Donald Trump said the United States was "cocked and loaded" to retaliate against Iran, but cancelled the strikes just minutes before they were to be carried out on Thursday after being told 150 people could die.
The Cyber Command's strike against the Iranian spy group is said to have occurred on the same day that Iran shot down a $180million USA surveillance drone. In response to this, Iranian officials released video evidence that the drone was infringing on the no-fly zone, and also claimed that they chose not to shoot down a second American aircraft with 35 passengers that was also infringing on the territory.
Trump told reporters in the Oval Office that the drone was unarmed and clearly over global waters, adding that it could have been shot down by someone "loose and stupid".
A military strike by the United States of America against Iran will be met by a response which is 10 times bigger and blow up a powder keg in the volatile Western Asia, a top Iranian Armed Forces officer said on Saturday.
Oil is rising amid reports Trump ordered strikes on Iran.
The US president had struck a combative tone in initial comments Thursday about the downing of the Global Hawk surveillance aircraft, but as the pre-dawn incident whipped up fears of open conflict, Trump moved to dial back tensions.
Both the USA and Iran have said they do not have any appetite for conflict.
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Iran's foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi retorted that U.S. "diplomacy" towards Tehran was "years of #EconomicTerrorism & war, and violating commitments".
Iranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message from U.S. President Donald Trump through Oman overnight, warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent.
A senior Arab diplomat said the sharply increased tensions would further harm the crisis-hit Middle East region.
He did not respond directly to Iranian charges that the US was warned several times prior to the missile launch by the IRGC that the Global Hawk and the P-8 Poseidon were in violation of Iranian airspace.
"I listen to everybody", Mr. Trump said. France sent an envoy to Iran earlier in the week.
The spy group is said to have been digitally tracking and targeting both military and civilian ships in the Strait of Hormuz, a key waterway used to transport 17.4million barrels of oil daily, for several years now. But the Global Hawk was targeted "because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the USA", rather than start a conflict, Fars reported.
On Saturday, it executed a former contract employee for the aerospace organisation of the defence ministry in recent days on charges of spying for the US Central Intelligence Agency, the IRIB news agency reported on Saturday.