The Wall Street Journal is reporting that following a mortar attack on the U.S. embassy in Baghdad in September that was blamed on Iran, National Security Adviser John Bolton asked the Pentagon for options to strike the Islamic Republic.
The Jerusalem Post reports that the Pentagon was “rattled” by Bolton’s inquiry and it’s unknown whether any option for military action against Iran ever made it to the president’s desk.
The request, which could lead to direct military confrontation between Iran and the United States, raised concern in the Pentagon.
“It definitely rattled people,” a former senior US administration official told the Journal.” It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.”
However, it is not clear if the proposals were ever delivered to Trump, even though they were compiled.
Last year, Trump pushed Defense Secretary Jim Mattis to strike in Syria to punish President Bashar Assad for a chemical weapons attack. In the end, Trump adopted a modest approach, but Mattis resigned because of security disputes with the president.
Before joining the Trump administration, Bolton argued repeatedly that the US should attack Iran and had supported regime change in the country.
Official White House policy does not call for regime change in Iran, and Bolton has said he would implement the President’s agenda.
That policy could change if Iran continues to threaten its neighbors in the region.
Tension between the US and Iran has been slowly building throughout Trump’s presidency.
The US has even foreshadowed the possibility of an attack with the White House’s statement that was released on September 11.
“The United States will hold the regime accountable for any attack that results in the injury to our personnel or damage to United States’ government facilities” the White House said.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted out a warning to Iran about its continued violations of UN Security Council resolutions on its missile program:
#Iran plans to fire off Space Launch Vehicles with virtually same technology as ICBMs. The launch will advance its missile program. US, France, UK & Germany have already stated this is in defiance of UNSCR 2231. We won't stand by while the regime threatens international security.
— Secretary Pompeo (@SecPompeo) January 3, 2019
There’s no doubt that we could do plenty of damage to Iran if we chose to strike. What worries the Pentagon is that Iran is capable of hitting U.S. facilities throughout the Middle East. The range and accuracy of Iran’s missiles are constantly improving — largely because the world refuses to take a stand against their illegal development of ICBMs. The Iranians could do plenty of damage to us if they chose to retaliate.
Striking Iran carries risks — especially if the U..S goes it alone. A coalition that included Saudi Arabia and other Sunni Arab states that are frightened of Iran’s growing power and influence in the region may someday be necessary to check the growing power and influence of Tehran.