Mr. Trump has argued since the 2016 campaign that Iran was hiding some of its actions and deceiving its commitments; last week’s inspectors’ report provided him with the first partial evidence to support this view. The report criticized Iran for failing to respond to a series of questions about a warehouse in Tehran where inspectors found uranium particles, suggesting it was once some sort of nuclear processing facility. Iran’s responses were “not technically credible,” according to the report.
The International Atomic Energy Agency had previously complained that inspectors were not allowed to fully examine certain suspicious sites.
It is not just the US military that is considering options. Mr Pompeo, officials said, is closely monitoring events on the ground in Iraq for any suspicion of aggression by Iran or its proxy militias against US diplomats or troops stationed there. low.
Mr Pompeo has already made plans to close the US embassy in Baghdad over fears of potential threats, although in recent days he has seemed willing to leave that decision to the next administration. Mortar and rocket attacks on the embassy have waned in recent weeks, and the task of shutting down the world’s largest US diplomatic mission could take months.
But officials said that could change if Americans were killed before inauguration day.
Officials are particularly concerned about the January 3 anniversary of the U.S. strike that killed General Qassim Suleimani, the commander of the elite Iranian Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, and the Iraqi leader of ‘an Iranian-backed militia – dead who Iranian leaders routinely insist they have not yet retaliated.
Mr. Pompeo, who has been the most ardent supporter among Trump’s advisers of hobbling Iran while the administration still can, more recently made clear that the death of an American was a red line that could provoke a military response.
It would also increase tensions between Washington and Baghdad. Diplomats said Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi would almost certainly oppose the killing of Iraqis – even Iranian-backed militiamen – on Iraqi soil by US forces who are already facing demands to leave .