Iran quadruples uranium-enrichment production as USA tensions heighten


The U.S. measures came amid the tense situation in the region after Trump decided not to re-issue the sanctions waivers for major importers to continue buying Iran's oil when they expired in early May.

One key lawmaker, Sen.

"It is clear that over the last several weeks Iran has attacked pipelines and ships of other nations and created threat streams against American interests in Iraq", Graham said.

"The Fake News put out a typically false statement, without any knowledge that the United States was trying to set up a negotiation with Iran". "We will hold Iran responsible if any such attacks are conducted by its proxy militia forces or elements of such forces, and will respond to Iran accordingly".

Iran is open for talks and diplomacy but those avenues are closed under the status quo, with its economy being strangled by the U.S., the Iranian president said, adding that Tehran's only option now is to resist.

President Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have repeatedly stated on the record that the United States is not interested in an war with Iran. Iran's director of foreign affairs for the country's parliament Hossein Amir-Abdollahian speaking to CNN described Trump as being "crazy" and his administration is "confused".

Brennan, an outspoken Trump critic, does not have a formal briefing planned but is prepared to answer questions on Iran - and is willing to do the same for Republicans, said a person familiar with the matter who was not authorized to discuss it publicly.

He wrote that Trump "hopes to achieve what Alexander (the Great), Genghis (Khan) & other aggressors failed to do", adding: "Iranians have stood tall for a millennia while aggressors all gone". "Economic terrorism and genocidal taunts won't end Iran". Rouhani, as well as Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had all previously rejected Washington's arm twisting.

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Last week, Trump had appeared to be backing away from his apparently hawkish stance against Iran, saying he would be open to talks.

Mr Trump added that if Iran called, "We would certainly negotiate, I only want them to call if they're ready".

Iran is exercising "maximum restraint" in the face of an "unacceptable" escalation by the United States, Zarif said on Thursday. No injuries were reported.

A Senator close to Trump, Lindsey Graham, warned Iran of an "overwhelming military response" for any actions against United States interests. And U.S. diplomats said airline companies could be mistakenly attacked by Iran, an idea Iran has dismissed. All along the past week tension was bubbling in the region as mysterious explosions in the Persian Gulf endangered shipping and Houthi drones attacked Saudi oil establishments near the capital. The Saudis also say they will not tolerate Iranian aggression.

Earlier Monday, an Iranian energy official announced the country has increased its uranium enrichment fourfold and informed the International Atomic Energy Agency.

The Pentagon, meanwhile, has drawn up war plans calling for the shipping of as many as 120,000 USA troops to the region-a similar number to the force deployed to the region prior to the invasion of Iraq-in apparent preparation for an all-out war with Iran.

Tehran has threatened to gradually withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal unless partners still in the agreement - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russian Federation - help it to circumvent United States sanctions.