United Nations officials: USA planning a 'tactical assault' in Iran

Cheryl Sanders
June 18, 2019

President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal past year. On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani reiterated his ultimatum to European nations and other signatories that they must show "positive signals" in upholding the pact for Iran to maintain its commitment, as well.

The U.S. has said the vessel was attacked with limpet mines, and last week released a video showing what it said was an Iranian vessel removing an unexploded mine from one of the ships.

Iraq, which has close ties to both the US and Iran, has found itself caught in the middle of the latest unrest as various Shiite Muslim paramilitaries supportive of Tehran threatened to expel USA troops, which have largely been present in the country since overthrowing its former government and attempting to quel a Sunni Muslim insurgency led first by Al-Qaeda and then the Islamic State militant group (ISIS).

In that case, the unmanned aircraft had arrived minutes earlier over the M/T Front Altair, which was on fire following what USA officials have attributed to a mine attack by the Iranian Republican Guard Corps.

The attacks come amid spiralling regional tensions with Iran, which Saudi Arabia has repeatedly accused of arming the rebels with sophisticated weapons.

"The regime's nuclear blackmail must be met with increased global pressure", White House National Security Council spokesperson Garrett Marquis said.

The Houthis have stepped up missile and drone attacks against Saudi cities as tensions have risen between Iran and Gulf Arab states allied with the United States.

Israeli sources expressed alarm that neither Israel, the United States, nor allied Arab nations picked up any advance warning of what appear to have been well-planned, well-executed, and increasingly destructive attacks by Iranian and proxy forces.

The Pentagon last week released a video showing what it said was an Iranian boat that pulled up alongside one of the stricken tankers and removed a limpet mine attached to its hull.

The attacks come as Iran faces renewed USA economic pressure.

The British Foreign Office on Friday said in a statement that it concluded "it is nearly certain that a branch of the Iranian military", the Islamic Revolutionary Guard, attacked the tankers on Thursday.

"We have quadrupled the rate of enrichment (of uranium) and even increased it more recently, so that in 10 days it will bypass the 300 kg limit", said Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organization.

But he said Iran would be open to going back to observing the limit if it gets help from other signatories to the agreement in circumventing USA sanctions on its vital oil industry.

Other reports by iNewsToday