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Trump talked out of attacking Iran’s nuclear facilities last week: report

Top advisers talked President Donald Trump out of launching a military strike against Iran’s nuclear facilities last week, the New York Times reported Monday night.

Trump sought offensive options that the U.S. could take in the coming weeks, the Times reported, but senior advisers recommended against a military strike that they warned could spark a wider, regional conflict.

Last week, the United Nations Atomic Agency said Iran was stockpiling nuclear material significantly beyond what was allowed in the 2015 nuclear agreement, which Trump withdrew the U.S. from in 2018. The U.N. also said Iran’s nuclear research is ongoing and it has taken steps to potentially increase production of low-enriched uranium, the Wall Street Journal reported.

Still, the amount of Iran’s nuclear material is far below the level it possessed before signing the nuclear deal, the Times said.

After Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Gen. Mark Milley, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, laid out the risks, the officials left last week’s meeting satisfied that a missile strike was off the table, the Times reported, citing unnamed administration officials.

Also see: Trump is expected to cut the number of U.S. troops in Afghanistan and Iraq by mid-January

Other responses are still believed to be options, including a cyberattack, seizing Iranian assets or attacks against Iranian proxies in Iraq, the Times said.

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The Times said that senior Pentagon officials have been worried that Trump will initiate military action against Iran or other countries before the end of his presidential term, after he fired Defense Secretary Mark Esper and his top aides last week.

In January, Trump approved a missile strike that killed Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top general, and Iran responded with missile strikes against bases in Iraq that housed U.S. troops. The tensions earlier this year sent oil prices
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spiking.

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