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Iran's president warns America to 'stay away' as it unveils long range missiles that could strike US bases

Iran's president warns America to 'stay away' as it unveils long range missiles that could strike US basesIran’s president has warned American and other foreign forces to “stay away” from the region, as Tehran paraded long-range missile capable of reaching American bases.  Hassan Rouhani said the presence of such troops in the Gulf has always brought “pain and misery”, in a speech made at an annual military parade to commemorate the war with Iraq. Mr Rouhani spoke in response to an announcement made by the US on Friday that it was sending more troops to Saudi Arabia after an attack on Saudi oil facilities both nations blame on Iran. "Wherever the Americans or our enemies have gone, there has been insecurity afterward,” the Iranian president said. “The farther you keep yourselves from our region and our nations, the more security there will be." At the parade, the Islamic republic displayed the Khordad-3 air defence system that shot down a US drone in June. It also showcased the long-range, surface-to-air Bavar 373 missile that can travel more than 1,250 miles, bringing it in range of US bases in the region and arch-foe Israel. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is seen during the ceremony of the National Army Day parade in Tehran Credit: Wana News Agency  Saudi Arabia and the US accuse Iran of attacking Saudi oil facilities on September 14, the biggest such assault on the world’s top oil exporter. Iran denies involvement in the attack, which was claimed by Yemen’s Houthi movement, a group aligned with Iran and currently fighting a Saudi-led alliance in the civil war. US President Donald Trump had said it would step up to protect Saudi but would take its cue from Saudi. Riyadh has said it has evidence Iranian missiles were used in last weekend’s attack and that they were launched from the north, but did not go so far as to say they came from Iranian territory. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani delivers a speech during the ceremony of the National Army Day parade in Tehran Credit: Wana News Agency  Should the accusation be proven, it would mark such a serious escalation in the long-running conflict between Saudi and Iran that the former could be forced to retaliate. "We hold Iran responsible because the missiles and the drones that were fired at Saudi Arabia were Iranian-built and Iranian-delivered," Adel al-Jubeir, Saudi’s Minister of State for Foreign Affairs, said on Sunday. "But to launch an attack from your territory, if that is the case, puts us in a different category… this would be considered an act of war," he told CNN. Both sides are holding their nerve, hoping to make their case to the United Nations General Assembly later this week. Mr Rouhani, along with US sanctioned Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, will travel to New York on Monday, to present what he called a security plan for the Gulf. President Hassan Rouhani, left, listens to chief of the Revolutionary Guard Gen. Hossein Salami at a military parade marking 39th anniversary of outset of Iran-Iraq war Credit: Office of Iranian Presidency "In this sensitive and important historical moment, we announce to our neighbours that we extend the hand of friendship and brotherhood to them," he said. It is unclear what this would look like, with the president saying only that peace in the Strait of Hormuz could be achieved "in co-operation with various countries." The US has already formed its own maritime coalition in the Gulf to secure one of the world’s most vital oil trade routes with the UK, Saudi, Bahrain and even the UAE, which has tried to keep good relations with Tehran since the most recent tensions began. Members of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) standing in formation during the annual "Sacred Defence Week" Credit: AFP British former diplomats said Iran, which has been hit by wave after wave of US sanctions after Mr Trump pulled the country out of the landmark nuclear deal last year, is counting on the US and Saudi not wanting to start war. “I think it is a matter of the hardliners in Iran looking to shore up their influence by keeping tensions with the US high, while still maintaining just enough deniability to preempt a full US response,” Charles Hollis, a British former diplomat in both Riyadh and Tehran, told the Telegraph. “Assisted by a growing belief that Trump may talk tough but is not willing to act.” In the US, Mike Pompeo, the American Secretary of State, squarely laid the blame for the attacks on the Saudi oil fields on Iran. “No reasonable person doubts precisely who conducted these strikes, and it is the Intelligence Community’s determination that it is likely the case that these were launched from Iran,” he said on  Face the Nation. “This was a sophisticated attack. These weapons systems had ranges that could not have come from the Houthis. It is crazy for anyone to assert that they did. Mike Pompeo dismisses Iranian denial of responsibility for oil field attacks Credit: Susan Walsh/AP “I mean, it is literally nuts on its face to make an assertion that this was an attack by the Houthis. This was Iran true and true, and the United States will respond in a way that reflects that act of war by this Iranian revolutionary regime.” Mr Pompeo dismissed the denial of responsibility by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. “I don’t know why anybody listens to the Iranian foreign minister. He has nothing to do with Iranian foreign policy and he has lied for decades, and then he resigned. “It’s just – it’s not even worth – it’s not even worth responding to him. It’s beneath the dignity of anyone in the world to listen to someone who repeatedly makes the claim that the Houthis launched this attack.” Speaking on the same programme, Mr Zarif was pessimistic that conflict with the US could be prevented. "No, I'm not confident that we can avoid a war," Zarif said on "Face the Nation" Sunday. "I'm confident that we will not start one but I'm confident that whoever starts one will not be the one who finishes it."



