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Rashida Harbi Tlaib, Rashida Tlaib - US Politics

Palestinians denounced President Donald Trump’s attack on U.S. Rep. Rashida Tlaib, accusing him of racism and saying it once again proves his bias against the Palestinian people. Tlaib, a Michigan Democrat and daughter of Palestinian immigrants, was one of four congresswomen of color who were targeted in a Trump Twitter barrage over the weekend. Trump said the women should go back to the “broken and crime infested” places they came from, ignoring the fact that all are American citizens and three, including Tlaib, were born in the U.S. Trump also accused them of saying “terrible things” about the U.S. and said they “hate Israel.” Although Rashida Tlaib has never lived in the West Bank, she still has relatives in the area and is widely seen as a local hero for making her way to the highest levels of American government. Bassam Tlaib, an uncle of the congresswoman who lives in the West Bank, called the president’s comments “a racist statement meant to target Rashida because she has Palestinian roots.” “This statement proves that Trump is anti-Palestinian, anti-Islam and completely biased toward Israel,” he added. He said “the main source of crime” in the West Bank is Israel’s half-century-long occupation. The Palestinians seek the West Bank as the heartland of a future state, with east Jerusalem as their capital. “Instead of helping our people get back their rights, President Trump has chosen to stand beside the oppressors, not the oppressed,” he said. Ibrahim Milhim, spokesman for the Palestinian Authority, said Trump’sHere's the full story.

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Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani- USA, Iran News Headlines

Iran is ready to hold talks with the United States if Washington lifts sanctions and returns to the 2015 nuclear deal it quit last year, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said in a televised speech on Sunday. U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration has said it is open to negotiations with Iran on a more far-reaching agreement on nuclear and security issues. But Iran has made any talks conditional on first being able to export as much oil as it did before the United States withdrew from the nuclear pact with world powers in May 2018. “We have always believed in talks … if they lift sanctions, end the imposed economic pressure and return to the deal, we are ready to hold talks with America today, right now and anywhere,” Rouhani said in his Sunday speech. In an interview with the Washington Post newspaper, Pompeo dismissed Rouhani’s idea as “the same offer that he offered to John F. Kerry and Barack Obama,” referring to the former U.S. secretary of state and president. “President Trump will obviously make the final decision. But this is a path that the previous administration had gone down and it led to the (Iran nuclear deal) which this administration, President Trump and I both believe was a disaster,” Pompeo said. Confrontations between Washington and Tehran have escalated, culminating in an aborted plan for U.S. air strikes on Iran last month after Tehran downed a U.S. drone. Trump called off the retaliatory U.S. air strike at the last minute.Here's the full story.

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Mohammad Javad Zarif, Mohammed Javad Zarif - Iran Politics News Headlines

The United States has decided not to impose sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for now, two sources familiar with the matter said on Thursday, in a sign Washington may be holding a door open for diplomacy. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin on June 24 had said Zarif would be blacklisted that week, an unusual public stance because the United States typically does not preview such decisions to keep its targets from moving assets out of U.S. jurisdiction. Blacklisting Iran’s chief negotiator would also be unusual because it could impede any U.S. effort to use diplomacy to resolve its disagreements with Tehran over Iran’s nuclear programme, regional activities and missile testing. The sources did not give specific reasons for the decision, which came after two months in which U.S.-Iranian tensions have soared because of attacks on tankers in the Gulf that the United States blames on Iran, despite its denials, and Iran’s downing of a U.S. drone that prompted preparations for a U.S. retaliatory air strike that was called off minutes before it was due to hit. “Cooler heads prevailed. We … saw it as not necessarily helpful,” said one source familiar with the matter who spoke on condition of anonymity, saying U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had opposed designating Zarif “for the time being.” In a sign of how close Washington came to taking action, the U.S. Treasury internally circulated a draft press release announcing sanctions on the Iranian foreign minister. Zarif is expected to attend aHere's the full story.

