Senators see off-ramp from Iran tensions after Trump remarks

Senators are hoping for an off-ramp from U.S.-Iran tensions as leaders from both countries struck notes of de-escalation a day after Tehran's missile attacks.
 
In announcing new sanctions Wednesday, Trump also dialed back his rhetoric during remarks from the White House, saying the two countries should "work together" on "shared priorities."
 
Senators, while stressing that it remains to be seen whether the detente holds, said they were hopeful that Trump was stepping back from the brink of war with Iran.
 
Asked if Trump was trying to de-escalate, Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman James InhofeJames (Jim) Mountain InhofeGOP senators urge Saudi Arabia to leave OPEC Overnight Defense: Stimulus bill has .5B for Pentagon | Money would be blocked from border wall | Esper orders 60-day freeze for overseas troop movements Senate panel switches to 'paper hearings' amid coronavirus pandemic MORE (R-Okla.) said "he's done it with the cooperation" of the Iranians, pointing to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.
 
"I think the president pretty much said it, we're going to start negotiating. Both of them are saying they want to negotiate. The door is open," Inhofe said.
 
Zarif appeared to open the door to an exit ramp, tweeting that the Iranian attack on Tuesday night “concluded proportionate measures” and that Tehran does "not seek escalation or war."
 
 
"I would encourage the Iranian regime to not just listen to the president, but to carefully study his statement in total regarding the path forward," Risch added.
 
 
Talk of ratcheting down tensions with Iran comes after nearly a week of growing concern that the U.S. and Iran were on a path toward war following a U.S. airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad.
 
Trump appeared to take a victory lap on Wednesday, touting that no Americans were harmed by the missile strikes and noting that Iran "appears to be standing down."
 
His comments marked the latest round of ramped-up tensions with Iran that later subsided.
 
 
"I think time will tell. I think as long as we are there to provide targets for militias and other people within Iraq, I think the temptation will go on for there to be a military escalation. I hope that this is it," he said.
 
 
"It's hard to say, because you've seen this thing go in cycles," he said. "We were within a minute of a strike in June and the president called it off."
 
Rebecca Kheel contributed.