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Trump announces sanctions but says won't strike Iran

Trump announces sanctions but says won't strike IranUS President Donald Trump on Friday announced new sanctions on Iran that he said were the toughest-ever against another country but indicated he did not plan a military strike, calling restraint a sign of strength. The Treasury Department renewed action against Iran’s central bank after US officials said that Tehran carried out weekend attacks on rival Saudi Arabia’s oil infrastructure, which triggered a spike in global crude prices. “We have just sanctioned the Iranian national bank,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office.



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Friday's global strike was likely the largest climate rally ever

Friday's global strike was likely the largest climate rally everThe Global Climate Strike that encouraged kids to walk out of school could be the biggest climate rally ever. But estimates are still rolling in.



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'This Is an Emergency. Our House Is on Fire.' Greta Thunberg Addresses New York's Climate Strike

'This Is an Emergency. Our House Is on Fire.' Greta Thunberg Addresses New York's Climate StrikeOrganizers expect thousands to turn out, and 16-year-old climate activists Greta Thunberg is scheduled to speak.



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Trump Has a Plan to Punish Iran for Saudi Oil Strike

Trump Has a Plan to Punish Iran for Saudi Oil StrikeBut will it be sanctions or war?



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Saudis threaten UN-brokered truce in strike near Yemeni port city

Saudis threaten UN-brokered truce in strike near Yemeni port cityThe Saudi-led military coalition launched an air strike north of the Yemeni port city of Hodeidah early on Friday morning, amidst heightened tensions following a weekend strike against Saudi oil installations. The coalition said it had struck only “legitimate military targets,” and had succeeded in destroying four sites used to assemble maritime drones and sea mines by Houthi fighters. “These sites are used to carry out attacks and terrorist operations that threaten shipping lines and international trade in the Bab al-Mandab Strait and the southern Red Sea,” said coalition spokesman Colonel Turki al-Malki in a statement. Houthi forces who control the area were quick to brand the strike a “dangerous escalation”, saying it violated a UN ceasefire agreement reached last year in Sweden. While the strike took place north of the city, it was within Hodeidah governate and as such violates the terms of the agreement. “The coalition will bear the responsibility of this escalation which is also a test to the United Nations,” said Houthi spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam on Twitter. But some argue this is only the latest in a series of violations on both sides. “There has been so much escalation in and around the city, but often when the Houthis break ceasefires they are labelled skirmishes,” said Fatima Alsarar of the Middle East Institute. “The focus has been so much on the Saudi-led coalition because it’s a partner to the United States and you expect them to behave responsibly, but the Houthis are expected to behave like a militia so the bar is so much lower.” “There’s also pressure to see Hodeidah agreement work, and this is unfortunate because the UN always says the ceasefire has been successful otherwise. But people have died. This is just an effort to make the agreement look more successful than it has been.” Yemen displaced Hodeidah is a vital port city on the Red Sea, not only for humanitarian access but because it is used by the Houthis to smuggle in missile parts and small weapons from their backers in Iran. As a result, the city has been at the centre of conflict for the majority of the five-year war. The Saudi-led coalition, which receives Western backing, have been engaged in Yemen's civil war since 2015 after Houthi forces, backed by Iran, ousted the internationally recognised government in the capital Sana'a in late 2014. Some suspect Friday’s strikes were a retaliation for attacks on Saudi oil installations on Saturday, which were later claimed by the Houthi movement. But experts have ruled out Houthi responsibility, arguing forensic evidence shows the attacks came from Iran, the Houthis’ principal ally in the region. “This attack seems symbolic and packaged for a domestic audience,” said Peter Salisbury, Senior Analyst at Crisis Group. “The Saudis likely felt the need to demonstrate their willingness to respond to Houthi cross-border attacks. They’ve struck this site before which raises questions about the utility of such a strike expect for show.” “Yemen, in the eyes of some in the Riyadh and elsewhere, represents the low-hanging fruit in terms of demonstrating a willingness to retaliate against Iran,” he added. The Houthis, for their part, are happy to be used as a scapegoat in Yemen for Iran in order to reach their ultimate objective, according to Ms Alasrar: “Iran thrives on creating confusion, it aims to deflect and say: look at the Houthis, look at the Saudis, we’re not doing anything. They’re sending a message to the US that they need to respect their authority while also denying involvement.”



