Trump approves, then cancels, military strike on Iran
US President Donald Trump approved military strikes on Iran overnight, the New York Times reported on Friday morning, before backpedalling from going through with them, following a reported attack on an American spy drone.
The New York Times reported that at 1900 EDT (2300 BST), diplomats and military officials in Washington were prepared for a strike on the Islamic Republic following some “intense discussions” at the White House.
According to the report, officials said the president did first approve attacks on a number of targets in Iran, including radar and missile batteries.
The planned operation was in its early phases before it was called off by the president, the Times said, with aircraft airborne and ships positioning themselves.
No missiles were fired by the US, an official was reported as saying.
It was not said to be clear whether the reversal was due to a strategic change, or whether it was simply Trump changing his mind, while the report added that it was also not made clear whether the attack could still go ahead.
Interestingly, the New York Times said that while both the White House and the Pentagon refused to make an official statement, no government officials requested the newspaper withhold its report - something that is often asked of media outlets to protect national security.