Iran Focus

London, 14 Jan - Donald Trump’s National Security Council has asked for military options on Iran in response to the Iran[s support of insurgents in Iraq and the Pentagon has developed plans for a strike on Iran.

The council, led by national security adviser John Bolton, made the request after Iran-linked militants fired three mortar rounds into the diplomatic section of Baghdad, where the US Embassy is located, in September. Thankfully, no one was injured as the mortars landed in a vacant lot.

Shortly after the mortar attack, Bolton said: "If you cross us, our allies or our partners; if you harm our citizens; if you continue to lie, cheat and deceive, yes, there will indeed be hell to pay."

Bolton has long advocated for a more aggressive policy towards Iran, including pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal, which Trump did last May, and "vigorous American support for Iran’s opposition, aimed at regime change in Tehran”.

The US policy on Iran is currently not regime change, but a change in behaviour, however, Bolton has made it clear that he personally supports regime change.

NSC spokesman Garrett Marquis said in a statement: "We continue to review the status of our personnel following attempted attacks on our embassy in Baghdad and our Basra consulate, and we will consider a full range of options to preserve their safety and our interests.”

While the Pentagon said: “The Department of Defense is a planning organization and provides the president military options for a variety of threats; routinely reviewing and updating plans and activities to deal with a host of threats, including those posed by Iran, to deter and, if necessary, to respond to aggression.”

It remains unclear whether Trump knows about the plans or if concrete plans have been formulated, but several unnamed sources within the Defense and State Departments report being caught off-guard and Defence Secretary James Mattis was shocked. While Secretary of State Mike Pompeo refused to comment on the report when it was brought up at a news conference.

However, Pompeo stated last week, during a speech at the American University in Cairo that the world must “confront the ayatollahs, not coddle them”. Earlier, he also warned the Iranians not to launch three spacecraft, which he believes is a pretext for the testing of missile technology capable of carrying a nuclear warhead.

Pompeo has been very clear on the need to counter Iran, although he has not spoken of military action. He has provided details on a planned anti-Iran ministerial conference to be held in Warsaw in February.

He said: “There’ll be a broad coalition of countries present and we’ll work on many issues, including how it is we can get the Islamic Republic of Iran to behave more like a normal nation.”

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