The request was met with concern by both the Pentagon and the State Department, according to the Journal, with one former administration official telling the paper that people were "shocked" by the request.
The request to the Pentagon came from U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton, and it is unknown if Bolton had conversed with the President prior to making the request. "It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran".
"It definitely rattled people", recalled a former senior US administration official. Two days later, unidentified militants fired three rockets that hit close to the USA consulate in the southern city of Basra but caused no serious damage.
The request alarmed the Pentagon and State Department, the Journal reported, but the Pentagon complied with the request and developed the options.
The report said the move came after a mortar attack launched by an Iran-linked group on the Baghdad diplomatic quarters home to the U.S. embassy in September.
Garrett Marquis, speaking for the National Security Council responded to the report by stating it 'coordinates policy and provides the president with options to anticipate and respond to a variety of threats'.
The shells landed in an open lot and no one was hurt.
The National Security Council asking for military strike options against the Middle Eastern nation in response to relatively minor incidents has caused some former U.S. officials to express alarm.
As a think-tank scholar and Fox News commentator, Mr. Bolton repeatedly urged the U.S.to attack Iran, including in a 2015 New York Times op-ed titled, "To stop Iran's bomb, bomb Iran".
State Department Secretary Mike Pompeo did not comment on the story when asked about it by reporters and a State Department spokeswoman declined to comment. There were no injuries nor damage in either incident.
On Sunday, Iran's foreign ministry summoned a senior Polish diplomat in protest at Poland jointly hosting a global summit with the U.S. focused on the Middle East, particularly Iran, state news agency IRNA reported. The Iranians could do plenty of damage to us if they chose to retaliate. The range and accuracy of Iran's missiles are constantly improving - largely because the world refuses to take a stand against their illegal development of ICBMs.