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WAR Main Persian Gulf Trouble thread
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  1. #841


    Iran has accelerated production of enriched uranium: IAEA Iran announced it would suspend some commitments of the nuclear deal, including production of uranium

    The UN nuclear watchdog believes Iran has followed through with threats to increase enriched uranium production, IAEA chief Yukiya Amano told a press conference on Monday.

    The revelation comes as the International Atomic Energy Association said earlier on Monday it was worried about increasing tensions over Iran's nuclear drive following Tehran's announcement it would be disengaging in part from the 2015 nuclear deal with major powers.

    Iran recently announced it would be suspending some of its commitments in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aimed at curbing Iran's nuclear ambitions.

    Amano declined to elaborate on the rate of Iran's current uranium enrichment, a key aspect of Iran's nuclear program."The heads of the [Iranian] regime threaten the destruction of Israel daily. Iran is trying to establish itself militarily in Syria, and today it has been reported that it is accelerating its nuclear program," Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Monday, responding to remarks by the Iranian Foreign Minister as well as the IAEA report.

    "I repeat: we will not allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons that will endanger us and the entire world."

    On May 8--the one-year anniversary of President Trump's announcing the US would withdraw from the hard-earned deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran-- President Rouhani announced Iran would be partially withdrawing from the deal, threatening to take further steps within two months if they did not see a significant reduction in sanctions.

    Rouhani announced that Iran would immediately stop selling enriched uranium and heavy water to build up its stocks, two components of nuclear development.

  2. #842
    Iran’s foreign minister: Netanyahu wants to destroy us, and we will respond Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Monday that Tehran will not remain passive in response to what it says are threats from Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to destroy Iran.

    “You should ask a regime possessing nuclear weapons about how Netanyahu stands next to the Dimona (reactor), a nuclear weapons site, and says Iran should be destroyed,” Zarif said at a press conference in Tehran alongside visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas.

    Israel has long maintained an official position of ambiguity with regards to its nuclear capabilities. According to Iran’s Tasnim news agency, which provided an English translation of his remarks, Zarif was referring to comments Netanyahu made in August 2018 during a visit to Israel’s secretive nuclear site in Dimona.

    At the time Netanyahu warned that those who seek to destroy Israel put themselves in danger of suffering the same fate instead.

    The Iranian regime routinely threatens and anticipates the destruction of Israel, and funds and arms anti-Israel terrorist groups in Gaza, the West Bank and Lebanon. Iran’s Supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, frequently refers to Israel as a cancer that must be eradicated, and has set out detailed plans for its elimination.

    Israel has repeatedly warned that Iran is seeking a nuclear arsenal in order to destroy it, and Netanyahu has led international opposition to the 2015 P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran.“Of course, no one can act against our people without receiving a decisive response,” Zarif said.

    “Iran has never waged a war against any country and will not do so in future,” Zarif said, but warned that “if any country starts a war on Iran, it would definitely not be the one that ends it.”

    Though Zarif made a point to shake Maas’s hands in front of the cameras, his comments marked a sharp departure for the US-educated diplomat who helped secure the nuclear deal. They came after Maas spoke in support of Israel.

    “Israel’s right to exist is part of Germany’s founding principle and is completely non-negotiable,” Maas said. “It is a result of our history and it’s irrevocable and doesn’t just change because I am currently in Tehran.”

    Zarif then grew visibly angry, offering a list of Mideast problems ranging from al-Qaida to the bombing of Yemeni civilians he blamed on the US and its allies, including Saudi Arabia.

    “If one seeks to talk about instability in this region, those are the other parties who should be held responsible,” Zarif said.

    Zarif also offered a series of threats over the ongoing tensions gripping the Persian Gulf. The crisis, he said, stems from US President Donald Trump’s decision over a year ago to withdraw America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

    “Mr. Trump himself has announced that the US has launched an economic war against Iran,” Zarif said. “The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war.”

    In other comments, Zarif said the US and Israel are the root cause of problems in the Middle East and called Washington’s much-delayed peace plan, which the US has yet to unveil, a “crime against the Middle East.”

    For his part, Germany’s Maas insisted his country and other European nations want to find a way to salvage the nuclear deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.Maas said his visit was aimed at getting Iran to agree to stay in the deal. Germany is a signatory to the accord. Iranian state TV also reported that Maas would hold talks with President Hassan Rouhani during his visit.

    Earlier Monday Iran said that it has given up hope of Europe finding a way to bypass the severe US sanctions in order to maintain enough trade to keep the nuclear treaty in place.

    Meanwhile, a July 7 deadline looms for Europe to find a way to save the unraveling deal. Otherwise, Iran has warned it will resume enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels.

    “We no longer have any hope to see the INSTEX [Instrument for Supporting Trade Exchanges] in action,” said Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi.

    As the US has increased sanctions and companies have been pulling business out of Iran, the Europeans have been developing INSTEX, a complicated barter-type system to skirt direct financial transactions with Iran and so evade possible US sanctions.

    “If the mechanism was ever going to work, it would have done so by now,” Mousavi told a press conference according to a translation of his remarks provided by Iran’s Mehr news agency.

    “We expected the Europeans to fulfill their obligations to the JCPOA after the US’ withdrawal from the pact,” he said. “However, they either were not able to, or did not want to do so.”

    According Mehr, he was referring to a recent visit to Tehran by the German banker Per Fischer, who heads INSTEX.

    Mousavi added that in the 60 days since Iran laid down the deadline for increased uranium enrichment there has been no significant change.

    “We have not seen any practical move by the Europeans in the past days, and we hope that they will take effective actions in the remaining days,” Mousavi said.

    “Otherwise, we will take the second step,” he warned.

    “JCPOA is the base of our talks, and we will not discuss anything beyond that,” he said of the nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. “We strongly believe that the important matter here is the commitment of all the parties to the deal,” he added.

  3. #843
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    For links and images see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....

    Top Iran Diplomat Warns U.S. It Cannot ‘Expect to Stay Safe’

    By Amir Vahdat & Jon Gambrell
    June 10, 2019

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s foreign minister warned the U.S. on Monday that it “cannot expect to stay safe” after launching what he described as an economic war against Tehran, taking a hard-line stance amid a visit by Germany’s top diplomat seeking to defuse tensions.

    A stern-faced Mohammad Javad Zarif offered a series of threats over the ongoing tensions gripping the Persian Gulf. The crisis takes root in President Donald Trump’s decision over a year ago to withdraw America from Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. Trump also reinstated tough sanctions on Iran, targeting its oil sector.

    “Mr. Trump himself has announced that the U.S. has launched an economic war against Iran,” Zarif said. “The only solution for reducing tensions in this region is stopping that economic war.”

    Zarif also warned: “Whoever starts a war with us will not be the one who finishes it.”

    For his part, German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas insisted his country and other European nations want to find a way to salvage the nuclear deal, which saw Iran limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

    However, Europe has yet to be able to offer Iran a way to get around the newly imposed U.S. sanctions. Meanwhile, a July 7 deadline — imposed by Iran — looms for Europe to find a way to save the unraveling deal.

    Otherwise, Iran has warned it will resume enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels.

