Speed Reads

different tone

Trump downplays Iran's alleged attack on oil tankers as 'very minor'

President Trump in a new interview on Tuesday downplayed recent actions by Iran, including an alleged attack on oil tankers, as "very minor."

Trump spoke to Time after the U.S. said that Iran was behind an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, and as Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced that 1,000 additional troops would be sent to the Middle East.

But in an interview with Time, Trump said that "so far, it's been very minor," referring to Iran's actions. He said that he would "certainly" take military action against Iran "over nuclear weapons" but that "I would keep the other a question mark." Asked whether he is considering military action right now, Trump said, "I wouldn’t say that. I can't say that at all."

Time notes that this "very minor" comment "struck a different tone than the public stance of the Pentagon and other Republicans in Washington," with Shanahan having said that the "hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups ... threaten United States personnel and interests across the region." National Security Adviser John Bolton also recently told the Washington Free Beacon that Iran "would be making a big mistake if they doubted the president's resolve on this."