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Westlake Legal Group > Drones (Pilotless Planes)

Trump Says U.S. Downs Iranian Drone, Refueling Tensions as Both Nations Dig In

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158110860_e43faad4-d753-4769-b40b-88993eb67aeb-facebookJumbo Trump Says U.S. Downs Iranian Drone, Refueling Tensions as Both Nations Dig In United States Politics and Government United States Navy United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Strait of Hormuz Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense Department

WASHINGTON — The American military downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday in what President Trump called an act of self-defense, just hours after Iran’s chief diplomat offered a modest road map for easing tensions with the United States.

Officials said the uncrewed, relatively small drone came within 1,000 yards of the Boxer, a United States amphibious assault ship in the strait. It was not known if the drone was armed, but a Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, said that it had “closed within a threatening range” before being shot down over international waters.

Mr. Trump described it as “the latest of many provocative and hostile actions by Iran.”

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, appeared to brush off the president’s broadside. “The drone issue is being investigated, but based on the latest news I have from Tehran, we have no information about losing a drone,” he told reporters at the United Nations.

At the United Nations headquarters, he said he was willing to discuss possible ways out of the crisis that erupted after Mr. Trump last year withdrew the United States from a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers.

The day’s events captured the precarious crossroads where the adversaries of 40 years now find themselves. Earlier, the State Department accused Iran of “continued harassment of vessels” in the strait after Iranian news media reported the seizure of a vessel conducting what it said was a smuggling operation.

The Trump administration and parts of the Iranian government have each appeared to be desperately seeking an off-ramp, aware that any move from shadowboxing to open conflict could be disastrous.

But both have dug themselves in.

In New York, Mr. Zarif initially appeared determined to calm tensions with the United States. For the first time, he floated an opening bid of modest steps that Tehran would be willing to take as part of new talks between the two adversaries.

The proposal would accelerate what the nuclear accord envisions as a “transition day,” now scheduled for 2023. That is when Iran formally ratifies an agreement with the International Atomic Energy Agency to allow far more intrusive inspections of the country, including sites that Tehran has never declared as nuclear-related.

In return, under the agreement, Congress would have to act to lift virtually all American sanctions on Iran.

The offer is all but certain to be rejected by the Trump administration, which describes Iran as increasingly desperate as sanctions take full effect. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has often said that sanctions will only be lifted in return for an agreement that permanently ends Iran’s production of nuclear fuel, limits its missile program to purely defensive weapons and ends its support for terrorist groups.

Yet on Thursday, Mr. Zarif insisted that Iran would never back away from its missile program while the United States arms its Arab adversaries with similar weapons. But he described each of Tehran’s recent steps to escalate its uranium enrichment as carefully calibrated — and said they “could be reversed” if the United States backed away from sanctions that were imposed once Mr. Trump left the nuclear deal.

Still, the Iranian diplomat struck a philosophical tone if nothing came of efforts to restart negotiations.

“We will survive, we will prosper, long after President Trump is gone,” he said. “Our time slots are in millennia.”

He also said “we came a few minutes away from a war” last month after Tehran shot down an American surveillance drone.

“Prudence prevailed,” Mr. Zarif said.

In that case, Washington and Tehran disagreed over whether the drone was flying over international waters. The Trump administration considered retaliating with military strikes against a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries. At the time, officials said Mr. Trump had approved the strikes.

But with minutes to spare and planes already headed to their targets, the president abruptly pulled back to prevent what he said would have been the deaths of about 150 Iranians. He also said the number of deaths would not be “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

Earlier on Thursday, the Iranian news media reported that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps had detained a foreign oil tanker it said had been smuggling fuel, just days after a United Arab Emirates vessel with the same name disappeared in the Persian Gulf.

Mr. Zarif also played down the episode, saying it was a small ship, not a tanker, and was carrying about one million liters of fuel. He described it as a typical smuggling operation.

About 20 percent of the world’s oil passes through the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow Persian Gulf waterway that is a vital conduit for maritime petroleum traffic.

The vessel and its country of origin were not identified. But an account published by PressTV, an official English-language Iranian website, included a video clip it said had been provided by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, showing the vessel’s name on its stern as the Riah. That is the name of the Emirati ship, incommunicado since late Saturday while it had been traveling in the Persian Gulf.

A Revolutionary Guards statement said the episode took place to the south of Iran’s Larak Island.

In Washington, the State Department demanded the immediate release of the ship and crew.

American officials have blamed Iran for apparent attacks on tankers in May and June, which came after new sanctions that aimed to cut off its ability to sell oil, a pillar of its economy. Iran has denied involvement.

In remarks at the White House on Thursday, Mr. Trump said that the Iranian drone had ignored multiple calls to stand down before it was destroyed.

A Defense Department official who spoke on the condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to discuss the episode, said the drone was downed by jamming equipment aboard the Boxer that forced it to lose control and crash. The wingspan is said to be about a dozen feet.

The Boxer, an amphibious assault ship, can launch attack jets and helicopters from its landing deck. It is one of several ships in a ready group of Marines and aircraft from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit.

Also on Thursday, the Treasury Department issued new sanctions against five people and seven businesses that it said provided sensitive material to suspicious parts of Iran’s nuclear program.

In a statement, officials said front companies in China and Belgium obtained aluminum and other metals for Iran’s Centrifuge Technology Company, which is involved in Tehran’s uranium enrichment program.

In his comments to journalists — at the Iranian mission to the United Nations, one of only three buildings where he is allowed to be while in the United States — Mr. Zarif said he was willing to meet with American senators to discuss ways to defuse the tensions.

He was coy about whether he planned to meet with Senator Rand Paul, Republican of Kentucky, who has proposed himself as a quiet emissary to Iran from the Trump administration.

“I am seeing people from Congress,” said Mr. Zarif, nonetheless insisting he would talk with Mr. Paul only “as a respected representative,” rather than as an emissary from Mr. Trump or Mr. Pompeo.

But Mr. Trump cast doubt on reports that he would consider allowing Mr. Paul to negotiate with Iran on the administration’s behalf. “I didn’t appoint him,” the president told reporters.

“All we want to do is have a fair deal,” Mr. Trump said.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump Says Navy Ship Shot Down Iranian Drone

Westlake Legal Group merlin_158110860_e43faad4-d753-4769-b40b-88993eb67aeb-facebookJumbo Trump Says Navy Ship Shot Down Iranian Drone United States Politics and Government United States Navy United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Strait of Hormuz Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense Department

WASHINGTON — The American military shot down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz on Thursday, President Trump said during a ceremony at the White House.

