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Trump asked for options to attack Iran last week but was dissuaded

FILE PHOTO: United States President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, US, on November 13, 2020. REUTERS / Carlos Barria FILE PHOTO: United States President Donald Trump at the White House in Washington, US, on November 13, 2020. REUTERS / Carlos Barria

By Steve Holland

WASHINGTON, Nov 16 (.) – President Donald Trump, two months after leaving the White House, asked last week for options to attack Iran’s main nuclear site, but ultimately decided not to make such a drastic decision, a man said on Monday. senior American official.

Trump made the request during a meeting in the Oval Office last Thursday before his top national security advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, new acting Secretary of Defense Christopher Miller and General Mark Milley, head of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the senior official.

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

The senior official confirmed the account of the meeting to The New York Times, which reported that advisers dissuaded Trump from going ahead with an attack because of the risk of a broader conflict.

“He asked for options. They gave him the scenarios and finally decided not to go ahead,” said this senior official.

The White House declined to comment.

Trump has spent the four years of his presidency committing to 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 came a day after a UN watchdog report showed Iran had finished moving the first round of advanced centrifuges from an above-ground plant at its main uranium enrichment site to an underground facility. , in a further violation of the 2015 nuclear agreement with the major world powers.

In January, Trump ordered a US drone strike that killed Iranian General Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad airport, but has prevented broader military conflicts and sought to withdraw US troops from the world’s major hot spots, keeping a promise to end. with what he calls “endless wars.”

An attack on Iran’s main nuclear enclave in Natanz could spark a regional conflict and pose a serious challenge to Biden’s foreign policy.

Biden’s transition team, which has not had access to national security intelligence due to the Trump administration’s refusal to initiate the handover, declined to comment.

(Information from Steve Holland; additional information from Michael Martina and Michelle Nichols; edited by Mary Milliken, Cynthia Osterman, Leslie Adler and Lincoln Feast, translated by Michael Susin at the Gdansk newsroom)