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UK foreign minister Hunt says cannot envisage joining U.S.-led war with Iran
June 25, 2019
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Conservative Party leadership candidate Jeremy Hunt attends an interview outside his home in London, Britain, June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain does not expect the United States to request that the United Kingdom joins a war with Iran and London would be unlikely to agree to join such a conflict, Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said on Tuesday.

“The U.S. is our closest ally, we talk to them the whole time, we consider any requests that they say carefully, but I cannot envisage any situation where they request or we agree to any moves to go to war,” Hunt told parliament.

“The message we are sending with our partners in the European Union particularly the French and the Germans is that with respect to Iran’s nuclear program, this is a crucial week.

“It is absolutely essential that they stick to that deal in its entirety for it to preserve and for us to have a nuclear free middle east,” Hunt said.

Reporting by Guy Faulconbridge; editing by Michael Holden

 

Persian Gulf

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The other day he said the opposite, but got a lot of criticism in the UK, and since he's running against Boris Johnson for PM he has to "clarify" now he realised there is no support for another illegal ME war ;)
 

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Bolton sees U.S. pressure on Iran leading it to new talks
June 25, 2019

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U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton delivers joint statements with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem June 23, 2019. Tsafrir Abayov/Pool via REUTERS


JERUSALEM (Reuters) - U.S. National Security Adviser John Bolton predicted on Tuesday that Washington’s pressure campaign against Iran would lead it to enter negotiations.

“They’ll either get the point or ... we will simply enhance the maximum pressure campaign further,” Bolton told reporters after meeting his Russian and Israeli counterparts in Jerusalem. “It will be, I think, the combination of sanctions and other pressure that does bring Iran to the table.”

Writing by Dan Williams; Editing by Peter Graff

 

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U.S. envoy says Trump leaving path open to Iran diplomacy
June 25, 2019

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GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump is leaving a path open to diplomacy with Iran, but Iran would be making a mistake if it interprets his restraint over the downing of a drone as weakness, U.S. disarmament ambassador Robert Wood said on Tuesday.

“We will not initiate a conflict against Iran, nor do we intend to deny Iran the right to defend its airspace but if Iran continues to attack us, our response will be decisive,” Wood told the Conference on Disarmament in Geneva, the world’s main nuclear negotiating forum.

Reporting by Tom Miles; Editing by Peter Graff

 

Persian Gulf

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By sanctioning Iran's leader (Khamenei) and top diplomat (Zarif)...?

Maybe they want to negotiate with MEK not Iran?
 

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UAE will work to defuse Middle East tension, ADNOC CEO Jaber says
June 25, 2019


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FILE PHOTO - Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, UAE Minister of State and the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) Group CEO, addresses a gathering during the India Energy Forum in New Delhi, India, October 15, 2018. REUTERS/Adnan Abidi

LONDON (Reuters) - The United Arab Emirates seek a de-escalation of tension in the Middle East, the head of state-run Abu Dhabi National Oil Company (ADNOC) said on Tuesday, after Iran accused the United States of closing the path to diplomacy with new sanctions.

“The UAE will work ... to defuse and deescalate the current threat,” Sultan al-Jaber, chief executive of ADNOC and minister of state, told a conference in London. “Now is the time for wisdom, diplomacy and the concerted efforts of the international community.”

Reporting By Ahmed Ghaddar and Karen Strohecker; Writing by Shadia Nasralla; Editing by Edmund Blair

 

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Russia's Lavrov says situation around Iran headed toward dangerous scenario
June 25, 2019

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Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov and Egypt's Foreign Minister Sameh Shoukry attend a news conference in Moscow, Russia, June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

MOSCOW (Reuters) - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said on Tuesday the situation around Iran was developing toward a dangerous scenario, the RIA news agency reported.

U.S. President Donald Trump targeted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other top Iranian officials with sanctions on Monday. Iran shot down a U.S. drone last week, and Trump called off retaliatory air strikes minutes before impact.

