U.S. ‘Prepared for the Worst,’ But Seeking ‘Diplomatic Solution’ With Iran
Mark Esper said Tehran should de-escalate the conflict
US seeks a diplomatic solution to the conflict with Iran, but Tehran must de-escalate. This was announced by Defense Secretary Mark Esper during a press briefing held at the Pentagon on Tuesday.
Esper said it “would be more fair” to say that Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, who was killed last week by shelling at Baghdad airport, was preparing an attack that was to take place in the coming days, not weeks..
Answering a journalist’s question about the resolution on the withdrawal of American troops, which was adopted the day before by the Iraqi parliament, Esper said that he had not received an official request from the Iraqi authorities to withdraw troops from the country. Esper noted that this parliamentary resolution is not binding.
“As far as I know, I have not received any messages [from the Prime Minister of Iraq] or the Iraqi government about the bill, or about an order or request to withdraw US troops,” the head of the Pentagon said..
There are now over 5,000 American troops in Iraq, training Iraqi soldiers and leading a coalition fighting the remnants of the Islamic State terrorist organization..
“We are not seeking a war with Iran. I think what happens in the future depends on them, “- said Mark Esper, adding that the United States expects some” retaliatory actions “from the Iranians, which can be carried out with the help of puppet paramilitary groups,” as they are doing already in for many years “, or directly by Tehran itself.
“We are ready for any unforeseen circumstances. And then we will respond appropriately to whatever they do, ”said Esper.
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