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US drone strike 'kills 30 Afghan farmers'

US drone strike 'kills 30 Afghan farmers'A U.S. drone strike intended to hit an Islamic State (Isil) hideout in Afghanistan killed at least 30 civilians resting after a day’s labor in the fields, officials said on Thursday. The attack on Wednesday night also injured another 40 people after accidentally targeting farmers and laborers who had just finished collecting pine nuts at Wazir Tangi in eastern Nangarhar province, three Afghan officials told Reuters. “The workers had lit a bonfire and were sitting together when a drone targeted them,” tribal elder Malik Rahat Gul told Reuters by telephone from Wazir Tangi. Afghanistan’s Defense Ministry and a senior U.S official in Kabul confirmed the drone strike, but did not share details of civilian casualties. Taliban control in Afghanistan “U.S. forces conducted a drone strike against Da’esh (Isil) terrorists in Nangarhar,” said Colonel Sonny Leggett, a spokesman for U.S. forces in Afghanistan. “We are aware of allegations of the death of non-combatants and are working with local officials to determine the facts.” About 14,000 U.S. troops are in Afghanistan, training and advising Afghan security forces and conducting counter-insurgency operations against Isil  and the Taliban movement. Attaullah Khogyani, a spokesman for the provincial governor of Nangarhar, said at least nine bodies had been collected from the site. Haidar Khan, who owns the pine nut fields, said about 150 workers were there for harvesting, with some still missing as well as the confirmed dead and injured. Jihadist Isil fighters first appeared in Afghanistan in 2014 and have since made inroads in the east and north where they are battling the government, U.S. forces and the Taliban. The exact number of IS fighters is difficult to calculate because they frequently switch allegiances, but the U.S. military estimates there are about 2,000. There was no word from Isil on the attack. There has been no let-up in assaults by Taliban and Isil as Afghanistan prepares for a presidential election this month. In a separate incident, at least 20 people died in a suicide truck bomb attack on Thursday carried out by the Taliban in the southern province of Zabul. Hundreds of civilians have been killed in fighting across Afghanistan after the collapse of U.S.-Taliban peace talks this month. The Taliban has warned U.S. President Donald Trump will regret his decision to abruptly call off talks that could have led to a political settlement to end the 18-year-old war. The United Nations says nearly 4,000 civilians were killed or wounded in the first half of the year. That included a big increase in casualties inflicted by government and U.S.-led foreign forces.



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Zarif Warns of ‘All-Out War’ If U.S. or Saudis Strike Iran

