Tag Archives: downing

The Iranian government is turning on its military after it lied about the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane

The Iranian government is turning on its military after it lied about the downing of a Ukrainian passenger planeExperts say the Iranian government's U-turn on its military reflects that it is struggling to control the narrative around the downing of the plane.



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UK remains a long way from Brexit deal: Downing Street source

UK remains a long way from Brexit deal: Downing Street sourceBritain remains a long way from agreeing a final Brexit deal and the next few days will be critical if it is to agree departure terms with the European Union, a Downing Street source said on Saturday. Negotiators for Britain and the EU have entered intense talks over the weekend to see if they can break the Brexit impasse before a crucial summit next week and a deadline for Britain to leave the bloc on Oct. 31. News of progress in the talks sent financial markets surging on Friday after Johnson and his Irish counterpart Leo Varadkar identified a pathway to a deal following months of acrimony.



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U.S. sent message to Iran after drone downing, warning of limited strike: Iranian official

U.S. sent message to Iran after drone downing, warning of limited strike: Iranian officialThe United States conveyed a message to Iran warning of a limited strike against the country after its unmanned drone was shot down in the Gulf, Iran’s civil defense agency chief was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency on Sunday. “After the downing of its intruding drone, the United States told us through diplomatic intermediaries that it wanted to carry out a limited operation,” said Gholamreza Jalali, who is also a senior commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.



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UPDATE 1-U.S. sent message to Iran after drone downing, warning of limited strike – Iranian official

UPDATE 1-U.S. sent message to Iran after drone downing, warning of limited strike - Iranian officialThe United States conveyed a message to Iran warning of a limited strike against the country after its unmanned drone was shot down in the Gulf, Iran’s civil defence agency chief was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency on Sunday. “After the downing of its intruding drone, the United States told us through diplomatic intermediaries that it wanted to carry out a limited operation,” said Gholamreza Jalali, who is also a senior commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.



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Iran drone downing highlights limitations of US unmanned aircraft

Iran drone downing highlights limitations of US unmanned aircraftUS drones have been a key tool in conflicts against insurgent organizations such as the Taliban and the Islamic State group, but Iran’s downing of one of the aircraft highlights their limitations against more sophisticated adversaries. While drones offer the significant attraction of not putting American lives at risk and can stay aloft for more than a day, allowing for extended surveillance missions, they can be vulnerable to air defenses, are often expensive, and their loss can lead to sensitive hardware falling into the wrong hands. “I believe sophisticated air defenses will continue to have good chances to shoot down an aircraft like an RQ-4 whenever it is in position to do meaningful surveillance of their territories or other assets,” he said, referring to the type of drone brought down by Iran last week near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.



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US 'conducted cyber attacks on Iran' in response to drone downing

