The Trump administration imposed sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Wednesday in a dramatic step bound to further escalate tensions with Tehran. A senior administration official said Zarif had acted more as a “propaganda minister” than a diplomat, and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Zarif was “complicit” in Iran’s support of terrorists, torture and other malign activity around the world.
The Trump administration is considering taking back more than $3 billion in foreign aid that Congress already approved, in a move that senators from both parties are calling questionably legal and promising to resist.The Office of Management and Budget instructed the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development earlier this month to provide a balance sheet of foreign aid projects that have not yet been funded. Unless Congress intervenes, the money may be returned to the U.S. Treasury at the end of fiscal year on Sept. 30.
President Trump on Sunday vowed in a tweet that there would be a “big price to pay” for the reported chemical attack that killed dozens of people in a rebel-held enclave in Syria, leading international condemnation of the incident from democracies and authoritarian regimes alike.
A photographer for a Russian state-owned news agency was allowed into the Oval Office on Wednesday during President Trump’s meeting with Russian diplomats, a level of access that was criticized by former U.S. intelligence officials as a potential security breach. The officials cited the danger that a listening device or other surveillance equipment could have been brought into the Oval Office while hidden in cameras or other electronics. Former U.S. intelligence officials raised questions after photos of Trump’s meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov were posted online by the Tass news agency.
Israel wants the US to move its embassy to Jerusalem in essence recognizing Jerusalem as Israel's capital. The question of Jerusalem’s status is the most sensitive and complicated issue in the long-running conflict between Israelis and Palestinians. It is fraught with political, religious and nationalist implications that potentially could create an uproar throughout the Middle East and the world’s 1.5 billion Muslims.