President Trump’s advisors dissuaded him from a military strike, warning that it could escalate a conflict between the United States and Iran “in the last weeks of Trump’s presidency”, according to a report by The New York Times.
Donald Trump was mulling a possibility to attack Iran’s “main nuclear site” in “the coming weeks”, asking his advisors whether he had such an option during a meeting at the Oval office on Thursday, The New York Times reported, citing “current and former US officials”.
The advisors, among whom were Vice President Mike Pence, State Secretary Mike Pompeo, acting Defence Secretary Christopher Miller and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark A. Milley, reportedly dissuaded Trump from an attack, voicing concerns that it might escalate “into a broader conflict in the last weeks of Mr. Trump’s presidency”.
After advisors warned Trump on the possible aftermath of a strike, they reportedly left the office believing that “a missile attack inside Iran was off the table”.
The report emerged amid allegations that Trump is attempting to “sabotage Biden administration”, as the media projected the Democratic candidate to win the White House race, even though the official results of the presidential election are yet to be known. The sitting president refuses to concede, insisting that the election was “rigged”.
According to The NYT, the strike against Iran, if conducted, would “almost certainly” target Natanz – an Iranian nuclear plant that is generally considered to be a central facility for uranium enrichment.
The alleged Oval office meeting took place a day after the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported a significant increase in the Iranian stockpile of nuclear material – 12 times larger than allowed in the nuclear accord that Trump unilaterally exited in 2018.
Back in 20 June 2019 – ironically, on Thursday as well – Trump abruptly reversed an airstrike against Iran that was planned as a retaliatory move for shooting down a US surveillance drone. That time, however, the attack was cancelled just minutes before it could have been conducted.
“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it,” Trump wrote at the time.
Harsh economic sanctions against Iran immediately followed the US’ withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as, without evidence, president Trump claimed that Iran violated the deal, even though Tehran repeatedly insisted that its nuclear program was exclusively peaceful.
A year after Trump decided to pull the US out of the agreeement in May 2018, Tehran began to step away from its commitments under the nuclear deal.
Tensions between the countries spiraled even more after the US President ordered the killing of the top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani in January.
In retaliation, Iran carried out airstrikes against two American military bases in Iraq, which did not claim any lives, but left more than 100 US servicemen diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries.
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