President Donald Trump abruptly called off military strikes against Iran after previously approving the strikes in retaliation for Iran shooting down a US military drone, The New York Times reports.
The operation was already underway in its initial stages -- ships were in position and planes were in the air -- but no missiles had been fired when the order came to stand down, a senior administration official told the Times. The strike had been scheduled for just before dawn on Friday in Iran to minimize the risk to civilians and the Iranian military, and military officials received word shortly after then that the strike was off, at least temporarily.
The United States remains locked in a standoff with Iran, with US military or diplomatic responses having the potential to provoke further escalation from Tehran. Iran's downing of a US drone earlier Thursday has left the President caught between Republicans demanding a response and congressional Democrats warning that Trump -- and the Iran policy hardliners on his national security staff, who welcome the confrontation -- could lose control of the situation and lead the US into war.