Admin requested plans a year ago to attack Iran

White House national Security Advisor John Bolton listens as U.S. President Donald Trump

The Defense Department did draw up the plans, but it is unclear if they were presented to the White House, or if the president knew of Bolton's request, according to the Journal.

The request from the council, which is led by national security adviser John Bolton, came after an attack in September on the US Embassy in Baghdad by a militant group aligned with Iran, according to the Journal.

Unnamed US officials told The Wall Street Journal that Mr Bolton's hawkish response to the September attack "rattled" the Pentagon and state department.

The White House's National Security Council asked the Pentagon previous year for plans for launching a military attack against Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported early Sunday, citing current and former U.S. officials.

According to the paper, Mira Ricardel, the former deputy national security adviser, described the attacks in Iraq as "an act of war", and said that the U.S. needed to respond accordingly.

But the White House National Security Council (NSC) sought to develop a forceful American response to the low-scale attack, including options for a strike against the Islamic republic, the Journal reported.

The US blamed Iran for the attack, despite Tehran's categorical denial.

In it, he said: "To Iranian President Rouhani: never, ever, threatens the United States again or you will suffer consequences the likes of which few throughout history have ever suffered before".

In the same month, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo also stated the US was willing to target Iran for the actions of its allies in Iraq.

There's no doubt that we could do plenty of damage to Iran if we chose to strike.

He added: "Sometimes it seems the world has become desensitised to the regime's authoritarianism at home and its campaigns of violence overseas, but the proud Iranian people are not staying silent about their government's many abuses". What worries the Pentagon is that Iran is capable of hitting US facilities throughout the Middle East. "If they're responsible for the arming and training of these militias, we're going to go to the source".

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