Qatar trying to defuse tensions amid Iran crisis

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The US State Department has issued a security alert and ordered staff to evacuate Iraq amid escalating tensions with neighbouring Iran.

This contradicts U.S. intelligence that led the Trump administration to both deploy additional military to the Persian Gulf and order U.S. Embassy personnel in Iraq to vacate amid the Iranian tensions.

Presidential candidate Rep. Seth Moulton said Wednesday he trusts the British assessment of the threat level posed by Iran over the U.S.' belief there are "credible threats" in the Middle Eastern state.

The US in recent days has ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group to the Gulf region, plus four B-52 bombers.

A senior Democratic senator demanded President Donald Trump's administration brief Congress on the Iran threat, warning that the USA legislature has not approved military action against Tehran.

A senior Iranian official said on Wednesday that any conflict in the region will have "unimaginable consequences". Washington did not publicly provide any evidence to back up claims of an increased threat from Tehran.

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Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that "extremist individuals" in the USA government were pursuing risky policies and that Tehran is not seeking confrontation.

Iran remains committed to its obligations under an global nuclear deal despite the United States withdrawal from the landmark agreement, its foreign minister said on Thursday, calling the reimposition of U.S. sanctions "unacceptable".

The attack on the tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, through which one fifth of the world's oil consumption flows, appeared created to test the resolve of the United States and its Sunni Muslim allies without triggering a war, analysts said.

"And if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that".

Unnamed U.S. officials told Reuters that Iran encouraged the Houthis or Iraq-based Shi'ite militias to carry out the attacks.

"The definite decision of the Iranian nation is to resist against America".

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According to US Senator and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders, an armed conflict with Iran would be "many times worse than the Iraq War", with his comments closely following a media report that American officials, led by National Security Adviser John Bolton, had come up with a brand-new military plan against the Islamic Republic.

The MT Andrea Victory, one of the alleged targets, sustained a hole in its hull just above its waterline from "an unknown object", its owner Thome Ship Management said in a statement.

Though Germany and the Netherlands said that they had suspended participation in a training mission for Iraqi troops, they cited general tension between the U.S. and Iran.

He told reporters at the Pentagon that the coalition monitors the presence of Iranian-backed forces "along with a whole range of others because that's the environment we're in". "That's Congress's job - and that's why I'm supporting this legislation to prevent a war with Iran".

"Congress has not authorized war with Iran, and the administration, if it were contemplating military action with Iran, must come to Congress to seek approval", said Sen.

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