Jan 21 10:46

Raeisi-Putin meeting showed tightening bonds against US

In a meeting with Russian President Vladimir V. Putin, Iranian President Ebrahim Raeisi reminded his Russian counterpart on Wednesday that Tehran had been “resisting America for 40 years.”

And now that Russia was plunging deeper into its own confrontation with the United States, Raeisi told Putin in televised remarks, it was time to take on “the power of the Americans with an increased synergy between our two countries.

Iran's president started a two-day trip to Moscow on Wednesday designed to demonstrate tightening bonds between two countries, increasingly, along with China, a single adversary: the United States.

For Putin, embroiled in a dispute with the United States and facing sanctions if he follows military measures on Ukraine, it was a chance to show that Russia has friends it can call on in its battles with the West.

Jan 21 07:00

Killers of ‘hero’ general must face justice, Iranian president tells RT

In his first interview to international television, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi told RT he sincerely meant what he said about the killers of General Qassem Soleimani having to face a proper international trial, calling the slain general a hero of the entire Muslim world for fighting against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists in Iraq and Syria.

“Soleimani not only belonged to the people of Iran, he belonged to the Muslim community,” Raisi told RT’s Murad Gazdiev in an exclusive interview that aired on Thursday. “All people, both Muslims and non-Muslims, of course, have great respect for his work, because they know that he was able to save people from the attacks of the enemies of humanity, namely [ISIS] and Takfiri factions,” he added, using the Arabic term for heretics from Islam.

Jan 21 06:46

Israel DM: Iran’s Proxies Must Be an Issue at Nuclear Talks

Israeli officials had tried to argue that they don’t really oppose the Vienna nuclear talks with Iran, but today’s comments from Defense Minister Benny Gantz show that the goal is, as ever, to prevent diplomatic progress.

Gantz blamed Iran for the “terror attack on the United Arab Emirates” earlier this week, a missile strike by Yemen’s Houthi movement, a Shi’ite group and therefore often tied to Iran, even if the depth of their actual relationship isn’t entirely clear.

Gantz called for the Vienna talks to take into account the actions of Iranian proxies in addition to the nuclear talks. In practice this is a chance to vilify Iran for a myriad of regional issues, and to divert attention away from the important nuclear negotiations.

Jan 21 06:25

Joint naval drills reflect growing ties between China, Russia and Iran

Joint naval exercises involving Russia, China and Iran scheduled to begin Friday in the northern Indian Ocean have as much to do with global geopolitics as they do with warship capabilities and the fight against local sea pirates. In the face of growing pressure from the United States, the maneuvers are a particularly strong signal that some of America’s leading adversaries are moving closer together as relations with the U.S. deteriorate.

The exercises coincide with the visit this week by hard-line Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi to Moscow and proposals for a 20-year economic and security pact between the two countries. China agreed to its own 25-year “comprehensive strategic partnership” with Tehran in March even though the U.S. is still enforcing major economic and financial sanctions on Iran and its trading partners over its nuclear programs.

Jan 20 10:13

Russia prepares a surprise for USA and NATO in Vietnam and Iran

The appearance of Russian army bases in the above-mentioned countries is not going to be either advertised or announced. On their part, Vietnam and Iran will receive Russian weapons for their protection.

"We could deploy weapons in Venezuela or Cuba. However, who needs that in our times? This is ridiculous! This is not what the Americans are afraid of. They fear that Russia will join efforts with Iran. We did not fight in Vietnam, but it was Soviet aircraft and Soviet missiles that shot down all US airplanes in Vietnam. This is the worst scenario for the United States — Russia is washing her hands, and Russian missiles can fly from anywhere in the world," Russian military expert Ivan Konovalov said, publication said.

Noteworthy, negotiations are currently underway between the authorities of Vietnam and the United States regarding the possible arrangement of an American military base in Cam Ranh. This could lead to problems for Russia.

Jan 19 13:22

Russia, Iran, China to hold joint naval maneuvers

The Russian, Iranian and Chinese navies will hold joint naval maneuvers, Russia’s Pacific Fleet reported on Tuesday.

"The Pacific Fleet’s naval group made up of the Guards Order of Nakhimov missile cruiser Varyag, the large anti-submarine warfare ship Admiral Tributs and the large sea tanker Boris Butoma has anchored in the roadstead of the Chabahar port in the Islamic Republic of Iran. In the port, the Russian Navy’s official delegation will take part in a planning conference on holding joint naval drills of combat ships of Russia, Iran and China," the Pacific Fleet’s press office reported.

The Russian naval ships will also replenish food, fresh water and fuel supplies at the port, the press office specified.

Jan 19 08:15

America’s Wild 'World War III' Plan for Iran, and Israel’s Part in It

It may sound fantastic now, and was probably not really feasible even then.

But according to the Pentagon’s own Joint Chiefs of Staff, sometime in the mid-1980’s, American military planners wanted Israel to take part in a war which would start in Iran and spread to the Eastern Mediterranean, where the Israel Air Force would be tasked with striking Soviet ships and other military units.

Jan 19 07:06

Is The TAPI Pipeline Finally Ready To Go?

The Turkmenistan–Afghanistan–Pakistan–India (TAPI) natural gas pipeline has been long aborning, but its prospects recently got a shot in the arm.

The 1100-mile, $10 billion project has seen numerous delays since the pipeline consortium was announced in late 2014, though the project was first mooted in 1991. Construction started in early 2018 with a projected in-service date of 2021, but halted later that year after workers clearing the route were killed by unknown assailants. Also, the project’s $10 billion cost estimate is a decade old, and an update may cause further delay to the Asian Development Bank-funded effort that is now slated to resume work in September 2022. Turkmenistan will loan Afghanistan the funds for its share of the project, to be repaid from gas transit revenues.

Jan 18 13:46

Report: Putin to host Iranian president in Moscow next week

Russian President Vladimir Putin will host Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi for talks in Moscow next week as Russia tries to help salvage a nuclear deal between world powers and Tehran, state television channel Rossiya-1 reported on Sunday.

Rossiya-1 did not disclose when precisely the meeting between the two leaders would take place, nor the issues they would discuss.

Russia is taking part in talks to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, which lifted some sanctions against Tehran in exchange for restrictions on its nuclear program.

Former US President Donald Trump pulled Washington out of the deal in 2018. Iran later breached many of the deal's nuclear restrictions and kept pushing beyond them.

Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Friday that progress had been made in the talks to revive the deal.

Jan 18 08:27

Iran Demands Legal Pledge That U.S. Won’t Quit Nuclear Deal Again

As the Biden administration tries to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, one of the biggest obstacles is Tehran’s demand that the U.S. provides a guarantee that it won’t again quit the pact and reimpose sanctions, diplomats involved in talks in Austria say.

The demand, a reaction to former President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, appears to be a paramount political objective for the government of Iran’s new hard-line president, U.S. and European diplomats here say. The diplomats said they don’t believe the demand is designed by Iran to simply drag out the talks.

The U.S. has consistently said no president can legally tie the hands of a successor without a treaty that would need to garner the backing of two thirds of the U.S. Senate. The U.S. has also said the current talks should remain focused on restoring the 2015 deal, not seeking new commitments on both sides.

Jan 18 08:24

Iran Says US Stalling Vienna Talks By Not Lifting Sanctions

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said the US has been stalling the nuclear deal negotiations in Vienna by not making a decision on sanctions relief.

“There are crucial differences left in Vienna and most importantly is the disproportionate speed of the opposing parties, especially the United States,” Khatibzadeh said. “In the discussion of lifting sanctions, the talks are subject to political decisions that have been stalled by the other side.”

If President Biden ever decides to give Iran the necessary sanctions relief to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, he would come under a lot of political pressure from Republicans in Congress and some Democrats. Iran is also seeking guarantees and verifications on sanctions relief since the US withdrew from the JCPOA once before.

If the US decides to lift sanctions, Khatibzadeh said the two sides would “reach a lasting, reliable agreement at a good pace.”

Jan 18 07:30

Iran & Saudis Preparing To Reopen Embassies After Decade Of Regional Proxy War

In a highly unexpected and unusual development, and coming off a possible diplomatic breakthrough amid recent talks aimed at opening up relations, Iranian diplomats arrived in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia this weekend for the first time in a half-decade. The two countries haven't had diplomatic relations since 2016, when Iranian protesters attacked the Saudi Embassy in Tehran following the kingdom's execution of a popular Shia cleric. They are reportedly preparing to reopen embassies.

