Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
IRGC Fortifies Tehran With Surface-to-Air Missiles
Sunday, 2 June, 2019

Iranian Shahab 2 missile bearing crest of IRGC 370. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl)

London - Asharq Al-Awsat

Tehran's Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Mohammad Reza Yazdi uncovered on Saturday that Iran would deploy on Monday its HAWK anti-aircraft defense system to protect its airspace from any potential attacks during a ceremony on June 4 in the Iranian capital to mourn the father of the Islamic Revolution, Ayatollah Khomeini.

“The security agencies will deploy surface-to-air missiles, and anti-aircraft defense system HAWK missiles near the Khomeini tomb to counter threats including drones. We will be ready to deal with any possible security threats,” said Yazdi.

The IRGC commander denied that security forces had found any evidence showing the presence of real threats. He stated that there were no reports of any activity of small flying objects, but added, "We are planning to show our capability."

Yazdi warned that "those who might be planning to disrupt order and security in this year's gathering on June 13 - 15 should not to waste their time, as security forces will confront them seriously."

Iranians will descend on Khomeini’s Mausoleum in southern Tehran to remember the leader of the 1970 Islamic Revolution, Khomeini, who died on June 3, 1989. Iran’s supreme leader, Ali Khamenei is expected to speak at the event.

Two years ago, ISIS members launched raids on the Khomeini Mausoleum and the Iranian parliament, killing 17 and wounding more than 50.

Lately, tensions have risen between Tehran and Washington after the latter sent additional military forces to the Middle East against Iranian threats to US troops and interests in the region.

Last Thursday, Acting US Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan confirmed that the Pentagon was considering sending additional US troops to the Middle East as one of the ways to bolster protection for American forces there.

On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani suggested Iran might be willing to hold talks if the US showed respect, but said Tehran would not be pressured into negotiations.

Fars news agency quoted Rouhani as saying: “We are for logic and talks if (the other side) sits respectfully at the negotiating table and follows international regulations, not if it issues an order to negotiate.”

Rouhani said that the “same enemy which declared its aim last year to destroy the Islamic Republic of Iran today explicitly states that it does not want to do anything to (our) system.”

The President concluded, “If we remain hopeful in the war with America, we will win.”

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
US-Russian-Israeli Meeting to 'Contain Iran'
Sunday, 2 June, 2019

Israeli airstrike hits Syrian military targets, June 1, 2019. (IF spokesperson's unit)

London - Ibrahim Hamidi

The US national security adviser, John Bolton, and his Russian and Israeli counterparts Nikolai Patrushev and Meir Ben-Shabbat will soon meet in West Jerusalem to discuss regional security issues and Syria in particular. This will mark the first meeting of its kind.

Western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday that the future of Iranian presence in Syria will be the main topic on the agenda of Jerusalem’s meeting.

The sources said the meeting was scheduled based on an understanding between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that a priority should be given to guarantee the security of Israel and support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The three sides should discuss a roadmap that makes the US and its allies offer incentives to Moscow in Syria, such as reconstruction, legitimacy and lifting sanctions, in return of Russia’s commitment to concrete actions related to containing Iran’s role and the political operation in the country,” the sources said.

Meanwhile, two rockets were fired on Saturday from Syria toward the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights causing no casualties.

Israel said the rockets were targeting the Mount Hermon (Jabal Sheikh) area and that one rocket landed inside Israeli territory, while the other in Syria.

A military spokeswoman said that the details were still being looked into and that it remained unclear who had fired the rockets and where they had landed.

On Sunday, the Israeli military said its aircraft struck Syrian army targets in response to the rockets fired at the Golan Heights, while Syria’s state media said three soldiers were killed in the second such flare-up in a week.

“We will not tolerate any firing into our territory and we will respond with great force to any aggression against us,” Netanyahu said on Sunday morning.

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
US-Russian-Israeli Meeting to 'Contain Iran'
Sunday, 2 June, 2019

Israeli airstrike hits Syrian military targets, June 1, 2019. (IF spokesperson's unit)

London - Ibrahim Hamidi

The US national security adviser, John Bolton, and his Russian and Israeli counterparts Nikolai Patrushev and Meir Ben-Shabbat will soon meet in West Jerusalem to discuss regional security issues and Syria in particular. This will mark the first meeting of its kind.

