Updated May 15, 2019

Iran tensions: U.S. orders non-essential embassy staff to leave Iraq

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) in Baghdad, May 7. Photo: Mandel Ngan/AFP/Getty Images

The U.S. State Department ordered "non-emergency government employees" to leave Iraq as soon as possible, the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said in a statement Wednesday.

Details: The move comes after Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said it would not be difficult for Tehran to "enrich uranium to weapons-grade levels," AP reports, citing state media. He did say "no one is seeking war," AP said. Iran officially began rolling back key commitments of its 2015 nuclear deal Wednesday, per the Iranian Students News Agency.

Context: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo made an unscheduled trip to Baghdad last week to discuss with Iraqi leaders "specific threats" about Iranian activity. The heightened tensions prompted the embassy to issue a security alert Sunday advising Americans to avoid travel to Iraq.

The big picture: The U.S. sent warships to the Gulf to send a message to Iran that attacks on U.S. interests or allies would be met with force. Israel had warned the U.S. of an alleged Iranian plot to attack American interests in the Gulf. President Trump announced fresh sanctions against Tehran last week that target its metal industries.

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America's future looks a lot like Nevada

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Today's Nevada caucus will foreshadow the future of American politics well beyond 2020.

Why it matters: The U.S. is in the midst of a demographic transformation, and the country's future looks a lot like Nevada's present. Today's results, in addition to shaping the 2020 race, will help tell us where politics is headed in a rapidly changing country.

Coronavirus spreads to more countries, and U.S. ups its case count

Data: The Center for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins, the CDC, and China's Health Ministry. Note: China numbers are for the mainland only and U.S. numbers include repatriated citizens.

The novel coronavirus continues to spread to more nations, and the U.S. reports a doubling of its confirmed cases to 34 — while noting those are mostly due to repatriated citizens, emphasizing there's no "community spread" yet in the U.S. Meanwhile, Italy reported its first virus-related death on Friday.

The big picture: COVID-19 has now killed at least 2,359 people and infected more than 77,000 others, mostly in mainland China. New countries to announce infections recently include Israel, Lebanon and Iran.

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