Russian Federation to Washington: Drop Middle East troop plan and stop provoking Iran

Clay Curtis
June 20, 2019

Exceeding the uranium cap at the heart of the accord could prompt a diplomatic crisis, forcing the other signatories, which include China, Russia and European powers, to confront Iran.

The standoff drew a call for caution from China.

Some supporters of the multinational nuclear deal blamed the Trump administration for Iran's provocative announcements, saying they were predictable given the renewed USA pressure. Tehran has accused the Trump administration of conducting a false-flag operation in order to start a war, but Donald Trump told Time Magazine that he's not likely to start a war over oil shipping.

Both Mr Shanahan and Mr Rouhani said their countries did not seek war.

"Despite all of the Americans' efforts in the region and their desire to cut off our ties with all of the world and their desire to keep Iran secluded, they have been unsuccessful". Iran has denied all involvement.

"We call on the entire worldwide community, first and foremost, the remaining members of the JCPOA, including the "European Three" (UK, Germany, France) and Iran to demonstrate political far-sightedness and will to achieve the goals that these comprehensive agreements had been signed with".

Two US officials speaking on condition of anonymity, told Reuters the US was preparing to send additional troops to the Middle East in response to mounting concerns over Iran.

Tehran´s announcement came a day after it said its uranium stockpile would from June 27 begin to surpass a limit agreed in a 2015 global nuclear deal that Trump unilaterally abandoned in May a year ago. They argued that the deal's restrictions on Iran's nuclear program would expire, giving Iran an opening to develop the bomb. It will increase its enrichment of uranium and bypass the limit it is allowed to store under the terms of the agreement, even though it does not plan to withdraw from the Agreement itself.

Under the ultimatum Iran issued to Europeans, the latter now has less than three weeks to "compensate" for its inadequacies; otherwise, more will be in the pipeline, including the production of 20% enriched uranium. The European Union's foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini called for "maximum restraint" as she heads to D.C. for talks today with USA officials.

The row between Tehran and Washington escalated after the United States accused Iran of attacking two oil tankers.

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Russian Federation reacted angrily to the U.S.' plans on Tuesday with officials, including the country's deputy foreign minister, warning the US that it was tantamount to a "military provocation".

"It is not an easy exercise", said Mogherini, who was due to hold talks in Washington on Tuesday with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

The U.S. State Department's point man on Iran, Brian Hook, plans to meet the E3 political directors in Paris on June 27, the date by which Iran says it would breach the deal, two sources said.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have grown ever since, with the USA bolstering its military presence in the region, reimposing sanctions and blacklisting Iran´s elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. Neither Shamkhani nor the Iranian intelligence official specified how many alleged CIA agents were arrested or which other countries were involved in dismantling the network.

"The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region", Shanahan said. We want to keep our journalism open and accessible and be able to keep providing you with news and analysis from the frontlines of Israel, the Middle East and the Jewish World.

European leaders have urged Iran to stick to the deal, which set a limit on the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges, and restricted the country´s right to enrich uranium to no higher than 3.67 percent, well below weapons-grade levels of around 90 percent.

Then, a United Kingdom foreign office source, speaking on condition of anonymity, told CNN "it's too early to talk about reimposing sanctions, but if Iran ceased meeting its nuclear commitments, there would be logical consequences".

The E3 countries have strained to keep the accord between major powers and Iran on life support since US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it past year and began re-imposing American sanctions.

The Atomic Energy Organisation made the announcement at the Arak heavy water nuclear facility.

But EU member states use little Iranian oil. "Iran had purchased pipes for replacement in case the West violated the deal".

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