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IRAN

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...

Dec 03 10:21

Conflicts of Interest: Does Israeli Aggression Signal Progress in Iran Nuclear Deal Talks?

On COI #195, Kyle Anzalone and Connor Freeman discuss recent developments in the new Cold War with China as well as the resumed JCPOA talks in Vienna.

Kyle details recent reports about how Taiwan, eyeing China, is building its own submarine fleet with assistance from various nations including the United States and the United Kingdom. Kyle then breaks down a propaganda piece from Reason magazine that promotes Sean Roberts, who authored a discredited Newlines Institute report containing debunked lies about China’s Uighur “genocide.” This is a major oversight from Reason and reflects that even mainline, establishment libertarians will traffic in blatant anti-China war propaganda.

Dec 03 07:33

Israel Tells US to ‘Immediately Halt’ Iran Nuclear Deal 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: 

"Yes sir! Yes sir! Yes sir!" -- Official White Horse Souse

Dec 03 07:32

Gantz: Israeli Attack on Iran Must Always Be an Option

On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said an attack on Iran must always remain an option for Israel, even if the country acts alone.

“I do think we always have to prepare the option for the moment when we may find ourselves alone,” Gantz told the Israeli newspaper Yediot Ahronoth. “I say again, an attack [against Iran] is an option. It doesn’t have to be the first one.”

Gantz’s comments come as the US and Iran are holding indirect negotiations in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal, which Israel opposes. Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett told Secretary of State Antony Blinken in a phone call Thursday that the US should put an “immediate halt” to the negotiations.

Leading up to the talks, Israeli officials stepped up their threats against Iran. While Israel frequently carries out covert attacks on Iran, the recent rhetoric suggests Israel is planning a more overt military strike.

Dec 03 06:51

US Officials Confirm Israel Behind Cyberattack On Iranian Gas Stations

Citing unnamed US military officials, The New York Times reported Saturday that Israel was responsible for a recent cyberattack against civilian infrastructure in Iran that targeted gas stations.

The report said Israel was behind an October 26th hack of Iran’s fuel distribution system that caused gas pumps to stop working across the country. Gas pumps displayed a digital message telling customers to blame the problem on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran provides a certain amount of subsidized fuel to each citizen for a discounted price, and the report said it took the Oil Ministry two weeks to get the system back up and running. The idea was to get Iranians angry at the government and to create unrest, but it never materialized.

Dec 02 06:54

US Officials Say Israel Was Behind Recent Cyberattack in Iran

Citing unnamed US military officials, The New York Times reported Saturday that Israel was responsible for a recent cyberattack against civilian infrastructure in Iran that targeted gas stations.

The report said Israel was behind an October 26th hack of Iran’s fuel distribution system that caused gas pumps to stop working across the country. Gas pumps displayed a digital message telling customers to blame the problem on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran provides a certain amount of subsidized fuel to each citizen for a discounted price, and the report said it took the Oil Ministry two weeks to get the system back up and running. The idea was to get Iranians angry at the government and to create unrest, but it never materialized.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This is the documentary "Zero Day" which I mentioned on the radio show. It's long; almost 2 hours and while I normally do not link to long videos, this is the story of how one of many cyber weapons, Stuxnet, became public knowledge when it was made too aggressive and broke free of its intended target Iran, wrecking systems around the globe.

Dec 01 11:47

BREAKING!!! Footage of the border clashes between Iran and Taliban forces

Sources told @aamajnews24 that the Iranian side is using heavy weapons (as you can see towards the end of the clip), and the Taliban have deployed the American Humvees in the fight against the Iranians.

There are no details yet on why these clashes have broken out.

Dec 01 07:49

Israel’s Lapid Says ‘Credible Military Threat’ Against Iran Needed

With negotiations to revive the Iran nuclear deal underway, Israel is not happy, and Israeli officials are making that known. In a visit to France on Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid called for more sanctions on Iran and a “credible military threat” against the country.

“Sanctions on Iran must not be removed. Sanctions must be tightened, a credible military threat must be applied, because only that will stop its nuclear race,” Lapid told French President Emmanuel Macron.

Lapid and other Israeli officials constantly claim Iran is close to developing a nuclear bomb, and those warnings have stepped up now that the JCPOA talks are back on. On Monday, Israeli media reported that Israel warned the US Iran is preparing to enrich uranium at the 90 percent level needed for weapons-grade. But there’s no evidence that Tehran is considering the move, and the report was clearly timed to coincide with the start of negotiations in Vienna.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Here's your rifle...

