White House Requested Military Options to Attack Iran, Rattling Officials

White House national Security Advisor John Bolton listens as U.S. President Donald Trump

President Trump's National Security Council asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran previous year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department, current and former US officials said.

The request came after mortars were launched by militants, affiliated with Iran, towards the United States embassy in Baghdad.

While it is unclear if the proposals were eventually sent to the White House or if the president knew of the plans, Bolton's request anxious many in the Pentagon and the State Department concerned with the more hawkish approach toward Tehran. The request generated concern at the Pentagon and State Department, current and former US officials told the newspaper.

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.

Two days later, unidentified militants fired three rockets that hit close to the U.S. consulate in the southern city of Basra but caused no serious damage.

The Journal reports, "Former U.S. officials said it was unnerving that the National Security Council asked for far-reaching military options to strike Iran in response to attacks that caused little damage and no injuries".

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Mr Trump earlier past year announced his decision to pull his country out of the Joint Plan of Comprehensive Action (JPCOA) agreement aimed at preventing Iran developing nuclear weapons.

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.

"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 said.

"They're going to be held accountable", Pompeo replied.

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

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