The deputy foreign minister, Abbas Araqchi, tweeted: “We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else. I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS [unmanned aerial system] by mistake!”
President Trump said that the U.S.S. Boxer, operating in the Strait of Hormuz, shot down an Iranian drone that he said had approached within 1,000 yards and ignored calls to stand down, Axios reports.
He said the drone was “immediately destroyed.”
Politico: “Trump has repeatedly urged Iran to engage in negotiations with him, while saying that Tehran’s nuclear ambitions are his chief concern … His aides and allies, meanwhile, have recently suggested that Iran and other countries should follow the guidelines of a deal they themselves have shunned as worthless.”
“At times, analysts and former officials say, it sounds like Trump wants to strike a deal that essentially mirrors the agreement that his White House predecessor inked — even if he’d never be willing to admit it. Iranian officials seem willing to egg him on. … The administration’s confusing messaging is a result of warring between two major factions, U.S. officials say, with Trump in his own separate lane.”
“The Trump administration on Sunday vowed to continue ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran after the nation announced that it would start enriching uranium beyond limits set under a 2015 deal, but the U.S. has few options when it comes to trying to curb Iran from producing a nuclear weapon,” Politico reports.
“After withdrawing from the international nuclear agreement in 2018, President Trump repeatedly said he wanted to negotiate a new deal with Iran, but he has continued to impose harsh sanctions and move troops to the region for possible military options.”
“Iran’s brazen move on Sunday threatens to put the U.S. and its allies back where they were before the deal — with no comprehensive restrictions on Iran’s nuclear ambitions.”
“You’re not going to need an exit strategy. I don’t need exit strategies.”
— President Trump, quoted by Bloomberg, when asked if he had an exit strategy if war broke out with Iran.
President Trump warned Iran that any attack on “anything American” would be met with “great and overwhelming force” following Iranian remarks slamming new U.S. sanctions as permanently closing the path to diplomacy amid a spike in tensions in the Persian Gulf, the Washington Post reports.
“President Trump announced on Monday that he is imposing new sanctions on Iran, after saying for days that he preferred tightening the pressure on a crippled Iranian economy to launching an immediate military strike in retaliation for what American officials have said are recent aggressive acts by Tehran,” the New York Times reports.
Said Trump :“We will continue to increase pressure on Tehran. Never can Iran have a nuclear weapon.”
Meanwhile, the Washington Post notes that Iran said its forces “could shoot down more surveillance drones if they violate the country’s airspace.”
Wall Street Journal: “President Trump bucked most of his top national-security advisers by abandoning retaliatory strikes in Iran on Thursday. In private conversations Friday, Mr. Trump reveled in his judgment, certain about his decision to call off the attacks while speaking of his administration as if removed from the center of it. ”
Said Trump to one confidant: “These people want to push us into a war, and it’s so disgusting. We don’t need any more wars.”
“President Trump’s last-minute decision to pull back from a retaliatory strike on Iran underscored the absence of appealing options available to him as Tehran races toward its next big challenge to the United States: building up and further enriching its stockpile of nuclear fuel,” the New York Times reports.
“Two weeks of flare-ups over the attacks on oil tankers and the downing of an American surveillance drone, administration officials said, have overshadowed a larger, more complex and fast-intensifying showdown over containing Iran’s nuclear program.”
New York Times: “He heard from his generals and his diplomats. Lawmakers weighed in and so did his advisers. But among the voices that rang powerfully for President Trump was that of one of his favorite Fox News hosts: Tucker Carlson.”
“While national security advisers were urging a military strike against Iran, Mr. Carlson in recent days had told Mr. Trump that responding to Tehran’s provocations with force was crazy. The hawks did not have the president’s best interests at heart, he said. And if Mr. Trump got into a war with Iran, he could kiss his chances of re-election goodbye.”
Washington Post: “Trump’s decision to call off the strikes, citing the potential casualties, came as a surprise to Pentagon officials who had spent the late afternoon gearing up for the operation.”
“Speaker Nancy Pelosi said Friday that she was not informed of President Trump’s plans to strike Iran Thursday night, a military action that he said he called off minutes before it was to occur,” the Washington Post reports.
“Traditionally, House and Senate leadership, and chair and ranking members on the national security-related and other key committees are told about an imminent U.S. military action.”
Washington Post: Trump’s bizarre tweetstorm on his Iran decision, annotated.
President Trump confirmed that his administration had readied a series of strikes against Iran in response for shooting down an unmanned drone, but that he stopped it at the last moment.
Tweeted Trump: “We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights [sic] when I asked, how many will die. 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.”
For members: Was It All a Bluff?
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Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Fox News last night that President Trump should bomb Iran if the country does more to disrupt shipping activity.
Said Graham: “He should put the oil refineries on the target list and look at sinking the Iranian Navy if they attack shipping again. My red line is: If there’s any more disruption of shipping in the Strait of Hormuz linked to Iran, take out their Navy and bomb their refineries.”
“In a major provocation, Iran shot down an unarmed and unmanned U.S. RQ-4A Global Hawk drone while it was flying in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz Thursday, U.S. Central Command confirmed in a statement,” ABC News reports.
Said Gen. Hossein Salami, commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps: “Shooting down the American spy drone had a clear, decisive, firm and accurate message… We do not intend to engage in war with any country, but we are completely ready for the war. Today’s incident is a clear sign of this accurate message.”
“Two senior officials and three other individuals with direct knowledge of the administration’s strategy in the region tell the Daily Beast that the president has asked officials to tone down their heated rhetoric on Iran, despite the attacks on tanker ships in the Gulf of Oman that Washington has blamed on Tehran.”
The president has previously said he is less hawkish on Iran than some of his advisers and this week, in a Time magazine interview, said the attacks on the tankers were ‘very minor.'”
New York Times: “Administration officials are briefing Congress on what they say are ties between Iran and Al Qaeda, prompting skeptical reactions and concern on Capitol Hill that the White House could invoke the war authorization passed in 2001 as legal cover for military action against Tehran.”
“Statements tying Iran and Al Qaeda by Mr. Pompeo and other officials point to the potential for the administration to justify invoking the 2001 authorization… And when asked in recent weeks by lawmakers and journalists whether the administration would use the 2001 authorization, Mr. Pompeo has deflected the questions.”
Facing twin challenges in the Persian Gulf, President Trump told Time that he might take military action to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, but cast doubt on going to war to protect international oil supplies.
Said Trump: “I would certainly go over nuclear weapons and I would keep the other a question mark.”
Trump described recent attacks on oil tankers as “very minor.”