    Though Zarif made a point to shake Maas’ hands before the cameras, his comments marked a sharp departure for the U.S.-educated diplomat who helped secure the nuclear deal, alongside the relatively moderate President Hassan Rouhani.

    Zarif’s sharp tone likely comes from Iran’s growing frustration with Europe, as well as the ever-tightening American sanctions targeting the country. Iran’s national currency, the rial, is currently trading at nearly 130,000 to $1. It had been 32,000 to the dollar at the time of the 2015 deal. That has wiped away people’s earnings, as well as driven up prices on nearly every good in the country.

    European nations had pledged to create a mechanism called INSTEX, which would allow Iran to continue to trade for humanitarian goods despite American sanctions. However, that program has yet to really take off, something Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman noted before Zarif and Maas spoke to reporters.

    “We haven’t put much hope in INSTEX,” spokesman Abbas Mousavi said, according to Iranian state television. “If INSTEX was going to help us, it would have done so already.”

    Trump, in withdrawing from the deal, pointed that the accord had not limited Iran’s ballistic missile program, or addressed what American officials describe as Tehran’s malign influence across the wider Mideast.

    Back when the deal was struck in 2015, it was described it as a building block toward further negotiations with Iran, whose Islamic government has had a tense relationship with America since the 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and subsequent hostage crisis.

    Some members of Trump’s administration, particularly National Security Adviser John Bolton, previously supported the overthrow of Iran’s government. Trump, however, has stressed that he wants to talk with Iran’s clerical rulers.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will arrive in Tehran on Wednesday as an interlocutor for Trump.

    Japan had once purchased Iranian oil, but it has now stopped over American sanctions. However, Mideast oil remains crucial to Japan and recent threats from Iran to close off the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow mouth through which a third of all oil traded by sea passes, has raised concerns.

    The semi-official Tasnim news agency reported that Ali Asghar Zarean, deputy head of Iran’s nuclear department, said Tehran had increased the number of its centrifuges to 1,044 at the Fordo underground facility.

    Without elaborating on the model of centrifuges in Fordo, Zarean added it was 720 centrifuges before the 2015 nuclear deal.

    The head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Ali Akbar Salehi, said last month that Iran had begun installing a chain of 20 IR-6 centrifuges at its underground Natanz enrichment facility. Iranian officials say the IR-6 can enrich 10 times faster than an IR-1.

    In late May, the U.N. nuclear watchdog said that “up to 33” more advanced IR-6 centrifuges have been installed and that “technical discussions in relation to the IR-6 centrifuges are ongoing.”

    Under terms of the nuclear deal, Iran is allowed to test no more than 30 of the IR-6s once the deal has been in place for 8 1/2 years. The deal is murky about limits before that point, which will arrive in 2023.

    A centrifuge is a device that enriches uranium by rapidly spinning uranium hexafluoride gas. Under the atomic accord, Iran has been limited to operating 5,060 older models of IR-1 centrifuges.

    Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates.

  4. #844
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    For links and images see article source.....
    Posted for fair use.....

    World Middle East

    U.S. Commander Weighs an Expanded Mideast Force to Counter Iran
    Emergency deployment, seen as ‘stabilizing,’ suggests a larger U.S. role

    By Gordon Lubold
    June 9, 2019 4:08 p.m. ET

    ABOARD THE USS ABRAHAM LINCOLN IN THE NORTH ARABIAN SEA—The commander of U.S. forces in the Middle East said he may recommend a return to a larger U.S. military presence in the area after concluding that the deployment of this aircraft carrier and other capabilities helped curtail Iranian threats.

    Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, asked in early May that the carrier, bombers, troops and an antimissile system be sent to the region after learning of “specific” threats against U.S. and allied forces and interests in Iraq and elsewhere.

    The rapid U.S. buildup for now has stabilized the threat from Iran, Gen. McKenzie said during a swing through the region this week, but he said the dangers posed by Tehran remain real and an attack could be imminent.

    “We think this is having a very good stabilizing effect,” Gen. McKenzie said regarding the deployments.

    But Gen. McKenzie is considering expanding military capabilities to ensure the U.S. has a long-term, credible deterrence force in the region. Such a move would amount to a significant reversal in the U.S. global military posture, which has shifted away from the Middle East under the Trump administration’s national security strategy, which emphasizes risks from competition with Russia and China.

    Gen. McKenzie and others, while backing the national defense strategy issued as part of the national security strategy, said the threat posed by Iran may merit adjustments.
    Gen. Frank McKenzie, head of U.S. Central Command, speaking with an Air Force officer at al-Udeid Air Base, Doha, Qatar, on Friday. Photo: Gordon Lubold/The Wall Street Journal

    “We’re in the process of negotiating that,” Gen. McKenzie said, acknowledging the potential costs of a shift. “I think very carefully and long and hard before I talk about bringing additional resources into the theater. We are talking about it, but it’s going to be based on a running estimate of the situation as we go forward.”

    Iranian officials didn’t respond to a request for comment. Iran has said its military moves in the region have been defensive in nature and has accused the Trump administration of seeking a pretext for war, denouncing the U.S. deployments.

    Some U.S. officials also have said Iran’s moves may have been defensive.

    The U.S. military presence in the region has fluctuated since Iraq’s 1990 invasion of Kuwait. Most recently, the Pentagon has redeployed capabilities and troops away from the Middle East as it sought to pull away from the region’s ongoing conflicts.

    Several Patriot missile batteries were removed from Jordan, Kuwait and Bahrain last year, and aircraft carriers—for two decades an enduring presence in the Persian Gulf—no longer were regularly assigned to the region’s waters. Military forces slowly began to come out as well.

    The U.S. concurrently began to reimpose sanctions on Iran, then designated its elite military force, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a foreign terrorist organization, drawing threats of retaliation from Tehran. Gen. McKenzie said the reduced U.S. military footprint in the region may have enabled Iran to feel it could threaten the U.S. and its allies.

    Gen. McKenzie declined to specify the military resources he might seek. Any recommendation would be made through acting Secretary of Defense Pat Shanahan and in coordination with Gen. Joe Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, he said. Gen. Dunford is responsible for advising the White House.

    Gen. McKenzie arrived in the region last week, stopping in Iraq, Qatar and the United Arab Emirates and spending a night on the “Abe,” as this carrier is known.

    Gen. McKenzie spoke with the more than 6,000 sailors on the Abe. “I am the reason you are here tonight,” Gen. McKenzie said over a loudspeaker from the ship’s bridge. “I requested this ship because of ongoing tensions with Iran, and nothing says you’re interested in somebody than 90,000 tons of aircraft carrier and everything that comes with it.”

    He added, “My intent by bringing you in here was to stabilize the situation, let Iran know that now is not the time to do something goofy.”

    Since the carrier and other military capabilities arrived in early May, Tehran’s military has maintained “extremely high” levels of military preparedness, officials said, adding they continue to see activity from Iranian boats, submarines and unmanned aerial vehicles, but no attack has yet occurred.

    Despite the heightened Iranian military activity, the country’s regular military forces and the IRGC have continued to operate professionally and the interactions at sea have been uneventful, said Adm. John Wade, commander of the Lincoln strike group.

