US Defense Secretary James Mattis has dismissed a news report that the United States is preparing military action against Iran, describing it as “fiction.”
He made the remarks on Friday a day after Australian outlet ABC News published an article, suggesting military action against the Islamic Republic was imminent as early as next month.
According to the report, Australian officials claimed the US was seeking to bomb Iran’s nuclear capability.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, however, rebutted the report, which cites unnamed officials as saying Australia is poised to help identify possible targets through “providing intelligence.”
“It’s speculation,” Turnbull said, according to The Straits Times. “It is citing anonymous sources.”
Speaking to reporters, Mattis said, “I have no idea where the Australian news people got that information.”
“I’m confident it is not something that’s being considered right now, and I think it’s a complete – frankly, it’s – it’s fiction,” he added.
When asked whether the US had a policy of “regime change or collapse” toward Iran, Mattis said, “There’s none that’s been instituted.”
This comes a few days after President Donald Trump promised dire consequences for Iran following Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s warning to him not to “play with the lion’s tail” after the US had unveiled a series of measures which amount to a declaration of war.
Addressing a group of Iranian diplomats in Tehran Sunday, Rouhani said, “America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars.”
Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani also reacted to Trump’s threats against the Islamic Republic, saying he takes the position to respond “as a soldier” since it is beneath the dignity of Iran’s president to do so.
“You threaten us with an action that is ‘unprecedented’ in the world. This is cabaret-style rhetoric. Only a cabaret owner talks to the world this way,” said the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC).
Meanwhile, US conservative political commentator for Fox News, Tucker Carlson, said Thursday that Iran is “a formidable force,” warning the Trump administration over escalating tensions with Tehran.
Tucker Carlson made the comment on Fox News, warning that Trump’s approach towards Iran could destroy his presidency.
“We are moving toward confrontation with Iran. That should worry everybody, but it should especially concern the president’s supporters. If President Trump decides to go to war with Iran, it will destroy his presidency, just as the Iraq War destroyed the presidency of his Republican predecessor, George W. Bush,” he said.