The U.S. military presence in the Middle East is at its “weakest in history”, a deputy commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards was on Sunday quoted by the semi-official news agency Fars as saying.
U.S. President Donald Trump has tightened economic sanctions against Iran, and his administration says it has built up the U.S. military presence in the region.
It accuses Iran of threats to U.S. troops and interests. Tehran has described U.S. moves as “psychological warfare” and a “political game”.
“The Americans have been present in the region since 1833 and they are now at their weakest in history in West Asia,” said Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, a deputy Guards commander, according to Fars.
Pakistan PM warns against war in region amid Iran tensions with US, Saudi
Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan warned against the risk of conflict in the region, following a visit to Islamabad by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif as tensions between Washington and Tehran escalated.Strains have increased between Iran and the United States, which is a firm backer of Tehran's regional rival Saudi Arabia, in the wake of this month's attack on oil tankers in the Gulf region that Washington has blamed on Iran.Tehran has distanced itself from the bombings, but the United States has sent a aircraft carrier and an extra 1,500 troops to the Gulf, sparking concerns about the risks of conflict in a volatile region.Khan, who has been seeking to improve Pakistan's strained relations with neighbour Iran, said he was concerned about the "rising tensions in the Gulf", but did not specifically name the United States or Saudi Arabia."He underscored that war was not a solution to any problem," Khan's office said in a statement late on Friday, citing the premier."Further escalation in tensions in the already volatile region was not in anyone's interest. All sides needed to exercise maximum restraint in the current situation."Washington has been seeking to increasingly tighten sanctions against Iran, as relations continue to worsen under President Donald Trump.At the end of the two-day visit to Pakistan, Zarif told Iranian state-run newswire IRNA that U.S. allegations against Tehran were increasing tensions."These actions are also a threat to global peace and stability," he said.Earlier this month, four tankers, including two belonging to Saudi Arabia, were bombed near the United Arab Emirates' Fujairah emirate, one of the world's largest bunkering hubs, located just outside the Strait of Hormuz.Washington has accused Iran's Revolutionary Guards of carrying out the attacks, and the Trump administration has declared a national security-related emergency that would clear the sale of billions of dollars' worth of weapons to Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and other countries, bypassing congressional approval.Pakistan's relations with Iran have also been strained in recent months, with both sides accusing each other of not doing enough to stamp out militants allegedly sheltering across the border.
Iran will see ‘end of Trump’: Foreign minister
Iran will “see the end” of U.S. President Donald Trump, but Trump will “never see the end of Iran”, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Friday amid an ongoing war of words between Tehran and the Trump administration.Speaking from Pakistani capital Islamabad, Zarif slammed the U.S. president for a recent tweet in which the latter accused Iran of supporting terrorist groups.“Donald Trump is the real terrorist,” Zarif said. “He is responsible for waging economic terrorism against Iran.”In a Sunday tweet, the U.S. president also said that if Iran wanted to fight, it would be the “end of Iran”.Zarif responded to the threat by saying: “We will see the end of Trump, but he will never see the end of Iran.”Tensions between the two countries have mounted steadily since Trump unilaterally withdrew the U.S. from a landmark nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5 1 group of nations (the five permanent UN Security Council members plus Germany).The Trump administration has also re-imposed sanctions on Iran’s banking and energy sectors, while Iran has threatened to close the strategic Strait of Hormuz to U.S. oil shipments.
Retired generals, diplomats warn Trump against Iran war
A consortium consisting of retired American admirals, generals, ambassadors and senior government executives expressed deep concern Friday over the current escalation with Iran."A war with Iran, either by choice or miscalculation, would produce dramatic repercussions in an already destabilized Middle East," said the group in a letter addressed to U.S. President Donald Trump.Signed by 76 people, the letter was published Friday by the War on the Rocks website.It came hours before Trump's announcement that 1,500 additional U.S. troops will be sent to the Middle East amid heightened tensions between Tehran and Washington.A war would "drag the United States into another armed conflict at immense financial, human and geopolitical cost", the letter warned.It said lack of direct communication between the two countries' political and military leaders only increases the possibility of a miscalculation resulting in unintended military conflict.The signatories urged Trump to immediately reduce the dangerous levels of regional tension. "Crisis de-escalation measures should be established with the Iranian leadership at the senior levels of government as a prelude to exploratory diplomacy on matters of mutual concern," they wrote.Earlier this month, the U.S. sent a carrier strike group and bomber task force to the Middle East, citing a "credible threat" from Tehran.The Trump administration has also designated the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a branch of Iran's armed forces, as a terrorist group. In response, Iran designated U.S. Central Command as a terrorist group, creating the potential for a clash between the two sides in the Middle East.