U.S. Conducts More Strikes Against Houthi Targets In Yemen


U.S. Conducts More Strikes Against Houthi Targets In Yemen | Wall Street Journal 

The U.S. and the United Kingdom conducted a series of strikes at 18 Houthi targets at eight different locations inside Yemen Saturday, part of a continuing effort to fight back against the Iran-backed group that has continued to attack commercial and military vessels in the Red Sea.  The strikes Saturday hit a number of Houthi targets, including underground weapons storage facilities, other missile storage facilities, one-way attack drones, air-defense systems, radars and a helicopter, according to a statement issued by the Pentagon. The U.S. and U.K. conducted the strikes with assistance from Australia, Bahrain, Canada, Denmark, the Netherlands and New Zealand. “These precision strikes are intended to disrupt and degrade the capabilities that the Houthis use to threaten global trade, naval vessels, and the lives of innocent mariners in one of the world’s most critical waterways,” according to the statement, issued jointly by all the countries supporting the operation.  

'Running Out Of Patience': Iran Is Giving Weapons To Hezbollah, Israel Warns UNSC | Jerusalem Post 

Foreign Minister Israel Katz warned that Iran has accelerated its shipments of weapons to Hezbollah through Syria since the war in Gaza began, stressing that Israel has an "inherent right...to defend its territory and its citizens" in a letter to the United Nations Security Council on Thursday. Katz stated that Iran was committing "gross violations" of UNSC resolution 1701, as well as violations of UNSC resolutions 2231 and 1540. "Over the past months, while Israel is engaged in an ongoing armed conflict on numerous fronts, Iran is accelerating the pace of its weapons transfers to Hezbollah," wrote the foreign minister. "Iran is doing so by ground, using the porous Syrian-Lebanese border, as well as by air and sea, in violation of UNSCR 1701."  

CENTCOM Says 2 Suicide Drones Were Shot Down In Red Sea Area | i24 News 

United States Central Command (CENTCOM) on Monday morning reported that two one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) were shot down in the southern Red Sea area, which occurred the night before. In addition, CENTCOM confirmed the Iranian-backed Houthis launched on Saturday an anti-ship ballistic missile "likely targeting" an American flagged and owned commercial vessel in the Gulf of Aden. CENTCOM said the UAVS were identified by its forced which determined that the suicide drones "presented an imminent threat to merchant vessel and to the U.S. Navy ships in the region.” In addition to the two that were shot down in self-defense, a third UAV crashed due to an assessed "in-flight failure."  


Where Freedom Meets Repression: Australian Academics Tread A Fine Line Over Ties To Iran | The Guardian 

… Daniel Roth, whose organisation United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) regularly highlights academic collaboration that it deems a security risk, says Iranian universities “don’t operate under the same principles of academic independence that we understand”. He says academics are “ultimately directed by the regime and military when it comes to specific areas of research”. Rana Dadpour, now a researcher on migration at James Cook University in Queensland, taught at an Iranian university for four years and saw up close how intertwined the institution was with the state. “They have direct control over academic direction and research priorities,” she says. Some research areas would be directed by Iran’s powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and could be used for “surveillance or military purposes.”  


Israeli Air Force Can't Prevent Iran Nuclear Bomb, Former PM Says | The National 

Israel’s air force cannot halt Iran’s nuclear programme with a military campaign because it lacks bombs and aircraft with sufficient range, the country’s former prime minister has told The National. “Israel has no means to be able to destroy the nuclear programme of Iran,” Ehud Olmert said in an interview. He called on his successor Benjamin Netanyahu to stop the Gaza campaign and make a deal with Hamas to get the 102 remaining Israeli hostages home. Israel’s prime minister from 2006 to 2009 also suggested the government could be faced with a “major setback” if it did not progress with the peace process, as tensions between Israelis and Palestinians increase. Iran is understood to have enriched its uranium to 60 per cent, close to the 90 per cent required to make a nuclear bomb. For many years Israel has threatened to destroy the Tehran regime’s nuclear facilities if they reached weapons grade.  


