Donald Trump has revealed he was 10 minutes away from launching a missile against Iran in retaliation for downing an unmanned US drone.
In a series of tweets he said he was “cocked & locked to retaliate last night on 3 different sights (sic)” but chose not to because of the predicted death toll.
He said a general told him 150 people would die, and this was “not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone”.
Earlier a US official said the targets would have included Iranian radars and missile batteries.
The strikes were recommended by the Pentagon and were among the options presented to the president and his senior advisers.
Mr Trump said he is “no hurry” to retaliate against Iran.
He said “sanctions are biting” and more were added last night.
He wrote: “Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”
Tensions have escalated between the two countries since the downing of a massive unmanned aircraft over the Strait of Hormuz, between Iran and Oman.
Iran has said the drone violated Iranian airspace, while the White House has insisted it was flying over international waters.
Originally Mr Trump said he found it “hard to believe” the downing was intentional.
“I think that it could have been somebody who was loose and stupid that did it,” he said.
However he said it would have “made a big, big difference” if someone had been inside the aircraft.