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State Department orders evacuation of non-emergency U.S. government employees from Iraq

17 May 2019

President Donald Trump reinstated the sanctions past year after abandoning a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers.

Washington has sent additional military forces to the Middle East, including an aircraft carrier, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles in a show of force against what United States officials have said is a threat to its troops and interests in the region.

The effort to pin the tanker attacks on Iran came just over a week after Boltonused the planned deploymentof an American aircraft carrier and bomber task force to the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran with military action and warn - again, without evidence - of "escalatory indications" from Iran.

Iran's foreign minister on Thursday said sanctions imposed by the Trump administration are "unacceptable" but that his country is committed to an worldwide nuclear deal that has steadily unraveled amid rising tensions.

"We are saddened to see the decisions taken by the Iranian side", Peskov said, while arguing that Washington has been provoking Iran.

"There are only two reasons for ordering their departure: We have credible intelligence that our people are at risk or in preparation for military action in Iran".

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 United States forces or allies.

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More than three days on, little information has been provided on where the ships were when they were attacked, what sort of weapon was used, and who did it.

"Anti-U.S. sectarian militias may also threaten U.S. citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq", it said.

However, he also said the UAE is "very committed to de-escalation" after the alleged sabotage of oil tankers off the country's coast on Sunday.

It was a telling remark from the supreme leader - Iran is not known to have enriched beyond 20% previously and it's unclear how far Tehran is willing to go in this process.

But a senior British officer in the US-backed coalition fighting the Islamic State group appeared to push back against the USA claims, telling reporters earlier in the week that there'd been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria. Maj.

Talking more about U.S. military action against Iran under the pretext of allegations that Iran is preparing strikes against USA forces in the Middle East, the article said: "The United States is poorly prepared for another conflict in the region; it has the support of none of its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, not even - as Mr. Hunt made clear - Britain".

Mogherini told US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who made a quick stop in Brussels this week, to use "maximum restraint" towards Iran, a play on the US's self-described "maximum pressure campaign" against the country.

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Both Washington and Tehran said Tuesday they were not seeking war.

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

In the US Congress Democrats demanded to know why the Trump administration was boosting its forces in the Gulf and, according to media reports, considering military plans including the possibility of sending 120,000 US troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks American assets.

"I'm sure that Iran will want to talk soon", President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on May 15.

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

He demanded a briefing "immediately" on the threat intelligence, any plans for war and the decision to order embassy staff out of Iraq.

Britain, historically the United States' closest ally, is openly balking at the prospect of a war with Iran.

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Pelosi said Trump has "no business" moving toward a Middle East confrontation without approval from Congress.

State Department orders evacuation of non-emergency U.S. government employees from Iraq