The White House put Iran “on notice” on Wednesday for test-firing a ballistic missile and said it was reviewing how to respond, taking an aggressive posture toward Tehran that could raise tensions in the region.
While the exact implications of the U.S. threat were unclear, the new administration signaled that President Donald Trump intended to do more, possibly including imposing new sanctions, to curb what he sees as defiance of a nuclear deal negotiated in 2015 by then-President Barack Obama.
The tough talk commits the administration to back up its rhetoric with action, which could cast doubt on the future of the Iran agreement and sow further uncertainty in an already chaotic Middle East, experts said.
Officials declined to say whether the military option was on the table, although Pentagon spokesman Christopher Sherwood said: "The U.S. military has not changed its posture in response to the Iranian test missile launch" on Sunday.
A fiery statement from Trump's national security adviser, Michael Flynn, marked some of the most aggressive rhetoric by the administration that took office on Jan. 20, making clear that Obama's less confrontational approach toward Iran was over.