Eye on Iran: Putin Defies Trump's Demands to Expel Iran from Syria

TOP STORIES

Putin Defies Trump's Demands to Expel Iran from Syria | Bloomberg

Vladimir Putin is done making concessions to the U.S. over Iran's presence in Syria. Having pushed Iranian-backed forces away from the frontier with the Israeli-held Golan Heights in July, the Russian president is defying the Trump administration's demand to expel Iran completely from Syria after the civil war there winds down.

Inside Israel's Secret Program to Back Syrian Rebels | Foreign Policy

Israel secretly armed and funded at least 12 rebel groups in southern Syria that helped prevent Iran-backed fighters and militants of the Islamic State from taking up positions near the Israeli border in recent years, according to more than two dozen commanders and rank-and-file members of these groups.

Protesters In Iraq's Basra Attack Offices of Political Parties and State-Run TV Channel | Reuters

Protesters in Iraq's Basra on Thursday set fire to the headquarters of the ruling Dawa Party, the Islamic Supreme Council and the largest Iran-backed Shi'ite militia group in the country, the Badr Organization, local security sources said.

UANI IN THE NEWS

Reports: Washington Might Halt Military Aid to Lebanon | Jerusalem Post

David Daoud, a research analyst at United Against Nuclear Iran, told The Jerusalem Post that while the Lebanon "is an imperfect ally" for Washington it is in the interest of all sides, including Israel, to continue providing aid to the LAF. "The benefits to Lebanon are obvious: it receives military assistance and backing from the world's super power, with no ideological strings attached. As far as Israel is concerned, it's also beneficial that the United States - and not Russia or Iran - are funding or supplying the army," he told the Post.

SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS

U.S. to Help Nations Replace Iran Oil, May Consider Waivers | Reuters

Washington will consider waivers for Iranian oil buyers such as India but they must eventually halt imports as sanctions are imposed on Tehran, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday.

US Agrees to Work with India on Iran Oil Imports Ahead of Sanctions: Pompeo | S&P Global Platts

The US has committed to working with India on reducing its Iranian oil imports ahead of sanctions that are scheduled to return in November, but Washington continues to aim for zeroing out Tehran's exports, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday.

3 Ways Iran Might Respond to Sanctions and What It Means for Oil Prices | MarketWatch

Expectations Saudi Arabia and other OPEC nations will make up for lost barrels of oil from Iran once reimposed U.S. sanctions take full effect in November might be overly optimistic while underestimating the risks from Tehran's response, according to one well-known analyst.

What Babies' Nappies Tell Us About Iran's Economic Woes | BBC News

Babies' nappies [diapers] have become the latest casualty of Iran's faltering economy, with huge price rises and shortages across the country.

PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS

France Regrets Arrest of Husband of Iranian Rights Lawyer | Reuters

France's foreign ministry said on Thursday it regretted the arrest of the husband of a detained Iranian human rights lawyer, a rare criticism that is likely to irk Tehran at a time of strained relations.

Activist: Prison Conditions of Dervish Women Violate Iran Prison Laws | Voice of America

An exiled Iranian Dervish rights activist says Iran's ongoing seven-month jailing of seven Dervish women in tough conditions near Tehran is in violation of national prison regulations.

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS

Iran Defies U.S. Bid to Curb Its Middle East Influence | The Wall Street Journal

Iran is signaling that it will buck U.S. efforts to roll back its military presence in the Middle East, moving to cement foreign alliances and continuing to project power abroad despite sanctions that have helped put intense pressure on its economy. Tehran signed a long-term security pact with Syria in August, and has kept up the flow of arms and financial support to proxy forces around the region, according to U.S. officials and a person close to Lebanon's Hezbollah militia.

Khamenei Says U.S., Israel Wage Media War to Discourage Iranians | Reuters

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei accused the United States and Israel on Thursday of waging a media war to discourage Iranians, state TV reported, as the country faces economic hardship after the reimposition of U.S. sanctions.

MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS

IRGC Navy Leadership Change May Not Signal Imminent Behavior Change | Farzin Nadimi for the Washington Institute

On August 23, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei promoted the acting commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN), Alireza Tangsiri, to full commander, replacing Ali Fadavi, who was appointed as the wider IRGC's deputy commander for coordination.

IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS

Iran Tells Its People to 'Economize' | Radio Farda

Referring to Iran's "very bleak" economic situation, President Hassan Rouhani's chief of staff has asked people to avoid buying unnecessary goods.

Iran Supreme Leader Warns Against Spread of Pessimism | AFP

Iran's supreme leader on Thursday warned against the spread of pessimism in the country, as people face mounting economic woes after the imposition of US sanctions.

