US Politics in Trump era
Our ‘maximum pressure’ on Iran failed – unless the goal was to help China
THE TRUMP administration’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran has manifestly failed to achieve either its stated or unstated aims: It has not forced Iran to renegotiate the nuclear accord from which President Trump unwisely withdrew; nor has it ended Iranian aggression in the Middle East or caused the regime of Ali Khamenei to collapse. Now it may result in a powerful new blow to U.S. interests, in the form of an Iranian partnership with China that could rescue Iran’s economy while giving Beijing a powerful new place in the region.
As Iran Reels, Trump Aides Clash Over Escalating Military Showdown
President Trump was getting ready to declare the coronavirus a “national emergency,” but inside the White House last Thursday, a tense debate erupted among the president and his top advisers on a far different subject: whether the United States should escalate military action against Iran, a longtime American rival that has been devastated by the epidemic.
David Wurmser, Key Iraq War Architect, Advising Trump on Iran
David Wurmser was a longtime advocate of war with Iraq in the Bush administration. Eventually, he got what he wanted, and it was a total disaster. Now, Wurmser again has the ear of a president — this time, Donald Trump — and his sights are set firmly on Iran.
Esper Says He Saw No Evidence Iran Targeted 4 Embassies, as Story Shifts Again
For 10 days, President Trump and his team have struggled to describe the reasoning behind the decision to launch a drone strike against Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite security forces, propelling the two nations to the brink of war. Officials agree they had intelligence indicating danger, but the public explanations have shifted by the day and sometimes by the hour.On Sunday came the latest twist. Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper said he was never shown any specific piece of evidence that Iran was planning an attack on four American embassies, as Mr. Trump had claimed just two days earlier.
On the day U.S. forces killed Soleimani, they launched another secret operation targeting a senior Iranian official in Yemen
On the day the U.S. military killed a top Iranian commander in Baghdad, U.S. forces carried out another top secret mission against a senior Iranian military official in Yemen, according to U.S. officials. The unsuccessful operation may indicate that the Trump administration’s killing of Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani last week was part of a broader operation than previously explained, raising questions about whether the mission was designed to cripple the leadership of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps or solely to prevent an imminent attack on Americans as originally stated.
WSJ: Link between impeachment trial and the assassination of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani
Mr. Trump, after the strike, told associates he was under pressure to deal with Gen. Soleimani from GOP senators he views as important supporters in his coming impeachment trial in the Senate, associates said.
Pompeo Upended Middle East by Pushing Trump to Kill Iranian General
Last week, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was the loudest voice in the administration pushing President Trump to kill Iran’s most important general. This week, he is back in his role as the nation’s top diplomat, trying to contain the international crisis the general’s death created.
Trump Backs Away From Further Military Conflict With Iran
President Trump backed away from further military action against Iran on Wednesday and called for a new diplomatic effort as the bristling confrontation of the last six days appeared to ease after Iranian missile strikes that proved more symbolic than deadly.
Iran Fires Missiles at U.S. Troops at Two Bases in Iraq
Iran fired more than a dozen ballistic missiles at two military bases in Iraq where American troops are based, the Pentagon said Tuesday. “It is clear that these missiles were launched from Iran and targeted at least two Iraqi military bases hosting U.S. military and coalition personnel at Al-Asad and Erbil,” Jonathan Hoffman, the Pentagon’s chief spokesman, said in a statement.
There Is Zero Actual Evidence Iran Is Responsible for Killing Hundreds of Americans
The skepticism expressed by some leading Democrats and the mainstream media regarding the U.S. assassination of Iranian General Qasem Soleimani has been refreshing, after decades of bipartisan support for disastrous U.S. policies in the region. However, the claim that Soleimani and the Iranian government are somehow responsible for the deaths of “hundreds of Americans” in Iraq—which has been repeated by leading Democrats and the mainstream media—appears to be groundless.