Mr. Trump said the unmanned aircraft threatened the Boxer, an amphibious assault ship that can launch attack jets and helicopters from its landing deck.

“The drone was immediately destroyed,” Mr. Trump said.

A Pentagon spokesman, Jonathan Hoffman, said in a statement that the Boxer was in international waters and that the drone “closed within a threatening range” before taking defensive action.

It was unclear if the Iranian drone was armed.

There was no immediate comment from Tehran. But the downing will most likely again inflame tensions between Iran and the United States.

Last month, Iran shot down an American surveillance drone in a dispute over whether it was flying over international waters or Iran’s territory. The Trump administration considered retaliating with military strikes against a handful of Iranian targets, like radar and missile batteries.

Officials said Mr. Trump initially approved the strikes. But with minutes to spare and planes already headed to their targets, the president abruptly pulled back to prevent what he said would have been the deaths of about 150 Iranians.

He also said the death of that many Iranians would not be “proportionate to shooting down an unmanned drone.”

Washington has also accused Iran of sabotaging six tankers in the Gulf of Oman in recent months, an accusation that Tehran has denied.

Earlier Thursday, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, told journalists in New York that “we came a few minutes away from a war” after last month’s incident.

“Prudence prevailed,” Mr. Zarif said.

Separately, Iranian news media reported that the country’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps had detained a foreign oil tanker that it said had been smuggling fuel. The announcement came days after a United Arab Emirates vessel disappeared in the Persian Gulf.

Several state news organizations in Iran reported the seizure of the tanker, based on a statement from the Revolutionary Guards, which claimed that the ship had been carrying one million liters of contraband fuel. The Iranian state news agency Al Alam reported that the Revolutionary Guards detained the ship on Sunday.

The statement said the episode took place to the south of Iran’s Larak Island, in the northern part of the Strait of Hormuz, the narrow Persian Gulf waterway that is a vital conduit for maritime petroleum traffic.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Chinese Drones Made in America: One Company’s Plan to Win Over Trump

Westlake Legal Group 24dji-1-facebookJumbo Chinese Drones Made in America: One Company’s Plan to Win Over Trump United States Politics and Government International Trade and World Market Industrial Espionage Huawei Technologies Co Ltd Drones (Pilotless Planes) DJI Innovations Computers and the Internet Blacklisting

WASHINGTON — DJI, the large Chinese drone maker, is facing mounting security concerns within the Trump administration that its flying machines could send sensitive surveillance data back to China. Now, the company is trying to get on American officials’ good side by building some products in the United States.

The company, which is privately held, said on Monday that it would repurpose a warehouse in Cerritos, Calif., to assemble a new version of a drone that has been popular among federal and local government agencies. The assembly of its flying devices in the United States will represent a small percentage of DJI’s overall global production. But it could help the company meet some necessary federal requirements.

In addition, the company will build some machines with a newly available set of features, known as Government Edition. The system saves data collected by the machine only on the drone itself, and the information can be taken off the machine only after it lands. Those drones cannot transfer any of the information wirelessly online.

The new production facility and the new data features, the company hopes, will be enough to continue to sell the products in the United States. About 70 percent of all drones in the country are supplied by DJI, according to one estimate. The company makes small drones for hobbyists as well as the higher-end industrial grade drones used to survey remote areas and forest fires, among other uses.

The announcement comes as President Trump prepares to meet with President Xi Jinping of China this week for trade talks that have put Chinese and American tech companies in the cross hairs of a prolonged and punishing battle over trade and a race for technology leadership.

The White House has said that the telecommunications giant Huawei and other Chinese technology companies have the ability to spy and steal commercial and government secrets, posing a security threat to the United States. Those concerns have bled into the trade and economic war with China, sending chills across the global technology industry.

Shenzhen-based DJI, or Da Jiang Innovations Science and Technology, is the latest Chinese technology company scrambling to retain its ability to sell to the United States.

Huawei was put on an exports blacklist last month. Last week, the Commerce Department put five more Chinese businesses on its “entity list,” which restricts the companies from purchasing American goods. Getting on the list can be a crippling blow for many makers of products like smartphones and wireless networks because they use global supply chains to gather all the necessary parts.

DJI has not been put on the administration’s export blacklist. But starting in late 2017, it became the focus of government scrutiny after American customs and immigration officials raised concerns that the drones, with cameras, mapping technology and infrared scanners, could be used to collect sensitive data and send it back to the Chinese government. Last month, the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning expressing those same concerns about Chinese-made drones.

DJI executives reject the claims that its products post security vulnerabilities.

“We are getting caught up in geopolitical issues of the day,” Mario Rebello, vice president of DJI’s North American operations, said in an interview. “There is a lot of fear and hype, and a lot of it is not true and misleading.”

By assembling the drones in the United States, DJI said it would be able to file for certification that its devices meet requirements of the Trade Agreement Act. The law requires that government agencies can purchase some products only if they are made in the United States.

DJI’s government customers have largely been using waivers to circumvent the trade law. Mr. Rebello said the company believed that it was now more likely to be blocked from selling to government agencies without certification that its products complied with the law.

DJI’s compliance with the law should give its customers greater comfort with security and safety of the machine, Mr. Rebello said. The drones assembled in California, meant for emergency responders and industrial inspections, are capable of carrying more powerful cameras and other payload.

The Cerritos plant was previously used by DJI to store drones for distribution. The assembly operations will bring in some highly skilled workers to put the drones together but is not expected to have a major effect on jobs.

“We are going to be more proactive to make sure we are saying as much information as possible,” Mr. Rebello said. “We’ve planned to invest in America but right now the time is right.”

Last month, however, Mr. Trump said, “If we made a deal, I can imagine Huawei being included in some form of, some part of a trade deal.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

White House Is Pressing for Additional Options, Including Cyberattacks, to Deter Iran

Westlake Legal Group 23DC-shadow-facebookJumbo White House Is Pressing for Additional Options, Including Cyberattacks, to Deter Iran United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ships and Shipping Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Cyberwarfare and Defense central intelligence agency

WASHINGTON — American intelligence and military officers are working on additional clandestine plans to counter Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, pushed by the White House to develop new options that could help deter Tehran without escalating tensions into a full-out conventional war, according to current and former officials.

The goal is to develop operations similar to the cyberattacks conducted on Thursday and that echo the shadow war the United States has accused Tehran of carrying out with attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East, according to American officials briefed on the effort. Iran maintains that it was not responsible for the attacks on the tankers.

The cyberattacks were aimed at an Iranian intelligence group that American officials believe was behind a series of attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf region. The American operation was intended to take down the computers and networks used by the intelligence group, at least temporarily. A separate online operation was aimed at taking out computers that control Iranian missile launches.

