Donald Trump was about to attack Iran, but his advisers dissuaded him

Donald Trump was about to attack Iran, but his advisers dissuaded him

The outgoing president of the United States was looking for reasons to attack the country and stop its expanding nuclear program. An attack on Iranian facilities could have easily escalated into a wider conflict

(photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool / Getty Images) Outgoing US President Donald Trump was looking for reasons to attack Iran and stop its expanding nuclear program, US newspapers reveal. On Thursday, November 12, Trump gathered his senior advisors - including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo - in the Oval Office to discuss possible options for acting against the Middle Eastern country, specifically its main website. nuclear. All officials strongly advised Trump against such a move, warning him that an attack on Iranian structures could easily escalate into a broader conflict, in the final weeks of Trump's presidency before the inauguration of Democrat Joe Biden.

Just the day before the tycoon's meeting with his advisors, inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) had reported a significant increase in Iran's uranium stocks, reports the New York Times. An increase of about 12 times higher than expected from the nuclear agreement that the Middle Eastern country had signed in 2015 with the United Kingdom, France, Germany, China, Russia and the United States (from which Trump withdrew in 2018, but that the president elected Biden promised to resurrect).

Any attack by US forces, missile or cyber, would almost certainly be directed at the Natanz site, where the stocks of nuclear material have been stored. Furthermore, Iran did not allow international inspectors access to another suspect nuclear site with evidence of past nuclear activity. After Mike Pompeo and General Mark Milley described the potential risks of a military escalation to Trump, the president gave up on a missile strike, administration officials told The Times. However, it is still possible that Trump will seek other ways to target Iran, for example by acting against its assets or its allies (such as militias in Iraq).

Already after he fired Secretary of Defense Mark Esper last week, the Department of Defense and other national security officials had privately expressed concern to the New York daily that Trump may initiate operations, overt or secret, against foreign opponents at the end of their presidential term.

Is Iran building a nuclear weapon?

The report by the International Atomic Energy Agency that urged Trump concluded that Iran now has a supply of over 2,442 kilograms of depleted uranium. That would be enough to produce about two nuclear weapons, according to an analysis by the Institute for Science and International Security. But it would take many months of additional processing to enrich uranium and turn it into bomb material, the New York Times explains, meaning that Iran would not come close to building a bomb until late spring 2021 (very optimistically). well beyond the end of Trump's term as president.

Although the amount of Iranian uranium stocks is worrying, it still remains a figure far below the amount Iran possessed before President Barack Obama reached a nuclear deal with Tehran to limit its accumulation in July 2015. Under the terms of the agreement, at the end of 2015, Iran shipped about 97% of its nuclear fuel stocks to Russia, or about 11,3398 kilograms.

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