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European Union - EU News Today

The European Union is preparing an overhaul of its listing of countries that pose money-laundering risks, an EU confidential document shows, a review that could allow Saudi Arabia to be moved to a new grey list after having been briefly blacklisted. The EU executive added the oil-rich kingdom in February to its blacklist of 23 jurisdictions that represent a threat to the bloc because of lax controls against terrorism financing and money laundering, but after Saudi pressure the list was struck down by EU states. Fearful of the economic impact of that listing, European governments led by Britain and France said the EU executive commission had given no chance to Saudi Arabia and other listed states to address concerns. Required by EU rules to adopt a list, the commissioner in charge of the issue, Czech liberal Vera Jourova, went back to the drawing board and has now come up with a revised process to list countries. Instead of directly blacklisting those with shortfalls, the new process would be based on a “staged approach” under which risk countries would need to commit to changing their rules and practices by set deadlines, the document seen by Reuters said. This would effectively produce a grey list of jurisdictions that would be blacklisted only if they failed to apply required reforms, a European official told Reuters. BEFORE G20? Saudi Arabia, the largest economy included in the original blacklist, would likely be relegated to the less contentious grey list, the official said, a move thatHere's the full story.

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Bashar al Assad, Bashar al-Assad - Syria Politics News Headline

President Bashar al-Assad’s assault in the northwest has been met with a painful rebel counterpunch that underlines Turkish resolve to keep the area out of his hands and shows why he will struggle to take back more of Syria by force. More than two months of Russian-backed operations in and around Idlib province have yielded little or nothing for Assad’s side. It marks a rare case of a military campaign that has not gone his way since Russia intervened in 2015. While resisting government attacks, the insurgents have managed to carve out small advances of their own, drawing on ample stocks of guided anti-tank missiles that opposition and diplomatic sources say have been supplied by Turkey. “They’re even targeting personnel with these missiles … it means they are comfortably supplied,” a rebel source said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was discussing rebel military capabilities. Turkey’s foreign ministry did not immediately respond to a request for comment on reports that Ankara has stepped supplies of arms to rebels. With Turkey committed to the rebels, the battle for the northwest stands in stark contrast to a campaign in the southwest a year ago, when Western and Arab states stood by as Assad and his Russian- and Iranian-backed allies took the area. Despite Russian backing in the latest fighting, questions have arisen over whether Assad and his allies are entirely on the same page when it comes to the northwest, where Turkey has deployed forces in agreement with Russia and Iran.Here's the full story.

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Masrour Barzani - Iraq News

Two years after a failed independence bid plunged Iraq’s Kurdistan Region into months of instability, the new regional prime minister said his priority was strengthening ties with Baghdad, signalling dreams of self-rule should be put on hold. Masrour Barzani, sworn in as regional prime minister on Wednesday, told Reuters in an exclusive interview that under his leadership, the Kurdistan Regional Government’s focus would be to establish a “strong and constructive” relationship with Baghdad, leaving the question of independence aside for now. “This (independence referendum) happened in the past and it’s a reflection of the enduring aspiration of a nation,” said Masrour Barzani, speaking at his palace in the hillside village of Salaheddine, near regional capital Erbil. “However, the focus of my government will be how to build a stronger relationship and partnership with Baghdad,” he said, adding he would look to fix “those issues that were actually keeping us apart.” The independence bid was led by Barzani’s father Masoud, who stepped down as Kurdish president in 2017 after the referendum backfired and prompted a military offensive from Baghdad. At stake for the new premier are long-running disputes over independent oil exports, revenue sharing, security, and territory which have plagued ties between Erbil and Baghdad since a U.S.-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein in 2003. Barzani was instrumental in orchestrating the September 2017 referendum, which was held over the objections of Baghdad and regional powers. It was seen as the culmination of years of oppositional politics by the semi-autonomous region. The backlashHere's the full story.

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Iran Missile

Iran’s decision to further challenge the United States by boosting its uranium enrichment beyond limits in its 2015 nuclear deal has deepened fears among Iranians that their country will remain in crisis mode over the long term. The United States’ exit from the pact last year, under President Donald’s Trump’s campaign to squeeze Iran with sanctions, has so far failed to force its clerical rulers to renegotiate. Iran confirmed on Monday it had enriched uranium to a purity beyond that allowed by the pact. Trump, who ordered air strikes last month only to cancel them minutes before impact, has warned Iran’s leaders ‘to be careful’. Since May, he has tightened sanctions with the aim of halting Iran’s oil exports entirely, depriving it of its main source of revenue. “Yes, life is difficult because of the sanctions. Yes, I think this (nuclear) programme is too costly for Iranian people,” said Firouzeh, 43, a housewife in the city of Babolsar, reached by telephone. “But no matter what the reason is, I am against my country being attacked,” she said. Like others interviewed, she asked that only her first name be used due to sensitivities. The confrontation has taken on a military dimension, with Washington blaming Tehran for attacks on oil tankers, and Iran shooting down a U.S. drone, prompting Trump’s aborted strikes. Iran emerged from years of sanctions under the deal with world powers that curbed its nuclear programme in exchange for access to world trade. But it had barely begun toHere's the full story.

