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Trump Ordered Attack On Iran — Then Called It Off, Reason Unknown

UPDATE: President Donald Trump, in a series of tweets he made Friday morning, explained his decision to call off a strike against Iranian military targets the evening before.

After giving the order to retaliate over the shooting down of an unmanned drone, Trump asked his advisers how many people would die. He was told 150 could perish as a result of his attacks. 

“10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” Trump wrote, per reporting from the New York Post.

The original article appears below.

President Donald Trump on Thursday evening approved a plan calling for air strikes on specific targets within Iran, in retaliation for that nation allegedly shooting down an American surveillance drone, but then abruptly reversed course and called the mission off.

Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images

It is not clear at this time what prompted the president to change his mind on the issue, the New York Times reported. It’s possible the president had a change of heart, but equally possible that there were logistical challenges to the plan, for example.

Whether the planned attacks would occur later was left up in the air as well.

The initial decision to attack Iran, in response to the drone strike that the administration said occurred over international waters (a notion that Iran disputed) came after fierce debate within the White House. Members of Congress were called into the Situation Room to be debriefed on the decision to attack.

Per the Times report, officials in the White House, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton, were pushing for the strike, while high-ranking officials in the Pentagon urged restraint, arguing that a strike now could make matters worse, including for U.S. military personnel in the region. The Associated Press reported, however, that the Pentagon supported the move.

Trump ordered the strike on Thursday evening. Planes had already departed for their targets, and ships were in position in waters near Iran, when Trump reversed course and ordered the attacks to stop.

The initial decision to attack Iran, in response to the drone strike that the administration said occurred over international waters (a notion that Iran disputed) came after fierce debate within the White House. Members of Congress were called into the Situation Room to be debriefed on the decision to attack.

Although an attack didn’t seem imminent at the time, Trump’s comments earlier in the day — including a tweet chasting Iran for making “a very big mistake!” — indicated Trump was likely considering ways to respond to the drone being downed this week.

The U.S. has stated the drone was attacked over international waters. “We have it all documented. It’s documented, scientifically, not just words,” Trump said.

Tehran has disputed this notion, saying that the drone was attacked over its border waters, suggesting it was well within their rights to attack the unmanned craft.

Criticism abounded over the attacks on social media. Ben Rhodes, former Deputy National Security Adviser under former President Barack Obama, lambasted the current president for his actions.

“This is precisely why politics isn’t a game, diplomatic agreements should be honored, and temperament, intellect, and judgement [sic] are what matters in who is President,” Rhodes wrote. “It should never have come to this.”



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