Trump Threatens Iranian Cultural Sites, and Warns of Sanctions on Iraq
President Trump on Sunday evening doubled down on his claim that he would target Iranian cultural sites if Iran retaliated for the targeted killing of one of its top generals, and threatened “very big sanctions” on Iraq if American troops are forced to leave the country.
Iraq’s PM Adel Abdul Mahdi says ‘urgent measures’ should be taken to remove foreign forces
Following the killing of a senior Iranian commander, Iran announced it is suspending all its commitments under the nuclear agreement it struck with world powers in 2015, although it will continue to cooperate with the United Nations’ nuclear watchdog.
Iraqi parliament calls for expulsion of foreign troops
In an extraordinary parliamentary session on Sunday, parliament called on the government to end all foreign troop presence in Iraq and to cancel its request for assistance from the US-led coalition which had been working with Baghdad to fight the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).
Trump Orders Strike Killing Top Iranian General Qassim Suleimani in Baghdad
President Trump ordered the killing of the powerful commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps, Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, in a drone strike on the Baghdad International Airport early Friday, American officials said. General Suleimani’s death was confirmed by official Iranian media.
U.S. Launches Attacks on Iranian-Backed Forces in Iraq and Syria
The United States military on Sunday struck five targets in Iraq and Syria controlled by an Iranian-backed paramilitary group, in response to a rocket attack on Friday that killed an American contractor, the Pentagon said. The airstrikes, carried out by Air Force F-15E fighter planes, hit three locations in Iraq and two in Syria, all controlled by the paramilitary group, Kataib Hezbollah.
Iran breaks further away from crumbling nuclear deal
Iran has taken further steps away from its crumbling nuclear deal with world powers by announcing it is doubling the number of its advanced centrifuges, calling the move a direct result of the United States' withdrawal from the agreement last year.
Giuliani’s U.S. Attorney Legacy Is Coming Back to Haunt Him
Giuliani sought help for a Turkish-backed client accused of violating Iranian sanctions from a president who has a one-word policy for dealing with Tehran: sanctions. In the end, Zarrab pleaded guilty.
“There Is Definite Hanky-Panky Going On”: The Fantastically Profitable Mystery of the Trump Chaos Trade
In the last 10 minutes of trading on Friday, August 23, as the markets were roiling in the face of more bad trade news, someone bought 386,000 September e-minis. Three days later, Trump lied about getting a call from China to restart the trade talks, and the S&P 500 index shot up nearly 80 points. The potential profit on the trade was more than $1.5 billion.
Trump Orders Troops and Weapons to Saudi Arabia in Message of Deterrence to Iran
The United States is sending about 3,000 additional troops to Saudi Arabia in the latest military response by the Trump administration after it accused Iran of attacks last month on Saudi oil facilities, the Pentagon said on Friday. The move came only five days after President Trump said that his desire to terminate America’s “endless wars” led to his decision to pull back from the border area between Syria and Turkey about 50 troops who were working to create a “safe zone” between Turkish and Kurdish troops.
Who are the Houthis and how closely linked are they to Iran?
The relationship between Iran and the Houthis is not simple and has long been clouded by accusations and denials and amplified by rumors and propaganda from all sides. Iranian backing of the Houthis appears to have increased over time. But experts on Iran’s network of proxies say the Houthis are among the least dependent on Tehran for financial and military support and decision-making.
Iran denies role in crippling attacks on Saudi oil facilities; Trump says U.S. ‘locked and loaded’
President Trump said Sunday the United States was prepared to respond to the devastating attacks on two oil installations in Saudi Arabia that cut the state oil company’s production output by half, while Iran rejected U.S. accusations that it was responsible. Trump did not name Iran, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had on Saturday, nor specify whether he was contemplating a military response.
Iran Says It Has Seized Another Oil Tanker in Persian Gulf
Iran seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf, state television reported on Sunday, the third time Tehran has reported detaining a tanker in the last month as the United States applies its campaign of “maximum pressure,” sanctions and diplomatic isolation against the country.
U.S. imposes sanctions on Iran’s Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif
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.