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Saudi Arabia Policemen

An exiled academic and political dissident says Saudi authorities have launched a new arrest campaign against Palestinian expatriates living in the conservative kingdom. “There is an intensified campaign to arrest more Palestinians living in the kingdom, with the same charges that have so far been leveled against some 60 Palestinians. The arrest campaign will involve a number of Egyptian citizens,” Saeed bin Nasser al-Ghamdi wrote in a post published on his official Twitter page on Saturday. Ghamdi added that Saudi officials have recently released 20 Palestinian and Egyptian women, whom they had arrested during the Hajj pilgrimage last year on charges of Ghamdi added that Saudi officials have recently released 20 Palestinian and Egyptian women, whom they had arrested during the Hajj pilgrimage last year on charges of affiliation to the Muslim Brotherhood. He added that the women were being kept in Dhahban Central Prison near the Red Sea port city of Jeddah. They have apparently been warned not to talk about their detention situation. Prisoners of Conscience, which is an independent non-governmental organization seeking to promote human rights in Saudi Arabia, announced in a series of posts on its official Twitter page on June 11 that more than 150 Palestinians were languishing in Saudi detention centers. Some 40 Palestinians were arrested in Jeddah alone. The rights group added that Saudi intelligence agents had committed rights abuses against Palestinians during and after their arrest. Arabic-language al-Khaleej Online news website reported last month that Saudi officials had blocked money transfers betweenHere's the full story.

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Adel abdul-Mahdi - Iraq News - Adil Abdul-Mahdi al-Muntafiki

The Iraqi government’s move this week to place Iranian-backed militias under the command of the armed forces is a political gamble by a prime minister increasingly caught in the middle of a dangerous rivalry between Iran and the U.S, the two main power brokers in Iraq. Facing pressure from the U.S. to curb the militias, the move allows Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi to demonstrate a tough stance ahead of a planned visit to Washington, expected to take place in the coming weeks. It is unlikely, though, that he would be able to rein in the powerful Iran-supported militias, and he risks coming off as a weak and ineffective leader if he doesn’t. Besides having built credibility as an effective force against the Islamic State group, the mainly Shiite militias, known collectively as the Popular Mobilization Forces, are a significant political force, with government ministers and 48 seats in the 329-member parliament. The PMF “is among the parties that achieved victory for Iraq against (the Islamic State group), liberating Mosul and restoring security to the country. The time has come to organize their status in a legal way… meaning no weapons outside the framework of the state,” Abdul-Mahdi told reporters at a weekly news conference Tuesday. That’s a tough sell in a country awash with arms and militias, many of which operate outside the state’s control. The leaders of the larger militias, like Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Badr and the Peace Brigades, welcomed the decision, calling it a step in the rightHere's the full story.

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US RQ-4 Global Hawk Drone vs Iran's Khordad 3 SAM system

The United States is “in many ways” already at war with Iran through its acts of economic terror targeting the country, says an American author and political analyst. Daniel Kovalik, also a human rights expert and a peace activist, who was speaking to Press TV last Sunday, said the US’s war on Iran was “just in a different form” than actual military action. “The US is imposing draconian sanctions on Iran…is really engaged in economic terrorism by trying to prevent Iran from selling any of its oil, which is really the lifeblood of the Iranian economy,” he added. The US began significantly escalating tensions with Iran last year by leaving a multilateral nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic and other countries and returning the sanctions that had been lifted by the deal. The sanctions, include an intended zero-tolerance ban targeting Iran’s oil exports. In broaching “economic terrorism,” Kovalik was repeating a term used by Iranian authorities, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, who have underlined that the sanctions are not the US’s alternative for war, but amount to actual warfare themselves. Washington has also engaged in alarming military buildup in the region. It has, however, occasionally distanced itself from an intention to attack the Islamic Republic, and claimed it would talk to the country without any preconditions. Kovalik, however, said, “It’s clear that the US doesn’t really want negotiation with Iran. What it more wants to do is bullying Iran and weaken Iran. It would want regime change ideally.” IranianHere's the full story.

