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Iran: Israeli Attacks on Syria Based on 'Invented Pretexts'

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 15:38
Iran says Israel's rocket attacks on Syria were based on "invented pretexts." Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi, quoted in state-run IRNA, said the attacks were a breach of the national sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria. He said Syria has the right to defend itself "against the aggressors." The Israeli military released aerial footage Friday of the Iranian military sites in Syria targeted by the Israeli air force. A report in The...
Categories: Iraq

Young Candidates Want a Chance to be Elected to Iraqi Parliament

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 11:07
Iraqis will head to polling stations this weekend for the first parliamentary elections since Iraqi forces drove Islamic State militants out of the country. In Nineveh Province (Mosul), young politicians are injecting new excitement into a crowded field of candidates, pleading with Iraqi voters to give them a chance. Kawa Omer filed this report from Mosul.
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Iranian Currency Slumps on Black Market After US Quits Iran Deal

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 04:12
Western news agencies say the Iranian rial has weakened significantly against the dollar in black market trading following the U.S. decision to exit the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Published reports say the rial has been quoted as low as 80,000 to 90,000 against the dollar on the black market since the U.S. exit from the deal was announced Tuesday. Reuters says the black market rate was around 65,000 rials to the dollar just before that announcement. Iran fixed its exchange rate at 42,000...
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Iranian Security Forces Beat, Arrest Teachers at Tehran Protest

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 03:23
Organizers of a teachers' protest in the Iranian capital, Tehran, say security forces have violently broken up their rally, beating up some of the demonstrators and arresting at least six of them.   Dozens of retired and practicing teachers attended Thursday's protest outside the Iranian government's planning and budget organization building in Tehran. It was one of several rallies around the country organized by the Coordinating Council of Iranian Teacher Trade...
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World Powers Urge Lebanon to Stay Out of Regional Wars

Fri, 05/11/2018 - 00:34
A grouping of major powers urged Lebanon on Thursday to uphold a policy of keeping out of regional wars, after Iran-backed Hezbollah and its allies emerged stronger from a general election. The International Support Group (ISG) for Lebanon, which includes the United States, Russia, China, France, Germany, Italy, Britain and European Union, also called on Lebanon to resume dialogue about a national defense strategy. Lebanon agreed a policy of "disassociation" in 2012 to keep...
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US, UAE Act to Disrupt Funding for Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 22:18
The United States and the United Arab Emirates acted Thursday to disrupt a currency exchange network under which they said hundreds of millions of dollars had been transferred to Iran's Revolutionary Guards' Qods Force to fund their insurgent operations in the Middle East. The U.S. Treasury sanctioned nine Iranian individuals and entities it said were involved in transferring dollar-denominated bulk cash funneled through the UAE to Iran and its central bank. The sanctions...
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Turkey, US Could Head for Collision Over Iran Nuclear Deal

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 22:00
Turkey has pushed back hard against U.S. President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has warned of serious consequences, with analysts saying Turkey could find itself drawn into a dispute between Washington and Tehran. Erdogan spoke by telephone with his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, Wednesday. Local media, citing a Turkish presidential source, said Erdogan reaffirmed his support of the nuclear deal...
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Iraqis Head to Polls Amid Security Threats, External Influence

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 21:50
Amid threats from Islamic State group, getting in and out of the polling stations safely will be the prevailing thought on Iraqi voters' minds May 12 when the country goes to the polls to choose a new parliament and the prime minister. Islamic State militants have threatened to carry out attacks ahead of the elections — the first ones since the group's defeat in the country. IS last month began a social media campaign discouraging people from participating in the elections and...
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Britain Apologizes to Libyan Dissident Over Rendition, Torture

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 20:25
British Prime Minister Theresa May issued a rare formal public apology Thursday to one of 15 Libyan Islamists delivered into the hands of Col. Moammar Gadhafi by British and American intelligence services and tortured after the September 11, 2001, terror attacks in the United States. In a letter read out in parliament by Attorney General Jeremy Wright, May apologized to Abdel Hakim Belhaj and his wife, Fatima Boudchar, who was four months pregnant when she was rendered. In the letter sent...
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Iraqi Forces Capture 5 Top IS Leaders in Cross-Border Raid

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 19:14
The U.S.-led coalition says Iraqi forces in coordination with U.S.-backed Syrian forces have captured five senior Islamic State group leaders. In a statement Thursday, coalition spokesman Army Col. Ryan Dillon called the arrest a "significant blow to Daesh," using the Arabic acronym for the extremist group. IS fighters no longer control significant pockets of territory inside Iraq, but do maintain a grip inside Syria along Iraq's border. The U.S.-led coalition...
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White House Condemns Iranian Attacks on Israeli Targets