The White House has told military and intelligence officials it also now wants options in line with the kind of operations conducted by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the officials said.

President Trump has made clear he believes that, at this point, a direct strike would be escalatory, although he has repeatedly warned Iran against further aggression.

Intelligence and military officials have told White House policymakers, including Mr. Trump, that without an additional American response, Iran will continue to destabilize the region.

Some divisions of opinion in the administration remain. A number of senior national security officials agree that further action against Iran is needed, but they are divided about how public that action needs to be.

Officials did not provide specifics about the secret operations under consideration by the White House. But they could include a wide range of activities such as additional cyberattacks, clandestine operations aimed at disabling boats used by Iranians to conduct shipping attacks, and covert operations inside Iran aimed at fomenting more unrest. The United States might also look for ways to divide or undermine the effectiveness of Iranian proxy groups, officials said. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss sensitive, confidential administration planning.

The C.I.A. has longstanding secret plans for responding to Iranian provocations. Senior officials have discussed with the White House options for expanded covert operations by the agency, as well as plans to step up existing efforts to counter Iran’s efforts, according to current and former officials.

One former American military commander said there was a range of options that the Pentagon and the C.I.A. could pursue that could keep Iran off balance but that would not have “crystal-clear attribution” to the United States. An American operation that was not publicly announced could still deter further action by Tehran, if Iran understood what United States operatives had done, the former officer said.

The types of responses the United States could undertake are broad if the United States was willing to use the same tactics that Iran has mastered, said Sean McFate, a professor at the National Defense University and the author of “The New Rules of War.”

“If we want to fight back, do it in the shadows,” he said.

Mr. McFate said the United States could put a bounty on Iran’s paramilitary and proxy forces. That would create an incentive for mercenary forces to take on Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies. American intelligence forces also could find new ways to assist existing protests against the Iranian government. Such efforts could include spreading information, either embarrassing truths or deliberate false rumors, aimed at undermining the support that Tehran’s elites have for Iran’s leaders, he said. The United States could also look at ways to make protests by Iran’s labor movement more effective at weakening the government.

Current and former officials say that Iran’s covert attacks against shipping and its downing of an American drone are an attempt to try to raise pressure on the United States. Iran, they say, hopes that by sowing chaos in the Persian Gulf it can drive up oil prices, which will put pressure on Mr. Trump and American allies dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Iran maintains that the drone it shot down had violated its airspace; American officials insist it had been over international waters.

“From the Iranian perspective, unconventional attacks, threats against Gulf shipping and air routes and bellicose rhetoric represent the best ways to pressure the international community to compel the U.S. to relieve sanctions without igniting a conventional conflict,” said Norman T. Roule, a former national intelligence manager for Iran and a C.I.A. Middle East expert.

Some officials believe the United States needs be willing to master the kind of deniable, shadowy techniques Tehran has perfected in order to halt Iran’s aggressions. Others think that, while helpful, such clandestine attacks will not be enough to reassure American allies or deter Iran.

Iran will probably pause its activities for a time, senior American officials said. But, with sanctions biting, they say Iran will once again resume attacks on shipping. That will once more force the White House to consider a direct military strike.

While so-called gray zone operations are meant to stay below the threshold of inciting open conflict, the moves always run the risk of touching off exactly what both sides are trying to avoid: a shooting war.

Moreover, some online operations are far easier than others. Knocking an intelligence agency’s computers offline, as the United States did with Russia last year during the midterm American elections, is fairly basic. But getting inside a missile launch operation is much harder; although the United States succeeded in doing so in North Korea, it took a long time and prompted the North Koreans to build an entirely different missile system.

The Iranians also now have much greater capability to strike back in the cyber realm than they did a decade ago. Their foray into American banks in 2012 and 2013 was, in retrospect, a training exercise. When the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning on Saturday about Iranian cyberthreats, it described much greater capabilities. Iran’s “cyber corps” has now had years of training in causing damaging attacks, like the one it conducted on a Las Vegas casino and other targets in the United States.

Mr. Roule also agreed the United States response needed to be public and clear. “The best U.S. options will not be covert,” he said. “Overt options send the strongest message of deterrence. Iran needs to know that the U.S. — supported by the international community — will not tolerate its behavior.”

Mr. Trump has been stung by criticism about his decision to call off the strikes after the Iranian drone attack. But the president believes a combination of covert operations by the C.I.A. and clandestine operations by the military’s Cyber Command and other military forces will demonstrate his resolve as commander in chief, a senior administration official said.

The president is eager to avoid a messy shooting war with Iran, which he believes would violate his campaign promise to keep America out of protracted conflicts in the Middle East. A shadow war would reduce the exposure of American troops and, if Iran was unsure of whether the United States or its allies were responsible, its response could be muted.

Authoritarian powers, like Iran, have an easier time with hybrid conflicts built on deceptions and falsehoods.

For example, Russian tactics in Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014 demonstrated the effectiveness of hybrid warfare in a post-Cold War era. Russia was able to leverage confusion, obfuscation and violence to achieve geopolitical gains.

Russian special forces without insignia, the so-called little green men, helped Moscow seize Crimea. And Russian-backed separatists, commanded by Russian military officers, have effectively cut off eastern Ukraine from the rest of the country, despite international outcry.

Iran has its own track record of using hybrid tactics, mostly through the use of its proxy forces in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran became adept at striking the United States without provoking a direct response. Tehran’s militia proxy forces regularly fired rockets at American bases in Iraq, and Iran flooded the battlefield with a particularly deadly form of roadside bomb that penetrated some of the best American military armor.

In past decades, though, the United States was much better at thinly veiled, shadow operations. During the Cold War, the United States regularly used unconventional tactics, proxy forces and its intelligence agency to keep adversaries off balance.

The C.I.A. began mining Nicaraguan harbors in 1984: The nominally covert, but well publicized, operations were not aimed at sinking ships. Instead, the agency’s real target was the international insurance markets.

The Reagan administration, which was backing the Contra rebels, hoped raising insurance rates would reduce shipping, raising prices on critical goods and increasing public pressure on the leftist Nicaraguan government.

Iran’s strikes on tankers in recent weeks echo that old C.I.A. operation, current and former officials said. After initial strikes on tankers last month, Lloyd’s of London, the international insurance company, announced it would effectively raise insurance rates for the entire Persian Gulf.

Reviving America’s old tactics and finding a way to copy Iran’s new ones could be the best way to try to halt Tehran’s current campaign, Mr. McFate said. The defensive measure the United States has taken, including deploying an aircraft carrier and Patriot missile batteries to the region, have not halted Iran’s activities.

