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Iraq

Trump Calls for Iran Talks as Allies Announce Rare Tehran Visits

Voice of America - Fri, 06/07/2019 - 05:19
This article originated in VOA's Persian service. Katherine Ahn contributed from Washington. U.S. President Donald Trump has called for U.S.-Iran talks for a second day to resolve mutual tensions — a prospect two U.S. allies hope to promote as they send senior envoys to Tehran for the first time in years. "I understand they want to talk, and we want to talk. That's fine. We'll talk," Trump said Thursday, referring to Iran as he sat for a bilateral meeting with...
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US Commander Says Mideast Buildup Prompted Iran 'Step Back'

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 22:30
The top commander of U.S. forces in the Mideast says Iran appears to have decided to "step back and recalculate" in response to a U.S. military buildup in the Persian Gulf area. Marine Gen. Frank McKenzie says it's too early to conclude Iran has abandoned plans for potential attacks against American interests that prompted the buildup last month. McKenzie told reporters Thursday that he is assessing Iran's stance. He says he would not rule out requesting more forces...
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State News Reports Iran's Education Minister Has Resigned

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 22:11
The state-run IRNA news agency is reporting that Iran's minister of education has resigned to run for a seat in parliament in February 2020.    IRNA said Thursday that President Hassan Rouhani approved Mohammad Bathaei's resignation.    Earlier, the semiofficial Tasnim news agency reported that Bathaei handed in his resignation to the president at a Cabinet meeting.      The resignation comes after Iranian...
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Jerusalem Gay Pride Parade Draws Revelers, Police

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 22:07
Thousands of people marched through the streets of Jerusalem on Thursday in the city's annual gay pride parade, a festival that exposes deep divisions between Israel's secular and Jewish ultra-Orthodox camps. Some 10,000 revelers waving rainbow flags joined the carnival-like procession, as over 2,500 police officers in plain clothes, in uniform and on horseback patrolled the crowd. "Homosexuals, lesbians, transgenders. Jerusalem is mine too," marchers chanted. The...
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Russia, China Voice Support for Iran After Xi Visit to Kremlin

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 19:13
Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for Kremlin talks that reflected increasingly close ties between the two countries that were communist rivals during the Cold War. At the conclusion of the meetings a joint statement by Russia and China voiced support for Iran and commended Iran’s implementation of the requirements of the Joint Comprehensive plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran’s nuclear agreement with world powers, reported Russia’s Interfax news...
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Jerusalem Pride Draws Thousands of Gay Revelers and Police

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 19:01
Thousands of people are marching through the streets of Jerusalem in the city's annual gay pride parade, a festival that exposes deep divisions between Israel's secular and Jewish ultra-Orthodox camps.   Some 10,000 revelers waving rainbow and Israeli flags joined the procession Thursday, as thousands of police officers in plain clothes and uniform patrolled the crowd.   The gay community's visibility in conservative Jerusalem tends to draw protest from the...
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Burning Trash and Factories Belching Smoke Choke Iraqis

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 05:00
As if life was not bad enough for Adnan Kadhim - he lives in a slum where municipal authorities dump Baghdad's rubbish - now someone is setting the waste on fire, making his children sick. As the United Nations marks World Environment Day on Wednesday, Iraq is suffering a pollution crisis, with trash piling up across the country and thick clouds of smoke produced by inefficient factories hovering above Baghdad. "The dirt, our children are sick, our families are sick. My...
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World Bank: Iran Likely to Suffer Worse Recession Than Previously Thought

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 02:40
This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service. WASHINGTON —The World Bank says Iran is likely to experience an even worse recession this year than previously thought, as U.S. sanctions largely choke off oil exports that have been Tehran’s main revenue source. In its latest Global Economic Prospects report published Wednesday, the Washington-based institution that provides loans to countries said it expects Iran’s Gross Domestic Product to shrink by 4.5% this year, a steeper...
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American Women, Children Tied to IS Headed Home

Voice of America - Thu, 06/06/2019 - 02:00
Two American women accused of joining with the Islamic State terror group, along with their children, are heading back to the United States.   Kamal Akif, a spokesman for the Kurdish-led administration in northeast Syria, told VOA the women and six children were turned over U.S. custody Wednesday in the city of Ain Issa.   “U.S. government representatives were present today when the transfer of those women and children took place,” he told VOA in a phone interview, adding the...
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Sudan's Deadly Crackdown Evokes Arab Spring Bloodshed

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 23:26
In the Middle East, it has often begun the same way: a popular swell of street protests against long-entrenched autocrats and demonstrators inspired by burgeoning aspirations for democracy and freedom. But then the military moves in. Its ruthless, harsh force helps prop up the leader and his family, or safeguard the military's own longevity after a leader falls. Death, detention and disappearances become commonplace and in some cases, ruinous civil war with external intervention...
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Islamic Militants Attack Police Checkpoint Outside Northern Sinai Town of el-Arish

