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

Rare US-Britain discord about Iran threat perceptions

Rare US-Britain discord about Iran threat perceptions

US-Iran relations have become increasingly tense since US President Donald Trump pulled out of a landmark nuclear deal to curb Tehran's nuclear capability in exchange for limited sanctions relief.

The sanctions are aimed at reducing the country's oil exports to zero and creating conditions of economic deprivation and chaos to facilitate a regime-change operation.

John Bolton, the White House national security adviser and a longtime Iran hawk, announces the deployment of the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group and a bomber task force in response to "a number of troubling and escalatory indications and warnings", without providing details.

Mr Trump's administration has pursued a policy of "maximum pressure" against Iran, including tightening economic sanctions, since withdrawing the USA from a deal created to limit Iran's nuclear program past year.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Tuesday in Sochi, Russia: "We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran".

Pompeo landed in Baghdad at midnight after canceling a meeting with German Chancellor Angela Merkel.

The White House was reportedly reluctant to share the intelligence with allies and even U.S. lawmakers, resulting in some complaints on both sides of the political aisle in Washington.

Iraq's Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, said on Tuesday that its security forces had not observed "movements that constitute a threat to any side". "So it is very hard to start to delineate between them", Ghika said.

"I'm sure that Iran will want to talk soon", he said.

All other signatories of the agreement, including Russia, China, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, and the European Union, remained committed to the accord even after Washington's decision to revoke it.

Last week, US officials said they had detected signs of Iranian preparations for potential attacks on USA forces and interests in the Middle East but did not provide any evidence to back up the claims.

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Instead, he has promoted deregulation of the energy sector, which the president says will foster economic growth. Along with the humor, the mayor also tried some tough talk: "They're scared of the truth", he declared.

In the midst of this dramatic USA action, the top British general deployed as part of "Operation Inherent Resolve" (OIR), the US-dominated intervention in Iraq and Syria, told Pentagon reporters that there was no increased threat to Western forces from Iranian-backed militias.

Still, that hasn't stopped the United States from moving ahead with its claims against Iran.

Four commercial ships were targets of a sabotage attack off the coast of the UAE on Sunday, east of the emirate of Fujairah.

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The Authorization to Use Military Force (AUMF) law passed in 2001 can not be used to authoriSe action in Iran, she added.

In pulling out of the agreement, Trump said the terms were not tough enough to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons and did not address Iran's missile program or Tehran's alleged support for militants in the region. Pompeo also said he wanted to underscore Iraq's need to protect Americans in their country.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on a visit to Tokyo that his country was exercising "maximum restraint", accusing Washington of an "unacceptable" escalation in tensions. They know a war wouldn't be beneficial for them.

An alert on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said all nonessential, non-emergency U.S. government staff were told to leave Iraq immediately under State Department orders.

"I think we are now in a quite unsafe situation where a miscalculation by either side could lead us into conflict", U.S. Senator Chris Coons, a Democrat on the Senate foreign relations committee, told CNN in an interview on Wednesday.

Saudi Arabia accused Iran of ordering the attacks on Saudi oil tankers that were claimed by Yemen's Houthi rebels.

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