Last week, President Trump requested options for attacking Iran’s main nuclear facility, but ultimately backed out of the move, a White House official said Monday.
Trump made the inquiry during a meeting Thursday with his senior national security advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence, new Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and General Mark Millie, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the official said.
An administration official confirmed the meeting, which was reported by The New York Times. In the article, the publication reported that advisers convinced Trump not to strike because of the threat of wider conflict.
“He asked about options. They gave him scripts and ultimately he decided not to take any steps, ”the official said. The White House declined to comment.
Throughout four years of his presidency, Trump pursued an aggressive policy towards Iran, withdrawing from the nuclear agreement with Tehran, which was signed by his predecessor Barack Obama.
A request for strike options came a day after a UN report said Iran had completed the transfer of a number of advanced centrifuges from a land-based plant at its main uranium enrichment plant to an underground one, in a further violation of the nuclear agreement with leading nations.
Iran’s reserves of low-enriched uranium – 2.4 tons – are now well above the agreement’s limit of 202.8 kg. Tehran produced 337.5 kg per quarter, less than the 500 kg recorded by the International Atomic Energy Agency in the previous two quarters.
President Trump is careful not to start serious armed conflicts and is seeking to withdraw US troops from hot spots in accordance with a promise to stop what he calls “endless wars.” The strike on Iran’s main nuclear facility in Netenz could escalate into a regional conflict and pose a serious foreign policy challenge for President-elect Biden.