US strike on Iran would have killed 150 people, Trump says

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
US President Donald Trump speaks during a bilateral meeting with Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, DC on June 20, 2019. (AFP photo)

President Donald Trump said a US strike on 3 different Iranian sites would have killed 150 people but he cancelled it 10 minutes before the attack was going to be launched.

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) on Thursday shot down an intruding American spy drone in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormozgan.

Trump on Thursday morning warned that Iran’s decision to shoot down the US drone was “a big mistake,” and then reportedly approved military strikes against the country but pulled back late on Thursday after conferring with national security advisers and congressional leaders.

Trump on Friday morning tweeted that “they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. 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!” he added.

A Pentagon official told Newsweek that among the US's designated targets was the S-125 Neva/Pechora surface-to-air missile system and a Soviet system known to the NATO Western military alliance as SA-3 Goa.

The US military claims this weapon was used by the IRGC to down the Navy RQ-4A Global Hawk drone. However, Iran has officially stated that it used the domestically produced 3rd Khordad transporter erector launcher and radar, a variant of the locally-made Raad surface-to-air missile system.

Trump initially issued a series of  threats, insisting that the RQ-4 Global Hawk was flying over international waters when it was taken down by an Iranian missile. But on Thursday even he played down the incident, saying it could have been a mistake.

“This is a new fly in the ointment,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office of the White House on Thursday while meeting with Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau there.

Trump further downplayed the incident by emphasizing the aircraft had been unmanned. He claimed that if the drone had had a pilot "it would have made a big difference" to him.

‘Iran should remain strong against Trump’

American political analyst Dennis Etler told Press TV on Friday that Iran should remain firm and resolute against Trump.

“Trump's decision to hold off a military strike against Iran is in keeping with his pattern of bluff and bluster. So long as Iran remains strong and resolute Trump will back off. He has his pit-bulls, Bolton and Pompeo on a short leash,” he stated.

“At least in this case he doesn't want blood on his hands,” added the scholar, who has a decades-long interest in international affairs.

And in an interview with Press TV last week Professor Etler said, “The only response to Trump and his henchmen is to remain firm and resolute. It is the only thing they understand.”

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