Zarif Warns of ‘All-Out War’ If U.S. or Saudis Strike Iran(Bloomberg) — Iran’s foreign minister warned that any U.S. or Saudi strike on his country in response to the attacks on the kingdom’s critical oil facilities would lead to “all-out war.”In an interview with CNN, Javad Zarif reiterated that Iran wasn’t involved in the weekend attacks and hoped to avoid a conflict. He said Yemen’s Iran-backed Houthi rebels, who have been fighting a Saudi-led coalition for four years and claimed responsibility, had the capability to carry out such a sophisticated operation.“I cannot have any confidence that they did it because we just heard their statement,” Zarif said. “I know that we didn’t do it. I know that the Houthis made a statement that they did it.”Saudi and U.S. officials have said that the drones and missiles used were made by Iran, had never before been deployed by Iranian proxy groups, and came from a northerly direction, ruling out Yemen as a launch site. But they stopped short of saying the strikes were launched directly from or by the Islamic Republic, claims that could have propelled a drift toward war. The attacks caused an unprecedented surge in oil prices.Asked what the consequence of a U.S. or Saudi military strike on Iran would be, Zarif said: “All-out war,” CNN reported.“I make a very serious statement about defending our country,” he said. “I am making a very serious statement that we don’t want to engage in a military confrontation.”The attacks have damped speculation that President Donald Trump and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, could meet at the United Nations General Assembly in New York next week. The U.S. reimposed sanctions on Iran after exiting the 2015 nuclear deal, kicking off a year of increasingly fraught relations. Nevertheless, Iranian officials signaled they had their visas to travel to New York.The disputed weekend attacks sent tensions in the Gulf soaring to new heights.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks in the United Arab Emirates on Thursday after visiting the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, as the allies plot their next move.Talking to reporters, Pompeo said he’d gathered “important information about how it is we should think about proceeding,” adding that Trump still wants a peaceful resolution to the issue.Pentagon officials were more direct, saying they would defer to Saudi authorities.“We’re going to allow the Saudis to make the declarations of where the attacks came from,” Defense Department spokesman Jonathan Rath Hoffman told reporters Thursday. He added that ‘all indications” are that Iran is “in some way responsible.”Trump, who as a candidate campaigned to end America’s foreign wars, initially declared the U.S. “locked and loaded” for a response, and on Thursday said it was possible there wouldn’t be a “peaceful solution.”But he’s also announced a tightening of sanctions on Iran, adding to the sense that he’s working to avoid another military conflict in the Middle East.(Updates with Pentagon comments starting in 11th paragraph)\–With assistance from Tony Capaccio and Glen Carey.To contact the reporter on this story: Shaji Mathew in Dubai at shajimathew@bloomberg.netTo contact the editors responsible for this story: Lin Noueihed at lnoueihed@bloomberg.net, Bill Faries, Larry LiebertFor more articles like this, please visit us at bloomberg.com©2019 Bloomberg L.P.



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Saudi oil attacks: Why would Iran strike now?

Saudi oil attacks: Why would Iran strike now?Who launched the attack? The Houthi militia in Yemen – who are backed and supplied by Iran – initially claimed the attack. But experts and officials are not convinced the grpup has the organisational or operational capability. The US and Saudi Arabia claim they have evidence that Iranian weapons were used and satellite images released by the US reportedly suggested the attack had come from the northwest direction. Why would Iran launch an attack now? As talks with EU members over the ailing nuclear deal stall, Iran needs to show the world the consequences of returning it to its pariah status. While Tehran may be suffering under sanctions, Saturday’s attack shows it still has the capability to cause a great deal of damage to its foes in the region.  The strikes hit the Saudi kingdom where it hurt the most – its lucrative oil industry, with the knock-on effect on global crude prices. Strikes against Saudi oil plants What will happen to global oil supply? The consequences of the attack are likely to be short lived but depend on the capacity – and willingness – of other producers to pick up the slack.  Venezuela and Libya are unable to do so and Iran is constrained by US sanctions. Other Opec members and Russia are not rushing to turn on the taps, happy to enjoy higher prices while they can.  Neither can the US – now the world's biggest oil producer due to the shale boom – quickly ramp up supplies as export facilities are not up to scratch.  What might a retaliatory attack look like? Riyadh may decide it needs to respond in some limited way to save face considering the gravity of the attack on its soil. If it does, that would probably mean a tit-for-tat, proportionate strike on Iranian energy facilities such as oil refineries. And, that, in turn, would lead to an Iranian response. In a phone call with the US president, the Saudi crown prince Mohammed bin Salman made clear the kingdom was "willing and able to confront and deal with this terrorist aggression."     What does this mean for the possibility of US talks with Iran?  Donald Trump had previously indicated a willingness to meet with Iranian leaders with "no preconditions". That had led to anticipation of a meeting with Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian president, on the sidelines of the UN general assembly next week. The recent departure of Iran hawk John Bolton as Mr Trump's national security adviser had also seemed to make a meeting more possible. However, following the Saudi oil attack, Iran's foreign ministry said: "This meeting will not happen." And Mr Trump said it was now "incorrect" that he was willing to meet with "no conditions."



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US strike on Iran would be disastrous for the region — and likely for the US

US strike on Iran would be disastrous for the region — and likely for the USThe US is accusing Iran of attacks on a key Saudi oil facility. Experts warn a US strike on Iran would be counterproductive — even dangerous.



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