Trump asked advisers about options to strike Iran nuclear site
Nov 18 2020
It's reported the outgoing president had to be talked out of considering a strike on Iran's main nuclear site last week.
Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Mark Milley were among the senior advisers who convinced the President not to pursue a military strike, according to the paper.
Citing a USA official, Reuters reported on Monday that Trump, with two months left in office, conferred with top advisers about the possibility of attacking the Natanz uranium enrichment plant - but was dissuaded by them from that option. Officials told the Times that the president may still be considering ways to hit Iran and its proxy militias in the region. At the same time, his administration maintained a firm stance against Iran, which has been accused by the United States of exporting weapons technology and by European Union states of hiding suspected nuclear activity.
It is now believed that any kind of missile strike is off the table, officials told The New York Times. This is 12 times larger than what is permitted under the nuclear accord that Trump abandoned two years into his presidential term.
CNN has reached out to the agency for a copy of the report.
In January, Trump ordered a USA drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad's airport.
Iran insists the nuclear programme is exclusively for peaceful purposes, but the IAEA said the reasoning for the stockpile was not credible.
The White House has not commented on the accounts of the meeting.
Officials told the newspaper that global inspectors reported a significant increase in the country's stockpile of nuclear material, which sparked Trump's concern.
Trump's withdrawal from the nuclear agreement in 2018 was followed by the unilateral reimposition of crippling economic sanctions which prompted Iran to suspend some of its obligations under the deal.
Trump labelled the agreement "poorly negotiated" that would still allow Iran to be on the brink of a nuclear breakout, even if they comply.
U.S. President Donald Trump delivers an update on the so-called Operation Warp Speed program, the joint Defense Department and HHS initiative that has struck deals with several drugmakers in an effort to help speed up the search for effective treatments for the ongoing coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, in an address from the Rose Garden at the White House in Washington, U.S., November 13, 2020.
He was reportedly warned that any action could result in a wider conflict with Iran, just weeks before the presidency is due to be handed over to Joe Biden. Biden has made it clear that he'll try to re-institute the Iran nuclear deal.