USA issues security alert ordering non-emergency staff to depart Iraq

US forces in Iraq and Syria on high alert for possible 'imminent threat'

That same day, a top British general in the US-led operation to combat the Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq and Syria blew a hole in the Trump administration's assertion that Iran-allied militias were mobilising to attack U.S. forces.

"We fundamentally do not seek war with Iran", Pompeo said during a visit to Sochi, Russia, this week.

The United States ordered the departure of non-emergency US employees from its diplomatic missions in Iraq on Wednesday in another show of concern about alleged threats from Iran.

But a spokesman for the U.S. military's Central Command later disputed Gen Ghika's comments, saying they ran "counter" to the credible threats identified by United States and allied intelligence agencies.

According to theNew York Times - whichreportedMonday that President Donald Trump has reviewed a Bolton-crafted plan to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East to threaten Iran - Trump administration officials are having a hard time convincing America's European allies to join them on their march to war.

There has been a marked increase in U.S.

Iran has thus faracted with restraintin the face of USA belligerence, urging diplomacy and attempting to restart negotiations with Europe over the terms of the Iran nuclear accord. He said he had never seen anything like the "non-answers" coming from the administration.

"This is an imminent threat to our personnel", said a second official.

"This threat stream, let me tell you, is real", said the second official. -Iranian relations since Trump entered the Oval Office.

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"I'm concerned that the situation in the Middle East is becoming very tense", Prime Minister Shinzo Abe told Mr Zarif in a later meeting.

Two top Iraqi security sources also said today the United States has intelligence revealing Iran-backed militias have been positioning rockets near bases housing USA forces. The sources were not authorized to discuss the matter and were granted anonymity.

Pompeo, in the meantime, issued a similar comment while on a visit to the Russian city of Sochi on Tuesday, stating that the USA "fundamentally doesn't seek a war with Iran".

Several Democrats pinned the sudden moves in part on national security adviser John Bolton, known for his hawkish views. "There is no infighting whatsoever", Trump tweeted. "All sides, views, and policies are covered", and he reserves the "decisive and final decision", he said.

"Ensuring the safety of USA government personnel and citizens is our highest priority. and we want to reduce the risk of harm", a State Department spokesman said.

Saudi Arabia meanwhile said that drone attacks on two oil pumping stations by Yemen's Houthi rebel movement, which is supported by Iran, had forced it to temporarily shut the main East-West Pipeline.

"We monitor them along with a whole range of others because that's the environment we're in", said Maj.

Republican Rep. Will Hurd of Texas, who is a former Central Intelligence Agency officer, said the administration's information on Iran is highly sensitive and by nature can not be shared with a wide audience. "The much more appropriate analogy is Iraq 2011".

The senator noted that he was fully engaged with setting up a congressional coalition meant to force the president to request Congress' consent, should he make up his mind to start a military confrontation with Iran. "It is easy to throw accusations but it is a hard situation".

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