The National Security Council sought options for a military strike against Iran following a mortar attack near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad last year, which was allegedly carried out by an Iranian-backed group, the Wall Street Journal reported on January 13 citing U.S officials.
The mortar attack didn’t result in any casualties. Despite of this, National Security Advisor John Bolton asked the Pentagon to set up a plan to take military actions against not only Iran, but also Syria and Iraq.
“It definitely rattled people … People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran.” a former senior U.S. administration official, who was alarmed by Bolton’s request, told the New York-based newspaper.
Commenting on the matter, National Security Council spokesman Garret Marquis told the WSJ that the council’s task is to coordinate policy and provide the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats. However, it remains unclear if Trump was aware of Bolton’s request.
“We continue to review the status of our personnel following attempted attacks on our embassy in Baghdad and our Basra consulate, and we will consider a full range of options to preserve their safety and our interests,” Marquis said.
Bolton is well-known for his radical views against Iran. Last year, the Intercept revealed that the senior advisor promised members of the Iranian opposition that the Iranian regime will be overthrown by 2019 during a meeting in the French capital of Paris.
“Before 2019, we here will celebrate in Tehran!” Bolton told members of the Iranian opposition group, People’s Mujahedin of Iran (MEK), according to the Intercept.
This aggressive behavior against Iran could further destabilize the Middle East, which is already witnessing dangerous conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.