JERUSALEM, Israel – The US State Department is ordering all non-essential personnel out of Iraq amid growing threats from Iran.
Today, Iran's supreme leader says "no one wants war," but he's also threatening to make weapons-grade uranium.
With tensions clearly escalating, Trump is denying a New York Times report that the administration has a plan to send 120,000 US troops to the region.
“Would I do that? Absolutely! But we have not planned for that. Hopefully, we're not going to have to plan for that. And if we did that, we'd send a hell of a lot more troops than that,” Trump said.
While criticizing US moves in the Gulf as dangerous, Hamid Baeidinejad, Iran’s ambassador to the UK, said Iran is prepared for any showdown with the US.
"But while we have renounced any escalation, military escalation, in the region. I would assure you that (the) Iranian government and Iranian armed forces are fully ready for any eventuality in the region."
Meanwhile, the US Embassy in Baghdad ordered all non-essential, non-emergency government staff on Wednesday to leave Iraq immediately amid escalating tensions with Iran.
Earlier this week, President Trump warned Iran to be careful.
"We'll see what happens with Iran, if they do anything it will be a very bad mistake, if they do anything. I'm hearing little stories about Iran, if they do anything, they will suffer greatly, we'll see what happens with Iran."
Iran said the recent attacks on Saudi oil tankers were done deliberately by the US so they could blame Iran. But the US warned ships in the Gulf Iran or its proxies could be targeting maritime traffic in the region. Satellite photos and video show the damage to the four ships loaded with oil in the Persian Gulf.
In the meantime, the US boosted its military presence in the region. It sent the USS Carrier Abraham Lincoln through the Suez Canal and B-52’s to Qatar.
In the past few days, CBN News joined Lt. Gen. (Ret.) Jerry Boykin on a fact-finding mission just miles from the Iranian border.
When asked what kind of threat Iran poses to the general Middle East, Israel, and the US, Boykin emphasized Iran’s “growing nuclear capabilities” and support of the Hezbollah terror group.
“The Iranians are reacting to Trump's declaration that the IRGC (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) is a terrorist organization. They have targeted American forces here. They want to carry out some spectacular attack that will kill Americans,” Boykin continued.
CBN NEWS PODCAST: As non-essential personnel leave Iraq, CBN Middle East Bureau Chief Chris Mitchell says God is at work helping the CBN News team cover this story. Clear HERE to Go Behind the Scenes.
Former Israeli ambassador to the US Michael Oren said the US is not Iran’s only Middle Eastern target.
“Not to be just against American forces but also possibly against Israel. Iran will try and prove that it can plunge the entire Middle East into war. That’s the only way it can get out from under the sanctions, out from Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s conditions and so we have to be on our guard.”
Oren says both the US and Israel see Iran the same way.
“Iran, as the administration has said repeatedly, is the source, the greatest source of instability throughout this entire region and the world’s greatest sponsor of state terrorism in the world. And we deeply appreciate America’s stance against Iran and with the State of Israel.”
The Middle East and the world will be waiting to see what turn this high stakes showdown will take next.