Pompeo: We Will Not Allow Iran to Hide Behind Its Proxy Forces

Clay Curtis
May 22, 2019

At the closed-door sessions, they spelled out to lawmakers what they described as the imminent threat from Iran, or its proxies, to US personnel in the Middle East.

These peace-keeping gestures presumably include sending a navy strike group to Iran's border, ratcheting up crippling sanctions and President Donald Trump's amiable threat to end the country altogether.

A US State Department official noted on Sunday that there had been no claim of responsibility for the rocket attack, and that no USA -inhabited facility was affected, but said "we will hold Iran responsible" if such attacks were carried out by proxy militia forces.

Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said on Monday that Washington must deliver an "overwhelming" military response if USA interests are threatened by Iran and urged President Donald Trump to "stand firm". "Our prudent response, I think, has given the Iranians time to recalculate", Shanahan said.

The US has in recent weeks deployed additional warships and military jets to the Gulf, on Iran's southern coast.

The US Navy conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea after warning of a threat from Iran.

Former US Director of National Intelligence James Clapper, speaking to BBC World News television, played down the uranium announcement, saying "I don't know that it's necessary to go into the panic mode yet".

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He added, "never threaten the United States again".

Iran has kept to the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - the 2015 deal which limited the scope of its nuclear programme, and has called on other parties to uphold the deal despite the U.S. withdrawal.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday rejected talks with the United States, after Trump said Iran would call and ask for negotiations "if and when they are ever ready". The decision was meant to bring Iran's oil exports to zero, denying the government its main source of revenue.

Some House Democrats accused the administration officials of twisting intelligence to make the case for what they see as an aggressive response to any Iranian actions. "I would consider that a hold", Shanahan said.

Senator Bernie Sanders, a candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, compared the Trump administration's claims to false arguments that led to the Vietnam War and the Iraq War.

"There was no effort to lay out a thoughtful, interdepartmental strategy for how this is ultimately going to wind up in a better deal being signed by the Iranians than was signed by the Obama administration". "A war with Iran would be an absolute disaster, far worse than the war with Iraq".

After the Senate meeting, Republican Senator Lindsey Graham said they had told lawmakers the recent attacks on shipping and a pipeline in the Middle East were directed by the Iranian government and that US officials had detected worrisome communication between Tehran and a Shi'ite militia that prompted the military to quickly relocate an aircraft carrier.

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