Trump says there ‘might be an escalation’ between US, Iran

Irving Hamilton
July 13, 2018

U.S. President Donald Trump said he expected Iran to call him one day with an offer to allay U.S. security concerns, saying Tehran was treating Washington with much more respect after he pulled the U.S. out of a nuclear deal.

"I would say there might be an escalation between us and the Iranians", Trump said at a news conference in Brussels.

"I know they're having a lot of problems and their economy is collapsing".

Over the opposition of European allies, the president in May pulled out from the 2015 nuclear deal involving Iran, the US and other world powers.

This may cut Iran's hard currency earnings from oil exports, and the prospect has triggered a panicked flight of Iranians' savings from the rial into dollars, weighing on an already ailing local currency, hit by economic woes and financial difficulties at local banks.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday called on American allies to help impose economic pressure on Iran. The tweet was accompanied by a map accusing Iran of sponsoring at least 11 terrorist attacks in Europe since 1978.

He has also accused Tehran of continuing to sell weapons in the Middle East despite United Nations resolutions.

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An Iranian diplomat is suspected of involvement in a bomb plot against an Iranian opposition rally in France. The envoy's arrest in Germany came after a couple with Iranian roots was stopped in Belgium and authorities reported finding powerful explosives in their vehicle.

Iran denies involvement and contends the allegations against its diplomat are meant to damage its relations with the European Union.

German prosecutors said Wednesday that a court had two days earlier remanded Assadi in custody on charges of foreign intelligence activities and conspiracy to murder.

In their statement, German prosecutors allege that Assadi, who has been registered as a diplomat at the Iranian Embassy in Vienna since 2014, was a member of the Iranian intelligence service "Ministry of Intelligence and Security", whose tasks "primarily include the intensive observation and combatting of opposition groups inside and outside of Iran".

Prosecutors have said that, in March, Assadi ordered a married couple living in Antwerp "to carry out an explosives attack" on the rally and had handed them the explosives in a June meeting in Luxembourg.

Belgian authorities are also seeking Assadi's extradition over the alleged plot.

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