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Iran Nuclear Deal

World powers will warn Iran to stick to the terms of their nuclear deal when they meet on Friday for “last chance” talks, but with Tehran feeling the pressure from punishing U.S. sanctions expectations of saving the 2015 accord are low, diplomats say. President Donald Trump last year pulled the United States out of the multinational deal under which sanctions on Iran were lifted in return for curbs on its nuclear programme, verified by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). Washington has since re-imposed tough sanctions on Iran, aiming to cut the Islamic Republic’s oil sales to zero to force it to negotiate a broader deal that would also cover its ballistic missile capabilities and regional influence. Senior diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia meet with Iranian officials in Vienna on Friday, with Tehran threatening to exceed the maximum amount of enriched uranium it is allowed under the deal, adding to fears of a military escalation in the region. “We will repeat to the Iranians that nuclear issues are not negotiable. We want them to stay in the accord, but we won’t accept them messing us around,” a senior European diplomat said. Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi on Friday described the talks as a “last chance for the remaining parties … to gather and see how they can meet their commitments towards Iran.” An Iranian official told reporters ahead of the meeting that his country’s main demand was to sell its oil at the same levels thatHere's the full story.

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Iran Uranium

Iran is still short of the maximum amount of enriched uranium it is allowed to have under its deal with major powers but it is on course to reach that limit at the weekend, the latest data from U.N. nuclear inspectors shows, diplomats say. This makes it unlikely Iran will follow through on its threat to violate one of the nuclear deal’s central restrictions on Thursday, which could have unravelled the pact altogether. It also sets up a meeting with other signatories on Friday aimed at saving the accord, which is straining under U.S. pressure. “They haven’t reached the limit… It’s more likely to be at the weekend if they do it,” one diplomat said on condition of anonymity. The 2015 deal, which lifted international sanctions against Iran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear activities, is aimed at extending the time Iran would need to produce a nuclear bomb, if it chose to, to a year from roughly 2-3 months. On Wednesday, the U.N. nuclear watchdog verified that Iran had roughly 200 kg of low-enriched uranium, below the deal’s 202.8 kg limit, three diplomats who follow the agency’s work said. Two of the diplomats said Iran was producing at a rate of around 1 kg a day, meaning it could go over the line soon after the meeting of senior officials from Iran, France, Germany, Britain, Russia and China in Vienna on Friday. ZERO TOLERANCE Washington pulled out of the nuclear accord last year and has imposed punishing economicHere's the full story.

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Iran Uranium News

As Iran prepares to surpass limits set by its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, each step it takes narrows the time the country’s leaders would need to have enough highly enriched uranium for an atomic bomb — if they chose to build one. The United Nations says Iran has so far respected the deal’s terms. But by Thursday, Iran says it will have over 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of low-enriched uranium in its possession, which would mean it had broken out of the atomic accord. European countries that are still a part of the nuclear accord face a July 7 deadline imposed by Tehran to offer a better deal and long-promised relief from U.S. sanctions, or Iran will also begin enriching its uranium closer to weapons-grade levels. Breaking the stockpile limit by itself doesn’t radically change the one year experts say Iran would need to have enough material for a bomb. Coupled with increasing enrichment, however, it begins to close that window and hamper any diplomatic efforts at saving the accord. “I worry about the snowball effect,” said Corey Hinderstein, a vice president at the Washington-based Nuclear Threat Initiative who once led the U.S. Energy Department’s Iran task force. “Iran now takes a step which puts Europe and the other members of the deal in an even-tougher position.” Under terms of the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to have less than 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of uranium enriched to a maximum of 3.67%. Previously, Iran enriched as high as 20%,Here's the full story.

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei - Iran Politics Today

Iran’s U.N. ambassador warned Monday that the situation in the Persian Gulf is “very dangerous” and called talks with the U.S. impossible in the face of escalating sanctions and intimidation, while the U.S. envoy said the Trump administration’s aim is to get Tehran back to negotiations. Recent attacks on tankers and the downing of a U.S. drone played out in comments before and after a closed U.N. Security Council meeting called by the United States that provided sharply different views of the current situation. It took place hours after U.S. President Donald Trump signed an executive order targeting Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and senior Iranian military figures with financial sanctions. Iranian Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi called the new sanctions another indication of “U.S. hostility” toward the Iranian people. He said the Trump administration should de-escalate tensions by stopping “its military adventurism” in the region, withdrawing its “naval armada” and moving away from “economic warfare against the Iranian people.” Acting U.S. Ambassador Jonathan Cohen outlined the U.S. case for blaming Iran for tanker attacks May 12 and June 13 and for shooting down a $100 million U.S. drone in international airspace June 20. Iran denies it attacked the tankers and says the drone was in its airspace. “Iran must understand that these attacks are unacceptable,” Cohen said. “It’s time for the world to join us in saying so.” Cohen reiterated that U.S. policy “remains an economic and diplomatic effort to bring Iran back to the negotiating table.” He repeated his callHere's the full story.

