US planning ‘tactical assault’ on Iran in response to ‘tanker attack’
Diplomatic sources at the UN headquarters in New York revealed to Hebrew-language Israeli newspaper Maariv that they are assessing the United States’ plans to carry out a tactical assault on Iran in response to the tanker attack in the Persian Gulf on Thursday.
According to the officials, the White House has been holding incessant discussions involving senior military commanders, Pentagon representatives and advisers to US President Donald Trump since Friday, the Jerusalem Post reported.
The plan would be for the US to launch an aerial bombardment of an Iranian facility linked to its nuclear program, the Post reported. One Western diplomat has reportedly said that the bombing will be “massive” but “limited to a specific target.”
According to the reports, the United States plans to reinforce its military presence in the Middle East, and in the coming days will also send additional soldiers to the area.
Sources alleged that Trump was not enthusiastic about a strike but had lost his patience and succumbed to influence from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who has been pushing for military action.
Pompeo is scheduled to visit US Central Command at MacDill Air Force Base, in Tampa, Florida, on Tuesday to discuss “regional security concerns and ongoing operations.”
In an interview on Fox News television week ago, President Donald Trump claimed Iran’s responsibility for the attacks had been “exposed” by the United States. He described the Islamic Republic as “a nation of terror”.
He added: “Iran did do it. You know they did it because you saw the boat. I guess one of the mines didn’t explode and it’s probably got essentially Iran written all over it … You saw the boat at night, successfully trying to take the mine off – and that was exposed.”
Tehran has however denied involvement, accusing the US of waging an “Iranophobic campaign”.