Friday 21 June 2019 2:40 pm

Trump: I cancelled Iran military strike to avoid 150 deaths

President Donald Trump cancelled a retaliatory strike against Iran overnight because a general told him it would kill 150 people, he has tweeted.

In a series of tweets this afternoon, Trump said the US military was “cocked and loaded” to retaliate with a series of strikes against Iranian military targets after Iran shot a US drone down yesterday.

Read more: Trump ‘cancels Iran strike’ at last minute

But he cancelled the attack with 10 minutes to go in order to avoid casualties.

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights [sic] when I asked, how many will die,” Trump tweeted. “150 people, sir, was the answer from a General.

“10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

Trump added: “I am in no hurry, our Military is rebuilt, new,  and ready to go, by far the best in the world. Sanctions are biting & more added last night.

“Iran can NEVER have Nuclear Weapons, not against the USA, and not against the WORLD!”

Iran said it shot down the US drone over Iranian airspace, but the White House maintains the drone was in international airspace.

Today Iran said it “refrained” from shooting down a US spy plane accompanying the downed drone with 35 people on board.

In the same series of tweets, Trump criticised former President Obama’s Iran nuclear agreement as a “desperate and terrible deal”.

Last year Trump pulled the US out of the international Iran nuclear agreement, designed to curb Iran’s nuclear ambitions.

Iran last week warned the world it has exceeded the nuclear deal’s limit on uranium enrichment levels.

The country, which is the subject of tough sanctions from the US that discourages firms from investing in it, has threatened to pull out of the treaty altogether if the EU fails to save it.

Trump’s tweet yesterday that Iran “made a very big mistake” by shooting down the unmanned US drone sent oil prices soaring.

Oil prices rose fractionally again today. WTI crude rose 0.1 per cent to $57.14 and Brent crude rose 0.7 per cent to $64.90.

The latest stand-off between the US and Iran follows apparent Iranian assaults on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman last week.

Read more: Iran ‘made very big mistake’ on US drone shooting, says Trump

The US released footage that it said showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guard removing an unexploded mine from one of the ships.

The Trump administration called the aggression “a clear threat to international freedom of navigation and freedom of commerce”.