Reporting by Andrey Kuzmin; Writing by Gabrielle Tétrault-Farber; Editing by Peter Graff

 

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Putin aide: downed U.S. drone was in Iranian airspace
25 June 2019
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Nikolai Patrushev

JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Russia has military intelligence that shows that a U.S. drone was in Iranian air space when it was shot down by Iran last week, Nikolai Patrushev, Secretary of Russia’s Security Council, said on Tuesday.

Speaking at a briefing for journalists in Jerusalem, Patrushev said evidence presented by the United States alleging Iran was behind attacks on ships in the Gulf of Oman was poor quality and unprofessional.

Reporting by Andrey Kuzmin; Writing by Christian Lowe; Editing by Peter Graff

 

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Iran minister says Tehran fully prepared to tackle U.S. sanctions: Tasnim
June 25, 2019

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Farhad Dejpasand

DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran’s government has plans to protect the nation against U.S. economic pressure, Iran’s Economy Minister Farhad Dejpasand was quoted as saying on Tuesday, a day after Washington imposed new sanctions on Tehran.

“We have our plans and options to counter the enemy’s pressure and sanctions,” the semi-official Tasnim News agency quoted Dejpasand as saying. “But I will not reveal more details about our plans.”

Writing by Parisa Hafezi; Editing by Peter Graff

 

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Trump to Iran: Attacking 'anything American' will draw 'overwhelming' force
25 June 2019
By Clyde Hughes

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President Donald Trump signs an authorization Monday for new sanctions against Iran, in the Oval Office at the White House. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI | License Photo

June 25 (UPI) -- Hours after his administration was roundly condemned by the Iranian government Tuesday, President Donald Trump delivered another verbal assault that included direct threats against Tehran amid heightened tensions.

Iranian leaders criticized new U.S. sanctions signed by Trump on Monday by saying it blocks a "path to diplomacy." They also called the U.S. move "idiotic" and "outrageous."

Trump responded on Twitter:

"Iran's very ignorant and insulting statement, put out today, only shows that they do not understand reality," he wrote. "Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration.

"Iran leadership doesn't understand the words 'nice' or 'compassion,'" he added. "Sadly, the thing they do understand is strength and power, and the USA is by far the most powerful military force in the world, with 1.5 trillion dollars invested over the last two years alone.

"The wonderful Iranian people are suffering, and for no reason at all. Their leadership spends all of its money on terror, and little on anything else. The U.S. has not forgotten Iran's use of [bombs], which killed 2,000 Americans, and wounded many more."

The administration has blamed Iran for attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East in recent weeks, the latest on June 13 when two tankers were hit with mines in the Gulf of Oman. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said surveillance video shows Iranian military members removing one mine that did not explode -- and Iran's shootdown of a U.S. drone last week nearly drew a military response from Trump.

"Imposing futile sanctions on Leader of the Islamic Revolution [Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei] and the commander of the country's diplomacy means the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy with the desperate U.S. government," Iranian foreign ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said earlier Tuesday.

"Trump's administration is destroying all the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security."

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a television address called the new U.S. sanctions "outrageous and idiotic," and said they symbolize a U.S. failure to isolate Iran.

"You, yourself, refused to negotiate, disrupted [talks], reneged on your promises, annulled your own signature and told the world that you have no credulity and 'not to trust us.

"We are not afraid of the U.S., but we've been exercising strategic patience."

 

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Senate set to sidestep Iran fight as defense bill advances
25 June 2019
By: Joe Gould

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Sen. Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., speaks during a news briefing after a Senate Republican policy luncheon on June 11, 2019, at the U.S. Capitol. (Alex Wong/Getty Images)


WASHINGTON ― The Senate looked ready to shut down debate over President Donald Trump’s war authorization as tension escalates between the U.S. and Iran.

On Monday, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., moved to close debate on the $750 billion 2020 National Defense Authorization Act, which Senate Democrats hoped to use as a vehicle to debate Trump’s right to launch military operations against Iran.

Senate Armed Services Committee Chairman Jim Inhofe, R-Okla., said he hopes to pass the bill by Thursday, with or without amendments. McConnell’s procedural move means a vote could happen as soon as Wednesday, though senators could agree to hold a vote sooner.

