Administration

Trump officials brief Congress on Iran as tensions escalate

Trump administration officials will brief congressional leaders on Thursday about Iran amid escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran.

Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said at her weekly press conference that officials would brief leadership and senior members of both parties and both chambers of Congress along with members of committees with jurisdiction over the issue.

The briefing comes after the U.S. military said Iran shot down an American drone in international waters in an "unprovoked attack." 

"So, we'll learn more in that briefing as to what is happening there. I think it is a dangerous situation," Pelosi told reporters. "We have to be strong and strategic in how we protect our interests. We also cannot be reckless in what we do. So, it will be interesting to see what they have to say. I don't think the president wants to go to war. There's no appetite for going to war in our country."

Pelosi noted that she has also called for a broader briefing to include more members of Congress.

In his first comment on the downed U.S. drone, President Trump tweeted Thursday morning that Iran "made a big mistake" but did not offer details on any potential response.

Lawmakers have expressed concern about the escalating situation with Iran after the administration earlier this week accused Tehran of being behind the bombings of two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week. 

The Pentagon also announced this week that it would deploy an additional 1,000 troops to the region to address "air, naval, and ground-based threats" in the Middle East.

Tehran responded by declaring it would exceed the uranium enrichment limit that was agreed to in the Obama-era nuclear deal. Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement last year, but Iran has continued to keep within the pact's boundaries until now.

Trump this week called the oil tanker attacks "minor," but said he would "certainly" go to war over nuclear weapons.

Pelosi on Thursday hammered the president over his response to Iran since he took office, saying the Obama nuclear deal was "very, very positive" and that withdrawing from it led the U.S. to lose "some credibility with our allies." 

"I think however we go forward, without saying how we got here, however we go forward we have to recognize that working together with our allies is very, very important, and we cannot throw our weight around. We have to do this together," she said.

"There's nobody who has any illusions about Iran, their bad behavior as to who they support in the region, their spreading of ballistic missiles, and we have sanctions on all of that. But this is a dangerous neighborhood and this calculation on either side could provoke something that would be very bad in terms of the security and our interests."

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