UN Voices Concern About Rising Tensions Between U.S., Iran

Clay Curtis
May 21, 2019

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Monday the "genocidal taunts" of US President Donald Trump will not "end Iran", amid a spike in tensions between the two countries.

"I had no idea it was going to be as strong as it was", Mr Trump said. Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. He ended his tweet with: "Try respect - it works!" Trump's comments were preceded by the deployment of a United States carrier strike group to the Persian Gulf region and reported deployment of B-52 regiment to the Middle East.

"We need peace and construction and any party who drags Iraq into war and turn it into a battlefield will be the enemy of the Iraqi people", Sadr said, while Qais al-Khazali, the leader of the Asaib Ahl al-Haq Shiite militia, warned against "giving pretexts to the war between Iran and the United States, " adding that "The war will harm Iraq's political, economic and security stability".

"They don't want a war with Iran". Mr Amir-Abdollahian pointed to the United States leader's ongoing campaign to strangle Iran's economy on the one hand and his requests for Iran to talk on the other.

The move came two weeks after Iran, acting after Trump reimposed sanctions aimed at blocking all Iranian oil exports to cripple its economy, declared it would scale back some commitments under the accord it signed with six world powers.

He accused Washington of walking out first on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, the 2015 deal created to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities in return for the lifting of sanctions "We acted in good faith", Zarif said of the deal, which was signed by the US, Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation. Just over a week later, the State Department ordered all non-essential personnel to leave the country, citing the increased threat from Iran and its proxies.

Mr Trump told reporters as he departed the White House for an event in Pennsylvania that he was willing to have talks with Iran "when they're ready".

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Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia accused Tehran of being involved in alleged drone attacks on their crude oil pipeline and sabotaging oil tankers in the region. USA officials have defended the move, saying it was to answer threats from Iran.

Washington earlier this month fast-tracked the deployment of a carrier battle group, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln, to the region, and sent in a bomber task force, including nuclear-capable B-52s, to conduct over-flights off the Iranian coast.

The sources, who are familiar with USA national security assessments and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the United States was still trying to establish which militia fired the Katyusha rocket on Sunday and the extent, if any, of Iranian involvement.

Trump campaigned on pulling the USA from the deal, which saw Iran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

The US president took to Twitter again on Monday, saying Washington has not tried to contact Iran for talks and that if the Islamic Republic wants to negotiate, it will have to take the first step.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been asking the administration for a briefing for all lawmakers on the situation in Iran, but she said the request was initially rebuffed. It was a message to the Europeans to act to save the nuclear deal before Iran breaks the agreement by moving past the 300 kilograms of enriched uranium it is allowed to hold under the JCPOA.

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