Tag Archives: Tehran

Trump vows new sanctions on Iran as Tehran warns it will respond to any military attack

Trump vows new sanctions on Iran as Tehran warns it will respond to any military attackUS President Donald Trump on Wednesday said he would impose fresh sanctions on Iran over the devastating 14 September attack on one of Saudi Arabia’s key oil facilities.In the wake of the attack, world powers worried about a possible new war in the Middle East as Saudi Arabia said it had “undeniable” evidence that Iran sponsored the attack, which took half the kingdom’s full oil-producing capacity off-line, though the output has since been partially restored.



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America's Next Iran Nightmare: Could Tehran Build a Super Submarine Fleet?

America's Next Iran Nightmare: Could Tehran Build a Super Submarine Fleet?While Iran’s current roster of 33 submarines seems formidable by its sheer size, a significant portion of these are aging North Korean and Russian imports. Certain technical questions notwithstanding, the inauguration of the Fateh class suggests that Iran is moving ahead with its Naval modernization program despite the economic strain of a longstanding western sanctions regime.



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Tehran says Iranian tanker unloaded cargo on Mediterranean coast

Tehran says Iranian tanker unloaded cargo on Mediterranean coastAn Iranian tanker at the center of a dispute between Tehran and Western powers has delivered its cargo after docking somewhere on the Mediterranean coast, Iran’s state news agency IRNA quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying. “The Adrian Darya oil tanker finally docked on the Mediterranean coast … and unloaded its cargo,” IRNA quoted the spokesman, Abbas Mousavi, as saying.



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Tehran ex-mayor who killed wife free on bail: lawyer

Tehran ex-mayor who killed wife free on bail: lawyerA former mayor of Tehran who murdered his wife has been released on bail, his lawyer said Wednesday, two weeks after her family spared him from the death sentence. Mohammad Ali Najafi, 67, was sentenced to death last month after being convicted of shooting dead his second wife Mitra Ostad at their home in the Iranian capital on May 28. Ostad’s family had originally appealed for “qesas” — the Islamic law of retribution — to be applied, which would have seen the death penalty served.



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Israel’s Strategy against Tehran: Revealing the Iranian Threat

Israel’s Strategy against Tehran: Revealing the Iranian ThreatOn Thursday, August 22, members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force took a drone to an area near the Golan Heights, seeking to attack Israel. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) monitored the men, took video of them walking through a field, and struck back two nights later. The air strikes targeted a villa in southern Syria that Jerusalem says was being used by the IRGC and Shiite militias. This includes Hezbollah, a Lebanese ally of Iran that has played a major role in Syria in recent years.The air strike is part of an increasingly firm stand Israel is taking against Iran’s regional ambitions in the Middle East. This includes several recent air strikes in Iraq that Iranian-linked paramilitaries have blamed on Israel. It also includes near-daily reports in media from Lebanon to Kuwait asserting that Israel is targeting Iran’s network of proxies and their bases in Lebanon, Iraq, and Syria. Jerusalem is no longer secretive about this widespread campaign. In January former IDF chief of staff Gadi Eizenkot said Israel had carried out thousands of air strikes on Iranian targets.Now IRGC Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani has warned Israel that these strikes will be Israel’s last. Hezbollah’s Hassan Nasrallah has threatened retaliation. This is part of a rising Iranian-backed chorus against Jerusalem, which includes real threats such as continuing rocket fire from Hamas in Gaza. It also includes threats by Iranian proxies such as Iraqi-based Kata’ib Hezbollah against U.S. forces in Iraq.What is Israel’s strategy in all this? The goal is to draw Iran and its allies out of the shadows. Over the past decade, inflamed by the 2015 Iran deal, Tehran has increased its weapons transfers to Hezbollah, sent thousands of advisers to support the Syrian regime, and helped mobilize a network of militias in Iraq. Some of this was used to fight ISIS, or enemies of Bashar al-Assad. But with the ISIS war and Syrian conflict winding down, these groups are turning their threats toward Iran’s adversaries. Tehran is obsessed with destroying Israel, as can be seen in its frequent statements and militaristic parades. It has launched drones from Syria into Israel in February 2018, rockets in May 2018, and a rocket in January 2019. Hezbollah threatens that its 150,000 rockets can strike all of Israel.Air strikes on Iran’s network of proxies force the network out of the shadows. It can’t hide in villas in southern Syria, or launch drones at night, or stockpile ballistic missiles in Iraq if it is looking over its shoulder and increasingly making mistakes through its aggressive and open threats. Iran is used to playing a double game of moderates and hard-liners, sending its smiling foreign minister to the recent G7 while boasting of its allies’ drone technology striking Saudi Arabia.The Israeli air strikes couple well with the Washington-led campaign of “maximum pressure.” Iran now faces two fronts, the sanctions and strikes, that together are designed to blow the lid on its regional strategy. Tehran will be tempted to make a misstep in its otherwise calculated reactions. Iran has a playbook: If a Western power seizes its tanker, as the U.K. did in July, Iran seizes a tanker. It downed a sophisticated U.S. drone in June but hasn’t harmed anyone in six sabotage operations on oil tankers in the Persian Gulf. More than anything, Iran wants to preserve its regional power, based in proxies and allies that are often Shiite coreligionists. Its long-term goal is to get Hezbollah and its Shiite paramilitary allies in Iraq into more government positions and build up their parallel-state structures of armed fighters and bases. A war with the U.S. or Israel, or a direct confrontation with Saudi Arabia, as opposed to using proxies such as the Houthis, Hezbollah, and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, is not in Tehran’s interest. This is the strategic calculation that underpins Israel’s actions, but it can go only so far. A game of whack-a-mole against Iran’s drones and missiles is just a setback for Tehran. If Tehran doesn’t gamble on a major conflict with Israel, it will continue its creeping annexation of neighboring states.



