Updated May 29, 2019

Iran tension: Bolton suggests Tehran is seeking nuclear weapons

White House national security adviser John Bolton. Photo: Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

White House national security adviser John Bolton blamed Iran Wednesday for attacks on oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates this month and accused Tehran of seeking nuclear weapons, AP reports.

Details: Bolton told reporters in Abu Dhabi there’s "no reason" for Iran to back out of the nuclear deal and seek higher enrichment unless it is "to reduce the breakout time to produce nuclear weapons," per AP.

The big picture: Bolton also said — without offering evidence — it was "clear" the tanker attacks "were naval mines almost certainly from Iran," according to Reuters. Iran has denied involvement in the attacks, which were claimed by the Houthis in Yemen.

Why it matters: U.S. officials have previously made repeated but unspecific claims of possible impending Iranian attacks. Both U.S. and Iranian officials have said they don't want war. President Trump said Monday he supported Japanese efforts to potentially open a dialogue between the U.S. and Iran.

The other side: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted Monday that Ayatollah Ali Khamenei "long ago said we're not seeking nuclear weapons — by issuing a fatwa (edict) banning them."

  • Zarif attacked Trump's administration — which he called the "B team." He said imposing sanctions on Iran were "hurting the Iranian people & causing tension in the region. Actions — not words — will show whether or not that's [Trump's] intent."

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In photos: Deadly Storm Dennis lashes U.K., Ireland and western France

A family is rescued from a property in Nantgarw, Wales, on Sunday. The storm comes a week after the U.K. was battered by storm Ciara, which killed two people, per the BBC. Photo: Matthew Horwood/Getty Images

Storm Dennis continued to pummel parts of England, Wales and Ireland over Sunday night with heavy rain after battering Northern Ireland and Scotland, per the official British weather agency the Met Office.

Why it matters: It's the second-strongest nontropical storm ever recorded in the North Atlantic Ocean, with its hurricane-force winds and heavy rains that caused widespread flooding across the U.K., the Washington Post notes. Police in Wales confirmed Sunday they found the body of a man who fell into a river as the storm lashed Ystradgynlais.

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Sanders accuses Bloomberg of trying to "buy" the 2020 election

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Sen. Bernie Sanders tore into 2020 rival Michael Bloomberg at a Las Vegas campaign event Saturday, saying the billionaire and former New York mayor is trying to "buy the presidency" by paying millions of dollars in advertising.

Why it matters: Bloomberg has surged in national polling recently, having poured millions of dollars into campaign ads largely targeting Trump. His candidacy has become an obvious foil for Sanders, whose grassroots campaign railing against billionaires and the establishment has vaulted him to front-runner status.

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Coronavirus cases rise, as more Americans on cruise confirmed ill

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's NHC; Note: China refers to mainland China and the Diamond Princess is the cruise ship offshore Yokohama, Japan. Map: Danielle Alberti/Axios

A U.S. public health official confirms more than 40 Americans on the Diamond Princess cruise ship off Japan have coronavirus, while the remaining U.S. citizens without symptoms are being evacuated.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 1,770 people and infected almost 70,000 others. Most cases and all but five of the deaths have occurred in mainland China. Taiwan confirmed its first death on Sunday, per multiple reports, in a 61-year-old man with underlying health conditions. Health officials were investigating how he became ill.

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