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US military was cocked and loaded to retaliate, but 150 Iranian lives not proportionate to a drone, says Donald Trump

His statement comes hours after Iran claimed it could have shot down US Navy P-8 Poseidon with 35 on board, but chose drone to 'send a message to Americans'.  

US military was cocked and loaded to retaliate, but 150 Iranian lives not proportionate to a drone, says Donald Trump
Reuters photo

US President Donald Trump Friday claimed that the American military was ready to launch a retaliatory strike against Iran to avenge the shooting down of its drone but he called off the attack just minutes before it was to be carried out. Trump tweeted that he stopped the military strike as the attack would have resulted in the loss of only 150 Iranian lives, which according to him were not in proportion to the loss of the US BAMS-D RQ-4A Global Hawk High-Altitude Long Endurance (HALE) Unmanned Aircraft System (UAS).

“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, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” tweeted the US President.

His statement comes hours after Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Force claimed that it could have brought down a US Navy P-8 Poseidon aircraft violating its airspace, but instead chose to hit the RQ-4A Global Hawk to “send a message” and "warn the terrorist forces of the US".

The downing of the drone, which Iran insists violated its airspace, a claim Washington previously denied, has seen tensions between the two countries spike after a series of attacks on tankers which Washington alleged were carried out on Tehran's behest. However, Trump's latest Twitter statement points towards the US-Iran flashpoint on the verge of ignition.

Trump also suggested that new sanctions have been imposed on Iran, but he did not elaborate on it.

“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!,” added Trump.

The POTUS also lashed out at the previous US President Barack Obama, accusing him of conducting a terrible deal with the West Asian nation.

“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. 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!” tweeted Trump.

 

Earlier, the New York Times had reported that Trump called off a military strike with moments to spare after intense debate in the White House among the president’s top national security officials and congressional leaders.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif late on Thursday evening also said that the debris of the US drone had been retrieved from Iran's territorial waters where it was shot down proving that the aircraft was violating his country's airspace. He added that Iran does not want war but his country would "zealously defend" its skies, land and waters.