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20-6-2019 17:19:00

How the Trump administration got into a showdown with Iran that could lead to war

Democratic lawmakers have expressed concern about a potential war with Iran amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran. The Trump administration has rejected the notion it’s moving toward war despite deploying military assets to the region – including more troops – in response to threats. Critics of President Donald Trump believe the situation is being driven and escalated by National Security John Bolton, who has a long record of animosity toward Iran. Oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman, Iran announcing it will violate the 2015 nuclear deal, and Iran shooting down a US drone have not helped matters. Visit INSIDER’s homepage for more stories. Rising tensions between the US and Iran have sparked fears of a military confrontation and potentially an all-out war. Democrats, including a number of candidates for the 2020 Democratic nomination, have warned that President Donald Trump and his National Security Adviser John Bolton are “inching” toward conflict. Meanwhile, the Trump administration rejects the notion that they are seeking a war and Iranian leaders have made similar assertions. But many lawmakers and experts in the US are still concerned. Here’s a timeline of the evolving situation, and a summary of what both countries have been saying. In May 2018, President Donald Trump withdrew the US from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Tensions between the US and Iran have risen ever since and reached a boiling point in recent weeks — particularly after the US in April moved to block all countries from buying Iranian oil.Foto: President Donald Trump holds up a memorandum that reinstates sanctions on Iran after he announced his decision to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in the Diplomatic Room at the White House May 8, 2018 in Washington, DC.sourcePhoto by Chip Somodevilla/Getty ImagesSource: INSIDEROn May 5, National Security Adviser John Bolton released a statement announcing the US was deploying an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Middle East to counter threats from Iran.Foto: White House national security adviser Bolton arrives to speak about the political unrest in Venezuela, outside the White House in WashingtonsourceReutersSource: WhiteHouse.govBolton said that the deployment was designed to send “a clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime that any attack” on the US or its allies “will be met with unrelenting force.” Bolton added, “The United States is not seeking war with the Iranian regime, but we are fully prepared to respond to any attack.”Foto: A staff member removes the Iranian flag from the stage after a group picture with foreign ministers and representatives during the Iran nuclear talks at the Vienna International Center in Vienna.sourceReutersThe USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group, which consists of the carrier and its powerful carrier air wing, as well as one cruiser and four destroyers, moved into the region earlier this month along with a number of B-52 Stratofortress heavy long-range bombers.Foto: The USS Abraham Lincoln sails south in the Suez canal near Ismailia, Thursday, May 9, 2019.sourceSuez Canal Authority via APSource: INSIDERA US official said the show of force was in response to “clear indications” of a “possible attack” against US forces in the region by Iran or its proxies.Foto: US soldiers from 1st Cavalry Division in Samarra, Iraq, October 9, 2011.sourceUS Amry/Pfc. Aaron HerreraSource: INSIDERActing Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan characterized the deployment as a “prudent repositioning of assets in response to indications of a credible threat by Iranian regime forces.”Foto: Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan listens as U.S. President Donald Trump holds a meeting with senior military leaders at the White House in Washington.sourceReutersOn May 8, US Air Forces Central Command announced that F-15C Eagle fighter jets were repositioned within the region to “defend US forces and interests in the region.” The next day, the Pentagon announced that the USS Arlington, an amphibious landing ship, and a Patriot surface-to-air missile battery were also on their way.Foto: An F-15C Eagle prepares to refuel with a KC-135R Stratotanker Sept. 12, 2013, en route to the Arctic Challenge Exercise in Norway.sourceUS Air Force PhotoSource: US Air Forces Central CommandDemocratic lawmakers have raised alarm bells over these developments. Sen. Chris Murphy, for example, on May 7 tweeted, “Hey everybody, we are at war in 3 different countries — Iraq, Afghanistan, and Syria — and inching toward conflict in 2 more — Venezuela and Iran.”Foto: