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Mattis: Trump tweet made clear Iran is 'on the wrong track'

Mattis: Trump tweet made clear Iran is 'on the wrong track'
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President TrumpDonald TrumpThe Memo: The Obamas unbound, on race Iran says onus is on US to rejoin nuclear deal on third anniversary of withdrawal Assaults on Roe v Wade increasing MORE’s unexpected threat against Iran earlier this week was meant to make clear to Tehran “that they’re on the wrong track,” Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisBiden's is not a leaky ship of state — not yet Rejoining the Iran nuclear deal would save lives of US troops, diplomats The soft but unmatched power of US foreign exchange programs MORE said Tuesday.

“I think what we have to look at is the destabilizing influence that Iran has consistently displayed and demonstrated throughout the region,” Mattis said at the Hoover Institution in Stanford, Calif.

Trump late Sunday surprised many when he issued an all-caps tweet directed at Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Mattis said he believes “the president was making very clear that they’re on the wrong track.” 

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“The only reason that the murderer [Syrian President Bashar] Assad is still in power — the primary reason — is because Iran has stuck by him, reinforced him, funded him,” said Mattis, who was in California to meet with Australian officials along with Secretary of State Mike PompeoMike PompeoPompeo on CIA recruitment: We can't risk national security to appease 'liberal, woke agenda' DNC gathers opposition research on over 20 potential GOP presidential candidates Dozens of scientists call for deeper investigation into origins of COVID-19, including the lab theory MORE.

“We see the same kind of malfeasance down in Yemen where they’re fomenting more violence down there. We’ve seen their disruptive capabilities demonstrated from Bahrain to the Kingdom [of Saudi Arabia], and it’s time for Iran to shape up and show responsibility as a responsible nation.”

Iran has supported Houthi rebels against the Saudi-backed Yemeni government in a conflict that’s been going on for three years. The United States has also been supporting the Saudi campaign.

Mattis added: “[Iran] cannot continue to show irresponsibility as some revolutionary organization that is intent on exporting terrorism, exporting disruption across the region.”

Neither Mattis nor Pentagon spokespeople have said whether the military would be adjusting its forces in the region to deal with any fallout from Trump’s tweet, including bolstering protections.

Pentagon spokeswoman Rebecca Rebarich told The Hill Monday that U.S. forces “are more than capable at defending themselves should the need arise.”

Trump did not address his Sunday tweet during a Tuesday speech at the Veterans of Foreign Wars national convention.

The commander in chief did, however, tout his decision to withdraw the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal.