Published: Mon, January 14, 2019

White House asked for options to strike Iran

White House asked for options to strike Iran

President Donald Trump's National Security Council asked the Pentagon to develop plans for USA military action against Iran previous year, The Wall Street Journal reports.

What was known until now was that Mr Bolton's National Security Council also asked the military to present the White House with options for striking Iran as a way of countering Tehran's influence in the region.

"It definitely rattled people", a former senior USA administration official told the Journal of the request.

In early September, an Iraqi militia with ties to Iran launched mortars towards the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's diplomatic district.

"Over the past few days, we have seen life-threatening attacks in Iraq, including on the United States consulate in Basra and against the American embassy compound in Baghdad", the White House said in a statement at the time.

The decision to consider striking Iran was prompted by an incident in early September, in which three mortars were fired into a diplomatic quarter in Baghdad.

"The Department of Defense is a planning organization and provides the president military options for a variety of threats", Colonel Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, told AFP. According to the Wall Street Journal, the request was made after several shells landed in Baghdad's green zone, near the USA embassy last September. "It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran".

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

Asked about the report during his Middle East trip, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to comment.

Citing the lack of casualties and limited damage that resulted from the September 6 mortar attack, the USA officials whom the Journal spoke to said Bolton's request for a far-reaching military response was jarring.

Tensions between the United States and Iran have risen significantly ever since Donald Trump's election as President. "If they're responsible for the arming and training of these militias, we're going to go to the source".

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