Pence Helped Talk Trump Out of Bombing Iran: Report

'New York Times' says president asked advisers about strike before he leaves office
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Nov 17, 2020 6:19 AM CST

(Newser) – The election isn't the only big matter on President Trump's mind. The New York Times reports that he asked top aides last week about bombing Iran. According to the story, Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo were among those who talked the president out of authorizing a military strike on an Iranian nuclear facility, convincing him that it could cause an all-consuming crisis in what will likely be the final weeks of his presidency. Four current and former US officials say Trump asked about the move after the International Atomic Energy Agency reported that Tehran's stockpile of uranium now exceeds limits allowed under the US-Iran nuclear accord from which Trump withdrew in 2018. Iran now has enough to build two nuclear bombs.

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The Times notes two notable pros and cons for Trump: Such a strike could make it more difficult for Biden to resurrect the nuclear pact struck under the Obama administration, but his base of supporters would likely disapprove of getting the US deeper into a Mideast conflict. The White House has not confirmed the report, but Iran already is responding, reports the Guardian. "Any action against the Iranian nation would certainly face a crushing response," says a government spokesman. Trump has a range of options to consider short of a US military strike, including a cyber attack, per the Times. (Concern about Iran's uranium stockpile has been growing for a while.)

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