PRESIDENT Donald Trump has said that the US military was “cocked and loaded to retaliate” against Iran, but that he changed his mind 10 minutes before the planned strikes.
Attacks on three Iranian sites were planned in response to the shooting down of a US unmanned drone this week, but Mr Trump said that he had called off strikes after being told 150 people would die.
In one of his characteristically refreshingly honest tweets, POTUS said: “10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”
“I am in no hurry,” Mr Trump also said on Friday. “Our military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world.”
On Friday, the president told NBC News that he decided not to give final approval to the planned strikes because of the predicted death toll, saying: “I didn’t like it. I didn’t think it was proportionate.”
Tehran says the unmanned US aircraft entered Iranian airspace early on Thursday morning. The US maintains it was shot down in international airspace.
Tensions have been escalating between the two countries, with both leaders officially declaring the other’s military organisations as terrorists, and the US recently blaming Iran for attacks on oil tankers operating in the region.
In another startling development, Iran has now declared that it will soon exceed its nuclear program target
Last year, the US unilaterally pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal aimed at curbing Iran’s nuclear activities.
“Iran can NEVER have nuclear weapons,” Mr Trump said in his tweets on the aborted strikes – also revealing that increased economic sanctions against Iran were “added last night”.
The US has now asked the United Nations Security Council to meet on Monday to discuss the developing situation in Iran.