United States/Iran: Increased tensions between both countries raise concerns for the worst.

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The already strained relations between Washington and Tehran have deteriorated significantly in the past week.
Washington has put pressure on Tehran in recent days and increased its military presence in the Gulf, in the face of threats of “imminent” attacks against its interests in the region attributed to Iran.
For its part, Iran promises a “American-Zionist defeat”.
“The proud nation of the Islamic Republic of Iran will emerge from this difficult period with its head held high, as it has done in each of the previous tests, relying on the determination and resolve of the people, the power of its armed forces and the efforts and support of the government,” said Iranian Brigadier General Amir Hatami. All this will lead “the American-Zionist front to experience the bitter taste of defeat,” the general added, quoted by Isna.
And in response to the unilateral withdrawal announced a year ago by the United States from the 2015 Iranian international nuclear agreement, Tehran reported on May 8 that it had suspended some of its commitments under the agreement.
Faced with this escalation, which worries Europeans and Russians in particular, who are in favour of maintaining the Iranian nuclear agreement, the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic, Ali Khamenei, said on Tuesday that there would be “no war” with the United States. “Neither we nor they are looking for war, they know it would not be in their interest,” he said.
Nevertheless, several worrying events have taken place in recent days: Attack on four ships, including two Saudi tankers”, off the coast of the Emirate of Fujairah, followed the next day by an attack by armed drones on Iran’s allies, the Houthis, on pumping stations 8 and 9 of the Saudi east-west pipeline.
Riyadh believes that the recent attacks threaten crude oil supplies
The Saudi government has said that recent “terrorist” attacks on ships and oil installations threaten not only the kingdom, but also “security of supply” in crude oil and “the global economy”, according to a statement issued on Wednesday.
UAV attacks claimed by Yemeni Houthi rebels led to the closure of a major oil pipeline on Tuesday in Saudi Arabia, raising tensions in the Gulf two days after the mysterious sabotage of four ships near the United Arab Emirates.
Meeting late Tuesday evening in Jeddah (western Saudi Arabia) under the chairmanship of King Salmane, the Saudi government affirmed “the importance of addressing terrorist entities that commit such acts of sabotage, including Iran-supported Houthi militiamen in Yemen,” said Media Minister Turki Al-Shabanah in the statement.
The minister said the cabinet had reiterated the kingdom’s denunciation of “subversive acts” against civilian commercial ships on Sunday, including two Saudi tankers, near the waters of the United Arab Emirates. This “constitutes a flagrant threat to the security of maritime traffic” and has “negative consequences for regional and international peace and security”, he added.
Mr. Shabanah also recalled “the common responsibility of the international community to preserve the safety of maritime navigation and the safety of oil tankers to avoid negative impacts” on energy markets and risks to the global economy.
If Iran cannot sell its oil, no one will be able to sell, had threatened Tehran
It should be recalled that the United States organized an international boycott of Iranian oil supplies, which led Tehran to threaten to prevent any oil supplies from the Middle East if Washington persisted in its intention to prevent Iranian hydrocarbon supplies.
Washington orders its non-essential diplomatic staff to leave Baghdad, Erbil
Washington accuses the Islamic Republic of preparing “attacks” against American interests in the Middle East.
To address this credible threat, the US State Department on Wednesday ordered its non-essential diplomatic staff to leave the Baghdad Embassy and Consulate in Erbil (north).
According to a security alert posted on its site, the State Department explains that it ordered non-essential U.S. government personnel from the embassy in Baghdad and the consulate in Erbil to leave.
“The usual visa services in both posts are temporarily suspended,” the notice adds. “The U.S. government has limited capacity to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in Iraq,” he said.
The State Department also warns in a notice advising travellers against travelling to Iraq that “many terrorist and rebel groups are active in Iraq and regularly attack both Iraqi security forces and civilians”. “Anti-American religious militias can also threaten American citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq.
Washington closed its consulate in Basra at the end of September citing “threats” from Iran after deadly demonstrations in the southern Iraqi city. US diplomacy chief Mike Pompeo had referred to “repeated incidents of indirect fire” and blamed Iran-controlled militias.
Last week, Mr. Pompeo made a surprise visit to Baghdad, after cancelling a planned visit to Berlin at the last minute on the grounds of “urgent issues to be resolved.
“The reason we are going” to Baghdad “is the information that indicates an escalation of Iran’s activities,” Mike Pompeo told reporters accompanying him on his trip to the Iraqi capital, where he met Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi and President Barham Saleh.
At the end of his visit, he said he had received “assurance” from Iraqi leaders that they “understood that it was their responsibility” to “adequately protect Americans in their country”.
Last week, the Pentagon announced the dispatch of a warship and a Patriot missile battery to the region, in addition to the deployment of the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and B-52 bombers.
He justified this deployment with “clear signals that Iranian forces and their affiliates are preparing for a possible attack on US forces”.
According to the New York Times, Acting U.S. Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan presented Trump’s advisers with a plan that up to 120,000 men could be sent to the Middle East if Iran attacked American forces.
On Tuesday, Mr. Pompeo refuted any desire for war with Iran on the part of the United States.
The Kremlin very concerned about the “escalation of tensions” despite Pompeo’s assurances
The Kremlin on Wednesday expressed concern about the continuing “escalation of tensions” around Iran despite statements by US diplomacy chief Mike Pompeo assuring Russia that he did not want a war with Tehran.
“For the time being, we see that tensions on this issue continue to escalate,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitri Peskov told reporters, accusing the United States of “provoking” Iran.
“Basically, we are not looking for a war with Iran,” Pompeo said Tuesday evening during a press conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov in Sochi (southwest Russia), before meeting Vladimir Putin.
“It is difficult to talk about any assurances: there is an obvious situation which is the tendency for further escalation,” Peskov reacted.
The latter added “to see with regret the decisions taken by Iran”, while saying “to understand that Iran does not take these decisions voluntarily but in response to pressure”: “And it is precisely the actions of the United States that provoke Iran”.
Germany and the Netherlands suspend their training of Iraqi armed forces
Due to the risks associated with tensions between Iran and the United States and the possible spillover of the conflict into the countries of the region, Germany and the Netherlands have decided to suspend their military formations in Iraq.
“The Bundeswehr has suspended its formation,” German Defence Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff told reporters in response to a question about Germany’s attitude in Iraq regarding tensions with Iran in the region. He spoke of “increased vigilance” by the German army in the country, without excluding that the exercises conducted by the instructors could resume “in the next few days” if the situation allows it.
The Netherlands has announced a similar decision. The Dutch Ministry of Defence, quoted by the ANP news agency, spoke of “threats” to justify this decision.
The Bundeswehr currently deploys about 160 of its instructors to Iraq, northern Baghdad and Erbil in Iraqi Kurdistan, the latter in support of peshmergas (Kurdish fighters). For its part, the Netherlands has 50 military instructors also in Erbil as part of the International Coalition against the Islamic State (IC), as well as two military advisors and four civilian experts as part of a NATO support mission in Baghdad.