    “Since we’ve been operating in the region, we’ve had several interactions with Iranians,” he said. “To this point, all have been safe and professional—meaning, the Iranians have done nothing to impede our maneuverability or acted in a way which required us to take defensive measures.”

    The surge of U.S. deployments over the past month have meant an unexpected turn for U.S. military personnel. The U.S. bomber squadron arrived from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., about 48 hours after it was first told to deploy, officials said.

    The crew on the Lincoln before its deployment was scheduled to have a much-anticipated port call in Croatia, where many sailors had booked hotel rooms and some had planned “Game of Thrones” tours, as parts of the popular HBO show were filmed there.

    Instead, the Lincoln and its crew were dispatched from the Mediterranean Sea to the North Arabian, where some of the more than 40 F-18 Super Hornets aboard the carrier are now conducting “persistent presence” missions in international airspace near Iran. Others are conducting strike missions in Afghanistan, officials said.

    The Lincoln ultimately is scheduled to head to San Diego on a round-the-world deployment. But the uncertainty in the Middle East may mean it will stay in the region longer than planned.

    “It’s yet to be seen what the new normal is,” one military official said.

    Write to Gordon Lubold at

  5. #845
    Yemen's Houthi rebels launch attack drones into Saudi Arabia

    By The Associated Press
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — June 10, 2019, 10:47 PM ET

    Yemen's Houthi rebels have launched at least two drones targeting a southwest Saudi city that's home to an air base.

    The Houthis' Al-Masirah satellite news channel reported early Tuesday the rebels launched Qasef-2K drones to strike the city of Khamis Mushait

    The state-run Saudi Press Agency reported Tuesday, quoting military spokesman Col. Turki al-Maliki, that soldiers "intercepted" two drones launched by the Houthis.

    The Iranian-allied Houthis increasingly have targeted the kingdom with bomb-carrying drones.

    Khamis Mushait, some 815 kilometers (510 miles) southwest of the capital, Riyadh, is near the kingdom's border with Yemen

    A Saudi-led coalition launched a war against the Houthis in March 2015.

    Yemen's long-running war has become the world's worst humanitarian crisis. The fighting in the Arab world's poorest country has killed an estimated 60,000 people.

  6. #846
    Iran revokes New York Times correspondent's accreditation

    By Jon Gambrell, Associated Press
    DUBAI, United Arab Emirates — June 11, 2019, 1:17 AM ET

    Iran has revoked the press accreditation for The New York Times' correspondent based in Tehran without explanation, the newspaper reported Tuesday.

    While the newspaper said it remained hopeful Thomas Erdbrink soon would be allowed to work again, the revocation comes amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran stemming from President Donald Trump's withdrawal from Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers a year ago.

    Iran pulled Erdbrink's government-required authorization to work as a journalist four months ago, the Times said. He's been unable to work since February and the Times said it decided to go public with his situation "after recent speculation and comments on social media."

    "Officials of Iran's Foreign Ministry have repeatedly assured The Times that Mr. Erdbrink's credential would soon be restored but have offered no explanation for the delays or for why it was revoked," the Times reported , quoting international editor Michael Slackman. "He added that there are some indications this will be resolved soon."

    Iran's mission to the United Nations did not immediately respond to a request for comment. There was no immediate response in Iranian state-run media.

    Erdbrink, a Dutch national, previously worked as a correspondent for The Washington Post as well. He's married to Iranian photographer Newsha Tavakolian, who is represented by the Magnum photo agency.

    Both he and Tavakolian were the focus of "Our Man in Tehran," a 2018 documentary about his work and life as a Western journalist in Iran.

    Journalists in Iran face harassment from security services, while others have been imprisoned for their work. While local journalists face the brunt of that, foreign journalists in Tehran, especially those with Western ties, have been imprisoned as well.

    The last major case involved Iranian-American reporter Jason Rezaian of the Washington Post, who was convicted in an internationally criticized, closed-door espionage trial in 2015. A 2016 prisoner swap negotiated between Iran and the U.S. amid the start of the nuclear deal freed Rezaian and three other Iranian-Americans in exchange for pardons or charges being dropped against seven Iranians. That deal also saw the U.S. make a $400 million cash delivery to Iran.


    Follow Jon Gambrell on Twitter at .

  7. #847
    Iran Calls For 'Elimination' Of Dollar To Stop US 'Economic Terrorism'

    by Tyler Durden
    Zero Hedge
    Monday, 06/10/2019 - 23:25

    Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday that America's economic influence would be eliminated if countries halt the use of dollars in their international transactions, reported Sputnik.

    "America's power rests on the dollar; a great part of America's economic power will go away if countries eliminate the dollar from their economic systems," Zarif said at a school even in Tehran.

    President Trump has waged economic warfare on Iran ever since Washington withdrew from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (Iran nuclear deal). Washington has forced Iran's trade partners, who use dollars, to halt trade with Iran.

    "It amounts, by definition, to economic terrorism because the US is putting pressure in terms of what its president calls warfare on normal ordinary Iranians in order to change the policies of their government," he told reporters.

    Zarif isn't the only senior official in the world who has spoken about to dollar's demise; we reported last Wednseday that Russia and China are set to sign an agreement which would boost the use of their national currencies in bilateral and international trade, in an attempt to move away from the dollar.

    "It is planned that Russia and China will be developing bilateral payments in national currencies, encourage and expand the use of national currencies, particularly through the promotion of their use when signing international trade contracts. According to the draft agreement, the sides will also assume the required measures to lift barriers for payments in national currencies. -TASS

    De-dollarization efforts in Iran come against a new tranche of US sanctions on Tehran's petrochemical sector, targeting Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company.

    In response to worsening relations between Washington and Tehran, the US Navy's USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike and bomber groups were deployed to the Gulf to send Iran a powerful message.

    Iran has been preparing for de-dollarization for quite some time. Earlier this year, Iran announced that four of its banks had developed a gold-backed cryptocurrency called PayMon.

    Iran is also escalating its de-dollarization effort by seeking a bilateral rial-yuan agreement with China

    The writing is on the wall for dollar hegemony: Iran is leading the charge, intending to eliminate the dollar from its trade, a move that could potentially lead to a shooting war with the Americans.

  8. #848
    From: Iran Calls For 'Elimination' Of Dollar To Stop US 'Economic Terrorism'
    Attached Images

  9. #849
    ‏ @Intel_sky
    10h10 hours ago

    �� BREAKING: Houthis forces' drones carry out strikes on Saudi Arabia’s king Khalid airport in #Asir region.

  10. #850
    Join Date
    Jul 2004
    Tick, tick, some point these poor men cruise missiles/drones and ballistic missiles are going to land a solid hit on something and all of this thinly veiled deniability won't mean squat....

  11. #851
    EndGameWW3 Retweeted

    Zain Khan
    #BREAKING: #Iran's MOD has unveiled an indigenous air defense system “Khordad 15th” capable of hitting several targets with homegrown “Sayyad-3” missiles.
    Capable of intercepting 6 targets simultaneously, also detect stealth targets within a range of 85 KM & hit them in 45 KM.

