USA military disputes British general's doubts over Iranian threat to US

Khamenei says the Iranian nation has chosen the path of resistance. — AFP  File

The U.S. State Department said employees at both the U.S. embassy in Baghdad and its consulate in Erbil, capital of the semi-autonomous Kurdistan region, were being pulled out immediately due to safety concerns.

United States president Donald Trump also denied a report that his administration has updated plans to send more than 100,000 troops to counter Iran if necessary.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is urging neighboring countries to support the USA against Iran's mounting aggression.

The U.S. announced May 5 that it was sending a bomber group and a carrier strike group to the region, although the strike group already was scheduled to pass through the region at some point anyway.

European Union chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday that she does not want to see a military escalation between the USA and Iran. -Iranian relations since Trump entered the Oval Office.

A statement from the official Saudi news agency said that it was important to face "terrorist entities, including the Houthi militias in Yemen that are backed by Iran".

In a written statement, the governments jointly say the incident "posed a threat to the safety and security" of worldwide shipping and maritime navigation.

According to a BBC Arabic report, Pompeo handed over a memory stick to Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul Mahdi containing evidence of Iran's plans to attack United States interests in Iraq through its proxies in the country.

"And if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that".

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"John Bolton is methodically setting the stage for war with Iran - forcing Iran into a corner and then readying war plans for when Iran takes the bait", Jamal Abdi, president of the National Iranian American Council, said in astatementon Monday.

The MT Andrea Victory, one of the alleged targets, sustained a hole in its hull just above its waterline from "an unknown object", its owner Thome Ship Management said in a statement.

Then on Tuesday, reports indicated that the USA military was drawing up plans for some 120,000 American troops to be deployed to the Middle East to respond to any Iranian attack or an acceleration of the nation's nuclear program.

As tensions in the region surge, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said British officials are anxious about the risk of a conflict between the U.S. and Iran which neither side intends.

Menendez said the Trump administration "has not provided any information to this committee on the intelligence behind their decisions or what they plan to do in Iraq or Iran".

"Ensuring the safety of USA government personnel and citizens is our highest priority and we are confident in the Iraqi security services' (ability) to protect us", he said.

Why have US-Iran tensions escalated?

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. He names Yanba, Fujairah and Golan as theaters for the war against Iran. "If (the administration) were contemplating military action with Iran, it must come to Congress to seek approval", he said.

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