The Latest: Brennan, Sherman brief Democrats on Iran
WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on the Trump administration’s Iran policy (all times local):
House Democrats have received a closed-door briefing on Iran from former CIA Director John Brennan and former State Department official Wendy Sherman, who negotiated the Iran nuclear deal.
Brennan told Democrats that while Iran wants to avoid conflict, the country’s leadership will not capitulate to Trump. Sherman warned that reckless behavior by the Trump administration is undermining moderates in the country. That’s according to a person in the room who was not authorized to discuss the private meeting and spoke on condition of anonymity.
The U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region and evacuated non-essential personnel from Iraq amid unspecified threats the administration says are linked to Iran.
House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff said he wants answers on “what the administration’s strategy is — if they have one — to keep us out of war.”
Ahead of briefings on Capitol Hill, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan is suggesting that the U.S. military response to Iranian threats has already had an effect.
Shanahan tells reporters that the military moves by the United States have given Iran “time to recalculate” and as a result the potential for attacks on Americans is “on hold.”
He cautioned that the lack of attacks on Americans doesn’t mean the threats have gone away.
The U.S. sent an aircraft carrier strike group, four bomber aircraft and other assets to the region, and is moving a Patriot missile battery to an unnamed country in the area.
Shanahan says the response was a measure of America’s willingness to protect its people and interests in the region. He and other national security officials will brief Congress on Tuesday.
Iran and tensions in the Persian Gulf as well as President Donald Trump’s tough talk are the subject of competing meetings in the House and Senate, both closed to the public and the press.
Tuesday’s meetings on Capitol Hill come as lawmakers warn the Trump administration it cannot take the country into war without approval from Congress. The briefings are another indication of wariness by Democrats and some Republicans over the White House’s sudden policy shifts in the Middle East.
Trump continues to offer a mixed signal on Iran, telling reporters Monday that Iran has been “very hostile” and that its provocations will be met with “great force,” but also saying that he’s willing to negotiate. Trump also says no talks are scheduled but he’d like to hear from Iran.