US pulls diplomatic staff from Iraq amid Iran concerns

Cheryl Sanders
May 17, 2019

However, the source indicated the United States does not now have evidence that Iranian personnel played any direct operational role. An investigation into the maritime attack is being carried out by Emirati officials and partners.

There has been a marked increase in U.S.

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

Trump, who past year abandoned the 2015 global nuclear accord with Iran, believes the economic pressure will force Tehran to accept more stringent limitations on its nuclear and missile programs as well as on its support for proxies in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

Under the accord negotiated by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment capacity, a potential pathway to a nuclear bomb, in return for sanctions relief.

A senior Iranian official said on Wednesday that any conflict in the region will have "unimaginable consequences". Iran's decision does not appear to violate the nuclear deal yet. "They wanted guarantees that Iraq would stop those groups threatening US interests", one senior Iraqi military source with knowledge of Pompeo's trip told Reuters.

US officials have said closing the Strait would be crossing a "red line" and pledged action to reopen it.

The Iraqi source said US staff were headed for a military base at Baghdad airport.

The U.S. Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet is tasked with protecting commercial ships in the area.

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".

A British military commander undercut U.S. 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".

Yes, Team Trump sent a Navy carrier battle group into the Gulf, and on Wednesday, the United States embassy in Baghdad also ordered all non-essential, non-emergency staff out of Iraq immediately.

Many traditional USA allies are concerned about the threat of yet another conflict in the region. 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.

The Netherlands and Germany have also reportedly said they are suspending military activity in Iraq due to security concerns.

One source said the United States believes Iran's role has been one of actively encouraging militants to undertake such actions and went beyond simply dropping hints.

Iraq's Prime Minister, Adel Abdul Mahdi, said on Tuesday that its security forces had not observed "movements that constitute a threat to any side".

Iraq is one of the only countries that has close relations with both the United States and Iran. Even Gulf Arab states that openly oppose Iran, such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, seem cautious this week.

In April, Trump announced that he would designate Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization-the first time the United States has marked a branch of a foreign country's military as such.

"It's IRGC-commanded and controlled Iraqi militias", the official said.

It was not immediately clear what led to the order on Wednesday.

Other reports by iNewsToday