Iran has been considering 13 "revenge scenarios" in retaliation for a U.S. strike that killed a top Iranian commander in Iraqi, the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council said on Tuesday, the semi-official Fars news agency reported. "The Americans should know that until now 13 revenge scenarios have been discussed in the council and even if there is consensus on the weakest scenario carrying it out can be a historic nightmare for the Americans," Ali Shamkhani said.
Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Soleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday. Millions were reported to have flooded the town's streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.
President Trump's order to take out a top Iranian general may do what his withdrawal from the "horrible, one-sided" Iran nuclear agreement did not: Kill the deal. The 2015 accord between Iran and six countries has limped along since 2018, when Trump made good on his pledge to yank the United States out of the deal. European powers and Iran worked to preserve at least the framework of the agreement, frustrating Trump and his hawkish foreign policy advisers who had assumed it would fall apart without its cornerstone member.
UANI IN THE NEWS
President Trump's decision to authorize the targeted attack on Gen. Qassem Soleimani was bold and unconventional, says former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman.
Iran is much weaker after Soleimani Attack, Joe Lieberman Says.
United Against Nuclear Iran chairman former Sen. Joe Lieberman, (D-Conn.), discusses partisanship amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran as well as Iraq's vote to expel American soldiers from the country and impeachment.
Tehran is having the regroup and figure out what's next following President Trump's decision to take out their top general, says Nikki Haley, former U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations.
Joe Lieberman, former Senator from Connecticut and Chairman of United Against Nuclear Iran, spoke to Brian Kilmeade about the U.S. military strike that killed Qassem Soleimani. Lieberman believes it is wrong for democrats to question the President's decision to okay the killing of Soleimani without congressional authorization and said it is bad for the country when you have this type of disagreement along party lines because it sends a message to our enemies we are not fundamentally united.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
One day after Iran's government announced the country will no longer abide by any of the operational restraints on its nuclear program under the nuclear deal, President Donald Trump issued a new all-caps warning to Tehran. "IRAN WILL NEVER HAVE A NUCLEAR WEAPON!" the president tweeted on Monday. It's a red line he has issued before, at times scolding Iran for recent steps to violate the nuclear deal from which he withdrew the U.S. and even warning Iran its moves could "come back to bite you like nobody has been bitten before."
The U.N. atomic watchdog on Monday acknowledged Iran's latest announcement on walking away, though reversibly, from its nuclear containment deal with major powers and said it would report any developments promptly to its member states. The International Atomic Energy Agency is policing the landmark 2015 pact that placed restrictions on Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for lifting international sanctions against the Islamic Republic.
Iran must comply with the 2015 nuclear deal, the head of the European Commission said on Monday, adding her voice to international calls for Iran to help salvage the pact that U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from in 2018. "We are deeply concerned by Iran's announcement that it will not respect the limit set by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) any longer," European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a statement, using the deal's formal name.
Germany still wants to save Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with six major powers despite Tehran's announcement on Sunday that it would abandon limitations on enriching uranium, a German Foreign Ministry spokesman said on Monday. "That would be a further breach of the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) but not - I want to stress that - automatically the end of the agreement," the spokesman told a regular government news conference.
Iran's announcement that it will abandon limitations on enriching uranium is extremely concerning and Britain is urgently speaking to parties about possible next steps, a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said on Monday. The spokesman also said there were international conventions in place to prevent the destruction of cultural heritage after U.S. President Donald Trump threatened to hit 52 Iranian sites, including targets important to Iranian culture, if Tehran attacks Americans or U.S. assets.
SANCTIONS, BUSINESS RISKS, & OTHER ECONOMIC NEWS
The global benchmark for crude oil rose above $70 a barrel on Monday for the first time in over three months, with jitters rising over the escalating military tensions between Iran and the United States. The Brent contract for oil touched a high of $70.74 a barrel, the highest since mid-September, when it briefly spiked over an attack on Saudi crude processing facilities. Stock markets were down as well amid fears of how Iran would fulfill a vow of "harsh retaliation."
America has emerged as a force in the world energy markets and that means geopolitical risks are not what they used to be for commodities despite tensions with Iran bubbling up again. "If this had happened five years ago, I certainly think you have a very strong argument that oil prices could hit triple digits," Patrick DeHann, head of petroleum analysis at GasBuddy, told FOX Business' Stuart Varney. "But we've added the capacity of 7.5 million barrels a day versus where we were a decade ago so we've come a long way, and that's perhaps given the White House new options to deal with the Middle East."
