The Latest: Trump says still considering military action
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on tensions between the U.S. and Iran and in the Persian Gulf (all times local):
President Donald Trump says he’s still considering military action against Iran after it downed an unmanned U.S. military aircraft.
Trump says such action is “always on the table until we get this solved.”
The president says he aborted a military strike set for Thursday after learning 150 people would be killed. Trump said: “I don’t want to kill 150 Iranians. I don’t want to kill 150 of anything or anybody unless it’s absolutely necessary.” He addressed reporters as he left the White House on Saturday for a weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat.
Trump said “we very much appreciate” a decision by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard not to shoot down a U.S. spy plane carrying more than 30 people.
He said the downing of the U.S. drone was “probably intentional” — contradicting what he said Thursday.
A British Foreign Office official will visit Iran and call for “urgent de-escalation in the region and raise U.K. and international concerns about Iran’s regional conduct” during talks with Tehran’s government.
The Foreign Office said Saturday: “At this time of increased regional tensions and at a crucial period for the future of the nuclear deal, this visit is an opportunity for further open, frank and constructive engagement with the government of Iran.”
Minister Andrew Murrison is arriving Sunday for a short visit.
It was announced after President Donald Trump said he had called off military strikes on Iran minutes before they were to be carried out Thursday because it would have been out of proportion to the shootdown of an unmanned American surveillance drone.
Iran has summoned the United Arab Emirates’ top envoy to Tehran to protest the neighboring Arab nation’s allowing the U.S. to use a base there to launch a drone that Iran says entered its airspace.
The Saturday report by the official IRNA news agency said Iran issued a “strong protest” to the UAE diplomat, saying Iran does not tolerate the facilitation of foreign forces that violate its territory.
The U.S. says its RQ-4A Global Hawk was shot down Thursday over international waters, not inside Iranian airspace.
On Friday, Iran summoned Swiss Ambassador Markus Leitner to hear Iran’s protest over the alleged violation. Switzerland looks after U.S. interests in Iran. Tehran and Washing have had no diplomatic relations since 1979.
Iran says the U.S. drone was a “very dangerous provocation.”