Iranian Labor Council Says State-Worker Wage Discussions Sidelined 'More Than Ever' | Radio Free Europe 

Iran's Supreme Labor Council, meeting ahead of the end of the Persian calendar year, said efforts to boost the minimum wage for state workers in next year's budget have yet to be discussed in negotiations with the government. The state-affiliated ILNA news agency on February 25 quoted the labor body as saying that "wage negotiations are on the sidelines more than ever," even though boosting wages by 100 percent would "still not be enough" to address skyrocketing inflation. According to the Supreme Labor Council, Labor Minister Solet Mortazivi is set on a wage increase of 20 percent despite inflation hitting 44 percent.  

Iran Ready To Help Restore Oil Market Balance After It Regains Share – Official | Reuters 

Iran is ready to support any decision to help restore balance to the oil market after it regains its pre-sanctions market share, the Iranian oil ministry's SHANA news agency reported on Saturday, quoting a minister. "Deputy Petroleum Minister in International Affairs and Trading Amir Hossein Zamaninia voiced Iran's support for any decision that would help restore balance in the oil market, saying the country can only be cooperative in this field once it regains its pre-sanctions oil market share," SHANA said. Zamaninia was speaking after a meeting in Tehran between Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh and his Algerian counterpart Nouredine Bouterfa. Iran, OPEC's third largest producer, has been sending positive signals that it may support joint action to prop up the oil market, potentially aiding efforts to revive a global deal on freezing production levels.  


Spanish Ex-Politician Blames Iran For Attack In Which Was Shot | Reuters 

A Spanish former politician who survived a shooting attack said on Friday he believed Iran's government had hired hitmen to assassinate him over his links to an Iranian dissident group. Alejo Vidal-Quadras, who was shot outside his Madrid residence last Nov. 9, provided no evidence for the assertion. Iran's foreign ministry was not immediately available for comment, and police have not released details of an investigation under way into the attack. Vidal-Quadras headed the conservative People's Party in the Catalonia region in the 1990s, co-founded the far-right party Vox and was a vice-president of the European Parliament between 1999 and 2014. At his first press conference since the shooting, he said he believed "the Iranian regime" ordered the attack because of his support for the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a Paris-based coalition of dissidents that calls for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic.  


Two Thirds Of US Electorate Fear War With Iran | Iran International 

A recent poll of US voters suggests about half the electorate think the Biden administration has been too lenient on Iran with two thirds thinking that will lead to war between the two sides. The survey, conducted in early February by polster Rasmussen Reports and released this week, found that only 1 in 9 of likely voters think the Biden administration has been too aggressive with Iran. The survey of 749 Americans also showed that amid increasing tensions in the Middle East between Iran and the US, 24 percent see such a war as 'very lIkely'.  President Biden has been widely criticized for his Iran policy, which the critics deem too soft and even ‘appeasing.’ In pursuit of a nuclear agreement, Biden and his team reversed Trump’s "maximum pressure" policy, not enforcing oil export sanctions imposed in 2018, and releasing $16 billion in frozen funds last year, which all in all poured tens of billions of dollars to the regime’s coffers. Biden critics also argue that these funds not only contributed to the October 7th attack, but more generally enabled Iran –through IRGC– to prop up its various proxies in the region and regain its otherwise receding foothold.  


Iranian Activists Increase Calls To Boycott Upcoming Elections | Jerusalem Post 

Narges Mohammadi, an Iranian human rights activist and Nobel Peace Prize laureate, called on Iranians to boycott the upcoming elections in Iran in a post on Saturday. "The Islamic Republic deserves national sanctions and global condemnation. Sanctioning elections is not only a political necessity but also a moral duty," wrote Mohammadi. "Sanctioning elections under a despotic religious regime is not just a political move but also a moral obligation for freedom-loving and justice-seeking Iranians," she said. "The Islamic Republic, with its ruthless and brutal suppression, the killing of young people on the streets, the executions, and the imprisonment and torture of men and women, deserves national sanctions and global condemnation. "I, alongside the informed and proud people from all over Iran, from Sistan and Baluchestan to Kurdistan, from Khuzestan to Azerbaijan, will stand to declare the illegitimacy of the Islamic Republic and the divide within the oppressive regime and its people through the sanctioning of sham elections."  

