Flashpoints

Iranian foreign minister calls attacks on tankers ‘suspicious’

The Iranian foreign minister has described the reported attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz as suspicious, since it occurred during a meeting between Japan’s prime minister and Iran’s supreme leader.

Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comment in a tweet on Thursday: "Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired this morning."

He didn't elaborate.

Zarif described the talks between Shinzo Abe and Ayatollah Ali Khamenei as "extensive and friendly."

However, Khamenei said Iran would never negotiate with the U.S. and said that while his country didn’t seek nuclear weapons, “America could not do anything” to stop Iran if it did.

IRIB, the Iranian news agency, has posted several photos on its Twitter feed is says are of the incident.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khameneni says that while Tehran doesn't want an atomic bomb, "America could not do anything" to stop Iran if it did.

Khamenei made the comment on Thursday during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who came to Tehran as an interlocutor for President Donald Trump to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran.

How would Iran's military fare in an armed conflict with the U.S.? In this Feb, 11, 2019, file photo, Iranian Revolutionary Guard members arrive for a ceremony celebrating the 40th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution, at the Azadi, or Freedom, Square, in Tehran, Iran. (Vahid Salemi/AP)
What war with Iran could look like

Military Times interviewed more than a dozen military experts, including current and former U.S. military officials, about how a conflict might begin and how it could play out. This is what they said could happen:

His visit may not have succeeded, however. Khamenei earlier was quoted as saying Iran "will in no way repeat" negotiations with the U.S. amid tension over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

Khamenei's official website quoted him as telling Abe: "I don't regard Trump as deserving any exchange of messages and have no response for him and will give no response."

Khamenei says that Tehran “will in no way repeat” negotiations with the U.S. amid tension over its unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

Khamenei made the comment on Thursday, during a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe who traveled to Tehran as an interlocutor for President Donald Trump to ease tensions between Washington and Tehran.

But the comments by Khamenei could indicate that Abe's visit may not have succeeded.

Marine Corps Gen. Kenneth McKenzie Jr., U.S. Central Command commander, greets Saudi Arabia National Guard service members on April 15, 2019, in Saudi Arabia. (Sgt. Franklin Moore/Army)
US CENTCOM commander says Mideast buildup prompted Iran ‘step back’

Iran has chosen to “step back and recalculate” after making preparations for an apparent attack against U.S. forces in the Persian Gulf region, but it is too early to conclude the threat is gone, the top commander of American forces in the Mideast said Thursday.

Khamenei’s official website quoted him as telling Abe: “I don’t regard Trump as deserving any exchange of messages and have no response for him and will give no response.”

Iran's state TV is reporting that the country's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has met with visiting Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe amid tension between Iran and United States.

The meeting on Thursday morning, the second and final day of Abe's landmark visit, came amid reports of an oil tanker explosion in the Gulf of Oman.

Abe is the first sitting Japanese prime minister to visit Tehran since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. On Wednesday, he warned that an "accidental conflict" amid heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S. must be avoided at all costs.

Abe’s trip is the highest-level effort yet to de-escalate the crisis as Tehran appears poised to break the 2015 nuclear deal it struck with world powers, an accord that the Trump administration pulled out of last year.

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