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U.S. Defense Secretary: Trump ready to talk to Iran without preconditions

Defense Secretary nominee Mark Esper
US Secretary of Defense Mark Esper said on Sunday that President Donald Trump is always ready to talk and negotiate with Tehran autorities but without  any preconditions.

@AlainBRK عاجل | وزير الدفاع الأمريكي: ترامب ما زال مستعدا للحديث مع إيران بدون شروط مسبقة

Esper who said he did not see intelligence that supported President Trump’s comments that the Iranian commander killed in a U.S. drone strike was plotting attacks against four U.S. embassies.

Speaking on CBS's "Face the Nation" he said that he shared Trump’s view that planning was underway, but did not cite intelligence information he saw to support the claims.

“What the president said was he believed there probably and could've been attacks against additional embassies, I shared that view, I know other members of the national security team shared that view, that’s why I deployed thousands of American paratroopers to the Middle East to reinforce our embassy in Baghdad and other sites throughout the region,” Esper said.

NEWS: @EsperDod tells @margbrennan he "didn't see" specific evidence showing Iran planned to strike 4 U.S. embassies, despite @realDonaldTrump saying an attack at multiple embassies was “imminent." Watch more of Esper's interview on @FacetheNation today. pic.twitter.com/1Nud8waok1— Face The Nation (@FaceTheNation) January 12, 2020


He added that Trump did not cite a “specific piece of evidence.”
“Are you saying there wasn't one?, CBS’s Margaret Brennan asked.

“I didn't see one with regard to four embassies,” Esper responded. “What I’m saying is I share the presidents’ view.”

He added that administration officials "do not expect any further attacks."

Trump told Fox News in an interview that aired Friday that Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani was plotting against four U.S. embassies before he was targeted.

Members of Congress have questioned whether the attack was imminent, as administration officials have said in defending their decision to carry out the strike in briefings before lawmakers.

During an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union” Sunday, Esper similarly defended Trump’s comments and said he shared the president's view that Iran was planning attacks against multiple embassies.

He did not, however, go so far as to confirm intelligence supported the claim.

“I’m not going to discuss intelligence matters on the show,” Esper said.

“The president did,” host Jake Tapper responded.

Esper replied that that is the “president’s prerogative.”

When asked if the president is “embellishing,” Esper said he doesn't believe so.

“At the end of the day, Soleimani was planning an attack against multiple sites,” he said, including “at least” the embassy in Baghdad.”

Esper added that “taking [Soleimani] off the battlefield..was the right thing to do.”

Iran retaliated with missile strike against two US military bases in Iraqi in revenge for the US assassination of General Qaseem Soleimani in Baghdad.

Pro Iran's group, Hezbollah secretary general Nasrallah said the response to Soleimani's killing is not one operation, but a long process that must drive the US military presence out of the region; the strike in Ain al-Asad is merely a slap.

LBCI Lebanon News [email protected]_News_EN
#Nasrallah: The response to Soleimani’s killing is not one operation, but a long process that must drive the #US military presence out of the region; the strike in Ain al-Asad is merely a slap

Hassan Nasrallah, threatens violence against the US if it does not withdraw its troops from the Middle East, and says any future American attack on Iran would draw a retaliation against Israel.

“If in the coming days or weeks the US doesn’t withdraw its forces from the Middle East, the American soldiers will return to the US in coffins,” Nasrallah says.

He adds that Iran’s missile strike on bases housing US troops in Iraq showed Tehran’s military strength, since the missiles it used were produced in Iran, Channel 13 reports.

“All the American bases in the Middle East are within range of Iran’s accurate missiles,” Nasrallah says. “The attack on the American bases is also a strong message to Israel and Netanyahu, who dreams of attacking Iran.”

Nasrallah says Tehran had conveyed to Washington through intermediaries and via the media that any future American attack against Iran would bring a strong response against both the US and Israel.

He made the remarks at a memorial ceremony for slain Iranian general Qassem Soleimani in Lebanon.

Iraqi parliament passed a resolution last week, mandating the Iraqi Prime Minister to effect the withdrawal of US troops in the region. 

The US threatening of sanctions will only compound the woes of American occupations in the middle east and add to the escalations and tensions war and insecurity. .

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