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Trump pulls back from Iran strikes: report

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Trump pulls back from Iran strikes: report

Trump pulls back from Iran strikes: report

U.S. President Donald Trump approved military strikes on Friday against Iran in retaliation for the downing of an unmanned $130-million surveillance drone, but pulled back from launching the attacks, the New York Times said.

Ryan Brooks reports.


Trump pulls back from Iran strikes: report

U.S. President Donald Trump ordered an attack on Iran on Thursday (June 20) but then he reportedly pulled back.

That's according to the New York Times.

The strikes would have been in retaliation for the shooting down of an American surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

But the Times says that Trump abruptly canned the operation just hours before it was due to happen.

According to the report, which cited government officials, the President had approved attacks on a handful of Iranian target after intense debate at the White House over how the U.S. should respond to Iran.

Those targets included radar installations and missile batteries.

And the operation was reportedly underway with ships in place and planes in the air before Trump did an about face and canned it.

The Washington Post and The Wall Street Journal followed later with their own reports confirming the strikes had been ordered.

Earlier in the day Trump had said the shooting down of a U.S. drone by Iran may have been a mistake rather than a deliberate escalation.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. PRESIDENT DONALD TRUMP, SAYING: "I think probably Iran made a mistake.

I would imagine it was a general or somebody that made a mistake in shooting that drone down.

And fortunately, that drone was unarmed.

It was not...there was no man in it and, there was no... it was just it was over international waters, clearly over international waters, but we didn't have a man or woman in the drone, e we had nobody in the drone.

It would have made a big difference.

Let me tell you, it would have made a big big difference." The reversal put a stop to what would have been the President's third military action in the Middle East.

He's ordered two sets of missile strikes on Syria since taking office.

The sharply rising tensions in the region... also caused consternation on Capitol Hill.

Senior Republican Lindsay Graham warning Iran not to mess with the U.S. (SOUNDBITE) (English) LINDSEY GRAHAM, U.S. SENATOR (REP - SOUTH CAROLINA), SAYING: "Here's what Iran needs to get ready for: severe pain inside their country.

Their capabilities pale in comparison to ours." While Democrat Nancy Pelosi cautioned the White House over further escalating the situation.

(SOUNDBITE) (English) U.S. SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE NANCY PELOSI SAYING: "The high tension wires are up in the region for a lot of different reasons, some bilateral regions, some multilateral, some religion whatever it is the high tensions are up.

We must act in a way that does de-escalate and does not escalate the tensions and the situation there." The planned strikes on Iran were reportedly set to take place just before dawn on Friday to minimize risk to the Iranian military and to civilians.

But it's not clear, according to the Times, whether the strikes could still go forward.

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