USA calls back embassy staff in Iraq as tensions with Iran escalate

U.S. Navy Aviation Maintenance Administrationman 2nd Class Jason Caldwell assigned to the

On Monday, a United States official said that Iran was a leading candidate for the tanker sabotage, but the USA did not have conclusive proof. Accepting Iran as 'a destabilizing regional force, theauthor denied Trump's claim that Iran was 'the world's leading state sponsor ofterrorism as he argued that Sri Lanka bombings, the September 11 attacks, the2008 Mumbai siege, and other largest acts of global terrorism 'werecarried out by brutal Sunni organizations with connections to Saudi-sponsoredWahhabism but none to Iran and described 'Wahhabism an ideological source toall major terrorist organizations.

Fears have grown out of President Donald Trump's decision past year to withdraw the US from the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers and impose wide-reaching sanctions - the latest levied as recently as last week - that have crippled Iran's economy.

The air strikes came two days after the Iran-aligned rebels claimed drone attacks that temporarily shut a key oil pipeline in neighbouring Saudi Arabia.

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".

Under the accord negotiated by Trump's predecessor Barack Obama, Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment capacity, a potential pathway to a nuclear bomb, in return for sanctions relief. "The Americans quit the (nuclear) treaty, the treaty is collapsing, European countries are unable to do anything to save it, can not really work with Iran to compensate its economic losses".

Iraq is home to powerful pro-Iranian militias, while also hosting more than 5,000 US troops. Officially, these militias are on the same side as the USA and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation forces in fighting to defeat ISIS.

"Comparisons to Iraq 2003 are simply wrong", said senior State Department officials.

He told senior officials that his country won't negotiate with the USA, calling such talks "poison", but he also said, "Neither we, nor them is seeking war".

One witness told the Agence France-Presse (AFP) he heard a loud explosion in the heart of Sanaa.

The U.S. designated Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist group, ramped up sanctions, commissioned plans for military action and sent a carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Gulf region.

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When a journalist reminded Gen. Ghika that the USA "says very much and very publicly" that there's an Iranian threat to forces in Iraq and Syria, he said: "There are a substantial number of militia groups in Iraq and Syria, and we don't see any increased threats from many of them at this stage".

Major General Chris Ghika, a senior British officer in the US-backed coalition fighting Islamic State (IS), said: "No, there's been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria".

The travel advisory specifically orders the departure of employees at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Irbil (sometimes spelled Erbil), noting that "normal visa services will be temporarily suspended at both posts".

Germany and the Netherlands said Wednesday they were suspending training of soldiers in Iraq; German defence ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said there was "generally heightened alert, awareness" among soldiers in the region, but gave no specifics.

"This is a pin-prick event, a little needle-like jab at the maritime trade going into the Strait of Hormuz", said Gerry Northwood, chairman of risk management and security firm MAST.

Picking-up on Washington's efforts to seek a diplomatic-channel for talks with Iran; Russian president Vladimir Putin said that Moscow is ready to assist both the United States and Europe in mediating a desired agreement. The war in Iraq failed, and there's little reason why an analogous war in Iran, a country with over three times the population and land area of Iraq, would fare any better.

Despite various threats by Iranian leaders against Israel, the assessment at the meeting was that there is no immediate concern that Israel will be directly targeted - including by rocket fire from pro-Iranian militias in Syria or Iraq, the report said.

"In Iran, the Iran-Iraq war is still very much alive in the collective memory", he said.

Iran has close ties to powerful Iraqi political parties and supports powerful Shi'ite militia groups.

"Let me be as clear as I can be: a war with Iran would be an absolute disaster", said Sanders in the roughly six-minute speech.

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