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White House asked for options to strike Iran

14 January 2019

The Pentagon has agreed to lay out options for hitting Iran at the request by US National Security Adviser John Bolton, The Wall Street Journal reported, citing a former senior presidential administration employee.

The request came after militants, reportedly backed by Iran, fired rockets toward the U.S. consulate in Basra and the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad's diplomatic green zone in September.

The report states, "As part of the talks, Mr. Trump's National Security Council, led by John Bolton, asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran". The shells-launched by a group aligned with Iran-landed in an open lot and harmed no one. Two days later however, amid ongoing protests in the southern city of Basra, unknown militants fired several rockets towards the U.S. consulate building. It isn't clear whether the information compiled by the Pentagon was relayed to the White House or whether Trump was aware of the request, the newspaper said.

NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement on Sunday that "the NSC coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats" and it will continue to consider "the full range of options" after the attacks in Basra and Baghdad.

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".

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Previously Mr Bolton has advocated for military strikes against Iran.

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.

Relations between Tehran and Washington are highly fraught following Trump's decision in May to withdraw from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and to reimpose sanctions, including on Iran's vital oil sector.

The US blamed Iran for the attack, despite Tehran's categorical denial.

He has worked with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in implementing a more hardline approach to Iran since taking office.

White House asked for options to strike Iran