KUWAIT CITY, May 19, (Agencies): The US ambassador to Kuwait, Lawrence Silverman, said his country does not intend to launch a war in the region, which officials in Washington have confirmed, but the presence of its troops in the region is to protect its interests, reports Annahar daily.
The ambassador told the daily, 'His country is very serious about protecting its interests and any Iranian attack on these interests will receive a harsh response.' 'The United States has warned Iran of its actions, as well as its intention to develop its nuclear weapons, which is a matter of concern and destabilization of the region,' Silverman said.
'If President Donald Trump has denied rumors of sending 120,000 troops to the region, we do not want war but we are serious about responding to the Iranian regime if our interests are attacked here,' he said.
'There is no warning to our citizens in Kuwait because there is nothing to warn about, but the reason for the reduction of our staff at our embassy in Baghdad is based on information,' he said.
Intelligence says that an attack will occur on the embassy or its surroundings and therefore the US is taking proactive measures for fear of reprisals from some loyalists of the Tehran regime. As for Kuwait, there is no intimidation and rumors. Our embassies operate normally and there is nothing and no warnings for our citizens.
He added that the development of trade relations between the two countries and the development of the border port of Safwan is a good thing that will revive the economy of the two countries and develop trade exchange and thus cooperation between the two countries is very important. On the number of Diwaniyas he visited in the first 10 days of the Holy Month, he said that he visited more than 65 Diwaniyas during the first ten days of Ramadan.
The Iranian ambassador to Kuwait, Mohammad Irani, said his country was not and will not be in the war, and its history over the past two centuries attests to the fact that it did not infringe on any country, but in the event of any aggression it will undoubtedly mobilize all its available resources to defend its people and its territorial sovereignty, reports Al-Anba daily.
In an interview with the daily, the Iranian ambassador revealed that the current signs on the ground do not indicate that the region is heading towards a war. He pointed out that there are some parties or individuals, who either deliberately or due to ignorance, are beating the drums of war, but surely this is not a realistic vision. Iran urged to avoid any provocation, saying in the event of war none of the parties will be safe.
In response to a question about the future of the nuclear agreement and whether Iran is really seeking to develop its nuclear program, the ambassador said that the statement issued by the Supreme National Security Council in Iran confirms that Iran has not withdrawn from the nuclear agreement signed in 2015 and that is what Iran has told the parties to the agreement that they must abide by what they have agreed upon after the withdrawal of the United States and make clear efforts to prevent any new sanctions from being imposed on Iran.
The Directorate-General of Civil Aviation (DGCA) has no plans to change the flight routes to and from Kuwait since the DGCA does not see any need for that, reports Al-Qabas daily quoting sources familiar with the issue.
The source said that generalizations to change the route of flights occur in the event of wars and actual crises, where the control towers take command in less than half an hour, said the sources. The sources explained that the routes of civil air flights in Kuwait and abroad follow a security policy, which is internationally protected, and cannot be exceeded in any way, because the changes and circulars are official and international agreement, which sees the situation as normal.
The sources added, Kuwait depends on the entry of aircraft into the airspace on two tracks, the first across the sea above Failaka Island and the south of the country from above Sulaibiya and the part connected to entry from Iraqi airspace is limited operation or can be termed as almost non-existent.
The source stressed the DGCA had changed some civilian routes when the DAESH or the so-called Islamic State fighters were active to ensure the safety of the aircraft and passengers. Saudi Arabia does not want war but will not hesitate to defend itself against Iran, a top Saudi diplomat said Sunday, after the kingdom's energy sector was targeted this past week amid heightened tensions in the Arabian Gulf.
Adel al-Jubeir, the minister of state for foreign affairs, spoke a week after four oil tankers – two of them Saudi – were targeted in an alleged act of sabotage off the coast of the United Arab Emirates and days after Iran-allied Yemeni rebels claimed a drone attack on a Saudi oil pipeline.