Western diplomatic sources told Asharq Al-Awsat on Saturday that the future of Iranian presence in Syria will be the main topic on the agenda of Jerusalem’s meeting.

The sources said the meeting was scheduled based on an understanding between US President Donald Trump and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin that a priority should be given to guarantee the security of Israel and support Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

“The three sides should discuss a roadmap that makes the US and its allies offer incentives to Moscow in Syria, such as reconstruction, legitimacy and lifting sanctions, in return of Russia’s commitment to concrete actions related to containing Iran’s role and the political operation in the country,” the sources said.

Meanwhile, two rockets were fired on Saturday from Syria toward the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights causing no casualties.

Israel said the rockets were targeting the Mount Hermon (Jabal Sheikh) area and that one rocket landed inside Israeli territory, while the other in Syria.

A military spokeswoman said that the details were still being looked into and that it remained unclear who had fired the rockets and where they had landed.

On Sunday, the Israeli military said its aircraft struck Syrian army targets in response to the rockets fired at the Golan Heights, while Syria’s state media said three soldiers were killed in the second such flare-up in a week.

“We will not tolerate any firing into our territory and we will respond with great force to any aggression against us,” Netanyahu said on Sunday morning.

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
Iran's Rouhani says U.S. 'should return to normal state' for talks: official website
June 2, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) - Reacting to a U.S. offer to talk with Iran without pre-conditions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday it was Washington that had left the negotiating table, and it “should return to normal state”.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday the United States is prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions about its nuclear program, but needs to see the country behaving like “a normal nation”.

Rouhani was quoted by the government’s official website as saying: “The other side that left the negotiating table and breached a treaty should return to normal state. Until then, we do not have a choice but resistance.”

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Peter Graff

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
Iran's Rouhani says U.S. 'should return to normal state' for talks: official website
June 2, 2019

LONDON (Reuters) - Reacting to a U.S. offer to talk with Iran without pre-conditions, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday it was Washington that had left the negotiating table, and it “should return to normal state”.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday the United States is prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions about its nuclear program, but needs to see the country behaving like “a normal nation”.

Rouhani was quoted by the government’s official website as saying: “The other side that left the negotiating table and breached a treaty should return to normal state. Until then, we do not have a choice but resistance.”

Reporting by Bozorgmehr Sharafedin; Editing by Peter Graff

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
B-52, Aircraft Carrier in Mideast over Iran Conduct Exercise in Arabian Sea
Sunday, 2 June, 2019


In this Saturday, June 1, 2019 photo, Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and part of the Bomber Task Force deployed to the region, conduct joint exercises in the US Central Command area of responsibility in Arabian sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Smalley/US Navy via AP)

The US military said Sunday a B-52 bomber and an aircraft carrier dispatched to the Mideast over a perceived threat from Iran have conducted a joint exercise together in the Arabian Sea.

The Air Force said in a statement that the exercise saw F/A-18 Super Hornets, MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters and E-2D Growlers from the USS Abraham Lincoln fly with the B-52 bomber.

The Air Force said the aircraft also "simulated strike operations" in the exercise, which took place on Saturday.

The White House dispatched the Lincoln and its strike force to the Mideast in May over an Iranian threat.

The US pulled out of Iran's nuclear deal a year ago. Since then, relations have grown tense as America imposes ever-tougher sanctions on Tehran.

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
B-52, Aircraft Carrier in Mideast over Iran Conduct Exercise in Arabian Sea
Sunday, 2 June, 2019


In this Saturday, June 1, 2019 photo, Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and part of the Bomber Task Force deployed to the region, conduct joint exercises in the US Central Command area of responsibility in Arabian sea. (Mass Communication Specialist 3rd Class Amber Smalley/US Navy via AP)

The US military said Sunday a B-52 bomber and an aircraft carrier dispatched to the Mideast over a perceived threat from Iran have conducted a joint exercise together in the Arabian Sea.

The Air Force said in a statement that the exercise saw F/A-18 Super Hornets, MH-60 Sea Hawk helicopters and E-2D Growlers from the USS Abraham Lincoln fly with the B-52 bomber.

