By Emma Kinery, Bloomberg News–
President Donald Trump said the U.S. has seen no signs that Iran is preparing to attack American forces but he again threatened the Islamic Republic.
“We have no indication that anything is happening or will happen,” Trump told reporters as he left the White House for a campaign rally in Pennsylvania on Monday. “But if it does it will be met with great force.”
Trump has recently heightened U.S. tensions with Tehran, dispatching an aircraft carrier, bombers and other forces to the Persian Gulf region in response to unspecified threats while regularly issuing his own.
Earlier this month, the U.S. withdrew waivers that allowed countries including India and China to purchase Iranian oil despite sanctions, as the Trump administration tries to ratchet up economic pressure on Iran’s government.
“They’ve been very hostile,” Trump said. “They’re the number one provocateur of terror.”
Trump withdrew from the 2015 accord that curbed Iran’s nuclear program after complaining it wasn’t hard enough on Tehran. He’s invited the country’s leaders to negotiate a new version; they have so far declined.
“I only want them to call if they’re ready,” Trump said. “If they’re not ready, they don’t have to bother.”
Iran has accelerated the rate at which it’s enriching low-grade uranium, weeks after threatening to gradually scale back its commitments under the 2015 nuclear accord. It has not enriched beyond limits agreed to under the pact, according to a report Monday by the semi-official Tasnim news agency.
–With assistance from Golnar Motevalli.
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