White House Requested Military Options to Attack Iran, Rattling Officials
14 January, 2019, 07:41
The White House's national security team asked the Pentagon to provide it with options for striking Iran, after a group aligned with Tehran fired mortars in September into an area in Baghdad that is home to the United States embassy, a U.S. newspaper reported.
U.S. President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton asked the Pentagon last fall to draw up plans to strike Iran, rattling the Defense and State Departments, according to a report published Sunday.
"It definitely rattled people", a former senior U.S. administration official told the Journal".
The Pentagon said it provides the president options for a variety of threats.
The militant assault on the diplomatic quarter by a Shiite group aligned with Iran landed in an empty lot with no casualties reported.
He added: "Sometimes it seems the world has become desensitised to the regime's authoritarianism at home and its campaigns of violence overseas, but the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government's many abuses".
Citing the lack of casualties and limited damage that resulted from the September 6 mortar attack, the US officials whom the Journal spoke to said Bolton's request for a far-reaching military response was jarring.
Relations between Tehran and Washington are highly fraught following Trump's decision in May to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and to reimpose sanctions, including on Iran's vital oil sector.
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Prior to his appointment, he has often urged for military action against the nation, and has since worked to pull the USA out of the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran with the support of President Trump.
Tehran is also believed to be unhappy at comments made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he branded Mr Rouhani's regime a "mafia".
"They're going to be held accountable", Pompeo replied. The Iranians could do plenty of damage to us if they chose to retaliate.
"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.
In one NSC meeting, then deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel called the attacks in Iraq an "act of war" and called for a decisive USA response.
On Sunday, Iran's foreign ministry summoned a senior Polish diplomat in protest at Poland jointly hosting a global summit with the U.S. focused on the Middle East, particularly Iran, state news agency IRNA reported.
That policy could change if Iran continues to threaten its neighbors in the region.
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