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
David M. Roeder, a retired Air Force colonel, was at home last week in Pinehurst, N.C., when he first saw the news flash on his television: An American embassy was under attack by protesters in the Middle East. "I said, 'Uh-oh, here we go again,'" said Colonel Roeder, who was among more than 50 Americans who were taken hostage at the United States Embassy in Tehran in 1979, in a crisis that ruptured relations and set off 40 years of intense hostilities between Washington and Tehran.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
The United States has denied a visa to Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that would have allowed him to attend a United Nations Security Council meeting in New York on Thursday, a U.S. official said. Monday's comments by the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, came as tensions escalate between the two countries after the United States killed Iran's most prominent military commander, Qassem Soleimani, in Baghdad on Friday.
The great question hanging over the dangerous new confrontation between the U.S. and Iran is as simple as it is profound: Is this clash going to deepen America's long entanglement in the Middle East-or is it the kind of watershed event that actually will begin drawing it to a close? President Trump's critics, and a good number of his allies, worry that the airstrike he ordered to kill Iran's top military leader, Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, will merely set off another of those "endless wars" that Mr. Trump opposes.
When the United States announced on Friday that it had killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, something about its explanation left many analysts puzzled. The strike was intended to deter further Iranian attacks, administration officials said. But they also said it was also expected to provoke severe enough attacks by Iran that the Pentagon was deploying an additional several thousand troops to the region. The apparent contradiction left many experts wondering about the strike's intended goal, and the strategy behind it.
Iran's leaders have promised to avenge the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, by the United States. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and U.S. President Donald Trump talk tough but neither have indicated an interest in all-out war although the possibility of military confrontation cannot be ruled out. If Khamenei calls for restraint, he could look weak at home and among regional proxies. So he may opt for small-scale retaliation.
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence will give a speech next Monday laying out the government's policy on Iran, a White House official said, after the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general sparked protests across the Middle Eastern nation. Pence will make the remarks at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies' National Security Summit in Washington, and is expected to focus on differences between the Iranian people and their government, the official said, declining to offer further details on content and speaking on condition of anonymity.
All members of the Atlantic alliance stood behind the United States in the Middle East after it briefed NATO on its drone strike that killed Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Monday. Speaking after a rare NATO meeting on Iran and Iraq in which the United States briefed its allies about last Friday's drone strike, Stoltenberg also called for a de-escalation of tensions, echoing the statements of some European leaders.
The United States has created "global anti-US fury and a worldwide rancor" by killing senior Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday. "What the US has accomplished in its terrorist assassination of anti-ISIS heroes is to unleash global anti-US fury and a worldwide rancor-on a scale not seen in recent memory," Zarif wrote. "End of malign U.S. presence in West Asia has begun."
Rising tensions between Washington and Tehran are testing whether Joe Biden can capitalize on his decades of foreign policy experience as he seeks to challenge a president he derides as "dangerous" and "erratic." Biden is expected to deliver lengthy remarks Tuesday about President Donald Trump's decision to approve an airstrike that killed Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani.
The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations told Fox News that he has one message for President Trump: The U.S. should get out of Iraq. As the Trump administration plans to send 5,000 more U.S. troops to the region, Ambassador Majid Takht Ravanchi said that wasn't a good idea. "The U.S. should leave the region," the ambassador said. "It belongs to the people in the region, and I think the sooner the better."
Last year's conventional wisdom was that when it came to Iran, President Trump was all bark and no bite. His aversion to war, especially in the Middle East, was so great that his bluster and threats could be disregarded. That impression solidified after he ordered Iran-bound American planes to turn back last June from their mission to retaliate for Iran's destruction of a U.S. drone. It seemed incontrovertible when there was no military response to Iran's attacks on Saudi oil refineries in September.
Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper sought to douse an international outcry on Monday by ruling out military attacks on cultural sites in Iran if the conflict with Tehran escalates further, despite President Trump's threat to destroy some of the country's treasured icons. Mr. Esper acknowledged that striking cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with the president, who insisted such places would be legitimate targets. Mr. Trump's threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
In the wake of the U.S. strike against one of Iran's top military commanders last week, Iranian leaders have pledged to retaliate, seeding expectations that Tehran will launch tit-for-tat attacks on U.S. personnel or American allies. But a look at the history of Iranian reprisals shows how difficult it will be to predict how, when and where Iran might fight back in response to the drone attack that killed Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the head of Iran's Quds Force, the group responsible for Iran's military forays in Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and Yemen.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over the coffin of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani at the funeral in Tehran on Monday, as throngs of people filled the city's streets to mourn. General Suleimani was killed by the United States on Friday in Baghdad in a drone strike. American officials said the general had ordered assaults on Americans in Iraq and Syria and was planning a wave of imminent attacks. Ayatollah Khamenei had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the second most powerful man in Iran.