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 22:45
Islamic militants attacked a police checkpoint outside Egypt's northern Sinai port city of el-Arish just minutes before traditional prayers marking the beginning of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, following the month of Ramadan. In a statement, Egypt's interior ministry said that eight policemen were killed, along with five militants. Egyptian TV reported the attack on the police checkpoint outside the northern Sinai town of el-Arish without elaborating on details, ostensibly to avoid...
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Coalition War Planes Holding Fire Against IS in Syria

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 20:59
U.S. and coalition jets have been quiet in the skies over Syria, failing to launch any airstrikes against remnants of the Islamic State terror group for a second consecutive month.   The U.S.-led military coalition said Wednesday there were no airstrikes in Syria between May 5 and June 3, while reporting 11 strikes in Iraq during the same period.     According to the statement, the strikes in Iraq targeted 16 IS tactical units and destroyed 21 IS caves, along with two...
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US Senators Launch Bipartisan Bid to Block Saudi Arms Sales

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 18:38
Directly challenging President Donald Trump's use of executive power, Democrats and Republicans in the Senate are banding together to introduce more than a dozen resolutions aimed at blocking the Trump administration's sale of weapons to Saudi Arabia.   The maneuver amounts to a remarkable display of bipartisan pushback to Trump's foreign policy and threatens to tangle the Senate in a series of floor votes this summer. Sen. Bob Menendez of New Jersey, the top Democrat on...
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Former Al-Qaida Propagandist Launches Counter-Jihadi Magazine

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 17:35
Once al-Qaida’s chief American propagandist, Jesse Morton is now propagandizing for peace. In 2009, Morton, then part of a group of Muslim extremists in New York, helped launch Jihad Recollections, the first in a line of online glossy magazines that captured the imagination of many young jihadists. With an emphasis on compelling visual presentation, the magazine came to be dubbed the Vanity Fair for jihadists, giving rise to several, more enduring iterations, including al-Qaida’s...
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In Egypt, Prayers and Family Feasts Mark End of Ramadan

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 14:59
The beginning and end of the Muslim season of Ramadan are determined by lunar sightings, which differ around the world. In countries including Saudi Arabia, the United Arab of Emirates, Kuwait, Bahrain, Iraq, and Qatar, that happened Tuesday, while in Egypt, the Palestinian territories, and Jordan the conclusion – marked by the Eid al-Fitr celebration – occurred on Wednesday. Cairo-based photojournalist Hamada Elrasam captures a glimpse of the anticipation and celebration shared by all in Egypt.
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China's Xi: Iran Tensions Worrying, Calls for Restraint

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 08:12
A rise in tensions in the Middle East owing to U.S. pressure on Iran is worrying and all parties need to exercise restraint, Chinese President Xi Jinping told Russian media ahead of a visit to the country. Tensions between Iran and the United States have escalated in the past month, a year after the United States pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran's nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions. Washington reimposed sanctions last year and...
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VOA Interview: Freedom House Report

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 07:01
A new Freedom House report says press freedom is deteriorating worldwide. VOA's Ramon Taylor spoke to Sarah Repucci, the Senior Director for Research and Analysis for Freedom House about the report. Below is an an edited transcript. Q: According to the report, press freedom is deteriorating worldwide; worsening for Not Free states (Eurasia + Middle East/North Africa) combined with a negative trend among Free States, notably across Europe. Can you expand on these overall findings, and...
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Iran Recommits to Khomeini’s 'Resistance' on Death Anniversary, But at What Cost?

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 06:30
This article originated in VOA’s Persian Service. Katherine Ahn contributed from Washington. Iran has marked the 30th anniversary of the death of the leader of its Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, by recommitting itself to pursue his bedeviled path of “resistance” against enemies.  Khomeini died of cancer on June 3, 1989, 10 years after leading a revolution that replaced Iran’s monarchy with an enduring theocracy that has become embroiled in regional conflicts,...
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Government Confirms Iran to Free imprisoned Lebanese Man

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 06:10
Lebanon's Foreign Ministry says Iran has agreed to release a Lebanese man who has been imprisoned there since 2015.   In a statement, the Foreign Ministry says it has been contacted by the Iranian ambassador in Beirut who said authorities have agreed to release Nizar Zakka, based on a request by President Michel Aoun on the occasion of Eid al-Fitr, the feast that marks the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.   Countries typically issue pardons and amnesties as a good...
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Iran Honors Iraqi Shiite Paramilitary Group That US Labels Terrorists

Voice of America - Wed, 06/05/2019 - 05:45
In an apparent effort to sway Iran’s public opinion in favor of the regime’s involvement in Middle East conflicts, the Iranian government’s television channels are airing a video that glorifies a key anti-American Iraqi Shiite group. The music video, titled “The Noble Ones," has been shown several times on state TV channels. It praises Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba, an Iraqi Shiite paramilitary group that was designated as a terrorist organization by the United States earlier this...
Categories: Iraq