Updated May 20, 2019 - Politics

Trump: If Tehran wants to fight U.S., it'll be the official end of Iran

President Trump. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump tweeted Sunday if Iran wants a fight, it'd be the "official end" of the country, hours before Fox News broadcast an interview in which he said he wouldn't let Tehran have nuclear weapons.

Details: Trump tweeted after a rocket exploded near the U.S. Embassy in Iraq, "Never threaten the United States again!" No one's claimed responsibility for the attack. In an interview on Fox News' "The Next Revolution with Steve Hilton" recorded last week, Trump said he didn't want a fight. "But you do have situations like Iran, you can’t let them have nuclear weapons," he said.

The big picture: In his wide-ranging interview with Hilton, Trump stood by his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal and impose sanctions on the country, saying he had no idea the effects would be as strong as they were. "The country is devastated from the standpoint of the economy," he said.

Driving the news: Although no one had claimed responsibility for the Baghdad rocket attack, in which there were no casualties, a U.S. State Department official told Reuters: "We will hold Iran responsible if any such attacks are conducted by its proxy militia forces or elements of such forces, and will respond to Iran accordingly."

What they're saying: U.S. ally Saudi Arabia said Saturday it was not looking for a war, but it was ready for one, after it accused Iran of ordering the attacks of 2 oil pumping stations in the kingdom, for which Yemen's Houthi group claimed responsibility.

The other side: BBC quoted Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran's elite Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, as saying Iran was not seeking a conflict. He also said "Washington is not brave enough to launch a war," according to the Iranian Fars news agency.

Go deeper: Trump pushes China and Iran to the brink

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