Saudi oil facilities attacked

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The attack came two days after the rebels struck two key oil-pumping stations and a pipeline in Saudi Arabia, escalating tensions in the region and potentially disrupting global efforts to end the civil war. Last year, the USA unilaterally withdrew from the Iran Deal, and John Bolton now sits as the President's national security advisor.

A senior Iranian official said that "saboteurs from a third country" had likely carried out the attacks, after saying on Sunday that the incident showed that the security of Gulf states was fragile.

A few days later, as U.S.

Stressing that Tehran is "not planning for war and war is not an option for Iran", the diplomat noted, "But, at the same time, we have to be prepared for any action against our forces, against the territorial integrity and sovereignty of Iran".

Some US lawmakers worry that Iran's proxy forces could attack US facilities in Iraq and Syria.

"We fundamentally do not seek a war with Iran", echoed US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Sochi, Russia.

The action was instigated by Iran recent threat to pull out of the nuclear deal, which means that may continue its uranium enrichment efforts.

"I'm sure that Iran will want to talk soon", Trump wrote on Twitter on May 15 without elaborating. This shift included a series of escalations against the Tehran regime, beginning with its withdrawal from the nuclear deal (officially known as JCPOA), and tightening the noose of economic sanctions against Iran.

In Iraq, Iranian-backed Shiite militia helped us to defend Baghdad from the southerly advance of ISIS, which had taken Mosul.

"Iraqi people are fed up with war", said Rubaei inside his cosmetics shop in Baghdad's bustling Karrada neighbourhood.

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"Comparisons to Iraq 2003 are simply wrong", said senior State Department officials.

"They said if the US were attacked on Iraqi soil, it would take action to defend itself without coordinating with Baghdad".

A witness told AFP news agency that raids began around 8am (05:00 GMT).

Ghika's statement undercut the justification being given for the United States war buildup, which has seen the deployment off the Iranian coast of a battleship-carrier strike group, led by the USS Abraham Lincoln, and a bomber task force, including nuclear-capable B-52s.

However, Chris Ghika, the deputy commander of the US-led coalition fighting Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, said that there had been no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces.

It was unclear how many were affected, and there was no word on any specific threat. Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions.

The owner of the Norwegian vessel, Thome Ship Management, said the vessel had been "struck by an unknown object".

"This is a pin-prick event, a little needle-like jab at the maritime trade going into the Strait of Hormuz", said Gerry Northwood, chairman of risk management and security firm MAST. Khamenei explicitly *stated that he does not want war with the U.S. during a meeting with top regime officials on May 14. The war in Iraq failed, and there's little reason why an analogous war in Iran, a country with over three times the population and land area of Iraq, would fare any better. It has said it will keep strong ties with Iran, and also with the United States and Arab neighbors, some of whom, such as Saudi Arabia, consider Tehran a rival.

The new bombardment came after the United Nations envoy, who has been spearheading efforts to end more than four years of conflict in the Arab world's poorest country, warned it still faced the threat of plunging into all-out war.

Iran has close ties to powerful Iraqi political parties and supports powerful Shi'ite militia groups.

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