United States President Donald Trump has abruptly pulled back the decision to carry out military strikes against Iran after previously approving it in retaliation to the downing of a US military drone in the Gulf of Oman.
According to a report by The New York Times, the US President had initially approved attacks on a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries. The decision was taken after an intense discussion at the White House among the President’s top national security officials and congressional leaders.
While the operation was in its initial stage — with the ships already in position and planes in the air — it was abruptly called off on Thursday night. It is unclear whether Trump changed his mind on the strikes or whether the administration altered course because of logistics or strategy.
The retaliation plan was intended as a response to the shooting down of an “intruding American spy drone”, RQ-4 Global Hawk by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Thursday after it reportedly violated Iranian airspace over the southern coastal province of Hormozgan.
Washington has labelled the move an “unprovoked attack”, claiming that the drone was flying over international waters when attacked.
To back its claim, the country released an image of the flight path, showing that the drone was flying over the international waters, in response to which Tehran released a video showing that the drone had entered the Iranian airspace. Both the countries provided similar proof until the final moments before the unmanned aerial vehicle was shot down.