“Iran is playing by the new rules, he said, “while we are using the obsolete ones, and wonder why Iran’s behavior is not changing.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

White House Is Pressing for Additional Options, Including in Cyberspace, to Deter Iranian Attacks

Westlake Legal Group 23DC-shadow-facebookJumbo White House Is Pressing for Additional Options, Including in Cyberspace, to Deter Iranian Attacks United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Ships and Shipping Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Cyberwarfare and Defense central intelligence agency

WASHINGTON — American intelligence and military officers are working on additional clandestine plans to counter Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, pushed by the White House to develop new options that could help deter Tehran without escalating tensions into a full-out conventional war, according to current and former officials.

The goal is to develop operations similar to the cyberattacks conducted on Thursday and that echo the shadow war the United States has accused Tehran of carrying out with attacks on oil tankers in the Middle East, according to American officials briefed on the effort. Iran maintains that it was not responsible for the attacks on the tankers.

The cyberattacks were aimed at an Iranian intelligence group that American officials believe was behind a series of attacks on tankers in the Persian Gulf region. The American operation was intended to take down the computers and networks used by the intelligence group, at least temporarily. A separate online operation was aimed at taking out computers that control Iranian missile launches.

The White House has told military and intelligence officials it wants options in line with the kind of operations conducted by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the officials said.

President Trump has made clear he believes that, at this point, a direct strike would be escalatory, although he has repeatedly warned Iran against further aggression.

Intelligence and military officials have told White House policymakers, including Mr. Trump, that without an additional American response, Iran will continue to destabilize the region.

Officials did not provide specifics about the secret operations under consideration by the White House. But they could include a wide range of activities such as additional cyberattacks, clandestine operations aimed at disabling boats used by Iranians to conduct shipping attacks and covert operations inside Iran aimed at fomenting more unrest. The United States might also look for ways to divide or undermine the effectiveness of Iranian proxy groups.

The C.I.A. has longstanding secret plans for responding to Iranian provocations. Senior officials have discussed with the White House options for expanded covert operations by the agency, as well as plans to step up existing efforts to counter Iran’s efforts, according to current and former officials.

One former American military commander said there were a range of options that the Pentagon and the C.I.A. can pursue that could keep Iran off balance but that would not have “crystal-clear attribution” to the United States. An American operation that was not publicly announced could still deter further action by Tehran, if Iran understood what United States operatives had done, the former officer said.

The types of responses the United States could undertake are broad if the United States was willing to use the same tactics that Iran has mastered, said Sean McFate, a professor at the National Defense University and the author of “The New Rules of War.”

“If we want to fight back, do it in the shadows,” he said.

Mr. McFate said the United States could put a bounty on Iran’s paramilitary and proxy forces. That would create an incentive for mercenary forces to take on Hezbollah and other Iranian proxies. American intelligence forces also could find new ways to assist existing protests against the Iranian government. Such efforts could include spreading information, either embarrassing truths or deliberate false rumors, aimed at undermining the support that Tehran’s elites have for Iran’s leaders, he said. The United States could also look at ways to make protests by Iran’s labor movement more effective at weakening the government.

Current and former officials say that Iran’s covert attacks against shipping and its downing of an American drone are an attempt to try to raise pressure on the United States. Iran, they say, hopes that by sowing chaos in the Persian Gulf it can drive up oil prices, which will put pressure on both Mr. Trump and American allies dependent on Middle Eastern oil. Iran maintains that the drone it shot down had violated its airspace, while American officials insist it had been over international waters.

“From the Iranian perspective, unconventional attacks, threats against Gulf shipping and air routes and bellicose rhetoric represent the best ways to pressure the international community to compel the U.S. to relieve sanctions without igniting a conventional conflict,” said Norman T. Roule, a former national intelligence manager for Iran and a C.I.A. Middle East expert.

While a number of senior American national security officials agree that further action against Iran is needed, they are divided about how public that action needs to be.

Some officials believe the United States needs be willing to master the kind of deniable, shadowy techniques Tehran has perfected in order to halt Iran’s aggressions. Others think that, while helpful, such clandestine attacks will not be enough to reassure American allies or deter Iran.

Iran will most likely for a time pause its activities, said senior American officials. But, with sanctions biting, they say Iran will once again resume attacks on shipping. That will once more force the White House to consider a direct military strike.

While so-called gray zone operations are meant to stay below the threshold of inciting open conflict, the moves always run the risk of touching off exactly what both sides are trying to avoid: a shooting war.

Moreover, some online operations are far easier than others. Knocking an intelligence agency’s computers offline, as the United States did with Russia last year during the midterm American elections, is fairly basic. But getting inside a missile launch operation is much harder; while the United States succeeded in doing so in North Korea, it took a long time and prompted the North Koreans to build an entirely different missile system.

The Iranians also now have much greater capability to strike back in the cyber realm than they did a decade ago. Their foray into American banks in 2012 and 2013 was, in retrospect, a training exercise. When the Department of Homeland Security issued a warning on Saturday about Iranian cyberthreats, it described much greater capabilities. Iran’s “cyber corps” has now had years of training in causing damaging attacks, like the one it conducted on a Las Vegas casino and other targets in the United States.

Mr. Roule also agreed the United States response needs to be public and clear. “The best U.S. options will not be covert,” he said. “Overt options send the strongest message of deterrence. Iran needs to know that the U.S. — supported by the international community — will not tolerate its behavior.”

Mr. Trump has been stung by criticism about his decision to call off the strikes following the Iranian drone attack. But the president believes a combination of covert operations by the C.I.A. and clandestine operations by the military’s Cyber Command and other military forces will demonstrate his resolve as commander in chief, a senior administration official said.

The president is eager to avoid a messy shooting war with Iran, which he believes would violate his campaign promise to keep America out of protracted conflicts in the Middle East. A shadow war would reduce the exposure of American troops and, if Iran was unsure of whether the United States or its allies were responsible, its response could be muted.

Authoritarian powers, like Iran, have an easier time with hybrid conflicts built on deceptions and falsehoods.

For example, Russian tactics in Crimea and eastern Ukraine in 2014 demonstrated the effectiveness of hybrid warfare in a post-Cold War era. Russia was able to leverage confusion, obfuscation and violence to achieve geopolitical gains.

Russian special forces without insignia, the so-called little green men, helped Moscow seize Crimea. And Russian-backed separatists, commanded by Russian military officers, have effectively cut off eastern Ukraine from the rest of the country, despite international outcry.

Iran has its own track record of using hybrid tactics, mostly through the use of its proxy forces in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and elsewhere.