Iranian Anti-Headscarf “Woman, Life, Freedom” Singer Tagged With Ankle Band | Iran Wire 

Mehdi Yarrahi, an Iranian singer who released a song last year criticizing compulsory headscarf rules in the country, will wear an electronic monitoring tag instead of serving a one-year prison sentence, his lawyer has said. "His one-year imprisonment has been altered to wearing an electronic tag, with a restriction on movement within a radius of 1,000 meters, due to his illness and receiving medical care," lawyer Zahra Minuei announced on February 25. Yarrahi was arrested in August last year and later released from custody after a fellow artist posted a 15 billion toman ($300,000) bail. He was sentenced to two years and eight months in prison, as well as 74 lashes. Article 134 of the Islamic Penal Code qualified Yarrahi for a one-year reduction of the prison term. He was apprehended following the release of his song “Roosarito," or "Your Headscarf" in English, which was accompanied by a video showing women in public social settings without their mandatory headscarves and some dancing to the music.  

Iranian Azeri Activist Declares Hunger Strike From Even Prison | Iran Wire 

The Iranian-Azeri civil activist Morteza Parvin-Joda has begun a hunger strike Tehran's Evin Prison to protest his continued detention, lack of proper medical care, and the pressure he faces to confess to "trumped up" charges. Parvin-Joda, who was arrested at his home in Ardabil on February 6 by intelligence agents and transferred to Evin, revealed his situation in a brief phone call with his family on February 24. He told his family he is accused of "acting against national security through assembly and collusion." The activist also expressed concern about his worsening lumbar disc disease due to limited access to adequate medical treatment in prison. Parvin-Joda added that his hunger strike was a form of protest against the prosecutor's attempts "to fabricate" a case against him and his continued "illegal" imprisonment.  


Iran Slams US, UK For Weekend Strike Against Houthis | i24 News 

Iran lambasted on Sunday the US and UK for attacks against Yemen’s Houthis over the weekend, which targeted 18 targets associated with the Tehran-backed group in charge of much of Yemen. “With such attacks, America and Britain seek to escalate tensions and crises in the region, and expand the scope of war and instability,” said Iranian foreign ministry spokesperson Nasser Kanaani. The Pentagon said on Saturday that it had launched its fourth joint operation with the UK, targeting Houthi storage facilities, drones, air defense systems, radars, and a helicopter. In response to Israel’s offensive in the Gaza Strip following the October 7 massacre, the Houthis launched attacks against international shipping through the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden, while also targeting Israeli interests in the southern city of Eilat.  

IRGC Chief Claims Iran's Security Is Due To Foiling Israeli 'Espionage Services' | Jerusalem Post 

In a speech on Saturday, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander-in-Chief Maj.-Gen. Hossein Salami claimed that the Iranian regime's security is based on its capabilities of foiling Israeli "espionage services." In his remarks, Salami reiterated the regime's position that the security of Muslims worldwide, as well as Palestinians, hinges on the eradication of the State of Israel. "Undoubtedly, the stable security and rare peace of Islamic Iran today [is] in the context of the storm of plots of the domination system and Zionism and major battles with the espionage services of the enemies of the revolution." In his statement, he also emphasized the Iranian regime's steadfast commitment to Palestinian militant groups such as Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad in the ongoing Israel-Hamas war, with the possibility of the northern front opening between Israel and Hezbollah.  

Oil-Slick From Cargo Ship Attacked By Iranian-Backed Houthis Growing | Voice Of America 

An attack by Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi rebels on a Belize-flagged ship earlier this month caused a 29-kilometer (18-mile) oil slick, the U.S. military said Saturday. It also warned of the danger of a spill from the vessel's cargo of fertilizer. The Rubymar, a British-registered, Lebanese-operated cargo vessel, was attacked on Feb. 18 while sailing through the Bab el-Mandeb Strait, which connects the Red Sea and the Gulf of Aden, U.S. Central Command said. The missile attack forced the crew to abandon the vessel, which had been on its way to Bulgaria after leaving Khorfakkan in the United Arab Emirates. It was transporting more than 41,000 tons of fertilizer, CENTCOM said in a statement. The vessel suffered significant damage, which led to the slick, said the CENTCOM statement, warning that the ship's cargo “could spill into the Red Sea and worsen this environmental disaster.”  


