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Mohammad Baqeri - Iran News Headlines

Iran’s top military commander says the country’s military stands ready to defend its interests and protect its security in the Persian Gulf. “The Islamic Republic of Iran is fully ready under the current circumstances to defend its security and interests in the Persian Gulf,” Chairman of Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said while addressing cadets in China’s PLA National Defense University in Beijing on Thursday. “History shows that we have never initiated [an act of] aggression or a war and will not do so, but we will firmly defend our security and sovereignty in case of any aggression or intervention by foreigners,” he added. The senior military commander further reiterated Iran’s position that security of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, through which passes a major portion of all oil globally consumed, should be provided by regional states and not the foreigners. He said the presence and deployment of forces from the US and other Western countries, and plans like the already failed US-led coalition in the Persian Gulf purportedly seeking to boost security in the region, have and will have no result but aggravated insecurity. “The Islamic Republic of Iran has done its share of ensuring security of this sensitive region through the years and would continue to do so,” said Mohammad Baqeri, adding, “However, it views the military presence of foreign powers as a major challenge to the security of the region.” He said Iran’s policy for establishing regionalContinue reading

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Avigdor Lieberman - Benjamin Netanyahu - Gadi Eisenkot - Israel News

Avigdor Lieberman entered Israeli politics as a loyal protégé of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. Now, the maverick politician could be the one to topple his former mentor. Lieberman, a burly, tough-talking immigrant from the former Soviet Union, forced Israel’s unprecedented second election of the year and is poised to be the kingmaker again. Polls suggest Netanyahu won’t be able to form a coalition government without Lieberman’s support. Lieberman has played hard to get. “I don’t have to join at any cost,” he told Channel 12 news over the weekend. “The prime minister’s policy is simply submission to terrorism.” For years, Netanyahu and Lieberman have had a roller-coaster relationship. Lieberman, once Netanyahu’s chief of staff, has held a series of senior Cabinet posts and was often a staunch partner. But he’s has also been a rival, critic and thorn in Netanyahu’s side. In a high-stakes gamble, he passed up the post of defense minister in Netanyahu’s government following April’s election, leaving the prime minister without a parliamentary majority and forcing the Sept. 17 do-over vote. Their dispute, over what Lieberman says is excessive influence of ultra-Orthodox religious parties, has become a central issue in the current campaign. Lieberman says he will insist on a secular unity government between Netanyahu and his main challenger, Benny Gantz, in order to push out ultra-Orthodox parties. But Netanyahu says his former ally’s real goal is to oust him from office, and Lieberman is suddenly discovering newfound support from those who hope he does just that.Continue reading

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Emmanuel Macron - France Politics Headline Today

France has proposed offering Iran credit lines worth about $15 billion (12 billion pounds) until the end of the year in return for Tehran coming fully back into compliance with its 2015 nuclear deal, an offer that hinges on Washington not blocking it, Western and Iranian sources said. European leaders have struggled to calm confrontation between Tehran and Washington since U.S. President Donald Trump quit the deal, which guarantees Iran access to world trade in return for curbs to its nuclear programme. The United States re-imposed sanctions on Iran last year and tightened them sharply this year. Iran has responded by breaching some of the limits on nuclear material in the deal, and has set a deadline for this week to take further steps. Macron has spent the summer trying to create conditions that would bring the sides back to the negotiating table. An Iranian delegation was in Paris on Monday, including oil and finance officials, to fine tune details of credit lines that would give Iran some respite from sanctions that have crippled its economy and cut off its oil exports. “The question is to know whether we can reach this $15 billion) level, secondly who will finance it, and thirdly we need to get at the very least the tacit approval of the United States. We still don’t know what the U.S. position is,” said a source aware of the negotiations. A senior Iranian official familiar with the negotiations said: “France has offered the credit line of $15Continue reading

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Hezbollah Military Against Israel