    12:37 AM · Jun 11, 2019 ·

    Replying to
    a real army will never advertize the military macho for their enemies to see.
    This Tweet is unavailable

    Replying to
    How would they know how far it could detect a stealth target? Especially a modern US stealth aircraft. All they have to test with are homebrew "stealth" drones. They are making up numbers.

  12. #852
    Israel has been hitting Iranian sites in Syria during the last few weeks. A lot of Iranian drones have been destroyed etc.

  13. #853
    Yemen's Houthis attack Saudi Abha Airport with a cruise missile - Al Masirah TV

    June 11, 2019 / 8:18 PM / Updated an hour ago

    CAIRO (Reuters) - Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement carried out an attack on Abha Airport in Saudi Arabia with a cruise missile, the group’s Al-Masirah TV reported early on Wednesday.

    There was no Saudi confirmation of the attack.

    Reporting by Mohamed El-Sherif; Editing by Sandra Maler

  14. #854
    Join Date
    Oct 2018
    Pensacola, Florida.
    Quote Originally Posted by danielboon View Post
    EndGameWW3 Retweeted

    Zain Khan
    #BREAKING: #Iran's MOD has unveiled an indigenous air defense system “Khordad 15th” capable of hitting several targets with homegrown “Sayyad-3” missiles.
    Capable of intercepting 6 targets simultaneously, also detect stealth targets within a range of 85 KM & hit them in 45 KM.

    12:37 AM · Jun 11, 2019 ·

    Replying to
    a real army will never advertize the military macho for their enemies to see.
    This Tweet is unavailable

    Replying to
    How would they know how far it could detect a stealth target? Especially a modern US stealth aircraft. All they have to test with are homebrew "stealth" drones. They are making up numbers.
    Iran Unveils New Air Defence System Capable of Intercepting 6 Targets at Once - Reports
    17:08 09.06.2019(updated 17:18 09.06.2019)
    MOSCOW (Sputnik) - The Iranian Defence Ministry has presented its new domestically-designed air defence system Khordad 15 capable of shooting down six targets at the same time, the Tasnim news agency reported, citing Iranian Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Amir Hatami.

    The new air defence system, equipped with phased array radar and independent launch pads, can detect both warplanes and intruding drones within a range of 150 kilometres (93 miles) and track them at a range of 120 kilometres, according to the Tasnim news agency.

    The Iranian defence minister also stated that the Khordad 15 system paired with Sayyad-3 long-range missiles, was capable of detecting targets within a range of 85 kilometres and hitting them at a range of 45 kilometres. The new air defence system can spot six targets simultaneously and due to its high-level mobility the military can prepare to open fire in less than 5 minutes, the minister noted.
    As for the maximum height of the strike, Hatami stressed that Khordad 15 was able to shoot down targets at 27 kilometres off the ground.

    The new system has already been deployed to Iranian Air Defense Forces, the news outlet stated.

    Description: The Khordad 15 is a ground-based, mobile air defense system developed by the Islamic Republic of Iran and designed to take out aircraft and unmanned air vehicles (UAVs) at ranges in excess of 100 kilometers. The weapon system comprises phased array radar capable of detecting airborne targets at up to 150 kilometers and tracking them at distances of up to 120 kilometers. Besides, the Khordad 15 includes an array of independent missile launch systems firing the Sayyad 3 long-range surface-to-air missile with a maximum range of 120 kilometers and a maximum flight altitude of 27 kilometers. The new air defense system can engage up to six targets simultaneously while being capable of shooting them down in less than five minutes after detection. Iran unveiled the new Khordad 15 high mobility air defense system in June 2019.

    Engaged Aerial Targets: 6
    Max Detection Range: 150 kilometer
    Max Tracking Range: 120 kilometer
    Target's Max Altitude: 27,000 meter (88,583 foot)
    Weapon Max Range: 120,000 meter
    Reaction Time: 5 minute (300 second)

    I only pasted such because it was brought up,

  15. #855
    The Spectator Index

    Follow Follow @spectatorindex
    JUST IN: Platform on Iran's South Pars gas field, the largest in the world, has caught fire.

  16. #856


    Syria Refuses Access to Chemical Weapons Investigators, Watchdog Says Syrian officials have refused access to a newly-created chemical weapons investigation team formed to identify culprits behind attacks with banned munitions, the organisation's top official said in remarks published on Wednesday.

    Member countries of the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) voted last year to create the Investigation and Identification Team (IIT), a decision that was opposed by Damascus and its ally Russia.

    "Syria refuses to recognise the decision and to deal with any of its subsequent implications and effects," OPCW head Fernando Arias told member states.

    He said Syria's deputy foreign minister, Faysal Mekdad, had informed the OPCW in writing of the decision not to issue travel visas to members of the investigation team.

    "Additionally, I received two letters dated 9 May and 14 May from the vice-minister, informing of Syria's objection to grant the newly appointed members of the IIT access to any confidential information concerning the Syrian chemical dossier" Arias said.

    With 193 member states, the OPCW, based in The Hague in the Netherlands, is the U.N.-supported global body established to rid the world of chemcial weapons.

    Syria joined the OPCW in 2013, agreeing to give weapons inspectors access, in a move that averted air strikes threatened by then-U.S. President Barack Obama.A joint United Nations-OPCW investigation team (JIM) concluded that Syrian forces used banned nerve agent sarin and chlorine barrel bombs, while militants with Islamic State had used mustard gas.

    The new investigation team was formed after Russia vetoed a resolution to extend the mandate of the JIM in November 2017.

  17. #857
    ������ ���������� �������� Retweeted

    ��️*��parallel_universe ��️*��- Dan 162

    38m38 minutes ago
    Reports of an incident on the Lebanese border in the area of the Shebaa farms.
    #Israel #Lebanon

  18. #858
    Urgent | Trump Congress notifies its two chambers of deploying a limited number of US military personnel to Yemen fight al-Qaeda

    5:26 PM · Jun 12, 2019 ·

  19. #859
    Japan's Abe warns of armed conflict amid soaring U.S.-Iran tension.

    7:36 PM · Jun 12, 2019

  20. #860
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Old Holborn✘
    ‏ @Holbornlolz
    12m12 minutes ago

    Something appears to be kicking off in the sea of #Oman

    Amj@d Amir
    ‏ @amjadamirch
    4m4 minutes ago

    Two giant oil tankers targeted in Sea of #Oman, several explosions reported and distress calls have been issued.
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  21. #861
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Waleed Parwez Choudhry
    ‏ @waleedpchoudhry
    1m1 minute ago

    An incident has occurred onboard a ship stationed in the Gulf of Oman. Reports coming in of explosions aboard two oil supertankers. SOS sent by the two ships to Oman 🇴🇲 and Pakistan 🇵🇰. This comes in context of rising US-Iran tensions. #Iran #US #Pakistan #Oman
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  22. #862
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Katie McQue
    ‏ @katiemcque
    5m5 minutes ago

    The two vessels involved in the incident in the Gulf of #Oman are the Front Altair (Marshall Islands flag) and Kokuka Courageous (Panama Flag).
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  23. #863
    Join Date
    May 2004
    Katie McQue
    ‏ @katiemcque
    now37 seconds ago

    No verified pics yet but by comparison of severity, in the incident on May 12 involving the 4 vessels (2 KSA, 1 UAE, 1 Norway) - none of those ships were evacuated. Crew stayed onboard throughout investigation. These 2 ships today were evacuated. This is much bigger #oott #Oman
    Nana to two "little bits", one not-so-little "little bit" and one 6' college bound "little bit"

  24. #864
    Join Date
    Jun 2019
    Thank you Nana and Mr Boon. Been a long time follower.

