May 26, 2019

Iran's top diplomat presses efforts to save nuclear deal

18 May 2019, 04:26 | Glen Norman

Middle East tensions take an ominous turn

U.S. Air Force a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron takes off from Al Udeid Air Base Qatar

US officials are reporting heightened threats in the region from Iran and have sent military assets there to protect USA troops and the interests of both America and its allies.

Bolton, who advocated regime change in Iran before joining the White House a year ago, is "just in a different place" from Trump, although the president has been a fierce critic of Iran since long before he hired Bolton.

If this is right, Bolton appears to have manoeuvred Trump into making war with Iran more likely.

In addition to allegations of Iran arming dhows with weapons, Ravanchi rejected as "fake intelligence" further assertions from the USA that Iran was a "culprit for the problems in the region" and "creating instability in Iraq". Others, however, feel Trump's hard-line attitude including pulling out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal make him equally complicit in the escalation. "What type of dialogue is this?"

"At least Iran doesn't know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!"

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British Army Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika, a key commander of the multinational force deployed to Iraq and Syria, refuted the USA allegations, saying, "There's been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria". He spoke in China on Friday after visiting Japan. In February, the IAEA backed up Coats's assertion and verified that Iran was not diverting declared nuclear material to its weapons program.

Iran signed the deal with China, Russia, Germany, Britain, France and the United States.

The new steps are meant to be measured and limited, in part because a new intelligence analysis by American and allied spy services has concluded that the Iranian government, declining in popularity amid economic woes, is trying to provoke the United States into a military overreaction to cement its hold on power, according to American and allied intelligence officials. "This is what the deal clearly addresses".

Over the years, other factors have contributed to the demonization, including domestic American political pressures connected to certain regional rivals of Iran that want to keep it weak and isolated. The carrier strike group was headed to the Persian Gulf ahead of schedule in response to alleged Iranian threats posed to USA interests there. He's always been a supporter of an Iranian exile group, the People's Mujahedin. "It's bull--", the president said.

"Your administration, however, is making assertions that are at odds with these findings", the letter reads, citing Pompeo's casting of Iran as engaging in "nuclear blackmail" and a new State Department report on global arms control compliance that hinted Iran was not in compliance with obligations on nonproliferation.

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Overhead imagery showed fully assembled missiles, stoking fears that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps would fire them at US naval ships.

Iran is known for its fleet of fast-attack craft, some of which are armed with missiles, but those vessels were clearly under the command of Iran's two maritime forces: its conventional navy and that of the elite Revolutionary Guards, both of which operate in the Strait of Hormuz, the world's most important oil chokepoint.

Federica Mogherini, the European Union's foreign affairs chief, told reporters following the meeting that she urged diplomacy and called for "maximum restraint" rather than the "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran that Pompeo had advocated, according to the Voice of America.

The State Department said that along with the situation in Yemen, the two discussed "Iranian threats to the Gulf region more broadly".

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