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Iran FM Briefs Parliament on Trump's Threat to Nuclear Deal

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 15:38
Iran's foreign minister on Wednesday warned of a tough response from Tehran if President Donald Trump presses ahead with his threats to scuttle the landmark 2015 nuclear deal. The state-run IRNA news agency reported that the country's top diplomat, Mohammad Javad Zarif, briefed lawmakers during a closed session of parliament on Trump's anticipated refusal to certify Iran's nuclear deal with world powers. The agency quotes Zarif as saying that if the United States acts...
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President Trump Expected to Decertify 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 08:31
On October 12, President Donald Trump is expected to announce whether his administration still finds Iran in compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. VOA’s Margaret Besheer takes a look at the deal and what could happen if the president chooses not to certify Tehran’s compliance.
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EU Aims to Reopen Embassy in Libya

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 04:30
The European Union is seeking to reopen its embassy in Libya pending security conditions, officials said on Tuesday, offering further political support for the Tripoli government struggling to establish control. EU leaders will announce at their summit in Brussels on Oct. 19-20 that they "encourage work underway to rapidly establish a permanent EU presence in Libya", according to their draft joint statement seen by Reuters. But the statement makes clear no such move is...
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International, Domestic Worry Over Expected US Decertification of Iran Deal

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 03:00
President Donald Trump is expected to announce this week that he will no longer certify Iran's compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, giving Congress 60 days to decide whether to re-impose U.S. sanctions on Tehran. "The president has reached a decision on an overall Iran strategy and wants to make sure we have a broad policy to deal with that, not just one part of it, to deal with all of the problems of Iran being a bad actor," White House Press Secretary Sarah...
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Russia Accuses US of Pretending to Fight Islamic State in Syria, Iraq

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 02:51
Russia accused the United States on Tuesday of pretending to fight Islamic State and of deliberately reducing its airstrikes in Iraq to allow the group's militants to stream into Syria to slow the Russian-backed advance of the Syrian army. The Pentagon strongly denied the accusations, saying that the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State posts data every day on the number and result of strikes for the public to see. In the latest sign of rising tensions between Moscow and...
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US Targets Key Hezbollah Leaders

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 02:35
The United States is moving to ratchet up pressure on Hezbollah, offering millions of dollars for information that leads to the arrest or capture of two of the Iranian-backed terror group's top officials. The State Department on Tuesday announced a $7 million reward for information about Talal Hamiyah, who runs Hezbollah's External Security Organization, and $5 million for information about Fu'ad Shukr, a senior operative who helped plan the 1983 bombing of the U.S. Marine...
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Iran Hardliners, Pragmatists Show Unity in Response to Trump

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 01:08
A tough line from President Donald Trump has been met by a show of unity from both sides of Iran's political divide, uniting hardliners who cast the United States as an implacable enemy with pragmatists who seek rapprochement with the West. Iran, which has kept up a steady drumbeat of angry statements for days, lashed out again Tuesday, threatening to teach the Americans "new lessons" and keep "all options on the table" if Washington blacklists its Revolutionary...
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Security Council Endorses UN Plan to Break Libya Stalemate

Wed, 10/11/2017 - 00:22
The U.N. Security Council endorsed a U.N. action plan Tuesday to break the political stalemate in Libya that has divided the country into competing governments with two parliaments and an array of rival militias. A presidential statement approved by all 15 members backs the proposal by new U.N. envoy, Ghassan Salame, to amend the U.N. peace agreement signed by different Libyan factions in 2015. It also welcomes Salame's objective of supporting a Libyan-led transition that will lead...
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Human Rights Honor Goes to Egyptian Banned From Travel

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 23:41
An Egyptian has been honored with one of the most prestigious awards granted to human rights defenders but was unable to accept the prize in person because his government has banned him from travel over his work documenting abuses. Mohamed Zaree is one of several prominent Egyptian activists and human rights workers who are banned from travel over allegations of harming national security, part of a wide-scale crackdown on dissent that has stamped out much of the country's once-vibrant...
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UN Envoy: Yemen's Warring Leaders Seek Power, Not Peace

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 22:53
The U.N. special envoy for Yemen accused the country's warring leaders on Tuesday of refusing to end the fighting and liberate the people "from the scourge of famine and conflict" because they stand to lose wealth and power. With the civil war entering its fourth year and heavy fighting continuing, Ismail Ould Cheikh Ahmed warned that "the situation will continue worsening as well as the terrorist threat" if the parties don't listen to the people and display...
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Pentagon: Diplomatic Dispute Not Affecting Military Operations Out of Turkey

