Trump to weigh tougher US strategy on Iran, sources say

President Trump
President Trump

President Donald Trump is weighing a strategy that calls for harsher U.S. responses to Iran's forces, its Shi'ite Muslim proxies in Iraq and Syria, and its support for militant groups, according to five current and former U.S. officials, the CNBC reported.

The proposal was prepared by Defense Secretary Jim Mattis, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, national security adviser H.R. McMaster and other top officials, and presented to Trump at a National Security Council meeting on Friday, the sources said.

It could be agreed and made public before the end of September, two of the sources said. All of the sources are familiar with the draft and requested anonymity because Trump has yet to act on it.

The plan is intended to increase the pressure on Tehran to curb its ballistic missile programs and support for militants, the sources said.

"I would call it a broad strategy for the range of Iranian malign activities: financial materials, support for terror, destabilization in the region, especially Syria and Iraq and Yemen," said one senior administration official.

The proposal also targets cyber espionage and other activity and potentially nuclear proliferation, the official said.

The administration is still debating a new stance on a 2015 agreement, sealed by President Barack Obama, Trump's predecessor, to curb Iran's nuclear weapons program. The draft urges consideration of tougher economic sanctions if Iran violates the 2015 agreement.

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