President Donald Trump, with two months left in office, last week asked for options on attacking Iran's main nuclear site, but ultimately decided against taking the dramatic step, a US official said on Monday.
Trump made the request during an Oval Office meeting on Thursday with his top national security aides, including Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, new acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the official said.
Trump, who has refused to concede and is challenging the results of the Nov. 3 presidential election, is to hand over power to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on Jan. 20.
The official confirmed the account of the meeting in The New York Times, which reported the advisers persuaded Trump not to go ahead with a strike because of the risk of a broader conflict.
"He asked for options. They gave him the scenarios and he ultimately decided not to go forward," the official said.
The White House declined to comment. Joe Biden's transition team, which has not had access to national security intelligence due to the Trump administration's refusal to begin the transition, declined comment.
Trump has spent all four years of his presidency engaging in an aggressive policy against Iran, withdrawing in 2018 from the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, and imposing economic sanctions against a wide variety of Iranian targets.
Alireza Miryousefi, the spokesman for Iran’s mission to the United Nations in New York, said Iran's nuclear program is purely for peaceful purposes and civilian use and Trump's policies have not changed that. "However, Iran has proven to be capable of using its legitimate military might to prevent or respond to any melancholy adventure from any aggressor," he added.