President Trump reverses course on retaliatory air strike on Iran

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In this June 20, 2019, photo, a model of the new Air Force One design sits on a table during a meeting between President Donald Trump and Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

President Donald Trump says the U.S. was “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran for downing an American drone, but canceled the strikes 10 minutes before they were to be carried out after being told some 150 people could die.

Trump tweeted Friday that the U.S. was ready to “retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die.” He said a general told him 150 people, and he canceled the strikes as “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

Trump tweeted that the U.S. will never allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon. But he says he’s in no hurry to respond to the downing of the U.S. surveillance drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

He says U.S. sanctions are crippling the Iranian economy and that more are being added.

Meanwhile, the head of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division says a manned U.S. spy plane was near the drone it shot down but Iran chose not to target it.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh made the comment Friday at a news conference attended by The Associated Press in Tehran.

The Guard shot down a U.S. Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk on Thursday.

Hajizadeh said: “At the same moment, another spy aircraft called a P8 was flying close to this drone. That aircraft is manned and has around 35 crew members. Well, we could have targeted that plane, it was our right to do so, and yes it was American, but we didn’t do it. We hit the unmanned aircraft.”

The U.S. military’s Central Command did not immediate respond to a request for comment.
 

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