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Detained Iranian tanker sets sail from Gibraltar as Tehran warns US not to seize ship

Detained Iranian tanker sets sail from Gibraltar as Tehran warns US not to seize shipThe Iranian tanker seized by British Royal Marines near Gibraltar in July on suspicion of carrying oil to Syria has left port.Shipping data showed the Grace 1, renamed the Adrian Darya 1, leaving Gibraltar around 11pm, and is believed to be heading to Kalamata in Greece.Authorities in Gibraltar released the tanker last week, but on Friday a federal court in Washington issued a warrant for its seizure, its cargo of 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil, and nearly $ 1m (£824,000).However, on Sunday Gibraltar said it could not comply with that request because it was bound by EU law.Washington had attempted to detain the ship on the grounds it had links to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which it has designated a terrorist organisation.The release comes amid a growing row between Iran and the West after Donald Trump pulled Washington out of Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers over a year ago.Shortly after the tanker was detained in early July near Gibraltar, a British overseas territory, Iran seized the British-flagged oil tanker Stena Impero in the Strait of Hormuz, which remains in the Islamic Republic.Iran has warned the US against any new attempt to seize its tanker in open seas after it left Gibraltar.Asked whether the US could renew its seizure request, Abbas Mousavi, a spokesman for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, said: “Such an action … would endanger shipping safety in open seas. We have issued a warning through official channels, especially the Swiss embassy.”Switzerland represents US interests in Iran, which has no diplomatic relations with the US.After the US unsealed a warrant on Friday to seize the vessel and its cargo, US officials told reporters the oil abroad the ship was worth some $ 130m (£107m) and it was destined for a designated terror organisation.The unsealed court documents argued Iran’s IRGC are the ship’s true owners through a network of front companies.But authorities in Gibraltar said that, unlike in the US, the IRGC is not a designated terrorist organisation under EU, British or Gibraltan law.Iran has not disclosed the Adrian Darya 1’s intended destination and has denied it was ever headed for Syria.The chief minister of Gibraltar, Fabian Picardo, said he had been assured in writing by the Iranian government the tanker would not unload its cargo in Syria.The Astralship shipping agency in Gibraltar, which has been hired to handle paperwork and arrange logistics for the Adrian Darya 1, told the Associated Press a new crew of Indian and Ukrainian nationals had been expected to replace the sailors on board.Additional reporting by agencies



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Tehran dismisses US claim of destroying Iranian drone

Tehran dismisses US claim of destroying Iranian droneTehran on Friday denied the United States had downed one of its drones, saying all Iranian aircraft were accounted for and jesting Washington may have accidentally hit their own machine. The latest incident in the strategic Strait of Hormuz comes amid soaring tensions between the two foes, with Washington already reeling from Iran shooting down one of its drones last month. US President Donald Trump said an American naval vessel downed an Iranian drone on Thursday that threatened the ship as it was entering the Strait — a claim vehemently denied by Tehran.



