Trump says Iran made a "very big mistake"

By Grace Segers

/ CBS News

Iran shoots down U.S. military drone

Lawmakers in Washington are bracing for further action amid escalating tensions between the U.S. and Iran. U.S. officials say Iran shot down an American spy drone over international waters over the Strait of Hormuz Thursday, although Iran claims it shot down a U.S. drone flying in its airspace.

"Iran made a very big mistake!" President Trump tweeted on Thursday morning, likely referring to Iran's downing of the U.S. drone. Senior officials also met at the White House Wednesday night after reports of a missile strike in Saudi Arabia.

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran have escalated since Mr. Trump announced the U.S. was withdrawing from the Iran nuclear agreement last year. The U.S. is blaming Iran for attacking two oil tankers targeted in the Strait of Hormuz last week, but Iran has denied any involvement. Former acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan announced Monday the U.S. would be sending 1,000 troops to the Middle East in response to increased Iranian aggression.

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Trump ally and GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham, of South Carolina, told reporters that he spoke with the president Thursday morning and that Mr. Trump believes "his options are running out."

"He believes that we're getting into a bad space, that his options are running out," Graham said. "He's not going to relieve sanctions because the Iranians are worse than they've been."

Former acting CIA Director Michael Morell told "CBS This Morning" Tuesday that while sending additional troops to Iran was a show of strength by the U.S., there's a risk of miscalculation by either of the two parties, which could lead to conflict. If Iran were to attack a region with U.S. forces and American troops were killed, Morell said, conflict between the two countries would be more likely.

Morell also said that U.S. allies were somewhat skeptical about American intelligence conclusions on the tankers, in part because they still remember the faulty U.S. intelligence that assessed that Iraq possessed weapons of mass destruction, leading to the conflict in Iraq in 2003. Iraq was later shown not to have weapons of mass destruction.

"It's going to be a long time before that gets out of people's memory," Morell said.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi also warned of the danger of miscalculation, asserting that the U.S. has to be "strong and strategic in how we protect our interests."

"I don't think the president wants to go to war. There's no appetite to go to war in this country," Pelosi said during her weekly press conference Thursday. A group of congressional leaders is being briefed on the situation in Iran on Thursday morning.

Mr. Trump, who promised to scale down American presence in the Middle East throughout his presidential campaign, has also said that he is not eager to enter into a conflict with Iran. In an interview with Time Magazine this week, Mr. Trump said that the attacks on the tankers were "very minor."

However, Mr. Trump said that he would go to war "over nuclear weapons," and that he would keep other motivations "a question mark."

First published on June 20, 2019 / 11:54 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Grace Segers

Grace Segers is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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