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 21:03
The Pentagon says a diplomatic dispute between Turkey and the United States has not affected military operations or personnel out of Turkey, including efforts to defeat Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria. "I can confirm that these developments have not impacted our operations or personnel," Pentagon spokesman Army Colonel Robert Manning told reporters on Tuesday. “Coalition counter-IS operations out of Incirlik and other Turkish facilities are closely coordinated with and...
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Egypt Presses Fatah, Hamas for Final Reconciliation Deal

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 19:41
Leaders of the rival Palestinian Fatah and Hamas factions were meeting in Cairo Tuesday under the auspices of the Egyptian government amid high hopes that both sides would finally reach a reconciliation deal after a 10-year schism Top officials from the two Palestinian factions have been mulling the details of an Egyptian draft reconciliation deal, as both sides appear to be inching closer to an agreement that would bring the Hamas-run Gaza Strip back under the control of a Palestinian...
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Erdogan Defends Arrest of US Consulate Employee

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 17:31
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is defending the arrest of a U.S. consulate employee, accusing him of being a spy. "How did these spies infiltrate the American consulate?  If they didn't infiltrate the American consulate, who put them there?'' Erdogan said, speaking Tuesday alongside Serbia's president in Belgrade.  "No state would allow such spies that pose an internal threat.'' Last week, Turkey arrested Metin Topuz, a U.S. consulate...
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Iran Warns US Over Potential Terror Designation of Its Guards

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:48
Iran is warning the United States against designating its Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization, saying it would put the United States on the side of the Islamic State group. Government spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht told reporters Tuesday the guards are “the defender of the nation” and if the United States designates the military force a terror organization “it puts itself in the camp of terrorists.” "Any country that wants to have such a position about the Guards...
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Iraq to Restore Pipeline to Turkey, Bypassing Kurdish Region

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 16:10
Iraq's Oil Ministry has ordered the restoration of an oil pipeline from the city of Kirkuk to Turkey that would bypass the country's northern Kurdish region in the wake of the area's pro-independence referendum. Tuesday's development is the second measure that Baghdad has taken over the past two days to isolate the Iraqi Kurdish region.   The pipeline was taken out of service after Islamic State militants swept across much of northern and western Iraq in the summer...
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As Trump Challenges Iran Nuclear Deal, Those in Tehran Worry

Tue, 10/10/2017 - 03:50
As U.S. President Donald Trump threatens the Iran nuclear deal, those living in Tehran feel that an accord they have yet to benefit from may already be doomed, hardening their skepticism about America. Trump is set to deliver a speech on Iran this week in which he is expected to decline to certify Iran's compliance in the landmark 2015 agreement, referring it to Congress, and perhaps targeting the country's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard with new sanctions. In the streets of...
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Lebanon Receives 2 Military Aircraft From US

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 18:27
The Lebanese army says the United States has supplied Beirut with two A-29 Super Tucano light-attack aircraft designed for counter-insurgency operations.   The army said in a statement that the aircraft were handed to Lebanon on Monday at the Hamat air base north of the capital Beirut. It gave no further details.   Washington has been a major supporter of Lebanon's army, which until recently had been fighting the Islamic State group and al-Qaida's Syrian branch on the...
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UAE Official Says Qatar Giving Up World Cup Could End Crisis

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 17:38
A top Emirati security official says the Qatar diplomatic crisis can end if Doha gives up hosting the 2022 FIFA World Cup, the first time someone from the four Arab nations boycotting the country directly linked the tournament to resolving the monthslong dispute. While Dubai security Lt. Gen. Dhahi Khalfan is often outspoken on Twitter, his tweet on Sunday night on the crisis comes as those opposing Qatar increasingly target the upcoming soccer competition in their criticism. He later...
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Iran Promises ‘Crushing’ Response if US Designates Guards Terrorist Group

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 17:18
Iran promised on Monday to give a "crushing" response if the United States designated its elite Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist group. The pledge came a week before President Donald Trump announces final decision on how he wants to contain Tehran. He is expected on Oct 15 to "decertify" a landmark 2015 international deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program, a step that by itself stops short of pulling out of the agreement but gives Congress 60 days to decide whether to...
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Fatah, Hamas to Discuss Gaza Security Under Unity Deal

Mon, 10/09/2017 - 16:51
Negotiators from rival Palestinian factions Fatah and Islamist group Hamas will discuss security in the Gaza Strip at unity talks in Cairo on Tuesday, including a proposal that would see Fatah security personnel deployed to Hamas-dominated territory. The plan for 3,000 Fatah security officers to join a Gaza police force over the course of a year, part of a unity deal mediated by Egypt in 2011, would restore much of the influence of Fatah leader President Mahmoud Abbas in Gaza and further...
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