US President Donald Trump’s national security team asked the Pentagon last year for “options to strike Iran,” the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday, citing unidentified U.S. officials, Bloomberg reported.
The request was made after militants in Iraq aligned with Iran fired mortars at Baghdad’s diplomatic district, which includes the U.S. Embassy, the report said. The request generated concern at the Pentagon and State Department, current and former U.S. officials told the newspaper.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined to comment when asked by reporters in Qatar if he could confirm the report. Pompeo is doing a nine-nation tour of the Middle East, in part to court support against Iran.
Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton led the approach to the Pentagon, which compiled options, the newspaper reported. It isn’t clear whether the information compiled by the Pentagon was relayed to the White House or whether Trump was aware of the request, the newspaper said.
Relations between Iran and the U.S. have become more confrontational since Trump’s election and his May 2018 decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal and reimpose severe economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.