Trump calls off strike on Iran

The president says he was minutes from retaliating against Iran after it shot down a U.S. drone Thursday.
7:19 | 06/21/19

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Transcript for Trump calls off strike on Iran
We begin in the Middle East tensions between the US any Rhonda reaching a flash point sources tell ABC news of president trump. Ordered a military strike when he Ron before reversing his decision. This comes after he Ron shot down. A US drone in the gulf of Oman so where do we stand now we have team coverage on this crisis I want to bring in James long man in the UAE. We have Matt dodman on the ground in Israel and we have Terry Moran in our DC bureau. James I want to start with you what exactly do we know about president trumps a reversal. Well not very month. City to be only skim today came and then some small hours yesterday local time here. I'm as we understand basically that six way into the walls near or around it. Planes are in the act. Donald Trump made a decision to reverse. These strikes he was tweeting just a short time ago about why is it basically was because he was told Altman and a 150 people. Would have died as a result and so he decided to change tack. The White House like how sad that that military option. Does remain only table. And so puddle people here in the region I just hope holding their breath waiting to see what happens next. I think most people hey did expect some kind of reaction certainly in the region to and a rainy in the decisions due to take out a US. Drug and I think tonight people are still waiting Z what happens but it's certain that. You know prisons I think UAE authorities hit the saudis all the countries in the region certainly do don't want. Things escalate because they know what the Iranians continue this any longer attends it's how we the US military but they can suddenly ignite to act. Activate their proxies. Across this region in places like Yemen not far from where we all hit. In Palestinian territories not far from west my days way Islamic Jihad and Hamas are funded by. The Iranians in places like Iraq where we've seen continued. Attacks against. City and an American. In some nations that and not country by Iranian minister site a lot of people hoping. That this doesn't escalate but not really knowing wet things are gonna guy next. And scary do you think that we would even to be in this situation right now if president trump. Didn't pull out of the nuclear deal. Now that's that that did of course you may get a different argument from president trump and his supporters but there's no question. That the running in problem which is a genuine strategic problem in the Middle East it is. A malign actor and many of the countries that James just mentioned sponsoring terrorism try to destabilize governments. Even waging proxy war in in Yemen. That was on the basically there was a lid on that to some extent because of the Iran deal president trump torn up he didn't think it was a good one he thinks he can get a better one. But one is hard pressed to see why Iran would negotiate right now look. This is a crisis of credibility that now stretches across two presidents. In the Middle East firth president Barack Obama blinked. When he drew his own red line about using chemical weapons in Syria. Threaten military action. Back down to get inspectors in instead that was that was seen as weakness in the Middle East now. President trump actually pulls back after giving the green light and go order for an American attack. And Iran there's no question there's a vacuum of power developing in the Middle East as the United States exhausted. With its wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. Decides. You know we've had enough of that I think that's the big strategic issue right now as far as president trump is concerned. He has brought this. Because of his withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal and he's laying on a more sanctions on Iran he's brought this conflict to a sharp point. And now we have to see ward goes. Yes and Matt here in Israel of a region that has a ton of US troops if the US and Iran did in fact go to war. The devastation would potentially be spelled in a region like Israel first right. Probably eight you know James mention the proxies in that is obviously something that. Israel and the united states of course Iran are keenly aware upright. It's very hard to hit the United States from Iran so what do you do you hit the United States allies. Also Israel more than any other country has been more vocal about stopping the Iranian nuclear threat or possible capabilities. It is been a vocal supporter of US retaliation or attacks against Iran. And so in many ways it is a likely target now II can break that down a little bit more. In Gaza there's a very strong Hamas elements it is supported by Iran to some degree. They could launch missile and rocket strikes on cities like Tel Aviv really Israel's heartland. In the north of Israel Hezbollah the Shiite militia which is. Probably one of the most potent military forces in the entire Middle East and obviously politically powerful in Lebanon. It has enormous weaponry capacity especially with missiles all of those are trained on Israel's heartland is well and they're also. Syrian they're also running forces in Syria who could do some damage they're based in airports in hot air bases there so. Israel is surrounded by lot of these other forces and if there is some sort of hot war between the United States and Iran Israel would be a likely target but Kimberly. Hamas is tired. His bow and knows that any sort of major conflagration. Could end up with it being wiped out or having massive casualties on it it's and and Iran has been struck by Israel in Syria is well so everybody knows that there are very high stakes here and the more. The more powerful the strikes against Israel in. Possible can flag ration the harder Israel will strike back which obviously talked deals with the eight possible. Plus sweeping can flag ration in the Middle East all of these borrowers getting together and I think right now we're getting. The idea that nobody really wants that to happen right now. Terry you've covered a number of these situations before in your opinion I'm from what you see where do you imagine we will go from here. Well I think here that United States is temporarily standing back from this conflict that is the president's directive right now he pulled those ships and planes back and that is clearly. An acknowledgment. That it's one thing to bomb Syria which he has Syria can't hit back Iran can he doesn't want that he didn't believe that this. Response was proportionate so right now Iran has the whip hand it seems to me they have demonstrated with a weak hand. How they can play it gradually escalating up pressure right. Hitting the oil tankers. And now bring down an American drone Andy demonstrating that if they get sanctioned they have ways of responding. In a way that has stymied. This president so right now I'd I looked due room how the president can get out of his mind without surrendering essentially to Iran's. Act of aggression is a very difficult presidential problem. I read I wanna thank you guys for joining us James Longman mad gunman and tear in Iran. Thank you so much we appreciate it.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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