Now, through a report just published by the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz and The Wall Street Journal, a former White House official who worked under the Trump Administration says that the White House had asked the Pentagon for a military plan to attack Iran back in September of previous year.
What was known until now was that Mr Bolton's National Security Council also asked the military to present the White House with options for striking Iran as a way of countering Tehran's influence in the region.
The shells landed in an open lot and no one was hurt.
Two days later, unidentified fighters fired three rockets that hit close to the USA consulate in the southern city of Basra but caused no serious damage. Washington blamed the attacks on Iraq's Popular Mobilization Units, which Washington alleges has close ties with Tehran.
The Pentagon said it provides the president options for a variety of threats. "People were shocked. It was mind-boggling how cavalier they were about hitting Iran", former United States high-ranking official told The WSJ. In 2015, while working for a think tank, he wrote an op-ed for the New York Times titled "To Stop Iran's Bomb, Bomb Iran".
The Pentagon complied with the National Security Council's request to develop options for striking Iran, the officials said.
Bolton, well-known for his past cries to attack Iran, has made clear to other administration officials "that he personally supports regime change in Iran", the Journal reported.
He has worked with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in implementing a more hardline approach to Iran since taking office.
"Iran will be held accountable for those incidents", he said in a 21 September interview with CNN. The Iranians could do plenty of damage to us if they chose to retaliate.
Relations between Iran and the USA have become more confrontational since Trump's election and his May 2018 decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal and reimpose severe economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
In one NSC meeting, then deputy national security advisor Mira Ricardel called the attacks in Iraq an "act of war" and called for a decisive USA response.
Tensions between the United States and Iran have risen significantly ever since Donald Trump's election as President.
Poland's charge d'affaires was told that Iran saw the decision to host the meeting as a "hostile act against Iran" and was warned that Tehran could reciprocate, IRNA added.