After the American invasion of Iraq in 2003, Iran became adept at striking the United States without provoking a direct response. Tehran’s militia proxy forces regularly fired rockets at American bases in Iraq, and Iran flooded the battlefield with a particularly deadly form of roadside bomb that penetrated some of the best American military armor.

In past decades, though, the United States was much better at thinly veiled, shadow operations. During the Cold War, the United States regularly used unconventional tactics, proxy forces and its intelligence agency to keep adversaries off balance.

The C.I.A. began mining Nicaraguan harbors in 1984: The nominally covert, but well publicized, operations were not aimed at sinking ships. Instead, the agency’s real target was the international insurance markets.

The Reagan administration, which was backing the Contra rebels, hoped raising insurance rates would reduce shipping, raising prices on critical goods and increasing public pressure on the leftist Nicaraguan government.

Iran’s strikes on tankers in recent weeks echo that old C.I.A. operation, current and former officials said. After initial strikes on tankers last month, Lloyd’s of London, the international insurance company, announced it would effectively raise insurance rates for the entire Persian Gulf.

Reviving America’s old tactics and finding a way to copy Iran’s new ones could be the best way to try to halt Tehran’s current campaign, said Mr. McFate. The defensive measure the United States has taken, including deploying an aircraft carrier and Patriot missile batteries to the region, have not halted Iran’s activities.

“Iran is playing by the new rules, he said, “while we are using the obsolete ones, and wonder why Iran’s behavior is not changing.”

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Trump’s Iran Response Underlines Republican Rift Over National Security

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-cong-facebookJumbo Trump’s Iran Response Underlines Republican Rift Over National Security United States Politics and Government United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Republican Party Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Cheney, Liz

WASHINGTON — President Trump’s decision to pull back on a planned military strike against Iran has divided Republicans, pitting hawks who criticized his midoperation retreat against a noninterventionist wing that sided with most Democrats to praise it.

The rift highlights a longstanding debate in the Republican Party over national security that has played out inside Mr. Trump’s White House and in the halls of Congress, and has resurfaced as Iran’s bellicose actions have rekindled questions over lawmakers’ roles in matters of war and peace. It has also pointed up profound concerns among some Republicans, who are normally loath to criticize the president over such issues.

Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, the third-ranking House Republican, said on Friday that she was concerned about Mr. Trump’s restraint in response to the downing of an American drone, comparing it with President Barack Obama’s unfulfilled threat to strike Syria if it crossed a “red line” by using chemical weapons.

“Weakness is provocative,” she warned the radio host Hugh Hewitt. “A world in which response to attacks on American assets is to pull back or to accept the attack is a world in which America won’t be able to successfully defend our interests.”

Ms. Cheney, who has styled herself as a fierce attack dog on behalf of the Trump administration, wrapped her criticism in praise of the president, later telling reporters at the Capitol that he “has shown absolutely that he is going to stand up and do what’s right when it comes to defending the United States of America.”

But other Republicans said the episode raised questions about Mr. Trump’s decision-making on the gravest of issues. His assertion that he canceled the strike after hearing from military commanders that it could kill as many as 150 Iranians indicated a lack of preparedness, they said.

“The question is, were you not asking about casualties when you made the decision?” said Representative Adam Kinzinger of Illinois, a former Air Force pilot. “I would have much rather us not even start than do this. I’m all for a proportional response, and maybe that needed to be changed, but I don’t think this sends a great message.”

Mr. Kinzinger said he would wait to see whether Mr. Trump ultimately retaliated against Iran, but added, “If the response is no response, then I think this is a mistake of pretty big proportions.”

Representative Mike Gallagher, Republican of Wisconsin and a member of the Armed Services Committee, warned that without some sort of retaliatory move, the United States risked “a massive deterrence failure in the region, and it will only embolden Iran.”

“Simply saying we are going to do something and then not doing it, to me, then you’re in no man’s land,” Mr. Gallagher added. “That’s where Obama lived for eight years, and it’s a bad place to be.”

At the same time, many Republicans who share Mr. Trump’s often-stated distaste for foreign military entanglements praised the aborted strike as the best possible outcome.

“I am grateful that the president is not eager to lurch into another Middle Eastern regime change, in an endless, unfocused, unconstitutional way,” said Representative Matt Gaetz, Republican of Florida. “President Trump ran as a very different kind of Republican, someone who wanted to end wars, not start them.”

Democrats, too, were uncharacteristically complimentary, although Speaker Nancy Pelosi noted that she had not been informed of the planned strike in advance, a “departure” from past practice, and said any such action must be authorized by Congress.

“A strike of that amount of collateral damage would be very provocative, and I’m glad the president did not take that,” Ms. Pelosi told reporters. “We think there are many options that are not what they call kinetic — that is to say, a strike on the country — that might be more useful.”

A bipartisan group of senators — including Democrats like Tom Udall of New Mexico and Tim Kaine of Virginia and Republicans like Rand Paul of Kentucky and Mike Lee of Utah — plans next week to try to attach an amendment to a sweeping defense bill that would block funding for any military operations against Iran without explicit authorization from Congress.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California, the chairman of the Intelligence Committee, said Mr. Trump should not be criticized for holding off on military action.

“I don’t think that people should be jumping down the president’s throat for wanting to think this through and make sure that neither side miscalculates and we don’t inadvertently end up in a war with Iran,” he said.

For Republicans, the reaction to Mr. Trump’s Iran indecision is a reprise of a familiar dispute between those who are battle-weary after decades of war in Iraq and Afghanistan and loath to enter into yet another conflict there, and those who believe that Iran is a grave enough threat that it must be confronted, said Richard Fontaine, the chief of the Center for a New American Security and a former Republican national security official. But it also underlines a divide over Mr. Trump himself.

“There are those who look at this and say, O.K., the president probably made the right decision, but this process is as messy as you can imagine,” Mr. Fontaine said. “Others say there is a method to this madness.”

Some of Mr. Trump’s staunchest Republican allies fall into the last category, with some suggesting that his public waffling was a master stroke of geopolitical strategy to keep Iran off balance.

Representative Daniel Crenshaw, Republican of Texas and a former Navy SEAL officer, described Mr. Trump’s actions as a power move.

“There’s a clear indication that we are willing to strike and retaliate when they hit us,” Mr. Crenshaw said. “And now there’s also an indication that the president is saying, ‘I control the narrative, I control the escalation, and I will give you a second chance.’”

Senator Jim Risch of Idaho, the chairman of the Foreign Relations Committee, told reporters in his office on Friday that the Iranian government “should not take away that the president somehow was soft on this.”

“They should take away that the president had a very difficult decision to make on proportionality, and he decided, as opposed to taking 150 lives in return for an unmanned drone, that it was appropriate to step back again,” he said. “ I watched him really agonize over this.”

