Trump Officials to Brief Congress on Iranian Threat

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Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan listens,May 1, 2019, during a House Appropriations subcommittee on budget hearing on Capitol Hill in Washington.

Senior Trump administration officials are due to brief members of Congress in closed-door sessions Tuesday about the military threat the White House says Iran poses in the Middle East.

Among those going to Capitol Hill are Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford.

They are planning to talk with lawmakers after days of suspicions expressed by U.S. officials that Iran was responsible for attacks last week on two Saudi oil-pumping stations and an earlier sabotage of four oil tankers.

Trump said Monday that Iran has been “very hostile,” and that the United States will have no choice but to respond to Iranian aggression “with great force.”

Earlier in the day, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to what he called “genocidal taunts” by reminding Trump that “Iranians have stood tall for a millennia while aggressors all gone,” including Genghis Kahn and Alexander the Great. “Try respect. It works,” Zarif tweeted.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said Monday that after a briefing from national security adviser John Bolton, “It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq.”

Graham tweeted, “The fault lies with the Iranians, not the United States or any other nation. If the Iranian threats against American personnel and interests are activated, we must deliver an overwhelming military response. Stand firm Mr. President.”

Just received a briefing from National Security Advisor Bolton about escalating tensions with Iran. It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq.

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