Year Of Elections: What To Expect From Iran's Upcoming Elections | The National 

Iranians are getting ready to go to the polls for a vote taking place on March 1 in the 12th legislative election the Islamic Republic will have held since its founding in 1979. A country of nearly 90 million people, Iran’s government is at the centre of several ideological battles at home, in the Middle East and on the international stage. A wave of protests swept Iran from September 2022 and lasted well into the spring of the following year after the death of 22-year-old Iranian woman Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by Iran’s religious police on suspicion of not wearing a headscarf properly. Although the protest movement has subsided, many inside Iran say the relationship of the country’s young people with the state – particularly that of young women – has changed irreversibly. Two former presidents have already described these elections as neither free nor fair and authorities are worried that the aftermath of the protests, widespread dissatisfaction with the economy and general disenchantment with the country’s system of governance will result in the lowest turnout the Islamic Republic has seen.  

Iranian Nurses Quitting Due To Job Difficulty And Low Wages | Iran Focus 

Mohammad Taghi Jahanpour, the head of the Iranian Nursing Organization, stated that from March 21 to December 21, 2023, 216 nurses have resigned due to the difficulty of the job and low wages. Hussein Qana’ati, the president of Tehran University of Medical Sciences, also mentioned that neighboring Gulf and European countries are recruiting Iranian nurses, describing it as being as common as “drinking a glass of water.” Jahanpour, on February 24, informed the state-run Mehr news agency that the majority of nurse resignations in the past nine months were concentrated in Tehran, where the highest number of the country’s hospitals is located. He pointed out that the very low retention rate of nurses in the capital has led to a chaotic situation, with nurses leaving their jobs and migrating from government hospitals in Tehran. According to Jahanpour, when a nurse leaves a department, an additional 200 hours of overtime are imposed on their colleagues.  


White House Accuses House Speaker Of Helping Iran In Latest Ukraine Aid Push | Reuters

The White House escalated its criticism of Republican U.S. House Speaker Mike Johnson on Friday, accusing him of benefiting Iran and Russia by not putting a national security bill that gives aid to Ukraine up for a vote. Iran has provided Russia with a large number of powerful surface-to-surface ballistic missiles, six sources told Reuters this week, deepening the military cooperation between the two U.S.-sanctioned countries. Iran is "actively enabling Russia's war in Ukraine and its attacks against Ukrainian cities," deputy press secretary and senior communications adviser Andrew Bates said in a memo viewed by Reuters that will be distributed publicly Friday. "President Biden is standing up to Iran. But where is Speaker Johnson's supposed commitment not to 'appease Iran' in all this? Nowhere. Instead, his inaction is benefiting Putin and the Ayatollah," the memo says.  


Ex-Advisor To Ukrainian DM Warns: 400 Iranian Ballistic Missiles Supplied To Russia Pose Real Threat | New Voice Of Ukraine 

Former Advisor to the Minister of Defense of Ukraine, Corresponding Member of the Royal Institute for Defense and Security Studies (RUSI) Oleksandr Danylyuk commented on the information about Iran’s supply of 400 ballistic missiles to Russia in an interview with Radio NV on Feb. 24. “Iran has actually developed quite well in terms of its missile technology. These are quite good missiles, this is a huge problem,” Danylyuk said. “In the context of the obvious depletion of our missile defense, because if we do not have American help, it means that we will not have anything to close the sky, this will be a problem.” On Feb. 21, Reuters, citing six sources, reported that Iran had sent about 400 ballistic missiles to Russia. As the journalists found out, the deliveries began in January 2024 after a series of talks in Tehran and Moscow.  


Iran's Khamenei On Gaza: Islam Will Overcome 'Crooked' Western Civilization | Jerusalem Post 

Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Hosseini Khamenei on Sunday called Western civilization “crooked” and said, “The right culture and correct logic of Islam will overcome it,” Iranian state media reported. In the same speech at a meeting in the Khuzestan province of Iran, on the southern border with Iraq and the Gulf states, he said: “This is the real face of Western culture and civilization and liberal democracy, which on the outside are ironed politicians with smiles on their faces. But on the inside, it is a rabid dog and a bloodthirsty wolf.” Regarding the war in Gaza, Khamenei condemned what he said was Western hypocrisy.