Trump Told Iran of Imminent Attack, Then Offered Talks

Iran warned US attack would have international consequences

Having signed off on an attack against Iran early Thursday, President Trump didn’t just tell the military and diplomats that he was on board. Trump also sent a message to the Iranian government, by way of Oman, telling them that the attack was imminent.

Trump’s forwarded message not only informed Iran of the planned US attack, but also offered talks with Iran “about various issues.” They gave a very brief period awaiting an Iranian response.

Iranian officials say that they responded Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had already rejected talks, and added that any US attack would “have regional and international consequences.” Trump decided against the attack with 10 minutes to spare, though he suggests this was not related to the exchange with Iranian officials.

US officials are now emphasizing that the US offered diplomacy, and that Iran “has no right” to respond with force, by way of condemning the downing of a US surveillance drone by Iran.

Iran’s Foreign Ministry, by contrast, reacted that they would respond to diplomacy with diplomacy, and intend to respond to war “with firm defense.” That’s a key distinction, of course.

And while the US clearly wants to portray Iran as the one in the wrong in this situation, they weren’t just offered diplomacy in Trump’s Thursday message. They were told they were being attacked by the United States, and an offer of talks was the postscript that was likely drowned out by the lead message of an imminent attack which but for the call would’ve been a total sneak attack.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is Senior Editor for He has 20 years of experience in foreign policy research and his work has appeared in The American Conservative, Responsible Statecraft, Forbes, Toronto Star, Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Providence Journal, Washington Times, and the Detroit Free Press.