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What You Need to Know About the Iran Crisis

Westlake Legal Group 21dc-prexy-facebookJumbo-v2 What You Need to Know About the Iran Crisis United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Strait of Hormuz Iran Gulf of Oman Incident (June 2019) Drones (Pilotless Planes)

President Trump on Thursday approved military strikes against Iran in retaliation for shooting down an unmanned American surveillance drone. The American operation was to be carried out before sunrise against Iranian military sites to avoid human casualties, which would have been around 9 p.m. Thursday Eastern Daylight Time.

Throughout the day on Thursday, Mr. Trump was not specific about how he planned to respond to Iran’s strike, which American officials say happened over international waters while Iran asserts the drone was in its airspace. Mr. Trump responded to questions with wait-and-see answers and also suggested that the Iranian attack was a mistake. Around 7 p.m., military and diplomatic officials were prepared for a strike, and the operation was underway.

“We were cocked & loaded to retaliate last night on 3 different sights,” Mr. Trump said in a Twitter post on Friday morning.

Then, Mr. Trump called it off.

[Trump stopped the strike on Iran because it was “not proportionate.”]

The United States and Iran have a long history of tensions, but the latest escalation started when American officials blamed Iran for attacking two oil tankers on June 13 in or near the Strait of Hormuz, a major thoroughfare for transporting much of the world’s oil.

Days later, the Pentagon authorized the deployment of an additional 1,000 troops to the Middle East with surveillance and military equipment, intended to serve as a deterrent to Iran. In April, the Trump administration also designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps a terrorist organization and in May imposed even tighter sanctions on Tehran’s aluminum, iron and copper industries, sectors that make up about a tenth of its exports, according to the Trump administration.

Earlier this week, Tehran said it would soon violate a significant piece of the 2015 international agreement designed to contain Iran’s nuclear program. The countries in the pact had agreed to reduce economic sanctions on Iran as long as Iran held up its end of the deal, which includes curbing its uranium enrichment activities. Iran said it would soon violate the limit on uranium stockpiling.

Under Mr. Trump, the United States in 2018 backed out of the Iran deal, though it remains in force with five other countries. Trump administration has reinstated crushing economic sanctions and pressured other countries to do the same, leaving Iran’s economy in serious trouble.

[Here’s a timeline showing the escalation between the United States and Iran.]

The president on Friday said the prospect of casualties stopped him. An attack with the potential to kill 150 people, he said, was not proportionate to shooting down an unmanned American aircraft. He said he called it off with 10 minutes to spare.

Mr. Trump said he called off the strike with 10 minutes to spare. No missiles had been fired at that point, but a senior administration official said American military planes were in the air and ships were in position. Mr. Trump later denied that the planes were in the air when he changed his mind about the operation. Officials said the strike was to be carried out in the early morning hours on Friday, which would have been around 9 p.m. Thursday in Washington.

Some international airlines on Friday diverted planes flying over parts of Iran and the Strait of Hormuz, and the Federal Aviation Administration gave an emergency order early Friday, banning all American flights in Tehran-controlled airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman because of “heightened military activities and increased political tensions.”

Oil prices for Brent crude, the international standard, rose about 5.8 percent since the American drone was shot down. It was trading at about $64.80 a barrel on Friday morning, which is below the recent high in mid-May when prices were about $72 a barrel.

About a third of the world’s crude oil and other petroleum products is carried by tankers that pass through the Strait of Hormuz, described by one federal agency as one of the most important oil choke points in the world. The body of water separates the United Arab Emirates and Oman from Iran and sees dozens of ships pass through each day.

No. Mr. Trump struck twice at targets in Syria in 2017 and 2018 in response to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons. The operation against Iran would have been his third in the region. Among his campaign promises was a vow to get the United States out of conflicts in the Middle East.

Not necessarily, but some members of Congress have asked Mr. Trump to seek congressional authorization.

The Constitution gives Congress the decision of whether to declare war, but government lawyers have argued that the president alone can order attacks if it is in self-defense or if the attacks would benefit American interests.

It wants its economy, crippled by sanctions, to improve.

That objective was at the heart of the 2015 nuclear deal: As Iran complied with international demands for limiting its nuclear program, sanctions against the country would decrease over time. But that changed when the United States backed out of the deal and resumed the economic squeeze.

Some experts view Iran’s recent aggressions as part of strategy to provoke the United States into action and to pressure American allies in Europe and Asia — countries already uneasy about the escalating tensions — to reign in the world superpower and force the Trump administration back to the negotiating table. The strategy, however, carries significant risks: total collapse of the nuclear agreement and possibly war.

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In Trump’s Iran Response, Some See a Dangerous Ambiguity

President Trump’s decisions to order and then suddenly abort a military strike against Iran set off a debate across the region on Friday over whether his stop at the brink amounted to his gravest threat yet or a sign of capitulation.

Iranians, locked in an escalating standoff with Mr. Trump over the previous six weeks, quickly sought to portray the aborted strike as evidence that he had blinked first, proving what they called his reluctance to fight and eagerness to compromise.

Iranian foes in neighboring countries like Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Israel, on the other hand, argued that Mr. Trump’s willingness to come so close to military action — with warplanes in the air, ships in position, and missiles minutes from launching — instead meant that Iran should expect an even more serious retaliation if it sought to lash out again at the United States or its close allies.

And the ambiguity itself, some argued, may now pose its own danger: Hard-liners in Iran could become emboldened to further test Mr. Trump, while at the same time raising the expectations among some of his closest allies that he will let the missiles fly the next time.

“The risk of what Trump has done is that it conveys a confusing message to other parts of the world,” said Sir Peter Westmacott, a former British ambassador to Washington who was previously stationed as a diplomat in Iran. “Is he a blowhard? Is he secretly cautious — an Obama in wolf’s clothing? Or was new information brought to his attention that made him change his mind?”

The dangers posed by Mr. Trump’s ambiguity are acute inside Iran, where hard-liners with an eye on domestic politics can argue that “we were right, the red lines were much higher, and we can push back even more,” said Aniseh Bassiri Tabrizi, at the Royal United Services Institute, a research center in London.

Mr. Trump initially ordered the attack in retaliation for the downing of an American surveillance drone by an Iranian missile near the Strait of Hormuz. Tehran and Washington dispute whether the drone was in or merely near Iranian airspace.

But the stage for the current conflict was set last year when Mr. Trump withdrew the United States from a 2015 deal to lift economic sanctions on Iran in exchange for limits on its nuclear program. Iran continued to comply with its end of that deal until May, when the Trump administration added new sanctions intended to cripple Iran’s ability to sell oil anywhere in the world.

