- US officials briefed senators and representatives in the US Capitol on Thursday morning.
- Trump told reporters that “Iran made a big mistake” and his “country will not stand for it.
- They are pushing the envelope to a point where it could be a problem.
Washington, DC – Members of the US Congress expressed concern on Thursday about the escalating standoff between Iran and the United States and warned that missteps on either side could widen the conflict.
The warnings came after Iran shot down a US military drone on Thursday, saying the drone violated Iranian airspace over the southern coastal province of Hormozgan. But the US disputed the location of the incident, saying that the drone was in international airspace when it was shot down.
Read More: Iran Shoots Down US Drone
US officials briefed senators and representatives in the US Capitol on Thursday morning and House and Senate leaders met President Donald Trump at the White House as he prepared a US response to Iran on Thursday afternoon.
Earlier on Thursday, Trump told reporters that “Iran made a big mistake” and his “country will not stand for it”.
Trump later said that the drone downing may have been a mistake by a “loose and stupid” Iranian general.
Jim Risch, the Republican chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, said that “the president doesn’t want to go to war with Iran. The Congress doesn’t. The American people don’t.”
But he told Al Jazeera that having said that, “You have a president that is very committed to defending Americans and American interests.”
Democratic Senator Richard Blumenthal expressed concern that a “miscalculation” on either side may result in a full-blown military conflict.
“My concern is the danger of miscalculation and catastrophic escalation, which is a spiral of military escalation that is prompted by misunderstanding or a deliberate desire for war on the part of hardliners on both sides,” Blumenthal told Al Jazeera after attending a closed-door briefing by Trump administration officials on the situation in the Gulf. READ MORE
Risch accused Iran of “playing a very dangerous game”.
“They are pushing the envelope to a point where it could be a problem. Most worrying is, it’s obvious they are miscalculating on this and that is very, very dangerous,” he said, adding he thinks Iranian leaders have misjudged Trump’s willingness to respond with force.
“They are saying publicly some things that are clearly miscalculating and there is reason to believe that privately their thoughts are the same, which is very dangerous, which is much more worrisome. They are not dealing with reality.”
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Thursday that his country does not “seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters”.
He also gave the exact coordinates at which he said the drone was shot and said that Iran has recovered some debris from the drone in its waters.