'The kingdom of Saudi Arabia does not want war in the region and does not strive for that … but at the same time, if the other side chooses war, the kingdom will fight this with all force and determination and it will defend itself, its citizens and its interests,' al-Jubeir told reporters. A senior Iranian military commander was similarly quoted as saying his country is not looking for war, in comments published in Iranian media on Sunday. Fears of armed conflict were already running high after the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region earlier this month to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran. The US also has ordered non-essential staff out of its diplomatic posts in Iraq.
But President Donald Trump appears to have softened his tone in recent days, saying he expects Iran to seek negotiations with his administration. Asked on Thursday if the US might be on a path to war with Iran, the president answered, 'I hope not.' The US Navy said Sunday it had conducted exercises in the Arabian Sea with the aircraft carrier strike group ordered to the region to counter the unspecified threat from Iran.
The Navy said the exercises and training were conducted Friday and Saturday with the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group in coordination with the US Marine Corps, highlighting US 'lethality and agility to respond to threat,' as well as to deter conflict and preserve US strategic interests. The current tensions are rooted in Trump's decision last year to withdraw the US from the 2015 nuclear accord between Iran and world powers and impose widereaching sanctions, including on Iranian oil exports that are crucial to its economy.
Iran has said it would resume enriching uranium at higher levels if a new nuclear deal is not reached by July 7. That would potentially bring it closer to being able to develop a nuclear weapon, something Iran insists it has never sought. Energy ministers from OPEC and its allies, including major producers Saudi Arabia and Russia, are meeting in Saudi Arabia on Sunday to discuss energy prices and production cuts. Iran's oil exports are expected to shrink further in the coming months after the US stopped renewing waivers that allowed it to continue selling to some countries. OPEC and non-OPEC oil producers have production cuts in place, but the group of exporters is not expected to make its decision on output until late June, when they meet again in Vienna. Saudi Arabia's King Salman, meanwhile, has called for a meeting of Arab heads of state on May 30 in Makkah to discuss the latest developments, including the oil pipeline attack.
The kingdom has blamed the pipeline attack on Iran, accusing Tehran of arming the rebel Houthis, which a Saudi-led coalition has been at war with in Yemen since 2015. Iran denies arming or training the rebels, who control much of northern Yemen, including the capital, Sanaa. 'We want peace and stability in the region, but we won't stand with our hands bound as the Iranians continuously attack. Iran has to understand that,' al-Jubeir said. 'The ball is in Iran's court.' Al-Jubeir also noted that an investigation, led by the UAE, into the tanker incident is underway. The state-run Saudi news agency reported Sunday that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to discuss regional developments.
There was no immediate statement by the State Department about the call. Countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) began 'enhanced security patrols' in the international waters of the Arabian Gulf area on Saturday, the US Navy's Bahrain-based Fifth Fleet said on Sunday.
The GCC countries were 'specifically increasing communication and coordination with each other in support of regional naval cooperation and maritime security operations in the Arabian Gulf,' the Facebook statement said. House Democrats will hear from former CIA director John Brennan about the situation in Iran, inviting him to speak next week amid heightened concerns over the Trump administration's sudden moves in the region. Brennan, an outspoken critic of President Donald Trump, is scheduled to talk to House Democrats at a private weekly caucus meeting Tuesday, according to a Democratic aide and another person familiar with the private meeting.
Both were granted anonymity to discuss the meeting. The invitation to Brennan and Wendy Sherman, a former State Department official and top negotiator of the Iran nuclear deal, offers counterprogramming to the Trump administration's closed-door briefing for lawmakers also planned for Tuesday on Capitol Hill. Democratic lawmakers are likely to attend both sessions. Trump and Brennan have clashed openly, particularly over the issues surrounding the special counsel's probe of Russian interference in the 2016 election.
Brennan stepped down from the CIA in 2017. The president last year said he was revoking the former spy chief's security credentials after Brennan was critical of Trump's interactions with Russian President Vladimir Putin at a summit in Helsinki. Top national security officials often retain their clearance after they have left an agency as a way to provide counsel to their successors. It's unclear if Brennan actually lost his clearance.