Mr. Trump, who has not yet refused to concede that he lost the presidential election, apparently made the request at an Oval Office meeting last week, which included Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary through interim Christopher Miller, according to the source.
Speaking to The New York Times, the official said Mr. Trump was advised against taking military action in Iran for fear of a wider conflict.
“He asked for options. They gave him the scripts and he ultimately decided not to go ahead, ”they said.
The White House declined to comment on the reports.
Mr. Trump engaged in aggressive political positions with Iran during his presidency, including withdrawing from the 2018 nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor Barack Obama.
A day before submitting a request for military action, a report by a United Nations watchdog showed that Iran completed the transfer of advanced centrifuges from an aboveground plant to an underground plant at its site of uranium enrichment – a violation of its 2015 nuclear deal.
Iran also holds a stockpile of 2.4 tonnes of low enriched uranium – well above the agreed limit of 202.8 kg.
Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was killed in drone strike ordered by the president in January, but Mr. Trump has since refused to engage in other military conflicts, in a bid to begin bringing US troops home.
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All attacks could have caused serious problems for President-elect Joe Biden, who will enter the White House on January 20.
The Trump administration has refused to share national security data with Mr. Biden’s transition team, due to his belief that Mr. Trump will pursue a second term, which means Mr. Biden’s team has not been able to comment on the allegations.