President Donald Trump approved numerous air strikes against Iran but abruptly canceled the attack after the military was already in position to carry out the strikes.
Military officials were expecting to strike several targets, including radar and missile batteries, after Trump approved the strikes on Thursday but the operation was called off after it was already underway, The New York Times reported.
The strikes were discussed as a response to Iran shooting down an unmanned American drone. Iran claimed the drone was over its airspace while the US says the drone was over international waters.
“Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down,” a military official told The Times.
Trump says he pulled back strike to save lives:
Trump confirmed the report on Twitter and said he pulled back to save lives.
“On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights [sic] when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” he wrote.
“I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”
John Bolton, Mike Pompeo backed strike:
The Times reported that the Trump administration hawks, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton, supported the strike but top Pentagon officials warned against escalating the situation.
There have been numerous reports that Bolton & Co. are trying to start a war with Iran but Trump appears to be reluctant.
Even after Iran said it intentionally shot down the drone, Trump claimed that someone in the country must have made a “bad mistake.”
He also dismissed Iran’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman as “very minor” in an interview with Time.