White House requested plans previous year from Pentagon to attack Iran

Report White House ordered shocking request for potential attack on Iran

The Pentagon has agreed to lay out options for hitting Iran at the request by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a former senior presidential administration employee.

The request came after militants, reportedly backed by Iran, fired rockets toward the U.S. consulate in Basra and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad's diplomatic green zone in September. The three mortars, however, landed in an open lot and nobody was harmed in the attack.

While it is unclear if the proposals were eventually sent to the White House or if the president knew of the plans, Bolton's request anxious many in the Pentagon and the State Department concerned with the more hawkish approach toward Tehran.

The request was met with concern by both the Pentagon and the State Department, according to the Journal, with one former administration official telling the paper that people were "shocked" by the request. "People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran", former United States high-ranking official told The WSJ. Two days later however, amid ongoing protests in the southern city of Basra, unknown militants fired several rockets towards the United States consulate building.

Previously Mr Bolton has advocated for military strikes against Iran.

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The Journal reports, "Former U.S. officials said it was unnerving that the National Security Council asked for far-reaching military options to strike Iran in response to attacks that caused little damage and no injuries".

Relations between Iran and the US have become more confrontational since Trump's election and his May 2018 decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal and reimpose severe economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

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

Tehran is also believed to be unhappy at comments made by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in which he branded Mr Rouhani's regime a "mafia".

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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