White House sought options to strike Iran

White House sought options to strike Iran

White House sought options to strike Iran

Citing current and former U.S. officials, the newspaper reported that the request sparked deep concern among Pentagon and State Department officials.

John Bolton, the national security adviser, called a series of meetings after the attack - which one of Tehran's proxy militias in Iraq claimed responsibility for - and is believed to have asked the Pentagon to draw up options for bombing Iran.

That decision came after a group of militants aligned with Tehran fired off three mortars into an area of Iraq's capital home to the US embassy last September. The three mortars, however, landed in an open lot and nobody was harmed in the attack. In response, the USA announced it would effectively close its consulate in Basra and relocate diplomatic personnel assigned there.

The State Department declined to comment.

Garrett Marquis, an NSC spokesman, said the body "coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats".

The request alarmed Pentagon and State Department employees, current and former U.S. officials reportedly told the Journal. "They unsettled the people", quoted a high-ranking Ex-employees.

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The report goes on to state that it is not known whether Trump was aware of the request.

While the Pentagon complied with National Security Council's request, it was not clear whether Mr Trump knew of the request or whether plans to strike Iran were seriously considered, the Journal reported. "It was insane, how bluntly they talked about an attack on Iran".

Before joining the Trump administration, Bolton argued repeatedly that the U.S. should attack Iran and had supported regime change in the country.

Secretary of Defense James Mattis, along with other members of the military cautioned against retaliating, according to the Times, which wrote, "Mr. Bolton does not want to hear opposing views, these officials said, abhors leaks and wants to control everything that flows to the president".

Washington withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal in May previous year and re-imposed batches of sanctions on Tehran. Local reports said both strikes were carried out by Iranian-backed paramilitary forces operating in the country. "On each stop of his Middle East trip, Mr. Pompeo, a former Army officer, has spoken of the need to counter Iran, but has not talked of military action".

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