U.S. sought options to strike Iran in September - media
U.S. President’s national security adviser John Bolton asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran in September 2018, The Wall Street Journal reported citing current and former U.S. officials.
The request, which hasn’t been previously reported, came after militants fired three mortars into Baghdad’s sprawling diplomatic quarter, home to the U.S. Embassy. The shells - launched by a group aligned with Iran - landed in an open lot and harmed no one.
"It definitely rattled people. People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran," a former senior U.S. administration official said of the request.
The Pentagon complied with the NSC’s request to develop options for striking Iran, the officials said. But it isn’t clear if the proposals were provided to the White House, whether President Donald Trump knew of the request or whether serious plans for a U.S. strike against Iran took shape at that time, the newspaper writes.
Former U.S. officials said it was unnerving that the NSC asked for far-reaching military options to strike Iran in response to attacks that caused little damage and no injuries, the WSJ reported.
Garrett Marquis, an NSC spokesman, said the body "coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats."
"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," he added.
In talks with other administration officials, Bolton has made it clear he personally supports regime change in Iran, a position he championed before joining Trump’s administration, people familiar with the discussions said.