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Here’s why Trump called off Iran airstrike 10 minutes before bombs dropped

President Donald Trump in the Oval Office, June 2019. (White House/Released)
June 21, 2019

This is a breaking news story. Please check back for updates as more information becomes available.

President Donald Trump on Friday confirmed he called off a U.S. airstrike against Iran, saying the military was “cocked & loaded” to retaliate but that 150 people might have died.

“On Monday [Iran] shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it,” Trump tweeted Friday morning.

“[…] Not…. proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” he noted. “I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night. Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!

The New York Times had first reported earlier Friday that Trump had called off the strike

Trump also tweeted about the previous administration’s handling of Iran, saying, “President Obama made a desperate and terrible deal with Iran – Gave them 150 Billion Dollars plus I.8 Billion Dollars in CASH! Iran was in big trouble and he bailed them out. Gave them a free path to Nuclear Weapons, and SOON. Instead of saying thank you, Iran yelled…..”

“….Death to America,” he continued. “I terminated deal, which was not even ratified by Congress, and imposed strong sanctions. They are a much weakened nation today than at the beginning of my Presidency, when they were causing major problems throughout the Middle East. Now they are Bust!….”

Iran on Wednesday attacked a U.S. military drone in international airspace near the Strait of Hormuz. An Iranian commander later made ominous remarks that Tehran is “completely ready for war” with the U.S.

U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) confirmed Thursday that a U.S. military drone had been downed by Iran and noted that the RQ-4A Global Hawk drone was attacked in international airspace – not in Iranian airspace, as Iran had claimed.

According to CENTCOM, the drone was shot down around 11:35 p.m. GMT, or 7:35 p.m. EST, on Wednesday night by an Iranian surface-to-air missile.

Tensions with Iran have quickly escalated this month, and just this week an Iranian advisor to Tehran said war with the United States would be “unavoidable” if President Trump continues to impose sanctions on Iran.

A top Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander also recently said that Iran has powerful ballistic missiles that are capable of attacking U.S. aircraft carriers in the region, according to Iranian state TV.

And the Pentagon announced this week that 1,000 more U.S. troops would be sent to the Middle East after Iran’s “hostile behavior.”

The U.S. last week blamed Iran for an attack on two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, a situation that has quickly escalated tensions in the region.