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.

Pentagon says 34 troops suffered traumatic brain injuries in Iran strike

The Japan Times

WASHINGTON – The Pentagon disclosed on Friday that 34 U.S. service members suffered traumatic brain injury in Iran's missile strike this month on an Iraqi air base, and although half have returned to work, the casualty total belies President Donald Trump's initial claim that no Americans were harmed. He later characterized the injuries as "not very serious." Eight of the injured arrived in the United States on Friday from Germany, where they and nine others had been flown days after the Jan. 8 missile strike on Iraq's Ain al-Asad air base. The nine still in Germany are receiving treatment and evaluation at Landstuhl Regional Medical Center, the largest U.S. military hospital outside the continental United States. Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, said the eight in the U.S. will be treated at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center at Bethesda, Maryland, or at their home bases.

34 Troops Have Brain Injuries From Iranian Missile Strike, Pentagon Says

NYT > Middle East

The comments of the president, who avoided the Vietnam War draft thanks to a diagnosis of bone spurs, drew swift criticism from veterans groups. "Don't just be outraged by #PresidentMayhem's latest asinine comments," Paul Rieckhoff, the founder of Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America, wrote in a Twitter post that day. "Take action to help vets facing TBIs," meaning traumatic brain injuries. Traumatic brain injuries result from the powerful changes in atmospheric pressure that accompany an explosion like that from a missile warhead. The missiles were launched by Iran in retaliation for the killing of a top Iranian general, Qassim Suleimani, by an American drone strike in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

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 Conflict Could Shift To Cyberspace, Experts Warn

NPR Technology

Experts say Iran may retaliate for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, its top military leader, with cyber attacks on American companies. Experts say Iran may retaliate for the killing of Qassem Soleimani, its top military leader, with cyber attacks on American companies. Cybersecurity researchers and U.S. government officials said hackers linked to Iran are probing American companies for vulnerabilities. The warnings suggest that the next phase of hostilities between the U.S. and Iran, following the Jan. 3 killing of a top Iranian general in an American drone strike, is likely to play out in cyberspace. The Iranian regime is accused of being behind some high-profile online operations against American targets in recent years.

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.

Rise of the killer robots: The future of war


The recent tit-for-tat missile strikes between US and Iran show how war has changed in the 21st century. Technology has brought new capabilities for killing at a distance, and what we are seeing today with long-range, so-called "precision missiles" is a harbinger of the next generation of warheads. Autonomous weaponry and "killer robots" sound like the stuff of science fiction but various governments including the US and Russia are investing heavily in their development. Turkey has teamed up with a defence contractor to deploy kamikaze drones with biometric facial recognition to the Syrian border this year, while the Israeli-developed Harpy "loitering munition" – which hangs about in the sky looking for an unrecognised radar signal to strike – has been sold to several countries including India and China. For cloud computing expert Laura Nolan, this issue became personal in early 2018 when, while working for Google, she discovered the tech giant had secretively signed up to the US military's artificial intelligence project Maven.

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.

Japan, U.S., South Korea agree: no easing of North Korea sanctions without progress in nuke talks

The Japan Times

SAN FRANCISCO – The top diplomats of Japan, the United States and South Korea on Tuesday urged North Korea to refrain from military provocation and continue denuclearization talks, but ruled out any easing of crushing economic sanctions without progress in the stalled negotiations. Foreign Minister Toshimitsu Motegi held discussions with his U.S. and South Korean counterparts, Mike Pompeo and Kang Kyung-wha, in East Palo Alto, just outside San Francisco, two weeks after a deadline set by Pyongyang for progress by the end of 2019 passed. "We agreed on the importance of North Korea making positive efforts in talks with the United States rather than going through with provocative moves," Motegi told reporters. The statement appeared to contradict remarks in a New Year speech by South Korean President Moon Jae-in a day earlier in Seoul, where he said that he could seek exemptions of U.N. sanctions to bring about improved inter-Korean relations that he believes would help restart the deadlocked nuclear negotiations between Pyongyang and Washington. Moon has previously made similar comments, despite outside worries that any lifting of sanctions could undermine U.S.-led efforts to eliminate North Korea's nuclear arsenal.

Artificial Intelligence to fuel Cyber Warfare - Cybersecurity Insiders


The relationship between Iran and America had deteriorated to such an extent that other countries are speculating a cyberwar to erupt at any moment. Technically speaking, cyberwar is a digital attack were computer viruses, DDoS campaigns and hacks are expected the digital infrastructure of enemy nations creating damage such as political instability, death of populace or more severe destruction. Therefore, we can come to the conclusion that the time has come where nations have put aside the usage of conventional weapons like guns and missiles and have started to take the help of cyber attacks to disrupt other nation's critical infrastructure. Factually speaking, in such war scenarios, it is not the computer systems that are being targeted on a final note. But it's the control systems that are being targeted because they are playing a bigger role in managing real-world infrastructures like airports and power grids.