Top Ally on Trump’s Planned Response to Iran: ‘His Options Are Running Out’

June 20, 2019 Updated: June 20, 2019

President Donald Trump sees his options for responding to Iran narrowing after U.S. officials and the regime confirmed Iranian forces shot down an American drone, a top Trump ally said.

“He believes that we’re getting into a bad space, that his options are running out,” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) told reporters after speaking with Trump on the morning of June 20.

Graham said that Trump will not be intimidated by Iran.

Nor will the president make a nuclear deal with the regime, Graham said. Trump previously exited a deal crafted by former President Barack Obama that was not ratified by Congress. After leaving the deal, the administration has been adding sanctions to Iran, and those will not be lifted, Graham said.

The comments by one of Trump’s top allies in the Senate came as the president took to Twitter to declare: “Iran made a very big mistake!”

Iranian officials said that forces shot down an American drone late June 19, a claim later confirmed by U.S. Central Command.

The command said that it confirmed an Iranian surface-to-air missile system shot down the U.S. Navy drone while it was in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.

While Iran claimed that the drone was in its airspace, the Navy said that claim was false.

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei is seen near a “3 Khordad” system which is said to have been used to shoot down a U.S. military drone, according to the state-sponsored news agency Fars, in this undated handout picture. (Fars news/Handout via Reuters)

“Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false. This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace,” said Navy Capt. Bill Urban, U.S. Central Command spokesman.

The drone was being used for reconnaissance and surveillance, officials said.

Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.), the most powerful Democrat in Congress, was being briefed on the situation, she told reporters.

“This is a dangerous situation where the US must be strong and strategic how to protect our interests, but cannot be reckless,” Pelosi said.

The Northrop Grumman-built Triton unmanned aircraft system in a file photo. (US Navy/Northrop Grumman/Bob Brown/Handout via Reuters)

“I don’t think POTUS wants to go to war. There is no appetite for going to war in our country,” she added.

Sources told ABC’s Katherine Faulders that there was a National Security Council-led meeting at the White House on Thursday morning to go over the situation in Iran.

There was a second meeting scheduled for the afternoon.

According to the White House website, the council “is the President’s principal forum for considering national security and foreign policy matters with his senior national security advisors and cabinet officials.”

The current national security adviser is John Bolton.

The council outlined Trump’s plan for Iran in a Feb. 13 blog post, saying: “The core objective of President Trump’s Iran Strategy is the systemic change in the Islamic Republic’s hostile and destabilizing actions, including blocking all paths to a nuclear weapon and exporting terrorism.”

Follow Zachary on Twitter: @zackstieber
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