Published: Mon, January 14, 2019
Worldwide | By Isabel Fisher

White House asked for options to strike Iran, reports WSJ

White House asked for options to strike Iran, reports WSJ

The Journal also said that it is unknown whether President Donald Trump had knowledge of the request.

Bolton made the request after three mortars were fired into Baghdad's diplomatic zone - where the USA embassy is located - by Iran-affiliated militants, according to the Wall Street Journal.

"It definitely rattled people", one former senior USA administration official told the WSJ.

The Wall Street Journal is reporting that following a mortar attack on the USA embassy in Baghdad in September that was blamed on Iran, National Security Adviser John Bolton asked the Pentagon for options to strike the Islamic Republic.

The report states, "As part of the talks, Mr. Trump's National Security Council, led by John Bolton, asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran".

The decision was prompted by three mortars being fired into a diplomatic quarter in Baghdad in September, the newspaper said. The three mortars, however, landed in an open lot and nobody was harmed in the attack.

The Pentagon said it provides the president options for a variety of threats.

The National Security Council asking for military strike options against the Middle Eastern nation in response to relatively minor incidents has caused some former USA officials to express alarm.

Prior to his appointment, he has often urged for military action against the nation, and has since worked to pull the U.S. out of the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran with the support of President Trump.

He has worked with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in implementing a more hardline approach to Iran since taking office.

A Pentagon spokesman did not have any immediate comment on the story and the White House and National Security Council could not be immediately reached.

Tensions between the USA and Iran have risen significantly ever since Donald Trump's election as President.

That policy could change if Iran continues to threaten its neighbors in the region. "If they're responsible for the arming and training of these militias, we're going to go to the source".

Pompeo said on Friday that the summit, to be held in Warsaw on 13-14 February, would focus on stability and security in the Middle East, including on the "important element of making sure that Iran is not a destabilising influence".

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