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International

Trump asked aides for options on attacking Iran last week: Report

November 18, 2020 05:37 AM

COURTESY HT NOV 18

Trump asked aides for options on attacking Iran last week: Report
Reuters

letters@hindustantimes.com

WASHINGTON : US President Donald Trump, with two months left in office, asked for options on attacking Iran’s main nuclear site last week but ultimately decided against taking the step, a US official said on Monday.

Trump made the request during an Oval Office meeting on 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, the official said.

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

The official confirmed the account of the meeting in The New York Times, which reported that the advisers persuaded Trump not to go ahead with a strike because of the risk of a broader conflict. “He asked for options. They gave him the scenarios and he ultimately decided not to go forward,” the official said. The White House declined comment.

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

His request for options came a day after a UN atomic watchdog report showed that Iran had finished moving a first cascade of advanced centrifuges from an above-ground plant at its main uranium enrichment site to an underground one, in a fresh breach of its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

Iran’s 2.4 tonne stock of low-enriched uranium is now far above the deal’s 202.8 kg limit

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