An escalation between Israel and Hezbollah has ended after a brief exchange of fire, but tensions remained high along the Lebanese border Monday after a series of accusations from the two enemies. Burnt fields could be seen in the border area and a new military checkpoint was set up outside the Israeli community of Avivim. Schools were however open and residents were returning to normal activity in Avivim, from where the Lebanese town of Maroun al-Ras is clearly visible on a nearby hill. “The war can start in a minute. I am worried it could happen,” Dudu Peretz, 35, said as he was dropping his son off at kindergarten. Sunday’s incident — which caused no casualties — followed a week of rising tensions that included what Hezbollah described as an Israeli drone attack on its Beirut stronghold on August 25. Israel has not acknowledged that attack but subsequently accused Hezbollah of working with Iran in Lebanon to produce precision-guided missiles. Hezbollah had warned of retaliation, and on Sunday it fired up to three anti-tank missiles from Lebanon at an Israeli battalion headquarters near Avivim and at a vehicle Israel said was a military ambulance. Israel retaliated with around 100 artillery shells targeting the squad that fired the missiles. Hezbollah issued a statement soon afterward saying it had destroyed an Israeli military vehicle and killed and wounded those inside. Israel’s military later refuted the claim, saying no one was injured, but Israeli media reported that a ruse may have contributed toContinue reading

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Benjamin Netanyahu - Politics Israel

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu intends to annex all Israeli settlements in the occupied West Bank, he said on Sunday, reiterating an election promise made five months ago but again giving no timeframe. Settlements are one of the most heated issues in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. Palestinians have voiced fears Netanyahu could defy international consensus and move ahead with annexation with possible backing from U.S. President Donald Trump, a close ally. “With God’s help we will extend Jewish sovereignty to all the settlements as part of the (biblical) land of Israel, as part of the state of Israel,” Benjamin Netanyahu said in Sunday’s speech in the West Bank settlement of Elkana, where he attended a ceremony opening the school year. He did not say when he planned to make such a move. Nabil Abu Rdainah, a spokesman for Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, said Netanyahu’s announcement was a “continuation of attempts to create an unacceptable fait accompli that will not lead to any peace, security or stability”. Netanyahu, who heads the right-wing Likud party, made a similar pledge days before an Israeli general election in April. After the vote, he failed to form a governing parliamentary majority and the country will hold a new election on Sept. 17. His reaffirmation of the annexation promise came amid a campaign push to draw supporters of far-right factions to Likud in the coming election, in which votes are cast for a party’s list of parliamentary candidates. In power for the past decade, but with corruptionContinue reading

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Mohammad Javad Zarif on Iran Politics

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the US must return to a 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement and end its economic terrorism against the Islamic Republic as a prerequisite for negotiations. “The United States is engaged in an economic war against the Iranian people and it won’t be possible for us to engage with the United States unless they stop imposing a war and engaging in economic terrorism against the Iranian people,” Javad Zarif told reporters in the Malaysian capital, Kuala Lumpur, on Thursday. “So if they want to come back into the room there is a ticket that they need to purchase and that ticket is to observe the agreement,” he added. Zarif also stressed that Iran does not want to meet for the sake of meeting, saying, “We need to meet if there is a result.” He made the remarks days after French President Emmanuel Macron expressed hopes for a meeting between President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and his American counterpart, Donald Trump, “in the next few weeks.” Rouhani, however, rejected any such talks under pressure, urging the US to lift all its “cruel” bans and begin respecting the nation’s rights as a “first step” towards dialog. The nuclear deal — officially named the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — was signed between Iran and six world states — namely the US, Germany, France, Britain, Russia and China. Washington, however, left the accord last May, leaving the future of the historic deal in limbo. Critical of Washington’sContinue reading

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Palestine, Palestinians Killed By Israeli Troops In Gaza Protests

Tangible steps “can, and must, be taken” to urgently reverse the “negative trajectory” of the Palestinian-Israeli conflict and revive the peace process, a senior United Nations envoy told the Security Council on Tuesday. “Against the backdrop of the complete political deadlock of the Middle East peace process and the lack of any perspective to revive it,” Nickolay Mladenov, Special Coordinator for the Middle East Peace Process, said that “the rising specter of violence in the West Bank and Gaza” threatens a regional escalation. Warning again of repercussions over the lack of a political horizon towards resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict on the basis of the two-state solution, he said that unilateral moves on the ground, terror attacks and a multitude of other factors risk are creating “an explosive mix” that can only be resolved through strong leadership returning to the table for “meaningful negotiations towards a sustainable and just peace”. Mr. Mladenov, who briefed the Council via videconference from Jerusalem, elaborated on the need for “a leadership that can stand up to extremists and radicals and uphold what the international community, the Security Council and the region have said so many times – that lasting peace can only be based on the idea that Israelis and Palestinians live side-by-side in peace, security and mutual recognition, as both peoples have a legitimate and historic right to their own statehood”. Straying from a framework based on UN resolutions and mutual agreements will lead to “inevitable radicalization”, stressed Mr. Mladenov. Giving up on theContinue reading

