White House asked Pentagon for Iran strike plans

Clay Curtis
January 14, 2019

'It definitely rattled people, ' a former senior U.S. administration official told the Journal.

But the White House National Security Council (NSC) sought to develop a forceful American response to the low-scale attack, including options for a strike against the Islamic republic, the Journal reported.

The Journal, citing conversations with people familiar with the talks, also reported that the council requested options for launching strikes at both Iraq and Syria when they made the request for Iran. According to the Wall Street Journal, the request was made after several shells landed in Baghdad's green zone, near the USA embassy last September.

"It definitely rattled people", a former senior USA administration official told the newspaper. Two days later however, amid ongoing protests in the southern city of Basra, unknown militants fired several rockets towards the USA consulate building.

The request alarmed the Pentagon and State Department, the Journal reported, but the Pentagon complied with the request and developed the options.

NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis, said the NSC does the same and it will continue to consider "the full range of options" after the attacks.

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As a think-tank scholar and Fox News commentator, Mr. Bolton repeatedly urged the U.S.to attack Iran, including in a 2015 New York Times op-ed titled, "To stop Iran's bomb, bomb Iran".

The Pentagon did agree to come up with options to attack 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.

State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo did not comment on the story when asked about it by reporters and a State Department spokeswoman declined to comment.

After the attack in Baghdad, the White House warned that "the United States will hold the regime in Tehran accountable for any attack that results in injury to our personnel or damage to United States government facilities".

Mr. Bolton's request reflects the administration's more confrontational approach toward Tehran, one that he has pushed since taking up the post last April.

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