A review of the State Department’s Farsi-language Twitter account and its ShareAmerica website – which describes itself as a platform to spark debate on democracy and other issues – shows a number of posts critical of Tehran over the last month. Iran is the subject of four of the top five items on the website’s “Countering Violent Extremism” section. They include headlines such as “This Iranian airline helps spread violence and terror.” In social media posts and speeches, Pompeo himself also appeals directly to Iranians, the Iranian diaspora and a global audience.
Hamas and Israel have announced a ceasefire following an escalation which left four Palestinians and an Israeli soldier dead, but the Israeli minister of foreign affairs warned of a “wide-scale” war on the Gaza Strip.
“With Egyptian and United Nations efforts it has been agreed to return to the era of calm between (Israel) and Palestinian factions,” Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said. However, Israeli minister of military affairs Avigdor Lieberman warned that a new military operation on Gaza “will be larger and more painful than Operation Protective Edge,” referring to the 2014 Israeli war on the coastal enclave.
The Iranian Army and the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) will receive between 700 to 800 domestically-built tanks, including Karrar (Striker), Deputy Defense Minister Reza Mozaffari-Nia said, Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday. Iran unveiled Karrar, its most advanced domestically-manufactured tank of amphibious mobility, in March 2017. Its firepower, precision and mobility, Dehqan said, were comparable to the most state-of-the-art of its kind in the world.
Close to 7,000 people – civilians and fighters – were due to leave the loyalist Shi’ite villages of al-Foua and Kefraya in Idlib province. They were being ferried out in a convoy of buses through rebel-held territory to nearby government-held territory in Aleppo province, state TV footage showed.
Israel passed a law on Thursday to declare that only Jews have the right of self-determination in the country, something members of the Arab minority called racist and verging on apartheid. “This is a defining moment in the annals of Zionism and the history of the state of Israel,” Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told the Knesset after the vote.
The comments by Ali Akbar Salehi, head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, came as Tehran is in talks with major powers on preserving a 2015 deal meant to keep the country from developing nuclear weapons in the wake of President Donald Trump’s decision to pull the United States out of the accord. Salehi said on state television that Iran has imported some 400 tons of so-called yellowcake uranium since the 2015 landmark nuclear deal, bringing its stockpile to between 900 and 950 tons — up from 500 tons.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu: “Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomes the deep commitment of the United States and President Trump to Israel’s security, as expressed in the meeting between President Trump and President Putin. The friendship between Israel and the US has never been stronger,” the statement said, adding that Netanyahu “also greatly appreciates the security coordination between Israel and Russia and President Putin’s clear position on the need to implement the 1974 separation agreements between Israel and Syria.”
Israel placed new restrictions on its only cargo crossing with the Gaza Strip on Tuesday in response to continued Hamas hostilities, even after it agreed to a cease-fire ending 24 hours of intense fighting.
Defense Minister Avigdor Lieberman said Israel will cease transferring gas and fuel through the Kerem Shalom crossing until Sunday but will allow food and essential medication to cross. Commercial cargo was suspended last week.
The plan announced on Monday at a congress of the Syrian Democratic Council (SDC) in Tabqa aims to bring together a number of local administrations or councils that have emerged across SDF-held areas of northern and eastern Syria.
“This is an administration to coordinate among the areas because there are gaps … to secure needs (and services) in all areas,” Ilham Ahmed, the co-chair of the SDC and a top Syrian Kurdish politician said.