Inhofe and the panel’s top Democrat, Sen. Jack Reed, D-R.I., were able to add 100 uncontroversial bipartisan amendments to the underlying bill.

As of Tuesday evening, there was no agreement to take up further amendments, Inhofe said. That would leave behind some 600 amendments senators filed as of last week, some on hot topics like the southern border and expanding America’s nuclear arsenal.

A bipartisan amendment would require congressional approval for the use of military funds against Iran. It’s from Democratic Sens. Tom Udall of New Mexico and Tim Kaine of Virginia, though it also has support from Republican Sens. Mike Lee of Utah and Rand Paul of Kentucky.

Kaine argued it would be “strange” to avoid the topic when the president has said he ordered and then aborted a retaliatory military strike on Iran ― with 10 minutes to spare ― because he was concerned about potential casualties.

“If what the president said was right, we were 10 minutes away from being at war,” Kaine said. “It would be really weird to have a discussion on the NDAA and have a kind of gag rule where we couldn’t do anything about Iran.”

Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., pressed McConnell to hold a vote on Udall’s amendment, but after Democratic senators return from the presidential debates set for Wednesday and Thursday in Miami ― to avoid a hasty round trip.

“I hope he will not continue his shameful record of ducking the issues of the day when it comes to something as important as Congress’ role in the matter of war and peace,” Schumer said.

The amendment and the idea of a delay was unpopular with Republicans, particularly Inhofe, who blasted Schumer for suggesting the defense policy bill wait until after the July 4 recess.

“That’s the first time in my memory, and I’ve been around here a lot of years, that I’ve heard somebody admitting that a political consideration would trump ― trump, got it? ― a national security concern,” Inhofe said. “I would oppose that, yes.”

Sen. John Cornyn, R-Texas, a member of McConnell’s leadership team, said it would be better for the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to first take up the Iran amendment. “This doesn’t really belong on the defense authorization bill, it should be a stand-alone,” said Cornyn.

Democrats must weigh whether to try to block the bill if they cannot get a vote on the Iran amendment.

“If McConnell decides to take a stand against any amendments, we’re going to have to take a whip count and see where we are,” said the Senate’s No. 2 Democrat, Sen. Dick Durbin of Illinois.

Senators voted 86-6 to open debate on the defense policy bill. Among the six Democrats who voted “no,” Iran amendment co-sponsor Sen. Jeff Merkley, D-Ore., said the amendment should be granted a vote.

“The drums of war are beating, and this chamber stays silent,” said Merkley, a member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “At this moment, we have a bill before us to address security issues, and yet we are being denied the chance to debate the most important security issue of all: whether or not the United States goes to war.”

 

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Trump says war with Iran 'would not last very long'
Reuters
June 26, 2019
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A pilot speaks to a crew member by an F/A-18 fighter jet on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea. (AP/File)

  • The comments come just days after Trump cancelled air strikes minutes before impact
WASHINGTON/GENEVA: US President Donald Trump said Wednesday he was "not talking boots on the ground" should military action be necessary against Iran, and said any conflict would not last long.

Asked if a war was brewing, Trump told Fox Business Network: "I hope we don't but we're in a very strong position if something should happen."
"I'm not talking boots on the ground," Trump said. "I'm just saying if something would happen, it wouldn't last very long."

The comments come just days after Trump cancelled air strikes minutes before impact, with allies warning that the increase in tensions since the United States pulled out of a nuclear pact with Iran last year could accidentally lead to war.

Iran suggested it was just one day from breaching a threshold in the agreement that limited its stockpile of uranium, a move that would put pressure on European countries that have tried to remain neutral to pick sides.

The fate of the 2015 nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear programme in return for access to international trade, has been at the heart of the dispute which has escalated and taken on a military dimension in recent weeks.

Washington sharply tightened sanctions last month, aiming to bar all international sales of Iranian oil. It accuses Iran of being behind bomb attacks on ships in the Gulf, which it denies.

