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

U.S. Army Capt. Eric Morton center commander of the 101st Airborne Division's Company B 1st Battalion 35th Armor Regiment walks with Iraqi Maj. Ahmed Hassan and Iraqi 1st Lt. Yasev Mutasam through Shakriyah Iraq area during Operation New Town June

U.S. Army Capt. Eric Morton center commander of the 101st Airborne Division's Company B 1st Battalion 35th Armor Regiment walks with Iraqi Maj. Ahmed Hassan and Iraqi 1st Lt. Yasev Mutasam through Shakriyah Iraq area during Operation New Town June

Last week, National Security Adviser John Bolton announced that a US aircraft carrier strike group, B-52 bombers and a Patriot missile battery would be deployed to the region in response to intelligence suggesting Iran or its proxies are preparing to target USA interests.

Zare'i added that attacks on the two countries can take place in the Indian Ocean or the Red Sea, adding that not only such measures will not lead to a war, because the United States will not rush to defend them, but the attacks can prompt Saudi Arabia and the UAE leaders to make peace with Iran as they are not capable of confronting Iran militarily.

"It is directly linked to Iran, multiple threat streams directly linked to Iran", said one official.

U.S. President Donald Trump's administration is applying new sanctions pressure on Tehran and sending additional forces to the Middle East to counter what it says is a heightened threat from Iran to U.S. soldiers and interests in the region.

"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".

Opponents of Trump say that hardliners led by national security advisor John Bolton, who has long advocated toppling the Iranian government, are pushing the country into war.

The MT Andrea Victory, one of the alleged targets, sustained a hole in its hull just above its waterline from "an unknown object", its owner Thome Ship Management said in a statement. Iraq is home to powerful pro-Iranian militias, while also hosting more than 5,000 American troops.

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Foreign Minister Mohammad Zarif told Japanese officials on Thursday in Tokyo that his country's response to the US actions is within the frameworks of the current nuclear deal and Iran's rights.

A British military commander undercut USA claims of increased activity by Tehran's proxies, telling reporters that there had been "no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria". And the Netherlands suspended a mission providing assistance to Iraqi local authorities, Dutch news agency ANP said. "White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War", screamed The New York Times.

The U.S. sent a bomber group to the Middle East and expedited the USS Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group's transit toward the Persian Gulf in light of the intelligence reports, U.S. officials have said.

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

"So far we notice the continued escalation of tensions around this subject", Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said, a day after Pompeo met with President Vladimir Putin.

According to theNew York Times - whichreportedMonday that President Donald Trump has reviewed a Bolton-crafted plan to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East to threaten Iran - Trump administration officials are having a hard time convincing America's European allies to join them on their march to war. "I'm sure that Iran will want to talk soon".

Iran is exercising "maximum restraint in spite of the fact the U.S. withdrew from [the] JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) last May", Zarif said at the beginning of his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono. He names Yanba, Fujairah and Golan as theaters for the war against Iran. "If (the administration) were contemplating military action with Iran, it must come to Congress to seek approval", he said.

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