The Air Force said the aircraft also "simulated strike operations" in the exercise, which took place on Saturday.

The White House dispatched the Lincoln and its strike force to the Mideast in May over an Iranian threat.

The US pulled out of Iran's nuclear deal a year ago. Since then, relations have grown tense as America imposes ever-tougher sanctions on Tehran.

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
Iran calls U.S. sanctions 'economic war', says no talks until they are lifted
June 3, 2019

GENEVA (Reuters) - Iran called U.S. sanctions “economic war” on Monday, and said there could be no talks with the United States until sanctions are lifted, a day after Washington suggested it could hold talks without pre-conditions if Iran changed its behavior.

“#EconomicTerrorism against Iran targets innocent civilians. Like this little boy, whose heartbroken mother can’t get him prosthetic legs as he grows. They’re sanctioned,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday, with a video clip of a woman saying the prosthetic leg her son needs is sanctioned.
Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the video.

“This is @realDonaldTrump’s ‘economic war’. And war and talks - with or without preconditions - don’t go together,” Zarif added in the tweet.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the United States was prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions about its nuclear program but needs to see the country behaving like “a normal nation” first.

Tensions between the two foes have escalated in the past month, a year after the United States pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions.

Washington reimposed sanctions last year and tightened them sharply at the start of last month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil. It has also hinted at military confrontation, sending extra forces to the region to counter what it describes as Iranian threats.

Iran for its part has responded by threatening to increase its production of enriched uranium beyond limits set in the nuclear agreement, although it has not done so yet.
Both sides have made repeated remarks in recent weeks about possible talks to resolve their differences, while saying that the other side must act first.

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Peter Graff

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
Iran calls U.S. sanctions 'economic war', says no talks until they are lifted
June 3, 2019

GENEVA (Reuters) - Iran called U.S. sanctions “economic war” on Monday, and said there could be no talks with the United States until sanctions are lifted, a day after Washington suggested it could hold talks without pre-conditions if Iran changed its behavior.

“#EconomicTerrorism against Iran targets innocent civilians. Like this little boy, whose heartbroken mother can’t get him prosthetic legs as he grows. They’re sanctioned,” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Monday, with a video clip of a woman saying the prosthetic leg her son needs is sanctioned.
Reuters could not verify the authenticity of the video.

“This is @realDonaldTrump’s ‘economic war’. And war and talks - with or without preconditions - don’t go together,” Zarif added in the tweet.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday that the United States was prepared to engage with Iran without pre-conditions about its nuclear program but needs to see the country behaving like “a normal nation” first.

Tensions between the two foes have escalated in the past month, a year after the United States pulled out of a deal between Iran and global powers to curb Tehran’s nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions.

Washington reimposed sanctions last year and tightened them sharply at the start of last month, ordering all countries to halt imports of Iranian oil. It has also hinted at military confrontation, sending extra forces to the region to counter what it describes as Iranian threats.

Iran for its part has responded by threatening to increase its production of enriched uranium beyond limits set in the nuclear agreement, although it has not done so yet.
Both sides have made repeated remarks in recent weeks about possible talks to resolve their differences, while saying that the other side must act first.

Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Peter Graff

 

Persian Gulf

MEMBER
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
327
Reactions
92 1
Country
Iran
Location
United Kingdom
I agree with the Iranian position here.

The UN has noted that sanctions violate human rights:

“Regime change through economic measures likely to lead to the denial of basic human rights and indeed possibly to starvation has never been an accepted practice of international relations,” said Idriss Jazairy, the UN Special Rapporteur concerned with the negative impact of sanctions. “Real concerns and serious political differences between governments must never be resolved by precipitating economic and humanitarian disasters, making ordinary people pawns and hostages thereof.”

The ICJ also recently found that US sanctions against Iran have the effect of impeding even humanitarian trade like medicine and food:

[89] ... while the importation of foodstuffs, medical supplies and equipment is in principle exempted from the United States’ measures, it appears to have become more difficult in practice... it has become difficult if not impossible for Iran, Iranian companies and nationals to engage in international financial transactions that would allow them to purchase items not covered, in principle, by the measures, such as foodstuffs, medical supplies and medical equipment

[91] ... restrictions on the importation and purchase of goods required for humanitarian needs, such as foodstuffs and medicines, including life-saving medicines, treatment for chronic disease or preventive care, and medical equipment may have a serious detrimental impact on the health and lives of individuals on the territory of Iran

There is a huge amount of empirical evidence that sanctions operate as a method of coercive punishment and constitute collective punishment because sanctions always disproportionately harm civilians.

