Trump says ready for Iran talks with no preconditions: Report

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump

US President Donald Trump has reportedly said that he would be ready to negotiate with Iran without any preconditions.

According to an excerpt from an upcoming interview with NBC aired on Friday, Trump also said that the United States has no intention of going to war with Iran.

"I'm not looking for war," Trump said on the interview that will air Sunday on "Meet the Press."

The Islamic Republic shot down an intruding American spy drone in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormozgan in the early hours of Thursday.

Following the incident, Trump reportedly approved a military strike against Iran, but cancelled it 10 minutes before the attack was going to be launched.

During the interview, Trump repeated his previous statement about calling off the strike, saying, “We had something ready to go, subject to my approval."

However, Trump said, he asked his generals, "I want to know something before you go. How many people would be killed, in this case Iranians?"

The generals said around 150 people would die, he added.

So, "I thought about it for a second and I said, you know what, they shot down an unmanned drone, plane, whatever you want to call it, and here we are sitting with a 150 dead people that would have taken place probably within a half an hour after I said go ahead. I didn't like it, I didn't think, I didn't think it was proportionate."

He also rebutted reports that planes were in the air and ready to strike.

The shooting down of the US spy drone was the latest incident in a chain of events around the Persian Gulf region which started after Washington upped the ante in its conflict with Iran by deploying additional troops, along with Patriot missiles and manned and unmanned spying aircraft, aircraft carriers, and  B-52 bombers to the Middle East over the past few weeks. Iran, in response, called on the US to stop instigating conflict in the region and pull its troops out of the Persian Gulf.

His latest decision drew criticism from Republican lawmakers, who asserted that the president must respond to Iran’s move.

Rep. Mike Rogers on Friday said that Trump must quickly retaliate against Iran so that other countries like China, Russia and North Korea will not take “provocative” acts toward the United States.

Another Republican lawmaker said, "I’ll judge ultimately based on if there is a response, but if the response is no response then I think this is a mistake in pretty big proportions."

"This was a direct attack on US assets," said Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., a former Air Force pilot who sits on the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

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