President Donald Trump asked for options on attacking Iran's main nuclear site last week but in the end determined against taking the dramatic step, a US official said on Monday.

Trump made the request during a meeting on Thursday with his top national security advisers, including Vice President Mike Pence, his new Acting Defense Secretary Christopher Miller, and General Mark Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, the official said.

The official confirmed the account of the meeting in The New York Times, which reported that the advisers convinced Trump not to go forward with a strike because of the risk of an inclusive discord. He asked for options. They gave him the scenarios and he eventually determined not to go ahead, the official said. The White House denied comment.

Trump has spent all four years of his presidency taking part in an attacking policy against Iran, pulling out from the Iran nuclear deal worked out by his Democratic predecessor, Barack Obama, and striking economic sanctions against a wide variety of Iranian targets. Trump, who is demanding recounting of the results of the November 3 presidential election, is to hand over power to Democratic President-elect Joe Biden on January 20.

His request for options came a day after a U.N. atomic watchdog report showed that Iran had finished moving a first stream of advanced centrifuges from an above-ground plant at its main uranium enhancement site to an underground one, in a fresh contravention of its nuclear deal with big powers.

Iran's 2.4 tonne stock of low-enriched uranium is now far above the deal's 202.8 kg limit. It gave rise to 337.5 kg in the quarter, less than the more than 500 kg recorded in the previous two quarters by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

In January, Trump directed a U.S. drone strike that killed Iranian military General Qassem Soleimani at the Baghdad airport. But he has hesitated to broader military disputes and sought to withdraw U.S. troops from global hotspots in keeping with a promise to stop what he calls endless wars.

A strike on Iran's main nuclear site at Natanz could burst into a regional conflict and pose a serious foreign policy challenge for Biden.


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