Iran says exercising restraint despite 'unacceptable' escalation of US sanctions

Iran says exercising restraint despite 'unacceptable' escalation of US sanctions

Pelosi's remarks to House Democrats come amid growing concerns in Congress over President Donald Trump's approach to Iran and mounting tensions in the Persian Gulf region over the administration's claims of unspecified threats linked to Iran.

"We can not let the Trump admin drag us into yet another war in the Middle East", Warren wrote.

In a speech to state officials delivered on Tuesday, Khamenei said escalating tensions with the USA will remain a diplomatic confrontation, rather than the beginning of a major military clash, France24 reported.

Last week, US officials said they had detected signs of Iranian preparations for potential attacks on USA forces and interests in the Middle East, but Washington has not spelled out that threat.

Then on Tuesday, reports indicated that the US military was drawing up plans for some 120,000 American troops to be deployed to the Middle East to respond to any Iranian attack or an acceleration of the nation's nuclear program.

The U.S. State Department said employees at both the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil, capital of semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, were being pulled out immediately due to safety concerns.

It contradicted a British general who had said there was "no increased threat".

On a visit to London last week the USA secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, stood alongside Jeremy Hunt and insisted: "We share the same perception of the Iranian threat".

Iran is exercising "maximum restraint in spite of the fact the United States withdrew from (the) JCPOA last May", Mr Zarif said at the beginning of his meeting with Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono.

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Senior ministers agreed at a cabinet meeting on Tuesday, however, to press ahead with the talks, May's spokesman said. No date has been set for the summer recess, but Parliament usually rises near the end of July.

Kono said it was essential to maintain the nuclear agreement and urged Iran to keep implementing it, echoing other countries.

But Iran has threatened that unless the world powers protect Iran's economy from US sanctions within 60 days, Iran would start enriching uranium at a higher level.

"There are a lot of people in my shoes that are going to support standing up to Iran", he said, "but we need to understand what we're doing". The hypothetical plan would reportedly be implemented if Tehran speeds up its nuclear weapons program - or in the event American troops are attacked by Iran.

Maj. Gen. Christopher Ghika said in a briefing to the Pentagon "there's been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces" in the region, according to The Guardian.

A sign of Fujarah Terminals is pictured at the Port of Fujairah, United Arab Emirates, May 13, 2019.

Not yet. But Reuters news agency cited Iraqi security sources as saying that during a visit to Iraq earlier this month US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told Iraqi commanders that intelligence showed Iran-backed paramilitary fighters were positioning rockets near bases housing US troops.

The remarks come amid rising tensions in the Mideast, with allegations of sabotage targeting oil tankers near the Persian Gulf, a drone attack by Yemen's Iranian-allied rebels and the dispatch of US warships and bombers to the region.

Britain, historically the United States' closest ally, is openly balking at the prospect of a war with Iran. "If (the administration) were contemplating military action with Iran, it must come to Congress to seek approval", he said.

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