I don't know what Iran's policy should be about talks with the US, but currently the hardliners in Iran are very emboldened by the US violating the JCPOA and reimposing sanctions because they always opposed negotiations with the US.
 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
I agree with the Iranian position here.

The UN has noted that sanctions violate human rights:



The ICJ also recently found that US sanctions against Iran have the effect of impeding even humanitarian trade like medicine and food:



There is a huge amount of empirical evidence that sanctions operate as a method of coercive punishment and constitute collective punishment because sanctions always disproportionately harm civilians.

I don't know what Iran's policy should be about talks with the US, but currently the hardliners in Iran are very emboldened by the US violating the JCPOA and reimposing sanctions because they always opposed negotiations with the US.
As right as you are, I personally feel, that against overwhelming odds, the current regime, should atleast sit down on the negotiating table and work towards an amicable solution.
 

Persian Gulf

MEMBER
Joined
May 22, 2019
Messages
327
Reactions
92 1
Country
Iran
Location
United Kingdom
As right as you are, I personally feel, that against overwhelming odds, the current regime, should atleast sit down on the negotiating table and work towards an amicable solution.
The problem is that (i) the US just showed it doesn't keep its word and (ii) Iran already did sit down and negotiate, for many years, and made a 160-page document (the most detailed and intrusive nuclear inspections regime in history).

I think that Iran is hedging its bets that Trump will lose in 2020. The current front-runners are Biden and Bernie. The DNC passed a resolution backing re-entering the JCPOA (Biden was in fact the VP behind the JCPOA in the first place, so obviously he is very much in favour of it). It is possible that the US may seek some small additional compromises from Iran so that sanctions relief, whilst would merely constitute the US complying with its obligations under the JCPOA and UNSCR 2231, isn't perceived as a unilateral concession.

If Trump wins, then I think Iran will have to swallow its pride and negotiate again. But if we look at the Trump-North Korea negotiations we see that this won't necessarily be so terrible for Iran. I think Trump has a pretty good chance of winning in 2020 due to the historical incumbent advantage and the strong (aggregate) economy. If it's Biden I think Trump will definitely win because Biden is basically an establishment Dem like Hillary was, and Biden has a dubious history of saying/doing inappropriate things. I think Bernie would beat Trump though.

Only time will tell, but for sure the next year and a few months until the next election will be very hard for Iran and Iranians.
 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
US Aircraft Carrier Deployed over Iran Remains Outside Gulf
4 Jun 2019
The Canadian Press
7510


A crew member signals as a pilot in an F/A-18 fighter jet is launched off the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea, Monday, June 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

A U.S. aircraft carrier ordered by the White House to rapidly deploy to the Mideast over a perceived threat from Iran remains outside of the Persian Gulf, so far avoiding any confrontation with Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces amid efforts to deescalate tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Officers aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln repeatedly told The Associated Press on Monday they could respond rapidly to any regional threat from their position, at the time some 320 kilometres (200 miles) off the eastern coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea.

However, after decades of American aircraft carriers sailing through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil traded at sea passes, the U.S. Navy's decision to keep the Lincoln away is striking.

"You don't want to inadvertently escalate something," Capt. Putnam Browne, the commanding officer of the Lincoln, told the AP.

The White House in May deployed the Lincoln and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf. The U.S. also plans to send 900 additional troops to the Mideast and extend the stay of another 600 as tens of thousands of others also are on the ground across the region.

The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump's withdrawal last year of the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran's uranium enrichment activities in return for lifting sanctions. Washington subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.

Trump has argued that the deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, or halt its support for militias in the Mideast.
But amid the escalation, the U.S. alleges without offering evidence that four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates were attacked with limpet mines.
Meanwhile, Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have launched co-ordinated drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. itself has made a point to show its arsenal in the region. On Sunday, the U.S. Air Force announced a B-52 conducted a training exercise with the Lincoln that included "simulated strike operations."

