Sunday, 16 June, 2019

Key events raising tensions in the Persian Gulf

US President Donald Trump speaks to the media prior to departing on Marine One from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington State Department Orders Non-Essential U.S. Government Employees Out Of Iraq
Patty Aguilar | 20 May, 2019, 10:12

The meeting played a part in the US State Department's decision on Wednesday to order all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, as Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country.

Trump has ordered a beefing up of US military assets in the Middle East and Persian Gulf, citing possible threats from Iran.

President Donald Trump, meanwhile, took to Twitter to dismiss rumours of White House infighting over his "strong policy in the Middle East", adding: "I am sure that Iran will want to talk soon".

- The New York Times reports the White House is reviewing military plans that could result in sending 120,000 us troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American forces or steps up work on nuclear weapons.

- Iran Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei says "no one is seeking war", but that it wouldn't be hard for Iran to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.

On Tuesday, Iranian officials accused "hardliners" in the USA and elsewhere of attempting to orchestrate an incident that would ratchet up tensions with Tehran.

Military sources claimed that there could be an increased risk that Iran and its proxies may take action against UK and United States forces in the Middle East. UK military officials likely came up with the same conclusion and resorted to evacuating its non-essential personnel following the recent actions of the Trump administration against the Iranian regime.

Iran denied involvement, though it has repeatedly threatened to block the strait, through which streams about a fifth of world's oil shipments, if the United States tries to stop Iran from exporting oil.

According to the New York Times, the Trump administration is preparing to send some 120,000 troops to the region in light of the most recent threats and in readiness for any future warfare.

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Also worth noting: Hotel and restaurant reservations will be accessible in Google Maps in the coming months. Now, it's rolling out on the desktop, and there's even more functionality in the pipeline.

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As there were no injuries, the incident won't be investigated by the National Transportation Safety Board, Blade said. The friends thought it might be a stunt. "The next thing you know, it was out of sight", he said.

"There are a substantial number of militia groups in Iraq and Syria, and we don't see any increased threat from many of them at this stage".

The Trump administration and USA military officials said just over a week ago that they had detected, "a number of preparations for possible attack" on US forces at sea and on land in the Middle East.

The risk of a limited USA nuclear strike on Iran is real and represents a clear and present danger not only to Iran but also global peace and security.

But Trump's administration so far has rebuffed requests to brief the full House on Iran as it has for congressional requests seeking information on North Korea and Venezuela, she said at a news briefing.

There have been media reports that some senior officials in the US administration are pushing for more pressure on Iran.

Tehran remains "committed" to the nuclear deal thrashed out with world powers despite Washington's withdrawal, Zarif said, adding that Iran had been assessed as in compliance with the multilateral agreement.

The Iranian regime said if the other parties to the agreement, which still want to keep it viable, couldn't figure out a way to work around new US sanctions to keep doing business with Tehran within 60 days, it would resume enriching uranium to levels barred under the deal. Trump's challenge is, of course, how to have a decisive quick victory that would not harm the USA and global economy with skyrocketing oil prices and, similar to the Iraq war, turn very messy?

A United States government source said Washington believes that Iran gave its blessing to Houthi rebels who attacked oil facilities deep inside Saudi Arabia.

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