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Russia Presents UN Measure to Rein in Chemical Weapons Watchdog

Voice of America - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 04:20
Russia on Thursday presented a draft resolution to the Security Council accusing the UN's chemical weapons watchdog, the OPCW, of politicization just before a new probe begins of chemical attacks in Syria. The draft text, seen by AFP, states that the Council — where Russia holds veto power — is the only international body that can impose measures on countries that violate the Chemical Weapons Convention. The Organization for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) agreed last...
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Khashoggi Fiancee: World 'Still Has Not Done Anything'

Voice of America - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 01:42
Hatice Cengiz, the fiancee of Jamal Khashoggi, the journalist slain at a Saudi Arabian consulate in Turkey last year, said Thursday that she could not believe that no one has yet faced serious consequences for the crime.  "I cannot understand that the world still has not done anything about this," Cengiz told a U.S. House of Representatives Foreign Affairs subcommittee, speaking in Turkish through an interpreter.  "I...
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Israel Presses the Case Against Iran, but Not for War

NY Times Iraq - Fri, 05/17/2019 - 01:07
Israel has quietly played an instrumental role in the escalating tensions in the Middle East. But analysts say it wants to pressure Iran, not start a war.
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The Tension Between America and Iran, Explained

NY Times Iraq - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 21:10
Here’s what to know about the long-strained relationship that poses the risk of a broader conflict.
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Saudi Arabia Accuses Iran of Ordering Drone Attack on Oil Pipeline

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 19:15
Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister on Thursday accused Iran of ordering an attack on Saudi oil pumping stations that Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi militia has claimed responsibility for. The attack “proves that these militias are merely a tool that Iran’s regime uses to implement its expansionist agenda,” tweeted Prince Khalid bin Salman, a son of King Salman. “The terrorist acts, ordered by the regime in Tehran, and carried out by the Houthis, are tightening the noose around the...
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Iran Crisis or ‘Circus’? A Weary Middle East Wonders

NY Times Iraq - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 19:05
A sudden profusion of incidents and warnings has stirred fears that the Trump administration is trying to gin up a flawed case for war, like the Bush administration did in Iraq in 2003.
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'I Hope Not,' Trump Says on Possibility of War With Iran

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 18:46
Michael Bowman and Shahla Arasteh contributed to this report. President Donald Trump says he hopes the U.S. is not going to war with Iran amid rising tensions in the Middle East, as an Iran diplomat downplayed such prospects. "I hope not," Trump said when asked about the possibility of a conflict with Tehran as he began talks with Swiss President Ueli Maurer.  The U.S. and Iran do not have diplomatic ties but Switzerland represents U.S. interests in the Middle Eastern...
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Sudanese Protesters Divided Over Barricade Removal Order

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 18:11
Arguments, shouting matches, and physical tussles broke out late Wednesday among Sudanese protesters over the positioning of barricades surrounding a sit-in in the capital Khartoum, where thousands of demonstrators have camped since April 6. The barricades, built from rock and twisted metal, protect the sit-in, which is intended to pressure the leaders of a military coup that ousted long-time dictator Omar al-Bashir on April 11. The protesters have been demanding coup-leaders, known as...
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Fears of US War With Iran Weigh on Spain

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 17:44
Spain this week withdrew a frigate assigned to a U.S. navy task force ordered into the Persian Gulf. The decision is widely seen as reflecting persistent fears of Spain's socialist government about getting involved in a possible war with Iran.   The government of Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez made the decision despite the risk of further straining frayed relations with the United States that could endanger major U.S. defense contracts with Spain's expanding naval...
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Facebook Busts Israeli-Led Campaign to Sway Elections

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 17:22
Facebook has announced it removed 265 Facebook and Instagram accounts, pages, groups, and events from its service Thursday because of what it called "coordinated inauthentic behavior." In a statement, the company said the objectionable activity originated in Israel and focused on events in Nigeria, Senegal, Togo, Angola, Niger, and Tunisia, along with some activity in Latin America and Southeast Asia. Facebook said "the people behind this network used fake accounts to...
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Moody's: Turkey Needs Credible Economic Plan to Avoid Downgrade