That came as Monday marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran's Islamic Republic. Thousands in Iran commemorate Khomeini's death by visiting his golden shrine south of Tehran. This year, Iranian military officials reportedly plan to guard it with HAWK surface-to-air missiles, the same kind the U.S. delivered to the Islamic Republic in the Iran-Contra scandal.

However, in recent days, the Trump administration has stressed it is ready to speak to the Iranians without preconditions. Iran in turn has demanded the U.S. show it respect.

Though officials repeatedly declined to discuss it, keeping the Lincoln out of the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf helps to de-escalate the situation. Transits through the strait, which at its narrowest point is just 33 kilometres (21 miles) wide, often see the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard's naval forces shadow American warships. They've also run snap missile launches, fired machine-guns and flown drones over American carriers.

To Iran, which shares the strait with Oman, they view the American naval presence akin to Iranian forces sailing into the Gulf of Mexico. But the U.S. Navy stresses the strait is an international waterway crucial to global shipping and energy supplies.

Asked about why the Lincoln hadn't gone through the strait, Rear Adm. John F.G. Wade, the commander of the carrier's strike group, said that his forces could "conduct my mission wherever and whenever needed." He declined to discuss any specifics about that mission, though he said Iran had presented "credible threats" to the region.
"They do impose a threat to our operations, but also to the safety and security of commerce and trade going through the Strait of Hormuz and that's why we are here,"
Wade said.

The Lincoln hosted journalists from the AP and other media outlets on Monday. They spent some four hours aboard the vessel after a two-hour flight from the United Arab Emirates and were greeted by camera-carrying sailors who documented every part of their time onboard.

The Lincoln famously served as the backdrop of then-President George W. Bush's May 2003 speech declaring combat operations over in Iraq, a banner reading "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" hanging behind him. The majority of the war's casualties came after.

On Monday, F/A-18s flew manoeuvrs over the carrier. Accompanying the Lincoln to the Mideast are three destroyers — the USS Bainbridge, the USS Mason and the USS Nitze — as well as the guided-missile cruiser the USS Leyte Gulf.

Capt. William Reed, the commander of the carrier's air wing, laughed off any notion the situation was stressful.
"It's just another day at the office," he said from the carrier's hangar as airmen worked on the ship's F/A-18 fighter jets.

Capt. Chris Follin, the commodore of the destroyer strike group travelling with the Lincoln, didn't express any concern, either.
"I wouldn't want to go against that," he said, nodding toward the ship's sailors and warplanes. "Our mission is just to keep the peace."
___
Associated Press writer Fay Abuelgasim contributed to this report.

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
US Aircraft Carrier Deployed over Iran Remains Outside Gulf
4 Jun 2019
The Canadian Press
View attachment 7510

A crew member signals as a pilot in an F/A-18 fighter jet is launched off the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier in the Arabian Sea, Monday, June 3, 2019. (AP Photo/Jon Gambrell)

A U.S. aircraft carrier ordered by the White House to rapidly deploy to the Mideast over a perceived threat from Iran remains outside of the Persian Gulf, so far avoiding any confrontation with Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces amid efforts to deescalate tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Officers aboard the USS Abraham Lincoln repeatedly told The Associated Press on Monday they could respond rapidly to any regional threat from their position, at the time some 320 kilometres (200 miles) off the eastern coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea.

However, after decades of American aircraft carriers sailing through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth of the Persian Gulf through which a third of all oil traded at sea passes, the U.S. Navy's decision to keep the Lincoln away is striking.

"You don't want to inadvertently escalate something," Capt. Putnam Browne, the commanding officer of the Lincoln, told the AP.

The White House in May deployed the Lincoln and B-52 bombers to the Persian Gulf. The U.S. also plans to send 900 additional troops to the Mideast and extend the stay of another 600 as tens of thousands of others also are on the ground across the region.

The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump's withdrawal last year of the U.S. from the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers that capped Iran's uranium enrichment activities in return for lifting sanctions. Washington subsequently re-imposed sanctions on Iran, sending its economy into freefall.