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 18:30
The White House has condemned Iranian rocket attacks on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights as an "unacceptable and highly dangerous development for the entire Middle East." In a statement issued Thursday morning, the White House said Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) "bears full responsibility for the consequences of its reckless actions" and warned the guard and its "militant proxies" not to take "further provocative...
Categories: Iraq

Israel Attacks More Than 50 Iranian Targets in Syria

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 17:26
There has been a serious clash between Israel and Iran in Syria. Israel launched a fierce assault on more than 50 Iranian targets in Syria. The military said the Air Force hit weapons depots, logistics sites and intelligence centers used by elite Iranian forces, many of them near Damascus. Missiles also destroyed several Syrian air defense systems after Israeli jets came under heavy fire. All planes returned safely to base. The Israeli blitz came after Iranian forces fired 20...
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Rights Workers Fear Tougher NGO Crackdown in Turkey

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 17:14
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan unveiled his election manifesto this week for June’s snap parliamentary and presidential elections. Pacing the stage of an Istanbul sports stadium filled with flag-waving members of his Justice and Development Party, or AKP, the Turkish leader included in his expansive to-do list a pledge to usher in an era of greater democracy and social justice. His record in government, however, belies his social justice pledge, say civil society leaders...
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Opening of US Embassy in Jerusalem Days Away

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 16:50
With the opening of the new U.S. embassy in Jerusalem only days away, the embassy changed its Twitter handle to reflect the move from Tel Aviv. In a Twitter post on Thursday, however, the embassy said its new Twitter handle was USEmbassyJerusalem, when, in fact, the correct one is @usembassyjlm. Despite the inevitable problems that occur during large relocations, the embassy is slated to open on Monday — fulfilling U.S. President Donald Trump's campaign promise to move the...
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UN Resumes Airlifts of Migrants From Libya to Niger

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 15:44
The United Nations' refugee agency says it has airlifted 132 vulnerable migrants from Libya to Niger, the first group to be flown out after a two-month halt in such evacuations.   The U.N. High Commissioner for Refugees says the group of refugees and asylum-seekers was flown from Tripoli to Niger's capital, Niamey, on Thursday. UNHCR's humanitarian evacuation program had been halted in early March amid concerns from Niger's government that migrants were arriving there...
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Syrian Refugees Showcase Innovation Ideas

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 11:18
No matter where they live, young people are capable of coming up with fresh ideas about how to improve life in their communities. At a recent exhibition, held in the sprawling Zaatari refugee camp in northern Jordan, teenage Syrians showcased inventions geared toward making refugee camps more livable. VOA's George Putic has more.
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What Americans Know and Don't Know About the Holocaust

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 10:59
A new survey by the organization seeking restitution for victims of Nazi persecution found Americans lack knowledge about the Holocaust, the systematic state-sponsored persecution and murder of 6 million Jews by the Nazi regime and its collaborators. The survey found more than 90 percent believe children should learn about it at school. Recently, a museum exhibit on how the U.S. reacted to the genocide, which took place more than 70 years ago, opened in Washington. Anush Avetisyan has more.
Categories: Iraq

First Post-IS Iraq Elections: New Era or Same Old Scene?

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 10:47
Iraq's voters will choose from thousands of candidates May 12, voting in the first new national parliament — and, ultimately, prime minister — since the government declared victory over Islamic State militants last year. And as alliances shift at home and around the world, analysts say this election could be the beginning of a new power structure in Iraq. Reporting from Baghdad, VOA's Heather Murdock is on the scene.
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Trump Says Iran Will Agree to Negotiate on Nuclear Deal

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 10:35
U.S. President Donald Trump says Iran is likely to engage in new negotiations on its nuclear program. Trump told reporters Wednesday the United States will impose some of the strongest sanctions on Iran ever and that the United States will work toward a deal with Tehran that will ensure the world's safety. Iran has rejected suggestions to renegotiate any part of the 2015 agreement. Britain, France and Germany say they will continue to uphold the agreement with Iran. VOA's Zlatica...
Categories: Iraq

Israel Attacks Iranian Targets Inside Syria

Thu, 05/10/2018 - 02:17
Israel said Thursday its fighter jets struck dozens of Iranian military targets inside of Syria overnight in response to rockets attacks by Iranian forces on the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights. The Israeli military said its airstrikes focused on intelligence sites, weapons storage and logistics centers, and that the jets also destroyed several Syrian air defense systems. It also warned it would “not allow the Iranian threat to establish itself in Syria” and said Syria’s government will...
Categories: Iraq