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YPG, Syrian Kurdish Military in Syria

The main U.S.-backed Syrian Kurdish militia has begun withdrawing its fighters from two towns near Turkey’s border, part of a deal for a so-called safe zone in northeastern Syria involving the U.S. and Turkey, the Kurdish-led regional administration in northern Syria said Tuesday. Turkey has been pressing for a safe zone, running east of the Euphrates River toward the Iraqi border, to push U.S.-allied Syrian Kurdish militias away from its frontier. Turkey wants to control — in coordination with the U.S. — a 19-25 mile (30-40 kilometer) deep zone within civil war-ravaged Syria. Turkey wants the region along its border to be clear of Syrian Kurdish forces and has threatened on numerous occasions to launch a new operation in Syria against Syrian Kurdish forces if such a zone is not established. Turkey sees the Syrian Kurdish fighters, who make up the majority of the Syrian Democratic Forces and are allied with the U.S., as terrorists aligned with a Kurdish insurgency within Turkey. American troops are stationed in northeast Syria, along with the Kurdish forces, and have fought the Islamic State group together. The differing positions on the Kurdish fighters have become a major source of tension between NATO allies Turkey and the U.S. The administration said “the first step” in these understandings began three days ago in the town of Ras al-Ayn, from where members of the militia known as YPG withdrew with their heavy weapons. The statement that was read by Zeidan al-Assi, head of defense office at theContinue reading

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Committee to Protect Journalists, CPJ

The Committee to Protect Journalists (CPJ) has accused Israeli surveillance companies of paving the way for attacks on media freedom around the world by easing rules governing the export of offensive cyber weapons, despite grave concerns by human rights and privacy groups that the technologies are used by some governments to spy on political foes and crush dissent. The New York-based group, which seeks to promote press freedom and defends the rights of journalists, stated that Israeli officials had confirmed that, under a rule change by the ministry of military affairs a year ago, Israeli surveillance companies “are able to obtain exemptions on marketing license for the sale of some products to certain countries.” The CPJ stated that Israeli-exported technology undermined press freedom globally by allowing authorities to track reporters and potentially identify their sources. The group then highlighted that the Mexican government had deployed super-stealth Pegasus spyware, developed by Israeli cyberarms firm NSO Group, in order to infiltrate the mobile phones “of at least nine journalists.” Back in early November 2018, former US National Security Agency contractor and whistle-blower Edward Snowden said Saudi Arabia might have used Pegasus to track prominent dissident journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed after visiting the kingdom’s consulate in Turkey’s largest city of Istanbul the previous month. “Over and over again, we see Israeli technology facilitating press freedom abuses around the world, by lending a hand to governments that want to track and monitor reporters,” CPJ Advocacy Director, Courtney Radsch, said in Washington, D.C.Continue reading

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Mohammad Javad Zarif on Iran Politics News Headline

The top Iranian diplomat says “security is a common global commodity,” that either exists for everybody or no one. Speaking at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) during a visit to Sweden, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comments Wednesday amid the US military presence in the Persian Gulf. He added that Iran has already fulfilled all of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which enshrines it. “This is an agreement, this was not a diktat,” he said. “We did not dictate it to the other side obviously, but the other side did not obviously dictate it to us to some people’s chagrin.” “Iran according to 15 reports of the IAEA (the International Atomic Energy Agency) … has complied with the Resolution 2231 and with the JCPOA,” he said. “Even five IAEA reports came after US withdrawal, it still showed that we don’t violate [the deal].” Washington abandoned the landmark deal in May 2018, when President Donald Trump said he was going to use sanctions and other measures in his power to force Iran into renegotiating another deal that addresses the country’s missile program and its growing role in the Middle East region. Zarif noted that the US, under Trump, is unpredictable and does not comply to the international law. He said Iran behaves in a predictable manner and expects predictable behavior in response. “Mutual unpredictability will lead to chaos. Because President Trump cannot expectContinue reading

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Yemen War - Yemen Map - Middle East

