Trump Threatens 'Official End of Iran' After Baghdad Rocket Incident

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard speaks about the formation of the Congressional Servicewomen and Women Veterans Caucus on Capitol Hill in Washington U.S

Asked on Thursday if the US might be on a path to war with Iran, the president answered, "I hope not".

Fears of armed conflict were already running high after the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region earlier this month to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran.

In a separate development, a recent report by The New York Times argued that it is Bolton who is behind the creation of a plan, allegedly presented by acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan earlier this month, to deploy 120,000 United States troops to the Middle East if Iran starts developing nuclear weapons.

"We are concerned about the rising rhetoric", said United Nations spokesman Stephane Dujarric, who cited the firing of a rocket on Sunday, which struck a Baghdad area that houses foreign embassies including that of the U.S., as being "also a concern". Iran denied their involvement in the attack.

He wrote that Trump "hopes to achieve what Alexander (the Great), Genghis (Khan) & other aggressors failed to do", adding: "Iranians have stood tall for a millennia while aggressors all gone".

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's comments came after US President Donald Trump warned Iran early on Monday not to threaten the US interests or it'll face its "official end". "While Trump's dueling approach of flattery and threats has become a hallmark of his foreign policy, the risks have only grown in dealing with Iran, where mistrust between Tehran and Washington stretch back four decades", adds the author.

Iraq hosts more than 5,000 USA troops, and is home to powerful Iranian-backed militias which largely operate under the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) umbrella, some of whom want foreign forces to leave.

The UK Foreign Secretary urged Iran not to provoke the USA in a statement on Monday.

OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers have production cuts in place, but the group of exporters is not expected to make its decision on output until late June, when they meet again in Vienna. While both Washington and Tehran say they don't seek war, many worry any miscalculation could spiral out of control.

May 14: Yemen's Iran-aligned Houthi rebels launch a drone attack on Saudi Arabia, striking a major oil pipeline and taking it out of service.

More news: Democratic Presidential hopeful Buttigieg draws crowd for Fox town hall

Quoting an official at the Natanz enrichment plant, the semi-official Tasnim said Iran was accelerating the rate of production at which it refines uranium to 3.67% fissile purity, suitable for civilian nuclear power generation.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi had been asking the administration for a briefing for all lawmakers on the situation in Iran, but she said the request was initially rebuffed. Gen. Yahya Rasoul told The Associated Press that the rocket was believed to have been fired from eastern Baghdad.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday the "genocidal taunts" of US President Donald Trump will not "end Iran", as tensions spike between the two countries.

Tensions between Washington and its Sunni Muslim Gulf Arab allies on one side and Tehran and its Shi'ite Muslim proxies in the region on the other have been flaring for weeks.

Last year, prior to bringing Bolton into the administration as one of his top advisers, Trump withdrew the USA from the Iran nuclear deal.

Graham, an enthusiastic supporter of United States military interventions, said that Trump should "stand firm".

A Norwegian insurers' report seen by Reuters said Iran's Revolutionary Guards were "highly likely" to have facilitated the attack on vessels near the UAE's Fujairah emirate, the main bunkering hub lying just outside the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran's foreign minister downplayed the prospect of a new war in the region on Saturday, saying Tehran opposed it and no party was under the "illusion" the Islamic republic could be confronted. "The ball is in Iran's court".

Saudi Arabia and Shi'ite Iran are arch-adversaries in the Middle East, backing opposite sides in several regional wars.

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