All in News

U.S. Sends 1,500 Troops to Mideast After Blaming Attacks on Iran

◢ President Donald Trump ordered more troops to the Middle East as the Pentagon blamed Tehran for recent attacks in the region, yet the small scale of the U.S. move signaled a desire to avoid a further escalation of tensions between the two nations. The U.S. will bolster forces in the region by about 1,500 troops, though Trump and the Pentagon said that the deployment is for defensive purposes.

Oman Says It Is Trying to Reduce US-Iran Tensions

◢ Oman said Friday it was trying to reduce spiraling tensions between the Unites States and Iran, as the Pentagon confirmed it was considering deploying more troops to the region. The small but strategically located sultanate, which faces Iran across the highly sensitive Strait of Hormuz at the entrance to the Gulf, has maintained good relations with Tehran throughout successive regional crises.

Iraq Urges Iran to Respect Nuclear Accord

◢ Iraq's top diplomat Friday called on Iran to respect the landmark deal covering its nuclear program, which has been weakened by the US decision to withdraw from it and Tehran's backing away from certain commitments. "We think the JCPOA is a good agreement," said Iraq's Foreign Minister Mohammed Ali al-Hakim.

India Has Ended Iranian Oil Imports: Envoy

◢ India has ended all imports of oil from Iran, its ambassador in Washington said Wednesday, becoming the latest country to grudgingly comply with threatened US sanctions. India had already sharply decreased its imports from Iran and bought one million tons of crude in April, the last month before Washington stepped up its pressure campaign against Tehran and ended all exemptions to oil sanctions.

Ankara Stopped Buying Iran Oil Out of 'Respect' for US Sanctions

◢ Ankara stopped importing oil from Iran at the beginning of May out of "respect" for American sanctions despite disagreeing with them, a Turkish official said Wednesday. "As a strategic ally" of the United States, "we respect" the sanctions, said the official, who asked to remain anonymous, during Turkish Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Yavuz Selim Kiran's visit to Washington.

Iraq Caught in the Middle of US-Iran Face-Off

◢ Scarred by two decades of conflict, Iraq finds itself caught in the middle of a US-Iranian tug-of-war, fearing it could pay the price of any confrontation between its two main allies. Analysts say third parties may seek to exploit the latest spike in tensions between Tehran and Washington to spark a showdown that serves their own interests.

Pompeo's Iran Intelligence Briefing Fails to Reassure Democrats

◢ Democrats were still clamoring for answers about U.S. intentions in Iran, even after a closed-door briefing from Trump administration officials about heightened tensions in the region. Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan and other intelligence officials spoke with House Republicans and Democrats at the Capitol Tuesday.

US Fingers Iran on Gulf Attacks but Eases Tone

◢ President Donald Trump's administration charged Tuesday it was "quite possible" Iran was responsible for sabotage of Gulf oil interests but said its robust response had stopped potential attacks on Americans. US officials appeared to be toning down weeks of fiery warnings to Iran before delivering a classified briefing to the full Congress, where rival Democrats have accused the administration of hyping intelligence.

Iran's Rouhani Seeks More Powers Amid U.S. `Economic War'

◢ Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his government needs more powers to push back against the “economic war” the U.S. is waging, while vowing his nation will stand fast against the Trump administration’s campaign rather than submit to its demands. Today Iran “is in a state of economic war,” he said, referring to U.S. sanctions directed against the country’s vital oil industry and other targets.

Iran Accelerates Production of Enriched Uranium as Tensions Rise

◢ Iran has accelerated the rate at which it’s enriching low-grade uranium four-fold, weeks after threatening to gradually scale back its commitments under a 2015 deal meant to prevent it from developing a nuclear bomb. The semi-official Tasnim news agency quoted Behrouz Kamalvandi, an official at Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, as saying that Iran had increased its output of 3.67% enriched uranium as of Monday.

The World Agrees With Trump on One Thing When It Comes to Iran

◢ Blunt, ignorant and confused are some of the criticisms voiced by allies on U.S. policy toward Iran. But none sees the Trump administration preparing for war. Governments worldwide are alarmed at the tension between Washington and Tehran, concerned about the risk of escalation or military miscalculation and frustrated at a lack of communication about U.S. goals.

Iran Urges China, Russia 'Concrete Actions' to Save Nuclear Deal

◢ Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday urged China and Russia to take "concrete actions" to safeguard the 2015 nuclear deal as he warned of a "dangerous" situation amid escalating tensions with the US. China was one of the eight global buyers—India, Turkey, Japan, South Korea, Taiwan, Italy and Greece—that was allowed to import Iranian crude oil before the US ended waivers in early May.

Iran Accuses US of 'Unacceptable' Escalation in Tensions

◢ Iran accused the United States Thursday of an "unacceptable" escalation of tensions and said Tehran was showing "maximum restraint" despite Washington's withdrawal from a nuclear deal with world powers. Tensions were already high after President Donald Trump walked away a year ago from the accord, which eased international sanctions in return for curbs on Iran's nuclear program.

Pelosi Says Trump Needs Congress for Any Military Action on Iran

◢ House Speaker Nancy Pelosi warned the Trump administration against taking military action in Iran without authorization from Congress, as the U.S. weighs how to respond to rising tensions in the Middle East. "The responsibility in the Constitution is for Congress to declare war," Pelosi said Thursday. "So I hope that the president’s advisers recognize that they have no authorization to go forward in any way."

U.S. Pulls Iraq Embassy Staff as Tensions Climb Higher Over Iran

◢ The U.S. ordered its non-emergency government staff to leave Iraq amid increasing Middle East tensions that American officials are blaming on Iran, as fears rise that the region may be heading toward another conflict. Most employees at the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil, in the majority Kurdish region, will leave due to an “increased threat stream,” according to an embassy statement Wednesday.

In Tehran, Economic Alarm Outweighs Fear of Conflict With Trump

◢ The sense of a dangerous drift towards conflict is being compounded by volleys of belligerent rhetoric lobbed from both the United States and Iran. An adviser to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Hesameddin Ashena, taunted Trump on Twitter with the prospect of war, adding an apparent reference to National Security Adviser John Bolton, regarded as a leading Iran hawk.

Congress Demands Iran Briefing From White House as Tensions Rise

◢ Members of Congress are seeking answers from the Trump administration on U.S. plans to respond to escalating tensions with Iran, demanding more information about fast-moving developments in the Middle East. U.S. officials will meet Thursday with congressional leaders from both parties in both chambers, including heads of both intelligence committees, to discuss the Middle East, according to a person familiar with the plans.

Trump Denies Iran Threat, Then Revives It in Muddled Response

◢ President Donald Trump rejected a report that his administration is planning for war with Iran, but then warned he’d send “a hell of a lot more” than 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event of hostilities. “I think it’s fake news, OK?” Trump told reporters outside the White House on Tuesday after he was asked about a New York Times report that plans envision sending 120,000 U.S.. troops to fight the Islamic Republic.

U.S. Sanctions Leave Iran's Papers Short of Ink

◢ The economic hardship triggered by a year of U.S. sanctions has extended to the Islamic Republic’s newspapers, which are struggling to combat fast-rising prices—and shortages—of both paper and printing ink. At a time when Iran’s on front pages around the world, two government-owned dailies have cut coverage while journalists fret about possible layoffs.

Trump Says Iran Will `Suffer Greatly' If U.S. Is Provoked

◢ President Donald Trump warned Iran against a military provocation and said the country “will suffer greatly” if hostilities break out with the U.S. “We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything it’ll be a very bad mistake, if they do anything,” Trump told reporters on Monday during a meeting with Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban at the White House.