Pentagon chief: Threat from Iran 'on hold'

Pentagon chief: Threat from Iran 'on hold'
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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanDefense chief calls on European allies to be wary of China's investments, blasts Russia Pentagon chief approves 20 more miles of border wall Why Dave Norquist is the perfect choice for DOD's deputy secretary MORE on Tuesday said the threat from Iran is “on hold,” after the deployment of additional U.S. military forces to the Persian Gulf region.

“I think our steps were very prudent and we’ve put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans and that is what is extremely important,” Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon.

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“We're in a period where the threat remains high and our job is to make sure that there is no miscalculation by the Iranians.”

Later asked to clarify whether he meant the threat from Iran was diminished or reduced, Shanahan replied, “There haven’t been any attacks on Americans. I would consider that a hold.”

But he added that the hold “doesn’t mean that the threats that we’ve previously identified have gone away.”

“Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate. I think our response was a measure of our will and our resolve that we will protect our people and our interests in the region.”

The remarks came ahead of closed-door briefings on Capitol Hill where President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization House Judiciary Committee formally receives impeachment report Artist behind gold toilet offered to Trump sells banana duct-taped to a wall for 0,000 MORE's top security officials — including Shanahan, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoTrump says he will 'temporarily hold off' on declaring Mexican drug cartels as terror organization West Bank annexation would endanger Israel's security House approves two-state resolution in implicit rebuke of Trump MORE and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford — will provide the first opportunity for many lawmakers to evaluate the intelligence the Trump administration says justifies its recent moves in the region.

House and Senate members are set to receive separate briefings on Tuesday afternoon.

Tensions with Iran remain high since the Trump administration pulled out of the Obama-era nuclear deal.

More recently, officials ordered the accelerated deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group to the region along with a B-52 bomber task force.

The Navy announced on Sunday that the strike group conducted an exercise in the Arabian Sea with the Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group.

The exercises were "aimed towards increasing our lethality and agility to respond to threats, and deterring destabilizing actions in this important region,” Rear Adm. John Wade, commander of the carrier strike group, said in a statement.

Iranian officials responded on Monday by announcing they have increased their capacity to produce enriched uranium.