The Saudis and Iranians have further been waging fierce proxy wars against the other in places like Syria and Yemen over a period of years. Shia Iran has long funded and sent weapons primarily to Hezbollah, as well as Yemen's Houthi rebels, while the Saudis have funded Sunni jihadists including ISIS. The two sides have also long vied for influence in Lebanon's politics, with Washington consistently backing the Saudis.

Jan 18 07:29

The benefit of truly understanding Iran’s missiles, military, and strategy

The United States has an outsized obsession with Iran, but our political leaders and policymakers often have a distorted view of the Iranian government’s goals and capabilities.

That view leads them to embrace unnecessary and harmful policies that damage both American interests and the well-being of the Iranian people. Specifically, it is the conventional hawkish view of Iran that sees them as driven primarily by ideology and the desire to export their revolution abroad, and because of this, many U.S. policymakers refer unironically to Iranian “expansionism” and to cast everything that the Iranian government does as aggressive behavior.

Jan 17 08:57

Israel Reportedly Made 'Wish List' of Weapons for US to Engage Iran, Hezbollah

The new Israeli government of Naftali Bennet, which came to power last year, has repeatedly warned that it might act preemptively to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Tehran insists that it doesn't seek to build nukes and that its nuclear programme is peaceful.

Tel Aviv compiled a secret "wish list" of weapons it wants the US to store in its Israeli-based War Reserves Stock Allies (WRSA-I) – stockpiles of American weapons stored for the country's use in case of war, the military news outlet Breaking Defense has reported, citing anonymous military sources in Tel Aviv.

The "wish list" reportedly contained various "aerial munitions" that Tel Aviv believes might be needed in the event of a conflict between Israel and either Iran or Lebanon-based Hezbollah.

Jan 17 07:28

Russia denounces Facebook for blocking security delegation's social media account

Russian government officials denounced Facebook on Sunday, claiming that the American social media giant blocked the account for Moscow's delegation to international security talks in Vienna.

"We regret to learn that Facebook account of @armscontrol_rus has been banned without explanation," the Russian Arms Control Delegation in Vienna wrote on its Twitter account. "It's another example of illegitimate censorship of information space."

The account was blocked for posting "prohibited content," according to Konstantin Gavrilov, who leads the Russian delegation. Gavrilov made his comments Jan. 16 to Russia's state media outlet, Tass. Gavrilov did not specify what comprised the alleged offense, but told the outlet that the delegation "only reposted statements by the Russian leaders and the Russian foreign ministry."

Jan 16 07:07

Hawks restart campaign for war with Iran

The crusade for a war with Iran continues.

Just weeks into the new year, war hawks are again calling for the U.S. military to prepare plans for a comprehensive strike against Iran’s nuclear infrastructure.

Foundation for the Defense of Democracies CEO Mark Dubowitz and the Atlantic Council’s Matthew Kroenig — longtime advocates for a preemptive war with Iran — argued in a Wall Street Journal op-ed last week that “the red line for military action will come when Iran’s timeline to sprint to a nuclear weapon shrinks to less than the Pentagon’s response time,” which they clam “could happen early this year.”

“If and when it does,” they say, “the president should order military strikes on Iran’s nuclear facilities to prevent Tehran from building the bomb.”

Jan 15 07:25

China blasts US sanctions on Iran with launch of strategic partnership

China has reaffirmed its opposition to unilateral sanctions by the United States against Iran as the Chinese and Iranian foreign ministers announced the launch of a 25-year cooperation agreement aimed at strengthening economic and political ties.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi met his Iranian counterpart Hossein Amir-Abdollahian in the city of Wuxi, in Jiangsu province on Friday, with a summary of the meeting posted on China's foreign ministry website on Saturday.

Wang, who is also State Councilor, said the US bears primary responsibility for the ongoing difficulties with Iran, having unilaterally withdrawn from a 2015 nuclear deal.

The United States reimposed the sanctions that the agreement had removed and slapped new bans under different labels.

Wang said China firmly opposes unilateral sanctions against Iran, political manipulation through topics including human rights, and interference in the internal affairs of Iran and other regional countries.

Jan 14 08:59

Israel’s Bennett Tells Putin World Must Take Strong Stance Against Iran

On Thursday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett spoke with Russian President Vladimir Putin and called on the world powers involved in the Vienna talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal to take a strong stance against the Islamic Republic.

“Against the backdrop of the nuclear talks in Vienna, the prime minister stressed the importance of a strong and determined stance against Iran’s progress in the nuclear project,” Bennett’s office said in a statement.

Russia is one of the participants of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, and has been attending the Vienna talks. Israel’s opposition to the talks is no secret, and Bennett has publicly called on the US to “immediately” halt the negotiations and increase the pressure on Iran.

Jan 14 08:59

Biden administration not waiting for nuclear talk denouement to begin damage control

Since he entered office, and even before, US President Joe Biden has made a point of insisting that Iranian escalations in the past several years are a direct result of his predecessor Donald Trump’s decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Interviews and briefings with Biden officials on Iran policy were almost sure to include a reference to the former president’s 2018 withdrawal from the deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

But this week, the White House found it necessary to double down on the message, with press secretary Jen Psaki reading a prepared statement to that effect during her Wednesday briefing.

Jan 13 07:30

US, Iran at Odds Over Guarantees and Verification for Sanctions Relief

The US and Iran are at odds over key issues to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, Reuters reported on Wednesday.

The eighth round of indirect negotiations between the US and Iran to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, is still ongoing in Vienna. Iranian and Western diplomats told Reuters that the main sticking points are the scope of sanctions relief and Iran’s calls for verification methods and guarantees that the US won’t withdraw from the JCPOA again.

“Americans should give assurances that no new sanctions under any label would be imposed on Iran in future. We need guarantees that America will not abandon the deal again,” a senior Iranian official said.

Jan 13 06:38

For Fox Sake… Has US Any Intelligent Diplomats?

Foxes seem to be in vogue during the high-stakes talks this week between the US and Russia over deteriorating security conditions in Europe.

The BBC headlined with this: “Can the Silver Fox outwit Vladimir Putin?” The report was referring to Wendy Sherman, the gray-haired diplomat who is leading the US delegation in discussions with Russian counterparts in Geneva, Brussels and Vienna.

Deputy Secretary of State Sherman is described glowingly as an expert negotiator whose wily ways may get the better of Russia on how to reduce dangerous tensions in Europe. (In truth, with people like her, the tensions will only get worse.)

Jan 12 12:14

No more excuses: Iran urges US to repatriate all Achaemenid tablets

Iran’s ambassador and permanent representative to the United Nations says the United States must return the country’s Achaemenid clay tablets without any exceptions and excuses.

According to Majid Takht-Ravanchi, the United States has repeatedly resorted to excuses to put off repatriating the tablets to Iran.

“About 90 years ago, the Achaemenid tablets were transferred to the Oriental Institute of the University of Chicago on a three-year loan,” IRNA on Tuesday quoted Takht-Ravanchi as saying.

“Unfortunately, they have not been fully returned since then,” he added.

Jan 11 08:11

Preparing for Iran Strike: Bennett Says Israel Undergoing Largest Rearmament in Years

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told the Israeli Parliament (Knesset) on Monday that Israel is undergoing its largest rearmament in years, according to Israeli media.

Bennett’s remarks come as the Israeli army is preparing for a potential strike on Iran.

Jan 10 08:48

Bennett Warns Israel Won't Be Bound by Any Iran Nuclear Deal, Will 'Reserve Freedom of Action'

Tehran, other signatories of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Iran nuclear deal, and the United States have been negotiating on bringing the agreement back online. Israel has repeatedly threatened to carry out strikes against the Islamic Republic targeting its nuclear programme, either unilaterally or in coordination with Washington.
Israel is not part of the talks in Vienna on the JCPOA, and will not be bound by their terms, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has said.

"In regard to the nuclear talks in Vienna, we are definitely concerned...Israel is not a side to the agreements. Israel is not bound by what will be written in the agreements, if they are signed, and Israel will continue to maintain full freedom of action anywhere, any time, with no constraints," Bennett said, speaking at a briefing of the Knesset's foreign affairs and defence committee on Monday.

Jan 10 07:39

White House: Iran to Face Consequences if It Attacks Any Americans, Including Those It Sanctioned

Earlier, Tehran imposed sanctions on dozens of Americans, including top military officials, over the killing of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani.

Iran will face "severe consequences" if it attacks any Americans, including 52 people it earlier imposed sanctions on, the White House said on Sunday.

