White House asked for options to strike Iran, reports WSJ

White House asked for options to strike Iran, reports WSJ

The report said the move came after a mortar attack launched by an Iran-linked group on the Baghdad diplomatic quarters home to the USA embassy in September.

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.

Unnamed US officials told The Wall Street Journal that Mr Bolton's hawkish response to the September attack "rattled" the Pentagon and state department.

Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told the newspaper that the council "coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats". No one was harmed by the explosions, which landed in a vacant lot, and there was little media attention given the relative frequency of such attacks on Green Zone.

The Journal, citing conversations with people familiar with the talks, also reported that the council requested options for launching strikes at both Iraq and Syria when they made the request for Iran.

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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.

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.

While Bolton's approach has seen him butt heads with a number of people in Trump's Cabinet - most notably former Defense Secretary Jim Mattis - he has found an ally in Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

"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 Iranians could do plenty of damage to us if they chose to retaliate.

There's no doubt that we could do plenty of damage to Iran if we chose to strike.

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