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156791067_3c931c3a-db49-4841-bae0-5175cbd7e45d-articleLarge In Trump’s Iran Response, Some See a Dangerous Ambiguity United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces United States Trump, Donald J Nuclear Weapons Iran International Relations Gulf of Oman Incident (June 2019) European Union Embargoes and Sanctions Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps displayed debris from what they said were fragments of the American drone.CreditTasnim News Agency, via Reuters

With Iran’s oil revenue plunging and its economy weakened, Iranian officials denounced the new sanctions as economic warfare and declared that they would begin enriching more uranium, in a step that would exceed the limits of the 2015 deal.

The United States has since accused Iran of using limpet mines to damage a total of six petroleum tankers in two separate incidents in the waterways leading to the Persian Gulf. Iran denies those accusations.

Citing the shooting down of the drone and threats of American airstrikes, several international airlines said Friday that they were diverting planes from flying over the Strait of Hormuz and parts of Iran.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order early Friday that prohibited all American flights in Tehran-controlled airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman because of “heightened military activities and increased political tensions.”

Iran has not commented publicly on the aborted American strike, but unidentified Iranian officials appeared to seek to put their spin on the events in comments to Reuters. The news service reported on Friday that these officials said President Trump had used intermediaries in Oman to warn of an imminent attack if Iran did not reopen talks with Washington.

“In his message, Trump said he was against any war with Iran and wanted to talk to Tehran about various issues,” an Iranian official said, according to Reuters, and another said the Iranians had refused the ultimatum and warned that any attack would have consequences.

Mrs. Tabrizi of the Royal United Services Institute said many in the Iranian government now appeared to believe Mr. Trump had backed down.

“Those inside Iran who were pushing for more resistance, more retaliation will say, ‘See? We were right! Trump does not want war. Let’s push the situation,” she said. That could lead them to miscalculate the administration’s future reactions.

The European Union, which was also a party to the nuclear deal with Iran, is convening a conference with Iran next week in an effort to preserve that agreement and address “challenges arising from the withdrawal and re-imposition of sanctions by the United States,” the bloc said in a statement.

On Friday, some Europeans applauded Mr. Trump for his show of restraint. “A strike would undoubtedly mean escalation, and can you control that?,” said Carl Bildt, a former foreign minister of Sweden.

Friday prayers in Tehran. CreditReuters

But others saw Mr. Trump’s 11th-hour move as improvisation on a major military action, and a threat that could further undermine the strained trans-Atlantic alliance.

“It is not entirely clear that Trump has any idea of what he’s going to do next, and that’s very disturbing,” said François Heisbourg, a former French defense official. “Europeans are powerless,” he said, but “that doesn’t mean we are not petrified.”

In a measure of the confusion about Mr. Trump’s thinking, though, analysts more hawkish toward Iran argued that Mr. Trump had played it perfectly, including by making public his differences with his advisers and the last-minute switch.

It “creates a credibility to the threat,” argued Giora Eiland, retired major general in the Israel Defense Forces and a former head of Israel’s National Security Council.

Now, Mr. Eiland said, the Iranians “are very frightened today from the American retaliation.”

He argued that Iran’s leaders now understood that if they attack again — especially so directly, and against American targets or even Arab allies of the United States — “there will be a very, very massive American retaliation, and they don’t want to be in this scene.”

Analysts close to the rulers of Saudi Arabia praised Mr. Trump, too. “The fact that a military strike did not happen right away, or that the president is not trigger-happy, should not be viewed as a sign of weakness,” said Mohammed Khaled Yahya, the English language editor for the Saudi Arabia’s Al Arabiya news network.

“What the administration should be pressing for is for its maximum pressure campaign to run its course — that is the worst-case scenario for the Iranian regime.”

Still, there were few indications that Tehran would change its course any time soon, said Sanam Vakil, a scholar at Chatham House, a London-based research organization.

Mr. Trump has said he would require Iran to agree to talks over at least new limits on its nuclear program before lifting any sanctions. Iran’s leaders have said the United States must rejoin the 2015 nuclear agreement, and that they will refuse to talk under coercion or before some sanctions relief.

“They are in a complete stalemate,” Ms. Vakil said.

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U.S.-Iran Crisis Live Updates: Trump Says Military Was Ready to Strike

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156737607_e395017f-b089-4eff-94a6-49ae929f3b61-articleLarge U.S.-Iran Crisis Live Updates: Trump Says Military Was Ready to Strike United States International Relations United States Strait of Hormuz Politics and Government Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces Airlines and Airplanes

President Trump said on Thursday that he suspected that an individual in Iran “made a big mistake” in shooting down an American drone.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

In a series of tweets posted Friday morning, Mr. Trump said that American forces were “cocked and loaded” to strike three targets in Iran, but that he had called off the military action with 10 minutes to spare when a general told him that the attack would probably kill 150 people.

He added that he was “in no hurry” to attack Iran. “Our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go,” he said.

Mr. Trump also called the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated during the Obama administration a “desperate and terrible deal.”

The downing of an unmanned, $130 million American surveillance drone on Thursday by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps brought tensions to the boiling point. President Trump ordered a retaliatory strike but backed away at the last minute, officials said.

Hostilities have intensified between the two countries since President Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reintroduced economic sanctions.

[The U.S. has turned up pressure on Iran. See the timeline of events.]

Last week, United States officials said Iran was responsible for explosions on two tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital passageway for much of the world’s oil. This week, Iran announced that it would soon breach a limit on nuclear material that it had agreed to in the 2015 deal, and soon after, the United States announced it would be sending additional troops to the region.

Now, both sides are trying to dominate the narrative about what happened to the drone, and what may happen next.

An Air Force photograph of an RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone, the kind of aircraft that was shot down this week.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

Democrats seeking the party’s 2020 presidential nomination reacted with a mix of horror, anger and stupefaction to Mr. Trump’s handling of the Iran crisis. Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington said Mr. Trump’s actions amounted to “governing by chaos.” Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who is an Army National Guard veteran, warned that war with Iran was “HIGHLY likely unless Trump swallows his pride & returns to the Iran nuclear agreement he tore up.”

Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts urged restraint, saying, “There is no justification for further escalating this crisis.” And Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont called on Congress to “assert its constitutional authority and stop Trump from going to war.”

Mr. Trump’s authorization of a strike and prompt reversal exposed divisions within his own party over the use of military force.

On one side was Representative Mike Gallagher, Republican of Wisconsin and a member of the Armed Services Committee, who warned that without some sort of retaliatory action, the United States risks “a massive deterrence failure in the region and it will only embolden Iran.”

