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Last week, there were reports of intelligence of a specific and credible threat from Iran on US interest in the Middle East. The Pentagon responded by sending a carrier strike group into the region to help protect these interests. Iranian leadership responded that this was not a threat to the Iranians, but an opportunity. In an article over at Fox News, the Iranian commander was quoted as saying, “An aircraft carrier that has at least 40 to 50 planes on it and 6,000 forces gathered within it was a serious threat for us in the past but now it is a target and the threats have switched to opportunities.”
There were also reports that the US Maritime Administration had released warnings to commercial vessels in the area regarding potential threats. Early Monday, Saudi Arabia reported two oil tankers were attacked causing significant damage to the vessels. Iranian leadership has continued to take the stance that the US will not attack and that if there is a US attack, that Iranian forces will hit the US in the head.
Relations between the US and Tehran have been significantly strained since the US opted out of the nuclear deal from 2015. European countries, Russia, and China remain committed to the deal. Secretary Pompeo stopped in Brussels to meet with key leaders on Monday due to the heightening tensions in the region. The US has remained committed to its withdrawal from the deal, along with increased sanctions and pressure on the Iranian government.
The Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Plan of Action, was negotiated by the Obama Administration and received massive criticism on it’s execution. President Trump had stated multiple times his feelings that the deal was a bad deal and his intention to withdraw. He officially withdrew on May 8, 2018. Now, approximately 1 year later, the relationship between the US and Iran appear to be at a breaking point.
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