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Putin says US attack on Iran would be a catastrophe

Russian President Vladimir Putin speaks during an annual nationwide televised phone-in show in Moscow, Russia June 20, 2019. Sputnik/Alexey Nikolsky/Kremlin via Reuters
2019-06-20

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SULAIMANI — Russian President Vladimir Putin said on Thursday (June 20) that a US military attack on Iran would be a catastrophe for the Middle East that would trigger a surge in violence and a possible refugee exodus.

Putin, speaking during his annual televised question and answer session, said Moscow believed Tehran was in full compliance with its nuclear commitments and called sanctions against Iran groundless.

The United States is pursuing a campaign to isolate Iran to contain its nuclear and ballistic missile programs and limit its role in regional wars.

Upping the ante, Washington said on Monday it would deploy about 1,000 more troops, along with Patriot missiles and manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft, to the Middle East on top of a 1,500-troop increase announced after the May tanker attacks.

Tensions flared with Trump’s withdrawal last year from world powers’ 2015 nuclear accord with Iran and have worsened as Washington imposed fresh sanctions to throttle Tehran’s vital oil trade. Iran retaliated earlier this week with a threat to breach limits on its nuclear activities imposed by the deal.

The US sanctions net draped over Iran, scuttling its oil exports and barring it from the dollar-dominated global finance system, have hammered Iran’s economy, undoing the promise of trade rewards from the 2015 deal to curb its nuclear ambitions.

Tehran has also said it will shortly suspend compliance with the nuclear deal’s curbs on its uranium enrichment, meant to block any pathway to nuclear weapons capability, and threatened to disrupt oil shipments through the Strait of Hormuz.

But Trump - who sees the nuclear deal as flawed to Iran’s advantage and requiring renegotiation - and Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei have both said they have no interest in starting a war.

(NRT Digital Media/Reuters)