Mattis dismisses report of US military action against Iran as ‘fiction’

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 on Friday 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

Addressing a group of Iranian diplomats in Tehran Sunday, Rouhani said, “America must understand well that peace with Iran is the mother of all peace, and war with Iran is the mother of all wars

Iran’s Major General Qassem Soleimani also reacted to Trump’s threats against the Islamic Republic, saying he takes the position to respond “as a soldier” since it is beneath the dignity of Iran’s president to do so

“You threaten us with an action that is ‘unprecedented’ in the world. This is cabaret-style rhetoric. Only a cabaret owner talks to the world this way,” said the commander of the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)