"Yesterday, Iran purported to impose sanctions on 52 Americans. They do so as Iran’s proxy militias continue to attack American troops in the Middle East, and as Iranian officials threaten to carry out terror operations inside the United States and elsewhere around the world," Sullivan said in a statement published by the White House.

"We will work with our allies and partners to deter and respond to any attacks carried out by Iran. Should Iran attack any of our nationals, including any of the 52 people named yesterday, it will face severe consequences," he went on.

Jan 07 11:24

France strikes positive tone on Vienna talks, says deal within reach

France’s foreign minister strikes a positive tone over the ongoing negotiations in Vienna to revive the 2015 Iran deal, saying progress has been made in the talks.

In remarks on Friday, Jean-Yves Le Drian said he remains convinced that the parties to the talks can reach a deal, but noted time is running out.

“We have been heading in a positive direction in the last few days, but time is of the essence, because if we don’t get an accord quickly there will be nothing to negotiate,” Le Drian said.

The remarks came after Iran’s chief negotiator in Vienna talks said the negotiations with the remaining signatories to the Iran deal are “positive and forward-moving.” The deal was unilaterally abandoned by the United States in 2018 three years after it was inked.

Earlier this week, the US also said the negotiations in Vienna had shown modest progress.

Jan 07 07:38

Blinken Holds Call With Israel’s Lapid to Discuss Iran ‘Challenges’

Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke by phone with Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid on Wednesday and discussed “challenges posed by Iran,” the State Department said.

The US and Israel have been coordinating closely on Iran amid ongoing negotiations in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal. Lapid said on Twitter that he and Blinken discussed “the importance of putting pressure on Iran.”

The Israelis have been outspoken in their opposition to the nuclear deal talks, although there are some signals that Israel may be backing down a bit. The head of Israel’s Military Intelligence reportedly told a high-level security cabinet meeting that Israel would be better off if a deal is reached in Vienna than if the talks fall apart.

Jan 07 06:16

US will get three conflicts for the price of one if it allows Israel to attack Iran

The talks in Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal, from which former US President Donald Trump withdrew in 2018, have reached a critical phase.

They are already into their eighth round and the gaps between the negotiating parties are showing no signs of narrowing. Iran’s European interlocutors - the US delegation remains in a hotel across the road - want a quick deal based on a partial lifting of sanctions, a freeze on enrichment, and a full return of inspection by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA).

The Iranians want a full return to the deal they struck in 2015, all sanctions imposed on them lifted, a guarantee that the US could not walk away from the deal in the future, and a system of verification.

Jan 07 06:15

Iran Says Nuclear Deal Can Be Revived If US Lifts Sanctions

Iran’s Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian told Al Jazeera that an agreement could be reached to restore the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, if the US is willing to lift sanctions.

Iran is calling for the US to lift the sanctions agreed to when the JCPOA was first negotiated and all the sanctions imposed since the Trump administration withdrew from the deal.

“Lifting sanctions means lifting all forms of sanctions stipulated in the nuclear agreement, and the sanctions that Trump reimposed contradict the terms of the agreement,” Amir-Abdollahian said in an interview that was broadcast Thursday.

Jan 06 08:09

How serious are Israel’s latest war threats against Iran?

with its government, military and security establishment – sleeps while dressed with its military attire, ever since the (Iran) nuclear negotiations were set to launch in Vienna. Its government ministries and spokesmen, along with its high-ranking military figures, have been transmitting a non-stop series of (potential) Iran war scenarios . Not a single day passes anymore without Israel issuing threats against Iran, politically and militarily, as if the war is to take place tomorrow.

Jan 06 08:08

Israel doesn’t need US permission to strike Iran – FM

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid has made it clear that his country can use force to curb Iran’s nuclear development without informing US President Joe Biden.

“Israel will do whatever it needs to do to protect its security. And we don’t need anybody’s permission for that. That’s been the case since the first day we established this state,” Lapid told Israel’s Channel 12 on the last day of 2021.

When asked if his country possesses the means to successfully carry out this type of attack, the foreign minister said that “Israel has capabilities, some of which the world, and even some experts in the field, cannot even imagine. And Israel will protect itself against the Iranian threat.”

Jan 06 06:27

Two Years On, the Soleimani Spirit Gathers Clout

Two years ago, the 2020s started with a murder.

Baghdad airport, January 3, 00:52 AM. The assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), alongside Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes, deputy commander of Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi forces, by laser-guided AGM-114 Hellfire missiles launched from two American MQ-9 Reaper drones, was an act of war.

This act of war set the tone for the new decade and inspired my book Raging Twenties: Great Power Politics Meets Techno-Feudalism, published one year later.

The drone strikes at Baghdad airport, directly approved by then US President Donald Trump, were unilateral, unprovoked and illegal: an imperial act engineered as a stark provocation capable of triggering an Iranian reaction that would then be countered by American “self-defense,” packaged as “deterrence.”

Jan 04 14:01

Qassem Soleimani's assassination has backfired on the US and Israel

Two years have passed since Qassem Soleimani, commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was killed by a US drone strike on the tarmac of Baghdad airport.

Soleimani was the brain behind Iran’s shadow war in the Middle East, and for years the counterpart of US Central Command (Centcom) leaders and CIA directors, as he boasted about in a text message he allegedly sent to General David Petraeus, the former US military commander in Iraq.

In the process, Soleimani became a local hero against western hegemony in the region, the main enabler of the resistance for large Shia constituencies spread around Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan, Yemen and Gaza. But he also crossed the sectarian divide, garnering significant support from the Kurds and other Sunnis. Millions turned out onto the streets of Tehran and his hometown of Kerman to see his coffin, in a collective show of grief not seen since the funeral of Ayatollah Khomeini in 1989.

Jan 04 10:29

Israel Succeeded in Influencing World Powers on Iran, Lapid Says

Israel is succeeding in influencing the position of the states negotiating a return to the nuclear accord with Iran, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said on Monday.

Israel has succeeded in preventing the international community’s “loss of interest” in the topic, ensuring it remains a key issue, he said.

Assessments in Israel are that the U.S. and Iran are intent on returning to the previous accord or to an interim accord that would lead to a final one. Israel’s efforts are focused on preventing lifting economic sanctions on Iran without eliciting an Iranian response in exchange.

According to Lapid, “the world’s attention is turning to the talks in Vienna. We feel that we’ve succeeded in causing the world to listen to us and to relate to this issue as a critical one.” He added: “We are now in trench warfare in order to gain small achievements, in order to keep this issue alive, retaining our freedom of action by not being a part of this agreement.”

Jan 03 09:31

Israel FM: World Can’t Imagine Our Capabilities to Attack Iran

Iran’s nuclear talks are ongoing, which if you’re checking your watch means it is time for Israel to start threatening war again. In an interview, Israeli FM Yair Lapid played up action “against the Iranian threat.“

Lapid also talked up the idea of not informing the US of the attack, saying Israel doesn’t need anybody’s permission to attack Iran. He was critical of the ongoing nuclear talks, though he did concede there was as yet no “bad deal” made.

Israel’s last round of threats involved military officials, first talking up their capabilities then later walking back the idea of a unilateral attack, suggesting Israel lacked the ability for a sustained attack.

Lapid, on the other hand, suggested Israel has near unlimited capabilities, saying even world experts couldn’t imagine all the things Israel is capable of. He did not elaborate nor suggest what this entailed.

Jan 03 08:08

Iran warns of ‘danger’ if slain general’s ‘assassins’ go free

Iran has urged the United Nations to take formal legal action against the US for the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani ahead of the two year-anniversary of his killing, which brought the two countries to the brink of war.

In a letter to the UN General Assembly on Saturday, the legal department of the Iranian presidential office called for “all legal initiatives within its authority,” including the “adoption of a resolution” to condemn such killings and to “take measures to prevent such crimes in the future.”

The missive, which stated that then-US President Donald Trump had openly claimed responsibility at the time, said American governments have long exhibited an “extreme unilateralism.” It also accused Washington of infringing upon international laws and regulations while the “international community remains silent.”

Dec 30 06:47

Iran defends Syria's sovereignty, rejects Israeli push to assert control over occupied Golan

Iran strongly condemns the Israeli regime’s recent push to bring Syria’s Golan Heights to the fore of Tel Aviv’s occupation schemes.

Speaking on Wednesday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh denounced the regime’s earlier “cabinet meeting” in the Syrian plateau that came after the regime announced a blueprint that foresees construction of some 7,300 additional settler units on the strategic territory.

