Iran Iran sticks to its guns: No room for talks with Trump

Larry Hoffman
May 24, 2019

A bit part of this, according to Republican officials, is that many of them have been pushing back against the idea of a usa war, and President Trump doesn't want the war either. Other intelligence reportedly indicated Iran had plotted attacks via allied militias in Iraq, from which the USA had recently pulled diplomatic staff.

Democrats had a different take on the briefings, as well as the wisdom of the Trump administration's pressure campaign against Iran's government and its proxies in the Middle East.

But some Democrats said that none of the information showed Iran was appreciably more of a threat now than in the past, and they accused the administration of being ready to attack at the slightest provocation.

Potential attacks by Iran have been "put on hold" by US counter-measures, acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Tuesday.

Iran was skeptical about the US' willingness to engage in an all-out military confrontation, saying Washington lacked both the political will and military assets.

Instead, the past two weeks has witnessed incessant blustering out of Washington, with daily threats that military action was looming against Iran.

"I am convinced, based on what I just heard, that the actions that the administration took were necessary and appropriate". President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018.

Over recent weeks, Washington has ratcheted up pressure against Tehran with a series of sanctions, designations, and military threats, following Washington's year-long campaign against Iran after the USA exit from the landmark Iran nuclear deal in May last year.

Some lawmakers pressed administration officials to be more open with the American public about potential threats of Iranian hostility and the United States response.

The Republican senator Lindsey Graham said they were told the recent attacks on shipping and a pipeline in the Middle East were directed by the Iranian government and that USA officials had detected worrisome communication between Tehran and a Shiite militia, prompting the military to quickly relocate an aircraft carrier.

Zarif also accused Washington of walking out first on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the 2015 deal created to limit Iran's nuclear capabilities in return for the lifting of sanctions.

"There will be painful consequences for everybody [if] there is an escalation against Iran, that's for sure", he said.

"They explained to us how the Iranian threat streams were different than in the past ... and that attacks against American interests and personnel were imminent", Republican Sen.

FILE - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, center, answers questions in Tokyo, May 16, 2019.

Iran's foreign minister on Tuesday said the United States was "playing a very, very unsafe game" by moving forces into the Persian Gulf, increasing risk of a conflict that will have "painful consequences".

Trump pulled out of the 2015 worldwide nuclear agreement with Iran one year ago.

Iraq hosts more than 5,000 United States troops, and is home to powerful Iranian-backed militias which largely operate under the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) umbrella, some of whom want foreign forces to leave.

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