The Latest: Bahrain orders its citizens to leave Iraq, Iran
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere in the Mideast amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):
Bahrain is ordering all of its citizens to immediately leave Iraq and Iran, amid rising tensions in the Persian Gulf.
Bahrain’s Foreign Ministry made the announcement via its state-run news agency Saturday afternoon.
It cited the “unstable situation in the region and the grave developments and threats that threaten security and stability.”
Baharin is a small, Sunni-ruled island nation off the coast of Saudi Arabia. It regularly accuses Iran of stirring dissent in its Shiite-majority population.
The chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard says the country is in a “full-fledged intelligence war with the U.S.”
The semi-official Fars news agency quoted Gen. Hossein Salami as saying that the U.S. political system had become weak, making an analogy to the Sept. 11, 2001, terror attacks.
He said: “The political system of the U.S. has cracked and lost its strength. The system has an apparently huge body but suffers from osteoporosis. In fact, the U.S. . is like World Trade Building that collapses with a sudden hit.”
Salami recently became the head of the Revolutionary Guard, a paramilitary organization that wields tremendous influence within Iran.
Iran’s foreign minister says the Islamic Republic is “not seeking war” at the end of his trip to China amid tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Mohammed Javad Zarif made the comment in remarks quoted Saturday by the state-run IRNA news agency.
Zarif said: “In fact, as the supreme leader said, there will be no war since we are not seeking war and nobody in the region is suffering from a hallucination to think that he is able to confront Iran.”
Zarif added that though President Donald Trump has said he is not seeking war, “some that have sat around him” are pushing such a conflict.
The U.S. has ordered bombers and an aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf over an unexplained threat they perceive from Iran, raising tensions a year after Trump pulled America out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers.
An Iraqi oil official says employees of energy giant Exxon Mobil have started evacuating an oil field in the southern province of Basra.
The evacuation comes amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran.
The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak to the media, said all those who are being evacuated are foreigners or Iraqis who hold other nationalities.
The official did not give numbers but said the first group left two days ago and another batch left early Saturday.
Exxon Mobil, headquartered in Irving, Texas, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The U.S. has already ordered all nonessential diplomatic staff out of Iraq.
Qassem Abdul-Zahra contributed reporting from Baghdad, Iraq.
U.S. diplomats are warning that commercial airliners flying over the wider Persian Gulf faced a risk of being “misidentified” amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran.
The warning relayed Saturday by U.S. diplomatic posts from the Federal Aviation Administration underlined the risks the current tensions pose to a region crucial to global air travel.
It also served as a grim reminder that 30 years ago, the U.S. mistook an Iranian passenger jet for a warplane after their last naval battle with Tehran, killing all 290 people aboard.
Concerns about a possible conflict have flared since the White House ordered warships and bombers to the region to counter an alleged, unexplained threat from Iran. President Donald Trump since has sought to soften his tone.