Remnants of four ballistic missiles fired into Saudi Arabia by Yemen’s Houthi rebels this year appear to have been designed and manufactured by Riyadh’s regional rival Iran, a confidential report by United Nations sanctions monitors said, bolstering a push by the United States to punish the Tehran government.
For the second time in a month, the Saudi military has intercepted and destroyed a ballistic missile it said was launched from Yemen on Thursday… Houthi rebels in Yemen claimed success in the missile launch, saying it was a test firing… Weeks earlier, Yemeni rebels fired a ballistic missile towards an international airport in Riyadh, which was intercepted before it struck… Saudi Arabia has been leading a coalition of Gulf states against Houthi rebels who ousted the pro-Saudi, internationally-recognized goverment in Yemen in 2015… The Houthis, a Shiite tribal militia from northwest Yemen, have been at war with the central government for the best part of a decade. Saudi Arabia and its allies claim that Iran backs and funds the rebels, something the rebels themselves deny.
Signs of increasingly frayed relationship between President Trump and Rex Tillerson have fueled speculation that the secretary of State could soon be on the way out. The New York Times reported Thursday that the White House had drafted a plan to replace Tillerson with Mike Pompeo, a former Republican congressman who now leads the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA).
IRAN NUCLEAR DEAL
Prime Minister Theresa May on Thursday underlined Britain’s support for the nuclear deal concluded with Iran which came into force in October 2015.
NUCLEAR & BALLISTIC-MISSILE PROGRAMS
A senior Iranian lawmaker reiterated that Iran’s missile capabilities are for defending the country and will not be subject to any negotiations.
Having been on the receiving end of a human rights focus, mainly initiated by the United States and Western Europe, Iran has turned the tables and is demanding answers regarding the police shooting of an unarmed Iranian-American man in Virginia.
A Turkish-Iranian gold trader on Thursday told jurors in a New York federal court that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan authorized a transaction in a scheme to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions.
Turkey’s president has argued that his country did not break a trade embargo on Iran as it hadn’t committed to abide by U.S. sanctions, and there were no United Nations restrictions in place, the Hurriyet newspaper reported on Friday.
“How old are you?” the interviewer asks. “Thirteen,” replies the boy, in uniform. “Thirteen years – thirteen years old!” the interviewer repeats, proudly, as the camera pans upward to the grinning, bearded faces of uniformed men, apparently Iranian soldiers, who pat their young recruit on the back. On November 25, a video with the logo of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) agency circulated on Iranian websites and social media showing the boy in the Syrian border city of Abu Kamal. He said he was a “defender of the shrine,” the euphemism the Iranian government uses for fighters it sends to Syria and Iraq.
RUSSIA & IRAN
Iran’s First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri hailed on Thursday cooperation of Russia and Iran in fight against terrorism, saying it is a good example for other countries.
Iran on Thursday brushed off suggestions it should curb its reach in the Middle East and denied accusations of meddling, saying it was "going nowhere". Iran and Saudi Arabia are engaged in a regional battle for dominance being fought by proxies in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Lebanon and other countries -- a tussle which has drawn in the West.
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says U.S. efforts to push Iranian military advisers and fighters out of Syria as part of a deal to end the war-torn country's six-year civil war will not succeed.
GULF STATES, YEMEN, LEBANON, AND IRAN
On Thursday, Saudi Arabia successfully intercepted a ballistic missile fired into its territory from Yemen… Because of the Houthis' reliance on Iranian ballistic missile support, training, and resources, we can confidently assume Iranian responsibility for Thursday's launch. It's a wake-up call. The Trump administration cannot ignore or neglect Iranian aggression in the Middle East.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s policies in the Gulf are dangerous and misguided, Iran’s foreign minister said on Thursday, adding that pressure from Washington had only succeeded in strengthening Tehran’s resolve.
There is no prospect signaling that the French-Iranian relations could see possible breakthroughs following tension that erupted in the past few days due to the strong reactions expressed by Iranian officials, including Iranian Supreme Leader's senior advisor for international affairs Ali Akbar Velayati and commander of the Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Mohammad Ali Jafari, concerning Paris’ position from several disputed files with Tehran, such as the Nuclear Deal, the Iranian ballistic missile and Tehran’s policies in the region. French President Emmanuel Macron’s comments on Wednesday from Abidjan further complicated relations between the two countries and made the upcoming official visit of the French president to Tehran early next year, less possible.
IRANIAN DOMESTIC ISSUES
A strong quake of magnitude 6.0 struck southeastern Iran near the city of Kerman on Friday, the U.S. Geological Survey said. The quake, initially reported as a magnitude 6.3, was centered 36 miles (58 km) northeast of Kerman, which has a population of more than 821,000. It struck at 6:32 a.m. (0232 GMT) and was very shallow, at a depth of 6.2 miles (10 km), which would have amplified the shaking. A magnitude 6.0 quake is considered strong and is capable of causing severe damage.