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Russia, China Concerned with US Deployment of More Troops to Middle East

Russia, China Concerned with US Deployment of More Troops to Middle East

Tuesday, 18 June, 2019 - 11:00
Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov speaks during a news conference in Moscow, Russia February 7, 2019. (Reuters)
Asharq Al-Awsat

Russia and China expressed on Tuesday their concern with the United States’ plans to deploy more troops to the Middle East amid heightened tensions with Iran.

Russia told the United States on Tuesday to drop what it called provocative plans to deploy more forces.

Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan on Monday said Washington planned to send around 1,000 more troops to the Middle East for defensive purposes.

Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told reporters that Moscow had repeatedly warned Washington and its regional allies about what he called the “unthinking and reckless pumping up of tensions in an explosive region.”

“Now what we see are unending and sustained US attempts to crank up political, psychological, economic and yes military pressure on Iran in quite a provocative way. They (these actions) cannot be assessed as anything but a conscious course to provoke war,” he was cited as saying.

President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that Iran would not wage war against any nation and the Kremlin called for restraint from all sides.

China’s top diplomat warned Tuesday that the world should not open a “Pandora’s Box” in the Middle East, while calling on Tehran not to drop out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Speaking in Beijing, Chinese State Councilor Wang Yi told reporters that Beijing was “of course, very concerned” about the situation in the Gulf and with Iran, and called on all sides to ease tension and not head towards a clash.

“We call on all sides to remain rational and exercise restraint, and not take any escalatory actions that irritate regional tensions, and not open a Pandora’s box,” Wang said.

“In particular, the US side should alter its extreme pressure methods,” Wang said.

“Any unilateral behavior has no basis in international law. Not only will it not resolve the problem, it will only create an even greater crisis.”

Wang also said that the Iran nuclear deal was the only feasible way to resolve its nuclear issue, and he urged Iran to be prudent.

“We understand that relevant parties may have different concerns but first of all the comprehensive nuclear deal should be properly implemented,” he added. “We hope that Iran is cautious with its decision-making and not lightly abandon this agreement.”

Fears of a confrontation between Iran and the United States have mounted since last Thursday when two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman.

The United States blamed Iran for the attacks, more than a year after President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear deal.

Iran denied involvement in the tanker attacks and said on Monday it would soon breach limits on how much enriched uranium it can stockpile under the deal, which had sought to limit its nuclear capabilities.

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