Donald Trump vetoes bills prohibiting arms sales to Saudi Arabia
Donald Trump has vetoed a trio of congressional resolutions aimed at blocking his administration from selling billions of dollars of weapons to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. The secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, last month cited threats from Iran as a reason to approve the $8.1bn arms sale to the two US allies in the Gulf.
Trump Says Navy Ship Shot Down Iranian Drone
The American military shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, President Trump said during a ceremony at the White House.Mr. Trump said the unmanned aircraft threatened the Boxer, an amphibious assault ship that can launch attack jets and helicopters from its landing deck.
New leak claims Trump scrapped Iran nuclear deal ‘to spite Obama’
Donald Trump abandoned the Iran nuclear deal to spite Barack Obama, according to a leaked memo written by the UK's former ambassador to the US.Sir Kim Darroch described the move as an act of "diplomatic vandalism", according to the Mail on Sunday.It says the memo was written after the then Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson appealed to the US in 2018 to stick with the nuclear deal.
Iran Breaches Critical Limit on Nuclear Fuel Under 2015 Deal
Iran has exceeded a key limitation on how much nuclear fuel it can possess under the 2015 international pact curbing its nuclear program, effectively declaring that it would no longer respect an agreement that President Trump abandoned more than a year ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Monday.
Iranians describe hardships as Trump expands sanctions
Iran’s news media was filled with upbeat economic reports last week. Several tankers of oil had been exported to China, and the economy minister said tax collections were up 30 percent. Farm-raised shrimp production had expanded by 400 percent. “Summer is here!” one article exulted, and online vacation rentals in the country’s tourist spots were a potential growth market. But on the streets of Iran’s cities, as the United States’ “maximum pressure” sanctions took hold, the view was decidedly less sunny.
Mitch McConnell’s Political Ploy Blocks Attempt to Stop War
Senate Republicans narrowly defeated an amendment Friday that would have limited President Donald Trump’s ability to attack Iran without congressional approval. The 50-40 vote gave the measure a majority of votes cast, but due to parliamentary maneuvering by Senate leadership, it needed 60 votes to pass.
Iran warns US against ‘repeating mistake’ of violating borders
Iran's parliamentary speaker has warned the United States against violating the country's borders, cautioning such a move would draw a "stronger" reaction than the downing of a US drone a week ago. In comments carried by Iran's semiofficial Tasnim news agency on Thursday, Speaker Ali Larijani said the shootdown of the unmanned aerial vehicle was "a good experience for them to avoid any aggression".
Trump Threatens ‘Obliteration’ of Iran, as Sanctions Dispute Escalates
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran on Tuesday called the White House “mentally retarded” and vowed that Tehran would not be intimidated by American sanctions — drawing a blistering threat of “obliteration” from President Trump.“Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force. In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration,” Mr. Trump wrote on Twitter, calling Mr. Rouhani’s comments “ignorant and insulting.”
Iran: New US sanctions target Supreme Leader Khamenei
US President Donald Trump has said he is imposing hard-hitting new sanctions on Iran, including on the office of the country's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.Mr Trump said the additional sanctions were in response to the shooting down of a US drone and "many other things".Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's highest authority, was singled out because he was "ultimately responsible for the hostile conduct of the regime".
Trump Stopped Strike on Iran Because It Was ‘Not Proportionate’
President Trump said Friday morning that the United States military had been “cocked and loaded” for a strike against Iran on Thursday night, but that he called it off with 10 minutes to spare when a general told him that 150 people would probably die in the attack.
Iran Shoots Down a U.S. Drone, Escalating Tensions
Iran shot down a United States surveillance drone early Thursday, both nations said, but they differed on the crucial issue of whether the aircraft had violated Iranian airspace, in the latest escalation in tensions that have raised fears of war between the two countries.Iranian officials said that the drone was over Iran, which the American military denied — an important distinction in determining who was at fault — and each side accused the other of being the aggressor.
Iran Has Ties to Al Qaeda, Trump Officials Tell Skeptical Congress
Administration officials are briefing Congress on what they say are ties between Iran and Al Qaeda, prompting skeptical reactions and concern on Capitol Hill that the White House could invoke the war authorization passed in 2001 as legal cover for military action against Tehran.
