Germany, Netherlands halt Iraq military training amid Iran-US tensions
Iran Press TV
Wed May 15, 2019 06:41PM
Germany and the Netherlands say they are halting their US-led military training operations in Iraq amid rising tensions between Washington and Tehran.
"The German army has suspended the training," Defense Ministry spokesman Jens Flosdorff said Wednesday, claiming there was "generally heightened alert, awareness" for soldiers currently operating in the region.
Flosdorff, however, said training may resume in the next few days and added in apparently paradoxical comments that there was "no concrete threat" at the moment.
Germany has some 160 soldiers deployed in Iraq.
Separately, the Netherlands' Defense Ministry said it was also suspending its training mission in Iraq due to "threats," the Dutch ANP news agency said.
ANP added that Dutch forces had been ordered to remain indoors since Sunday.
The Netherlands has about 170 military and civilian personnel in Iraq.
This comes as tensions build up between the United States and Iran, with Washington applying new sanctions pressure on Tehran and sending additional forces to the Middle East.
Washington said it would send an aircraft carrier strike group close to the region as a warning message to Iran.
In reaction, the commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) aerospace division, General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, asserted that the US forces stationed in the Persian Gulf "will be hit on the head" if they make a wrong move.
"An aircraft carrier with at least 40 to 50 fighter jets and 6,000 personnel was a serious threat for us in the past, but is now a target and threats have turned into opportunities," Hajizadeh said on Sunday.
"If Americans make a [wrong] move, we will hit them on the head."
The Iranian commander added that if the Americans say nothing about waging war against Iran it is because "they are vulnerable."
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