White House asked for options to strike Iran

Pauline Gross
January 14, 2019

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

But they triggered unusual alarm in Washington, where Mr. Trump's national security team led by John Bolton conducted a series of meetings to discuss a forceful American response, including what many saw as the unusual request for options to strike Iran. "It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran".

A senior administration official told CNN on Sunday that it's not accurate to say the Pentagon and State Department were caught off guard by the request, but would not confirm any other details from the Journal's report. Two days later, unidentified militants fired three rockets that hit close to the USA consulate in the southern city of Basra but caused no serious damage.

Officials said the Pentagon did develop options for striking at Iran, but it was not clear if the White House, or President Trump himself, received or knew about the request, or if a serious strategy was being considered.

The militant assault on the diplomatic quarter by a Shiite group aligned with Iran landed in an empty lot with no casualties reported. The US blamed Iran for the attack, despite Tehran's categorical denial.

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Asked about the report during his Middle East trip, U.S. secretary of state Mike Pompeo declined comment.

"We continue to review the status of our personnel following attempted attacks on our embassy in Baghdad and our Basra consulate, and we will consider a full range of options to preserve their safety and our interests", a spokesperson for the NSC said.

Official White House policy does not call for regime change in Iran, and Bolton has said he would implement the President's agenda. There were no injuries nor damage in either incident. "If they're responsible for the arming and training of these militias, we're going to go to the source".

Pompeo told Fox News that dozens of countries would attend the summit which would aim to "build out the global coalition" opposed to Iranian policies in the region.

Other reports by GizPress

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