- US. Officials point their finger at Iran's elite elite forces for sabotage attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.
- A week after alleging Iranian "preparations for a possible attack" on US forces in the region, the US had ordered most of the Foreign Ministry personnel from neighboring Iraq.
- US and Iranian officials insist that no one wants a war, and President Trump has denied plans to send 120,000 troops to the area.
- The US military has refuted the assessment of a high-ranking British commander that there has been "no heightened threat from Iranian-backed troops in Iraq" and Syria. "
US officials said they believe Iranian combat divers were behind the attackson the weekend, and they told CBS News senior security correspondent, David Martin, that there is still no indication that Iran is retreating to attack Americans in the region.
On Wednesday, the US State Department ordered all non-emergency workers and their families to leave Iraq for a nation the Iranian southern border, where the Iranian government supports several militia groups that have previously fought US forces.
"US citizens in Iraq are at high risk of violence and kidnapping. Many terrorist and insurgent groups are active in Iraq and regularly attack both Iraqi security forces and civilians. Anti-US sect militias can also threaten US citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq, "the State Department said in its report. [Nuclear Iran]
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo renewed the Trump administration's warning on Tuesday that the US would avenge Iran if it attacked US interests in the Middle East, but declined to do this blame for the tanker sabotage on Tehran.
He said he had nothing "concrete about the connection" between Tehran and the tanker attacks, adding, "I think we will know the answer in the coming hours and days."
At a rally Tuesday night emphasized President Trump, which became one of the hallmarks of his tough foreign policy, and told his supporters that his government "holds accountable to dangerous regimes by denying them oil revenues to finance their corruption, oppression and terror."
As Martin reports, the country remains dangerous, while the US is putting pressure on the Iranian economy.
US. Officials told Martin that it was highly likely that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards would be responsible for Sunday's attacks, in which holes were blown into the hulls of Saudi and Norwegian tankers moored off the Emirati port of Fujairah off the Persian Gulf lay.
It is believed that Iranian combat divers have attached explosives to the hulls, but a defense official told CBS News that further investigations are needed.
Trump sends troops to Iran?
Mr. Meanwhile, Trump dismissed a report from the New York Times stating that the government intended to send 120,000 American troops into the region to fight Iran. The US has already sent an aircraft carrier strike group and four B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf.
President Trump's report on the Times's rejection was limited: "Would I do that, definitely?" He said as he left the White House on Tuesday. "We did not plan that … and if we did, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops."
On Capitol Hill, Virginia Democratic senator Tim Kaine blasted the president's mind.
"It would be the pinnacle of stupidity. It would be unconstitutional. There is no possibility that this President is involved in a war with Iran, "said Kaine.
Iran is escalating the nuclear threat.
Iran has vehemently denied being involved in the attacks The oil tankers and accused the president Trump to play a "very dangerous game and risk a devastating war."
But on Wednesday, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, "There will be no war. We do not seek war. You know that. We never start a war and never started a war. This is a confrontation of willpower, and our willpower is stronger than theirs.
He ruled out any negotiations with the current US administration if they were "poison" to Iran.
But while he considers the possibility of a conflict with the US The Ayatollah has also thrown off a loosely veiled threat that Iran could endure steps – within months – that would almost certainly provoke a significant American reaction.
Iran announced a week ago in response That President Trump withdrew the US from the nuclear deal agreed with the world powers in 2015, and would do so in part, also withdraw from the terms of the agreement.
The Iranian regime said that if the other parties to the agreementcould find no way to circumvent new US sanctions to within 60 with Tehe A few days later, uranium enrichment would revert to the level set by the agreement.
Under the terms of the Nuclear Agreement, Iran is allowed to enrich uranium to a concentration of just under 4% – a level that can be used for medical and scientific purposes. The regime said that it did not reach an agreement with Europe, Russia and the Chinese In order to keep the 2015 agreement in play, it would resume uranium enrichment to 20%. – What officials said in the country could be done within four days. This guideline is significant, as uranium, once refined to 20%, can be much easier enriched to the 90% needed for weapons.
On Wednesday, the ayatollah said: "An enrichment of 20% is the hardest part, and the next step is easier than this step."
It was the Iranian regime's first indication that it could try to obtain highly enriched uranium which is needed for an atom bomb – although Iranian officials have denied any interest in it.
Both the US and Israel have made it clear that they will not allow the Islamic Republic to acquire nuclear capability.
United States. and allies on the same page?
There were signs of frustration on the part of the European allies over the Trump administration's decision not only to renounce the nuclear agreement, but to exert new pressure on the Iranian regime.
The Trump administration and US military said just over a week ago they had "discovered a number of preparations for a possible attack" on US forces at sea and on land in the Middle East.
The US still has around 5,000 troops in Iraq The Iranian border and the Foreign Ministry's orders to remove non-emergency personnel from the country did not specifically mention a threat from Iran.
Again, without specifically mentioning Iran, a spokesperson for the US Embassy in Iraq told CBS News on Wednesday that Pompeo had sent the non-emergency US personnel out of the country because "these threats are serious".
On Tuesday, however, a British deputy commander of the US-led joint military operation in Iraq denied claiming heightened threat to the allied forces in the region.
"There was no heightened threat from Iran-backed forces in Iraq and Syria," said Major General Christopher Ghika in a video briefing from Baghdad to the Pentagon. "We are clearly aware of this presence and we monitor it along with a whole host of others, because that is the environment we are in. We oversee the Shiite militias that I think you speak carefully, and If so, the level of threat seems to be increasing, then we will increase our measures to protect the armed forces accordingly. "
But the US Military Central Command, the Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) in Iraq and all other US operations in Overseeing the region, Ghikas directly refuted the statement later on Tuesday.
"Recent Deputy OIR commander recent comments disagree with the identified credible threats available to US intelligence agencies and their allies regarding Iran-sponsored forces in the region," said Central Command spokesman Capt. Bill Urban, in the statement Meanwhile, the German military announced on Wednesday the cessation of its training operations in Iraq, but said it had received no information about the increased threats of German troops in the country by Iran.
D Jens Flosdorff, spokesman for the Efense Ministry, pointed to the increasing regional tensions when he confirmed that the German military temporarily suspended the training of the Iraqi Armed Forces "based on our partner countries," adding that " there are no concrete warnings of attacks against German targets ".