Iran is ramping up support to the Taliban in retaliation against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to scrap a historic nuclear deal, Afghan officials said, and the battle for a strategic Afghan city points to that blowback.
The floor of Iran's parliament descended into chaos this week as lawmakers debated joining an international effort to choke off funding for terrorist groups, with lawmakers storming the speaker's dais, complaining of "colonialism," and holding aloft notes of protest amid the din. The May 22 session was scheduled to review a bill on the country's accession to the International Convention for the Suppression Of Financing Of Terrorism, also known as the Terrorism Financing Convention, a resolution adopted by the UN in 1999.
Having failed to persuade U.S. President Donald Trump to stay in the Iran nuclear accord, French President Emmanuel Macron is reaching out to Russian President Vladimir Putin.
UANI IN THE NEWS
Lieberman said that as chairman of the group, United Against Nuclear Iran, he could "not be more supportive" of President Donald Trump's policy to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. "[It] was a bad deal," he said. "We gave a lot away and got very little in return, and we did nothing, about the non-nuclear aggression and support of terrorism, of the Iranian government."
“Iran has worked aggressively to train, arm, supply, guide, and direct thousands of Shias and Sunnis throughout the Middle East, from Lebanon to Afghanistan and to Yemen,” according to Norman Roule, a senior adviser to United Against Nuclear Iran, a non-profit, bi-partisan advocacy group. “Iran basically puts very few of its own people at risk,” Roule told Kurdistan 24 earlier this week, after speaking at an Atlantic Council seminar on the “Middle East after the Iran Deal.”
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Europe and the United States remain deeply divided over how to proceed after Washington’s exit from the 2015 Iran nuclear accord, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Wednesday after back-to-back meetings with two senior U.S. officials.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the nuclear deal with Iran has added fresh impetus to a European outreach to Russia—although European officials say existing tensions make it far from a thaw.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Thursday China and Germany are standing by the existing nuclear deal with Iran after the United States left the 2015 accord earlier this month.
Iran’s top leader set out seven conditions on Wednesday for Tehran to stay in its nuclear deal with world powers, including steps by European banks to safeguard trade with Tehran after the US withdrawal from the pact.
Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Wednesday that Washington’s rejection of an international nuclear agreement showed that the Islamic Republic could not deal with the United States.
Iran’s top leader set out a series of conditions on Wednesday for European powers if they want Tehran to stay in a nuclear deal after the U.S. exit, including steps by European banks to safeguard trade with Tehran and guaranteeing Iranian oil sales.
Iran’s supreme leader criticized the U.S. on Wednesday over its hard-line stance toward the country since President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from a landmark nuclear deal with Western powers.
Iran’s supreme leader has said that American objections over the 2015 nuclear deal were a pretext for regime change, vowing that the US was bound to fail like “the famous cat in the Tom and Jerry” cartoon.
Iran’s Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in his first public remarks since U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo listed 12 demands of Tehran, said on Wednesday that Iran would defeat the United States if Iranian officials did their duty, state television reported.
A senior Iranian military official branded U.S. leaders disloyal and cruel on Wednesday and told parliament Tehran would not bow to Washington’s pressure to limit its military activities.
Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) warned on Wednesday that the U.S. government would be defeated like Iraq’s deposed leader Saddam Hussein if it attacks Iran, Iranian state TV reported.
A top Iranian general has warned the U.S. that his forces are prepared for any potential military action as President Donald Trump threatens to escalate his campaign against Tehran.
SYRIA, RUSSIA, ISRAEL & IRAN
The withdrawal of Iranian forces from Syria, demanded by the United States, is not up for discussion, a top Syrian official was quoted as saying on Wednesday, adding that Damascus was deciding on its next campaign against rebels.
On May 22, one day after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo presented 12 demands for Iran that would result in a top-down change of the Islamic Republic or potentially be a starting point to potential war, Iranian media and officials responded harshly to the list of demands.
Nestled in southern Syria near the point where the edge of the Israeli occupied Golan Heights meets Jordan, the rebel-held town of Deraa has long been in the regime's sights. With the recent recapture of Eastern Ghouta and Yarmouk Palestinian camp on the edge of the Syrian capital, regime forces and their allies are looking to push south. However, the offensive has the potential to be the powder keg that sparks a major regional escalation.
In March, President Donald Trump said he would be pulling U.S. troops out of Syria "very soon." But they’re still there, and will stay there, to defeat what’s left of the so-called Islamic State, says the man in charge of military efforts in the region.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
A semi-official Iranian news agency is reporting that truck drivers in four provinces in the country are on strike over low wages.
HEZBOLLAH & LEBANON
The Iran-backed Hezbollah aims to move beyond its traditional backseat role by assuming more influence in Lebanon’s next government to help it counter an escalating U.S. campaign against Tehran and its regional ascendancy.
TERRORISM & EXTREMISM
European Union bureaucrats love to speak of “European values,” and their media allies on both sides of the Atlantic take it for granted that the EU stands for all that is good and just on the international scene. For a certain type of journalist or NGO worker, if the EU does or says something, that act or statement must be admirable by dint of the fact that it originated in Brussels. Yet too often, the EU stands for diplomacy for its own sake, process for its own sake, bureaucracy for its own sake–even when insisting on diplomacy, process, and bureaucracy for their own sake…
IRAQ & IRAN
After the Sairoon (On the Move) Alliance emerged victorious in the May 12 Iraqi elections, its leader, Muqtada al-Sadr, has been seeking meetings with the leaders of the other top-vote-getting alliances to discuss the possibility of forming the largest bloc in the new parliament and ultimately form the new Cabinet.