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Trump says he's still considering military action over Iran

But the President added that he will be Iran’s “best friend” if nuclear weapons are abandoned.

Image: Pool/ABACA

US PRESIDENT DONALD Trump has said he is still considering military action against Iran after it downed an unmanned US military drone earlier this week. 

Speaking to reporters at the White House today, Trump said that he will impose additional sanctions on Iran and that military action is “always on the table until we get this solved”. 

The president says he aborted a military strike set for Thursday after learning 150 people would be killed.

Trump said: “I don’t want to kill 150 Iranians. I don’t want to kill 150 of anything or anybody unless it’s absolutely necessary.”

Trump added that “we very much appreciate” a decision by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard not to shoot down a US spy plane carrying more than 30 people.

He said the downing of the US drone was “probably intentional” — contradicting what he said on Thursday.

Trump, however, also said that he would be Iran’s “best friend” and that the Islamic republic could be a “wealthy” country if it renounced nuclear weapons, amid soaring tensions between the two nations.

“We’re not going to have Iran have a nuclear weapon,” Trump told reporters outside the White House as he prepared to depart for Camp David for meetings on the situation with Iran, which downed a US drone earlier this week.

“When they agree to that, they’re going to have a wealthy country. They’re going to be so happy, and I’m going to be their best friend. I hope that happens.”

“Let’s make Iran great again,” he added, tweaking for the occasion his main domestic political mantra.

Tensions

Meanwhile, Iran has summoned the United Arab Emirates’ top envoy to Tehran to protest the neighboring Arab nation’s allowing the US to use a base there to launch a drone that Iran says entered its airspace.

Today’s report by the official IRNA news agency said Iran issued a “strong protest” to the UAE diplomat, saying Iran does not tolerate the facilitation of foreign forces that violate its territory.

The US says its RQ-4A Global Hawk was shot down Thursday over international waters, not inside Iranian airspace.

On Friday, Iran summoned Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner to hear Iran’s protest over the alleged violation. Switzerland looks after U.S. interests in Iran. Tehran and Washing have had no diplomatic relations since 1979.

Iran says the US drone was a “very dangerous provocation.”

The relationship between Tehran and Washington has been particularly strained since the US quit the a nuclear deal announced in 2015 last year, and reimposed sanctions on Iran.

The US has also bolstered its military presence in the Middle East recently and blacklisted Iran’s Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organisation.

But Tehran’s top security official said on Wednesday there was no reason to worry about a conflict breaking out.

“There will be no war (between Iran and the US) since there is no reason for a war,” said rear-admiral Ali Shamkhani, secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, quoted by the official news agency IRNA.

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Associated Press

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