Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Amid efforts to salvage the nuclear deal … McKinsey: They are ready for anything


The commander of US forces in the Middle East, General Kenneth McKinsey, called on Iran to refrain from any provocation as Washington intensifies its efforts to save the nuclear deal.

The commander of the US Central Command (Centcom) said during a visit to the Sultanate of Oman on Sunday: “I think this is an appropriate time for everyone to act with caution and caution, and anticipate what will happen.”

But he stressed, in his interview with “Agence France Presse”, that “despite this, I think we will be ready for any eventuality.”

In recent weeks, the administration of US President Joe Biden, European powers and Iran have strengthened their attempts to revive the agreement on the Iranian nuclear program concluded in 2015, which appeared to be on the verge of collapse after the withdrawal of former President Donald Trump from it.

In this context, the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Rafael Grossis, after his visit to Tehran on Sunday, announced that a “temporary solution” would be reached that would allow the agency to continue inspections in Iran, despite Tehran beginning to reduce the work of international inspectors as of Tuesday.

International Atomic Energy Agency: No change in the number of inspectors in Iran

The Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency announced, on Sunday, that a “temporary agreement” was reached with Iran on inspecting its nuclear facilities to continue verification and monitoring activities “necessary for Iran’s nuclear activities.

The American general urged Iran not to carry out any “heinous activities”, in an attempt to rebuild confidence, saying, “I think they want to be recognized as a responsible member and a stabilizing factor in the region.”

The United States accuses Iran of destabilizing the region through financial and military support for groups loyal to it, especially in Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen.

Washington also blamed the Iranian Revolutionary Guards for disrupting shipping traffic in the strategic Strait of Hormuz in the Gulf in 2019, which is the corridor through which a fifth of global oil production passes daily.

The Strait of Hormuz was a major focus of the American general’s visit to Oman, which was officially aimed at establishing contacts with the new Chief of Staff of the Omani Forces, Major General Abdullah bin Khamis Al Raisi.

He visited a naval base in the northern Khasab region that monitors shipping traffic in the strait, and flew by helicopter towards the Iranian island of Qeshm, about 55 km from the nearest point on the Omani coast.

“We were about 28 miles (45 kilometers) away, and we were looking towards Qeshm Island,” he said, adding with a smile, “It was a foggy day and I couldn’t see it.”

“Ready for anything”

The visit passed peacefully, but the US military official did not rule out that Tehran would try to avenge again for the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in an American air strike in Baghdad, January 2020.

“I suspect there is still a risk that this is an act that is being planned,” he said.

He continued, “We are constantly evaluating the issue of protecting our forces here in the region. We look at that very seriously, so I am sure that we are ready for anything.”

In recent months in Iraq, several missile strikes have targeted military bases used by the US military, which Washington has said were pro-Iranian factions.



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