US-Iran tensions have the world on edge

US-Iran tensions have the world on edge

By Luke Vargas   
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, pictured, was among those calling on restraint between the U.S. and Iran on Tuesday. UN Photo/Loey Felipe
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, pictured, was among those calling on restraint between the U.S. and Iran on Tuesday. UN Photo/Loey Felipe

Parties to the Iran nuclear deal had choice words for both the U.S. and Iran week as tensions between the countries continues to mount.

NEW YORK – If urgent appeals from Berlin, Moscow and Beijing are any indication, tensions between the U.S. and Iran have much of the world on edge as the U.S. readies new troop deployments to the Middle East and Iran threatens to breach the terms of a 2015 nuclear deal.

Iran threatened Monday to violate that deal as early as next week if it fails to receive the financial support from Europe that it was promised when it agreed to caps on its nuclear program.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was among those who called on Iran to abide by limits on its low-enriched uranium limits spelled out in the nuclear accord. Merkel went as far as to threaten “consequences” if Iran ignored that warning.

French President Emmanuel Macron echoed that concern, saying political leaders in Tehran should be “patient and responsible attitude” lest they deal a death-blow to a nuclear deal already imperiled by President Trump’s withdrawal last year.

Those and other messages of restraint pointed from European capitals follow extensive efforts by leaders on the continent to prove their support for Iran as it contends with a collapsing economy hit hard by U.S. sanctions.

Many of the same countries urging Iranian restraint had choice words for U.S. following Monday’s announcement that 1,000 U.S. troops would soon be deployed to protect against Iranian threats.

A top adviser to E.U. foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini told Politico on Tuesday that the U.S. was ultimately to blame for raising tensions with Iran, while Mogherini herself joined President Macron in questioning U.S. intelligence reports blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers last week.

Russia was decidedly sharper its criticism of Washington. Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov said Tuesday that President Trump’s decision to deploy troops to the Middle East amounted to a provocation for war.

But in a sign of just how damaging a U.S.-Iran conflict could be for the wider world, it was China – a top trading partner of both countries – that most carefully balanced its criticisms of the two sides.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi said Tuesday that the U.S. should avoid opening a “Pandora’s Box” by getting bogged down again in the Middle East, while also warning Iran to “not lightly abandon” a nuclear deal that’s perhaps the only diplomatic thread preventing a more serious breakdown in global security.

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