If Tehran “wants to fight”, it will be “the official end of Iran,” says Trump
US President Donald Trump has threatened Iran with destruction in case of an attack on US interests, while relations between Tehran and Washington have been extremely tense since the reinstatement of US economic sanctions last November.
“If Iran wants to fight, it will be the official end of Iran. No more threats against the United States, “Trump said on Twitter on Sunday.
Tensions between Washington and Tehran exacerbated, as the United States announced the deployment of the Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers in the Gulf, citing “threats” from Iran.
The Trump administration ordered non-essential diplomatic personnel to leave Iraq, citing threats from Iraqi armed groups backed by Iran.
On Sunday, a Katyusha rocket was fired at the Green Zone in Baghdad, which houses government institutions and embassies, including the American one. It was not clear in the immediate aftermath that was behind this attack.
US-Iranian relations are at an all-time low since President Trump decided a year ago to withdraw from the international agreement reached in 2015 to limit the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for a lifting of sanctions against Teheran, and since the reinstatement of US economic sanctions against Iran last November.
The US press speculates on discrepancies in Trump’s cabinet over how to deal with the Iranian case.
According to US media, National Security Adviser John Bolton is pushing for a hard line against Iran, but others in the administration are opposed. Mr. Trump himself recently said that he must have “tempered” John Bolton.
Iran minimizes the risk of a war
For his part, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, however, played down the possibility of a new war in the region on Saturday. After a visit to China, Mr. Zarif said he was “certain (…) that there would be no war since we do not want a conflict and since no one is worried about illusion about its ability to confront Iran in the region, “the official Irna news agency reported.
Saudi Arabia on Saturday called for summits of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) and Arab League summits, following sabotage of vessels in the Gulf and attacks on pumping stations in the kingdom.
These two extraordinary summits to which Ryad invites its partners will be held May 30 in Mecca “to discuss these attacks and their consequences on the region,” said the official Saudi news agency.
It is a question of “consulting and coordinating with the brother leaders” about “all subjects likely to strengthen security and stability in the region”.
Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said his country “does not want a war” with Iran and “will do everything to prevent it”, while ensuring that Ryad is ready “to defend and defend its interests “if the other party chooses to go to war.
Rising global oil stocks
The regional allies of the kingdom hailed the Saudi invitation. The UAE Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that in the current “critical circumstances” the Gulf and Arab countries must show unity.
On Sunday at a meeting of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates expressed concern over rising world oil stocks. Exporting countries have affirmed their determination to stabilize the market despite tensions in the Gulf.
The countries of OPEC are “unanimous in their willingness to continue working to achieve stability between supply and demand,” said Saudi Energy Minister Khaled al-Faleh, whose country is the first global exporter of oil.
Despite the drop in Venezuelan oil exports – caused by the political crisis in Caracas – and Iran, and despite the decline in production of OPEC members, crude stocks continue to rise, according to the UAE .
Also a member of the organization, Iran, whose oil sector is hit by US sanctions, was absent from the meeting.
Saudi Arabia’s main regional rival, Iran, has been fingered by Ryad after attacks on a Saudi oil pipeline claimed by Yemeni rebels backed by Tehran, which a Saudi-led military coalition is fighting in Yemen.
These attacks came a few days after unclaimed “acts of sabotage” in the Gulf that affected, among others, Saudi oil tankers. Ryad nonetheless assured Sunday that the security of his oil industry was “solid”.