  25. #865
    Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman - shipping firms

    Lisa Barrington, Rania El Gamal
    June 13, 2019 / 2:48 AM / Updated 23 minutes ago

    DUBAI (Reuters) - Two oil tankers were hit in suspected attacks in the Gulf of Oman, shipping firms and industry sources said on Thursday, sending oil prices as much as 4% higher a month after four other tankers were damaged by limpet mines in the region.

    One of the tankers, the Front Altair, carrying a cargo of petrochemical feedstock, was ablaze in waters between Gulf Arab states and Iran.

    Iran’s state news agency said it had sunk, although the Norwegian owner had said it was afloat and its crew were safe. The other tanker was adrift without any crew.

    The Bahrain-based U.S. Navy Fifth Fleet said it was assisting the tankers after receiving distress calls. The United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations, part of Britain’s Royal Navy, said it was investigating with its partners.

    Full details about Thursday’s incident were not immediately clear. The firm which chartered one of the vessels said it suspected a torpedo had hit the ship, while a source said the other might have been damaged by a magnetic mine.

    An investigation blamed limpet mines for last month’s attacks on four tankers. Saudi Arabia and the United States blamed Iran for those attacks, a charge Tehran denies.

    Oil prices surged as much as 4% after Thursday’s news. The region was already on edge following attacks in May on Gulf oil assets that occurred amid a dispute between Iran and the United States over Tehran’s nuclear programme.

    The Gulf of Oman lies at the entrance to the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway through which a fifth of global oil consumption passes from Middle East producers.

    There was no immediate confirmation of Thursday’s incident from authorities in Oman or the United Arab Emirates, in whose territorial waters the four tankers were hit in May.

    Saudi Arabia and the UAE have said attacks on oil assets in the Gulf pose a risk to global oil supplies and regional security.

    (GRAPHIC: Position of evacuated tankers in Gulf of Oman -


    Bernhard Schulte Shipmanagement said its tanker Kokuka Courageous was damaged in a “suspected attack” that breached the hull above the water line while transporting methanol from Saudi Arabia to Singapore.

    “The ship is safely afloat,” it said in a statement, adding that its crew were safe with one minor injury reported.

    A shipping broker said there had been an explosion “suspected from an outside attack” that may have involved a magnetic mine on the Kokuka Courageous. “Kokuka Courageous is adrift without any crew on board,” the source said.

    Japanese shipping firm Kokuka Sangyo, owner of the Kokuka Courageous, said its ship had been hit twice over a three-hour period.

    Taiwan’s state oil refiner CPC said tanker Front Altair, owned by Norway’s Frontline, was “suspected of being hit by a torpedo” around 0400GMT, as it carried 75,000 tonnes of the petrochemical feedstock naphtha to Taiwan. It said the crew were safe.

    Frontline said its vessel was on fire, but still afloat, although the Iranian news agency IRNA later said the vessel had sunk. However, there was no immediate independent confirmation.

    The Front Altair loaded its cargo from Ruwais in the UAE, according to trade sources and shipping data on Refinitiv Eikon.

    Another source said the Front Altair reported a fire caused by a “surface attack” and that the crew had been picked up by nearby vessel Hyundai Dubai.

    Iran’s state news agency IRNA reported that Iranian search and rescue teams had picked up 44 sailors from two damaged tankers and had taken them to the Iranian port of Jask.

    Thursday’s suspected attacks came a day after Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthis fired a missile on an airport in Saudi Arabia, injuring 26 people. The Houthis also claimed an armed drone strike last month on Saudi oil pumping stations.

    Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, speaking during a visit to Iran on Wednesday, urged all sides not to let tensions escalate. He met Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Thursday.

    Reporting by Koustav Samanta and Jessica Jaganathan in Singapore, Liang-Sa Loh and Yimou Lee in Taipei, Terje Solsvik in Oslo and Jonathan Saul in London; Editing by Richard Pullin and Edmund Blair and Jon Boyle

  26. #866
    From: Two oil tankers struck in suspected attacks in Gulf of Oman - shipping firms

    Position of Tankers when hit
    Attached Images

  27. #867
    Oil Jumps After Tanker Attacks in Middle East; Brent crude soars more than 3%, a rebound from heavy selling pressure a day earlier

    Thursday, June 13, 2019, 8:02 AM ET
    By David Hodari and Sarah McFarlane
    Wall Street Journal

    Crude prices climbed sharply Thursday after an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, close to the Strait of Hormuz, where over a third of the world's shipped oil passes through.

    Brent crude, the global benchmark, was up 3.4% at $61.95 a barrel on London's ICE Futures exchange. On the New York Mercantile Exchange , West Texas Intermediate futures were 2.9% higher at $52.63 a barrel.

    The U.S. Navy said it was assisting two tankers after the attack. The development came amid heightened tensions between the U.S. and Iran in recent months, with Washington ratcheting up sanctions on Tehran in early May, aiming to reduce oil exports to zero.

    "The oil market was believing that geopolitical tensions between Middle Eastern countries had subsided, but they've re-emerged here, increasing risk premium and fears of a supply shock," said Geordie Wilkes, head of research at Sucden Financial Research.

    Four vessels in the same region were attacked in May, which Washington accused Iran of being behind. Iran has denied involvement. Oil prices also rallied following those attacks, along with assaults on Saudi Arabia's East-West pipeline, although analysts said the geopolitical tensions were offset by concerns about a global economic slowdown and its impact on oil demand.

    Thursday's oil rally marked a rebound from heavy selling pressure Wednesday, which followed the U.S. Energy Information Administration 's reduction of its oil demand growth forecasts and bearish inventory data.

    For now, analysts don't expect any significant change to trade flows, even if insurance and shipping costs were to rise after the latest incident, due to the potentially greater costs of finding substitutes to Middle Eastern oil grades shipped from the region.

    "Unless you see concrete cost implications or disruption risk, because the alternatives are likely to be more costly or come with problems in terms of the quality differences, there's quite a high hurdle for buyers to make changes," said Richard Mallinson , analyst at consulting firm Energy Aspects .

    Shipowners could charge an additional risk premium for their tankers to be used in the region given the recent attacks.

    "The insurance premium will go up I'm sure, and shipping rates will follow suit," said Peter Hinchliffe, a U.K.-based independent marine consultant and former secretary-general of the International Chamber of Shipping , a trade body representing shipowners.

    Write to David Hodari at and Sarah McFarlane at

  28. #868
    Iran responsible for attack on two tankers in Gulf of Oman: Pompeo

    By luis martinez and elizabeth mclaughlin ABC News
    June 13, 2019, 2:39 PM ET

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said Iran is responsible for the attack on two commercial tanker ships sailing in international waters in the Gulf of Oman earlier in the day.

    "It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today.