The spokesman described the meeting as “aggressive” and “provocative.”

Verifying Iran’s position of robust support for the Syrian Arab Republic’s sovereignty over Golan, Khatibzadeh noted that the United Nations Security Council and General Assembly likewise consider the territory to be a part of Syria.

The Golan Heights is an “indivisible” part of Syria, noted the spokesman, asserting that increasing the number of the illegal settlers would not be able to change this “undeniable” fact.

Dec 30 06:34

Iranians Hold Pro-Government 'Dey 9' Rally in Tehran

The original rallies were held in 2009, in response to the Ashura protests by the opposition.

Sputnik is live from Tehran, as Iranians gather in the capital for a "Dey 9" pro-government rally.

The demonstration marks the 12th anniversary of the original protests, which took place after the Iranian presidential election in 2009.

After the opposition started mass demonstrations to protest against the outcome of the vote, pro-government forces organised their own counter-protests, naming them after the ninth day of the Iranian month.

Dey is the tenth month of the Solar Hijri calendar, used in the Islamic Republic. It begins in mid-December and ends in January.

Dec 29 12:26

Biden Opposes NDAA Provision Requiring Him to Disclose Details on Iran's Military to Congress

US President Joe Biden signed the country's National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) for Fiscal Year 2022 on Monday.

Joe Biden appears to have opposed a provision in the NDAA that required him to share detailed reports on Iran's military capabilities and activities, according to a White House statement released shortly after the president signed the bill.

Biden said that several provisions of the NDAA, including one related to Iran (Sec. 1227(a)(1), which requires a "detailed description" of the country's military advancements, oil transfers, missile launches and the like, would "effectively require executive departments and agencies to submit reports to certain committees that will include highly sensitive classified information, including information that could reveal critical intelligence sources or military operational plans".

Dec 29 09:28

Naftali Bennett: Israel Can Strike Iran Even with a New Nuclear Deal

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Tuesday even if the U.S. reaches a new agreement with Iran, Israel will still be able to strike the regime’s nuclear program.

His remarks came a day after talks in Vienna between Washington and Tehran and other world powers resumed.

“Israel won’t be a side in an agreement and will always keep its right to act and defend itself on its own,” the Jerusalem Post cited Bennett as saying.

Responding to opposition leader and former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s claim that Israel would need U.S. approval before attacking Iran, Bennett said: “That is a total lie.”

Taking another dig at his predecessor, who often threatened Iran with military action, Bennett said: “I prefer to take a line of ‘say a little and do a lot.’ I don’t think we need to wake up every day and threaten left and right. It is more important to act.”

Dec 29 07:51

Israeli Military Presents Government With Plans to Strike Iran

The Israeli military has presented Israeli leadership with several possible scenarios for striking targets in Iran, Haaretz reported on Tuesday.

The Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) has received a budget boost of $2.9 billion to prepare for attacks on Iran. As part of its preparations, the IDF has conducted air force drills, acquired advanced weaponry, and collected data for new strike targets.

Israeli military officials told Haaretz that the IDF would be able to strike Iran as soon as the government gave the order. But the IDF stresses that it is difficult to determine the outcome and consequences of bombing Iran and how such strikes would impact Tehran’s civilian nuclear program.

Dec 28 13:49

Iran Says It Won’t Enrich Uranium Over 60% If Nuclear Deal Talks Fail

On Saturday, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said Iran wouldn’t enrich uranium over 60 percent even if the negotiations in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, fail.

In response to an Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility back in April, Tehran began enriching some uranium at 60 percent, which is still below the 90 percent needed for weapons-grade. When asked by Sputnik if Iran would exceed 60 percent enrichment, Iran’s atomic energy chief Mohammad Eslami answered, “No.”

“All our nuclear activities are carried out according to the agreements, statutes, and regulations of the International Atomic Energy Agency,” Eslami added.

Dec 28 07:32

Russia, Iran prepare contacts at highest level, Kremlin says

"Russian-Iranian contacts at the highest level are being prepared," Peskov said, according to the TASS news agency.

Earlier, Iranian government spokesman Ali Bahadori Jahromi said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi would visit Russia in the beginning of 2022 at the invitation of his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin.

Iran and Russia have strengthened their elations in recent years. Moscow strongly supported Iran’s full membership at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), a Eurasian political, economic and security bloc that also includes China, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, India, Pakistan.

Iran and Russia are also trying to develop their economic ties through the Eurasian Economic Union (EAEU). Russia is also working actively to revive the 2015 nuclear deal – JCPOA.

Dec 24 08:48

Jake Sullivan Says Deadline for Iran Nuclear Deal Talks ‘Within Weeks’

On Wednesday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan warned time is running out on the Vienna Iran nuclear deal talks and said the deadline will come “within weeks” if an agreement isn’t reached.

Sullivan said there is “still room for a diplomatic effort,” but warned the timeframe to reach a deal is not long. He made the comments from Israel, where he met with Israeli officials and reportedly assured them the US was willing to take a harder line on Iran if necessary.

The Vienna talks are currently on pause and are set to resume on Monday, December 27th. Since the negotiations restarted, the US and its European allies have been accusing Iran of not taking the talks seriously. Meanwhile, the US has ramped up the pressure on Tehran with new sanctions and close coordination with Israel.

Dec 24 08:44

Missiles trained on Iran won’t revive foundering Iran nuclear deal

As negotiations to renew the nuclear deal between Iran and the United States in Vienna grind on, commentators have begun to seriously float the idea of a military strike on Iran to prevent it from going nuclear.

Leon Panetta, Michele Flournoy, Dennis Ross and others wrote that the threat of a strike would be necessary to convince Iran “it will suffer severe consequences if it stays on its current path.” Regional experts Eric Brewer and Henry Rome reached the same conclusion: the threat of a strike should be kept in reserve to convince Iran to rein in its activity.

These arguments are not compelling. The Quincy Institute’s Annelle Sheline and Brookings’ Bruce Riedel pointed out the destruction Iran could wreak across the Middle East if provoked. Israeli security officials admitted it would take years for Israel to mount an attack on its own. Only the United States could launch such a strike and there is no guarantee it would substantively damage Iran’s enrichment capacity.

Dec 23 09:36

Report: Jake Sullivan Reassures Israel US Willing to Take Harder Line on Iran

On Wednesday, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan met with Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett and other officials in Jerusalem and called for a “common strategy” between the US and Israel to deal with Iran.

Citing four unnamed Israeli officials, Axios reported that Israeli officials left the meetings with Sullivan reassured that the US was willing to take a harder line against Iran if necessary and is taking Israeli views into account.

Since talks to revive the Iran nuclear deal restarted in Vienna, Israel has been urging the US to call off the negotiations, tighten sanctions, and prepare for potential military action. US officials have been accusing Iran of not taking the negotiations seriously by asking for more sanctions relief, and are warning time is running out.

One Israeli official told Axios that Sullivan made clear that the window for the talks will close by the end of January or early February and “expressed skepticism” that a deal would be reached by then.

Dec 23 09:32

Israeli President: Deal or No Deal, Iran’s Nuclear Program Must Be ‘Neutralized’

Israeli President Isaac Herzog said Wednesday that Iran’s nuclear program must be “neutralized” whether or not the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, is revived.

Speaking at a ceremony for Israeli Air Force pilots, Herzog claimed Iran was the top threat in the Middle East. “I am following the negotiations surrounding the nuclear deal, and I call on the international community not to be led astray and not to underestimate the gravity of the threat,” he said.

“The Iranian nuclear threat must be neutralized once and for all, with or without an agreement. Iran must not be allowed to acquire nuclear weapons capabilities,” Herzog added.

Israel is accusing Iran of using the Vienna talks to buy time as it develops a bomb despite a lack of evidence that Tehran has decided to pursue nuclear weapons. The Israelis are urging the US to abandon the negotiations and increase the pressure on Iran through sanctions and potential military action.

Dec 22 07:09

US Envoy for Iran Warns Time Is Running Out on Nuclear Deal Talks

President Biden’s special envoy for Iran said on Tuesday that time is running out to negotiate a revival of the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, and warned of an “escalating crisis” if the agreement isn’t restored.

“At some point in the not-so-distant future, we will have to conclude that the JCPOA is no more, and we’d have to negotiate a wholly new different deal, and of course we’d go through a period of escalating crisis,” special envoy Robert Malley told CNN.

