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Trump admin stokes flames of war with Iran as world pushes back

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After a New York Times report detailed how the Donald Trump administration has sketched out military plans regarding Iran — including potentially sending 120,000 troops to the Middle East in a plan that many have drawn parallels to the Iraq War — the world is responding.

Trump tried to throw water on the Times, while also seeming to confirm the report.

Part of the military plan is a response if Iran scales their nuclear weapons program. However, under a deal brokered by Barack Obama and signed by many of the biggest nations in the international community, Iran agreed to significantly reduce their nuclear program for at least 10 years. The deal also included the Iran getting rid of some nuclear materials they had already created. By virtually all accounts —including from U.S. intelligence agencies and reports from intense verification and monitoring by an intergovernmental group— Iran was complying with the terms of the deal.

However, Trump withdrew from the deal in May 2018 and eventually began imposing sanctions against Iran, in essence allowing them to start-up their nuclear program again. The other signatories to the deal have honored their commitments.

Many Democrats and some Republicans were rebuking Trump for planting the seeds for yet another war.

“It’s close to inconceivable that the president, the administration would consider a war with Iran,” said Utah Sen. Mitt Romney, a GOP critic of the president. “The president made it clear when he ran for president that one of the worst foreign policy mistakes in American history was the decision to go to war with Iraq. And that we would repeat that [is] unthinkable and something I can’t imagine the president or his senior staff would consider.”

Speaker Nancy Pelosi, who will attend Thursday’s briefing, minced no words during a closed-door Democratic Caucus meeting Wednesday, which came as the State Department evacuated non-emergency staffers from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad.

“Let me say that we have to avoid any war with Iran,” she said, according to a congressional aide.

British allies were pushing back, too, as other European leaders didn’t want to be even be seen as close to agreeing with military plans.

Divisions over the nature of the problem burst into the open Tuesday in an unusual show of transatlantic military discord. The British general serving as deputy commander of the US-led military coalition against ISIS said there had been “no increased threat” from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria.

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