U.S. President Donald Trump told NBC News on Sunday that he did not send a message to Tehran warning Iran of a U.S. attack, which he later called off.
Iranian sources told Reuters that Trump had warned Tehran via Oman that a U.S. attack was imminent, but had said he was against war and wanted talks.
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"I did not send that message," Trump said on NBC's Meet the Press program.
He said "I'm not looking for war."
Asked what he thinks Iran wants, he said, "I think they want to negotiate. And I think they want to make a deal. And my deal is nuclear. Look, they're not going to have a nuclear weapon ... I don't think they like the position they're in. Their economy is, is absolutely broken."
Trump said Saturday that military action against Iran was still an option for its downing of an unmanned U.S. military aircraft, but amid heightened tensions he dangled the prospect of eventually becoming an unlikely “best friend” of America’s longtime Middle Eastern adversary.
- U.S. struck Iranian military missile and rocket systems, officials say
- Iran warns war would spread across Gulf, threaten U.S. troops
Trump also said “we very much appreciate” that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard chose not to target a U.S. spy plane carrying more than 30 people.
The president’s softer tone Saturday marked a stark contrast to the anti-Iran rhetoric he employed throughout the presidential campaign and presidency, including his use of punishing economic sanctions in an attempt to pressure Iran to give up its quest to build nuclear weapons.