US 'conducted cyber attacks on Iran' in response to drone downingThe United States launched cyber attacks against Iranian missile control systems and a spy network after Tehran downed an American surveillance drone, according to US media reports. US president Donald Trump secretly authorized US Cyber Command to carry out a retaliatory attack on Iran, The Washington Post reported Saturday, shortly after the US president pledged to hit the Islamic republic with major new sanctions. The attack crippled computers used to control rocket and missile launches, according to the Post, while Yahoo News said a spying group responsible for tracking ships in the Gulf was also targeted. Tehran is yet to react to the reports, Iran's Fars news agency said Sunday. It added that it was "still not clear whether the attacks were effective or not," and suggested the US media reports were a "bluff meant to affect public opinion and regain lost reputation for the White House" following the downing of its drone. Mr Trump called off a planned retaliatory military strike Friday, saying the response wouldn't be "proportionate", with Tehran warning Washington that any attack would see its interests across the Middle East go up in flames. On Sunday US National Security Adviser John Bolton warned Tehran against misinterpreting the last-minute cancellation. "Neither Iran nor any other hostile actor should mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness," he said ahead of a meeting with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in Jerusalem. At a glance | Key players in Tehran The downing of the US drone came after a series of attacks on tankers in the congested shipping lanes of the Gulf, that Washington has blamed on Iran, exacerbated already-tense relations between the two countries. Iran has denied responsibility for those attacks. Mr Trump, who spent Saturday huddling with his advisors at Camp David, initially told reporters that he was keen to be Iran's "best friend" – if the country agreed to renounce nuclear weapons. "When they agree to that, they're going to have a wealthy country. They're going to be so happy, and I'm going to be their best friend," he told reporters. Iran has denied seeking a nuclear weapon, and says its program is for civilian purposes. A multinational accord reached by Tehran and world powers in 2015 sought to curb Iran's nuclear ambitions in exchange for sanctions relief. But Trump left that agreement more than a year ago and has imposed a robust slate of punitive economic sanctions designed to choke off Iranian oil sales and cripple its economy – one he now plans to expand. "We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday," tweeted Mr Trump, who has also deployed additional troops to the Middle East. "I look forward to the day that Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again – The sooner the better!" Iran’s ballistic missile range Secretary of State Mike Pompeo added: "When the Iranian regime decides to forgo violence and meet our diplomacy with diplomacy, it knows how to reach us. Until then, our diplomatic isolation and economic pressure campaign against the regime will intensify." But lest anyone think he was entirely ruling out military action, Trump tweeted Saturday evening that "I never called the strike against Iran 'BACK,' as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!" A top Iranian military official warned Washington against any strikes. "Firing one bullet towards Iran will set fire to the interests of America and its allies" in the region, armed forces general staff spokesman Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi told the Tasnim news agency. "If the enemy – especially America and its allies in the region – make the military mistake of shooting the powder keg on which America's interests lie, the region will be set on fire," Mr Shekarchi warned. Following his comments, Iran said it had executed a contractor for the defense ministry's aerospace organization who had been convicted of spying for the United States. After the downing Thursday of the Global Hawk surveillance aircraft, Trump said the United States had been "cocked & loaded" to strike Iran. Tehran insists that the drone violated its airspace – something Washington denies – but a commander of the elite Revolutionary Guards, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, told state news agency IRNA that the violation could have been an accident. "Nonetheless, this was an act of trampling international aviation laws by a spy aircraft," Mr Hajizadeh added. The Pentagon released a map of the drone's flight path, indicating it avoided Iranian waters, but Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Saturday published maps showing the aircraft inside Iranian territory. "There can be no doubt about where the vessel was when it was brought down," he wrote on Twitter. The US Federal Aviation Administration has barred American civilian aircraft from the area "until further notice," and several major non-US airlines were altering flight paths to avoid the sensitive Strait of Hormuz.



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KLM halts flights over Strait of Hormuz after drone downing

KLM halts flights over Strait of Hormuz after drone downingDutch airline KLM said Friday it has suspended its flights over the Strait of Hormuz after Iran shot down a US drone in the strategic region. “Safety is the top priority for KLM,” it said in a statement. “The incident with the drone is reason not to fly over the Strait of Hormuz for the time being.



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Donald Trump 'approved strikes on Iran over downing of drone before aborting plan'

