Don't open 'Pandora's Box' in Middle East, China warns

Saturday, 22 Jun, 2019

The standoff drew a call for caution from China.

We call on all sides to remain rational and exercise restraint, and not take any escalatory actions that irritate regional tensions, and not open a Pandora's Box.

Russian Federation urged restraint on all sides. "Those facing us are a group of politicians with little experience".

But he said Iran did not seek conflict.

Stating that, "The United States could not push Iran into isolation, and instead, it became isolated itself", he said, "Negotiation with those who continue their pressure on the Iranian nation means nothing but surrendering". "Despite all of the Americans' efforts in the region and their desire to cut off our ties with all of the world and their desire to keep Iran secluded, they have been unsuccessful".

On a visit Tuesday to U.S. Central Command in Florida, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he was confident the taking the necessary steps to confront any challenge from Iran.

In May, the United States said it will deploy 1,500 "mostly protective" troops in the Middle East, although US President Donald Trump and his administration "don't think they [Iran] want to fight with us".This decision followed a US accusation that Iran carried out attacks against tankers in Fujairah.

Iran is seen by both China and Russian Federation as a key geopolitical ally in the region as it looks to effectively counter USA hegemony in the Middle East.

Iran has threatened to go even further in scaling down nuclear commitments by July 8 unless remaining partners to the deal - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation - help it circumvent U.S. sanctions and especially enable it to sell its oil.

"The countdown to pass the 300 kilogrammes reserve of enriched uranium has started and in 10 days time we will pass this limit", Iran's atomic energy organisation spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi had said on Monday at a press conference broadcast live.

European leaders have urged Iran to stick to the deal, which set a limit on the number of uranium-enriching centrifuges, and restricted the country's right to enrich uranium to no higher than 3.67 percent, well below weapons-grade levels of around 90 percent.

In May, Tehran said it would begin enriching uranium at a greater level unless the world powers secured Iranian economy from rising United States threats and sanctions within 60 days, with given July 8 as a deadline.

"Iran's reserves are every day increasing at a more rapid rate", he told state TV, adding that "the move will be reversed once other parties fulfil their commitments".

It must, however, be acknowledged that the JCPOA has never been popular with Iranian hardliners, and the domestic success of President Hassan Rouhani's diplomatic engagement was always contingent on a steady flow of economic benefits.

The nuclear deal seeks to head off any pathway to an Iranian nuclear bomb in return for the removal of most worldwide sanctions.

It said it would breach a limit agreed with global powers on its enriched uranium stockpiles by 27 June.

Other photos show a large hole on the side of the Courageous, above the water line, that officials say appears to have been caused by another similar mine. Standing firm, Rouhani says his nation will be able to withstand the biting USA economic sanctions that are crippling its economy.

Soon after that statement and following as-yet-unexplained allegations of potential Iranian attacks on American targets in the region, President Trump ordered the deployment of an aircraft carrier strike force to the region.

What do we know about the extra troops?

Iran has denied involvement in the tanker attacks and has accused America of promoting an "Iranophobic" campaign.