U.S. President Donald Trump is dismissing a report that the U.S. is planning for a military conflict with Iran.
Trump was responding to Tuesday's report in The New York Times that the White House is reviewing military plans against Iran that could result in sending 120,000 U.S. troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces or steps up work on nuclear weapons.
Trump says it's "fake news." He says he would "absolutely" be willing to send troops, but that he's not planned for that and hopefully won't have to plan for that.
He says if the U.S. was going to get into a military conflict with Iran, "we'd send a hell of a lot more" troops.
Trump spoke to reporters Tuesday at the White House before traveling to Louisiana.
Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that there would no war with the United States despite mounting tensions.
In comments to senior officials carried by state television, Khamenei also reiterated that Iran would not negotiate with the United States on a nuclear deal. "There won't be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance," he said.
Iran behind tanker attack
U.S. national security agencies now believe proxies sympathetic to or working for Iran may have attacked four tankers off the United Arab Emirates rather than Iranian forces themselves, a U.S. official familiar with the latest U.S. assessments said on Tuesday.
The official said possible perpetrators might include Houthi rebels in Yemen and Iran-backed Shi'ite militias based in Iraq but said Washington did not have hard evidence on who sabotaged the four vessels, including two Saudi tankers, off Fujairah emirate on Sunday.
Saudi Arabia said armed drones hit two oil pumping stations in the kingdom on Tuesday in what it called a "cowardly" act of terrorism.
Also Tuesday, a senior officer in the U.S.-led military coalition combating the Islamic State says there is no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria.
British Maj. Gen. Chris Ghika (gee-ka), speaking from coalition headquarters in Baghdad, made the remark Tuesday to reporters at the Pentagon in a video conference.
Ghika said Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria are among numerous sources of security threats to coalition troops, but he said that threat has not increased recently.
His comment follows assertions by Trump administration officials that they have detected signs that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies were preparing for possible attacks against American interests in the Mideast. The administration cited the threats as the reason for expediting the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and other military resources to the region.
Reuters contributed to this report.
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