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Zarif: Iran Has Right to Respond to 'Unacceptable' US Sanctions

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

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

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’

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's Oil Output Falls to Lowest Level in 5 Years, Study Shows

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

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

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

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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Amid Tension With Iran, US Pulls Non-Essential Staff From Iraq

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 19:54
Nike Ching contributed to this report from the State Department; Carla Babb contributed from the Pentagon.​ CAPITOL HILL — The United States on Wednesday ordered its non-emergency employees to leave Iraq, as American lawmakers worried openly about a potential march to war with Iran. The drawdown of personnel at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and America’s consulate in Irbil came as the Trump administration warned of potential threats against American forces in the Middle East from...
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Turkey Denies Delaying Russian S-400 Deal

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 16:52
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has denied that Turkey is delaying the purchase of S-400 missile defense systems from Russia amid tensions with the United States. Cavusoglu told reporters on Wednesday that “there is no question of any delay or of any halting at this point.” He reiterated that Turkey's purchase of the Russian-made systems is a “done deal.” The issue has caused a deep rift with the United States, which says the Russian missiles pose a threat to the U.S....
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Saudi Paper Urges Palestinians to Consider Trump Peace Plan

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 16:32
The editor-in-chief of a Saudi newspaper is urging Palestinians to keep an open mind toward a Mideast plan being devised by President Donald Trump's son-in-law and senior adviser, Jared Kushner. Faisal Abbas wrote in the Arab News on Wednesday that while the cards have been stacked against the Palestinians, Kushner's plan just may reverse the situation and make peace more possible.   The column ran as Palestinians hold protests to mark the 71st anniversary of the...
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Palestinians Mark Anniversary of Mass Displacement

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 16:13
Palestinians on Wednesday marked the 71st anniversary of their mass displacement during the 1948 war around Israel's creation with protests across the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Thousands of people streamed to the Gaza-Israel frontier as the militant Hamas group, which controls Gaza, announced a general strike, closing schools and public institutions to allow for a large turnout.   For a year, Hamas has staged protests every Friday along the perimeter fence dividing Israel...
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Jerusalem Embassy Anniversary Marked with Trump Tweet, Arab Silence

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 07:25
U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday the transfer of the U.S. embassy in Israel to Jerusalem a year ago was the fulfillment of a key promise of his election campaign. ​“Today marks the one-year anniversary of the opening of the United States Embassy in Jerusalem, Israel,” Trump said in a celebratory tweet highlighting the move. “Our beautiful embassy stands as a proud reminder of our strong relationship with Israel and of the importance of keeping a promise and standing for the...
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US Military Beefing Up Arsenal to Counter Potential Iran Attack

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 03:55
The United States military is ramping up its arsenal in the Middle East to counter a potential attack from Iran. But is it the right move, and what exactly is the threat? VOA Pentagon correspondent Carla Babb has details.
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Netanyahu Given 14 More Days to Form Israeli Government

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 03:09
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday got more time to put together a new coalition government, after the initial 28 days granted him following last month’s elections expired. Israeli law says that after the first four weeks of political bargaining a further 14 days is granted by the president on request. Netanyahu on Monday called on President Reuven Rivlin at his official Jerusalem residence and received his official blessing. “At the end of the meeting, the...
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US Orders Non-Emergency Staff to Leave Iraq, Amid US-Iran Tensions

Wed, 05/15/2019 - 00:09
VOA Persian's Shahla Arasteh contributed from Washington. PENTAGON —  The United States ordered its non-emergency employees to leave Iraq on Wednesday, a move that comes as the Trump administration warns of potential threats against American forces in the Middle East from Iran or Iranian-backed proxies. A statement posted by the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad said the order applied both to staff there and at the U.S. Consulate in Irbil. U.S. President Donald Trump on Tuesday...
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Report: Iran-Linked Disinformation Effort Had Personal Touch

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 22:43
When a young Middle Eastern woman contacted Saudi dissident Ali AlAhmed over Twitter last November, he was immediately suspicious. AlAhmed's radar was up because he had previously been targeted by hackers posing as a female journalist. But this turned out to be part of a different operation.    The Twitter account, purportedly belonging to an Egyptian writer named Mona A.Rahman, was not an attempt to hack the Washington-based AlAhmed — it was an attempt to enlist him in an...
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Iran's Khamenei: Tehran Not Seeking War with US

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 22:04
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Tuesday Tehran does not seek war with the United States despite mounting tensions between the two arch-enemies over Iranian nuclear capabilities and its missile program. In comments to senior officials carried by state television, Khamenei also reiterated that the Islamic Republic would not negotiate with the United States on another nuclear deal. "There won't be any war. The Iranian nation has chosen the path of...
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Saudi Arabia Says Its Pipeline Attacked by Drones

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 21:20
Saudi Arabia says an oil pipeline was attacked by drones Tuesday west of the capital, Riyadh. Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed responsibility for the attacks amid rising tensions in the Middle East. The rebels said they fired seven drones against vital targets in Saudi Arabia, which borders Yemen to the north. Saudi Arabia has launched almost daily airstrikes against the rebels and their allies since a war between the two sides began in March 2015. The government-controlled oil company...
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EU Calls for Libya Cease-Fire, Return to Talks

Tue, 05/14/2019 - 19:50
European Union foreign ministers are calling for an immediate cease-fire in Libya and for the warring parties in the strife-torn North African state to return to negotiations to resolve their differences. Meeting in Brussels Monday, the ministers warned that the fighting raging around Tripoli, which began last month when forces loyal to the country's would-be strongman, Khalifa Haftar, launched an assault on the Libyan capital, threatens international peace and security. Their...
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