FILE- In this photo released by the official website of the Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, front row, fourth from left, leads a prayer over the coffins of Gen. Qassem Soleimani and his comrades, who were killed in Iraq in a U.S. drone strike on Friday, at the Tehran University campus, in Tehran, Iran, Monday, Jan. 6, 2020. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)

While Iran and the United States remain one shot away from war, the fact that Iran's ballistic missiles did not inflict casualties on American, coalition, or Iraqi forces appears to have given both sides an out, at least for the moment.

But experts agree that Iran has not finished seeking revenge for the death of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani, who was killed by a U.S. airstrike in Baghdad. Iran retaliated by firing 16 short-range ballistic missiles at two Iraqi bases that host U.S. troops. President Donald Trump has decided to impose further sanctions on Iran rather than responding militarily.

The immediate crisis may be over, but Iran is likely to "resume provocations" unless it gets some relief from the United States' maximum pressure campaign, said Michèle Flournoy, who served as Under Secretary of Defense for Policy from February 2009 to February 2012.

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THE PENTAGON — The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff is disputing speculation that the Iranians tried to avoid killing any U.S. troops during their recent missile attacks on two bases in Iraq.

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media.defense.gov

Eventually, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff will disclose the evidence that shows Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani was planning an imminent attack against U.S. forces – but he did not say when.

"I will be happy, when the appropriate time comes in front of the proper committees and anybody else, through history and every — I'll stand by the intelligence I saw, that — that was compelling, it was imminent, and it was very, very clear in scale, scope," Army Gen. Mark Milley told reporters on Monday.

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A member of the Taliban holds a flag in Kabul, Afghanistan June 16, 2018. The writing on the flag reads: 'There is no god but Allah, Muhammad is the messenger of Allah'. (Reuters/Mohammad Ismail)

The Taliban claim they have no plans to stop fighting despite a story from the Associated Press, which reported the group's ruling council had agreed to a temporary ceasefire.

"The reality of the situation is that the Islamic Emirate has no intention of declaring a ceasefire," the Taliban said in a statement tweeted on Monday. "The United States has asked for a reduction in the scale and intensity of violence and discussions being held by the Islamic Emirate are revolving solely around this specific issue."

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Despite revelations that top U.S. officials have known for years that a military victory in Afghanistan was not possible, the U.S. troops who killed fighting there did not die in vain, said Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.

"I could not look myself in the mirror," Miley said during a Pentagon news briefing on Friday. "I couldn't answer myself at 2 or 3 in the morning when my eyes pop open and see the dead roll in front of my eyes. So, no: I don't think anyone has died in vain, per se."

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Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, left, meets with Chief of the Russian General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov in Bern, Switzerland, Dec. 18, 2019. (Photo By: Army Sgt. 1st Class Chuck Burden, DOD)

Army Gen. Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, just met his Russian counterpart for the first time, and their body language makes clear relations between the two countries remain in the Siberian winter of discontent.

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