US Pentagon developed plans to strike Iran, Wall Street Journal reports

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Pentagon officials ‘rattled’ by Trump White House request for military options to attack Iran: report

The request by the National Security Council (NSC), which is led by John Bolton, sparked deep concern among Pentagon and State Department officials, the newspaper reported, citing current and former U.S. officials.

The request by the National Security Council, which is led by John Bolton, sparked deep concern among Pentagon and State Department officials, the newspaper reported, citing current and former U.S. officials.

A senior administration official told CNN on Sunday that it's not accurate to say the Pentagon and State Department were caught off guard by the request, but would not confirm any other details from the Journal's report.

The White House asked for military strike options against Iran a year ago in a request that startled the Pentagon and the State Department. The newspaper reported that the request sparked deep concern among Pentagon and State Department officials.

The outlet points out that it remains unclear whether the US president was aware of this, but said that the White House had mulled a military attack on Iran after three mortar shells struck the diplomat quarter in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, near the US Embassy in September 2018.

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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. Two days later however, amid ongoing protests in the southern city of Basra, unknown militants fired several rockets towards the USA consulate building.

"The Department of Defense is a planning organization and provides the president military options for a variety of threats", Colonel Rob Manning, a Pentagon spokesman, told AFP.

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

In the same month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also stated the US was willing to target Iran for the actions of its allies in Iraq.

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.

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