US President Donald Trump on Friday said the US military was "cocked and loaded" to retaliate against Iran after it downed an American spy drone, but he changed his mind 10 minutes before the planned strikes on three Iranian targets after being told that 150 people could die.
The late reversal was first reported by the New York Times on Thursday night after President Trump tweeted: "Iran made a very big mistake!" The newspaper said the operation had been "in its early stages" when President Trump called off the US military action against Tehran.
On Friday, Trump confirmed the report and tweeted: "10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone".
"I am in no hurry," Trump said. He said he had called off strikes after being told that 150 people would die.
The attacks on three Iranian sites were planned in response to the shooting down of a US unmanned drone this week. Iran said Thursday that its elite Revolutionary Guard shot down an RQ-4 Global Hawk drone as it flew over southern Iran and that the incident sent a "clear message to America".
Tehran says the unmanned US aircraft entered Iranian airspace. The US maintains it was shot down in international airspace. The aborted US strikes against Iran on Thursday were meant to target a limited set of Iranian radars and missile batteries, CNN quoted a US official with direct knowledge of the matter as saying.
In an interview to CNBC-TV18, Anjali Prasad, former ambassador to WTO; Pradeep Chauhan, director at National Maritime Foundation; Vishnu Prakash, former ambassador to Canada; Meera Shankar, former ambassador to US; Steve Herman, White House correspondent, Voice of America discussed what will be the global impact of escalating US-Iran tensions.