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 16:47
Turkey needs to put a comprehensive and credible economic plan in place if it is to avoid another cut to sovereign credit rating, a senior Moody's sovereign analyst said on Thursday. New analysis from the rating agency shows Turkey's recession, the slump in the lira, upcoming refinancing pressures and dwindling reserves have pushed it to right near the top of its worldwide external vulnerability index. "Failure to put forward a credible broad-based plan to address the...
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Zarif: Iran Has Right to Respond to 'Unacceptable' US Sanctions

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 15:39
Iran's foreign minister on Thursday said sanctions imposed by the Trump administration are “unacceptable” but that his country is committed to an international nuclear deal that has steadily unraveled amid rising tensions. On a visit to Tokyo, Mohammad Zarif defended Iran's right to respond to the U.S. pullout from the nuclear deal last year and the imposition of sanctions. “We believe that escalation by the United States is unacceptable and uncalled for. We have exercised...
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Saudi-Led Airstrikes Hit Yemen's Capital

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 15:03
The Saudi-led coalition backing Yemen's government carried out a series of airstrikes Thursday in Sanaa that killed at least six people. The airstrikes hit multiple targets in the city and damaged several houses. Sanaa has been under the control of Iran-backed Houthi rebels since late 2014, and the airstrikes come days after the Houthis claimed responsibility for drone attacks against an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia. The Saudi deputy defense minister, Khalid bin Salman, accused...
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Trump Denies Iran Policy 'Infighting,' Lawmakers Want Briefing on Threats

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 12:21
Shahla Arasteh contributed to this report. CAPITOL HILL — U.S. President Donald Trump says there is “no infighting whatsoever” about his Middle East policies and that as tensions with Iran continue, he is “sure that Iran will want to talk soon.” Trump responded to reports in the Washington Post and New York Times about clashing opinions between those in his administration who see Iran taking clear steps in preparation to attack U.S. forces, and other officials, including some from...
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Official: Iran Showing Restraint, US Sanctions ‘Unacceptable’

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 05:12
Iran is committed to its obligations under an international nuclear deal despite the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark agreement, its foreign minister said Thursday, calling the reimposition of sanctions by Washington “unacceptable.” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comments in a meeting with his Japanese counterpart in Tokyo as tensions rise in the Middle East, fuelling concerns that the United States and Iran are heading for conflict. Iran is exercising “maximum...
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Iran Threat Debate Is Set Off by Images of Missiles at Sea

NY Times Iraq - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 04:54
The photographs fueled fears that Iran would fire missiles at U.S. naval ships in the Persian Gulf. But some said the moves could be defensive acts against Washington provocations.
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Iran's Oil Output Falls to Lowest Level in 5 Years, Study Shows

Voice of America - Thu, 05/16/2019 - 04:28
Iran's production of oil, its top revenue source, declined to its lowest level in more than five years as the U.S. prepared to unilaterally impose a total ban on Iranian crude exports, a new study shows.  In a monthly report released Wednesday, the International Energy Agency said Iranian oil output was 2.6 million barrels a day in April, down 5% from March's figure of 2.74 million barrels a day. April's oil output figure was Iran's lowest since September...
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Germany's Merkel Welcomes European Unity Over Iran

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 22:18
German Chancellor Angela Merkel says that Europe needs to "reposition" itself in a changing world and is welcoming European powers' unity over Iran, a contrast with their deep divisions over the Iraq war 16 years ago. Merkel said in an interview with Germany's daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung released Wednesday that Europe needs "forward-looking" arguments and stressed that "simply pointing to seven decades of peace is no longer enough to justify...
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Putin Says Iran Should Stay in Nuclear Deal

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 21:31
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Iran should stay in the nuclear agreement and should not take the first step to withdraw. Speaking at a press conference with Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen on Wednesday, May 15, Putin said if Iran takes the first step to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), everyone will blame it for the collapse of the agreement. "I have repeatedly said during the talks with our Iranian partners that, to my mind, it would be...
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UN Confirms Yemen's Houthi Rebels Redeploy Away From Critical Port

Voice of America - Wed, 05/15/2019 - 20:30
The U.N. envoy for Yemen confirmed Wednesday that Houthi rebels have moved their military forces away from the critical Red Sea port of Hodeida, in a positive first step toward easing hostilities in the country's four-year-long civil war. "The military forces of Ansar Allah have now left the three ports of al-Hodeida, Saleef and Ras Issa," Envoy Martin Griffiths told a meeting of the U.N. Security Council, using the official name of the Houthi movement. The redeployment,...
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