The body of a top Iranian military commander killed in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq last week reached his hometown for burial on Tuesday as the U.S. defense secretary denied reports that the U.S. military was preparing to withdraw from Iraqi territory.
Over the next few days, it will be hard to escape footage of huge crowds gathering in Iranian cities to mourn the death of Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian general killed by a U.S. drone strike. For anyone watching, I have one piece of advice: Don't take what you're seeing at face value. This past November, thousands of Iranians took to the streets across the country to protest against the regime, in the biggest challenge to the clerical rule in 40 years. According to Reuters, more than 1,500 people were killed by security forces, including units of Soleimani's Revolutionary Guard, and at least 7,000 have been arrested.
CONGRESS & IRAN
Top Trump administration officials including the secretaries of state and defense will brief the full U.S. Senate on Wednesday on the developments in Iraq and Iran after an American drone strike killed a top Iranian official in Baghdad, according to Senate aides. The 2:30 p.m. (1930 GMT) briefing will include Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mark Milley, the aides said.
NORTH KOREA & IRAN
The U.S. strike that killed Iran's top military commander may have had an indirect casualty: a diplomatic solution to denuclearizing North Korea. Experts say the escalation of tensions between Washington and Tehran will diminish already fading hopes for such an outcome and inspire North Korea's decision-makers to tighten their hold on the weapons they see, perhaps correctly, as their strongest guarantee of survival.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
When Syrian President Bashar Assad made a rare visit to Tehran last year, the powerful Revolutionary Guard commander Qassem Soleimani was there to greet him, along with Iran's supreme leader and president. Iran's foreign minister wasn't, and he resigned in protest at being excluded from talks with a crucial ally. It was a telling episode on who controls Iran's policy in Syria.
Iran's dramatic announcement that it no longer intends to honor its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers could soon revive discussions in Israel over a possible military strike on Iranian targets. While Israel has kept a low profile since the U.S. killed top Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani last Friday, it will be difficult to remain on the sidelines if Iran follows through on its pledge to step away from the nuclear accord.
Israel sought on Tuesday to stand aside from the conflict between its close ally the United States and Iran, and said it was unclear whether Tehran's abandonment of uranium enrichment limits meant it was on a path toward a nuclear weapon. The unusually muted Israeli comments on Iran, Israel's arch-enemy, emerged after Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's security cabinet met on Monday amid concern over Iranian retaliation for the U.S. strike in Baghdad on Friday that killed Qassem Soleimani, Iran's most celebrated military commander.
Iranian General Qassem Soleimani, killed last week by a U.S. drone in Baghdad, has been credited with persuading Russian President Vladimir Putin to intervene militarily in Syria in 2015, a claim the Kremlin denies. Regardless of the truth of that particular story, though, the inevitable escalation following Soleimani's death has the potential to change Putin's calculus in the region.
TURKEY & IRAN
Turkey will work to de-escalate tensions between Iran and the United States and has been in contact with both parties after U.S. forces killed a top Iranian military commander last week, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday. Since the U.S. killing of Qassem Soleimani, Tehran's most prominent military commander, Cavusoglu said he has held phone calls with his Iranian and U.S. counterparts to discuss it.
OTHER FOREIGN AFFAIRS
Muslim countries should unite to protect themselves against external threats, Malaysian Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad said on Tuesday after describing the U.S. killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani as immoral. The world's oldest premier, who has in recent months stoked diplomatic tensions by speaking out on issues concerning the Muslim world, also said the U.S. drone attack on Soleimani was against international laws.
Pakistan will not take sides in the escalating confrontation between neighboring Iran and the United States, its foreign minister said on Monday, following the killing of Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani in a U.S. drone strike. The killing puts Pakistan, which is majority Sunni Muslim but has a large Shi'ite minority and is anxious to avoid any regional upheaval, in a sensitive position. An ally of Saudi Arabia, Tehran's arch regional foe, Pakistan has a complex relationship with Iran, with which it shares a long border.
A federal government website was hacked over the weekend to show messages vowing revenge for the death of Iran's most powerful commander and a doctored photograph of President Trump being punched in the jaw. The intrusion was consistent with the work of low-level nationalist Iranian hackers, experts said. For an unspecified amount of time starting Saturday, the website of the Federal Depository Library Program featured the altered photograph superimposed over a map of the Middle East, accompanied by a tribute to Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, whose killing in an American drone strike on Friday prompted worldwide political upheaval.
On the night that the airstrike that killed Iran's top military leader in Baghdad, the Department of Homeland Security's Cyber arm, Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) was already re-upping its guidance from the summer on the threat Iran poses to not only cities and towns, but also banks and other financial institutions. They warned that it's important to sure up basic defenses during times when a cyber strike could be imminent.