Washington :US Defense Secretary James Mattis has dismissed a news report that the United States is preparing military action against Iran, describing it as “fiction.”
He made the remarks a day after Australian outlet ABC News published an article, suggesting military action against the Islamic Republic was imminent as early as next month.
According to the report, Australian officials claimed the US was seeking to bomb Iran’s nuclear capability.
Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull, however, rebutted the report, which cites unnamed officials as saying Australia is poised to help identify possible targets through “providing intelligence.”
“It’s speculation,” Turnbull said, according to The Straits Times. “It is citing anonymous sources.”
Speaking to reporters, Mattis said, “I have no idea where the Australian news people got that information.”
“I’m confident it is not something that’s being considered right now, and I think it’s a complete – frankly, it’s – it’s fiction,” he added.
When asked whether the US had a policy of “regime change or collapse” toward Iran, Mattis said, “There’s none that’s been instituted.”
This comes a few days after President Donald Trump promised dire consequences for Iran following Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s warning to him not to “play with the lion’s tail” after the US had unveiled a series of measures which amount to a declaration of war.