Sen. Chris Murphy at a press conference in Washington in 2015.sourceAP Photo/Andrew HarnikSource: INSIDERFears from Democratic lawmakers of a war with Iran are largely linked to their wariness toward Bolton, who’s long been hawkish toward Iran and has called for military strikes against it before. Bolton was also one of the architects of the ultimately disastrous US invasion of Iraq in 2003.Foto: U.S. national security adviser John BoltonsourceAssociated PressSource: INSIDERRepublican lawmakers like Sen. Marco Rubio have rejected the idea the US wants a war with Iran, but he also said “any efforts by Iran to threaten shipping in the Strait of Hormuz and/or to target U.S. naval vessels or commercial shipping vessels will result in a swift, devastating & justified response.”Foto: Senator Marco RubiosourceReutersSource: INSIDERAmid all of this, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on May 8 threatened to partially withdraw from portions of the 2015 nuclear deal.Foto: Iranian President Hassan RouhanisourceReutersSource: INSIDERThe same day, the Trump administration announced new sanctions against Iran targeting its metal exports.Foto: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo with President Trump.sourceGetty ImagesSource: The Washington Post“We have information that you don’t want to know about,” President Donald Trump said on May 9 in response to questions on the move. “They were very threatening and we have to have great security for this country and many other places.” He also urged Iran to hold talks with him regarding its nuclear program.Foto: President TrumpsourceReutersSource: ReutersOn May 10, Ayatollah Tabatabai-Nejad, a high-ranking cleric in the Iranian government, warned that US forces will face “dozens of missiles” if any move is made against Iran. The next day, Yadollah Javani, the deputy head of political affairs of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, said that the US “wouldn’t dare to launch military action against us.”Foto: Iranian guards march during celebrations in Tehran’s Azadi Square (Freedom Square) to mark the 37th anniversary of the Islamic revolution on February 11, 2016. Iranians waved ‘Death to America’ banners and took selfies with a ballistic missile as they marked 37 years since the Islamic revolution, weeks after Iran finalized a nuclear deal with world powers.sourceATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty ImagesSource: INSIDEROverall, Trump has been fairly vague in responding to questions about Iran. “We’ll see what happens with Iran. If they do anything it’ll be a very bad mistake, if they do anything,” Trump said on May 13, adding, “If they do anything, they will suffer greatly.”Foto: President Trump waves to members of the media before boarding Marine One.sourceAssociated PressSource: INSIDERMeanwhile, reports have also emerged suggesting the Trump administration has discussed a plan to send 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran attacks US forces in the region or makes significant steps toward developing nuclear weapons.Foto: A US Navy sailor observes sunrise on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln while transiting the Suez Canal in Egypt.sourceAssociated PressSource: INSIDERTrump on May 14 rejected these reports but also said he’s prepared to send “a hell of a lot more” troops than 120,000 if necessary.Foto: President Donald TrumpsourceAssociated PressSource: INSIDERIranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on May 14 said his country would not go to war with the US. But in what was perhaps a veiled threat, he also signaled that it wouldn’t be hard for Iran to enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels.Foto: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali KhameneisourceOffice of the Iranian Supreme Leader via APSource: INSIDER; TIMEOn May 14, Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels carried out drone attacks on Saudi oil facilities. The kingdom of Saudi Arabia is a close ally of the US, which has supported the Saudi-led coalition in the war against the Houthis in Yemen. With that said, it’s not clear if these attacks were linked to rising tensions between the US and Iran.Foto: Yemen’s Houthi movement forces are seen during a withdrawal from Saleef port in Hodeidah province.sourceReutersSource: The New York TimesSen. Bernie Sanders, one of the top contenders for the 2020 Democratic nomination, on May 14 said, “It appears that John Bolton wants a war in Iran. A war in Iran would, in my view, be many times worse than the Iraq War.” Sanders said he’s “working hard” to ensure that if Trump wants to take military action against Iran he must seek congressional authorization.Foto: Sen. Bernie SanderssourceHollis Johnson/Business InsiderSource: CBS NewsThe US on May 15 ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq. The State Department didn’t fully explain the move, but it’s viewed as a possible response to the increasingly tense situation between Washington and Tehran. This also came roughly a week after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unscheduled visit to Iraq.Foto: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks to reporters in flight after a previously unannounced trip to Baghdad.sourceReutersSource: CNN; The New York TimesMajor General Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, on May 15 said, “We are on the cusp of a full-scale confrontation with the enemy.” Salami added, “This moment in history, because the enemy has stepped into the field of confrontation with us with all the possible capacity, is the most decisive moment of the Islamic revolution.”Foto: Hossein Salami, then-deputy head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, speaks during Tehran’s Friday prayers on July 16, 2010.sourceMorteza Nikoubazl/ReutersSource: INSIDERThe Trump administration has taken a hardline stance against Iran from the beginning, and defied US allies by withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal. In keeping with this stance, Trump recently designated Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps a foreign terror group.Foto: Members of the Iranian revolutionary guard march during a parade to commemorate the anniversary of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-88), in Tehran September 22, 2011.sourceREUTERS/Stringer/File PhotoSource: INSIDERTrump on May 19 issued a grave threat to Iran, tweeting, “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!”Foto: President Donald TrumpsourceJoshua Roberts/ReutersSource: INSIDERIranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded to Trump’s threat via Twitter the next day. He said Trump “hopes to achieve what Alexander, Genghis & other aggressors failed to do,” adding, “Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone.” Zarif said “economic terrorism” and “genocidal taunts” won’t “end Iran.”Foto: Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif.sourceReutersSource: TwitterTrump on May 24 announced the US is sending 1,500 additional troops to Iran and said they will serve a “mostly protective” role.Foto: FILE PHOTO – U.S. President Donald Trump boards Marine One to depart for JapansourceReutersSource: INSIDERTwo oil tankers were attacked on June 13 in the Gulf of Oman. The Trump administration has blamed Iran, which has denied any responsibility. Some US allies are skeptical of the Trump administration’s claims and want an independent probe.Foto: An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of OmansourceReutersSource: INSIDERIran on June 17 announced it would violate the 2015 nuclear deal by the end of the month via ramping up its enrichment of low-grade uranium and increasing its uranium stockpile.Foto: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during a session of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, Friday, June 14, 2019. The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is a security alliance that brings together Russia, China, India, Pakistan along with ex-Soviet Central Asia nations of Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan and Uzbekistan. (AP Photo/Vladimir Voronin)sourceAssociated PressAfter Iran’s announcement on the nuclear deal, the Pentagon said it’s deploying an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East.Foto: An aerial view of the Pentagon Building in Washington.sourceReutersOn June 20, Iran shot down a US Navy drone. The Iranian government claims the drone entered its airspace, but the US rejects this and said the drone was flying in international airspace and never entered Iranian territory.Foto: he RQ-4A Global Hawk, a high-altitude, long-endurance unmanned aerial reconnaissance system designed to provide military field commanders with high resolution, near-real-time imagery of large geographic areas is pictured at a hanger at a forward deployed location waiting to fly its next mission supporting Operation Enduring Freedom.sourceStaff Sgt. Reynaldo Ramon/US Air Force/ReutersSource: INSIDERFoto: Read more: Iran just shot down one of the US military’s most advanced drones – it costs more than an F-35 stealth fighter Fox News host Tucker Carlson has reportedly been privately urging Trump against a war with Iran Here’s what’s in the landmark nuclear deal that Iran is starting to walk away from amid tensions with Trump Trump administration dodges questions on calls for a UN probe of tanker attacks as it struggles to convince allies of Iran’s guilt The post How the Trump administration got into a showdown with Iran that could lead to war appeared first on Business Insider Nederland.
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