Shanahan Withdraws as Defense Secretary Nominee; Mark Esper Named Acting Pentagon Chief
President Trump on Tuesday withdrew the nomination of Patrick M. Shanahan to be the permanent defense secretary, leaving the Pentagon in transition at a time of escalating tensions with Iran and questions about the role of the military at the border with Mexico.
Iran threatens to increase enriched-uranium stockpile beyond limits set by nuclear deal in 10 days
Iran said Monday it would boost its stockpile of enriched uranium to exceed limits set by a 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, in what appeared to be the latest salvo in an escalating standoff with the United States. Some European diplomats saw that 10-day deadline less as a firm plan to violate enrichment limits and more as an urgent call to Europe from Iran to deliver fresh concessions.
Pompeo Says Intelligence Points to Iran in Tanker Attack in Gulf of Oman
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday that intelligence reviewed by American officials showed that Iran was responsible for attacks earlier in the day on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman, a critical waterway for the transit of much of the world’s oil.Mr. Pompeo did not present any evidence to back up the assessment of Iran’s involvement.
Is Heshmat Alavi, Writer on Iran, a Fake Run By MEK Opposition?
In 2018, President Donald Trump was seeking to jettison the landmark nuclear deal that his predecessor had signed with Iran in 2015, and he was looking for ways to win over a skeptical press. In response, the White House passed along an article published in Forbes by a writer named Heshmat Alavi. There’s a problem, though: Heshmat Alavi appears not to exist. Alavi’s persona is a propaganda operation run by the Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e-Khalq, which is known by the initials MEK, two sources told The Intercept.
Trump: ‘Iran failing as a nation’ after US sanctions
Iran is failing as a nation after Washington imposed powerful sanctions last year, US President Donald Trump said on Thursday, adding that things could change rapidly in talks with the leadership in Tehran. "They are failing as a nation, but I don't want them to fail as a nation. We can turn that around very quickly but the sanctions have been extraordinary [in] how powerful they have been."
The Most Powerful Arab Ruler Isn’t M.B.S. It’s M.B.Z.
Prince Mohammed bin Zayed grew the U.A.E.’s power by following America’s lead. He now has an increasingly bellicose agenda of his own. At times, the prince has contradicted American policy and destabilized neighbors. Rights groups have criticized him for jailing dissidents at home, for his role in creating a humanitarian crisis in Yemen, and for backing the Saudi prince whose agents killed the dissident writer Jamal Khashoggi.
US cuts funds for ‘anti-propaganda’ Iran group that trolled activists
The US state department has cut off funding to a group that purported to combat Iranian propaganda, after it was found to be trolling US journalists, human rights activists and academics it deemed to be insufficiently hostile to the government in Tehran. The group also focused on supporters of the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, which Donald Trump withdrew from last year, particularly the National Iranian American Council, which has advocated nuclear diplomacy with Tehran. It used the hashtag #NIACLobbies4Mullahs.
Trump Undercuts John Bolton on North Korea and Iran
President Trump publicly undercut John R. Bolton, his national security adviser, on Iran and North Korea in recent days, raising questions about the administration’s policy and personnel in the middle of confrontations with both long-term American adversaries.
U.S. deploys more troops to Middle East, blames Iran for tanker attacks
The United States on Friday announced the deployment of 1,500 troops to the Middle East, describing it as an effort to bolster defenses against Iran as it accused the country’s Revolutionary Guards of direct responsibility for this month’s tanker attacks.
US troop move to Middle East ‘extremely dangerous’: Zarif
A US move to send more troops to the Middle East after accusing Tehran of being behind attacks on tankers in the region is "extremely dangerous ... [for] international peace", Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying. "Increased US presence in our region is extremely dangerous and it threatens international peace and security, and this should be addressed," state news agency IRNA quoted Zarif as saying on Saturday.