Since JCPOA negotiations restarted in Vienna, the US and its European allies involved in the talks have been accusing Iran of not taking the process seriously. The US wants Iran to accept a deal that was negotiated with the previous Iranian government, but Tehran put forward new proposals and wants more sanctions relief.

Dec 21 11:42

Iranian Commander Says Israel Can’t Strike Iran Without US Support

A top Iranian military commander said Monday that Israel wouldn’t be able to strike Iran’s nuclear or military facilities without the approval and support from Washington.

“Any threat to Iran’s nuclear and military bases by the Zionist regime is not possible without the green light support of the United States,” said Gholamali Rashid, the commander of the Iranian military’s Central Headquarters.

Rashid also warned of a response if the Israelis were to attack Iran. “If Israel carries out attacks against Iran, our armed forces will immediately attack all centers, bases, routes, and spaces used to carry out the aggression,” he said.

Over the past few months, as part of an effort to sabotage Iran nuclear deal negotiations, Israeli officials have been threatening to attack the Islamic Republic. Israel has been known to carry out covert attacks against Iran’s civilian nuclear program, but the recent rhetoric suggests a more overt attack is being planned.

Dec 21 11:41

Israel’s Gantz Urges Vienna Negotiators to Take Harder Line on Iran

On Monday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz called for the world powers involved in Iran nuclear deal negotiations in Vienna to take a tougher stance on Tehran.

Gantz boasted of the damage US sanctions have done to Iran’s economy and said the situation leaves Tehran with little leverage. “Iran’s domestic situation presents an opportunity for the international community,” he told a Knesset foreign affairs committee. “Iran is coming into negotiations without real bargaining chips.”

The Vienna talks restarted at the end of November and are currently on pause. The US and its European allies want Iran to accept a draft agreement that was negotiated with the previous Iranian government back in June. But Tehran wants more sanctions relief than Washington is offering and submitted new proposals.

Dec 21 07:46

U.S. foreign policy hawks, with decades of disaster behind them, call for a threat to attack Iran

The headline should read: “Arsonists Call for Setting Controlled Fires in Iran.” Seven U.S. foreign policy hawks, with decades of disaster in the Mideast behind them, just published a statement urging the Biden administration to threaten a military attack on Iran. They said:

We believe it is vital to restore to restore Iran’s fear that its current nuclear path will trigger the use of force against it by the United States.

Dec 21 07:21

Ex-Israeli Intel Chief Admits Role in Assassination of Iran's Qassem Soleimani

Israel played a role in the assassination of Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani, who was killed in an U.S drone strike near Baghdad in January 2020, the outgoing head of Israeli military intelligence has stated.

In an interview with the Israel Intelligence Heritage and Commemoration Center published last month, former IDF intelligence chief Major General Tamir Hayman described the killing as one of “two significant and important assassinations” during his tenure, the other being Islamic Jihad leader Baha Abu al-Ata.

Hayman finished his tenure as IDF intelligence chief in October.

“Soleimani’s assassination is an achievement, since our main enemy, in my eyes, are the Iranians. Two significant and important assassinations can be noted in my term,” Tamir said, adding that Israel has carried out multiple operations to disrupt the spread of Iranian weapons and funds throughout the region.

Dec 20 13:50

Will Israel be able to attack Iranian nuclear sites without help of US?

Dec 18 07:57

US Says Understanding on Text of Nuclear Issues Reached With Iran as 7th Round of Vienna Talks Ends

As the seventh round of talks on reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) conclude in Vienna, Austria, the US has said that Iran's expectations are not realistic, but that "moderate progress" was nonetheless made.

A senior Biden administration official said Friday that an agreement had been reached on the installation of security cameras at a key Iranian nuclear facility, as well as on the text of the deal as a whole. However, they expressed dismay that Iran chose to conclude the talks when it did, saying the US and other six parties to the 2015 deal were ready to continue their work advancing the talks.

The US is willing to do whatever it takes to stop Iran from getting a nuclear weapon if diplomacy fails, the official added.

Dec 18 07:29

European Powers Warn Iran Nuclear Deal Talks Nearing ‘End of Road’

European powers involved in the Vienna negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal warned Friday as the talks were put on pause that while “some technical progress” had been made, they were “rapidly reaching the end of the road.”

“There has been some technical progress in the last 24 hours, but this only takes us back nearer to where the talks stood in June,” the UK, France, and Germany said in a joint statement.

The US and its European partners want Iran to sign off on a draft agreement that was negotiated with the previous Iranian government. But Tehran has put new draft proposals forward as the Iranians seek more sanctions relief than Washington is willing to give.

Iran’s leading negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, had positive things to say about this week’s negotiations. “We have made good progress this week. We will convene a joint commission today and will continue talks after a break of a few days,” he said.

Dec 18 06:15

Biden admin's Iran nuclear talks 'not going well,' national security adviser says

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan took an ominous tone Friday when speaking about efforts to bring Iran back in line with a 2015 nuclear agreement saying, "It's not going well."

"We do not yet have a pathway back into the JCPOA," he said, referring to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Dec 17 09:17

Iran puts nuclear talks on hold again

Iran's chief negotiator, Ali Bagheri Kani, has announced that ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna will be paused for a "few days" after meeting with the EU’s political director to “take stock” of negotiations.

In a statement posted on his Twitter account on Friday, Bagheri Kani acknowledged that “good progress” has been made during the seventh round of indirect talks between the US and Iran over reviving the 2015 nuclear deal.

The pause follows a meeting between Bagheri Kani and European Union political director Enrique Mora on Thursday, where the two discussed how “to take stock of the situation” and move “forward.”

The Joint Commission conducting the negotiations will meet today before breaking for several days, with a view to resuming talks in the near future. Today’s meeting is expected to just be used to formally adjourn discussions to a later date.

Dec 17 08:47

Iranian press review: IRGC deploys rocket launcher speedboats in Strait of Hormuz

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) deployed 110 speedboats equipped with rocket launchers to the navy of the country's elite force at the Strait of Hormuz, media close to the IRGC reported.

On Saturday, the IRGC-affiliated Fars news agency released video footage showing rows of double-engine speedboats stationed at a harbour in the Gulf.

The agency said that speedboats' rocket launchers have pinpoint accuracy, adding that stealth boats were also deployed at the strait to increase the IRGC's military power.

Meanwhile, the Kayhan daily reported that local manufacturers increased the IRGC's gunboats' speed to 200 km per hour. As a result, the highest speed for the IRGC's speedboats now is 167 km per hour.

Speedboats are the primary military means used by the IRGC for confrontation with US warships in the Gulf.

Iran changed its military strategy in its southern territorial waters after the US Navy destroyed Iran's warships during the Iran-Iraq war.

Dec 17 06:27

Iran: IAEA Won’t Have Access to Karaj Cameras Until Sanctions End

Adding to details on the IAEA’s deal with Iran on installing new cameras at Karaj, Iran has confirmed that the footage will not actually be given to the IAEA, as it falls outside of the monitoring agreement.

The deal is for the centrifuge factory in Karaj to get new cameras to replace those destroyed in Israel’s sabotage. The replacement required the IAEA to condemn the sabotage.

The plan now, according to officials, is that the cameras will be replaced and activated, but the footage itself will be kept under joint control, and only transferred to the IAEA if and when a deal to end the Iran sanctions happens.

That was in essence what the monitoring agreement’s status is anyhow, and simplifies matters, though opponents of the nuclear deal will no doubt present this as Iran withholding footage.

Dec 16 10:45

Israel pushes U.S. into ‘aggressive posture toward Iran that could spiral into war’ — but mainstream press is indifferent

You have heard the news that the talks to revive the Iran deal are apparently on life support in Vienna. The United States claims Iran has moved the goalposts. And though the State Department team remains positive, our dear friend Israel has been demanding that the U.S. break off the talks.

The Israelis get unrivaled access to the White House even as they declare once again that they are drawing up plans to attack Iran– but it would be good if the U.S. went first with some strategic strikes. The U.S. has reportedly restrained Israel on attacking Iran for the umpteenth time.

Dec 15 11:19

Tehran Times reveals list of Israeli targets Iran would strike if Israel makes 'just one wrong move'

Iranian newspaper the Tehran Times has revealed a list of Israeli targets the country would strike if Israel makes 'just one wrong move'.

A map published on the English language newspaper's front page on Wednesday showed pins representing rocket strike locations for dozens of potential targets in Israel, as well as some in Lebanese territory and Palestinian cities in the West Bank.

