The president explained that the deaths would be a disproportionate response to the downing of an unmanned drone.
President Trump tweeted on Friday that America was “cocked and loaded” when it came to striking back against Iran for downing a US drone earlier this week. However, he called off the retaliatory attack 10 minutes before it happened when a general informed him that 150 people would probably die from it.
In a series of tweets, the president explained the sudden change in position, stating that the potential casualties were not “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.” Additionally, he wrote that America was “in no hurry.”
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.....— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 21, 2019
Trump later offered more details about the events while speaking on Meet the Press, explaining that he hadn’t given the final go-ahead when officials at the military checked in with him half-an-hour before the strikes were scheduled to begin. That was when he was informed of the potential casualties.
According to Trump’s tweets, Iran is a “much weakened nation” after he withdrew from the nuclear agreement negotiated by his predecessor. Iran’s economy was hit hard by the mounting US sanctions, which has led to a steadily escalating situation in the Persian Gulf. The president suggested imposing additional sanctions on Iran but did not elaborate further on the issue.
Iran continues to dispute the US military’s claims that the RQ-4A Global Hawk surveillance drone was shot down in international airspace, insisting that it violated the country’s airspace. As evidence, Iran’s government released photos of what it claims to be fragments from the drone, stating that they were retrieved from within its territorial waters.
To further back its claims, Iran also released a video showing what it says is the moment its air defense systems shot down the drone. An Iranian commander topped things off by writing on Twitter that a P-3 surveillance plane with 35 passengers was also spotted violating the country’s airspace, but the military decided not to shoot it down. Shooting down the drone was meant as a warning.
The Defense Department has not publically confirmed the existence of a second craft. Meanwhile, top officials are praising Trump’s decision to call off the strike in favor of additional economic pressure.