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Trump says US was primed to attack three locations in Iran before he called off mission

The US had reportedly been planning strikes on a number of Iranian targets.

US President Donald Trump spoke to the media on Thursday about tensions with Iran.
US President Donald Trump spoke to the media on Thursday about tensions with Iran.
Image: ABACA/PA Images

Updated Jun 21st 2019, 2:16 PM

DONALD TRUMP APPROVED but then scrapped strikes against Iranian targets yesterday after Iran shot down a US drone in what the president called a “big mistake”. 

On Thursday evening The New York Times reported that the US was planning to hit “a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries”. The newspaper cited senior administration officials, but reported that the plan was cancelled in its early stages. 

White House and Pentagon officials declined to comment, the Times said, and it was unclear whether there were plans for such strikes in the future. 

Iran said it had recovered parts of a US Global Hawk spy drone in its territorial waters after downing the aircraft in a missile strike, but the Pentagon says it was above international waters when it was hit.

“Iran made a very big mistake!” Trump tweeted. However, he later appeared to dial back his comments. 

“I find it hard to believe it was intentional, if you want to know the truth,” Trump said. ”I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it.”

When asked about a possible retaliation, Trump said: “You will find out.”

Trump has this afternoon tweeted a number of statements regarding the planned Iranian attack. He said the US was primed to target three separate sites in Iran. He said he asked his generals how many people would die in the attacks. Trump claimed that when he was told 150 people were expected to lose their lives, he decided to call off the attack 10 minutes before they were due to occur.

Iran has said it has “indisputable” evidence that the US drone had violated Iranian airspace. 

“We don’t seek war, but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters,” said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif.

- © AFP 2019

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