Washington.- The New York Times reports U.S. warplanes were already in the air ready to attack when Trump called the plan off.
Trump initially approved the strikes as retaliation for the downing of a U.S. drone by Iran on Thursday. Iran maintains the drone had entered its airspace, while the U.S. claims the drone was in international waters. It is not clear why the U.S. president called the attack off.
IRANIAN FOREIGN MINISTER SAYS TEHRAN WILL TAKE U.S. BEFORE UNITED NATIONS OVER DRONE INCURSION
Tehran.- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says his country will take the case of a U.S. drone encroaching on its territory to the United Nations to prove Washington is lying about the aircraft having been shot down over international waters.
Zarif made the remarks in a tweet on Thursday, in reference to comments made by the U.S. military alleging that its spy drone has been shot down over international waters. Earlier on Thursday, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced that its air defense forces had shot down an intruding American spy drone in the country's southern coastal province of Hormozgan.
In a statement issued on Thursday, the IRGC said the U.S.-made Global Hawk surveillance drone was brought down by its Air Force near the Kouh-e Mobarak region -- which sits in the central district of Jask County -- after the aircraft violated Iranian airspace.
Hours after the incident, the U.S. military confirmed that one of its drones had been shot, claiming that the incident took place in international airspace. Navy Captain Bill Urban, a spokesman for the U.S. military's Central Command, also alleged that it was "an unprovoked attack."
The Iranian foreign minister, on his official Twitter account, said: "We'll take this new aggression to #UN & show that the U.S. is lying about international waters." The top Iranian diplomat added that the Islamic Republic does not seek war with any country, but Iranians "will zealously defend our skies, land & waters."
He further noted that encroaching on Iran's territory was another aggressive step taken by the United States against Iran after it waged economic terrorism against Tehran and conducted covert action against it. Iran's foreign minister says the B-Team is targeting the Iranian nation with economic terrorism and even war.
The Islamic Republic uses the term to refer to the United States' re-enforcement of draconian sanctions against the Iranian nation. Washington restored the bans after leaving a multi-party nuclear agreement with Iran last May.
Tehran says Washington enlists the assistance of domestic and regional anti-Iran officials in the process of applying the measures against the country.
RUSSIAN PRESIDENT WARNS U.S. ATTACK ON IRAN WOULD BE "CATASTROPHIC"
Moscow.- Russia's President Vladimir Putin warns that a U.S. military attack against Iran would be catastrophic as tensions mount between Washington and Tehran. Speaking on Thursday during a televised call-in show, Putin said potential U.S. military action against Iran would be a "catastrophe for the region as a minimum." He added that it would trigger an escalation of hostilities with unpredictable results.
The United States has been escalating tensions with Iran under President Donald Trump. Leading a signature policy of "maximum pressure," the U.S. quit a UN-ratified nuclear agreement with Iran and six world powers. It then proceeded to restore the sanctions that had been lifted under the deal.
Putin, however, reminded that Tehran was in full compliance with the agreement, something that has been verified by the UN nuclear agency -- the International Atomic Energy Agency -- in 15 reports. The Russian head of state also called the sanctions against Iran "unreasonable."
Washington has, in addition, sent an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber task force, an amphibious assault ship and nearly 1,500 more military forces to the region. (RHC)