    This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high-degree of sophistication," Pompeo told reporters at the State Department.

    "Iran is lashing out because the regime wants our successful maximum pressure campaign lifted," he said, adding that the U.S. "will defend its forces, interests and stand with our partners and allies to safeguard global commerce and regional stability."

    One ship reportedly was on fire and the other suffered damage. Meanwhile, 21 mariners from one of the ships were taken aboard a U.S. Navy destroyer after having abandoned the damaged ship. U.S. sailors were said to have spotted an unexploded mine attached to that ship's hull, a U.S. official told ABC News. The 23 mariners from the other vessel were taken to Iran.

    The attacks come at a time of heightened tensions between the United States and Iran after an American aircraft carrier was deployed to the Middle East in what the U.S. said was an effort to deter possible Iranian attacks against U.S. forces or interests in the region.

    U.S. officials have publicly blamed Iran for explosive sabotage attacks using mines in mid-May against four commercial vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates.

    “We are aware of the reported attack on shipping vessels in the Gulf of Oman,” said Cmdr. Josh Frey, a spokesman for the U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet. “U.S. Naval Forces in the region received two separate distress calls at 6:12 a.m. local (Bahrain) time and a second one at 7:00 a.m. U.S. Navy ships are in the area and are rendering assistance.”

    "A Navy P-8 surveillance aircraft is also providing support," a spokesperson for U.S. Central Command said.

    The MT Kokuka Courageous was first to issue a distress call, and its crew of 21 mariners abandoned ship. At the time of the attack, the ship had been transiting through the Gulf of Oman in international waters, close to Iran.

    A nearby Dutch tug picked up the mariners and then transferred them to the U.S. Navy destroyer USS Bainbridge that had been in the vicinity and also responded to the distress call, according to an official. The crew of the Bainbridge spotted an unexploded mine attached to the side of the Kokuka Courageous, another official said.

    The mariners from the Courageous are currently aboard the Bainbridge being cared for as the destroyer remains at that location. A spokesperson for BSM Ship Management, which own the Courageous, said the crew was from the Philippines, and they have notified their families that they are safe aboard the U.S. Navy ship.

    About 45 minutes later distress calls were received from the MT Front Altair, a commercial ship that was a significant distance away from the Kokuka Courageous said the official. The 23 mariners aboard that ship also abandoned ship.

    The Seoul-based Hyundai Merchant Marine Co. confirmed in a statement that its ship the Hyundai Dubai had rescued the 23 mariners from the MT Front Altair and then turned them over to an Iranian rescue boat.

    According to the Associated Press, both ships were bound for Japan when they were attacked, the Front Altair was carrying a cargo of naptha, a flammable hydrocarbon and the Kokuka Courageous was carrying a cargo of methanol.

    Photos showed the MT Front Altair aflame with smoke billowing from the side of the ship.

    The attacks come almost a month after four commercial freighters were damaged by explosive sabotage attacks off the coast of the United Arab Emirates. The United States has publicly blamed Iran for placing magnetic explosives to the ships’ hulls, subsequent explosions left 5 to 10 foot gashes in the ships along their waterline.

    Prior to that attack there had been sightings of about 20 Iranian fast attack vessels moving through the Strait of Hormuz to the general area where those attacks occurred, said one U.S. official.

    That attacks came nearly a week after the United States had accelerated the deployment to the Middle East of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and sent B-52 bombers to deter possible Iranian attacks to U.S. forces and interests in the region. The Lincoln was in port in Oman, but pulled out back into open waters on Thursday morning, an official said.

    Gen. Kenneth McKenzie, the commander of U.S. Central Command, told reporters that the deployment had led Iran to “step back and recalculate” though the U.S. still saw “possible imminent threats.”

    Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister tweeted that the timing of attack on the tankers was suspicious because it occurred during a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Ayatollah Khameini, Iran's supreme leader.

    "Suspicious doesn't begin to describe what likely transpired this morning," he tweeted.

    Earlier, Khameini had said during his meeting with Abe that that while Tehran doesn't want an atomic bomb, "America could not do anything" to stop Iran if it did.

    ABC's Zoe Magee contributed to this report.

  29. #869
    Oil tanker owners DHT and Heidmar halt new bookings to Mid-East Gulf

    June 13, 2019 / 8:02 AM / Updated 13 hours ago

    LONDON, June 13 (Reuters) - Oil tanker owners DHT Holdings and Heidmar have suspended new bookings to the Mid-East Gulf, three ship brokers said, following suspected attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday.

    DHT has a large fleet of Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) and Heidmar has a wide range of oil tankers. One source said they had suspended offerings for their Suezmax vessels, capable of carrying 1 million barrels and their VLCCs

    The two companies did not immediately respond to requests for comment.

    (Reporting By Ron Bousso and Julia Payne, additional reporting by Victoria Klesty in Oslo; Editing by Kevin Liffey)

  30. #870
    ELINT News
    ‏ @ELINTNews
    41m41 minutes ago

    ELINT News Retweeted المسيرة - عاجل

    #BREAKING: Reports Iranian-backed Houthi Qasef-2K suicide drones launch attack on Abha Airport in Saudi Arabia just 48 hours after cruise missile attack on same airport wounded 26

    ELINT News
    ‏ @ELINTNews
    26m26 minutes ago

    #UPDATE: Looks like operations at Abha Airport in southern Saudi Arabia have been suspended while it is under Houthi drone attack, number of civilian airliners in holding patterns above the airport right now

  31. #871
    UK blames Iran for oil tanker attacks: government source

    June 13, 2019 / 6:43 PM / Updated 2 hours ago

    LONDON (Reuters) - Britain shares the U.S. government’s assessment that Iran is to blame for two attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, a government source said.

    “We agree with it,” a source at Britain’s foreign ministry said, when asked about the U.S. assessment, declining to give further details

    U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters earlier on Thursday that the U.S. government believed Iran was to blame, based on the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, and other factors.

    Reporting by David Milliken; Editing by Peter Cooney

  32. #872
    Quote Originally Posted by northern watch View Post
    Iran responsible for attack on two tankers in Gulf of Oman: Pompeo

    By luis martinez and elizabeth mclaughlin ABC News
    June 13, 2019, 2:39 PM ET

    Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday said Iran is responsible for the attack on two commercial tanker ships sailing in international waters in the Gulf of Oman earlier in the day.

    "It is the assessment of the United States government that the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for the attacks that occurred in the Gulf of Oman today.

    This assessment is based on intelligence, the weapons used, the level of expertise needed to execute the operation, recent similar Iranian attacks on shipping, and the fact that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources and proficiency to act with such a high-degree of sophistication," Pompeo told reporters at the State Department.
    Quote Originally Posted by northern watch View Post
    UK blames Iran for oil tanker attacks: government source

    June 13, 2019 / 6:43 PM / Updated 2 hours ago

    LONDON (Reuters) - Britain shares the U.S. government’s assessment that Iran is to blame for two attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on Thursday, a government source said.

    “We agree with it,” a source at Britain’s foreign ministry said, when asked about the U.S. assessment, declining to give further details
    We'll see - I am not convinced - Iran is not the only player with sophisticated weaponry in that region, nor the only player that might seek such mayhem.

