Published: Fri, May 17, 2019

Washington orders some US government employees to leave Iraq

Washington orders some US government employees to leave Iraq

"The American people should know, we've done that", he said.

Spokesmen for two of the groups told Reuters that the talk of threats to usa forces was "psychological warfare" by Washington. "We have exercised maximum restraints", he said. In other comments carried on the semi-official Mehr news agency, Zarif was quoted as saying "a multilateral deal can not be treated unilaterally".

The Trump administration ordered the withdrawal of all non-emergency personnel from the USA diplomatic mission to Iraq after the administration announced Iran or its proxies in the region were an escalating threat. The US pulled out of the deal a year ago, re-imposing sanctions that would penalize countries and global companies that do business with Iran.

Houthi-run Masirah TV earlier said that the group had carried out drone attacks on "vital" Saudi Arabian installations in response to "continued aggression and blockade" on Yemen. Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said Germany was "orienting itself toward our partner countries" though there are "no concrete warnings of attacks against German targets".

A Saudi-led coalition has been at war with the Houthis since 2015, and carries out near-daily airstrikes. The drone attacks on the pipeline marked one of the rebels' deepest and most significant strikes inside Saudi territory since the conflict began.

The move came 10 days after the White House ordered a USA aircraft carrier task force and B-52 bombers to the Gulf to prepare to respond to any Iranian-directed strike against U.S. interests or allies in the region.

In response, Iran's supreme leader issued a veiled threat Tuesday, saying it wouldn't be hard for the Islamic Republic to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels. Bernie Sanders on Tuesday came out forcefully against the Trump administration angling the United States into another costly and unnecessary war of choice in the Middle East-this time against Iran-delivering an online address in which he warned that any military action without approval from Congress would be an "unconstitutional and illegal" breach of office.

The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, meanwhile, ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff on Wednesday to leave Iraq immediately amid escalating tensions with Iran. Iraq is home to powerful pro-Iranian militias, while also hosting more than 5,000 U.S. troops.

The Iraqi source said US staff were headed for a military base at Baghdad airport.

Iran's foreign minister says his country is committed to an global nuclear deal but that the escalating US sanctions are "unacceptable".

His visit came after Washington announced the deployment of an aircraft-carrier battle group and a bomber task force to the Middle East, which USA official said was in response to threats from Iran to the interests of the United States or its allies in the region. Gen. Chris Ghika's comments exposed worldwide skepticism over the American military buildup.

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

Iran has said it will partially suspend its own commitments under the deal and restart parts of its nuclear program, including enriching uranium, if the world does not find a way to ease the damage of United States sanctions that have devastated its economy.

Theodore Karasik, a senior adviser with Washington-based Gulf State Analytics, said it was not unusual for the UAE and Saudi Arabia to keep quiet about policies they support.

Details around the alleged acts of sabotage off the coast of the UAE's port of Fujairah remain unclear. Gargash declined to directly blame Iran for the attack, though he repeatedly criticized Tehran.

Saudi Arabian Minister of Energy Khalid al-Falih said that the latest attacks caused a fire, now contained, and minor damage at one pump station, but did not disrupt oil output or exports of crude and petroleum products. It did not elaborate.

More than three days on, little information has been provided on where the ships were when they were attacked, what sort of weapon was used, and who did it.

Iran, for its part, has designated all U.S. troops stationed in the region as terrorists.

JBC Energy Research Centre said Fujairah would continue to be seen as a reliable bunkering hub, especially with a US strike group arriving in the region and navies from Britain, France and China available to assist.

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