Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Iranian threats against United States forces in the Middle East have been "put on hold" after the Trump administration deployed a aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the region.
Almost half - 49% - of all Americans disapprove of how Trump is handling relations with Iran, the poll found, with 31% saying they strongly disapprove. "But I want to reiterate that an Iranian attack on US interests will be met with an appropriate response". Since then, the US has rolled out strict sanctions created to cut Iran's oil exports and recently deployed, ahead of schedule, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf in response to allegations that Iran and its allies were planning to target USA interests, charges Zarif has denied.
At the closed-door sessions, they spelled out to lawmakers what they described as the imminent threat from Iran, or its proxies, to USA personnel in the Middle East. USA government sources said Washington strongly suspected Shi'ite militias with ties to Tehran were behind a rocket attack in Baghdad's Green Zone.
Then-deputy defense secretary Patrick Shanahan, right, listens as US President Donald Trump speaks during a Cabinet meeting at the White House, in Washington, DC, on April 9, 2018. Iran has rejected allegations of its possible involvement in attacks last week and Iran's Iraqi allies rushed to condemn Sunday's rocket blast.
The State Department said Pompeo spoke with his Norwegian counterpart on Tuesday and discussed an attack on a Norwegian-flagged vessel off Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates.
The incidents all took place after Trump made a decision to try to cut off Iran's oil exports, roughly a year after he withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six major powers.
European and USA government sources believe Shia militias based in Yemen or Iraq carried out the attacks in Saudi Arabia and near the UAE, likely with Iran's encouragement.
Trump said the tightened sanctions were meant to push Iran to make concessions beyond the terms of the 2015 worldwide deal to curb Iran's nuclear program. "Our aim is to make progress toward a brighter future for this relationship, and for the Iranian people", Pompeo said in prepared remarks for the closed door briefing.
Trump said while there are no talks with Iran he still wants to hear from them, "if they're ready".
"That doesn't mean that the threats that we've previously identified have gone away".
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned Iraqi leaders during a surprise visit two weeks ago to Baghdad that if they failed to rein in Iran-backed militias, which are expanding their power in Iraq and form part of its security apparatus, the United States would respond with force.
On Sunday, Trump threatened Iran in a tweet, raising concerns about a potential US Iran conflict.
The Reuters/Ipsos poll was conducted May 17-20 on a sample of roughly 1,007 adults in the United States.
Democratic Senator Chris Coons, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said Trump "bluffs about going after Iran" and said the consequences of being drawn into a war would be "tragic".
USA government sources told Reuters last week they believe Iran encouraged Houthi militants or Iraq-based Shi'ite militias to carry out attacks on tankers off the United Arab Emirates.