Trump sent a “warning” to Iran on Monday, a week after he reportedly called off a military strike on Iran over a downed spy drone. Speaking in an interview with Fox News, Trump said his decision earned him a lot of “great capital” inside the US, indicating that he is now in a position to do “far worse, if something should happen.”
“I was given a lot of credit by most people. A lot of people gave me of credit,” the president said in his interview.
“A lot of people said that was a great presidential moment, which was, you know, rather shocking to hear,” he added.
In June, Trump is reported to have made a last-minute decision not to retaliate using the US military against Iran’s downing of a spy drone. Iran claimed the drone violated Iranian airspace.
“I made the final decision not to do it,” Trump said. “I built up a lot of great capital, and if something should happen, we're in a position to do far worse by not doing it. But, hopefully, we don't have to do anything.”
He said again that he does not wish to go to war with Iran, but asserted that Tehran cannot be allowed to have nuclear weapons. Iran has repeatedly denied that it aspires to manufacture its own nuclear weapons.
“You know, you and I aren't so different in terms of fighting, we want to have peace,” he said, referring to Iran.
“We want to build our roads and build our schools and build all the things we want to build,” Trump continued, adding, “But, we can't let Iran have a nuclear weapon […] you can't let Iran have a nuclear weapon, and you can't let certain other countries have nuclear weapons. It's too devastating.”
Trump repeated that he wants to negotiate with Iran and make a new deal to replace the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), struck during the administration of US President Barack Obama. In 2018, Trump unilaterally abandoned the JCPOA treaty, drawing criticism from Iran as well as the other signatories to the historic deal.
The drone incident culminated a period of rapidly rising tensions between the two nations, as Washington ramped up its military presence in the Persian Gulf, sending ground forces, armored vehicles, bombers and an aircraft carrier strike group to the region. Responding to US policies, Iran demanded that the EU JCPOA signatories provide the nation with a viable trading mechanism to bypass US oil-purchase sanctions.
As the EU failed to provide an effective measure in the time determined in the text of the deal, Iran announced that it would resume uranium enrichment past 3.6 percent as per the text of the deal.
On Monday, Iranian media reported that Tehran had surpassed its uranium stockpile limit of 300 kg (660 pounds), to which the US Senate Foreign Relations Committee responded by accusing Iran of being in violation of a treaty to which it is no longer a participant.
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denied the allegations, and provided screenshots of the text of the treaty which Iran used to declare its intent and purpose.