Donald Trump 'approved strikes on Iran over downing of drone before aborting plan'Donald Trump reportedly approved but then aborted strikes against Iranian targets on Thursday, after Iran shot down a US drone in what the president labelled a "big mistake."  The US was planning to hit "a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries" on Thursday evening, the New York Times said, citing senior administration officials, but the plan was suddenly called off in its early stages. White House and Pentagon officials declined to comment, the newspaper said, and it was unclear whether there were plans for such strikes to go forward in the future. The report will fuel fears of a looming conflict in the region, where US airlines have been banned from flying through parts of Tehran-controlled airspace. The United States confirmed that an RQ-4a surveillance drone had been shot down over the Gulf of Hormuz, but said it was over international waters when it was hit. "Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false," the Pentagon said in a statement. "This was an unprovoked attack on a US surveillance asset in international airspace." Mr Trump earlier declined to say how the United States would respond, telling reporters in Washington: "You will find out." But he also played down Iranian government responsibility for the incident, saying he had a "big, big feeling" that the shoot down was a "mistake". Gulf of Oman, US responds Speaking outside the White House, he said: "We didn't have a man or woman in the drone. It would have made a big, big difference." He added that it was probably someone "loose and stupid who did it." With tensions rising,  the US Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order prohibiting US operators from flying in an overwater area of Tehran-controlled airspace over the Strait of Hormuz and Gulf of Oman. In a separate advisory to operators, FAA said according to flight tracking applications, the nearest civil aircraft was operating within around 45 nautical miles of the drone when it was shot down. "There were numerous civil aviation aircraft operating in the area at the time of the intercept," FAA said. Iran claims to have shot down a RQ-4 Global Hawk Credit: EPA The agency said it remained concerned about the escalation of tension and military activity within close proximity to high volume civil aircraft routes as well as Iran's willingness to use long-range missiles in international airspace with little or no warning. United Airlines had already decided to suspend flights between New Jersey's Newark airport and the Indian financial capital of Mumbai following a safety review. Earlier General Qasem Soleimani, the head of the Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps, said the shoot down was intended as "a clear message" his country will defend itself. Iran will "respond to all foreign aggression and our reaction is, and will be, categorical and absolute" he told the Tasnim news agency, which is controlled by the IRGC. "We declare that we are not looking for war but we are ready to respond to any declaration of war," he added. An oil tanker is seen after it was attacked at the Gulf of Oman Credit: Reuters Last week two oil tankers were struck by mysterious explosions in the Gulf of Oman. The United States accused Iran of using limpet mines to attack the ships on June 13. Iran has denied involvement, suggesting instead that regional rivals Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates carried out the attack to lure Donald Trump into a war with Iran. Adel al-Jubeir, the foreign minister of Saudi Arabia, called the accusation "absurd" and warned that America's Gulf allies were "determined to push back against Iran's aggressive behaviour." "The idea of closing the Strait of Hormuz would generate a very strong reaction," he told journalists in London.   It was the second attack on tankers in the area in a month. In May four vessels suffered mysterious "sabotage" attacks that left them holed at the waterline. The United States has also blamed Iranian-backed groups for a string of mortar and rocket attacks on US assets in Iraq. Saudi Arabia said Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen had fired a missile into the Kingdom overnight but caused no damage. The United States military claims this Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy cutter was seen removing an unexploded limpet mine from one of the tankers Credit: US DEPARTMENT OF DEFENSE HANDOUT/EPA-EFE/REX Military tensions have risen amid a diplomatic stand-off over the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, Britain, China, France, Germany, the United States, and the European Union, which saw Iran curtail its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Mr Trump pulled the United States out of the deal in 2018, saying it did not adequately restrict Iran's nuclear activities and failed to address concerns about its ballistic missile program and backing of proxy militias in Iraq, Yemen, and Lebanon. In the year since, his administration has pursued a strategy of "maximum pressure" on the Iranian economy, including by trying to prevent third countries from buying Iranian oil. Iran has said it will violate the agreement by producing more enriched uranium than the deal allows if the European signatories do not find a way for it to access oil revenues by June 27. Iran's ambassador to London on Thursday said the Islamic Republic has so far seen "no concrete action" from European powers to meet that deadline. Hamid Baeidinejad said Iran will not accept US demands to re-write the nuclear deal does not believe an offer by Donald Trump for direct talks is "sincere."



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Malaysia: 'No proof' of Russian involvement in MH17 downing

Malaysia: 'No proof' of Russian involvement in MH17 downingMalaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad on Thursday rejected the implication that Russia may have been involved in the downing of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 over Ukraine, after international prosecutors charged with murder four men — three of them Russians with military or intelligence backgrounds — in the 2014 missile attack that killed all 298 people aboard. Mahathir said he doesn’t think the findings of the international investigative team “is true at all” as it was based on hearsay. “We are very unhappy because from the very beginning, it became a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing,” he told reporters.



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Malaysian PM says Russia being made a scapegoat for downing of flight MH17

Malaysian PM says Russia being made a scapegoat for downing of flight MH17Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Thursday Russia is being made a scapegoat for the downing of Malaysia Airlines flight MH17 and questioned the objectivity of the investigations into the 2014 disaster. The international investigative team set up to look into the crash said on Wednesday three Russians and one Ukrainian will face murder charges for the deaths of 298 people aboard the flight that was shot down over eastern Ukraine. “We are very unhappy, because from the very beginning it was a political issue on how to accuse Russia of the wrongdoing,” Mahathir told reporters at a government event.



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