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Pentagon chief: Threat from Iran 'on hold'

Pentagon chief: Threat from Iran 'on hold'
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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick ShanahanPatrick Michael ShanahanProgressive House Democrats urge Biden against Defense chief with contractor ties Trump fires Defense chief Mark Esper House Armed Services chairman expresses confidence in Esper amid aircraft carrier coronavirus crisis 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 TrumpUSAID administrator tests positive for COVID-19 Kamala Harris, Stacey Abrams among nominees for Time magazine's 2020 Person of the Year DOJ appeals ruling preventing it from replacing Trump in E. Jean Carroll defamation lawsuit MORE's top security officials — including Shanahan, Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoO'Brien on 2024 talk: 'There's all kinds of speculation out there' Israeli military instructed to prepare for Trump strike on Iran: report Biden's State Department picks are a diplomatic slam dunk 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.