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Trump Reportedly Asked Aides About Options For Striking Iranian Nuclear Site


The entrance of the Natanz nuclear site (file photo)

With two months left in office, U.S. President Donald Trump asked top aides about options to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, media reports say.

During an Oval Office meeting on November 12, Trump asked several top aides, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, General Mark Milley, "whether he had options to take action against Iran's main nuclear site in the coming weeks," The New York Times reported on November 16.

The senior officials "dissuaded the president from moving ahead with a military strike," warning him that the move could ignite a broader conflict in the last weeks of his presidency, The Times wrote.

A U.S. official confirmed the report to Reuters on November 17.

"He asked for options. They gave him the scenarios, and he ultimately decided not to go forward," the official said.

Trump reportedly asked the question after a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said that Iran was continuing to stockpile enriched uranium.

The White House declined comment.

The most likely target of an attack would have been Natanz, where the IAEA reported that Tehran's "uranium stockpile was now 12 times larger" than allowed under a landmark 2015 deal between Iran and world powers that Trump withdrew from in 2018.

"Any action against the Iranian nation would certainly face a crushing response," Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei said, in remarks streamed on an official government website.

Trump, who has so far refused to concede and is challenging the results of the November 3 presidential election, is to hand over power to President-elect Joe Biden on January 20. Biden's transition team declined comment on the issue.

The Trump administration has refused to begin the transition, barring Biden's team from access to national security intelligence.

Based on reporting by Reuters and The New York Times
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