In wake of Soleimani's death, Tehran-backed Hezbollah steps in to guide Iraqi militias

The Japan Times

Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, the Tehran-backed Lebanese organization Hezbollah urgently met with Iraqi militia leaders, seeking to unite them in the face of a huge void left by their powerful mentor's death, two sources with knowledge of the meetings said. The meetings were meant to coordinate the political efforts of Iraq's often-fractious militias, which lost not only Soleimani but also Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, a unifying Iraqi paramilitary commander, in the Jan. 3 attack at Baghdad airport, the sources said. While offering few details, two additional sources in a pro-Iran regional alliance confirmed that Hezbollah, which is sanctioned as a terrorist group by the United States, has stepped in to help fill the void left by Soleimani in guiding the militias. All sources in this article spoke on condition of anonymity to address sensitive political activities rarely addressed in public. Officials with the governments of Iraq and Iran did not respond to requests for comment, nor did a spokesperson for the militia groups.

Ukraine: Recordings show Iran knew jetliner was hit by a missile

The Japan Times

KYIV – A leaked recording of an exchange between an Iranian air-traffic controller and an Iranian pilot purports to show that authorities immediately knew a missile had downed a Ukrainian jetliner after takeoff from Tehran, killing all 176 people aboard, despite days of denials by the Islamic Republic. Ukraine President Volodymyr Zelenskiy acknowledged the recording's authenticity in a report aired by a Ukrainian television channel Sunday night. In Tehran on Monday, the head of the Iranian investigation team, Hassan Rezaeifar, acknowledged the recording was legitimate and said it was handed over to Ukrainian officials. After the Jan. 8 disaster, Iran's civilian government maintained for days that it didn't know the country's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, answerable only to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, had shot down the aircraft. The downing of the jetliner came just hours after the Guard launched a ballistic missile attack on Iraqi bases housing U.S. forces in retaliation for an earlier American drone strike that killed the Guard's top general, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad.

New EU foreign policy chief to make his first visit to Iran

The Japan Times

TEHRAN – The European Union's foreign affairs chief is traveling to Iran to meet with the country's leaders, the Iranian official news agency said on Sunday, amid high regional tensions. The visit is seen as the latest move by the EU to save the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers. Tensions between Iran and the U.S. have steadily risen since President Donald Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement and re-imposed sanctions on Iran in 2018. Tehran has responded by gradually rolling back its commitment to the deal. Josep Borrell will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and other Iranian officials on Monday, according to IRNA.

Iraq: Anti-ISIS operations with US are resuming

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines for Jan. 30 are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. Joint military operations between coalition and Iraqi forces against the Islamic State group will resume, the Iraqi military said Thursday, after a nearly three-week pause that saw tensions between Washington and Tehran come to a boiling point. The escalations with Iran began after a U.S. drone strike killed one of its top generals in Baghdad earlier this month. Iraqi lawmakers subsequently voted to expel U.S. troops from the country in a non-binding resolution, a move Iraqi military officials said would jeopardize its fight against ISIS, which had overtaken large swaths of the country several years ago and has since been defeated.

LIBTwinSVM: A Library for Twin Support Vector Machines

arXiv.org Machine Learning

Jalal A. Nasiri ‡ j.nasiri@irandoc.ac.ir † Faculty of Electrical and Computer Engineering, Islamic Azad University, North Tehran Branch, Tehran, Iran ‡ Iranian Research Institute for Information Science and Technology (IranDoc), Tehran, Iran Abstract This paper presents LIBTwinSVM, a free, efficient, and open source library for Twin Support Vector Machines (TSVMs). Our library provides a set of useful functionalities such as fast TSVMs estimators, model selection, visualization, a graphical user interface (GUI) application, and a Python application programming interface (API). The benchmarks results indicate the effectiveness of the LIBTwinSVM library for large-scale classification problems. Keywords: TwinSVM, classification, open source, GUI, API 1. Introduction Twin Support Vector Machine (TSVM) is an extension of the Support Vector Machine (SVM), which was proposed by Jayadeva et al. (2007). TSVM does binary classification using two nonparallel hyperplanes. Each of which is as close as possible to the samples of its own class and far from the samples of the other class.

