President Donald Trump ruled out Wednesday the deployment of U.S. ground troops in any prospective war with Iran, vowing that any conflict with the rival would not take long to finish.
"I'm not talking about boots on the ground," Trump told Fox Business. "I'm just saying if something would happen, it wouldn't last very long."
The comments come a day after Trump issued a stark warning to Iran, saying any attack on a U.S. target would be met with an "overwhelming" response that includes the "obliteration" of at least some sites the U.S. would target in response.
Trump last week cancelled air strikes that were to be carried out following Iran's downing of a U.S. reconnaissance drone over concerns the strikes, which the president said would have killed 150 Iranians, would have been disproportionate.
Iran maintains the drone violated its airspace when it was targeted by a surface-to-air missile, a claim denied by Washington which says it was over international waters in the Strait of Hormuz.
Tensions have been rising between the U.S. and Iran since May 2018, when Washington unilaterally withdrew from a landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany and the EU.
The U.S. has since embarked upon a diplomatic and economic campaign to put pressure on Iran in order to renegotiate the agreement, as well as other Iranian activities Washington considers to be "destabilizing."
As part of its campaign, the U.S. has re-imposed sanctions on exports of Iranian crude oil, which have nosedived the Iranian economy.
Attacks on six oil tankers in the Strait of Hormuz have further escalated tensions. The U.S. has sought to place blame for the mysterious attacks on Iran, a charge Iranian officials staunchly deny.
The strait is a vital international waterway critical to the international energy trade with roughly one-third of the world's seaborne oil transiting it, as well as about one-fifth of the world's liquefied natural gas.
By Michael Hernandez in Washington, D.C.