Trump approves sending more forces to the Middle East amid tensions with Iran
The Trump administration, facing rising tensions with Iran, plans to reinforce its military presence in the Middle East by sending another few thousand forces to the region to step up missile defense and surveillance, according to U.S. officials.
Facing U.S. sanctions, Iran abandons restraint but seeks to avoid war
Iran has made a dramatic shift in how it confronts the United States, abandoning a policy of restraint in recent weeks for a series of offensive actions aimed at pushing the White House to rethink its efforts at isolating Tehran, say diplomats and analysts. With the Trump administration tightening economic sanctions and intensifying military pressure, Iran is now seeking to highlight the costs it could also impose on the United States — for instance, by disrupting the world’s oil supply — without taking actions likely to trigger an all-out war.
A Path to War With Iran
That the Trump administration’s approach to Iran could lead the United States into an inadvertent conflict should come as a surprise to no one. Indeed, from the day Trump took office, many feared that his impulsive behavior, blustering rhetoric, inability to think ahead, disrespect for policy process, and determination to “win” could lead to war. In a spring 2017 essay for this magazine, I raised concerns about his potential to stumble into conflict with Iran, China, or North Korea.
Iran hits back at Trump for tweeting ‘genocidal taunts’
The Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has hit back at Donald Trump’s “genocidal taunts” after a strongly worded warning from Trump that Tehran should not think of attacking the US. “Goaded by #B_Team,” Zarif wrote on Twitter, in an apparent reference to Trump advisers such as John Bolton, “@realdonaldTrump hopes to achieve what Alexander, Genghis & other aggressors failed to do. Iranians have stood tall for millennia while aggressors all gone. #EconomicTerrorism & genocidal taunts won’t ‘end Iran’.” He added: “#NeverThreatenAnIranian. Try respect – it works!”
Trump risks credibility with policy that veers between threats and inaction
Trump has said that there is no inconsistency in his administration’s messaging but that the image of incoherence can be useful. “At least Iran doesn’t know what to think, which at this point may very well be a good thing!” he tweeted Friday. But as he moves more deeply into the second half of his term with major foreign policy issues unresolved, Trump’s credibility has suffered, and his options have narrowed.
War With Iran? Count Us Out, Europe Says
With strong memories of the last catastrophic war in Iraq, Europeans are united in opposing what many consider the United States’ effort to provoke Iran into a shooting war. Yet, despite the strains in trans-Atlantic relations in the Trump years, flat-out opposition to Washington remains an uncomfortable place for European nations.
As U.S. pulls some workers from Iraq, allies challenge claim of rising threat from Iran
The State Department on Wednesday ordered all “non-emergency U.S. government employees” to leave Iraq amid soaring tensions with Iran, which backs proxy forces there. It said in a statement that the announcement affects both the U.S. Embassy in the capital, Baghdad, and a consulate in the northern city of Irbil.
Iran Threat Debate Is Set Off by Images of Missiles at Sea
The photographs fueled fears that Iran would fire missiles at U.S. naval ships in the Persian Gulf. The Pentagon has not released the photograph. On its own, two American officials said, the photograph was not compelling enough to convince the American public and lawmakers, or foreign allies, of the new Iranian threat. But releasing other supporting images could compromise secret sources and methods of collecting intelligence, the officials said.
No increased Iran threat in Syria or Iraq, top British officer says, contradicting US
The top British general in the US-led coalition against Isis has said there is no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria, directly contradicting US assertions used to justify a military buildup in the region. Hours later however, his assessment was disowned by US Central Command in an extraordinary rebuke of an allied senior officer.
US ‘blames Iran’ for damage to tankers in Gulf of Oman
US investigators believe Iran or groups it supports used explosives to damage four ships off the United Arab Emirates on Sunday, media reports say. Military experts were reportedly sent to investigate the incident and found a large hole in each of the tankers. No evidence has emerged to show that Iran was involved. The affected countries are yet to assign blame.
