Tensions between the US and Iran are running higher than they have in decades this week, as the leaders in Tehran look to retaliate against President Donald Trump.
Trump made a commitment on the campaign trail back in 2016 to nullify the Iran Nuclear Deal – an Obama era policy that aimed to curb the regime’s development of nuclear weapons in exchange for a number of other niceties.
While this certainly seems like a salient idea in theory, it became a nightmare in practice, as opponents of the deal have discovered major lapses in the enforcement while also believing that the United States seemingly gave away the house.
Trump has effectively nullified the deal, much to the anger of the Iranian government.
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After Israeli security forces revealed an Iranian plot to attack US military targets in the Middle East, President Trump ordered a rather large show of force to the region. Iran then retaliated with even more threats, and now several attacks on Saudi Arabian oil infrastructure have international observers curious about any possible involvement by Tehran.
All of this turbulence has forced the US to tell its folks in the vicinity to fasten their figurative seatbelts – or, better yet – come on home.
The State Department ordered Wednesday the departure of non-emergency US government employees from Iraq amid increasing tensions with Iran and warned US citizens not to travel to the country, citing a “high risk for violence and kidnapping.”
The announcement comes on the heels of an unannounced trip to Iraq by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo where he said he spoke to officials about he country’s ability to protect Americans. The action also represents the latest maneuvering by the Trump administration in the Middle East, where the Pentagon has recently positioned a carrier strike group and a bomber task force.
The department said in a statement that employees working in the US embassy in Baghdad and the US consulate in Erbil were instructed to leave Iraq, and that “normal visa services will be temporarily suspended at both posts.”
The removal of these employees sends a clear signal to the region that the United States does not believe the situation is improving…and that is something that the world will likely need to keep an eye on.
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