Date
19 June 2019
Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group conduct combined operations in the Arabian Sea on May 17. Photo: US Navy handout via Reuters
Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and Kearsarge Amphibious Ready Group conduct combined operations in the Arabian Sea on May 17. Photo: US Navy handout via Reuters

Trump issues new warning to Iran

US President Donald Trump issued a new warning to Tehran on Sunday, tweeting that a conflict would be the “official end” of Iran, Reuters reports.

“If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!” Trump said in a tweet without elaborating.

The heightened rhetoric follows last week’s attacks on Saudi oil assets and the firing of a rocket on Sunday into Baghdad’s heavily fortified “Green Zone” that exploded near the US embassy.

A US State Department official said the rocket attack in Baghdad did not hit a US-inhabited facility and produced no casualties nor any significant damage. No claims of responsibility had been made, but the United States was taking the incident “very seriously.”

“We have made clear over the past two weeks and again underscore that attacks on U.S. personnel and facilities will not be tolerated and will be responded to in a decisive manner,” the official said in an emailed statement.

“We will hold Iran responsible if any such attacks are conducted by its proxy militia forces or elements of such forces, and will respond to Iran accordingly.”

Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, said it stands ready to respond with “all strength” and said it was up to Iran to avoid war.

Riyadh, which emphasized that it does not want a war, has accused Tehran of ordering Tuesday’s drone strikes on two oil pumping stations in the kingdom, claimed by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi group.

Two days earlier, four vessels, including two Saudi oil tankers, were sabotaged off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

In response, countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council began “enhanced security patrols” in the international waters of the Arabian Gulf area on Saturday, the US Navy’s Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said on Sunday.

Iran has denied involvement in either incident, which come as Washington and the Islamic Republic spar over sanctions and the US military presence in the region, raising concerns about a potential US-Iran conflict.

Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on Sunday invited Gulf and Arab leaders to convene emergency summits in Mecca on May 30 to discuss implications of the attacks.

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RC

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