Pompeo crashes Brussels meeting of E.U. diplomats for Iran talks
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Brussels on Monday for an unplanned visit with European foreign ministers who fear that the United States and Iran are inching toward war. The last-minute decision, announced as he boarded a plane from the United States, set up a confrontation between Pompeo and European diplomats who have been scrambling to save the 2015 Iran nuclear deal.
Two Saudi oil tankers, Norwegian ship apparently attacked near the Persian Gulf amid rising Iran tensions
Two Saudi Arabian oil tankers and a Norwegian ship were damaged over the weekend near the Persian Gulf in what Saudi Arabia claimed Monday was an “act of sabotage,” further heightening regional tensions with Iran.
White House Reviews Military Plans Against Iran, in Echoes of Iraq War
At a meeting of President Trump’s top national security aides last Thursday, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan presented an updated military plan that envisions sending as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East should Iran attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons, administration officials said.
Amid Push for New Oil Sanctions, Pompeo Reportedly Jokes About Secret Coup Plot Against Iran
With the Trump administration moving ahead Monday with punishing new sanctions against Iran with the goal of completely halting the country's oil exports, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reportedly joked about a secret White House plot to overthrow the Iranian government during a private meeting with Iranian-American "community leaders."
Netanyahu says Trump named Iran’s Revolutionary Guard a terrorist group at his request
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, facing a hotly contested bid for a fourth term, tweeted on the eve of the election that the Trump administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization at his request.
Israel Says It Wants ‘War with Iran’ and Is Meeting with Arab Countries to ‘Advance’ It
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has expressed his desire to go to war with Iran, and said he was meeting with dozens of foreign envoys, including those from the Arab world, in order to push the initiative forward.
Barham Salih: Trump did not ask Iraq’s permission to ‘watch Iran’
Iraqi President Barham Salih has said US President Donald Trump did not ask Iraq's permission for US troops stationed there to "watch Iran". Salih was responding on Monday to Trump's comments to US media in which he said American forces would remain at a US base in Iraq to keep a close eye on neighbouring Iran.
While E.U. tries to bypass U.S. sanctions on Iran, Trump administration amps up pressure
To be a European company with links to Iran in the age of American sanctions can mean dealing with challenges that, every day, verge on the existential. Suppliers cut off their shipments with little warning. Phone lines get disconnected. Even having the elevators repaired can be an ordeal, with service contracts canceled.
Trump blasts U.S. intelligence officials, disputes assessments on Iran and other global threats
President Trump lashed out at U.S. intelligence officials Wednesday, calling them “extremely passive and naive” about the “dangers of Iran” and pushing back on their assessments of the Islamic State and North Korea during a congressional hearing. In tweets, Trump offered what amounted to a rebuttal of testimony on global threats provided to the Senate on Tuesday by a panel of top officials from his administration.
U.S. Intelligence Chiefs Contradict Trump on North Korea and Iran
A new American intelligence assessment of global threats has concluded that North Korea is “unlikely to give up” all of its nuclear stockpiles, and that Iran is not “currently undertaking the key nuclear weapons-development activity” needed to make a bomb, directly contradicting two top tenets of President Trump’s foreign policy.
US closes the barn door after Huawei has bolted
China’s flagship tech company Huawei is the first Chinese company to establish global dominance in a game-changing technology, namely 5G mobile broadband. Washington’s efforts to thwart Huawei’s rise simply are an after-the-fact charade by the US national security establishment to deflect blame for a catastrophic policy failure. With a wink and a nudge, the rest of the world will humor the United States, and continue to do business with the Chinese giant.
‘A Reckless Advocate of Military Force’: Demands for John Bolton’s Dismissal After Reports He Asked Pentagon for Options to Strike Iran
Reminding the world that he is, as one critic put it, "a reckless advocate of military force," the Wall Street Journal revealed on Sunday that President Donald Trump's National Security Adviser John Bolton "asked the Pentagon to provide the White House with military options to strike Iran last year, generating concern at the Pentagon and State Department."
