WASHINGTON DC (Kurdistan 24) – The US launched a major cyber attack on Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), disabling the computer systems which control its rocket and missile launches, The Washington Post reported on Saturday.
The attack was executed on Thursday night, after Trump called off plans for a conventional military response to Iran’s downing of a US drone the night before.
Preparation and planning for the cyber assault occurred some time before. The Pentagon first proposed such an attack after Tehran assaulted two oil tankers earlier this month, as Japan’s Prime Minister, carrying a message from Trump, met with the Iranian leadership.
The Post described the cyber attack as “crippling to Iran’s military command and control systems.” Presumably, Tehran would be at a significant disadvantage in the event of any military exchange with the US, at least in the near term.
On Saturday morning, as Trump left for Camp David, the presidential retreat in western Maryland, he struck a very different tone, however. While he stated that there would be more sanctions (tweeting later that day that they would be announced on Monday and would be “major”), he also, again, proposed negotiations with Tehran.
Speaking over the whir of the waiting helicopter, Trump said, “We could have a deal with [the Iranians] very quickly, if they want to do it.”
“If Iran wants to become a wealthy nation again,” he said, “we’ll call it ‘Let’s make Iran great again.’” It would be “okay with me.”
Trump made clear his objective: that Iran not acquire a nuclear weapon, and he noted two major shortcomings in the nuclear accord reached under his predecessor, Barack Obama.
There were sunset provisions, Trump explained, and “in a very short number of years,” Iran would “legally be able to make a nuclear weapon.”
In addition, international inspections were limited. “The most primary places you couldn’t go to,” he said, “You couldn’t inspect.”
Trump’s singular focus on nuclear weapons appears at odds with the position of Secretary of State Mike Pompeo who, a year ago, laid out twelve conditions that Iran had to meet to get sanctions lifted. Among them were ending Iranian support for terrorism and for its proxy groups throughout the region, including in Iraq.
READ MORE: Pompeo reaffirms tough US policy on Iran
On Saturday, Pompeo issued a statement correcting false news reports, at least two of which were promulgated by Tehran. The US “did not pass a message through Oman calling for talks with Iran,” Pompeo said.
He also stated that it was “beyond any doubt” that the drone shot down by Iran had been in international airspace.
“Foreign Minister Zarif’s hand-drawn map disputing this fact is not credible,” Pompeo affirmed. He also denied reports that the US was evacuating personnel from Balad Air Base in Iraq.
In talking to reporters, Trump affirmed he was still prepared to respond militarily to any Iranian aggression.
“We have a tremendously powerful military force in that area,” he said. “It’s always on the table until we get this solved.”
Britain’s minister of state for the Middle East, Dr. Andrew Murrison, is visiting Iran on Sunday for what the UK Foreign Office described as an "opportunity for further open, frank and constructive engagement.” His trip follows that of German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass on June 10 and Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe two days later.
Iran has, so far, responded defiantly to the gestures from the US and its allies.
“A military mistake from the enemy, particularly from the US and its regional allies will be tantamount to firing at a powder keg,” a spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces, Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi, said on Saturday. “It will set the region ablaze and burn up the US, its interests, and its allies.”