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Iran Says It Detained Leader of California-Based Exile Group

NYT > Middle East

Iran on Saturday said it had detained an Iranian-American leader of a little-known, California-based opposition group for allegedly planning a 2008 attack on a mosque that killed 14 people and wounded over 200 others. Iran's Intelligence Ministry also asserted that the detained man, Jamshid Sharmahd of the Kingdom Assembly of Iran, planned more attacks around the Islamic Republic amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the United States. Mr. Sharmahd's reported arrest comes as relations between the U.S. and Iran remain inflamed in the wake of President Donald Trump's 2018 decision to withdraw America from the 2015 multinational nuclear deal. In January, a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad. Iran responded by launching a ballistic missile attack on U.S. soldiers in Iraq that injured dozens.


France says voice data from Ukrainian jet shot down by Iran has been recovered

FOX News

Fox News Flash top headlines are here. Check out what's clicking on Foxnews.com. French officials on Monday said investigators have obtained cockpit voice data from the black boxes of the Ukrainian jet mistakenly shot down by Iran in January. "CVR data - including the event itself - has been successfully downloaded," wrote France's BEA investigation bureau said in a tweet. The deadly incident came during a period of heightened tensions with the U.S. -- just hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi airbases housing American troops in retaliation for a U.S. drone strike that killed Iran's top military commander, Gen. Qassim Soleimani, earlier in January.


US killing of Iran's Qassem Soleimani 'unlawful': UN expert

Al Jazeera

The US drone strike that killed Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani was "unlawful", the United Nations expert on extrajudicial killings concluded in a report on Tuesday. US President Donald Trump ordered the killing in a January 3 drone strike near Baghdad international airport. Soleimani was "the world's top terrorist" and "should have been terminated long ago", Trump said at the time. Iraqi commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis was also killed in the attack. Callamard concluded that it was an "arbitrary killing" that violated the UN charter.


Iran nuclear site fire hit centrifuge facility, analysts say

FOX News

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seized on a U.N. report confirming Iranian weapons were used to attack Saudi Arabia in September and were part of an arms shipment seized months ago off Yemen's coast; State Department correspondent Rich Edson reports. A fire and an explosion struck a centrifuge production plant above Iran's underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility early Thursday, analysts said, one of the most-tightly guarded sites in all of the Islamic Republic after earlier acts of sabotage there. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran sought to downplay the fire, calling it an "incident" that only affected an under-construction "industrial shed," spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. However, both Kamalvandi and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi rushed after the fire to Natanz, a facility earlier targeted by the Stuxnet computer virus and built underground to withstand enemy airstrikes. The fire threatened to rekindle wider tensions across the Middle East, similar to the escalation in January after a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad and Tehran launched a retaliatory ballistic missile attack targeting American forces in Iraq. While offering no cause for Thursday's blaze, Iran's state-run IRNA news agency published a commentary addressing the possibility of sabotage by enemy nations such as Israel and the U.S. following other recent explosions in the country.


Why would Iran issue an arrest warrant for Trump?

Al Jazeera

On June 30, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's address to the UN Security Council calling for an arms embargo on Iran to be extended was expected to dominate the international news agenda. However, Iran's judiciary stole the morning's headlines by issuing an arrest warrant for Donald Trump the day before. Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on Monday that Trump, along with more than 30 others accused of involvement in the January 3 drone attack that killed Iran's top general, Qassem Soleimani, face "murder and terrorism charges". The prosecutor added that Tehran asked Interpol for help in detaining the US president. The same day, the US special envoy for Iran, Brian Hook, denounced the warrant as a "propaganda stunt" at a press conference in the Saudi capital, Riyadh.


Iran to Develop Artificial Intelligence Start-ups

#artificialintelligence

Iran's Vice Presidency for Science and Technology says it is working to increase the number of start-ups in the field of artificial intelligence to nearly …


Pompeo says if UN doesn't extend arms embargo on Iran, US will seek sanctions

FOX News

Former CIA station chief Daniel Hoffman speaks out. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a press conference on Wednesday that if the U.N. Security Council doesn't agree to extend the arms embargo against Iran, then the U.S. will seek to "snap back" multilateral sanctions on the regime. Pompeo made the remarks ahead of a briefing by U.N. Ambassador Kelly Craft and Special Representative for Iran Brian Hook to the Security Council on why the arms embargo should be extended, citing Iran's behavior since the implementation of the Iranian nuclear deal, including a drone attack on Saudi Arabia in 2019. "Without action, on the 18th of [October], Iran will be able to purchase advanced weapon systems and become the arms dealer of choice for terrorists and rogue regimes all throughout the world. This is unacceptable," Pompeo said Wednesday. He quoted former President Barack Obama and former Secretary of State John Kerry, who each made comments that if the U.S. was not satisfied with how the deal was working out, that it could unilaterally reimpose the sanctions that were previously on the Iranian regime.


Rocket Attack Kills Three U.S. Coalition Members in Iraq

NYT > Middle East

The American retaliation led to a siege of the United States Embassy in Baghdad and then an American drone attack that killed the leader of Iran's elite Quds force, Maj. The cycle of attacks and counterattacks ended more than two weeks later after Iran launched 16 cruise missiles at bases in Iraq that house American forces. No one was killed by the Iranian missile attacks and tensions had appeared to subside. An Iraqi military official said that hours after the attack on Wednesday, the American-led coalition responded with airstrikes on camps used by Kataib Hezbollah near Abu Kamal in Syria, just across the border from Qaim, Iraq. However American officials said the United States had not carried out those strikes.


Devices found in Houthi missiles and Yemen drones link Iran to attacks

The Japan Times

DUBAI, UNITED ARAB EMIRATES – A small instrument inside the drones that targeted the heart of Saudi Arabia's oil industry and those in the arsenal of Yemen's Houthi rebels match components recovered in downed Iranian drones in Afghanistan and Iraq, two reports say. These gyroscopes have only been found inside drones manufactured by Iran, Conflict Armament Research said in a report released on Wednesday. That follows a recently released report from the United Nations saying its experts saw a similar gyroscope from an Iranian drone obtained by the U.S. military in Afghanistan, as well as in weapons shipments seized in the Arabian Sea bound for Yemen. The discovery further ties Iran to an attack that briefly halved Saudi Arabia's oil output and saw energy prices spike by a level unseen since the 1991 Gulf War. It also ties Iran to the arming of the rebel Houthis in Yemen's long civil war.


Iraq considers deepening military ties with Russia

The Japan Times

BAGHDAD – Iraq and Russia discussed prospects for deepening military coordination, Iraq's Defense Ministry said Thursday, amid a strain in Baghdad-Washington relations after a U.S. airstrike killed a top Iranian general inside Iraq. The ministry statement followed a meeting in Baghdad between Iraqi army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Othman Al-Ghanimi and Iraq's Russian Ambassador Maksim Maksimov, as well as a newly arrived defense attache. The meeting comes during an uncertain moment in the future of Iraq-U.S. military relations, following the Jan. 3 U .S. drone strike that killed Iran's most powerful military commander, Gen. Qassem Soleimani, and Iraqi senior militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis near Baghdad airport. The attack continues to create friction, prompting powerful Shiite parties to call for an overhaul of the existing strategic set-up between Iraq and the U.S.-led coalition. Al-Ghanimi praised Moscow's role in the battle against the Islamic State group, saying they had provided "our armed forces with advanced and effective equipment and weapons that had a major role in resolving many battles," according to the ministry statement.