U.S. pulls nonessential staff from Iraq amid Mideast tensions

The article lauds Saudi Arabia's long-held anti-Iran stance insisting that "Riyadh has constantly warned world leaders of the dangers that Iran poses" and that former President Barack Obama, who led the Europeans, Russia and China to sign the 2015 nuclear treaty, did not realise this fact.

Saudi Arabia's deputy defence minister, Khalid bin Salman, on May 16 accused Iran of ordering drone attacks on two of its oil pumping stations that were claimed by Yemen's Huthi rebels.

The Saudi-led coalition acknowledged in a statement it had struck a number of Houthi targets on Thursday, including what it said were weapons depots and military sites.

According to the Houthi-owned Almasirah news outlet, Thursday's air strikes on Sanaa killed six people, including four children, and wounded 52 others.

"The attack by the Iranian-backed Houthi militias against the two Aramco pumping stations proves that these militias are merely a tool that Iran's regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda in the region, and not to protect the people of Yemen as the Houthis falsely claim". A hot war, however, between the USA and Iran could be an entirely different matter.

Qatar hosts the forward headquarters of the USA military's Central Command at its vast Al-Udeid Air Base.

Washington says it has received intelligence on possible attacks by Iranian or Iranian-backed forces, possibly targeting U.S. bases in Iraq or Syria.

"On Iran, it doesn't really help to hear Foreign Minister Zarif trying to offer a moderate voice with regards to Iran's intentions", Gargash said.

"We will actually with our partners also be deliberate in considering our response, what to do about it, how to deal with it", he said, adding the United States and France were helping with the probe.

Officials are still trying to determine who was behind the attacks and how they were carried out - but the incident comes after the USA warned ships that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the region.

Tensions have been rising in the Gulf since the U.S. stopped granting waivers to buyers of Iranian oil and slapped crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic after President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. The U.S. Consulate in Basra has been closed since September following a rocket attack blamed on Iranian-backed militias.

An alert on the website of the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said all nonessential, nonemergency U.S. government staff were ordered to leave Iraq right away under State Department orders. Also, a senior British officer in the US-backed coalition fighting the Islamic State group, Maj Gen. Chris Ghika, said earlier this week that there had been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.

He said an investigation of the attack on the four ships, which includes Saudi and Norwegian vessels, is being conducted with the help of American and French investigators and it's expected to be completed within days. Gen. Chris Ghika's comments exposed global skepticism over the American military buildup.

Speaking about Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, Zarif was quoted as also saying: "A multilateral deal can not be treated unilaterally".

The attacks took place against a backdrop of U.S.

Though Iran maintains its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes, scientists say the time needed to reach the 90 percent threshold for weapons-grade uranium is halved once uranium is enriched to around 20%.

Some observers speculate Tehran is seeking to retaliate over Washington's decision in April to put Iran's Revolutionary Guards on a terrorism blacklist - a move created to stymie their activities across the Middle East.

Qatar has grown closer to Iran diplomatically over the past two years after four Arab nations, including Saudi Arabia and the UAE, cut ties to protest its regional policies.

Sudan talks between junta and protestors collapse
De Blasio still isn't ready to talk about his 2020 policy proposals