Trump: Iran War Was ‘Closer Than You Thought’

Says Iranian officials 'too proud or too foolish' to accept demands

During a two-hour lunch at the White House, and then later at the State of the Union speech, President Trump played up the idea of a war against Iran, presenting a conflict as all but a foregone conclusion, and suggesting it just depends “which road they choose.”

During his lunch, Trump told reporters that the war against Iran was “closer than you thought.” The White House declined to comment on this, insisting the lunch was “off the record” and that it was unethical for the reporters to ask about it.

Trump talked further at the State of the Union, cheering “proud Iranians raising their voices against unresponsive rulers,” and crediting his sanctions for Iran’s economy doing “very poorly.”

Trump demanded Iran give up its pursuit of nuclear weapons, despite consistent evidence showing Iran is not seeking such weapons in the first place, and suggested Iran’s leaders are “too proud or too foolish” to accept US demands.

Trump once again appeared to blithely suggest that whether Iran accepts the demands, adding “let’s see which road they choose, it is totally up to them.” This is much more ominous combined with warnings about the war during his lunch.

While Trump’s other State of the Union topics for the Middle East focused on the ISIS war being over, and the Afghan War potentially ending, on Iran he appeared to be talking up further escalation, while crediting himself for the killing of Iran’s Gen. Qassem Soleimani, adding to the narrative surrounding launching such a war.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.