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Iran ‘will want to talk soon’: Trump

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President Donald Trump on Wednesday predicted that Iran will “soon” want to negotiate and denied any discord in the White House over moves that critics say could lead to war in the Middle East.

“Different opinions are expressed and I make a decisive and final decision — it is a very simple process,” Trump tweeted. “I’m sure that Iran will want to talk soon.”

Trump blasted media reports about turmoil in the White House over a series of steps taken by the administration to up pressure on Iran, saying “there is no infighting whatsoever.”

The United States on Wednesday ordered non-essential staff to leave its embassy in neighboring Iraq, claiming there is an “imminent” threat from Iranian-linked Iraqi militias.

Ten days ago, Trump also ordered an aircraft carrier and nuclear-capable bomber planes to deploy to the Gulf.

Democrats in Congress demanded that the Trump administration brief them on what it considers to be the Iran threat, warning that the US legislature has not approved military action against Tehran.

Opponents of Trump say that hardliners led by national security advisor John Bolton, who has long advocated toppling the Iranian government, are pushing the country into war.

The White House says that Iran, a longtime enemy and rival of US allies Israel and Saudi Arabia, is sowing instability across the region.

Washington also says that Tehran is secretly pursuing nuclear weapons, despite having agreed to strict controls under an international accord that Trump abandoned after winning election in 2016.

US cites ‘imminent’ Iran threat for Iraq embassy evacuation
Washington (AFP) May 15, 2019 -
The order to evacuate US diplomats from Iraq came in response to an “imminent” threat directly linked to Iran, senior State Department officials said Wednesday.

The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that the threat came from Iraqi militias commanded and controlled by Tehran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

“It is directly linked to Iran, multiple threat streams directly linked to Iran,” said one official.

“This is an imminent threat to our personnel,” said a second official.

Earlier Wednesday, the US State Department ordered all non-emergency staff to leave its embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Arbil, citing a non-specific threat from “terrorist and insurgent groups” in Iraq that included “anti-US sectarian militias.”

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

Washington though has been vague about the specifics of the intelligence it has that allegedly indicates Tehran’s plans to hit US personnel.

“This threat stream, let me tell you, is real,” said the second official.

“It’s IRGC-commanded and controlled Iraqi militias,” the official said.

“There is no doubt in my mind that under the circumstances, a partial ordered departure is a reasonable thing to do.”

Both officials stressed that the United States was not seeking an armed confrontation with Iran, despite the Pentagon’s military build-up in the Gulf.

“There is absolutely no desire or interest in a military conflict with anybody,” the official said.

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US, coalition allies appear divided on Iran threat

Washington (AFP) May 14, 2019

Coalition forces in Iraq and Syria sent conflicting signals Tuesday over Iran’s alleged threat, with a British general appearing to take issue with Washington’s alarms over an imminent danger posed by Tehran to the US and its allies.

Major General Chris Ghika, a British spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve, the coalition fighting the Islamic State group, said that they did not sense any intensified threat from Iran in the region, even though the US military was boosting its forces in the Gulf. … read more

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