US National Security Adviser John Bolton and a number of other war hawks in Washington have reportedly handed President Donald Trump a plan that details an attack against Iran using 120,000 soldiers.
The plan, devised by Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and updated on Bolton’s request was first presented last Thursday, when Trump’s top national security men came together to discuss Iran in general, The New York Times claimed Monday citing US officials in the know.
In the attendance were Bolton, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats besides General Joseph Dunford, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, and Acting Defense Secretary Shanahan, the report noted.
According to the unnamed officials, who knew what was discussed at the meeting, Shanahan kicked off the session by providing an an overview of the Pentagon’s preparations for a possible war. He then asked Dunford to lay out various attack scenarios in detail.
“The uppermost option called for deploying 120,000 troops, which would take weeks or months to complete,” the report said, warning that the troops levels “would approach the size of the American force that invaded Iraq in 2003.”
The Times said it was unclear whether Trump was briefed on the exact number of the troops or had decided to reverse his last year decision to withdraw a large number of US forces from the Middle east region.
The US president, who has in the past hurled naked threats of using military force against Iran, once again warned Tehran on Monday that it would “suffer greatly” were it to “do anything.”
“I’m hearing little stories about Iran. If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake,” Trump told reporters as he met with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the White House.
The belligerent rhetoric against Iran continued on Monday, as US Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook said Washington had put in place an entire new policy to confront Iran.
“Iran’s era of deniable attacks is over. Tehran will be held accountable for the attacks of its proxies,” he claimed.
“They cannot organize, train, and equip their proxies and then expect anyone to believe that they had no role. And so we will not make a distinction between the Iranian Government and its proxies.”
Iran has time and again dismissed Washington’s claims about using its influence in the region to cause conflict.