WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump reportedly asked senior advisers last week about launching a military strike against Iran in response to international inspectors reporting that the country’s stockpile of nuclear materials has increased significantly.
What You Need To Know
- President Donald Trump asked senior advisers last week about launching a military strike against Iran, The New York Times reported
- The question was in response to an International Atomic Energy Agency report saying Iran has significantly increased its stockpile of nuclear materials, according to the Times
- The advisers reportedly dissuaded Trump from moving forward with military action and believe a missile strike is off the table
- Iran said Tuesday that any action against it would face a "crushing response"
According to The New York Times, Trump inquired during an Oval Office meeting Thursday about options he could take against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks. The president was dissuaded by his advisers from moving forward with military action after they argued it could easily escalate into a broader conflict in the final weeks of his presidency, the newspaper reported.
Among the advisers who were present at the meeting were Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, according to the Times, which cited four current and former U.S. officials for its reporting.
Trump’s advisers left the meeting believing a missile attack was no longer under consideration, the report said. But the president might still be looking to strike Iran’s assets and allies, including militias in Iraq, officials told the Times.
The White House declined to comment.
In response to the Times report, Iran issued a warning to the U.S. on Tuesday.
“Any action against the Iranian nation would certainly face a crushing response,” spokesman Ali Rabiei said in remarks streamed on an official government website, Reuters reported.
Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a confidential document given to United Nations countries that Iran has stockpiled low-enriched uranium 12 times more than the limit set by a nuclear accord, multiple reports said. The agency also said that Iran has blocked its inspectors from a separate suspected site.
The 5,385 pounds of uranium are enough to produce about two nuclear weapons, according to the Institute for Science and International Security. It would take at least several more months to enrich the uranium into bomb-grade material, and Iran’s advances have been slow and steady, the Times reported.
The amount of nuclear materials is still far below what Iran had before President Barack Obama reached the nuclear agreement with Iran in July 2015. Trump pulled the U.S. out of the accord in 2018, arguing that Iran was not following the terms of the deal. The Iranians initially followed the limits imposed by the pact but eventually began to slowly ramp up production, saying they would not abide by a deal that the U.S. was violating.