19 June 2019

Iranian threats 'put on hold', says US defence chief

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Potential attacks by Iran have been "put on hold" by US counter-measures, acting US Defence Secretary Patrick Shanahan said on Tuesday. reports citing foreign media.

The US has warned in recent weeks of a threat from Iran but has not given any details.

Tensions between the two nations have risen sharply since Donald Trump won the US presidency.

President Trump last year unilaterally withdrew the US from a nuclear deal with Iran and five world powers.

On Sunday, Mr Trump tweeted: "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran."

The US has in recent weeks deployed additional warships and military jets to the Gulf, on Iran's southern coast.

President Trump's national security adviser, John Bolton, is a long standing public advocate for regime change in Iran and has previously called for the US to bomb the nation.

Mr Shanahan told reporters at the Pentagon: "I think our steps were very prudent and we've put on hold the potential for attacks on Americans and that is what is extremely important.

"I'd say we're in a period where the threat remains high and our job is to make sure that there is no miscalculation by the Iranians."

Iran has kept to the terms of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - the 2015 deal which limited the scope of its nuclear programme, and has called on other parties to uphold the deal despite the US withdrawal.

But the JCPOA looks to be increasingly under threat. Iranian officials said on Monday that they had increased by fourfold the production of low-enriched uranium - although the increase remains for the moment within the restrictions of the deal.

2019.05.21 / 22:34
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