Donald Trump 'authorised Qasem Soleimani’s killing seven months ago', if Americans were killed

Donald Trump 'authorised Qasem Soleimani’s killing seven months ago', if Americans were killed
3 min read
13 January, 2020
As the crisis between Iran and the United States deepens, officials claim Qasem Soleimani was on the national security's radar two years before he was killed.
America has said it is de-escalating the conflict [Getty]
US President Donald Trump authorised the killing of Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani "seven months ago", according to American officials.

The presidential directive in June came with the condition that Trump would have the chance to sign-off on any specific operation to kill the commander.

The Middle East has been mired in conflict over the past few weeks over the US killing of commander Qasem Soleimani, prompting Iran to retaliate with missiles sent to an Iraqi base housing American troops.

The assassination of Suleimani had been presented to the president two weeks prior to the killing by military officials, including Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who wanted a decisive response to an American contractor who was killed last month.

"There have been a number of options presented to the president over the course of time," a senior administration official said. They went on to say that it was "some time ago" that the president's aides had optioned assassinating Soleimani over Iran aggression.

After Iran shot down a US drone in June, John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser suggested Trump to retaliate by signing off on an operation to kill Soleimani, officials told NBC News.

However, Trump initially rejected the idea and said he would give a military response only if an American life was taken.

Trump said "that's only on the taking [sic] if they hit Americans", a person briefed on the conversation told the network.

Targeting Soleimani

Killing Soleimani has been on America's radar for at least two years, and when Donald Trump came into his presidency, Pompeo, who was CIA director at the time.

He advised Trump to be more aggressive Iran's Soleimani, after showing information that an administration official had described as "very serious threats that didn't come to fruition".

Anti-government protests in Iran [Getty]

In 2017 retired Army Lieutenant General HR McMaster, who was Trump's security adviser at the time, was having discussions with administration officials about the president's security strategy.

Soleimani's name came up, but it wasn't until 2018 that he came to be a serious topic of discussion in the president's security team.

McMaster was replaced by John Bolton - an advocate for a regime change in Iran - in the same year, and so Iran strategy became aggressive.

Bolton resigned from the White House in September over policy disagreements on Iran and other topics.

Trump said he fired Bolton.

Internal tensions boiling over 

The US has de-escalated the conflict with Iran, but the Shia country is boiling over with internal problems.

Iranian security forces have resorted to using live ammunition and tear gas on protesters demonstrating after Iran admitted shooting down an airliner by mistake, killing all 176 people on board.

"The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people," Trump tweeted at the time.

Demonstrations in Iran have reached an apex of violence over economic conditions in the country as well as Iran's accidental shooting of a Ukrainian plane that killed 176.

Witnesses saw one woman being carried away from the crowd in Tehran, with those around her claiming that she had been shot in the leg.

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