US President Donald Trump has to leave the White House in January. Is he planning another military action in his last few weeks? An escalation in the conflict with Iran would then be inherited by his successor Joe Biden.
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According to a media report, US President Donald Trump asked his key advisors about the possibility of a military attack on Iranian nuclear facilities. At a meeting in the Oval Office on Thursday, Trump is said to have asked Vice President Mike Pence and Foreign Secretary Mike Pompeo, “whether he has the opportunity to take action against Iran’s most important nuclear site in the coming weeks,” reported the New York Times “on Monday (local time).
His advisers, including Chief of Staff Mark Milley, advised the outgoing president against a military attack and warned of an escalation of the conflict in the final weeks of his presidency.
The international nuclear agreement on shaky legs
Trump is said to have asked the question after a report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) last week revealed that Iran has more slightly enriched uranium than allowed under the 2015 International Atomic Energy Agreement. According to the New York Times, the most likely target of such an attack would be the Natan’s nuclear facility, where “twelve times as much uranium is stored as allowed”.
The US unilaterally withdrew from the international treaty in 2018 and has since imposed numerous sanctions on Iran, which are putting a strain on Iran’s economy. In return, Tehran gradually cut back on its obligations under the agreement.
A “wall of sanctions” against Iran
The remaining contracting parties, including Great Britain, France and Germany, are hoping for a new diplomatic attempt in the nuclear conflict with Iran after the election of the democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden. Biden is scheduled to take office on January 20th. However, the outgoing incumbent Trump had announced that he would step up measures against Iran. Critics see it as an attempt to build a “wall of sanctions” against the country that Biden could only tear down again with difficulty.
A military strike against Iran is unlikely to go down well with Trump’s supporters – who are predominantly against worsening conflicts in the Middle East. But it would make it much harder for President Biden to revive the nuclear deal with Iran.
Trump has not yet admitted his defeat to Biden and speaks of alleged electoral fraud without any evidence.