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Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vs Donald Trump - Iran News - US Headline

U.S. President Donald Trump targeted Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior Iranian officials with new U.S. sanctions on Monday, looking for a fresh blow to Iran’s economy after Tehran’s downing of an unmanned American drone. With tensions running high between the two countries, Trump signed an executive order imposing the sanctions, which U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said would lock billions of dollars more in Iranian assets. Trump said the new sanctions were in part a response to last week’s downing of a U.S. drone, but would have happened anyway. He said the supreme leader was ultimately responsible for what Trump called “the hostile conduct of the regime.” “Sanctions imposed through the executive order … will deny the Supreme Leader and the Supreme Leader’s office, and those closely affiliated with him and the office, access to key financial resources and support,” Donald Trump said. The Trump administration wants to force Tehran to open talks on its nuclear and missile programmes and its activities in the region. Tensions between the United States and Iran have grown since May when Washington ordered all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil. There was no immediate reaction in Iranian official media but at the weekend, state-run news agency IRIB quoted Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi as saying any new sanctions would be “just propaganda” and “there are no more sanctions left.” Mnuchin said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif would be targeted with U.S. sanctions later this week. Sanctions were alsoHere's the full story.

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Mike Pompeo - US Today

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he wants to build a global coalition against Iran during urgent consultations in the Middle East, following a week of crisis that saw the United States pull back from the brink of a military strike on Iran. Pompeo spoke Sunday as he left Washington for Saudi Arabia, followed by the United Arab Emirates, Sunni Arab allies that are alarmed by Shiite Iran’s increasing assertiveness and are working to limit its influence in the region. His stops in Jeddah and Abu Dhabi were hastily arranged late last week as additions to a trip to India from where he will join President Donald Trump in Japan and South Korea. But they were not announced until immediately before his departure in a sign of fast-moving and unpredictable developments. “We’ll be talking with them about how to make sure that we are all strategically aligned, and how we can build out a global coalition, a coalition not only throughout the Gulf states, but in Asia and in Europe, that understands this challenge as it is prepared to push back against the world’s largest state sponsor of terror,” Mike Pompeo said about Iran. But even as Pompeo delivered his tough talk, he echoed President Donald Trump and Vice President Mike Pence in saying the U.S. is prepared to negotiate with Iran, without preconditions, in a bid to ease tensions. Those tensions have been mounting since Trump last year withdrew the U.S. from a global nuclear deal with Iran andHere's the full story.

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Donald Trump and Hassan Rouhani- USA, Iran News

President Donald Trump said Saturday that military action against Iran was still an option for its downing of an unmanned U.S. military aircraft, but amid heightened tensions he dangled the prospect of eventually becoming an unlikely “best friend” of America’s longtime Middle Eastern adversary. Donald Trump also said “we very much appreciate” that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard chose not to target a U.S. spy plane carrying more than 30 people. The president’s softer tone Saturday marked a stark contrast to the anti-Iran rhetoric he employed throughout the presidential campaign and presidency, including his use of punishing economic sanctions in an attempt to pressure Iran to give up its quest to build nuclear weapons. “The fact is we’re not going to have Iran have a nuclear weapon,” he said as he left the White House for a weekend at the Camp David presidential retreat. “And when they agree to that, they are going to have a wealthy country, they’re going to be so happy and I’m going to be their best friend.” “I hope that happens. I hope that happens, but it may not,” Trump said. He later said Iran will be hit with unspecified new sanctions on Monday. Another event earlier this week put a different cast on Trump’s more optimistic rhetoric. U.S. military cyber forces launched a strike against Iranian military computer systems on Thursday in response to the loss of the military drone. U.S. officials told The Associated Press that the cyberattacks, which disabled Iranian computer systems that controlledHere's the full story.

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