Trump says US not seeking regime change in Iran, tones down rhetoric

President Trump on Monday appeared to tone down his rhetoric on Iran and said the U.S. is not seeking a regime change just a week after he warned Tehran that a confrontation between the two countries would lead to its demise.

Trump made the comments during a press conference with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe. Some Democrats—including Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders— took the president to task over his recent comments.

Trump said earlier that he backed Abe’s interest in leveraging his country’s good relations with Iran to help broker a possible dialogue between the U.S. and its nemesis in the Middle East. Abe said he is willing to do whatever he can to help to reduce tensions between the U.S. and Iran.

“I do believe Iran would like to talk and if they’d like to talk, we’ll talk also. . . . Nobody wants to see terrible things happen, especially me,” Trump said, according to The Washington Post.

Trump told reporters Friday that the 1,500 troops would have a “mostly protective” role as part of a build-up that began this month in response to what the U.S said was a threat from Iran.

The announcement caps three weeks of elevated tensions with Iran, as the administration hurled accusations of an imminent attack and abruptly deployed Navy warships to the region. The moves alarmed members of Congress, who demanded proof and details, amid fears the U.S. was lurching toward open conflict with Iran.

Sanders told a crowd in Warner, N.H., on Monday that a military confrontation between the two countries would be more disastrous than the Iraq war.

“Right now if you can believe it, Trump and his people in his administration apparently have learned nothing from that horrific war in Iraq," Sanders said. "And you have (national security adviser) John Bolton and others talking about the need to go to war in Iran.”

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Sanders, said, “If you think the war in Iraq was a disaster, my strong belief is a war with Iran would be much worse…Not only would a war with Iran be a disaster, it happens to be unconstitutional.”

Fox News' Paul Steinhauser and the Associated Press contributed to this report