Iran urges China, Russia 'concrete action' to save nuclear deal

Lester Mason
May 18, 2019

Trump told his acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Wednesday that he does not want to go to war with Iran, reported The New York Times on Thursday, citing several anonymous administration officials.

General Keane, 76, was on Mr Trump's original shortlist to become defence secretary in 2016 and remains close to him.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said days later that while the U.S. does not seek a war with Iran, "if American interests are attacked, we will most certainly respond in an appropriate fashion". But according to reporting from the New York Times' Maggie Haberman, some of the reporting that Trump is growing frustrated with Bolton and his push for war isn't quite right. Still, the president is willing to respond forcefully if there are American deaths or a dramatic escalation, the official said. For the past year, national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been the public face of the administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Tehran.

The developments cast into sharp relief a president who is instinctively wary of military adventures, and a cadre of advisers led by the national security adviser, John R. Bolton, who have taken an uncompromising line toward Iran. The intelligence was one of the critical reasons the U.S. chose to move an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the region, several USA officials with direct knowledge of the situation told CNN. On May 15th, the USA cited intelligence indicating that there is an impending threat from Iran and ordered an evacuation of the United States embassy in Iraq.

Mohammad Marandi, professor of English literature at Tehran University, said Iran is unlikely to enter into fresh negotiations with the United States on its nuclear programme as it does not trust the US.

This comes after Iran said earlier this month it would begin to withdraw from some components of the Iran Nuclear Deal, more officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), by enriching small amounts of uranium, This was all set in motion in 2018 when President Trump unjustifiably withdrew from the JCPOA.

If there is a conflict then it will be down to conscious decision-making, to the calculations and miscalculations of the Iranians and the Americans themselves. Chris Murphy of CT said, describing the pressure campaign on Tehran as "ham-handed".

The source, described as highly-placed and with intimate knowledge of the dealings, said "Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani has visited Iran in the past few days and met Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran".

A rescue and assistance team from the U.S. Navy guided-missile cruiser USS Anzio provides aid to the motor vessel SINAA, a 35-meter Iranian-flagged dhow, in the Arabian Sea on November 10, 2006.

"He is not comfortable with all this "regime change" talk", which to his ears echoes the discussion of removing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein before the 2003 US invasion, said the official, who, like others, spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss private deliberations. She argued that Iranian officials "don't see that Mr Trump has the intellectual bandwidth necessary to structure such a larger deal" and that some of his more hawkish advisers will try to scuttle such efforts.

Another official said that Bolton and Trump are "just in a different place" and that despite Trump's own criticism of Iran's government, he "wants to talk to the Iranians; he wants a deal". The US military's Central Command said its troops were on high alert, without elaborating. Absent serious provocation from Iran or Venezuela, Trump is unlikely to pursue a war of choice.

What Trump seems to want from this latest standoff with Iran is a replay of North Korea.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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