Mattis denies report US is planning missile strike against Iran

Mattis denies report US is planning missile strike against Iran
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Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisNew Defense chief: Our 'priorities remain unchanged' The Hill's 12:30 Report: Trump targets Iran with new sanctions Trump urged to quickly fill Pentagon post amid Iran tensions MORE on Friday disputed a news report that the U.S. is preparing military action against Iran, calling it “fiction.”

Australian outlet ABC News published an article Thursday saying the United States could initiate a missile strike against Iran as early as next month.

“I have no idea where the Australian news people got that information,” Mattis told reporters. “I’m confident it is not something that's being considered right now, and I think it's a complete — frankly, it's — it’s fiction.”

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Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull also denied the report, which cites unnamed Australian officials.

"It's speculation," Turnbull said, according to The Straits Times. "It is citing anonymous sources."

The report came the same week that President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew EPA rule would expand Trump officials' powers to reject FOIA requests Democratic senator introduces bill to ban gun silencers Democrats: Ex-Commerce aide said Ross asked him to examine adding census citizenship question MORE tweeted a threat to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, telling him to “NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE.”

Trump appeared to be responding to remarks by Rouhani, in which he said that war with Iran would be "the mother of all wars."

Trump withdrew the U.S. from the Iran nuclear deal in May. The Obama-era agreement, which involves other countries, had lifted sanctions against Iran in exchange for the country abandoning its nuclear weapons program.