Syria’s Kurds, Feeling Betrayed by the U.S., Ask Assad Government for Protection
Feeling betrayed by the United States, its Kurdish allies in Syria asked the Syrian government on Friday to protect them from possible attack by Turkey. The request appeared to help open the way for the forces of President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, backed by Russia and Iran, to start retaking the Kurdish-held part of the country near Turkey’s border. That would be a big step toward Mr. Assad’s goal of reclaiming all of Syria, upended by almost eight years of war.
‘Five Eyes’ Spy Chiefs Agreed to Contain Huawei’s Global Reach at Meeting in July
At a meeting in Canada in July 2018, espionage chiefs from Australia, Canada, New Zealand, the U.K. and the U.S.—all signatories to a treaty on signals intelligence, and often referred to as the “Five Eyes”—agreed to do their best to contain the global growth of Chinese telecom Huawei, the Wall Street Journal reported on Friday, citing a prior report from the Australian Financial Review.
Huawei arrest: China demands release of Meng Wanzhou
Meng Wanzhou, the daughter of the company's founder, could face extradition to the US. She was arrested in Vancouver on 1 December, but the news was not made public at her request. The charges remain unknown but the US has been probing Huawei over possible violation of sanctions against Iran. China says her detention is possibly a rights abuse.
Trump Officials, Fiercely Defending Saudis, Warn Senators Not to Abandon Yemen War
Trump administration officials urged senators against withdrawing American military support for the war in Yemen in an aggressive warning on Wednesday that doing so could embolden Iran and endanger the United States.
Mike Pompeo Says Iran Must Listen to U.S. ‘If They Want Their People to Eat’
S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said that it is in Iran's best interests to toe the line and listen to Washington or else its people will pay the price. Iran has vowed to fight back against Washington after the Trump administration reinstated on November 5 sanctions on Iran that were removed under the 2015 nuclear deal.
U.S. sanctions on Iran are choking off imports of medicine, economists say
New U.S. sanctions on Iranian financial firms, including a bank that until recently handled most payments for Iran’s imports of humanitarian goods, are having a chilling effect on foreign companies that help supply medicine and other medical products, economic analysts say.
Chuck Schumer Caved to Facebook and Donald Trump
Schumer has sided with the GOP on Wall Street, Israel, Iraq, Iran, and Facebook. Almost any other Democrat should be Senate minority leader instead. As I argued earlier this week, the next two years in U.S. politics will be a 24/7 battle for the future of American democracy; a relentless fight against fascism, racism, and white nationalism. Are we really expected to believe that Schumer will be the leader of the #Resistance in the Senate ? Don’t make me laugh.
Top Cheney Aide in Mueller’s Sights as Probe Expands
Dick Cheney’s former top national-security aide has come under scrutiny from special counsel Robert Mueller, two people with knowledge of the probe tell The Daily Beast. It’s the latest sign that Mueller’s probe has expanded beyond the narrow bounds of Russian interference in American politics.
Iran prepares cryptocurrency as US cuts SWIFT services
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had warned SWIFT that there would be “penalties applied” to firms that do not comply with the latest round of sanctions. Stuck between a rock and a hard place, SWIFT could now face EU penalties for siding with the US and violating its own Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) laws prohibiting companies siding with sanctions.
Trump administration to reinstate all Iran sanctions
The White House said it was "the toughest sanctions regime ever imposed on Iran" and targeted Iran's energy, shipping and banking sectors. However, eight countries will not be penalised by the US for continuing to import Iranian oil. President Donald Trump withdrew from the deal in May, describing it as "defective at its core".
Europe, Russia and China Defy Trump on Iran Sanctions
The European Union has signaled that it may impose substantial fines on European firms that pull out of Iran deals over fear of Trump’s unilateral U.S. Treasury Department sanctions. It is likely that smaller European companies that trade with Iran but have no relationship with the U.S. will continue their relationship with the Islamic republic, using euros and non-U.S. banks. But large firms, such as French oil giant Total S.A. and Renault, have signaled that they will get out of Iran to avoid American fines.
