British General Says No Evidence of "Increased Threat" From Iran

US forces Iraq: Missiles moved closer to the US base, says Secretary of State - Daily Star

US forces Iraq: Missiles moved closer to the US base, says Secretary of State - Daily Star

Last week, United States officials said they had detected signs of Iranian preparations for potential attacks on U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East, but Washington has not publicly provided any evidence to back up claims of an increased Iranian threat.

The US state department has ordered the departure of "non-emergency employees" from Iraq, amid rising tensions between the US and Iraq's neighbour Iran. "The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq".

Employees were ordered to "depart Iraq by commercial transportation as soon as possible" and avoid US facilities in Iraq, according to the statement.

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

However, the administration has not gone into great detail about the threat, leading even President Donald Trump's closest allies in Congress to press for more information. That includes in Irbil and Baghdad, in our facilities in Oman, all around the Middle East and so anytime we receive threat reporting we do everything we can both to do all that we can to make sure those planned or contemplated attacks don't take place and to make sure we have the right security posture.

"We are very anxious about the risk of a conflict happening by accident with an escalation that is unintended", British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt told reporters in Brussels.

Germany said Wednesday its military suspended training of Iraqi soldiers due to the tensions but stressed there was no indication of any specific threat to its own troops. Iraq is home to powerful pro-Iranian militias, while also hosting more than 5,000 American troops.

Washington ordered the departure of non-emergency government employees from Iraq on Wednesday, after repeated U.S. expressions of concern about threats from Iranian-backed forces. It has said it will keep strong ties with Iran, and also with the United States and Arab neighbors, some of whom, such as Saudi Arabia, consider Tehran a rival.

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"It would be an act of gross negligence if we did not take the necessary precautions in the light of credible threat streams", said one of the unnamed officials who briefed reporters on Wednesday, on the department's condition of anonymity.

"As we pointed out previously, Mr. Trump is in danger of being cornered into choosing between a counterproductive use of force and allowing Iran to cross red lines. They know that it is not to their benefit".

In Wednesday's edition, the state-run IRAN newspaper carried his comments on the nuclear program, his first since Iran announced it would begin backing away from the accord itself.

Otherwise, Rouhani pointed out, Iran would resume higher uranium enrichment; he, however, stressed that the country has no intention of withdrawing from the deal. Though Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, scientists say the time needed to reach the 90 per cent threshold for weapons-grade uranium is halved once uranium is enriched to around 20 per cent.

"Achieving 20 per cent enrichment is the most hard part", Khamenei said, according to the newspaper.

The IRGC is directly controlled by the Islamic regime's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and Salami was named its head last month.

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

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