders in Congress received a classified briefing on Iran Thursday, but many other lawmakers from both parties have criticized the White House for not keeping them informed.
Iran poses a particular challenge for Trump. While he talks tough against foreign adversaries to the delight of his supporters, a military confrontation with Iran could make him appear to be backtracking on a campaign pledge to keep America out of foreign entanglements.
Lawmakers and allies, however, worry that any erratic or miscalculated response from Trump could send the U. S. careening into conflict.
Trump pulled the U. S. out of the Iran nuclear deal last year and reinstated sanctions on Tehran that are crippling its economy.

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