US is Ready to Strike Iran’s Nuclear Facilities in August
According to ABC, the US is going to strike Iran’s nuclear facilities. An operation may start as early as next month. The UK and Australia will participate in intelligence efforts, such as identifying targets. The US-Iran relationship took a nosedive after Iran threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz in early July. President Trump told the Iranian leadership in a tweet that he would respond with force if Tehran’s hostile anti-US rhetoric did not stop.
‘Do not play with lion’s tail’: Rouhani warns Trump
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned his US counterpart, Donald Trump, not to escalate tensions with his country, saying a confrontation with the Islamic republic would be the "mother of all wars".
Trump Threatens Iran on Twitter, Warning of Dire ‘Consequences’
Mr. Trump, in an all-caps message on Twitter addressed to President Hassan Rouhani of Iran, wrote that the country would face “CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED” if he continued to threaten the United States.
Mattis’s Last Stand Is Iran
Leaked State Department Memo Advised Trump Administration to Push for “Islamic Reformation”
The Trump administration, as part of a dual effort to counter both Iran and the Islamic State, should push for an “Islamic Reformation,” a State Department memo advised the White House last year. The suggestion was ultimately not adopted as part of the National Security Strategy announced in December, but that a so-called reformation of Islam was up for discussion at the highest levels of the State Department and National Security Council underscores the extraordinary rise of a once-fringe, far-right approach to foreign policy.
Mike Pompeo claims Iran carrying out ‘assassination operations’ in Europe
Mike Pompeo’s claim that the Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is carrying out “assassination operations in the heart of Europe” has bewildered security experts and Iranian exiles, who say they are not aware of any evidence for the allegation.
Allies at Cross-Purposes: Trump Puts Europe Into Damage-Control Mode
Nathalie Tocci, the director of Italy’s Institute of International Affairs and a senior adviser to Ms. Mogherini, said that Europe’s foreign and defense policy “has become more difficult now, not least because of the Trump administration efforts to undercut the E.U.” She warned that “if Europeans are serious about their strategic autonomy, now is the time to demonstrate it by standing united behind their shared interests.” And she said saving the Iran deal “is the place to start.”
Chinese Tech Giant May Be First Victim of a New U.S. Cold War
One of China’s most internationally successful technology suppliers, with about $17 billion in annual revenue, ZTE is facing a death sentence. The Commerce Department has blocked its access to American-made components until 2025, saying the company failed to punish employees who violated trade controls against Iran and North Korea.
Trump pulls United States out of Iran nuclear deal, calling the pact ‘an embarrassment’
President Trump on Tuesday said he is pulling the United States out of the international nuclear deal with Iran, announcing that economic sanctions against Tehran will be reinstated and declaring that the 2015 pact had been rooted in “fiction.”
Trump team hired spy firm for ‘dirty ops’ on Iran arms deal
Aides to Donald Trump, the US president, hired an Israeli private intelligence agency to orchestrate a “dirty ops” campaign against key individuals from the Obama administration who helped negotiate the Iran nuclear deal, the Observer can reveal.
Pompeo and Palestinians Have ‘Nothing to Discuss’ Amid Gaza Crisis
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo came to Israel Sunday in the midst of the worst crisis in relations between Israelis and Palestinians in years, but he did not meet a single Palestinian representative and mentioned them publicly once. Instead of discussing the Palestinian issue, Mr. Pompeo’s focused message on his sweep through the region has been a denunciation of Iran. He met with Saudi leaders on Saturday and Sunday morning, and they all agreed that Iran is a destabilizing force. He met on Sunday afternoon with Mr. Netanyahu, who blistered Iran alongside Mr. Pompeo.
Mike Pompeo’s Mission Is to Destroy the Iran Deal
All you need to know about Mike Pompeo, the four-term congressman from Kansas who is actually from California, is that most of his life he has been in business with the Koch brothers. His appointment as secretary of state puts a seal on President Trump’s withdrawal from the Paris climate accord. More dangerously, Trump was straightforward: He put Pompeo in to replace Rex Tillerson in order to destroy the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action treaty between the United Nations Security Council and Iran.
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