USA pulls 'non-emergency staff' from Iraq as Iran tensions mount

Trump denied Tuesday that the administration was planning to send more than 100,000 troops to counter Iran if necessary

The State Department has ordered all non-emergency personnel to evacuate the USA embassy and consulate in Iraq.

His comments came amid increasing tensions with the USA and President Donald Trump's decision to station an aircraft carrier, USS Abraham Lincoln, and a bomber jet squadron in the region.

Senior State Department officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the threat came from Iraqi militia "commanded and controlled" by Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The United States withdrew staff from its embassy in Iraq on Wednesday out of apparent concern about perceived threats from Iran, with usa sources saying they believe Tehran encouraged the attacks on the oil tankers.

While that claim has not been proven, it prompted the United States to send an aircraft carrier and a naval strike group to the Gulf to give a "clear and unmistakable message to the Iranian regime".

"There are only two reasons for ordering their departure: We have credible intelligence that our people are at risk or in preparation for military action in Iran". Israel's Benjamin Netanyahu may be the only world leader who has proactively praised the Trump Administration's tough stance on Iran.

"There is absolutely no desire or interest in a military conflict with anybody", the official said.

Tehran has called the US military presence "a target" rather than a threat, and said it would not allow its oil exports to be halted.

On Tuesday, both Iran and the USA made it clear they do not want the growing tensions to escalate to war.

"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", said Major General Hossein Salami.

Iranian officials have said that they could reach 20% enrichment within four days.

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

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.

Reinforcing Mr Trump's denial, USA secretary of state Mike Pompeo said at a joint news conference in Sochi with Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov: "We fundamentally do not seek war with Iran".

U.S. allies in Iraq have refrained from echoing Washington's warning cry.

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".

Also on Wednesday, Germany - which has 160 soldiers in Iraq - suspended military training operations, citing increasing regional tensions, while the Netherlands suspended a mission providing assistance to Iraqi local authorities, Dutch news agency ANP said.

Helicopters took off throughout the day from the vast US embassy compound near the Tigris River in Baghdad, carrying non-emergency staff out, according to an Iraqi source and a diplomatic source inside Baghdad's fortified Green Zone.

It was not immediately clear what led to the order on Wednesday.

Khamenei continued: "This face-off is not military because there is not going to be any war".

"Congress has not authorized war with Iran..."

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