White House ordered shocking request for potential attack on Iran

The US embassy in Baghdad Iraq seen from across the Tigris river

A senior administration official told CNN on Sunday that it's not accurate to say the Pentagon and State Department were caught off guard by the request, but would not confirm any other details from the Journal's report. "People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran".

What was known until now was that Mr Bolton's National Security Council also asked the military to present the White House with options for striking Iran as a way of countering Tehran's influence in the region. The three mortars, however, landed in an open lot and nobody was harmed in the attack.

In addition, two rockets were fired toward the secure compound of the U.S. Consulate in city of Basra, in southwest Iraq.

A National Security Council spokesman told the newspaper the council "coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats".

Citing the lack of casualties and limited damage that resulted from the September 6 mortar attack, the USA officials whom the Journal spoke to said Bolton's request for a far-reaching military response was jarring. He penned a 2015 New York Times opinion piece prior to his current role titled "To stop Iran's bomb, bomb Iran".

The US blamed Iran-aligned militants for the incident, although there were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack.

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He has worked with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in implementing a more hardline approach to Iran since taking office.

"They're going to be held accountable", Pompeo replied. The Iranians could do plenty of damage to us if they chose to retaliate.

The source said while no one had been injured in the attack, the White House was angered by the military attack on Iran in September previous year.

In one NSC meeting, then deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel called the attacks in Iraq an "act of war" and called for a decisive USA response.

On Sunday, Iran's foreign ministry summoned a senior Polish diplomat in protest at Poland jointly hosting a global summit with the USA focused on the Middle East, particularly Iran, state news agency IRNA reported.

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