White House asked for options to strike Iran, reports WSJ

Lester Mason
January 14, 2019

President Donald Trump's national security team asked the Pentagon a year ago for "options to strike Iran", the Wall Street Journal reported, citing unidentified USA officials.

The paper cited current and former USA officials as its sources.

The report states, "As part of the talks, Mr. Trump's National Security Council, led by John Bolton, asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran". According to the Wall Street Journal, the request was made after several shells landed in Baghdad's green zone, near the U.S. embassy last September. Two days later, several rockets also hit an area close to the United States consulate in Basra. Washington blamed the attacks on Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units, which Washington alleges has close ties with Tehran.

In a statement provided to CNN on Sunday, Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the council, said that it "coordinates policy and provides the President with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats".

Bolton, a hawk who previously served as ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, has been vocal about his support for a regime change in Tehran and the report of the military options against Iran highlight the more confrontational approach toward the Islamic Republic the administration has taken since he took the post at the NSC in April.

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.

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". "If they're responsible for the arming and training of these militias, we're going to go to the source".

While no one was wounded in the incident, it angered the US.

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.

On Sunday, Iran's foreign ministry summoned a senior Polish diplomat in protest at Poland jointly hosting a global summit with the USA focused on the Middle East, particularly Iran, state news agency IRNA reported. What worries the Pentagon is that Iran is capable of hitting US facilities throughout the Middle East.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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