White House asked for options to strike Iran

White House asked for options to strike Iran

But the move did alarm some top-level leaders at the Pentagon and USA diplomats at State Department, the Journal reported.

The request to the Pentagon came from U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, and it is unknown if Bolton had conversed with the President prior to making the request. "People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran".

"People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran", former USA high-ranking official told The WSJ. Two days later however, amid ongoing protests in the southern city of Basra, unknown militants fired several rockets towards the United States consulate building.

Alongside the requests in regards to Iran, the NSC asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with options to respond with strikes in Iraq and Syria as well, according to people familiar with the talks, the WSJ said.

The US blamed Tehran despite the Iranian administration denying the attack, which saw three mortar shells land in Baghdad's diplomatic quarter and close to the US Embassy last September. The mortars landed in an open lot and no injuries were reported, but Trump's national security team conducted a series of meetings to discuss a forceful American response.

Later in the month, US National Security Adviser John Bolton issued a stark public warning to Tehran: "There will be hell to pay" if Iran continued to "cross" the US and its allies.

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The request, which could lead to direct military confrontation between Iran and the United States, raised concern in the Pentagon.

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".

State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo did not comment on the story when asked about it by reporters and a State Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

Previously Mr Bolton has advocated for military strikes against Iran.

The agreement was aimed at preventing Iran developing nuclear weapons.

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