The Latest: Iraqi FM says Iraq wants to avoid conflict

FILE - In this March 14, 2015 file photo, Iraqi Shiite militia group called Imam Ali Brigades chant slogans against the Islamic State group at the battlefield in Tikrit, 130 kilometers (80 miles) north of Baghdad, Iraq. From Lebanon and Syria to Iraq, Yemen, and the Gaza Strip, Iran has significantly expanded its footprint over the past decade, finding and developing powerful allies in conflict-ravaged countries across the Middle East. Iran has trained, financed, and equipped Shiite militias in Iraq that battled U.S. forces in the years after the 2003 invasion and remobilized to battle the Islamic State group a decade later. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)

TEHRAN, Iran — The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere in the Mideast amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local):

9:15 p.m.

Iraq's foreign minister says his country should stay away from conflict, adding that efforts should be exerted to avoid "tensions and escalation" in the Middle East.

Mohammed Ali Al-Hakim made his comments in Britain on Friday during a meeting with Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt, according to a statement released by the office of the Iraqi official.

Hakim said Iraq's point of view is that any moves could escalate the situation in the region, which is experiencing heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S., should be avoided.

Iraq has close relations with both Washington and Tehran.

He said any conflict in Iraq would delay development and reconstruction in the country.


7:30 p.m.

Britain's Foreign Office is advising against all travel to Iran by British-Iranian dual nationals.

The government said Friday the upgraded travel warning is in response to Iran's "continued arbitrary detention and mistreatment" of dual nationals and of Iranian citizens working for institutions linked to Britain.

It follows the arrest of an Iranian woman who had been working for the British Council in Iran.

Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said dual nationals face an "intolerable risk" of abuse if they travel to Iran.

He cited the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, a dual citizen detained in Iran since 2016.

The Foreign Office also warns that Iran does not recognize dual nationality, limiting the British government's ability to help dual nationals detained in Iran.


3:40 p.m.

An official with Iran's powerful Revolutionary Guard says Iranian missiles can "easily reach warships" in the Persian Gulf and elsewhere in the Middle East amid escalating tensions with Washington.

The Guard's deputy chief in charge of parliamentary affairs, Mohammad Saleh Jokar, was quoted by the semi-official Fars news agency Friday as saying that Iran's missiles with a range of 2,000 kilometers — about 1,250 miles— are capable of targeting any point within the region.

Washington has already warned shipping companies that "Iran or its proxies" could be targeting maritime traffic in the Persian Gulf. The U.S. has deployed the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln and B-52 bombers to the highly sensitive region to counter the threat.

Jokar further warns that a conflict would endanger the world's energy supply. He says: "If a war happens, the world will suffer."

A third of the world's oil supply is transported through the Persian Gulf.


1:50 p.m.

The German Defense Ministry says it's resuming its military training mission in Iraq after a re-evaluation of the security situation determined the threat level had lessened.

The Ministry said Friday the re-assessment was a joint assessment by coalition forces serving in Iraq, which is led by the United States.

Last week, the U.S. said they'd detected signs of Iranian preparations for potential attacks on U.S. forces and interests in the Middle East, and the threat assessment in Iraq was raised to its highest level.

That prompted Germany to suspend its training of Iraqi soldiers in the north, and ordered the 160 German soldiers to stay on base.

The Ministry says the threat level has now been lowered, so its soldiers can again leave their base and would "soon" resume their mission.


11:50 a.m.

Iran's foreign minister is pressing ahead with intense diplomatic efforts to salvage Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers at the center of a crisis unfolding between Iran and the U.S.

Mohammad Javad Zarif chastised the international community, saying that so far, it has "mainly made statements, instead of saving the deal," according to the official IRNA news agency. He spoke in China on Friday after visiting Japan.

The Trump administration pulled America out of the deal last year and imposed escalating sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy. Other signatories to the deal — the European Union, France, Britain, China and Russia — have been trying to salvage it.

Iran recently warned it would resume enriching uranium at higher levels if a new nuclear deal isn't reached by July 7.

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