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Trump says 'let's make Iran great again' as he slaps new sanctions on Tehran

Trump says 'let's make Iran great again' as he slaps new sanctions on TehranDonald Trump has said he wants to “make Iran great again” as he announced additional sanctions on Tehran.The US president made the announcement on Sunday, as he left for his retreat at Camp David to discuss options concerning the Middle Eastern country.Tensions in the region are high after the US accused Tehran of attacking oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and shooting down an unmanned drone.“We are moving forward with additional sanctions on Iran,” Mr Trump told reporters. “They’re going on slowly and in some cases pretty rapidly.”The president stressed military action was still a possibility, after he called off a planned strike, but said he wanted the response to be “proportionate”.Mr Trump said it was important to “start over on Iran” and added a riff on his regularly-repeated slogan: “Let’s make Iran great again.”He went on to say that hopefully Tehran would be “smart” about the conflict and “cares about its people”, adding that he had a number of Iranian friends who were “high quality people”.Mr Trump also noted that while his security adviser, John Bolton, was “definitely a hawk”, he intended to listen to every perspective on dealing with the problem.In an interview with NBC’s Meet the Press, the president said a war with Iran would cause “obliteration like you’ve never seen before”, but said he had no desire for armed conflict.“I’m not looking for war, and if there is, it’ll be obliteration like you’ve never seen before. But I’m not looking to do that,” Mr Trump said.The comment was reminiscent of his "fire and fury" rhetoric directed at North Korea, which softened once he and Kim Jong-un got to the negotiating table.It came as Iran reportedly executed a former employee of its defence ministry on charges of spying for the CIA.Documents and spying equipment were found at Jalal Hajizavar’s home, IRIB News reported.Mr Hajizavar, who had left his position as an aerospace contract employee for the ministry nine years prior, was convicted by a military court and sentenced to death.Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated after Mr Trump pulled out of the Iran nuclear deal.Mr Trump claimed the US was “cocked and loaded to retaliate” after Tehran shot down a US drone but decided against a strike when he was informed as many as 150 people could be killed.



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Trump-Iran news: President claims he called off airstrikes on Tehran after general told him '150 people would die'

Trump-Iran news: President claims he called off airstrikes on Tehran after general told him '150 people would die'Donald Trump approved military strikes against Iran before abruptly pulling back at the last minute, sparking controversy and outcry.“On Monday they shot down an unmanned drone flying in International Waters. We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights when I asked, how many will die. 150 people, sir, was the answer from a General. 10 minutes before the strike I stopped it, not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone,” the president explained in a series of tweets.Having responded to the Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ decision to shoot down the costly US Navy surveillance drone with a surface-to-air missile, the president said Tehran had made “a very big mistake” but ultimately refrained from going through with an operation that would have targetted radars and missile batteries in the Gulf.The president said on Friday the US was “cocked and loaded” to retaliate against Iran for downing the unmanned American surveillance drone but he cancelled the strikes minutes before they were to be launched after being told 150 people could die.Mr Trump’s tweeted statement raised important questions, including why he learned about possible deaths only at the last minute.His stance was the latest example of the president showing some reluctance to escalate tensions with Iran into open military conflict. He did not rule out a future strike but said in a TV interview that the likelihood of casualties from the Thursday night plan to attack three sites in Iran did not seem like the correct response to shooting down an unmanned drone earlier in the day in the Strait of Hormuz.“I didn’t think it was proportionate,” he said in an interview with NBC News’ Meet the Press.The aborted attack was the closest the US has come to a direct military strike on Iran in the year since the administration pulled out of the 2015 international agreement intended to curb the Iranian nuclear program and launched a campaign of increasing economic pressure against the Islamic Republic.Mr Trump told NBC News that he never gave a final order to launch the strikes — planes were not yet in the air but would have been “pretty soon.”Additional reporting by AP. Please allow a moment for our liveblog to load



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WRAPUP 6-Trump warned Tehran the U.S. was about to strike, called for talks – Iranian officials

WRAPUP 6-Trump warned Tehran the U.S. was about to strike, called for talks - Iranian officialsIranian officials told Reuters on Friday that Tehran had received a message from U.S. President Donald Trump warning that a U.S. attack on Iran was imminent but saying he was against war and wanted talks on a range of issues. News of the message, delivered through Oman overnight, came shortly after the New York Times said Trump had approved military strikes against Iran on Friday over the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but called them off at the last minute.



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