Southern separatists seized two Yemeni government military bases near the southern port of Aden early on Tuesday, triggering fresh clashes between nominal allies that have complicated U.N. peace efforts, residents and officials said. The separatists and government are both part of a Saudi-led military coalition battling the Iran-aligned Houthi movement, which took over the capital Sanaa and most major cities in 2014. But the separatists broke with the government this month, seizing its temporary base of Aden on Aug. 10. On Tuesday, they took two government military bases in Zinjibar, around 60 km (40 miles) east of Aden in Abyan province, residents said. “What is happening in Abyan is an unjustified escalation by the Southern Transitional Council (STC – the separatists),” the Yemeni government foreign ministry said. On another front in the north, the Saudi-led coalition said it launched air strikes overnight on Houthi military targets in Sanaa. The coalition said on Tuesday that its air strikes on Sanaa struck caves storing missiles, drones and weapons. The assault appeared to be in response to Houthi attacks on energy assets in neighbouring Saudi Arabia on Saturday. The violence and cracks in the coalition could hamper United Nations efforts to push forward peace agreements and talks to end a war that has killed tens of thousands and driven the poorest Arabian Peninsula country to the brink of famine. The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 against the Houthi movement that ousted the internationally recognised government of Abd-Rabbu MansourContinue reading

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Syria Army - Syrian News Headlines Today

Syrian government forces looked set to recover a strategic town that has been in rebel hands since 2014 in a major Russian-backed offensive into the opposition’s last major stronghold. An organisation that monitors the war and a pro-Damascus military source said insurgents had withdrawn from Khan Sheikhoun overnight, though the main insurgent group in the area said rebels still held part of the town and fighting continued. Capturing Khan Sheikhoun would be an important gain for President Bashar al-Assad into the northwestern region where his bid to recover “every inch” of Syria has hit complications including Turkish forces on the ground. Syrian state media, in a broadcast from near the town, reported that government forces had widened their control including by seizing a highway running through Khan Sheikhoun, which was targeted in a sarin gas attack in 2017. The pro-Damascus military source told Reuters the town was under army control after the rebels were caught in a pincer movement and fled. “There are some pockets and explosive devices, there are a few who refuse to withdraw and want to die,” the source said. The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, a UK-based war monitoring group, said rebels had withdrawn from their last piece of territory in neighbouring Hama province in addition to Khan Sheikhoun. The most powerful insurgent group in the area, the jihadist Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, denied this and said the battle continued. In a statement on its Telegram channel, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham said rebels still held part of KhanContinue reading

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Benjamin Netanyahu - Israel Politics News Headline

In the eyes of critics, Benjamin Netanyahu’s decision to bar two Democratic congresswomen at the request of President Donald Trump is the latest reckless gamble by a prime minister willing to sacrifice Israel’s national interests for short-term gain. The move infuriated Democrats and risked turning Israel into even more of a partisan issue at a time when Americans are fiercely divided and Trump faces a tough fight for re-election. And yet the pursuit of such allegedly short-sighted policies has kept Netanyahu and his Likud party in power for more than a decade, making him the longest-serving leader in Israel’s history. The latest move, popular among his right-wing base, comes as he seeks an unprecedented fourth term in next month’s elections. Israel’s steady, two-decade lurch to the right shows no sign of reversing. Its refusal to accede to international demands for concessions to the Palestinians has not only brought no serious consequences from Washington, but is now being rewarded and encouraged by the White House. “Since Likud came to power in 1977 and Israel invaded Lebanon in 1982, Israel has lived with dire warnings about the growing rift between American and Israeli Jews, or about the contradiction between Israel’s claims to be a democracy and its undemocratic rule over more than one million Palestinians,” said Nathan Thrall, the head of the Arab-Israeli Project at the Crisis Group, a Brussels-based think tank. “The sky has not yet fallen.” Last week Netanyahu barred the entry of Reps. Rashida Tlaib and Ilhan Omar, newly-electedContinue reading

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Yemen Houthi movement Supporters

Southern Yemeni separatists withdrew on Saturday from some government buildings in Aden that they seized last week but held on to military camps that give them control over the southern port, interim seat of Yemen’s Saudi-backed government. The separatists’ takeover of Aden has strained a Saudi-led military coalition formed to confront the Iran-aligned Houthis as the movement stepped up attacks on the kingdom, hitting a Saudi oil installation on Saturday. A Houthi military spokesman said the group launched 10 drones on oil installations at Shaybah in eastern Saudi Arabia, describing it as the “biggest attack in the depths” of the kingdom and vowing further operations. State oil company Aramco said the attack caused a “limited fire” at a gas plant which had been contained and did not impact production. Energy Minister Khalid al-Falih condemned the strike as “cowardly” sabotage directed at global oil supplies. The Yemen conflict is widely seen in the region as a proxy war between Saudi Arabia and regional rival Shi’ite Muslim Iran. The Western-backed, Sunni Muslim coalition intervened in Yemen in March 2015 to try to restore the internationally recognised government of Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi after the Houthis ousted him from power in the capital Sanna in late 2014. The tensions have complicated United Nations efforts to implement a stalled peace deal in the main port city of Hodeidah, on Yemen’s west coast, and pave the way for political talks to end the war that has pushed the country to the brink of famine. Coalition warplanesContinue reading

