Published: Mon, May 20, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

Britain says shares same assessment of Iran as the United States

Britain says shares same assessment of Iran as the United States

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity to divulge confidential information, said Pompeo told the Iraqis that America did not expect them to side with the any confrontation with Iran, but that they should not side against America.

But some U.S. officials accused the Trump administration of exaggerating the Iranian threat, ostensibly to prepare for a conflict.

The Dutch government also said it had suspended a mission in Iraq that provides assistance to local authorities due to a security threat, Dutch news agency ANP reported on Wednesday.

The State Department on May 15 pulled non-emergency U.S. personnel from its embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil, while allied training of US-backed forces inside Iraq also was canceled as tensions with Iran continue to rise.

It comes amid fears Donald Trump's administration is sliding towards war with Iran following the deployment of a United States aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf.

Tensions between the USA and Iran have continued to mount over recent days, despite both parties saying they are not seeking war.

Foreign policy hardliners like Bolton have alleged that recent provocations from Tehran and its associates were proof that it is plotting against the US.

The decision to order all unessential personnel to leave the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad was prompted by intelligence over the past week suggesting that an attack on Americans by Iranian-backed militias was imminent, the officials said.

"Iraqi forces are anxious that American forces could be targeted by factions loyal to Iran", said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media.

"There is no doubt in my mind that under the circumstances, a partial ordered departure (from the embassy) is a reasonable thing to do". Pompeo's message, the officials said, was that the US wants to avoid conflict but would respond or defend itself if necessary.

A senior Democratic senator demanded President Donald Trump's administration brief Congress on the Iran threat, warning that the USA legislature has not approved military action against Tehran.

As tensions escalate, there are concerns that Baghdad could once again get caught in the middle, just as it is on the path to recovery.

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The embassy evacuation came 10 days after Trump's national security advisor John Bolton announced the military deployment in response to intelligence on an unspecified "imminent" plot by Iran to attack USA forces or allies.

But since the first U.S. warning on May 5, the only activity seen has been a still-mysterious "attack" Monday on tankers anchored off Fujairah, an Emirati port located at the strategically crucial entrance to the Gulf. The drones stuck pumping stations along the kingdom's crucial East-West Pipeline, causing minor damage, Saudi officials say.

- What do USA allies say?

But US Central Command's Captain Bill Urban contradicted him, saying Maj Gen Ghika's remarks "run counter to the identified credible threats" from Iranian-backed forces in the Middle East.

A spokesman for the Defence Ministry said on Wednesday that Germany had indications of potential attacks supported by Iran, he said, adding that this did not mean the training programmes could not resume in the coming days. But he also said, "Neither we, nor them is seeking war".

"This face-off is not military because there is not going to be any war.

Neither we nor them (the US) seek war", Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday.

But Russia, a major backer of Tehran, expressed concern Wednesday that Pompeo's assurances had not quelled the crisis.

The so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action saw Iran dismantle the weapons-capable aspects of its nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions. Anyone who has been watching the increased activities of Iranian financed militias in Yemen, Syria and the Palestinian territories has to at least suspect that they've been pushing the boundaries for a while now.

According to theNew York Times - whichreportedMonday that President Donald Trump has reviewed a Bolton-crafted plan to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East to threaten Iran - Trump administration officials are having a hard time convincing America's European allies to join them on their march to war.

After leaving his post as United Nations ambassador in 2006, Bolton called for military strikes on Iran and regime change there as a private citizen, efforts he continued right up until he joined the Trump administration in April 2018.

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