U.S. forces shot down a pair of Iranian drones that attacked the Irbil airport in Kurdish-held northern Iraq late on 20th anniversary of Sept. 11. There were no injuries or damage, according to a spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq. The U.S. counter-rocket, artillery and mortar system (C-RAM) engaged the two bomb-laden drones which were made in Iran, a separate U.S. official told Fox News. "Each attack against the GoI, KRI and the Coalition undermines the authority of Iraqi institutions, the rule of law and Iraqi National sovereignty," Operation Inherent Resolve spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto said in a statement posted to Twitter.
Iran reached an agreement Sunday with the United Nations atomic agency that will grant international inspectors access to some of the country’s nuclear-related sites, a step likely to avert a crisis in the negotiations on restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. The agreement comes after International Atomic Energy Agency Director-General Rafael Grossi made a last-minute trip to Tehran this weekend in a bid to persuade Iran to step up its cooperation with the agency ahead of a meeting of the IAEA’s top member states starting Monday.
The most basic foods have become political assets in economically devastated Lebanon. And no one’s tapped that currency of oil, milk and bread like Iran-backed Hezbollah. Designated a terrorist group by the U.S., it has galvanized its power by taking on more functions of a state hollowed out by an imploding economy and sectarian feuding. By offering food, cash and medical services amid widespread poverty in this once-middle class nation, the Shiite Muslim group has become a lifeline for many.
NUCLEAR DEAL & NUCLEAR PROGRAM
On an official visit to Moscow, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid warned Sept. 9 against Iran exporting terror across the region and maintaining a military presence in Syria. “We all aspire to bring security and stability in our region and to the world. Unfortunately, there won't be stability in Syria, or in the wider Middle East, while there is an Iranian presence. Iran is the world's number-one exporter of terror. It threatens us all. Israel will not sit quietly by while Iran builds terror bases on our northern border.
Iran is once again stonewalling international investigations into its illicit nuclear activity. That is the latest conclusion from the most recent International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report sent to member states last week. The news was hardly surprising. Iran has for decades tried to play the West to gain time, and to continue making strides and progress toward its true desire: achieving a nuclear weapons capability. In two reports, the IAEA – the United Nation’s nuclear watchdog – said that there had been no progress on two central issues: explaining uranium traces found at several old, undeclared sites, and getting urgent access to some monitoring equipment so that the agency can continue to keep track of parts of Iran’s nuclear program.
PROTESTS & HUMAN RIGHTS
September 12, 2021, marks a year since the Islamic Republic of Iran’s hangmen rushed to execute champion Greco-Roman wrestler Navid Afkari, merely because he dared protest against the theocratic state’s political and economic corruption. The Jerusalem Post recognized the story’s great importance and punched well above its weight in drawing global attention to Afkari’s grim plight in the lead-up to his early morning extrajudicial killing, before major international news outlets reported on the story.
As the Iranian regime prepares to confront a host of domestic crises by installing Ebrahim Raisi as president, it finds itself fighting another losing battle, this time against growing resistance at home and a determined opposition force seeking its overthrow. This seminal battle stands to define Iran’s future, and with it, the fate of the Middle East, which is now threatened by the Tehran regime’s religious extremism as well as by its militia, terror and proxy groups. Since 2017, the regime has been shocked by at least four major popular uprisings against its shaky extremist rule.
U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS & NEGOTIATIONS
An Iranian newspaper marked the 20th anniversary of the September 11 terrorist attacks with a controversial front-page illustration on Saturday calling it "The beginning of America's end." According to BBC journalist Kian Sharifi, the Iranian paper Vatan-e Emruz used a "questionable" image and headline to discuss the 2001 terrorist attacks that killed nearly 3,000 civilians and first responders in the U.S. Sharifi tweeted on Saturday: "Iranian hardline newspaper Vatan-e Emruz marks the 20th anniversary of the #September11 attacks with a questionable front-page cartoon titled "Demise.”
MILITARY/INTELLIGENCE MATTERS & PROXY WARS
Israel's defence minister accused Iran on Sunday of providing foreign militias with drone training at an airbase near the city of Isfahan, a month after Tehran came under global scrutiny over a suspected drone attack on an Israeli-managed tanker off Oman. Israel has combined military strikes with diplomatic pressure to beat back what it describes as an effort by its arch-foe, whose nuclear negotiations with the West are deadlocked, to beef up regional clout through allied guerrillas. In what his office described as a new disclosure, Defence Minister Benny Gantz said Iran was using Kashan airbase north of Isfahan to train "terror operatives from Yemen, Iraq, Syria and Lebanon in flying Iranian-made UAVs (unmanned aerial vehicles)".
IRAQ & IRAN
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhemi became the first foreign leader on Sunday to visit and meet with Iran's President Ebrahim Raisi since the hardliner took office in August. Iraq has been trying to mediate between Tehran and its Gulf Arab foes, including Saudi Arabia, in the hope of stopping its neighbours settling scores on its territory. Iraq has become the playground of rivalries between Iran on one side and the United States, Israel and Gulf Arab states on the other, with attacks against U.S. forces and assassinations of Iranian and Iraqi paramilitary leaders.
Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa Al Kadhimi and Iranian President Ibrahim Raisi agreed in Tehran on Sunday to cancel entry visas for their citizens through airports and speed up the rail link between their countries. Al Kadhimi stressed duriang a joint press conference with Raisi that Iraq is looking forward to the best relations with all neighbouring countries, including Iran, offering thanks to all those who stood by Iraq in the face of terrorist groups, stressing that Iran was the first to support Iraq in its war on terror.