Iran says US sanctions 'unacceptable' as crisis mounts

Recent days have brought allegations of sabotage attacks targeting oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates, a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline claimed by Yemen's Iran-allied Houthi rebels, and the dispatch of USA warships and bombers to the region.

At the root of the recent spike in Persian Gulf tensions appears to be President Donald Trump's decision a year ago to pull the US from Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, embarking on a maximalist sanctions campaign against Tehran to cripple the country's economy.

The United Arab Emirates warned the Western-backed coalition, of which it is a main member, would "retaliate hard" for any Houthi attacks on coalition targets.

The Houthis, which have been battling a Saudi-led military coalition for four years, said they carried out Tuesday's drone strikes against the East-West pipeline, which caused a fire but Riyadh said did not disrupt output or exports.

On Wednesday, the US State Department ordered all nonessential government staff to leave Iraq, and Germany and the Netherlands both suspended their military assistance programs in the country in the latest sign of tensions. The US military's Central Command said its troops were on high alert, without elaborating.

A spokesman for the Iranian Mission to the United Nations insisted Thursday that Tehran poses no threat and has no intention of attacking USA assets. The U.S. Consulate in Basra has been closed since September following a rocket attack blamed on Iranian-backed militias.

While briefing a National Assembly panel a day earlier, Foreign Minister Shah Mehmood Qureshi had said that the government was watching the evolving situation and would take decisions as per its national interest.

Leeds United stuck in English Championship for another year
And after the win, Derby's players mocked Leeds spying on them by making binocular signs to their celebrating fans at Elland Road. And in their post-match celebrations, Derby players felt the need to rub salt into Leeds' wounds. "Maybe, maybe [it is sweeter]".

Tensions have been rising in the Gulf since the USA stopped granting waivers to buyers of Iranian oil and slapped crippling sanctions on the Islamic Republic after President Donald Trump pulled the U.S. out of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran recently threatened it might resume higher enrichment by July 7, beyond the level permitted by the current deal between Tehran and world powers. Witnesses said houses had been damaged in the raids and that people lifted a body out of the rubble of one home. IOCL will also import oil from the United States.

However, he also said the UAE is "very committed to de-escalation" after the alleged sabotage of oil tankers off the country's coast on Sunday. Images of the Norwegian ship, which the company said was "not in any danger of sinking", showed damage similar to what the firm described. They spoke on condition of anonymity fearing for their safety. He declined to speculate about who was behind the attack near Fujairah emirate while the investigation was underway and due to be completed within days.

"We have optional volumes (over and above the term contracts) from a number of suppliers which we can exercise to make up for any shortfall from Iran", Singh said. 'This is the region we live in and it's important for us that we manage this crisis'. Still, Gargash was quick to dismiss an anonymous USA official's claim blaming Iran for the ships' sabotage, saying the UAE is closer to the investigation.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday predicted that Iran would "soon" want to negotiate, denying discord in the White House over moves that critics say could lead to war.

International Olympic Committee and other Indian refiners stopped importing crude oil from Iran this month following the US' move to end sanction waivers.

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