Outgoing U.S. President Donald Trump asked his top national security advisors what options were available for attacking Iran last week, but later decided against the move, according to a U.S. official.
Trump had asked several aides including Vice President Mike Pence and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo about the possibility of launching an attack against the Islamic Republic, during a meeting in the Oval Office. Details of the meeting were published in the New York Times, which also reported that Trump’s advisors had persuaded him not to go ahead with a strike.
The one-year anniversary of the November 2019 protests was marked around the world this week. The protests, which begun on November 15 and ended five days later, led to the deaths of at least 300 men, women and children with some organizations suggesting the death toll was closer to 1,500, after security forces in Iran opened fire on civilians.
The Iranian government also ordered an internet blackout during the protests, which prevented Iranians from accessing online platforms and websites. Despite international criticism of the blackout at the time, the internet in Iran was disrupted again this week.
Cyber watchdog NetBlocks confirmed a partial disruption to the service from 7.30pm to 10.30pm local time on November 16, as Iranians marked the anniversary of the protests. The regime has ignored ongoing calls from international states and human rights organizations to investigate the protests and deaths linked to the demonstrations.
And a fresh round of U.S. sanctions targeted a Foundation linked to Ayatollah Khamenei. Washington said the sanctions were in response to what it called human rights abuses committed during the November protests.
Some analysts say the Mostazafan Foundation, which is registered as a charitable organization but also engages in business and commercial activities, has an estimated worth of $20 billion. Insiders with knowledge of the Foundation have said the organization has amassed vast wealth through the confiscation of hundreds of companies and properties since the Islamic revolution in 1979, directly impacting Iran’s economy.