US President Donald Trump has said in an interview with Fox News that the only sphere where he wants to “invade” is actually economy, thereby downplaying fears of a conflict with Iran amid rising tensions between the two countries.
During the Sunday interview, Trump was asked to comment on Republican Sen. Lindsey Graham’s summary of their talks in January, when the two allegedly discussed the possibility of using military force in Venezuela. According to Graham, he warned Trump against such a move, while Trump allegedly surprisingly said: “You want to invade everywhere except where I want to invade.” The interviewer asked Trump to specify places where he wanted to invade.
“I want to invade, if I have to, economically,” Trump replied, praising his administration’s economic policies and stating that they had helped to create “a much stronger country economically.”
Commenting on Iran, he reiterated that he did not seek a war with Tehran, noting that the main thing he wanted was “not let Iran have nuclear weapons.”
“I am not somebody who wants to go into war because war kills economy, kills people most importantly,” he added.
“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.
“I ended the Iran Nuclear Deal, and actually, I must tell you — I had no idea it was going to be as strong as it was. It totally — the country is devastated from the standpoint of the economy,” he told Hilton.
US-Iranian tensions flared up last year after Washington unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal and started reinstating harsh sanctions against the country. On May 8, 2019, Iran announced the decision to partially discontinue its obligations under the deal. The United States, in turn, has stepped up its military presence in the Middle East in what White House National Security Adviser John Bolton has called “a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime.” The deployment includes a carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, B-52 bombers and F-15 fighters, according to the Pentagon.