Last week, Iran shot down a US drone it said was in its air space, which Washington denied. Trump ordered retaliatory air strikes but called them off at the last minute, later saying too many people would have died.

Although the United States and Iran both say they do not want war, last week's aborted US strikes have been followed by menacing rhetoric on both sides. On Tuesday Trump threatened the "obliteration" of parts of Iran if it struck US interests. President Hassan Rouhani, who normally presents Tehran's mild-mannered face, called White House policy "mentally retarded".

The standoff creates a challenge for Washington which, after quitting the nuclear deal against the advice of European allies, is now seeking their support to force Iran to comply with it.

Over the past few weeks Iran has set a number of deadlines for European countries to protect its economy from the impact of US sanctions or see Tehran reduce compliance with the deal.

A spokesman for Iran's Atomic Energy Organisation said on Wednesday that one of those deadlines would expire the following day, with Iran potentially exceeding a limit imposed under the deal to keep its stockpile of enriched uranium below 300kg.
"The deadline of the Atomic Energy Organization for passing the production of enriched uranium from the 300 kg limit will end tomorrow," the IRIB news agency quoted spokesman Behrouz Kamalvindi as saying. He added that after the deadline Iran would speed up its rate of producing the material.

Another threshold bars Iran from enriching uranium to a purity beyond 3.67 percent fissile material. It has set a deadline of July 7 after which it could also breach that.

Any such moves would put European countries that oppose Trump's tactics under pressure to take action. They have tried to salvage the nuclear deal by promising to provide Tehran with economic benefits to offset the harm from U.S. sanctions. But so far they have failed, with Iran largely shut from oil markets and all major European companies cancelling plans to invest.

Iran says it would be Washington's fault if it exceeds the 300 kg stockpile threshold. The 2015 deal allows Iran to sell excess uranium abroad to keep its stockpile below the limit, but such sales have been blocked by U.S. sanctions.

The Trump administration says the deal reached under his predecessor Barack Obama was too weak because it is not permanent and does not cover issues outside of the nuclear area, such as Iran's missile programme and its regional behaviour.

Meanwhile, the UAE Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan said Wednesday that clear and convincing evidence was needed to apportion blame for attacks last month on four oil tankers off its coast, and that tensions in the region needed to be dialled down.

The UAE also did not want "more turbulence and ... more worries" in the region, he told a news conference in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov.

 

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Iran ‘never seeks war’ with US: Rouhani
AFP
June 26, 2019

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President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran ‘never seeks war’ during a phone conversation with his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

  • ‘Iran has no interest to increase tension in the region and it never seeks war with any country, including (the) US’
TEHRAN: President Hassan Rouhani said Iran “never seeks war” with the US, state media reported Wednesday amid a spike in tensions between the two countries.

“Iran has no interest to increase tension in the region and it never seeks war with any country, including (the) US,” the president said, quoted by state news agency IRNA.

Rouhani was speaking by phone to his French counterpart Emmanuel Macron, as Tehran and Washington engaged in an escalating war of words following Iran shooting down a US drone last week.

“We have always been committed to regional peace and stability and will make efforts in this respect,” the Iranian president told Macron.

US President Donald Trump said he pulled back from retaliatory strikes on Iran at the last minute, rejecting Tehran’s claim that the aircraft was in its airspace.

But pressure mounted this week with Trump announcing sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader and top officials.

The new measures are the latest against Tehran since Trump pulled out of a landmark nuclear accord between Iran and world powers.

Rouhani blamed the United States for regional tensions Wednesday and said if Washington had stuck to the deal “we would have witnessed positive developments in the region.”

Iran announced in May it would suspend two of its pledges under the 2015 deal, giving the agreement’s remaining supporters two months to help it circumvent US sanctions.

On Tuesday Tehran’s top security official said Iran would “forcefully” reduce further commitments from July 7.

 

Khafee

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Trump says 'not talking boots on the ground' if action taken against Iran
June 26, 2019

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U.S. President Donald Trump talks about the United States imposing fresh sanctions on Iran before signing an executive order in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., June 24, 2019. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

WASHINGTON/GENEVA (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he was “not talking boots on the ground” should military action be necessary against Iran, and said any conflict would not last long.

