White House May Have Sought Options to Strike Iran

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The White House's National Security Council asked the Pentagon past year for plans for launching a military attack against Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported early Sunday, citing current and former USA officials.

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.

The militant assault on the diplomatic quarter by a Shiite group aligned with Iran landed in an empty lot with no casualties reported.

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. Washington blamed the attacks on Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units, which Washington alleges has close ties with Tehran.

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". In 2015, while working for a think tank, he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran".

Bolton, a hawk who previously served as ambassador to the United Nations under President George W. Bush, has been vocal about his support for a regime change in Tehran and the report of the military options against Iran highlight the more confrontational approach toward the Islamic Republic the administration has taken since he took the post at the NSC in April.


In the same month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also stated the US was willing to target Iran for the actions of its allies in Iraq.

Pentagon officials stressed that it was not unusual for the Defense Department to draw up military plans for the White House. The Iranians could do plenty of damage to us if they chose to retaliate.

In one NSC meeting, then deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel called the attacks in Iraq an "act of war" and called for a decisive United States response.

There's no doubt that we could do plenty of damage to Iran if we chose to strike.

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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