What started as small rallies to protest economic reform in Iran's second-largest city Masshad on Dec. 28, spread to larger cities over the past three days and quickly took on a political color. Protestors took to the streets in large numbers in cities such as Tehran, Qom, Isfahan, and Zahedan demanding President Hassan Rouhani to step down with slogans such as "Death to Rouhani," and "Death to the dictator."
Russian warplanes flew their first-ever bombing mission from an air base inside Iran on Tuesday, expanding the Kremlin's geopolitical reach and revealing new steel in its ties with Tehran. Long-range SU-34 and TU-22 bombers took off from a base at Hamadan in western Iran for a raid over Syria, the Russian Defense Ministry said. The flight was the first foreign military operation from Iranian soil since World War II. The mission appeared to be arranged at short notice and it caught the U.S. off-guard, but Russia alerted U.S.-led forces of the planes' flight plan just before they departed. "The Russians did notify the coalition," U.S. military spokesman Col. Christopher Garver told reporters from Baghdad.
Iran conducted a ballistic missile test in yet another apparent violation of a United Nations resolution, U.S. officials told Fox News on Monday. The launch occurred at a well-known test site outside Semnan, about 140 miles east of Tehran, on Sunday. The Khorramshahr medium-range ballistic missile flew 600 miles before exploding, in a failed test of a reentry vehicle, officials said. Iran defense minister Brigadier Gen. Hossein Dehqan said in September that Iran would start production of the missile. U.N. resolution 2231 -- put in place days after the Iran nuclear deal was signed -- calls on the Islamic Republic not to conduct such tests.
In apparent defiance of the new sanctions imposed by the Trump administration, Iran held a military exercise Saturday to test missile and radar systems. The aim of the exercise, held in Semnan province, was to "showcase the power of Iran's revolution and to dismiss the sanctions," Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards website said, according to Reuters. During the exercise, a senior commander of Iran's Revolution Guard said the country's missiles will come down on the country's enemies if they do wrong. "If the enemy does not walk the line, our missiles come down on them," Gen. Amir Ali Haijazadeh said. Iranian state news agencies reported the military excercise would test home-made missile systems, radars, command and control centers and cyber warfare systems.
Saudi Arabia says its oil tankers were attacked Sunday off the coast of UAE port city of Fujairah.; In this Friday, May 10, 2019 photo released by the U.S. Navy, logistics specialists attach cargo to an MH-60S Sea Hawk helicopter on the flight deck of the Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln in the Persian Gulf. The aircraft carrier strike group is being deployed to the Persian Gulf to counter an alleged but still-unspecified threat from Iran. DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The Latest on developments in the Persian Gulf region and elsewhere in the Mideast amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran (all times local): The Qatar-funded satellite news broadcaster Al-Jazeera says that Doha is trying to "defuse escalating tensions" across the Persian Gulf. Al-Jazeera cited an anonymous official on Wednesday night as saying that Qatari Foreign Minister Sheikh Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani had traveled to Tehran in recent days to speak with his Iranian counterpart, Mohammad Javad Zarif.