Iran is still willing to negotiate with U.S., foreign minister says

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – Iran is not ruling out negotiations with the United States even after an American drone strike that killed a top Iranian general, the country's foreign minister said in an interview released Saturday. Mohammed Javad Zarif told Germany's Der Spiegel magazine that he would "never rule out the possibility that people will change their approach and recognize the realities," in an interview conducted Friday in Tehran. There has been growing tension between Washington and Tehran since in 2018, when President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran. The U.S. has since reimposed tough sanctions that have crippled Iran's economy. But Zarif suggested Iran was still willing to talk, though reiterated his country's previous demand that first the U.S. would have to lift sanctions.

Iran MP offers $3 million 'to anyone who kills Trump': report

The Japan Times

TEHRAN – An Iranian lawmaker on Tuesday offered a $3 million reward to "anyone who kills" U.S. President Donald Trump to avenge the assassination of a top general, the semi-official news agency ISNA reported. Ahmad Hamzeh, a little-known member of the Majlis, made the offer on behalf of the people of Kerman, the hometown and final resting place of storied commander, Qassem Soleimani. "We will give $3 million to anyone who kills Trump," Hamzeh, who represents Kahnouj county near the southeastern city of Kerman, was quoted as saying by ISNA. He did not say who would pay the bounty offer, which comes a month ahead of a parliamentary election. Soleimani, one of the most popular public figures in Iran, was killed on Jan. 3 in a U.S. drone strike outside Baghdad airport.

Iran Cracks Down as Protests Over Downing of Airliner Grow

NYT > Middle East

We first learned that it was a missile that took down a Ukrainian airliner over Iran because of this video showing the moment of impact. All 176 people on board were killed. To find out what happened to Flight 752 after it left Tehran airport on Jan. 8, we collected flight data, analyzed witness videos and images of the crash site, to paint the clearest picture yet of that disastrous seven-minute flight. We'll walk you through the evidence, minute by minute, from the plane's takeoff to the moment it crashed. Iran has just launched ballistic missiles at U.S. military targets in Iraq in retaliation for an American drone strike that killed Iranian military leader Qassim Suleimani.

World 'will not rest' until questions are answered on Iran jetliner's downing: Canada

The Japan Times

LONDON – Canada's foreign minister on Thursday vowed to push Iran for answers about the mistaken downing of a passenger plane after the U.S. killed one of Tehran's top commanders. Iran had just hours earlier fired strikes against U.S. troops stationed in Iraq in retaliation for a drone attack that killed its most prominent general, Qassem Soleimani. "Families want answers, the international community wants answers, the world is waiting for answers and we will not rest until we get them," Francois-Philippe Champagne said at a meeting in London. Champagne was speaking after talks with counterparts from countries whose nationals were among the 176 people killed when the plane was hit after taking off from Tehran last week. Fifty-seven of the victims on board the Kyiv-bound Ukraine International Airlines flight were Canadian.

Regime change quest suspected as Trump seizes on new Iran protests

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – With presidential tweets in Persian and stern warnings to the regime, Donald Trump's administration is rallying behind the latest protests in Iran -- and renewing suspicions that his real goal is regime change. Just a week ago, massive crowds took to the streets in Iran to mourn powerful Gen. Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in a U.S. drone strike in Baghdad, and Tehran fired retaliatory missiles at U.S. forces in Iraq without inflicting casualties. Trump's response was, briefly, unusually conciliatory -- seeking a de-escalation with Iran and noting that they shared common interests, including fighting the Islamic State group. But all has changed since Saturday, when Iran admitted that it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 people, setting off a new round of protests by Iranians furious at the deaths and the regime's initial denial. The tragedy has "turned the tide against the Iranian leadership again," said Ali Vaez, director of the Iran Project at the International Crisis Group, which promotes conflict resolution.