Mattis denies report US is planning missile strike against Iran

Mattis denies report US is planning missile strike against Iran
© Getty

Defense Secretary James MattisJames Norman MattisLawmakers push back at Pentagon's possible Africa drawdown Overnight Defense: Book says Trump called military leaders 'dopes and babies' | House reinvites Pompeo for Iran hearing | Dems urge Esper to reject border wall funding request Trump called top military brass 'a bunch of dopes and babies' in 2017: book 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.”

ADVERTISEMENT

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 TrumpTrump says his advice to impeachment defense team is 'just be honest' Trump expands tariffs on steel and aluminum imports CNN's Axelrod says impeachment didn't come up until 80 minutes into focus group 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.