Spain says frigate peeling off from United States fleet is not a rebuke

John Kerry Hits Back at Trump Call for Logan Act Prosecution: ‘Simply Wrong, End of Story’

A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander said on Sunday (May 13) the United States military presence in the Gulf used to be a serious threat but now represents a target, the Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) reported.

As a result of the US tightening its sanctions, President Rouhani warned that Iran may face tougher conditions than those during the 1980s war with Iraq.

Rouhani, who has come under domestic political pressure, called for political unity to face down sanctions.

Hardliners have criticised Rouhani after US President Donald Trump withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, which Rouhani supported, and reimposed sanctions previous year, reported Al Jazeera.

The United States also imposed new sanctions on Iranian metals, including iron, steel, aluminum and copper which prompted rallies across the country supporting the Iranian government's hardline stance against the US actions.

"At the height of America's political, economic and media war against the Iranian nation, an Iranian publication supplements the enemy's media operations inside the country", the hardline-led news agency Fars wrote in a comment.

Under the accord, Iran had agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow in worldwide inspectors in return for sanctions relief, a British media house reported.

But with Iran's economy dependent on crude exports that are traded in USA dollars, a promised European trade channel to bypass American sanctions has proved complicated, is not yet operational, and may never be able to handle oil sales.

The Trump administration hopes to compel Iran to negotiate a "new deal" that would cover not only its nuclear activities, but also its ballistic missile programme, reports say. The sanctions prevent United States companies from trading with Iran directly and also with any foreign firms or countries that are dealing with Iran.

Zarif tweeted a link to a 2017 National Review article by Bolton headlined "How to Get Out of the Iran Nuclear Deal".

The International Monetary Fund has said it expects the Iranian economy to shrink by 6 per cent in 2019. Iran has repeatedly threatened to retaliate to the USA measures by blocking the Strait of Hormuz - through which about a fifth of all oil consumed globally pass.

The Spanish frigate left the USS Abraham Lincoln Strike Group as it entered the Persian Gulf, at a time of heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran.

CENTCOM, the United States forces for the Middle East and Afghanistan, said Friday on Twitter that the B-52 bombers arrived at the area of operations on May 8, without saying where they had landed. US B-52 bombers have arrived at a base in Qatar.

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