    Cui bono?

    "Do not go gentle into that good night.
    Rage, rage against the dying of the light."

    — Dylan Thomas, "Do Not Go Gentle Into That Good Night"

  33. #873
    Iran fast-boats preventing towing of damaged Altair tanker -source

    June 14, 2019 / 1:44 PM / Updated an hour ago

    WASHINGTON, June 14 (Reuters) - Iranian military fast-boats in the Gulf of Oman are preventing two privately owned tug boats from towing away an oil tanker damaged in attacks on Thursday, a U.S. official said on Friday, speaking on condition of anonymity.

    The U.S. official did not say how the United States knew of the reported standoff between the Iranian fast-boats and the tug boats, which were trying to tie up and tow away the Norwegian-owned Front Altair. The United States blames Iran for Thursday’s attacks against the Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous

    Tehran denies the accusations.

    (Reporting by Phil Stewart Editing by James Dalgleish)

  34. #874
    Trump blames Iran for tanker attacks, fears of confrontation rise

    Parisa Hafezi, Makini Brice
    June 14, 2019 / 6:27 AM / Updated 9 minutes ago

    DUBAI / WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump blamed Iran on Friday for attacks on two oil tankers at the entrance to the Gulf despite Tehran’s denials, raising fears of a confrontation in the vital oil shipping route.

    Iran has dismissed earlier U.S. charges that it was behind Thursday’s attacks that crippled two tankers. It has previously suggested it could block the Strait of Hormuz, the main route out for Middle Eastern oil, if its own exports were halted.

    The blasts followed similar attacks a month earlier on four tankers, which Washington also blamed on Tehran.

    (GRAPHIC: Attacks in Gulf of Oman -

    They come at a time of escalating tension between the two countries. Last month the United States sharply tightened economic sanctions against Iran, which in response has threatened to step up its nuclear activity.

    “Iran did do it and you know they did it because you saw the boat,” Trump told Fox News.

    He was referring to a video released on Thursday by the U.S. military which said it showed Iran’s Revolutionary Guards were behind the blasts that struck the Norwegian-owned Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous in the Gulf of Oman, at the mouth of the Gulf.

    Iran said the video proved nothing and that it was being made into a scapegoat. “These accusations are alarming,” Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi said.

    Iran has accused the United States and its regional allies such as Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates of “warmongering” by making accusations against it.

    Asked how he planned to address Tehran and prevent any further incidents, Trump told Fox News: “We’re going to see.” He also said any move to close the Strait of Hormuz would not last long.

    Nevertheless, Trump, who last year pulled the United States out of an agreement between world powers and Tehran to curb Iran’s nuclear programme in return for the lifting of sanctions, said that he was open to negotiations with Iran.

    Iran has repeatedly said it will not re-enter talks with the United States unless it reverses Trump’s decision to withdraw from the nuclear deal.

    Tehran and Washington have both said they have no interest in starting a war. But this has done little to assuage concerns that the two arch foes could stumble into a conflict.

    (GRAPHIC:Position of tankers attacked in Gulf of Oman -


    Oil prices rose about 1% on Friday, reflecting the jitters. Insurance costs for ships sailing through the Middle East have jumped by at least 10% after the attacks, ship insurers said.

    U.N. Secretary-General Antonio Guterres called on Friday for an independent investigation of the attacks. He told the U.N. Security Council on Thursday the world cannot afford “a major confrontation in the Gulf region.”

    The tanker attacks took place while Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of Japan - a big buyer of Iranian oil until it was forced by the new U.S. sanctions to stop - was visiting Tehran on a peacemaking mission, bringing a message from Trump.

    Iran dismissed Trump’s message, details of which were not made public. “I do not see Trump as worthy of any message exchange, and I do not have any reply for him, now or in future,” Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said.

    Trump and Abe discussed the oil tanker attacks in a phone call on Friday, the White House said.

    The U.S. military said black-and-white footage it filmed from a U.S. aircraft showed Iran’s Guards on a patrol boat drawing up to the Kokuka Courageous and removing an unexploded limpet mine from its hull.

    The Japanese-owned tanker, abandoned by its crew, was being towed to a port in the United Arab Emirates on Friday, after a Dutch firm said it had been appointed to salvage the ships.

    The second tanker, the Front Altair, which was set ablaze by a blast, was still languishing at sea, although the fire that had charred the hull had been put out.

    Iranian military fast-boats in the Gulf of Oman were preventing two privately owned tug boats from towing away the Front Altair, a U.S. official said on Friday.

    China, the European Union and others have called for restraint from all sides. In a notable signal that close U.S. allies are wary of Washington’s position, Germany said the U.S. video was not enough to apportion blame for Thursday’s attack.

    Last month Washington scrapped waivers that had allowed some countries to continue importing Iranian oil, effectively ordering all countries to blacklist Iran or face sanctions themselves.

    Iran’s crude exports fell to about 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) in May from 2.5 million bpd in April 2018, starving Iran’s economy of its main source of revenue.

    Iran says it is still abiding by the terms of the nuclear deal, but cannot do so indefinitely unless it receives some of the economic benefits that were promised.

    Last month it said it would boost enrichment of uranium, a move that could potentially lead to it building up a stockpile prohibited under the deal.

    Washington has also blamed Iran or its proxies for attacks on May 12 that crippled four oil tankers in the same area, and has said Tehran was behind May 14 drone strikes on two Saudi oil-pumping stations. Tehran has denied all those charges.

    There have been conflicting accounts of the cause of Thursday’s blasts. An initial report that Kokuka Courageous was struck by a torpedo was dismissed by a source familiar with the issue. The owner of the tanker, which carried methanol, later said it was hit by two “flying objects”.

    Iranian TV showed 23 crew in Iran believed to be from Front Altair on Friday, and said its experts would assess whether they could return to the ship. The crew from Kokuka Courageous were picked up and handed to a U.S. Navy ship on Thursday.

    The Trump administration said in May it would send troops and other forces to the Middle East, citing Iranian threats, a move Tehran has called “psychological warfare”.

    The administration argues that the 2015 nuclear deal, negotiated under Trump’s predecessor Barack Obama, was too limited, and says re-imposing sanctions will force Tehran back to the table to make more concessions.

    Most U.S. allies in Europe and Asia disagree and say pulling out of the deal was a mistake that will empower hardliners in Iran and hurt the pragmatic faction that promised Iranians economic benefits in return for opening up to the world.

    Reporting by Parisa Hafez, Maher Chmaytelli and Ghaida Ghantous in Dubai, Makini Brice, Susan Heavey, Phil Stewart and Lesley Wroughton in Washington; Bart Meijer in Amsterdam; Victoria Klesty in Oslo and Jonathan Saul in London;

    Writing by Edmund Blair, Peter Graff and Alistair Bell; Editing by Janet Lawrence, Gareth Jones and James Dalgleish

  35. #875
    Hans de Vreij
    þ @hdevreij
    4h4 hours ago

    The Japanese tanker Kokuka Courageous, which was hit yesterday with a limpet mine, started moving again, albeit slowly. Current speed 4 knots, heading towards the Strait of Hormuz or Al Fujairah.

