Iran’s new naval commander has vowed to dispatch warships to the doorstep of the United States in the Gulf of Mexico, according to reports.
Prosecutors on Tuesday revealed that a wealthy Turkish-Iranian gold trader struck a plea deal to testify about a vast corruption scheme they say reached into the upper levels of the Turkish government — a development that could further strain relations between the United States and one of its key strategic allies. Reza Zarrab will take the witness stand to detail how he and Turkish banker Mehmet Hakan Atilla laundered Iranian oil money in violation of U.S. economic sanctions against Iran, a conspiracy involving bribes and kickbacks to high-level officials.
Iranian state television has released a video about an American doctoral student imprisoned for more than a year on spying charges, raising concerns that his case is being used to pressure U.S. officials amid escalating tensions between the two countries.
UANI IN THE NEWS
Saad Hariri has finally returned to Lebanon. Two weeks ago, Hariri intentionally shocked his country by abruptly resigning in a televised speech from Saudi Arabia, attacking Hezbollah and Iran for undermining Lebanon’s sovereignty and hinting they had plotted his assassination. Yet by Tuesday evening last week, he was back home for Lebanon’s 74th Independence Day, and had agreed to “suspend” his resignation at President Michel Aoun’s request. In retrospect, Hariri’s actions seem to be setting the stage for a political resurgence in Lebanon’s upcoming parliamentary elections, and initiating a regional effort to counter Iran and its “Resistance Axis.”
TERRORISM AND EXTREMISM
US President Donald Trump needs to stop wasting energy fighting over renegotiating the Iran nuclear deal and focus on pressuring Iran to reduce its terror in the region, former defense minister Moshe Ya’alon said on Tuesday.
NORTH KOREA & IRAN
The U.S. government is becoming increasingly concerned about the depth of military cooperation between Iran and North Korea, with officials warning that high-level meetings between Iranian and North Korean contacts indicate efforts to deepen ties that may extend to weapons of mass destruction, according to a new report.
Former Secretary of State John Kerry says both Israel and Egypt pushed the United States to “bomb Iran” before the 2015 nuclear deal was struck.
Azzam al-Ahmad, the head of Fatah’s delegation for Palestinian reconciliation, on Monday night said Iran is the “number one sponsor” of division between Palestinian factions… He added that “it seems one of the conditions for the return of Iranian support [to Hamas] is the continuation of the division.”
GULF STATES, YEMEN, AND IRAN
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday that Saudi Arabia presents Iran as an enemy because it wants to cover up its defeats in the region.
Saudi Arabia’s powerful crown prince relies on a small core group of advisers, none more provocative than Thamer al-Sabhan, the fiercely anti-Iran government official whose fingerprints were on the hurried and ultimately unsuccessful resignation of Lebanon’s prime minister earlier this month.
The Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad al-Awwad… said that fighting terrorism needs to be a joint effort and across different tracks including media-combat to terrorist discourse… Awwad said: “Islam’s dialect has moved from individuals to countries and leading it is Iran. The Iranian regime is the first supporter, the founder and the spiritual father to terrorism.”
IRANIAN DOMESTIC ISSUES
Iran has seen a surge in the number of HIV infections spread by sex, especially among its youth. What’s more, authorities say many have no idea that they are infected. That has led to growing uncomfortable questions in the Islamic Republic, where sex outside of marriage is prohibited and those who practice it can face arrest and severe punishment.