By Yaron Steinbuch
Source: New York Post
President Trump confirmed Friday that the US was “cocked & loaded” to launch a retaliatory strike against Iran shooting down a drone — but canceled it with 10 minutes to spare when told 150 people would die, saying it was not “proportionate” and he was “in no hurry.”
“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,” the president said in a tweet.
“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,” he continued. “I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world.”
Trump added that sanctions are crippline the Islamic Republic and that additional ones were imposed Thursday night.
“Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD,” he wrote.
In separate tweets, the president also blasted former President Barack Obama for the fraught situation with Iran.
“President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran – Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus I.8 Billion Dollars in CASH!” Trump wrote, referring to Iranian assets unfrozen by the US as part of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal from which he pulled out of.
“Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON,” he continued. “Instead of saying thank you, Iran yelled Death to America. I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions.”
The president added: “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!
In exchange for lifting sanctions, the US and five other countries obtained an agreement from Iran to curtail parts of its nuclear power program, as well as a pledge to never acquire nukes.
But the actual amount of money returned to Iran under the agreement was much lower than the $150 billion stated by Trump, the Washington Post has reported, citing government officials and independent economists.
Meanwhile, an adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Friday called on Trump to ease the sanctions, according to NBC News.
“Today’s crisis stems from Washington’s withdrawal from JCPOA, and obstructing real diplomatic overtures,” Hesameddin Ashena said on Twitter, referring to the Iran nuclear accord, which offered Tehran sanctions relief for limits on its nuke program.
“But this process is reversible. Every tangible constructive step will be met in kind,” he added.
Trump’s pullback of the attack was first reported by The New York Times, which described how even as late as 7 p.m. Thursday, military and diplomatic officials still expected it to take place.
“Planes were in the air and ships were in position, but no missiles had been fired when word came to stand down,” the Times reported, citing senior Team Trump officials.