The picture was part of a front-page article with the headline: 'Just one wrong move!'

Dec 14 08:39

Gantz Tells US He Ordered Israeli Military to Prepare an Attack on Iran

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz told reporters that he notified US officials during meetings in Washington last week that he ordered the Israeli Defense Forces to prepare to attack Iran.

The order he gave was to “prepare for the Iranian challenge at the operational level,” Gantz said on the sidelines of a conference in Miami, Florida, that was held Friday. A senior Israeli military source told The Times of Israel that Gantz might have presented a timeline to Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin when an Israeli attack could take place.

The Israelis have been pushing hard for the Biden administration to abandon indirect negotiations with Iran to revive the nuclear deal that are ongoing in Vienna. Gantz and other officials want the US to expand sanctions and prepare military operations, and it appears that the Americans are listening.

Dec 14 08:38

Iran showcases medium-range missile that can reach Israel

Tehran has given people around the world a first glimpse of the Hoveizeh cruise missile, allegedly a copy of the Soviet-built Kh-55 model, mounted on an Iranian fighter jet.

On Tuesday, Iran’s Tasnim news agency posted a photo on its Twitter account of a Russian-built Sukhoi 24 fighter from the Army Air Force mounted with a strategic cruise missile. The image came as Brigadier General Aziz Nasirzadeh, deputy chief of staff of the Armed Forces, visited the Shahid Doran Air Base.

Dec 14 08:27

Israel Finds Planes That Could Be Key to a Strike on Iran Badly Back-Ordered

Israel asked the Biden administration last week to speed up the delivery of refueling tankers that could prove critical to striking Iran’s nuclear facilities, but it was told that the aircraft were back-ordered and it was unlikely that its first one would be ready until late 2024, according to U.S. and Israeli officials.

The Israeli defense minister, Benny Gantz, made the request last week when he met with Defense Secretary Lloyd J. Austin III and other senior officials in Washington. Details were reported earlier by Yedioth Ahronoth, an Israeli newspaper.

Dec 14 08:05

US Says ‘Too Soon’ to Tell If Iran Is Taking ‘Constructive’ Approach to Negotiations

On Monday, the State Department said it’s still “too soon” to tell if Iran is taking a “constructive” approach to the ongoing negotiations in Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

“It’s just too soon to tell whether Iran has returned to a more constructive approach at this moment,” State Department deputy spokeswoman Jalina Porter told reporters.

Since the nuclear deal talks resumed in Vienna at the end of November, the US has been accusing Iran of not taking the process seriously. But amid negotiations, the Biden administration has ramped up sanctions and is hinting at taking military action against Iran if the talks fail. Iran has said the renewed US pressure is a sign that the US is the party not taking diplomacy seriously.

Dec 14 07:33

Netanyahu: ‘A grave mistake’ if Israel updated US before striking Iranian sites

Opposition Leader Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday hit out at the government after a report said Israel consulted with the United States before carrying out attacks earlier this year on an Iranian nuclear facility and a missile base.

“I saw the report in the New York Times that Israel is updating the United States regarding its operations and plans vis-a-vis Iran. If this is true, this is a grave mistake,” Netanyahu said during a Knesset faction meeting of his Likud party.

According to the report Saturday, Israel spoke with the US ahead of an attack in June on a facility in Karaj used in the construction of centrifuges needed to enrich uranium. It did so again before allegedly striking a secret missile base belonging to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps in September.

Dec 14 06:23

Biden Admin Rejects Israel's Urging For Joint Plan To Attack Iran's Nuclear Facilities

On Monday, Sky News Arabia is reporting that the Biden White House has rebuffed Israeli requests to prepare concrete attack plans: "US rejects scenario for serious US military plan to strike Iran's military facilities," according to the report.

The outlet's sources indicated further that the "Israeli delegation that recently visited Washington accused the United States of making concessions to Iran during the Vienna talks without getting anything in return." And crucially, Sky News Arabia adds this to its reporting: "The Biden administration warned of the danger of Israel taking any unilateral military action against Iran."

Dec 13 08:26

Iran nuclear deal: Time is running out, Germany says

Germany's foreign minister warned on Saturday that time was running out to find a way to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between world powers and Iran, speaking after meetings with her counterparts from G7 countries.

Talks have resumed in Vienna to try to revive the nuclear pact, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), with both sides trying to gauge the prospects of success after the latest exchanges in the stop-start negotiations.

"Time is running out," German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock told reporters in Liverpool, England, where G7 foreign ministers are meeting, according to Reuters.

"It has shown in the last days that we do not have any progress."

Dec 13 07:58

‘Haaretz’ publisher says Israel is ‘an apartheid state’ — as his paper continues to warn against an Israel-Iran war

Amos Schocken is Israel’s equivalent of the latest Sulzberger to inherit control of the New York Times. Schocken, in his mid-70s, is the third generation of his family to run Haaretz, the most respected newspaper in Israel, and he speaks out regularly in columns and on social media.

Just the other day, Schocken called Israel “an apartheid state.” He was indignantly responding to a right-wing member of the Knesset, Israel’s Parliament. Here’s the full quotation:

The product of Zionism, the State of Israel, is not a Jewish and democratic state, but has instead become an apartheid state, plain and simple.

Dec 12 08:26

Israel’s Gantz Says He Told US Officials Iran Is ‘Biggest Threat’ to Global Peace

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Friday that he told US officials during a visit to Washington that Iran is the “biggest threat” to global peace.

Gantz met with Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Thursday. At the Israeli American Council’s national summit in Florida on Friday, Gantz said he used “every occasion” during the meetings to say, “Iran is first and foremost the biggest threat to global and regional peace and stability, and only then is it a threat to Israel.”

Gantz said it’s not up to Israel to deal with Iran alone and that the world should take action. “The international community, with US leadership, must stand together and act forcefully against Iran’s hegemonic aspirations and nuclear program and restore stability for the sake of global peace,” he said.

Dec 12 07:43

Iran responds to Israeli drill rumors

A military official in Tehran has warned that aggressors will pay a “heavy price” in response to numerous reports that Israel was seeking US help, or at least approval, in preparing potential strikes on Iranian nuclear sites.

Since talks resumed last week aimed at breathing new life into the nuclear pact struck between Iran and world powers in 2015, a steady stream of reports in Israeli and US media hypothesized about possible “other options,” if diplomacy fails. According to the latest stories, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz informed US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin about preparations and drills for a potential military strike against the country’s arch-nemesis during his visit to the US.

Any such drills, if they violate Iranian airspace, would be considered an act of aggression that won’t go unanswered, an unnamed military official told Iran's semi-official Nournews news agency, which is allegedly affiliated with the Supreme National Security Council.

Dec 12 07:24

Iran Warns Against Reported US-Israeli Drills Prepping Attack On Nuke Sites

On Saturday a top Iranian military official warned Tel Aviv and Washington against planned-for joint military drills that would simulate attacks on Iran. Reuters earlier in the week reported that Israeli Defense Minister Benjamin Gantz and US Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin had met to discuss possible joint 'counter-Iran' exercises, with Israeli media reports suggesting they already might be taking place.

"Providing conditions for military commanders to test Iranian missiles with real targets will cost the aggressors a heavy price," the unnamed military official was cited in state media as saying.

Dec 12 07:17

Iran: UK officials 'discussing' how to repay £400m debt

UK government officials visited Tehran last week to discuss legal ways for Britain to pay a four-decade-old £400m ($530m) debt to Iran, the Iranian ambassador to the UK has said.

Mohsen Baharvand told reporters on Friday that "obstacles are not insurmountable" regarding the payment and that he was in ongoing talks with the UK's foreign office.

Iranian state TV has previously suggested that the payment, stemming from an arms deal with Iran's shah that was cancelled after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, could be tied to a deal that would release detained British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, although the UK and US have denied this.

Dec 12 07:16

Iran says probing if IAEA cameras had role in alleged Israeli attack on nuke site

Iran has said it was investigating the possibility that the International Atomic Energy Agency’s cameras played a part in an alleged Israeli attack on an Iranian nuclear facility, suggesting this was the reason for Tehran’s refusal of requests to repair the damaged surveillance equipment there.

“There was a sabotage there by Israel and some cameras were damaged and there was some investigation going on,” Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom, Mohsen Baharvand, said during a briefing in London on Friday, according to Bloomberg.

He added that Iranian judiciary investigators looked into whether the cameras may have been used to aid the attack. “We just asked IAEA to wait for a time for that investigation to be over,” Baharvand said.

