Admin requested plans previous year to attack Iran

Pentagon officials ‘rattled’ by Trump White House request for military options to attack Iran: report

"It definitely rattled people", a former senior USA administration official said of the request.

The request by the National Security Council, which is led by John Bolton, sparked deep concern among Pentagon and State Department officials, the newspaper reported, citing current and former USA officials.

Relations between Iran and the USA 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.

Speaking to an audience of anti-Tehran activists, the longtime Iran hawk said: "The murderous regime and its supporters will face significant consequences if they do not change their behaviour".

The Pentagon reportedly complied with the request, but it is not clear whether the plans for striking Iran were fully developed, or if President Donald Trump knew about it. The decision to seek options striking Iran was prompted by an incident in September in which three mortars were fired into a diplomatic quarter in Baghdad, the newspaper said. No one was harmed by the explosions, which landed in a vacant lot, and there was little media attention given the relative frequency of such attacks on Green Zone.

Garrett Marquis, a spokesman for the National Security Council, told the newspaper that the council "coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats".

Prior to his appointment, he has often urged for military action against the nation, and has since worked to pull the United States out of the Obama-era nuclear deal with Iran with the support of President Trump.

Citing the lack of casualties and limited damage that resulted from the September 6 mortar attack, the USA officials whom the Journal spoke to said Bolton's request for a far-reaching military response was jarring.

Asked about the report during his Middle East trip, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to comment.

There's no doubt that we could do plenty of damage to Iran if we chose to strike. "If they're responsible for the arming and training of these militias, we're going to go to the source". What worries the Pentagon is that Iran is capable of hitting US facilities throughout the Middle East.

Pompeo told Fox News that dozens of countries would attend the summit which would aim to "build out the global coalition" opposed to Iranian policies in the region.

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