US-Iran Conflict In Syria Intensifies After Exchange Of Drone And Air Attacks | The National
Conflict has escalated in the past several days between US forces and Iranian-aligned militias in eastern Syria, which has been at the centre of the 12-year international struggle in the country. The outcome will also affect Russia and Turkey ― which have troops there and are keen to expand their on interests ― and Damascus, amid Arab and Turkish efforts for a rapprochement with President Bashar Al Assad. Washington has made it clear that treating Damascus like any normal government will embolden the regime, which it blames for the failure to implement UN resolutions on a political transition and the safe return of millions of refugees.
Iranian IRGC Commander Warns Restive Province Of 'Red Lines' | Radio Free Europe
A high-ranking commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has warned protesters in the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchistan against crossing the regime's "red lines" in anti-government rallies that have been taking place weekly after Friday Prayers. According to the Tasnim news agency, which is affiliated with the IRGC, Mohammad Pakpor, the commander of the IRGC's ground forces, blamed the protests in the province on "malicious individuals and enemies" and warned that "if someone attempts to undermine the security of the people, they will face severe consequences." He gave no more details on what exactly would constitute a "red line" for the government.
Iran Pulls US Attention Back To The Middle East | The Hill
Attacks on U.S. forces in Syria are pulling Washington’s attention back to the Middle East as it seeks to shift its focus and resources toward Russia and China. With militants carrying out a series of drone strikes late last week, killing one American contractor, the Biden administration is grappling anew with a region it has slowly been trying to extract itself from. It comes amid major geopolitical shifts in the area that stretches from Libya to Afghanistan, including renewed diplomatic ties between Saudi Arabia and Iran earlier this month that were brokered by China; Russian-mediated negotiations between the Saudis and Syria to mend alliances; and failed talks between Iran and the United States to restart the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal.
UANI IN THE NEWS
Group: Oil Tanker Tied To US-Traded Firm Receiving Iran Oil | Associated Press
… Satellite photos and maritime tracking data analyzed by The Associated Press put the Belgian-flagged crude oil tanker Oceania just next to the Vietnamese-flagged tanker Abyss for a possible ship-to-ship transfer. The group United Against Nuclear Iran has warned the Oceania’s owner, the Antwerp-based Euronav, that it believes the Abyss took on Iranian crude oil in late February.
TERRORISM & EXTREMISM
Two Arrested In Alleged Iranian Plot To Attack Israelis, Jews In Athens | Times Of Israel
Greek police arrested two Pakistani nationals Tuesday who were allegedly planning mass-casualty terrorist attacks against Israeli and Jewish targets in the country. Israel’s Mossad spy agency, which aided the Greek investigation, said in a statement that the two were part of an Iranian terror network. The Iran-born pair, aged 27 and 29, were being held at police headquarters in central Athens, Greek authorities said. A third man, who is not in Greece, was wanted for questioning and charged in absentia.
Azerbaijan Investigating 'Terror Attack' After Lawmaker Wounded In Gun Attack | Reuters
Azerbaijan's State Security Service said on Wednesday that it was investigating "a terror attack" after a lawmaker with strong anti-Iranian views was wounded in a gun attack at his home. Fazil Mustafa, a member of the Azeri parliament, had been hospitalised after receiving wounds to his shoulder and thigh after being shot with a Kalashnikov assault rifle on Tuesday night, the security agency said in a statement. His life was not at risk, it said, and a criminal investigation had been opened to identify the perpetrator.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
Blinken Highlights Perseverance Of Women In Iran And Afghanistan In Fighting For Rights | Voice Of America
U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken praised women in Afghanistan and Iran for standing up for freedoms as he spoke Tuesday at an event highlighting the role of women in democracy. Blinken praised women who have protested in Iran in response to the death in police custody of Mahsa Amini last year, saying they have courageously demonstrated “under great threat to themselves, to call for ‘woman, life, and freedom.’” And in Afghanistan, Blinken said women are fighting for a better future in their country despite efforts by the Taliban “to erase them from daily life.”
Iranian Activist Alinejad Says International Support Vital For Both Iran And West | Radio Free Europe
Prominent activist Masih Alinejad says the West's continued support for Iranians is vital both for achieving regime change in Iran and reaching the goals Western nations have in their relationship with Tehran. Speaking in an interview with RFE/RL's Radio Farda, Alinejad said she has tried to persuade leaders such as Dutch Prime Minister Mark Rutte that the months of unrest that have roiled Iran are an actual revolution that will ultimately lead to the toppling of the Islamic republic's government. Alinejad said Iranians aren't looking for the West to replace the Islamic regime with democracy, but their support is key to the democratic aspirations of the Iranian people.
IRANIAN INTERNAL DEVELOPMENTS
Iran Lawmakers Slam Raisi's Inefficiency, Poor Performance | Iran International
Iranian lawmakers have slammed the government's economic and other policies in interviews during Nowruz holidays as people complain about rising prices. Ramezan Ali Sangdovini, representing Gorgan told Rouydad24 website that "Iran is overwhelmed by mismanagement." He added that "even those neighboring countries that are affected by wars are doing better than us." Iran’s currency, rial, dropped to unprecedented lows right before the Nowruz, creating more chaos and despair for a population which has lost most of its purchasing power since 2018, because of US sanctions and a mismanaged economy.
CONGRESS & IRAN
US Senators Demand Forceful Response To Iranian Attacks In Region | Iran International
Amid heightened tensions between Iran’s proxy militia and US forces in Syria, some American senators criticized Biden administration's Middle East policy. In separate conversations with Iran International’s correspondent Arash Alaei on Tuesday, Senators Josh Hawley (R-MO), Marco Rubio (R-FL), and Tommy Tuberville (R-AL) blasted the administration’s policy – or lack thereof – about how to deal with the Islamic Republic’s destabilizing acts in the region. Senator Hawley said, “I don’t think this administration has a strategy” to counter the threats posed by Iran against the US forces in the region. “What they are doing is playing footsie with Iran, making nice with Iran, at precisely the time that we ought to be strengthening our allies and partners in the region to be able to counter Iran,” he added.
Biden Admin. Should Have Informed Congress Earlier About Syria Attack: Pentagon Chief | Al-Arabiya News
A senior US cabinet official admitted Tuesday that the Biden administration should have notified lawmakers earlier than it did about a deadly drone attack on American forces in Syria last week. “We should have notified you earlier,” Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin told a Senate Armed Services Committee hearing on Capitol Hill. Austin vowed to “improve our performance” after Republican lawmakers grilled him over an almost 13-hour delay between the time of the attack and when US lawmakers were notified.
RUSSIA, SYRIA, ISRAEL, HEZBOLLAH, LEBANON & IRAN
Moscow To Host Syria, Turkey, Iran, Russia Meeting - Official Sources | Reuters
The deputy foreign ministers of Syria, Turkey, Iran and Russia will meet in April in Moscow, Turkish and Iranian officials said on Tuesday, building on contacts between Ankara and Damascus after years of hostilities during the Syrian war. Encouraged by President Bashar al-Assad's ally Russia, Syrian and Turkish officials held meetings last year, in a move towards normalising ties between states on opposing sides of Syria's 12-year-long conflict. But Assad this month ruled out any meeting with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan until Turkey is ready to withdraw its military from northern Syria, deemed occupying forces by the Syrian president.