Trump says he halted U.S. strike on Iran over possible casualties

WASHINGTON, JUN 21 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 6/21/2019 12:00:19 PM IST

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday said he called off a planned military strike against Iran because it would have been a disproportionate response to Tehran’s downing of an unmanned U.S. surveillance drone, adding that more sanctions have been imposed, reports Reuters. “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights (sic) when I asked, how many will die,” Trump wrote in a series of morning tweets. “150 people, sir, was the answer from a General.

“10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone. I am in no hurry.” Trump said U.S. sanctions imposed on Iran were having an effect and, without mentioning details, said more were added Thursday night. Iranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message from Trump warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent but that he was against war and wanted to talk.
Trump’s tweets did not address whether he had sent a message to Iran’s leaders but repeated his attacks on the deal secured by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama. He also reiterated his stance that Iran would not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons.
The escalating tensions come after Tehran on Thursday said it had shot down an unmanned U.S. military surveillance drone with a surface-to-air missile following a spate of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf region.
Trump says Iran made ‘very big mistake’ by downing US drone
President Donald Trump said Thursday that Iran has made a “very big mistake” by shooting down a US spy drone, an incident that is likely to further escalate already soaring tensions between Washington and Tehran.  Both the US and Iran said that Iranian forces had shot down an American military surveillance drone, but the two sides offered conflicting details on the incident.
US officials confirmed that a high altitude drone on a surveillance mission over the Strait of Hormuz was hit by an Iranian surface-to-air missile in international airspace.  
Iran, however, said its elite Revolutionary Guard shot down an RQ-4 Global Hawk drone as it flew over southern Iran  and that the incident sent a “clear message to America”. The US military’s Central Command confirmed a US Navy Broad Area Maritime Surveillance (BAMS-D) aircraft was shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system.
The BAMS-D is a RQ-4A Global Hawk High-Altitude, Long, Endurance (HALE) drone that can carry out surveillance and reconnaissance missions over vast ocean and coastal regions, according to the US military. 
Iran’s Foreign Ministry issued a condemnation of the purported violation of its airspace and warned of a strong reaction to what it called a “provocative” act by the US.
  White House press secretary Sarah Sanders said Trump was briefed Wednesday night and again Thursday morning about the incident. 
Later, President Trump tweeted: “Iran made a very big mistake!”
Trump’s tweet came as his national security officials were huddling to weigh possible responses, CNN reported.
The incident comes at a time of escalating tension between the two countries.
On Monday, the US defence department said it was deploying 1,000 extra troops to the region in response to “hostile behaviour” by Iranian forces. It has already sent an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers.
The US has also accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers with mines last Thursday just outside the Strait of Hormuz, in the Gulf of Oman. Iran rejects the allegation.
It was the second time in a month tankers had been attacked close in the region, through which a fifth of the world’s oil passes each day.
Tensions were further fuelled on Monday when Iran announced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium would next week exceed limits it agreed with world powers under a landmark nuclear deal in 2015. 

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