Relations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States continue to deteriorate. Iran refuses to comply with norms accepted by the international community and is boasting that it plans to launch “roaring missiles”. It has already launched several ballistic missiles that were capable of carrying a nuclear payload.
Iran has also stepped up its support of Houthi rebels in Yemen with the supply of weapons. They are using the weapons to target the missile defence units employed by Saudi-led coalition units as well as to threaten shipping lines in Bab el-Mandeb and Saudi Navy ships.
Washington has been debating whether the Iranian Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) should be designated as a foreign terrorist organisation. Congress has taken into account several bills but lobbies of the Iranian regime are claiming that there will be terrible consequences to this.
The lobbies say that there will be a big backlash from Iran if the designation happens. However experts deny this will happen – they say that it will finally start to put limits to how far the Iranian regime can reach outside its own country.
To designate the IRGC will happen in one of two ways. Firstly, President Trump could issue an executive order. Alternatively, a bill can be passed by Congress.
A 31 year-old Pakistani man identified only as Syed Mustufa H. was arrested at the beginning of the year in Germany. His charge – gathering information for possible Jewish assassination targets for Iran’s Quds Force.
His trial started last week in the German capital but he remained silent throughout. His lawyer explained that he did not speak “out of fear”. The situation does not look good for Syed because the evidence is compelling and the charges of scoping out targets for Iran and carrying out espionage on its behalf against France and Germany is altogether very serious.
The new Turkish ambassador to Israel, Kemal Okem, said that Turkey and Israel agree that there is need for concern with regards to Iran’s ambitions in the Middle East and its potential to be nuclear armed. However, he said that the two countries have differing views regarding strategy.
He said to the Jerusalem Post that Turkey, very concerned about Iran’s nuclear ambitions, believes that containment - rather than isolation - is the only way to deal with Iran. He said that the shared border is a factor in this.
The Head of the Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs announced that the Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader of Iran, ordered the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) to grant Iranian citizenship to the mercenaries fighting in Syria.
Mohammad Ali Shahidi said in an interview on Sunday that Khamenei asked him to grant Iranian citizenship to the Fatemiyoun Division forces, Afghan mercenaries and Pakistani mercenaries from the Zainebiyoun Brigade who are fighting in Syria on behalf of Assad.
Khamenei has said that Iran is “obliged” to welcome these fighters to the country and said that they should be granted citizenship and covered under the Foundation of Martyrs.
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