Published: Tue, May 21, 2019
Global News | By Blake Casey

"Overwhelming Military Response Needed": Graham Urges Trump "Stand Firm" On Iran


U.S. President Donald Trump said that the only sphere where Washington wants to "invade" is actually economy. That appeared to be a dig at national security adviser John Bolton, who for years has promoted the idea of overthrowing Iran's government.

The NYT reported that during a Wednesday morning meeting in the Situation Room, President Trump sent a message to his hawkish aides that he does not want the intensifying American pressure campaign against the Iranians to explode into open conflict.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham has blamed Iran for "escalating tensions" in the Persian Gulf, accusing the country of threatening the USA even while promising massive retaliation in response to vague "threat streams".

Speaking in China, where he finished a tour of Asian nations who rely on Mideast oil, Zarif told the state-run IRNA news agency that war is not what Iran wants.

Before he ended his speech on Friday, the president announced a tariff-scrapping deal with Canada and Mexico which will end the trade dispute sparked by the imposed tariffs on imported aluminum and steel as a threat to national security.

Trump's latest threat against Iran came just days after reports on US intelligence challenged the White House narrative of a growing Iranian "threat" in the region, which has been used by American officials like Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to justify aggressive posturing in the Persian Gulf.

"I think what we're seeing, unfortunately, is what looks a lot like people in the Trump administration trying to create a pretext or an excuse for us to go to war against Iran", she added. The island nation of Bahrain also ordered its citizens out of Iraq and Iran over regional tensions.

Frustration has been mounting in Congress about the lack of consultation from the White House after the Trump administration sent military assets to the Middle East to protect US interests and on Wednesday partially evacuated the USA embassy in Baghdad.

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United States media reports say Trump's hawkish national security advisor John Bolton is pushing for war with Iran, but others in the administration are resisting.

The president's tweet also came as some corporate media outlets and commentatorshave portrayed Trump as a lone voice against war with Iran in a White House filled with hawks. This former official, who favored leaving the JCPOA, said that it's imperative to "Tell Bolton "no" on Iran and Venezuela", the administration's parallel regime change project.

The advisory, which also covers airspace over the Gulf of Oman, comes amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran.

"Iran or its proxies" were also blamed by the USA for targeting four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, while Iran-aligned rebels in Yemen claimed responsibility for a drone attack on a crucial Saudi oil pipeline, prompting the Saudis to call on the U.S.to carry out strikes against the Iranian regime. This serves Tehran's interests as it seeks to influence USA domestic policy via its own Iran lobby.

Pompeo and his special representative for Iran, Brian Hook, have indicated that the Trump administration's goal in pressuring Iran is renewed negotiations with Tehran, according to Politico, citing two sources familiar with their thinking. "We may agree on some issues, disagree on others", Gabbard said.

Commenting on Iran, he reiterated that he did not seek a war with Tehran, noting that the main thing he wanted was "not let Iran have nuclear weapons".

A State Department spokesman however said the USA will hold Iran responsible "if any such attacks are conducted by its proxy militia forces".

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