Trump Admits He Doesn't Always Listen to 'Hawk' Bolton on Iran

Iranian soldiers take part in the National Persian Gulf Day in the Strait of Hormuz

Retired Gen. Jack Keane says the maximum pressure campaign is created to change Iran's behavior in the region and the way they treat their own people.

Iran will respond firmly to any US threat against it, the country's foreign ministry spokesperson said, after US President Donald Trump warned Iran of "obliteration" if a full-scale conflict would ensue.

The tensions started after after explosions hit two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week, which the USA has blamed on Iran.

Iran's leadership sees Mr Trump's current strategy as a mortal threat to the regime, domestically and regionally. On Wednesday, the Israel Defense Forces completed war games involving thousands of troops to prepare for a confrontation with Hezbollah, the Shia-based movement in Lebanon, which is aligned with Iran.

Keane described the administration's maximum pressure campaign was "first rate".

Tehran said the drone was shot down over its territory and Washington said it occurred in global airspace. "That has got to be our strategic focus", he told Fox News host Leland Vittert.

The president gave further insight into his tough decision not to launch attacks against the Iranian sites, adding: 'I didn't like it.

Iran made a trophy show Friday of purported wreckage from a downed USA drone as President Donald Trump said he called off a retaliatory strike to avoid killing Iranians.

Asked how he was weighing his options, Trump said in a meeting with congressional leaders Thursday, "My gut", according to a person familiar with the exchange.

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Trump's decision prompted Rep. Justin Amash, R-Mich., and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., to demand he seek approval from Congress before approving more strikes.

Speaking ahead of his trip to Camp David, the president answered a series of questions on Iran where he said he did not want to go to war and did not want to kill any Iranians unless 'absolutely necessary'. The president now, because he's exercised restraint, has leverage. -Israeli security ties, said Trump was undermining US credibility.

US commanders have increased the number of intelligence-gathering aircraft in the region to get a clearer picture of Iranian operations. Senate Democratic leader Chuck Schumer said he told Trump that conflicts have a way of escalating and "we're anxious that he and the administration may bumble into a war".

Tehran wants to lure the United States into a limited military response against its provocations, prior to the G20 summit in Osaka.

Mr. Trump said Iran also had a plane carrying 38 people on its sight but the country made the "very wise" decision not to shoot it down.

But Iran said on Saturday its airspace was "safe and secure" for all planes to cross, Tasnim reported.

Although the Foreign Affairs Committee member and veteran is an ally of the president's, he wasn't afraid to offer up harsh criticism for Trump's handling of Iran, arguing his reversal on the military strikes "undercuts" USA strategy.

British diplomat Andrew Murrison planned to visit Iran on Sunday and call for the "urgent de-escalation in the region and raise United Kingdom and worldwide concerns about Iran's regional conduct" during talks with Tehran's government, Britain's Foreign Office said in a statement Saturday.

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