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British General Says No Evidence of "Increased Threat" From Iran
16 May 2019, 11:56 | Glen Norman
US military disputes British general's doubts over Iranian threat to US
On Sunday, the embassy advised Americans to avoid travel to Iraq, citing "heightened tensions".
The sabotage of the tankers, for which no one has claimed responsibility, and Saudi Arabia's announcement on Tuesday that armed drones hit two of its oil pumping stations have raised concerns Washington and Tehran may be inching toward conflict.
Rep. Jim Himes, D-Conn., a senior member of the House Intelligence Committee said, "The people inside the administration who are trying to start a war know that if they have this conversation in an open and transparent way, there will be very substantial pushback from both parties and both houses of Congress".
Despite worldwide skepticism, the USA government has been pointing to increasing threats from Iran, a long-time enemy and rival of United States allies Israel and Saudi Arabia.
-Iranian relations since Trump entered the Oval Office.
The Kremlin Wednesday expressed concern that tensions over Iran keep escalating despite assurances from US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a visit to Russian Federation that Washington was not seeking war.
Washington also says that Tehran is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, despite having agreed to strict controls under an worldwide accord that Trump abandoned after winning election in 2016.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the increasing U.S. sanctions "unacceptable" but said Teheran remained committed to its obligations under the nuclear accord.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comments in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo as tensions rise in the Middle East, fuelling concerns that the United States and Iran are heading for conflict.
President Trump reinstated the sanctions past year after abandoning a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.
It was a telling remark from the supreme leader - Iran is not known to have enriched beyond 20% previously and it's unclear how far Tehran is willing to go in this process.
There is no USA desire for war, said one official, who had returned earlier Wednesday from Europe with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.
Pompeo told Iraq's top brass to keep the militias, which are expanding their power in Iraq and now form part of its security apparatus, in check, the sources said. If not, he warned, the U.S. would respond with force. "We need a strategy", Coons said, echoing a call by Congress for the government to brief lawmakers.
The Iraqi source said USA staff were headed for a military base at Baghdad airport. A United States official told Reuters late on Wednesday that the evacuation was complete.
In this Friday, May 10, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Navy, logistics specialists attach cargo to an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf.
USA military officials have said there is an elevated threat level facing US troops deployed in Iraq and Syria, primarily emanating from Iranian-controlled Shiite militias.
The U.S. State Department on Wednesday ordered the departure of "non-emergency government employees" from Iraq, the U.S. embassy in Baghdad said in a statement. Visa services were suspended at the heavily fortified U.S. missions.
The Dutch defence ministry said Dutch soldiers had also suspended their training mission due to an unspecified threat, local media reported.
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