Published: Thu, May 16, 2019

Congress wants answers on Iran; leaders to be briefed

Congress wants answers on Iran; leaders to be briefed

Senior State Department officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the threat came from Iraqi militia "commanded and controlled" by Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

Speaking in the Black Sea resort city of Sochi on Tuesday, Pompeo assured Russian Federation that his country did not want war with Iran, despite a spike in tensions that has seen the Pentagon dispatch nuclear-capable bombers to the region.

The United States Wednesday ordered non-emergency staff evacuated from its Baghdad embassy due to an "imminent" threat from Iranian-linked Iraqi militias, but President Donald Trump predicted Iran would "soon" want to start talks.

Lawmakers from both parties in Congress demanded more information on the White House's claims of rising threats in the Middle East, warning President Donald Trump off a unsafe escalation with Iran.

Pompeo, in the meantime, issued a similar comment while on a visit to the Russian city of Sochi on Tuesday, stating that the USA "fundamentally doesn't seek a war with Iran".

Iran has thus faracted with restraintin the face of USA belligerence, urging diplomacy and attempting to restart negotiations with Europe over the terms of the Iran nuclear accord.

The next day, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov told the United States diplomat that he hopes that the U.S. will not increase its military presence to push back on Iran, noting that "the region is overburdened with conflict as it is".

"It is nearly impossible to imagine that after the horror of the war in Iraq when we were lied to by the Bush administration and one of the leading architects was this very same, John Bolton", Sanders pointed out.

"We exercise maximum restraint in spite of the fact the United States withdrew", Mr Zarif said as he met his Japanese counterpart, Mr Taro Kono, in Tokyo.


Tehran is threatening to resume higher enrichment in 60 days if no new nuclear deal is in place, beyond the 3.67 per cent permitted by the current deal between Tehran and world powers.

Some observers speculate Tehran is seeking to retaliate over Washington's decision in April to put Iran's Revolutionary Guards on a terror blacklist - a move created to stymie their activities across the Middle East.

Maj Gen Chris Ghika, an Operation Inherent Resolve deputy commander, earlier said he had not seen an increased threat from Iranian proxies.

The drone assault is just the latest incident in the Mideast to shake global energy markets, as authorities allege oil tankers anchored off the coast of the United Arab Emirates were targeted by sabotage.

Germany and the Netherlands said Wednesday they were suspending training of soldiers in Iraq.

The public dispute came as anti-war voices and foreign policy analystswarnedthat the United States, led by Bolton, may be attempting to manufacture a false pretext to justify launching a war with Iran. German defense ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said there was a "generally heightened alert" in the region but gave no specifics.

An administration official said they have no plans for a wider briefing at this point.

The US military said on Tuesday that the threat level in the Middle East had been raised in response to intelligence about Iran-backed forces in the region. "Taking us into a war without Congressional authorization would be unconstitutional and illegal".

Pelosi said Trump has "no business" moving toward a Middle East confrontation without approval from Congress.

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