President Trump has privately adopted a more hawkish tone on Iran in recent days, according to three people familiar with the developments, as tensions increase in the Gulf.
Previously, Trump emphasized finding a diplomatic solution to the crisis with Tehran, and backed off a planned strike on Iranian positions last month. During those discussions, Trump expressed concern that US retaliation could escalate the tensions in the region. He ultimately pulled back from the strikes citing concern over civilian casualties.
But amid the most recent tensions, Trump has not placed as much emphasis on talks with Iranian officials, according to the people familiar with the matter. That’s due in part to a chilly reception Trump’s public overtures for negotiations received from Iranian leaders.
When he called off the planned strike at the last minute in late June, he assured advisers that if matters escalated with Iran, he would respond appropriately.
Trump has also downplayed the possibility that tensions could increase, noting they’ve already been increasing even after he backed off the strike.
The recent change in tone from the president has frustrated those who think he should avoid wading into further conflict with Iran, believing it could lead him to war potentially.