"Cocked and loaded" to strike Iran, Trump says he called off operation when told 150 would likely die

By Kathryn Watson

/ CBS News

What's behind US reversal on attacking Iran?

President Trump said the U.S. military was "cocked and loaded" to retaliate against Iran on three different sites Thursday night, but called off the operation after learning 150 people would likely die from the strike. Mr. Trump, explaining his decision on Twitter, said the response would have been "not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone."

As CBS News has reported, the president ordered the drone strike Thursday night, but backed down, avoiding — for now — a significant escalation of tensions between Iran and the U.S.

"On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters," Mr. Trump tweeted Friday morning, referencing Iran. "We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights [SIC] 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. 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!"

Trending News

Mr. Trump met with top congressional leaders at the White House Friday to decide how to respond to Iran shooting down the unmanned drone, an act the president said could be due to someone "loose and stupid" and an unintentional mistake.

This is a developing story and will be updated.

First published on June 21, 2019 / 9:19 AM

© 2019 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Kathryn Watson

Kathryn Watson is a politics reporter for CBS News Digital.

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