President Donald Trump downplayed fears on Monday that he is preparing to go to war with Iran, despite ongoing conflicts in the region.
The president discussed Iran during a meeting at the White House with Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, taking questions from reporters from both countries for about 40 minutes.
“I think Iran doesn’t know where they are. I’ve been watching and reading a lot of reports. They are a very mixed-up country,” he said. “They don’t know whether they are coming or going. They have problems economically. Their country is in turmoil.”
Trump noted that Iran faces mounting protests and high economic inflation as it continues to defy the United States following his withdrawal from the Iran deal. However, he downplayed reports that he is ready for war.
“Whatever it is, it is. I’m just going to sit back and wait,” he said. “We’ll see what happens.”
Trump said Iran employed many lies and propaganda in its media and repeated his claim that the United States shot down an Iranian drone last week, despite Iran’s denial.
“There’s a lot of proof. It’s called ‘take a look at it on the ocean floor,’” Trump said to reporters. “Take your scuba gear, and go down there. … One of you would do that, I know.”
Trump also denied Iran’s claim that it had uncovered, arrested, and detained 17 CIA spies in its country.
“That’s totally a false story. That’s another lie,” he said.
Trump said he was willing to explore a deal with Iran but disapproved of its recent activities in the Middle East.
“Let’s see what happens with Iran. We are ready for the absolute worst, and we’re ready for sense, too,” he said.
Last week, Iran seized an oil tanker from the United Kingdom, but at this point, American officials say that the response to that will lie primarily on British authorities.
“The responsibility in the first instance falls to the United Kingdom to take care of their ships,” Secretary of State Mike Pomepo said in a Fox News interview.
In June, Trump approved military strikes against Iran after it shot down a United States drone, but he abruptly pulled back, citing his unwillingness to take Iranian lives, which he argued would unnecessarily escalate tensions with the country.