I Called off Airstrike Against Iran in the Last Minute: Trump
US president Donald Trump has revealed that he had approved airstrikes against Iran for the downing of an American drone over international waters on Thursday.
“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die,” the US president tweeted on Friday. “150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not … proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.
“I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”
It was reported overnight that Trump had given approval for the US military to launch the strikes on Iran as a reprisal for Tehran shooting down the drone, before pulling back at the last minute.
US military and diplomatic officials were expecting strikes on a handful of radar and missile sites after the president’s leading national security officials and congressional leaders gathered at the White House, the paper said. The military operation was called off about 7.30pm ET (12.30am BST).
The UK was informed of the US plan for the attack and not told the reprisal raids were off until 10pm (3am BST).
On Friday, Reuters reported that Trump had passed a message to Tehran via Oman warning an attack was imminent.
“In his message, Trump said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues,” an anonymous Iranian official told the news agency. “He gave a short period of time to get our response, but Iran’s immediate response was that it is up to [the] supreme leader [Ayatollah Ali] Khamenei to decide about this issue.”
A second Iranian official said: “We made it clear that the leader is against any talks, but the message will be conveyed to him to make a decision … However, we told the Omani official that any attack against Iran will have regional and international consequences.”
Oman – along with Japan, Iraq and to a lesser extent Switzerland – has acted as an intermediary for messages between Trump and the Iranian leadership.