US has no imminent plans to use military force against Iran – McConnell

Sputnik – Officials in the United States are not discussing plans to use military force against Iran despite escalating tensions between Washington and Tehran, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said during a press briefing on Tuesday.

“Nobody is talking about a military solution to the current friction with the Iranians. I haven’t heard anybody discuss that”, McConnell told reporters.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and other top defence and security officials were on Capitol Hill on Tuesday to conduct closed-door briefings for members of Congress on Iranian threats and steps the Trump administration is taking to protect its interests in the Middle East.

The United States has in recent weeks stepped up its military forces in the Middle East in what US National Security Adviser John Bolton has called “a clear and unmistakable message” to Iran. The new US deployments in the region include a carrier strike group, Patriot missiles, B-52 bombers and F-15 fighters, according to the Pentagon.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that Iran does not intend to wage war with the United States but will continue to resist Washington.
US-Iranian tensions first flared up last year when the United States unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and started reinstating sanctions. On 8 May, Iran announced its decision to partially discontinue its obligations under the nuclear agreement.