Dec 10 16:22

US Sets 1-Week Deadline To See If Iran Talks Advance As Israel Pushes Military Option: Report

Earlier in the week Reuters revealed that top US and Israeli officials were in talks to initiate joint military training exercises that focus on preparations to destroy Iran's nuclear facilities. Defense Minister Benny Gantz has been in Washington this week meeting with Secretary Blinken and others to consider "possible modes of action to ensure the cessation of (Iran's) attempt to enter the nuclear sphere and broaden its activity in the region," according to a prior public statement.

The White House confirmed Thursday that "other options" are on the table should JCPOA nuclear talks in Vienna fail: "The president has asked his team to be prepared in the event that diplomacy fails and we must turn to other options," White House Secretary Jen Psaki said. "We will have no choice but to take additional measures."

Dec 10 09:05

Israel needs U.S. Jews to take its side against Biden on Iran deal, Israeli minister tells NY synagogue

“Very soon, my friends, we will need you,” Nachman Shai, the Israeli minister of diaspora affairs, told a synagogue audience this week in New York. The U.S. is trying to restore the Iran deal, and Israel will need American Jews to take its side, he said.

In a discussion at the Park Avenue Synagogue on December 6, about “Building a New Paradigm for American Jewry and Israel,” Rabbi Elliot Cosgrove asked Shai about “the role of American Jewry in shaping policy vis-a-vis the administration” on the Iran deal.

Shai responded that a “crisis” was coming between the two governments over the Iran deal, and when such issues arise, “American Jewry has always been there supporting Israel.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This is definitely Israel meddling in the internal affairs of the United States!

Dec 10 07:57

Patrick J. Buchanan: Biden's Full Plate—Ukraine, Taiwan, Tehran

One day after warning Russian President Vladimir Putin he would face "severe" economic sanctions, "like ones he's never seen," should Russia invade Ukraine, President Joe Biden assured Americans that sending U.S. combat troops to Ukraine is "not on the table."

America is not going to fight Russia over Ukraine.

"The idea that the United States is going to unilaterally use force to confront Russia invading Ukraine is not in the cards," said Biden. "We have a moral obligation and a legal obligation to our NATO allies," but "that obligation does not extend to ... Ukraine."

Anti-interventionists who have opposed bringing Ukraine into NATO may just have kept America out of a confrontation or war with Russia.

Yet hard negotiations lie ahead on the two demands Putin has made a condition of keeping his 100,000 troops on his side of the border.

Dec 10 06:49

Iran nuclear talks pulled back from brink as Tehran shifts stance

Efforts to revive the Iran nuclear deal have been hauled back from the brink of collapse as Tehran revised its stance after pressure from Russia and China and clear warnings that the EU and the US were preparing to walk away.

The cautiously optimistic assessment came at the start of the seventh round of talks on the future of the nuclear deal in Vienna. It follows what was seen as a disastrous set of talks last week in which the US and the EU claimed Iran had walked back on compromises reached in previous rounds.

The Russian ambassador to the talks, Mikhail Ulyanov, said: “We managed to eliminate a number of misunderstandings that created some tension. Everyone confirmed their commitment to productive work [to restore the nuclear agreement].”

Nevertheless, Joe Biden warned that the United States was preparing “additional measures” against Iran, amid lingering fears that the talks could still fail.

Dec 09 12:52

Report: Israeli Government Divided on How to Influence Biden on Iran

There’s an internal debate within the Israeli government on the best way to influence the Biden administration’s Iran policy, Axios reported on Wednesday, citing unnamed Israeli officials.

The report comes as Defense Minister Benny Gantz is heading to Washington, where he will arrive Thursday and meet with US officials to discuss Iran. The Axios report said Gantz is lobbying for a quieter approach to influence the US through private meetings, while Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett favors a more public one.

In August, Bennett pledged to Biden that he would avoid the confrontational approach of his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu, who publicly clashed with the Obama administration when the Iran nuclear deal was negotiated in 2015. But now, it appears Bennett has decided to go back on his pledge.

Dec 09 12:41

Israel to urge US to act militarily against Iran amid stalled nuke talks — reports

Defense Minister Benny Gantz and Mossad chief David Barnea will push during their meetings this week in Washington with senior Biden administration officials for the United States to carry out a military strike on Iranian targets, Israel’s three main TV news broadcasts reported Sunday night.

According to the reports, which did not cite sources, Gantz and Barnea will urge their American interlocutors to develop a “Plan B” vis-a-vis Iran, seeing the stalled nuclear talks in Vienna as an opportunity to press the US to take a more aggressive stance toward the Islamic Republic.

Along with calling for tougher sanctions, the Israelis will reportedly ask the US to take military action against Iran.

Dec 09 12:41

Israel wants US to adopt military-first option with Iran

With the newly-resumed Iran nuclear deal negotiations in the balance in Vienna, a bellicose Israel is urging the US to take military action. Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Mossad chief David Barnea are expected to meet senior officials in the White House this week to make the case for a military-first agenda against Iran, Israel's three main TV news broadcasts reported last night.

Gantz and Barnea will urge their American interlocutors to develop a military plan to strike Iran. The stalled negotiations in Vienna are seen by the Israelis as an opportunity to press the US to adopt a more aggressive policy towards the Islamic Republic. A list of targets is said to have been drawn up. This includes a potential attack against Iranian targets in Yemen. The aim of such a strike would be to convince the Iranians to soften their position at the talks about their nuclear programme.

Dec 09 11:13

Israeli army to hold drill simulating attack on Iran

Israeli Air Force (IAF) is going to hold a massive military drill over the Mediterranean this coming spring, using dozens of aircraft simulating strike on Iran, Israeli media revealed on Wednesday evening.

Unsourced report published by Israel's Kan broadcaster stated that the drill is going to be one of the largest ever held by the IAF.

According to the source, F-15, F-35 and F-16 aircrafts are to take part in the drill, as well as Gulfstream G550 spy planes and refueling jets.

The Kan report said that the aircrafts will conduct the drill over the Mediterranean to simulate the distance that they would need to travel in a strike against Iran's nuclear facilities.

Dec 09 08:19

More than half of Israelis support attacking Iran without US backing, poll says

Slightly more than half of Israelis say they would support their country attacking Iran without a "green light" from the United States, according to a poll released on Wednesday by the Israel Democracy Institute.

The results come as world powers are locked in increasingly difficult negotiations with Iran over its nuclear programme.

European diplomats have accused Tehran of backtracking on compromises it made earlier this year in a draft agreement that set the stage for the current round of talks.

Dec 09 07:12

Report: US and Israel to Discuss Holding Drills to Prepare for Attacks on Iran

According to a report from Reuters, Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin and Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz are expected on Thursday to discuss possible military exercises that would prepare for attacks on Iranian nuclear facilities.

The Reuters report cited an unnamed senior US official who said Pentagon leaders had briefed National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan on what military options the US has to “ensure that Iran would not be able to produce a nuclear weapon.”

Since indirect negotiations between the US and Iran restarted last week in Vienna, Israeli officials have stepped up their rhetoric and are constantly claiming Iran is racing to develop a nuclear weapon. But Iran has repeatedly pledged that it does not want a bomb, and CIA Director William Burns said Monday that there is no evidence Tehran has decided to weaponize its nuclear program.

Dec 09 07:09

Gantz heads to Washington amid Iran tensions

Defense Minister will reportedly meet with both Secretary of State Blinken and Pentagon Chief Austin to discuss potential revisions to the nuclear agreement, as well as additional pressure tools on Tehran

Defense Minister Benny Gantz is set to arrive at Washington on Thursday for a series of meetings with top American officials amid rising tensions with Iran.
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During his visit — prompted by the renewed talks in Vienna over the 2015 nuclear deal — the Israeli defense chief will meet with both Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and his American counterpart Lloyd Austin.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"You will attack Iran for us, or we'll start releasing those Epstein video tapes on you all!"

Dec 08 07:17

Even Tom Friedman says leaving Iran deal was a mistake — but risk of an Israeli attack grows

This site rarely agrees with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman, but he wrote something the other day that we can endorse enthusiastically. He said the 2018 Trump/Netanyahu decision to leave the Iran nuclear deal “was one of the dumbest, most poorly thought out and counterproductive U.S. national security decisions of the post-Cold War era.” Back in 2018 Friedman wasn’t so quite so vehement about abandoning the deal, but better late than ever.

