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White House asked for options to strike Iran

WASHINGTON, DC - OCTOBER 23: U.S. President Donald Trump answers questions during a meeting with military leaders in the Cabinet Room on October 23, 2018 in Washington, DC. Trump discussed a range of issues while press were in the room including current relations with Saudi Arabia, and the use of the U.S. military in protecting the borders of the United States. (Photo by Win McNamee/Getty Images)
President Donald Trump answers questions during a meeting with military leaders in the Cabinet Room on 23 October, 2018 in Washington [Win McNamee/Getty Images]

The White House’s national security team last fall asked the Pentagon to provide it with options for striking Iran after a group of militants aligned with Tehran fired mortars into an area in Baghdad that is home to the US Embassy, a source familiar with the matter said on Sunday, Reuters reports.

The source said that the Pentagon drew up options in response to the request, which was first reported by the Wall Street Journal and which originated from the White House National Security Council led by John Bolton.

Citing current and former US officials. The newspaper reported that the request sparked deep concern among Pentagon and State Department officials.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that it was not clear whether the options were provided to the White House, whether President Donald Trump knew of the request or whether serious plans for a US strike against Iran took shape at that time.

Read: Iran’s Zarif calls Iran-focused summit in Poland a “desperate circus”

The decision was prompted by three mortars being fired into a diplomatic quarter in Baghdad in September, the newspaper said. The shells landed in an open lot and no one was hurt. Two days later, unidentified militants fired three rockets that hit close to the US consulate in the southern city of Basra but caused no serious damage.

The State Department did not comment on the report. The Pentagon said it provides the president options for a variety of threats.

NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis, said the NSC does the same and it will continue to consider “the full range of options” after the attacks.

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