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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 MattisOvernight Defense: Pentagon watchdog to probe extremism in US military | FBI chief warns of 'online chatter' ahead of inauguration | House conservative bloc opposes Austin waiver Conservative caucus opposes waiver for Biden's Pentagon pick Overnight Defense: National Guard boosts DC presence ahead of inauguration | Lawmakers demand probes into troops' role in Capitol riot | Financial disclosures released for Biden Pentagon nominee 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 TrumpCIA chief threatened to resign over push to install Trump loyalist as deputy: report Azar in departure letter says Capitol riot threatens to 'tarnish' administration's accomplishments Justice Dept. argues Trump should get immunity from rape accuser's lawsuit 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.