Trump has argued that the deal failed to sufficiently curb Iran's ability to develop nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles, or halt its support for militias in the Mideast.
But amid the escalation, the U.S. alleges without offering evidence that four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates were attacked with limpet mines.
Meanwhile, Yemen's Iranian-backed Houthi rebels have launched co-ordinated drone attacks on Saudi Arabia.

The U.S. itself has made a point to show its arsenal in the region. On Sunday, the U.S. Air Force announced a B-52 conducted a training exercise with the Lincoln that included "simulated strike operations."

That came as Monday marked the 30th anniversary of the death of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of Iran's Islamic Republic. Thousands in Iran commemorate Khomeini's death by visiting his golden shrine south of Tehran. This year, Iranian military officials reportedly plan to guard it with HAWK surface-to-air missiles, the same kind the U.S. delivered to the Islamic Republic in the Iran-Contra scandal.

However, in recent days, the Trump administration has stressed it is ready to speak to the Iranians without preconditions. Iran in turn has demanded the U.S. show it respect.

Though officials repeatedly declined to discuss it, keeping the Lincoln out of the Strait of Hormuz and Persian Gulf helps to de-escalate the situation. Transits through the strait, which at its narrowest point is just 33 kilometres (21 miles) wide, often see the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard's naval forces shadow American warships. They've also run snap missile launches, fired machine-guns and flown drones over American carriers.

To Iran, which shares the strait with Oman, they view the American naval presence akin to Iranian forces sailing into the Gulf of Mexico. But the U.S. Navy stresses the strait is an international waterway crucial to global shipping and energy supplies.

Asked about why the Lincoln hadn't gone through the strait, Rear Adm. John F.G. Wade, the commander of the carrier's strike group, said that his forces could "conduct my mission wherever and whenever needed." He declined to discuss any specifics about that mission, though he said Iran had presented "credible threats" to the region.
"They do impose a threat to our operations, but also to the safety and security of commerce and trade going through the Strait of Hormuz and that's why we are here,"
Wade said.

The Lincoln hosted journalists from the AP and other media outlets on Monday. They spent some four hours aboard the vessel after a two-hour flight from the United Arab Emirates and were greeted by camera-carrying sailors who documented every part of their time onboard.

The Lincoln famously served as the backdrop of then-President George W. Bush's May 2003 speech declaring combat operations over in Iraq, a banner reading "MISSION ACCOMPLISHED" hanging behind him. The majority of the war's casualties came after.

On Monday, F/A-18s flew manoeuvrs over the carrier. Accompanying the Lincoln to the Mideast are three destroyers — the USS Bainbridge, the USS Mason and the USS Nitze — as well as the guided-missile cruiser the USS Leyte Gulf.

Capt. William Reed, the commander of the carrier's air wing, laughed off any notion the situation was stressful.
"It's just another day at the office," he said from the carrier's hangar as airmen worked on the ship's F/A-18 fighter jets.

Capt. Chris Follin, the commodore of the destroyer strike group travelling with the Lincoln, didn't express any concern, either.
"I wouldn't want to go against that," he said, nodding toward the ship's sailors and warplanes. "Our mission is just to keep the peace."
___
Associated Press writer Fay Abuelgasim contributed to this report.

 

Khafee

Senior Moderator
Staff member
Joined
Nov 17, 2017
Messages
5,402
Reactions
2,429 237
Media: Israel and the United States will put up with Assad if Putin ‘surrenders’ Iran

Tuesday, June 4, 2019


The US President’s advisor on national security John Bolton, head of the Israeli National Security Council Meir Ben-Shabbat and his Russian counterpart Nikolai Patrushev will hold a meeting in Jerusalem in late June.

According to the Saudi newspaper Asharq Al-Awsat, one of the main topics discussed at the meeting will be Iran’s military presence in Syria.

According to the article, Israel and the United States intend to offer Russia a deal in which Washington and Jerusalem will recognize the legitimacy of the Assad regime and subsequently abolish all restrictive measures imposed on Damascus in exchange for Moscow participating in joint actions to contain Tehran.

As the newspaper notes, “the agenda of the meeting is based on” the mutual understanding reached between the two presidents, Donald Trump and Vladimir Putin, on the importance of ensuring Israel’s security and supporting Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. “



 

Top