President Donald Trump repeated over the weekend that he didn't want to see Iranians die over a downed military drone, and that his main focus was not on oil or starting a new war in the Middle East, but on preventing the nation from obtaining nuclear weapons.
"I'm not looking for war and if there is, it'll be obliteration like you've never seen before," Trump told Chuck Todd on NBC News' "Meet the Press" in an interview that aired Sunday. "But I'm not looking to do that."
That followed Trump's assertion on Saturday that he favored a response to the Iranian conflict that's "proportionate" and that he didn't feel it would be right to launch an attack that would kill "150 people" for a downed military drone with no one aboard.
"They targeted something without a person in it," said Trump on Saturday, according a video of the presser on C-Span. "I didn't like the idea of them knowingly shooting down an unmanned drone, and then we kill 150 people, I didn't like that."
The president also said he likes the Iranian people, noting his friends and those he's met in New York. "In New York City, we have a lot of Iranians, and they're great people."
Instead of attacking militarily, said Trump, "we're moving forward with additional sanctions on Iran."
He later said Saturday over Twitter that, "We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday."
He added in the post that he looks forward to the day that the sanctions can be lifted.
"Iran right now is an economic mess," he said to reporters Saturday, adding that he would love to make Iran "great again" if they would make an agreement with him. "All I want is no nuclear weapons."
But it was also reported that following the alleged drone attack last week, the U.S. hit an Iranian intelligence group with cyber attacks, according to the New York Times.
Asserting that he has "plenty of time" to deal with the rising tensions, Trump said he's no warmonger or dove -- as he said he's been labeled -- and that he's "disagreed very much" with National Security Adviser John Bolton when it comes to the use of force.
"The only one that matters is me," said Trump.
Bolton reportedly said over the weekend that Iran should not "mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness," according reports on CNN and elsewhere.
Meanwhile, the tensions have already altered flight routes over the region, with airlines Emirates and Etihad already changing routes, according to the Associated Press. The Federal Aviation Administration said after the drone was shot down it is "prohibiting U.S.-registered aircraft from operating over the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman" and "warning pilots that flights are not permitted in the overwater area of the Tehran Flight Information Region until further notice, due to heightened military activities and increased political tensions."