US President Donald Trump's nominee to run the Pentagon has told his Senate confirmation hearing that the United States should pursue diplomatic solutions to its differences with Iran and avoid war.
Mark Esper, who was nominated by Trump on Monday, told the Senate Armed Services Committee on Tuesday, "We do not want war with Iran." He argued for pursuing what he called "the diplomatic channel."
Esper said the administration plans to brief the Armed Services Committee soon on a plan for working with other countries to more closely monitor commercial shipping in and around the Arabian Gulf. He said this plan, which he called "Operation Sentinel," is intended to deter Iran from impeding navigation in the Gulf.
Esper is currently serving as the Army's acting top civilian official.