  36. #876
    Jennifer Griffin
    þVerified account @JenGriffinFNC
    47m47 minutes ago

    USS Mason, guided missile destroyer, has now arrived on station to assist USS Bainbridge and protect the stricken Japanese oil tanker, Kokuka Courageous. Iranian tugboat tried to approach Japanese tanker but waved off by US Navy warship.

    Jennifer Griffin
    þVerified account @JenGriffinFNC
    2h2 hours ago

    4 tug boats contracted to pull the Norwegian-owned tanker, Front Altair, one of two tankers damaged in an attack Thursday, have been prevented from doing so by Iranian gunboats that have surrounded the stricken tanker: US defense official.

  37. #877
    Lucas Tomlinson
    þVerified account @LucasFoxNews
    54m54 minutes ago

    NEW: In separate incident Iranian tugboat came out this morning and attempted to tow second tanker--Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous--but was waived off by USS Bainbridge, who earlier rescued 21 sailors from vessel Thursday after the crew of 21 abandoned ship after explosion.

    Lucas Tomlinson
    þVerified account @LucasFoxNews
    6h6 hours ago

    Pentagon now believes crew of Norwegian-owned tanker Front Altair detained by Iran. US officials say crew first rescued by merchant vessel, Hyundai Dubai, but Iranian gunboats surrounded ship demanding crew. Captain ordered crew to surrender. 23 crew members being held in Iran.

  38. #878
    Treasury Department
    ‏Verified account @USTreasury
    Jun 12

    Treasury targets IRGC-Qods Force financial conduit in Iraq for trafficking weapons worth hundreds of millions of dollars

  39. #879
    Middle East attack jolts oil-import dependent Asia

    By Foster Klug, Associated Press
    SEOUL, South Korea — June 14, 2019, 10:21 AM ET

    The blasts detonated far from the bustling megacities of Asia, but the attack this week on two tankers in the strategic Strait of Hormuz hits at the heart of the region's oil import-dependent economies.

    While the violence only directly jolted two countries in the region — one of the targeted ships was operated by a Tokyo-based company, a nearby South Korean-operated vessel helped rescue sailors — it will unnerve major economies throughout Asia.

    Officials, analysts and media commentators on Friday hammered home the importance of the Strait of Hormuz for Asia, calling it a crucial lifeline, and there was deep interest in more details about the still-sketchy attack and what the United States and Iran would do in the aftermath.

    In the end, whether Asia shrugs it off, as some analysts predict, or its economies shudder as a result, the attack highlights the widespread worries over an extreme reliance on a single strip of water for the oil that fuels much of the region's shared progress.

    Here is a look at how Asia is handling rising tensions in a faraway but economically crucial area, compiled by AP reporters from around the world:



    The oil, of course.

    Japan, South Korea and China don't have enough of it; the Middle East does, and much of it flows through the narrow Strait of Hormuz.

    This could make Asia vulnerable to supply disruptions from U.S.-Iran tensions or violence in the strait.

    The attack comes months after Iran threatened to shut down the strait to retaliate against U.S. economic sanctions, which tightened in April when the Trump administration decided to end sanctions exemptions for the five biggest importers of Iranian oil, which included China and U.S. allies South Korea and Japan.

    Japan is the world's fourth-largest consumer of oil — after the United States, China and India — and relies on the Middle East for 80% of its crude oil supply.

    The 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster led to a dramatic reduction in Japanese nuclear power generation and increased imports of natural gas, crude oil, fuel oil and coal.

    In an effort to comply with Washington, Japan says it no longer imports oil from Iran. Officials also say Japanese oil companies are abiding by the embargo because they don't want to be sanctioned. But Japan still gets oil from other Middle East nations using the Strait of Hormuz for transport.

    South Korea, the world's fifth largest importer of crude oil, also depends on the Middle East for the vast majority of its supplies.

    Last month, South Korea halted its Iranian oil imports as its waivers from U.S. sanctions on Teheran expired, and it has reportedly tried to increase oil imports from other countries such as Qatar and the United States.

    China, the world's largest importer of Iranian oil, "understands its growth model is vulnerable to a lack of energy sovereignty," according to market analyst Kyle Rodda of IG, an online trading provider, and has been working over the last several years to diversify its suppliers. That includes looking to Southeast Asia and, increasingly, some oil-producing nations in Africa.



    Asia and the Middle East are linked by a flow of oil, much of it coming by sea and dependent on the Strait of Hormuz, which is the passage between the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman.

    Iran threatened to close the strait in April. It also appears poised to break a 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, an accord that U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from last year. The deal saw Tehran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of crippling sanctions.

    For both Japan and South Korea, there is extreme political unease to go along with the economic worries stirred by the violence in the strait.

    Both nations want to nurture their relationship with Washington, a major trading partner and military protector. But they also need to keep their economies humming, which requires an easing of tension between Washington and Tehran.

    Japan's conservative prime minister, Shinzo Abe, was in Tehran, looking to do just that, when the attack happened.

    His limitations in settling the simmering animosity, however, were highlighted by both the timing of the attack and a comment by Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who told Abe that he had nothing to say to Trump.

    In Japan, the world's third largest economy, the tanker attack was front-page news.

    The Nikkei newspaper, Japan's major business daily, said that if mines are planted in the Strait of Hormuz, "oil trade will be paralyzed." The Tokyo Shimbun newspaper called the Strait of Hormuz Japan's "lifeline."

    Although the Japanese economy and industry minister has said there will be no immediate effect on stable energy supplies, the Tokyo Shimbun noted "a possibility that Japanese people's lives will be affected."

    South Korea, worried about Middle East instability, has worked to diversify its crude sources since the energy crises of the 1970s and 1980s.



    Analysts said it's highly unlikely that Iran would follow through on its threat to close the strait. That's because a closure could also disrupt Iran's exports to China, which has been working with Russia to build pipelines and other infrastructure that would transport oil and gas into China.

    For Japan, the attack in the Strait of Hormuz does not represent an imminent threat to Tokyo's oil supply, said Paul Sheldon, chief geopolitical adviser at S&P Global Platts Analytics.

    "Our sense is that it's not a crisis yet," he said of the tensions.

    Seoul, meanwhile, will likely be able to withstand a modest jump in oil prices unless there's a full-blown military confrontation, Seo Sang-young, an analyst from Seoul-based Kiwoom Securities, said.

    "The rise in crude prices could hurt areas like the airlines, chemicals and shipping, but it could also actually benefit some businesses, such as energy companies (including refineries) that produce and export fuel products like gasoline," said Seo, pointing to the diversity of South Korea's industrial lineup.

    South Korea's shipbuilding industry could also benefit as the rise in oil prices could further boost the growing demand for liquefied natural gas, or LNG, which means more orders for giant tankers that transport such gas.


    AP writers Yuri Kageyama in Tokyo, Kim Tong-hyung and Hyung-jin Kim in Seoul, Yanan Wang in Beijing, Annabelle Liang in Singapore and Alexandra Olson in
    New York contributed to this report.

  40. #880
    Reuters Iran
    ‏Verified account @ReutersIran
    15m15 minutes ago

    Iran months from hitting enriched uranium cap despite acceleration


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