U.S. pulls 'non-emergency staff' from Iraq as Iran tensions mount

U.S. pulls 'non-emergency staff' from Iraq as Iran tensions mount

U.S. pulls 'non-emergency staff' from Iraq as Iran tensions mount

Earlier on Wednesday, the US State Department ordered the departure of non-emergency US government employees from its embassy in Baghdad and consulate-general in Erbil, as well as the suspension of normal visa services.

Mr Trump is sending an aircraft carrier group, B-52 bombers and Patriot missiles to the Middle East to counter what the United States calls a heightened threat from Iran to U.S. soldiers and interests in the region.

Senior State Department officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the threat came from Iraqi militia "commanded and controlled" by Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi says the US must avoid war with Iran, and she says the White House has "no business" moving toward a Middle East confrontation without approval from Congress.

Earlier this month, the United States sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf.

European Union chief Federica Mogherini said on Monday that she does not want to see a military escalation between the United States and Iran.

Romney said it's "inconceivable" that Trump would start a conflict with Iran.

Saudi Arabia shared the concerns of its fellow Sunni Muslim ally that Shi'ite Iran has for a long time been undermining stability in the region, he said, and the United States' commitment to its allies in the region is "very strong".

In a written statement, the governments jointly say the incident "posed a threat to the safety and security" of global shipping and maritime navigation. "The United States Congress must do everything it can to prevent the Trump administration's attempts to put us on the brink of a catastrophic and unconstitutional war with Iran that could lead to even more deaths than the Iraq War".

Mr Pompeo was in London after a surprise dash to Baghdad where he warned Iraq's leaders of the threat to U.S. troops...

"The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq". The hypothetical plan would reportedly be implemented if Tehran speeds up its nuclear weapons program - or in the event American troops are attacked by Iran.

Talking more about USA military action against Iran under the pretext of allegations that Iran is preparing strikes against U.S. forces in the Middle East, the article said: "The United States is poorly prepared for another conflict in the region; it has the support of none of its North Atlantic Treaty Organisation allies, not even - as Mr. Hunt made clear - Britain". "Neither we nor [the U.S.] seek war".

"I'm sure that Iran will want to talk soon", President Donald Trump wrote on Twitter on May 15.

Meanwhile, the Netherlands and Germany, which have 160 soldiers in Iraq, suspended military training operations, citing increasing regional tensions.

Former CIA chief John Brennan responded by tweeting, "Your refusal to accept the unanimous assessment of U.S. Intelligence on Iran, No. Korea, ISIS, Russia, & so much more shows the extent of your intellectual bankruptcy".

Senator Bob Menendez, the senior Democrat on the Senate foreign relations panel, demanded a briefing "immediately" on the threat intelligence, any plans for war and the decision to order embassy staff out of Iraq. He names Yanba, Fujairah and Golan as theaters for the war against Iran.

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