Trump Threatens Iran in Tweet as Tension Between Two Countries Escalate

Wednesday, 22 May, 2019

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected holding talks with the USA to end the standoff between the two countries even though President Trump said he'd be willing to negotiate if they called.

However, the nuclear deal had kept Iran from being able to acquire enough highly enriched uranium for a bomb.

Iran could soon exceed the amount of material it is allowed to stockpile under the deal. It is also well below the 20 per cent level to which Iran enriched uranium before the deal.

According to former United States officials and analysts, Trump's hawkish national security adviser John Bolton is pushing the Trump administration to take a hardline position on Iran.

Last week, the U.S. evacuated all non-emergency diplomatic staff from their Baghdad embassy and the Erbil consulate, and also put its troops in Iran and Syria on high alert. No one was reported injured. Iraqi military spokesman Brig.

Zarif's tweet said Trump is being "goaded by B Team", a term he coined to refer to Bolton as well as Israel's prime minister and the crown princes of Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates, who are all pushing a hard line on Tehran.

The Iranian enrichment announcement came after local journalists travelled to Natanz in central Iran, the country's underground enrichment facility. There, an unidentified nuclear scientist gave a statement with a surgical cap and a mask covering most of his face. Predictably, Iran has threatened to increase its nuclear activity in response.

Defense officials said no additional Iranian threats or incidents had emerged in the days since the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier battle group arrived in the Arabian Sea late last week.

Iran has made huge geopolitical gains in the Middle East since the US inadvertently pushed Shiite-majority Iraq into the Iranian sphere of influence... The IAEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment Monday.

"We did not believe our nuclear program, our nuclear energy program, required us to provide any concessions or provide any confidence-building measures", Zarif said.

Leading Iraqi Shia figures with close ties to Iran warned on Monday against attempts to pull their country into a war between the U.S. and Tehran.

His comments came as two USA government sources said the United States strongly suspects Shi'ite militias with ties to, and possibly encouragement from, Iran fired a rocket on Sunday into Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.

"If they call we will certainly negotiate, but that is going to be up to them", he told reporters.

"I hope they're tamping down (the rhetoric). Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won't "end Iran", Zarif wrote on Twitter. Mr Zarif referenced both Alexander the Great and Genghis Khan as two historical leaders that Persia outlasted. He added, "Try respect-it works".

The U.S. has sent an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf region and evacuated non-essential personnel from Iraq amid unspecified threats the administration says are linked to Iran. The crisis is rooted in President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the nuclear accord previous year and impose sweeping USA sanctions on Iran.

In an interview on Sunday with Fox News, Trump said, "I don't want to fight".

Whatever we can get you in the negotiations to the deal is fine. "Never threaten the United States again!"

Trump previous year pulled out of a multinational agreement negotiated under his predecessor Barack Obama under which Tehran drastically scaled back its nuclear work in return for promises of sanctions relief.

In Saudi Arabia, the kingdom's military intercepted two missiles fired by the Houthi rebels in neighboring Yemen. The Saudi Embassy in Washington later confirmed the interceptions. The Saudi government has yet to acknowledge the missile fire, which other Saudi media also reported.

Between the two cities is Mecca, home to the cube-shaped Kaaba that Muslims pray toward five times a day.