(May 20, 2019 / JNS) Two large U.S. warships conducted a rare training exercise in the Arabian Sea as U.S. President Donald Trump warning the war would be the “official end of Iran” as tensions have increased in recent weeks between Washington and Tehran.
The United States has increased pressure on the Islamic Republic with new sanctions and deploying two warships with fighter jets, in addition to a Patriot missile battery, to the Gulf in response to Pentagon reports that Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps was planning an attack on U.S. forces or interests in the region—moves that have caused European foreign ministers to call for de-escalation.
“The exercises and training we are doing with Amphibious Squadron Six, the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit and USS Kearsarge are aimed towards increasing our lethality and agility to respond to threats, and deterring destabilizing actions in this important region,” said Rear Adm. John Wade, commander of the Carrier Strike Group 12, in a statement.
Meanwhile, on Sunday, Trump tweeted, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”
If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) May 19, 2019
However, Trump has expressed that he does not want war with the regime.
“I don’t want to fight. But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons—you just can’t let that happen,” he said in an interview with Fox News that aired Sunday night.
Iran has quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium, according to media reports on Monday.
British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Monday that American leaders “are not seeking a conflict, they don’t want a war with Iran, but if American interests are attacked, they will retaliate. And that is something that the Iranians need to think about very, very carefully.”
Last week, Trump said that Iran will “suffer greatly” if “they do anything.”
“We’ll see what happens with Iran. … If they do anything, they will suffer greatly,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office in response to reports that two oil tankers owned by Saudi Arabia and two others, one owned by the United Arab Emirates and another by Norway, were sabotaged, possibly by Tehran.
“It’s going to be a bad problem for Iran if something happens. I can tell you that,” said Trump. “They’re not going to be happy. They’re not going to be happy people.”
The president did not elaborate on the threat, saying, “You can figure it out yourself. They know what I mean by it.”
The New York Times reported last week the Trump administration has reviewed a military option that includes sending up to 120,000 troops to the Mideast were Iran to attack U.S. forces or increase its work on nuclear weapons. Trump denied the report.