Trump asked for options to attack Iran nuclear site, excluded: reports – National


US President Donald Trump, two months into his tenure, last week asked for options to attack Iran’s main nuclear site, but ultimately decided not to take this dramatic step, a US official said on Monday.Trump made the request during an Oval Office meeting Thursday with his top national security aides, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, new Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said it was official.

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Trump, who refused to concede and is contesting the November 3 presidential election results, is due to hand power over to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.

The official confirmed the meeting account in The New York Times, which reported that advisers persuaded Trump not to go on strike because of the risk of a wider conflict.

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“He asked for options. They gave him the scripts and he ultimately decided not to go ahead, ”the official said.

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The White House declined to comment.

Trump spent the four years of his presidency engaging in an aggressive policy against Iran, withdrawing in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal brokered by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, and imposing economic sanctions against a wide variety of Iranian targets.

Trump’s request for options came a day after a UN surveillance report showed Iran had completed moving a first cascade of advanced centrifuges from an air plant to its main enrichment site uranium to an underground plant, in yet another violation of its 2015 nuclear deal with the great powers.

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Alireza Miryousefi, spokesperson for the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York, said Iran’s nuclear program is purely for peaceful and civilian purposes and that Trump’s policies have not changed that. “However, Iran has proven capable of using its legitimate military might to prevent or respond to any melancholy adventure of any aggressor,” he added.

Iran’s stockpile of 2.4 tonnes of low enriched uranium is now well above the deal’s 202.8 kg limit. It produced 337.5 kg in the quarter, less than the more than 500 kg recorded in the previous two quarters by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In January, Trump ordered a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad airport. But he has avoided broader military conflicts and has sought to withdraw US troops from global hotspots on a promise to end what he calls “endless wars.”

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Iran accuses US of ‘savagery’ amid recent sanctions

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A strike on Iran’s main nuclear site at Natanz could spark regional conflict and pose a serious foreign policy challenge for Biden.

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Biden’s transition team, which was denied access to national security intelligence due to the Trump administration’s refusal to begin the transition, declined to comment.

(Reporting by Steve Holland; Additional reporting by Michael Martina and Michelle Nichols; Editing by Mary Milliken, Cynthia Osterman, Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast.)


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