Washington has said it seeks to counter unspecified threats from Iran.
On Tuesday, Patrick Shanahan, the acting United States defence secretary, said while the threat posed by Iran in the region remained high, the potential for attacks on U.S. nationals had been "put on hold".
"So, tell me how this [Trump administration] strategy is working if Iran won't talk and they're not deescalating militarily", the Democratic senator said.
Bolton said that this was "i$3 n response to a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings" from Iran.
But Pompeo struck a stronger tone, calling on lawmakers of both parties "to be united" in responding to Iran and "very supportive of this administration when we take acts that are consistent with protecting Americans".
"If this whole conversation is absent, if it doesn't take into consideration what the administration is saying, that the administration keeps heightening tensions, then you a leaving something major out", Representative Anna Eshoo, a Democrat, told Al Jazeera.
The Trump officials presented their case as, "This is what we are finding". Without naming the United States government, Majid Takh-Ravanchi referred to "circles" outside the region who are trying to create an "unnecessary crisis" through "fabricated claims, disinformation and fake news" while relying on "support from their Middle East allies". "We will not be the party to begin escalation, but we will defend ourselves".
While there may be some security threats to them, it's nothing that would require us to actually move so many assets at that areaand to threaten an open war with a country actually that can defend itselffairly well.
Aaron David Miller is a distinguished fellow at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and author of "The End of Greatness: Why America Can't Have (and Doesn't Want) Another Great President".
On Tuesday, Zarif said Tehran had "acted in good faith" over the JCPOA and accused the USA of waging "economic warfare" on Iran by reimposing sanctions and moving to reduce Iranian oil exports to zero.
Iran has announced it would be partially withdrawing from the deal on the one-year anniversary of the US's departure from the accord.
Zarif also accused Washington of walking out first on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 deal created to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities in return for the lifting of sanctions.
Tensions began rising earlier this month when the U.S. ended exemptions from sanctions for countries still buying from Iran.
Mr Shanahan said the recent U.S. actions in the region were based on "credible threats" to American forces and interests in the Middle East.
Trump, veering between bombast and conciliation in his quest to contain Iran, threatened Monday to meet provocations by Iran with "great force", but also said he's willing to negotiate.
He has maintained a strong anti-Iran policy since taking office and a year ago unilaterally withdrew the United States from a nuclear deal with Iran and five world powers. Unless Trumpbypasses the law, he would need baking from the Democratic-held House andRepublican-held Senate to go to war with Iran.
"Words are one thing, movement of forces are one thing but actual military action is something else". "They don't want a war with Iran".
Continuing that trend, the USA also withdrew officials non-essential staff from the country amid an alleged threat from pro-Iranian forces.
"That may exist, but I sure didn't hear it while I was in there", he said.
"All those with the responsibility of the world on their shoulders tell the White House that this was a very risky thing to say".
But he cautioned that any threats by Iran or Iranian-back militias haven't been eradicated.
Republicans argued that pressure on Iran is wise and warranted to protect Americans serving in the Middle East.
"Part of today will be to give credible information that will address that", said Shanahan. Economic war means targeting Iranian people.