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USA, Israel Plot Against Iran

Israel and the United Arab Emirates have been recently engaged in secret talks, arranged by the US, to share their information and coordinate their efforts against Iran, a report by the Wall Street Journal says. Quoting US officials familiar with the secret talks, the WSJ says the meetings were arranged by US special representative for Iran, Brian Hook. The first meeting was held this spring, and the second took place more recently, the report quoted a US official as saying. “The discussions among US, Israeli and Emirati officials, although still in the preliminary stages, appear to indicate those contacts have gone beyond being symbolic and exploratory to mapping coordination on specific issues,” US officials told the WSJ. According to the report, the secret talks “were intended to increase diplomatic, military and intelligence cooperation in dealing with Iran.” The report quotes people familiar with the discussions as saying that Hook has worked to bring anti-Iran elements together for secret meetings. “Hook wants help from Israel and the Emirates in getting other countries in Europe and the Middle East to take a tough stance regarding Tehran,” a former US official said. The report says “the exact dates and locations of the unpublicized meetings couldn’t be learned.” Therefore, it is not clear whether the secret talks took place before or after the recent efforts by the UAE to approach Iran and sign agreements with the Islamic Republic on the security of the Persian Gulf. Amid heightened tensions in the Persian Gulf region, anContinue reading

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Syria Army - Syrian News Headlines

The Syrian army has captured two towns near the terrorists’ stronghold of Khan Shaykhun in southern Idlib, reaching the edges of a major bastion of foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants. In their large-scale advance on Thursday night, the troops captured the small town of Madaya and immediately secured it in order to prevent the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham terrorists from reentering it. The next target after Madaya was the hilltop town of Tal al-Arjahi, which was briefly contested, but later ended with terrorists fully retreating back toward Khan Shaykhun. The Syrian army has now put its troops at the northwestern flank of Khan Shaykhun, marking the farthest advance north that the army has made in the Idlib Governorate. The government troops are working to surround Khan Shaykhun from its western and eastern axes, but the progress of the battle in the east is slow in comparison to the west. Last Sunday, Syrian fighter jets carried out a string of airstrikes against the positions of foreign-sponsored Takfiri militants in the southern part of Idlib, pounding militant bases in the towns of Khan Shaykhun, al-Tamanah, Hass, Madaya, Kafrsajna, Rakaya Sijneh, and Hazarin as well as Hish. By Thursday, the ground forces had gained control of five villages to the northwest of Khan Shaykhun. As the advances continued, Syrian air defense intercepted and destroyed a missile coming from northern Lebanon over the western-central governorate of Hama, state media said. Quoting an unnamed military source, Syria’s official SANA news agency reported that the “hostile” missile was shotContinue reading

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Iranian Oil Tanker Grace 1 Oil Tanker Iran News

Gibraltar on Thursday allowed a detained Iranian supertanker to leave the British overseas territory after a last-minute U.S. attempt to seize the vessel, potentially defusing tensions between London and Tehran as a British-flagged tanker remains held by the Islamic Republic. The release of the Grace 1 comes after the U.S. under President Donald Trump pulled out of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago, setting in motion a growing confrontation between Tehran and the West over its atomic program. In past weeks, the Persian Gulf region has seen six attacks on oil tankers that the U.S. has blamed on Iran and the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone by Iranian forces. Iran has denied being behind the tanker attacks, though it has seized other tankers. The Gibraltar Chronicle newspaper reported there was no U.S. application before the court when a hearing on the Grace 1 resumed Thursday afternoon, quoting the court’s chief justice, Anthony Dudley. That allowed the ship to be freed. That’s a stark change from a morning hearing, which saw Gibraltar say the Justice Department sought to seize the vessel “on a number of allegations.” Dudley said that were it not for the U.S. move, “the ship would have sailed,” the Chronicle reported. The Justice Department did not respond to requests for comment. Britain’s Foreign Office said in a statement that the “investigations conducted around the Grace 1 are a matter for the government of Gibraltar” and that it couldn’t comment further. Prime Minister BorisContinue reading

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