US B-52 bombers land in Qatar over unspecified Iran threat

Saul Bowman
Мая 12, 2019

The US says the moves are in response to a possible threat to American forces in the region by Iran, did not offer any details.

The United States, which backed out of the 2015 nuclear deal under President Donald Trump, has effectively ordered countries worldwide to stop buying Iranian oil or face U.S. sanctions, which Washington says are aimed at completely choking off Iranian crude exports.

US President Donald Trump on Thursday urged Iran's leadership to sit down and talk with him about giving up their nuclear program and said he could not rule out a military confrontation given the heightened tensions.

The USS Abraham Lincoln passed through the Suez Canal this week, US Central Command said.

Iran has repeatedly threatened to retaliate against the United States measures by blocking the Strait of Hormuz - though which about a fifth of all oil consumed globally passes.

Iran dismissed the deployment of the Lincoln as old news, but followed it with an announcement that it would suspend some of its commitments under the landmark 2015 nuclear deal with major powers abandoned by Washington a year ago.

And this week, the U.S. Navy amphibious assault ship Kearsarge and the 22nd Marine Expeditionary Unit transited the Strait of Hormuz, which is a key waterway that feeds into the Persian Gulf, separating Iran and Saudi Arabia. The deployment announced Friday was part of the same request for forces from U.S. Central Command as the previously announced deployments, the Pentagon said.

Iran has dismissed the USA contention of a threat as "fake intelligence".

What has the United States said?

Washington has imposed a series of sanctions on Iranian oil and metal exports to increase pressure on Tehran to give up what it calls "malign" activities, such as attempting to develop nuclear weapons and financing militant activity in the region.

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The missiles have networked remote sensors that provide early warning data to increase probability of a successful hit and are now deployed in multiple locations around the world, including Germany, Japan, South Korea, and the Middle East.

The officials also noted growing concerns about the threat from Iran-backed Shi'ite militia in Iraq, which have long avoided any confrontation with U.S. troops under the shared goal of defeating Islamic State, a Sunni militant organization.

The BBC quoted a senior Iranian cleric Yousef Tabatabai-Nejad as saying the USA military fleet could be "destroyed with one missile".

Vice-Admiral Jim Malloy, commander of the USA navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet, told Reuters on Thursday its forces were on a heightened state of readiness, although the US military was not seeking or preparing for war with Iran.

Rhetoric has grown heated on both sides. The European Union on Thursday urged Iran to respect the worldwide agreement curbing the Islamic Republic's nuclear ambitions, and added that the bloc aims to continue trading with the country despite U.S. sanctions.

Thousands of Iranians took part in marches on Friday to support the government's decision to reduce limits on its nuclear programme.

Earlier this week Iran announced that it had suspended two commitments under the 2015 accord in response to the economic sanctions the United States had reimposed.

European powers said they remained committed to the Iran nuclear deal but they "reject any ultimatums" from Tehran to prevent its collapse.

State television showed the protesters marching after Friday prayers in Tehran and said similar marches were held across the country.

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