Iranian missiles can hit USA ships in Gulf: Guards

U.S. Air Force a U.S. Air Force B-52H Stratofortress aircraft assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron takes off from Al Udeid Air Base Qatar

The letter cited a Reuters story from April 17 that reported how the administration's annual report to Congress assessing compliance with arms control agreements provoked a dispute with USA intelligence agencies and some State Department officials.

Yesterday, three U.S. officials told the New York Times that one of these threats was discovered through images of Iranian ships in the Persian Gulf loaded with missiles.

One European diplomat called on China to buy Iranian oil as it is less exposed to the United States.

Fourth and probably most influential have been the Trump administration's hints about supposed new threat information, accompanied by deployments of military resources and other US saber-rattling.

And soon after Falahat Pishe's call for dialogue, Iran's supreme national council, headed by President Hassan Rouhani, said "remarks by an individual should not be taken as a statement of policy", according to Al Jazeera's Zein Basravi. A Revolutionary Guard deputy warned that any armed conflict would affect the global energy market.

Asked Thursday whether the United States was going to war with Iran, Trump replied, "I hope not".

Trump's recent tone contrasted with a series of moves by the United States and Iran that have sharply escalated tensions in the Middle East in recent days. Taken with the other intelligence, they could indicate that Iran is preparing to attack US forces. Last Month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the U.S. would designate the Iran Revolutionary Guard, an Iranian military branch, as a terrorist organization.

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After two weeks of mixed signals on Iran, from high-profile United States military moves to administration assertions that it's not angling for war, President Donald Trump said Friday that even the Iranians may be confused about what comes next.

Trump's national security adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo believe the photographs and other intelligence could indicate that Iran is preparing to attack U.S. forces, the Times noted. Bolton can be instrumental in allowing that to happen, or pushing it along if he wants, and Trump may be swept away by events that he feels he can't contain. "There was a scramble for Bolton and Pompeo and others to get on the same page".

Trump, of course, pulled America out of the Iran nuclear deal, apparently motivated by little more than the belief that if Barack Obama negotiated the agreement, it must have represented nothing but capitulation and weakness.

The Iranians have made overtures through the Swiss in past months to offer discussion of USA prisoners. "A red desk should be set up in Iraq or Qatar with officials from the two sides ... to manage tensions", said Falahatpisheh, head of parliament's national security committee.

"I expected such a situation after Ambassador John Bolton was nominated as national security adviser", he said. "There is no infighting whatsoever", Trump said. "Different opinions are expressed and I make a decisive and final decision - it is a very simple process".

Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-South Carolina, a supporter of the administration's tough stance on Iran, said, "I would urge the State Department and DoD to come down here and explain to us what's going on, because I have no idea what the threat stream is beyond what I read in the paper".

He also said Iran's short-range missiles "can easily reach present warships in the Persian Gulf", while noting the 2,000-kilometre (1,240-mile) range of the Islamic Republic's ballistic missiles can reach across the wider Persian Gulf.

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