Trump says he’s in ‘no hurry’ to strike Iran

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International Desk:

President Donald Trump says he abruptly called off the military strikes on Iran Thursday because the likely deaths of 150 Iranians would have been out of proportion to the shootdown of an unmanned American surveillance drone.

He is also indicating he still hopes for talks with Iranian leaders rather than any escalation of military conflict.

Trump says he is “in no hurry,” adding that increasingly severe sanctions meant to push Iran to the nuclear negotiating table are “biting” the Iranian economy.

Iran, though, is showing no public inclination to negotiate. It is unclear whether Trump, who says the U.S. military had been “cocked and loaded” to hit Iran, is considering new military options.

U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin says Iran’s financial sector will soon face penalties if it doesn’t work to stop evading international guidelines designed to combat money laundering.

Mnuchin says Iran has not taken steps to comply with the guidelines. As a result, he says, branches and subsidiaries of financial institutions based in Iran will be subjected to increased oversight.

Mnuchin spoke Friday in Orlando, Florida, at a meeting of the Financial Action Task Force. That is a global organization started in 1989 that works to stop money laundering, financing of militant networks and other threats to the integrity of the international financial system.

The task force says Iran has until October to make progress toward compliance before additional counter-measures will be taken.

The U.N. says Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’ message to the United States and Iran is to avoid anything that would escalate the current tense situation and “to have nerves of steel.”

U.N. spokesman Stephane Dujarric told reporters at U.N. headquarters Friday that “the secretary-general firmly believes in the need for dialogue between the parties involved as probably the best way to defuse tension and to avoid any escalation.”

Dujarric said the U.N. has been in contact with the parties at various levels and is passing the same message in public and it is in private, “which is to avoid any escalation.”

Dujarric announced that Guterres will be attending the G20 summit in Osaka, Japan, next week but said he didn’t know yet if the secretary-general would meet there with U.S. President Donald Trump.

Tensions have escalated dramatically since Iran downed a large U.S. drone which it said violated its airspace. The U.S. said the unmanned drone was in international airspace.

Diplomats say the United States has asked for a closed Security Council meeting on Monday on recent developments regarding Iran and the latest tanker incidents.

Two well-informed diplomats confirmed the U.S. request on Friday and said the closed consultations are likely to take place on Monday afternoon. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly.unb

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