Rouhani's Only Use Now Is As a Scapegoat | Bobby Ghosh for Bloomberg

Tehran's hard-liners need someone to blamed, but the president has no other utility - for Iranians, for Trump or for anyone else.

A Failing Iran Remains a Dangerous Iran | L. Todd Wood for the Washington Times

The Iranian regime is starting to crack. The terror train is about to derail. But this will also be the most dangerous time for Iran's adversaries, including the United States, as the murderers in Tehran start losing their grip on the Iranian people and on their billions of dollars banked abroad.

RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN.

With Hezbollah In Mind, Israel Builds a New Wall | Agence France-Presse

Earlier this year, new construction began along the Lebanese border, where Israel is building a wall equipped with cameras in the hope of thwarting any attempt by its enemy Hezbollah to infiltrate and attack.

Senior IDF Official: Hezbollah Controls Lebanon's Army, We Won't Distinguish Between Them In Next War | Haaretz (Israel)

Hezbollah has been gaining strength in Lebanon in recent years and is virtually in control of the Lebanese army, a senior Israeli commander said Wednesday. He noted that Israel will not distinguish between the militia and the country's forces during the next military confrontation.

In Large Northern Drill, Paratroopers Practice War with Hezbollah | Times of Israel

The Israeli military simulated a war with the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terror group this week, with paratroopers, fighter jets, attack helicopters, tanks and artillery taking part.

US Ambassador Sees Golan Remaining in Israeli Hands 'Forever' | Times of Israel

US ambassador to Israel David Friedman expects the annexed Golan Heights to remain under Israeli control "forever," according to an excerpt released Thursday of an interview he gave to the Israel Hayom daily.

Iran Summit Holds Key to Looming Battle in Syria's Idlib | Associated Press

The presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey will meet Friday in Tehran to discuss the war in Syria, with all eyes on a possible military offensive to retake the last rebel-held bastion of Idlib. The summit between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan may determine whether diplomacy halts any military action.

Haley Warns Syria, Russia, Iran against Using Chemical Weapons: Don't Bet against the US | Fox News

U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley echoed recent White House statements and again warned Syria and its allies Russia and Iran that the U.S. will act again if chemical weapons are used against Syrian civilians. Haley was addressing a United Nations Security Council meeting on chemical weapons use in Syria Thursday afternoon.

Another War in Lebanon? | Daniel Byman for Lawfare

Israel and the Lebanese Hezbollah spar regularly, and Hezbollah's intervention in the Syrian civil war expanded their conflict's front line. In the years since the war began in 2011, Israel has attacked Hezbollah weapons depots and forces in Syria, and Hezbollah boasts that it shot down an Israeli F-16 jet... Yet war has threatened for over a decade, and despite regular sparring, neither side has gone over the brink. What explains this enduring, if turbulent, peace-and will it last?

GULF STATES, YEMEN, & IRAN

US Centcom Chief Visits Yemen In Warning to Iran | The National

The head of the US Central Command discussed support for Yemen's army and anti-smuggling efforts during a visit on Wednesday that a former US envoy to the country said was a warning to Iran.

Houthis Insist Negotiators' Flight to Be Used for Transporting Injured Hezbollah Men | Saudi Gazette

A delegation comprising 12 negotiators, representing the legitimate government in Yemen, left Riyadh for Geneva on Wednesday to attend the United Nations-sponsored new round of peace talks slated for Thursday. However, sources in Geneva said that the Houthi delegation would not reach Geneva on time because of their new conditions for attending the talks... "Houthis' demand is that their negotiators' flight shall be allowed to carry the injured Iranian and Hezbollah men on board with a stopover in Oman to facilitate their treatment before the delegation resumes its flight to Geneva," the sources said, adding that Houthis made the condition after their consultation with the Iranian and Hezbollah officials with a plot to hamper the revival of talks.

IRAQ & IRAN
Protesters Chant Anti-Iran Slogans in Front of Consulate in Basra | Al Arabiya (Saudi Arabia / UAE)

After protesters in Basra stormed and set fire to a provincial government building and several Iran-backed political parties' headquarters, many moved to the Iranian consulate on Thursday night where they chanted slogans against "Iranian interference" in their country.

CYBERWARFARE

Tel-Aviv Times? Iran Created Fake Hebrew News Sites in Major 'Influence Campaign' | Haaretz (Israel)

An Israeli cyber-security company uncovered three Hebrew news sites as Iranian hack schemes. ClearSky Cyber Security unveiled that the sites, including the Tel Aviv Times Hebrew news site, were operated from Iran as part of a "fake news" influence campaign. Tel Aviv Times receives 65,000 surfers per month, according to SimilarWeb.