US President Donald Trump has warned Iran would face “obliteration like you’ve never seen before” if war broke out, but insisted he does not want a conflict.
In an interview with NBC, Trump said there were no pre-conditions for talks with Iran, but warned the US would not tolerate nuclear weapons.
“You can’t have nuclear weapons,” he said. “And if you want to talk about it, good. Otherwise, you can live in a shattered economy for a long time to come.”
The US president also discussed his last-minute decision to call off air strikes on Thursday night after Iran shot down an unmanned US drone.
Trump said that while no planes were in the air, the plan was “ready to go, subject to my approval”.
“Things would have happened to a point where you would not turn back, you could not turn back,” he said.
Trump said he called off the attack after he was told 150 Iranians would be killed.
“I didn’t like it. I didn’t think it was proportionate,” he said.
Iran yesterday said it refrained from shooting down a US spy plane accompanying the drone that had 35 people on board.
Tensions between the two countries have been mounting since Trump last year pulled out of the international Iran nuclear agreement, which is designed to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.
In turn Iran, which is subject to strict sanctions by the US, has threatened to pull out of the deal altogether.
It comes after an apparent Iranian attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, which the White House denounced as “a clear threat to international freedom of navigation and freedom of commerce”.