U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed Iran on Wednesday for threats to American missions in Iraq and said the United States was terminating a treaty of amity with Tehran, which is the target of increasing U.S. sanctions over its missile programs.
Oil buyers who viewed Obama-era policies as precedent for U.S. sanctions on Iran are getting a rude shock. A Trump administration demand that oil purchases should stop has blindsided Asian importers who assumed they would only have to reduce shipments from the Persian Gulf state.
The re-imposition of US sanctions will likely send the Iranian economy into recession next year on the back of a sharp decline in oil exports and a further slump in already-low foreign investment inflows as companies with US exposure wind down in Iran.
UANI IN THE NEWS
Accusing Iran of conducting illicit activities and posing a threat to U.S. forces in the Middle East, national security adviser John Bolton said last week at the 2018 United Against Nuclear Iran summit that Tehran should "take me seriously when I assure them today that if you cross us, our allies or our partners, if you harm our citizens, if you continue to lie cheat and deceive, yes, there will indeed be hell to pay.”
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Israel obtained an “extremely impressive” stash of intelligence about Iranian nuclear activity that needs to be investigated further by the International Atomic Energy Agency, President Trump’s top national security aide said after international monitors rejected the idea.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
France just learned that President Trump had a point when he warned that the 2015 Iran nuclear deal “didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace and it never will.” Paris this week publicly accused Tehran of plotting to bomb an Iranian opposition group’s rally near the French capital in June. As a first sanction, the French government froze assets belonging to two suspected Iranian intelligence operatives and to officials in Iran’s spy ministry.
Iran’s supreme leader says the Islamic Republic will “slap” the United States by defeating new American sanctions targeting the nation.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani praised Europe on Wednesday for taking a "big step" toward maintaining business with Iran after the unilateral U.S. withdrawal from a 2015 nuclear deal and re-imposition of new sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
The people of Iran face a sensitive time because of the pressure from America and economic problems, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in a key address broadcast by state television on Thursday.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday that the White House was terminating a 1950s treaty with Iran after a United Nations court ruled the accord prevented the US from imposing sanctions that would affect humanitarian aid.
Hanging on a wall in John Bolton’s West Wing office is a memento of his proudest achievement as national security adviser: a framed copy of President Donald Trump’s order to pull the United States out of the Iran nuclear deal. Right next to it hangs a cartoon mocking the agreement.
During a press conference at the United Nations General Assembly on Sept. 26, President Trump made clear how he feels about the criticism he’s gotten from other countries over his decision to pull out of the Iran nuclear agreement and resurrect stifling sanctions in November. “It doesn’t matter what world leaders think,” he said. “Iran’s going to come back to me and make a deal.”
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
[T]hese latest French raids and indictments are designed to deter Iran from taking action on French soil. The French want the Iranians to know that they are being watched.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
While many observers ascribe the weakening of the Iranian rial in recent months to the psychological impact of increasing US pressure on Iran, the currency crisis has domestic roots, too. Indeed, the partly privatized Iranian economy has given birth to a web of interest-driven relations between those in power and those with wealth.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
From the Iranian attack on Syria to the U.S. claiming it may take action against new Russian missiles, Putin is flexing his muscles and shows he's not afraid to challenge any other country.
Russia delivered advanced air-defense systems to Syria after the recent airplane-downing incident, but its desire to check Iran could permit continued Israeli operations in the Syrian skies.
IRAQ & IRAN
Concerned that tensions between Iran and the United States could blow back onto Iraq, a senior Iraqi diplomat said today that Iraq would be willing to facilitate dialogue between the two nations.
A top Iraqi diplomat pushed back Wednesday against the Trump administration’s assertion that Iran-backed militants have been responsible for attacks on the U.S. consulate in southern Iraq, saying recent insecurity in the city of Basra was caused purely by political demonstrations and “a normal expression of democracy.”
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Germany on Wednesday told the United States that it shared its goals on Iran even as the Europeans press ahead to save a denuclearization deal threatened by US sanctions.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel began a visit to Israel on Wednesday, with Iran’s nuclear ambitions and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict among issues on the agenda in talks with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.