Nov 30 11:24

PM: Israel Worries Iran Will Get Sanctions Relief Without Nuclear Rollback

Israeli premier Naftali Bennett has made comments warning the P5+1 against granting Iran sanctions relief as part of the Vienna nuclear talks without getting major new restrictions on their nuclear activities.

Israel is not a party to the talks, but Bennett says Israel would be unhappy with “unsatisfactory” restrictions if Iran gains billions of dollars in its assets unfrozen as part of the restoration of the deal.

Iran was meant to have been given substantial sanctions relief in the original 2015 deal, but the US never honored the terms of the agreement, and ultimately backed out entirely. Talks that could see the US returning to the deal would necessarily involve the US finally delivering on those promises.

Though Israel is nominally supportive of US diplomatic efforts with Iran, they opposed the initial nuclear deal. There is a sense that Israel prefers any deal reached to be very tentative, as this leaves room open for the US to threaten war.

Nov 30 07:51

Israel Claims Iran Will Enrich Weapons-Grade Uranium ‘Soon’

Israel has reportedly informed the United States that they believe Iran is preparing to enrich uranium to weapons-grade purity. This would be the first time Iran had ever even attempted such a move.

Israel has been predicting Iran getting nuclear arms for decades. There is no evidence that any such enrichment is even being considered by Iran, but it fits nearly into Israel’s often false narrative.

Israeli media is only too willing to take the allegations and run with them, noting that weapons-grade uranium has no peaceful uses. This would be a relevant fact if Iran is actually enriching to these levels, which again they are not.

The point seems to be telling the US, because they take Israeli allegations seriously. Then the US would repeat the unbacked claims, which would give media outlets the sense that multiple sources are making such accusations.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Nov 30 07:49

US Officials Say Israel Was Behind Recent Cyberattack in Iran

Citing unnamed US military officials, The New York Times reported Saturday that Israel was responsible for a recent cyberattack against civilian infrastructure in Iran that targeted gas stations.

The report said Israel was behind an October 26th hack of Iran’s fuel distribution system that caused gas pumps to stop working across the country. Gas pumps displayed a digital message telling customers to blame the problem on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran provides a certain amount of subsidized fuel to each citizen for a discounted price, and the report said it took the Oil Ministry two weeks to get the system back up and running. The idea was to get Iranians angry at the government and to create unrest, but it never materialized.

Nov 29 11:12

Israeli military readying for 'Plan B' if Iran nuclear talks fail

Israel’s military is continuing to develop its ability to conduct a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program should circumstances demand it.

After a five-month hiatus, indirect talks between the United States and Iran are set to resume on Monday, with the other parties to the nuclear deal mediating in hope of reestablishing an agreement to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions.

The defense establishment does not see a war breaking out with Iran or its proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, but the IDF has been keeping an eye on the North and on the South.

Nov 29 07:26

US Warns Iran Not to Use Talks to Accelerate Nuclear Program

US Envoy Robert Malley warns that the administration is prepared to exert pressure on Iran if they use the resume Vienna nuclear talks as a pretext for accelerating their nuclear program. He warned “it simply won’t work.”

This reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of Iran’s past actions, or at the very least an attempt to totally revise the history of the peace process. Iran’s parliament has ordered some nuclear moves in the context of nuclear talks.

Far from doing it to accelerate the program or using talks as a pretext, those moves have uniformly been ordered when the US started to pull away from the talks, or conversely when Iran’s civilian program was sabotaged by Israel and the US refused to criticize the intervention.

Iran’s stated position and actions reflect a position of being interested in making a negotiated deal that they can count on being honored, no small matter after the long slog to the initial deal led almost immediately to the US withdrawing from it.

Nov 29 07:26

Britain, Israel Agree to Stop Iran From Getting Nuclear Weapons

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Israeli FM Yair Lapid have issued a joint statement surrounding their memorandum of understanding. The overarching subject is a 10-year plan to deepen ties between the two nations.

Because this is Israel, though, one cannot get through a whole diplomatic session without making things about Iran, and the nations agreed to join forces to stop Iran from getting nuclear arms.

The fact of the matter is Iran is not attempting to get nuclear arms, and Israel’s objections center on Iran’s civilian nuclear program. Israel prefers to ignore that reality, as it would get in the way of drumming up anti-Iran sentiment.

It’s not clear what, if anything, this means for UK policy toward Iran, and it may to them just be for politeness’ sake toward Israel. Israel may be keen for visible expressions of support, however, as the US is moving toward engaging diplomatically with Iran, something Israel at times opposes.

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