- US. officials pointing their finger at the elite Iranian military forces for the sabotage attacks on oil tankers near the Persian Gulf.
- One week after claiming Iranian "preparations for possible attacks" on US forces in the region, the United States has ordered most government departments staff from nearby Iraq.
- US and Iranian officials insist that no one wants war and President Trump has denied plans to send 120,000 troops to the region.
- US military has refuted a leading British commander's assessment that there has been "no increased threat to Iranian-led forces in Iraq and Syria."
US officials have said they believe Iranian combat divers were behindover the weekend and they told CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin, there is still no sign Iran supports allegedly planning to attack Americans in the region.
On Wednesday, the State Department ordered all non-emergency personnel and their families to leave Iraq, a nation on Iran's southern border, where the Iranian government behind various militia groups that have beaten US troops before
"American citizens in Iraq are at high risk of violence and Many terrorist and insurgent groups are active in Iraq and regularly attack both Iraqi security forces and civilians. Anti-US sectarian militias may also threaten US citizens and Western companies throughout Iraq, said the State Department of its advisory team.
Secretary Mike Pompeo renewed the Trump administration's warning on Tuesday that the United States would oppose Iran if it attacks US interests in the Middle East, but he refused to blame the tanker abuses of Tehran.
He said he had nothing "concrete about the connection" between Tehran and the thought attacks and added: "I think the next few hours and days we will knowing the answer to that. "
On a Tuesday night campaign experience, President Trump emphasized what became one of the hallmarks of his hard foreign policy and told supporters that his administration was" keeping dangerous regimes accountable by denying them oil revenues to fund their corruption , oppression and terror. "
But as Martin reports, while the US has laid a string on Iran's economy, the country is still dangerous.
US. officials told Martin it was most likely that Iran's Islamic revolutionary guards were responsible for Sunday's attacks blowing holes in the hulls of Saudi and Norwegian tankers anchored from the Emirate of Fujairah, just outside the Persian Gulf.
Iranian combat divers are believed to have attached explosives to the ships' hulls, but a defense chief informed CBS News that further investigation was still needed.
Trump sends troops to Iran?
Mr. However, Trump dismissed a New York Times report stating that the administration was planning to send 120,000 US troops to the region to counter Iran. The United States has already sent an aircraft holding group and four B-52 bombers to the Gulf of Persia.
President Trump's denial of the Times report came up with an approach: "Should I do that? Absolutely," he said as he left the White House on Tuesday. "We have not planned for it … and if we did, we would send a hell of a lot more troops that".
On Capitol Hill, Democratic Senator Tim Kaine blasted the President's thinking.
"It would be idiotic. It would be unconstitutional. This is no way that this president would make us a war on Iran," says Kaine.
Iran escalates nuclear weapons
Iran has been very denied to be involved in the attacks on oil tankers and accused President Trump of playing a "very dangerous game that is at risk of devastating war".
But on Wednesday, Iran's top leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said: "It will not be a war. We are also not seeking war, nor is it their advantage to go after war. They know this. We never start war and have never started any war. This is a confrontation of willpower and our willpower is stronger than theirs. "
He excludes any negotiations with the current US administration, so Iran's revolutionary guard regulates negotiations with the United States
But while playing the possibility of a conflict with the United States, the Ayatollah also fell loose loathing threat that Iran could take – within a few months – it would almost certainly draw a significant US response.
Iran announced a week ago that in response to President Trump pulling the US out of the nuclear deal agreed in 2015 with world powers, it would partially withdraw from the terms of the agreement as well.
The Iranian regime said that if the other parties to the agreementcould not figure out a way to work on new US sanctions to continue doing business with Tehran within 60 days, it resumes enriching uranium to levels that are hindered during the contract.
Iran is permitted according to The terms of the nuclear power to enrich uranium to just under 4% concentration – a level where it can be used for medical and scientific purposes. [TheregimesaidthatifnoagreementwasreachedwithEuropeRussiaandtheChinesetoholdthe2015agreementinplayresumeenrichmentofuraniumto20%-whichofficialsinthecountryhavesaidcanbedonewithinfourdaysThatbenchmarkisimportantinthatonceuraniumisrefinedto20%itbecomesmucheasiertoenrichitto90%neededforweapons
On Wednesday, Ayatollah said that "achieving 20% enrichment is the hardest part. Steps are easier than this step." It was the first hint of the Iranian regime that it could try to get the high-level uranium needed for an atomic bomb – but Iranian officials have always denied interest in acquiring one.
Both the United States and Israel have made clear that they do not allow the Islamic Republic to obtain a nuclear capability.
U.S. and allies on the same side?
There have been signs of frustration from European Allies over the Trump administration's decision not only to drill on the nuclear agreement but to mount the new pressure on the Iranian regime.
The Trump administration and US military officials said just over a week ago that they had discovered "a number of preparations for possible attacks" on US forces at sea and on land in the Middle East.
The United States has about 5,000 soldiers left in Iraq, on Iran's border, and while the State Department on Wednesday orders non-emergency personnel to leave the country not specifically mention a threat from Iran, that was the implication.
Again without explicitly quoting Iran, a spokesman at the US Embassy in Iraq told CBS News on Wednesday that Pompeo ordered the non-emergency US staff out of the country because "these threats are serious".
On Tuesday, however, a British deputy commander of the US-led military operation in Iraq opposed the opposition to a heightened threat to allied forces in the region.
"There has been no increased threat to Iranian-led forces in Iraq and Syria," said Maj Gen Christopher Ghika in a video briefing from Baghdad to the Pentagon, according to The Guardian. "We are aware of the presence, clearly. And we are monitoring them along with a lot of others because it is the environment we are in. We monitor Shia militia groups that I think you are referring to carefully, and if threat levels appear to rise, then we increase our security measures accordingly. "
But the US military's central command, which monitors Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR) in Iraq and all other US operations in the region, directly opposed Gika's statement later on Tuesday.
" The latest comments from OIR's Deputy Commander against the identified credible threats available for intelligence from the United States and allies regarding Iranian-backed forces in the region, said Central Commander-in-Chief Capt. Bill Urban in the statement
Meanwhile, Germany's military informed about its training operations in Iraq on Wednesday, but said it had no information on increased threats to German troops in the country from Iran.
D Efense's ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff quoted increased regional tensions as he confirmed the German military temporarily suspended training of Iraqi forces, "orientated towards our partner countries" but adding was "no concrete warnings of attacks against German targets".