‘The US military is concerned about the threat of Iranian-backed forces in the neighbouring country’ says the Daily Mirror
The United States has ordered all non-emergency personnel in Iraq to leave the country.
On Tuesday the US military said it was concerned about the threat Iranian-backed forces presented to troops in Iraq – who are under a high level of alert.
The statement today issued by the US State Department says: “The US State department has ordered the departure of non-emergency US Government employees from Iraq, both at the US Embassy in Baghdad and the US Consulate in Erbil.
“Normal visa services at both posts will be temporarily suspended.
“The US government has limited ability to provide emergency services to US citizens in Iraq.”
Tensions between the US and Iran continue to rise.
Acting Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said the military had plans to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack US forces there or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, according to the New York Times.
Washington has warned Tehran – Iran’s capital – that it would would “suffer greatly” if it does anything against US forces or interests in the region.
American investigators believe that Iran – or groups it supports – used explosives to damage four ships off the United Arab Emirates on Sunday however no evidence has yet pointed the finger at the Middle East country.
The incident has increased tensions between Iran, which borders the nearby Strait of Hormuz, and the US.
The New York Times reports that Donald Trump’s White House is drawing up war plans against Iran.
Trump’s national security advisor, John Bolton, has been hostile toward Iran throughout his career.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s efforts this week to recruit European countries to back the administration’s hard-line posture on Iran are being received coolly, according to US media.
When the White House announced the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln was being deployed to the Middle East it was Mr Bolton’s name on the statement, reports The Telegraph.
At the White House on Monday, US President Donald Trump issued a warning to Iran. “If they do anything, it would be a very bad mistake… If they do anything they will suffer greatly.”
But Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was forthright in his response, suggesting the country was “too great to be intimidated by anyone”.
Iran says the US is waging “psychological warfare” and a senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander has said Iran would retaliate against any aggressive US moves.
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Tehran does not seek war with the United States despite mounting tensions over US sanctions, Iranian nuclear capabilities and its missile program.
However British Major General Chris Ghika has appeared to contradict increasingly heated warnings from Washington, where officials say they see a growing threat from Iran.
An Iraqi soldier holds a US-made M16 rifle as he monitors a checkpoint east of Baghdad
There have been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq and Syria.