Friedman’s change of heart was mainly guided by what’s good for Israel. He cites recent published reports that high-ranking Israeli security officials say leaving the deal has made their country less safe. Independent nuclear experts say Iran now has enough material “to produce weapons-grade uranium for a single nuclear bomb in as little as three weeks.” (Friedman doesn’t remind readers that under the deal the experts had said the bomb manufacturing process could take a year.)

Dec 08 06:59

British defense chief names UK’s top 4 nemeses

The new British Chief of the Defence Staff Tony Radakin has named specific countries as rivals who are currently creating a situation more “complex and dangerous” for the UK than previously in the last 30 years.

“The world is undoubtedly more prosperous today and yet our security outlook is far more complex and dangerous than at any time over the past 30 years,” the admiral said in a speech Tuesday, his first as the head of the armed forces.

Radakin named Russia, China, Iran, and North Korea as the four main rivals to the UK and its allies.

Dec 08 06:37

CIA Chief: No Evidence Iran Has Decided to Develop a Nuclear Weapon

On Monday, CIA Director William Burns said the US does not have evidence that Iran has decided to weaponize its nuclear program.

The CIA “doesn’t see any evidence that Iran’s Supreme Leader [Ali Khamenei] has made a decision to move to weaponize,” Burns told The Wall Street Journal’s annual CEO Council, The Times of Israel reported.

Burns’ admission comes a week after the US and Iran resumed indirect negotiations in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. The latest round of talks concluded Friday and are expected to resume this Thursday.

Israeli officials have been claiming that Iran is only trying to buy time with the negotiations as it secretly develops a nuclear bomb. For decades now, Israel has been making similar warnings, but Iran has always insisted it does not want nuclear weapons and Israel is currently the only nuclear-armed state in the region.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

William Burns is looking like one of the few sane minds left in DC! I hope he doesn't decide to go canoeing any time soon!

Dec 08 06:35

Israeli Officials Says Warming UAE-Iran Ties are ‘Not Acceptable’

The UAE’s national security advisor visited Iran on Monday in a sign of warming ties between the two nations, and Israel is unhappy about the rapprochement.

During the visit to Iran by the UAE’s Tahnoun bin Zayed al-Nahyan, Iranian officials said they were happy to ease tensions with Abu Dhabi. “Improving ties with the regional countries is my government’s priority, therefore we welcome improving ties with the UAE,” said Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi.

An Israeli official told the Yedioth Ahronoth newspaper that the UAE’s diplomacy with Iran is “worrying” and “not acceptable.” Israel normalized relations with the UAE last year and is hoping to work with Abu Dhabi and other Gulf states against Iran.

Dec 08 06:35

US Imposes Fresh Sanctions on Iranian Entities and Officials

On Tuesday, the US imposed fresh sanctions on Iranian officials and entities following the resumption of indirect negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal in Vienna.

The US sanctions targeted two Iranian law enforcement agencies — the Special Units of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces and the Counter-Terror Special Forces — and several officials affiliated with them over alleged human rights abuses.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh slammed the move to impose fresh sanctions during the renewed negotiations. “Even amid Vienna Talks, US cannot stop imposing sanctions against Iran,” Khatibzadeh wrote on Twitter.

Dec 07 09:30

Iran Blasts France’s ‘Destabilizing’ Gulf Arms Sales as Emirati Envoy Makes Rare Tehran Visit

The Iranian Foreign Ministry criticized recent weapons deals reached by French President Emmanuel Macron during his recent trip to several Gulf states, labeling them irresponsible and “destabilizing.” The comments come as the United Arab Emirates sends its envoy on a rare visit to Tehran.

“We must not ignore France’s role in destabilizing the region,” Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh told reporters during a Monday press conference.
"We expect countries like France to act more responsibly,” he added. “The advanced weapons of European countries, including France, which are selling to the Arab countries of the Persian Gulf are the basis of the tensions we are witnessing in the region."

Dec 07 09:28

Israel Will Reportedly Push US to Strike Iranian Facility Amid Lack of Progress in Vienna Talks

Media reports, citing anonymous sources, claimed that the European countries and the US were frustrated by the last week of talks in Vienna seeing to revive the Iran nuclear deal. According to them, Tehran backtracked on many of its promises and thwarted achieved compromises. Iran, for its part, accused western states of stalling talks.

Israel is planning to ask the US to carry out military strikes against Iran amid the reported slowdown in Vienna talks between the signatories of the defunct Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA - also known as the Iran nuclear deal), according to Israeli Channels 12 and 13 which didn't reveal their sources. The proposal will reportedly be made by Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz and Mossad's head, David Barnea, when they visit Washington soon.

Dec 07 07:12

Reports: Israeli Officials to Urge US to Attack Iran

sraeli officials will urge the Biden administration to take military action against Iran during talks in Washington this week, three Israeli TV broadcasters reported on Sunday night.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and David Barnea, the head of the Mossad spy agency, are headed to Washington this week. The TV reports said the two officials will push for the US to develop a “plan B” on Iran that involves harsher sanctions and military action.

Last week, the US and Iran resumed indirect negotiations to revive the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. The talks concluded Friday and are expected to continue sometime this week. But the US has been claiming Iran is not serious about the process, and the Israelis see an opportunity to convince the US to take a harder line.

Dec 07 07:12

What AIPAC Is Telling Congress on Biden's Iran Negotiations

The American Israel Public Affairs Committee, the most influential pro-Israel lobby group in Washington, was perhaps the most significant political avatar for opposition to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, devoting significant resources to scuttling support for the Obama administration’s agreement, which was also heavily criticized by then Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

While it has kept a conspicuously lower profile as the Biden administration attempts to revive the agreement following then-President Donald Trump’s unilateral withdrawal from the deal in 2018, AIPAC’s opposition remains. It continues to advocate for a significantly different U.S. approach to curb Iran’s nuclear program.

Dec 07 06:48

Drones, bombs, spies — inside Israel’s cunning plan to stop Iran’s nukes

Israel has carried out three major operations over the last 18 months against Iran’s nuclear sites. These attacks involved as many as a thousand Mossad personnel and were executed with ruthless precision using high-tech weaponry, including drones and a quadcopter — and spies within Tehran’s holy of holies, its nuclear program.

While President Biden’s nuclear negotiators try to snatch catastrophe from the jaws of defeat in Vienna, Israel is taking things more seriously.

Last week, Naftali Bennett, the Israeli prime minister, pivoted to a new policy on Tehran: retaliating against aggression from militias backed by Tehran with covert strikes on Iranian soil.

Dec 04 08:24

Mossad chief: Agency committed to ensure Iran will never have nucs.

Mossad chief David Barnea said on Thursday that Israel's security agencies will take any action needed in order to remove the risk posed by Iran.

Speaking at a ceremony at the intelligence agency Barnea said Iran will not have a nuclear weapon. "not in the coming years and not ever. That is my commitment and that of the Mossad," he said.

Dec 04 06:57

Israel Tells U.S. to 'Immediately Halt' Iran Negotiations, U.S. Halts Iran Negotiations

Israel stepped up its opposition to the Iran nuclear deal talks on Thursday and demanded that the US and other world powers put an immediate end to the negotiations.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett delivered the message in a call with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken. "Iran is carrying out nuclear blackmail as a negotiating tactic, and this should be answered by the immediate halt to negotiations and the implementation of tough steps by the world powers," Bennett said, according to a statement released by his office.

Israel claims that Iran has no intention of reducing its nuclear activity back to JCPOA levels and is only trying to buy time to develop a nuclear bomb. But there's no evidence to support the claim, and Iran has only taken steps to advance its nuclear program in the face of pressure from the US and Israel, and a JCPOA revival would reverse those steps.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"Call off the Iran negotiations, or we'll start naming Jeffrey Epstein's 'friends'!"

Dec 03 14:00

US Ends Vienna Talks, Says Iran Not 'Serious' About Meeting JCPOA Compliance Standards

The US has suddenly pulled out of talks aimed at returning to the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal with Iran and six other nations, claiming Tehran isn't "serious" about the negotiations.

"We've had this first round of talks since the new [Iranian] government, and what we've seen in the last couple of days is that Iran right now does not seem to be serious about doing what's necessary to return to compliance, which is why we ended this round of talks in Vienna," US Secretary of State Antony Blinken said on Friday, adding the US would be "consulting very closely and carefully" with partners to the 2015 nuclear deal, including Russia, China, and the European Union, as well as "concerned countries" like Israel, Saudi Arabia, and the Gulf states.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Well, Israel did order the US to end the talks, and here we are...