U.S. President Donald Trump said on Friday he is not looking for war with Iran, but he warned that if a conflict did occur it would result in "obliteration."
"I'm not looking for war, and if there is it'll be obliteration like you've never seen before. But I'm not looking to do that," Trump told NBC News in an interview a day after he aborted a planned air strike against Iranian targets in retaliation for Tehran shooting down a U.S. drone.
An Iranian surface-to-air missile destroyed a U.S. Global Hawk surveillance drone on Thursday. Tehran said the drone was shot down over its territory and Washington said it occurred in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.
In a series of early Friday morning tweets, Trump said he was in no hurry to launch a strike and that U.S. economic sanctions designed to force Iran to curb its nuclear and missile programs and its involvement in regional wars were having an effect.
"We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night," he said.
"Ten minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world," Trump tweeted.
Iranian sources told Reuters that Trump had warned Iran via Oman that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent but had said he was against war and wanted talks. Washington also requested a closed-door UN Security Council meeting on Monday.