President Donald Trump said on June 21 that there’s no rush to strike Iran, following reports sourced to anonymous officials that the president ordered a military strike against Iran after it shot down an American drone but called it off at the last moment.
Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning to explain his thinking.
“President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran—Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus 1.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON,” Trump started.
“Instead of saying thank you, Iran yelled Death to America. I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions.”
….Death to America. I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions. They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East. Now they are Bust!….
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
….proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
The president said Iran is weaker now than it was at the beginning of his presidency, and is causing fewer problems for other countries in the Middle East.
“On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights [sic] when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it,” he explained.
The response would not have been proportionate in retaliation for an unmanned drone, the president said. The day prior, he told reporters in the Oval Office: “We didn’t have a man or woman in the drone. It would have made a big, big difference.”
On Twitter, he said the American military is superior to any other country’s military and that he’s currently adding additional sanctions against Iran.
“I am in no hurry,” he said. “Our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”
The missives came after a slew of reports emerged late Thursday and early Friday claiming that Trump ordered military strikes before, at the last second, reversing the order.
The reports all relied on anonymous sources.
Anonymous sources “familiar with the matter” told ABC that “the president’s reason for changing course was unclear, but the reversal was against the advice of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and National Security Adviser John Bolton,” the outlet reported.
A source within the Trump administration was said to have relayed the concerns of some officials that the reported military strikes could have killed hundreds of civilians in Iran.
Likewise, the New York Times, citing “multiple senior administration officials involved in or briefed on the deliberations,” reported that Trump approved military strikes but ultimately decided against them being launched.
The strikes were said to have targeted radar and missile batteries, among other targets.
“The operation was underway in its early stages when it was called off, a senior administration official said. Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down, the official said,” the Times reported. “No government officials asked The New York Times to withhold the article,” it added.
Maggie Haberman, who Trump recently said laughed when told he would win the 2016 election, was one of the writers with a byline on the story.
The tensions between Iran and the United States have been building for years, as Trump pulled America out of a nuclear deal crafted by former President Barack Obama that was not ratified by Congress and in its place levied sanctions against the country.
Iran, which has regularly expressed its animus against the United States, has ratcheted up its nuclear program and on June 17 said it would break restrictions from the deal, despite European countries and China still being party to it.
The declaration came several days after a tanker in the Middle East was damaged. The United States said Iran was responsible and Iranian gunboats were reported to have surrounded the vessel and detained the sailors on board.
Then Iran shot down an American drone, claiming it was in its airspace. American officials said the drone was in international airspace.
Trump on June 20 told reporters that the incident was probably a mistake.
“I find it hard to believe it was intentional,” he said.
“I have a big, big feeling” that someone made a mistake, he added. Whoever did it was “loose and stupid,” he said.
Asked what the U.S. response would be, he said: “You’ll find out.”