NEW YORK — U.S. President Donald Trump asked his advisers last week about the option of striking Iran over its growing nuclear presence, The New York Times newspaper reported Monday, citing four current and former U.S. officials.
Senior advisers to the president dissuaded Trump from launching an attack, telling him a strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities could escalate into a broader conflict in the last weeks of his presidency, according to the report.
The meeting at the White House was held Thursday, in response to Wednesday’s news from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran had increased its enriched uranium stock to 12 times the amount allowed under its deal with major powers.
It was reportedly attended by Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley.
Trump may still be looking at ways to strike Iranian assets and allies, including militias in Iraq, The New York Times reported, citing officials familiar with the matter.
The Vienna-based IAEA said in its latest quarterly Iran report that Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium had risen above 2,400 kilograms, far above the 202.8 kilograms allowed under the 2015 nuclear deal with the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.
Tehran began ignoring key provisions of the deal last year, after Trump decided that the United States would exit the agreement and reinstate sanctions on Iran.
President-elect Joe Biden has promised to revive the accord, which may be harder for him to do if Trump angers Tehran before Biden moves into the White House in January.
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