Asked if a war was brewing, Trump told Fox Business Network: “I hope we don’t but we’re in a very strong position if something should happen.”

“I’m not talking boots on the ground,” Trump said. “I’m just saying if something would happen, it wouldn’t last very long.”

The comments come just days after Trump canceled air strikes minutes before impact, with allies warning that the increase in tensions since the United States pulled out of a nuclear pact with Iran last year could accidentally lead to war.

Iran suggested it was just one day from breaching a threshold in the agreement that limited its stockpile of uranium, a move that would put pressure on European countries that have tried to remain neutral to pick sides.

The fate of the 2015 nuclear deal, under which Iran agreed to curbs on its nuclear program in return for access to international trade, has been at the heart of the dispute which has escalated and taken on a military dimension in recent weeks.

Washington sharply tightened sanctions last month, aiming to bar all international sales of Iranian oil. It accuses Iran of being behind bomb attacks on ships in the Gulf, which it denies.

Last week, Iran shot down a U.S. drone it said was in its air space, which Washington denied. Trump ordered retaliatory air strikes but called them off at the last minute, later saying too many people would have died.

OBLITERATION

Although the United States and Iran both say they do not want war, last week’s aborted U.S. strikes have been followed by menacing rhetoric on both sides. On Tuesday Trump threatened the “obliteration” of parts of Iran if it struck U.S. interests. President Hassan Rouhani, who normally presents Tehran’s mild-mannered face, called White House policy “mentally retarded”.

The standoff creates a challenge for Washington which, after quitting the nuclear deal against the advice of European allies, is now seeking their support to force Iran to comply with it.

Over the past few weeks Iran has set a number of deadlines for European countries to protect its economy from the impact of U.S. sanctions or see Tehran reduce compliance with the deal.

A spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organisation said on Wednesday that one of those deadlines would expire the following day, with Iran potentially exceeding a limit imposed under the deal to keep its stockpile of enriched uranium below 300 kg.

“The deadline of the Atomic Energy Organization for passing the production of enriched uranium from the 300 kg limit will end tomorrow,” the IRIB news agency quoted spokesman Behrouz Kamalvindi as saying. He added that after the deadline Iran would speed up its rate of producing the material.

Another threshold bars Iran from enriching uranium to a purity beyond 3.67 percent fissile material. It has set a deadline of July 7 after which it could also breach that.

Any such moves would put European countries that oppose Trump’s tactics under pressure to take action. They have tried to salvage the nuclear deal by promising to provide Tehran with economic benefits to offset the harm from U.S. sanctions. But so far they have failed, with Iran largely shut from oil markets and all major European companies cancelling plans to invest.

The U.N. political affairs chief, Rosemary DiCarlo, told the Security Council on Wednesday that implementation of the nuclear deal could be hindered both by the U.S. moves to bar countries from buying Iranian oil and by Iran’s announcement that it would reduce compliance.

Iran says it would be Washington’s fault if it exceeds the 300 kg stockpile threshold. The 2015 deal allows Iran to sell excess uranium abroad to keep its stockpile below the limit, but such sales have been blocked by U.S. sanctions.

The Trump administration says the deal reached under his predecessor Barack Obama was too weak because it is not permanent and does not cover issues outside of the nuclear area, such as Iran’s missile program and its regional behavior.

U.S. officials say new sanctions are necessary to force Iran back to the negotiating table, and Trump is open to talks without pre-conditions. Iran says talks are impossible unless Washington lifts sanctions first.

Tehran said a further move by Washington this week to impose personal sanctions on Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and threaten them against Foreign Minister Mohmmad Javad Zarif had closed off diplomacy permanently.

Writing by Peter Graff; Editing by Jon Boyle

 

Scorpion

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40 years of these sanctions you support have harmed Iranian people but didn't bring revolution, but keep going, who needs evidence!
Because there is no alternative.
 

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