Pentagon Officials Fear Bolton's Actions Increase Risk of Clash With Iran

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Bolton made the request after three mortars were fired into Baghdad's diplomatic zone - where the USA embassy is located - by Iran-affiliated militants, according to the Wall Street Journal.

The security adviser of the US President, Donald Trump asked a newspaper report that the Ministry of defence options for an attack on Iran.

In early September, an Iraqi militia with ties to Iran launched mortars towards the U.S. embassy in Baghdad's diplomatic district.

The explosives reportedly landed in an abandoned lot adjacent to U.S. Embassy and resulted in no casualties, the Journal reported, adding that he Basra attacks did not affect the consulate operations. Two days later, unidentified militants fired three rockets that hit close to the USA consulate in the southern city of Basra but caused no serious damage.

The Jerusalem Post reports that the Pentagon was "rattled" by Bolton's inquiry and it's unknown whether any option for military action against Iran ever made it to the president's desk.

The Pentagon and National Security Council said they provide the president with options for a variety of threats.

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But a direct air strike on Iran in response to a failed mortar attack that injured no one could easily trigger an all-out war across the region, and easily send chills down spines among Pentagon warplanners.

An unnamed "former senior USA administration official" said the request "definitely rattled people".

The Defense Department did draw up the plans, but it is unclear if they were presented to the White House, or if the president knew of Bolton's request, according to the Journal. The Pentagon did agree to come up with options to attack Iran.

Later in the month, US National Security Adviser John Bolton issued a stark public warning to Tehran: "There will be hell to pay" if Iran continued to "cross" the US and its allies. The plans follow increased tensions between the U.S. and Iran, with Washington slapping Tehran with crippling oil sanctions following the United States pulling out of the Iranian nuclear treaty.

Notably, since Bolton took office, he has emphasized a more aggressive approach to Iran.