US National Security Advisor John Bolton warned Tehran on Sunday of misinterpreting as “weakness” President Donald Trump’s last-minute cancellation of a retaliatory strike on Iran. “Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness,” said Bolton ahead of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem.
“Our military is rebuilt new and ready to go,” he added, after Trump called off a planned attack on Iran in response to Tehran downing a US drone on Thursday.
ALSO READ | Pakistan terms India's statement on FATF greylisting ‘preposterous and unwarranted’
The United States also launched cyber attacks against Iranian missile control systems and a spy network this week after Tehran downed an American surveillance drone, US media reported on Saturday. US President Donald Trump disclosed on Friday that he called off a US military strike on Iran at the last minute, saying it would be a disproportionate response to Thursday's downing of a high-flying, unmanned US aircraft over the Strait of Hormuz.
“But after the drone’s downing, Trump secretly authorised US Cyber Command to carry out a retaliatory cyber attack on Iran,” The Washington Post reported. The report said the strikes, which caused no casualties, had been planned for weeks and were first proposed as a response to the tanker attacks.
The attack crippled computers used to control rocket and missile launches, according to the Post, which cited people familiar with the matter. Yahoo cited two former intelligence officials as saying the US targeted a spying group responsible for tracking ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, where Washington has blamed Iran for two recent mine attacks on oil tankers.
Iran on Saturday warned the United States that any aggression will result in serious consequences for the interests of Washington and its allies in the Middle East region. "Firing one bullet towards Iran will set fire to the interests of America and its allies" Tasnim news agency quoted armed forces general staff spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi.
He said,"Today, the situation in the region is to Iran's advantage. If the enemy -- especially America and its allies in the region -- make the military mistake of shooting the powder keg on which America's interests lie, the region will be set on fire."
While Iran said that the downed US Global Hawk spy drone entered its territorial waters, the Pentagon claimed it was above international waters when it was hit by the Iranian Revolutionary Guard. According to Iranian state TV, "the US-made Global Hawk surveillance drone was brought down by its Air Force" in the country's southern coastal province of Hormozgan.
The downing of the drone -- which Tehran insists violated its airspace, a claim Washington denies -- has seen tensions between the two countries spike after a series of attacks on oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.