“Unless Iran responds and says this was actually a huge accident on our part and we are prepared to negotiate, we have to respond,” Mr. Gallagher said, ticking off other possibilities like new sanctions or cyber attacks if the president does not want to use force. “A tweet is not, like, a response.”

He added, “Simply saying we are going to do something and then not doing it, to me, then you’re in no man’s land. That’s where Obama lived for eight years and it’s a bad place to be.”

On the other side was Representative Matt Gaetz, a Florida Republican closely aligned with Mr. Trump, who showered praise on the president’s restraint.

“I am grateful that the president is not eager to lurch into another Middle Eastern regime change, in an endless, unfocused, unconstitutional way,” he told reporters. “President Trump ran as a very different kind of Republican, someone who wanted to end wars not start them. And I think he is utilizing appropriate caution.”

The tensions between Iran and the United States had led international diplomats to call for a calm and considered approach from both countries.

Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, called the situation “a balancing act on the edge of war.”

“It is absolutely evident from the incoming information that the situation is extremely dangerous,” he told Russian news outlet TASS. “The menace of a conflict is not gone, and we once again are calling on responsible parties, if any are still left in Washington, to weigh all the consequences. We warn against incautious steps.”

The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, also issued a statement on the situation in the Gulf.

“I have only one strong recommendation: nerves of steel,” he said, according to Alessandra Vellucci, a United Nations spokeswoman.

Europe has found itself stuck between the United States and Iran as their dispute escalates, and officials are still working to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that the United States withdrew from last year.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, speaking to journalists in Brussels after a European Union summit meeting, said the bloc’s foreign policy advisers had discussed the situation.

“We’re concerned,” she said, but added that there was still hope and trust for “a diplomatic, political solution in a very tense situation.”

Prince Khalid bin Salman, Saudi Arabia’s deputy defense minister, said on Twitter that he met with Brian Hook, the United States envoy on Iran, to discuss escalating the tensions.

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizade, the commander of Iran’s Aerospace Force, in Tehran on Thursday, inspecting debris from what the division described as fragments of the American drone.CreditMeghdad Madadi/Tasnim News Agency, via Associated Press

Until President Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning, American officials were largely quiet in the immediate aftermath of the strike. But the Iranian authorities have spent much of the day working to define the narrative of what happened to the American drone, including displaying what officials said were fragments of the aircraft.

A Revolutionary Guards commander said on Friday that Iran had refrained from shooting down an American military plane that was accompanying the drone.

“With the U.S. drone in the region there was also an American P-8 plane with 35 people on board,” Gen. Amir Ali Hajizade, the commander of Iran’s Aerospace Force, said, according to the Tasnim news agency. “This plane also entered our airspace and we could have shot it down, but we did not.”

General Hajizade earlier told the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB that his forces had issued “repeated warnings” to the drone before a surface-to-air missile was fired at it on Thursday.

The same news outlet on Friday released a series of photographs that it said showed the retrieved fragments of the American drone.

Iranian state-run news outlets posted footage that they said showed the moment an Iranian air defense system shot down the American drone early Thursday.

In the clip, a missile can be seen being fired from a Khordad 3 air defense system of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and a few seconds later, an explosion can be seen in the sky. Neither the video or the photographs reveal much about the nature of the strike.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel has been pushing for a hard-line stance against Iran, but one that stops short of war.

Ram Ben-Barak, a former deputy director of the Mossad and a member of Benny Gantz’s centrist Blue and White party, described the Iranians in a radio interview as “clever” and said they had already succeeded with their goal.

“The Iranians are pretty successful in their policy of walking on the edge, which is waking everyone up,” he said. “They are not only interested in the Americans, they are interested in involving the other players who can pressure the Americans.”

Giora Eiland, a retired major general in the Israeli Defense Forces and a former head of Israel’s National Security Council, argued that Mr. Trump played things perfectly with his last-minute pullback.

The public disclosure that Mr. Trump had called off the mission “creates a credibility to the threat,” he said in an interview, and now the Iranians “are very frightened today” about the possibility of American retaliation.

But Shimrit Meir, a Middle East analyst, saw things differently. Mr. Trump’s approach was “was just all over the place,” she said, and could ultimately be counterproductive.

“The way it was leaked suggests they wanted to send a message to the Iranians, that we refrained from doing this this time but this is the last and final warning,” she said in an interview. Adding, “But it’s not how it’s being received in the region.”

She also worried about what a broader conflict between the United States and Iran would mean for Israel in the long run, fearing that the recent events were a beginning, not an end. “If things escalate,” she said, “we are going to be the first ones to suffer the consequences.”

On the heels of American security warnings, several international airlines announced on Friday that they had diverted flights that cross Iranian-controlled airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order early Friday that prohibited all American flights in Tehran-controlled airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman because of “heightened military activities and increased political tensions.”

United Airlines said in a statement it had suspended its service between Newark Airport in New Jersey and Mumbai, India, that travels through Iranian airspace after conducting “a thorough safety and security review.” Customers planning to travel to Newark from Mumbai are to be rebooked on alternative flights to the United States.

United Airlines has suspended flights from Newark Airport to Mumbai, India.CreditJulio Cortez/Associated Press

The German carrier Lufthansa said in a statement that its planes would not fly over the Strait of Hormuz and that the diversion area was likely to expand. The Dutch airline KLM has also diverted flights as a precautionary measure because of the “incident with the drone,” it said in a statement.

Qantas Airlines of Australia said in a statement that it would be rerouting flights to avoid the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, which would affect its flights between Australia and London. British Airways said it was also taking similar measures in line with the F.A.A. advisory.

Oil prices are reflecting security concerns about the Persian Gulf. Brent crude, the international standard, has risen about 5.8 percent since the drone was shot down, trading at about $65 a barrel Friday morning. That is below the recent high of about $72 a barrel in mid-May.

About a third of the world’s crude oil and other petroleum products carried by tanker pass through the region, and incidents in the Gulf have caused the tanker companies to proceed with caution.

One executive at a company that operates a large global tanker fleet, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential business matters, described a sudden “drying up” of transactions in the region, with some companies saying they would stay away for now.

A photograph released on June 13 by the Iranian news agency Tasnim is said to show an Iranian Navy boat trying to control fire on a tanker in the Gulf of Oman.CreditTasnim News/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Norwegian shipping company Frontline, whose Front Altair tanker was attacked on June 13 in the Gulf of Oman, said this week that until “the security of this important shipping lane is secured, Frontline will exercise extreme caution when considering new contracts in the region.”

Robert MacLeod, Frontline’s chief executive, said in an email on Friday that the company took “immediate action after its ship was attacked. “We stopped some of our vessels in the area, and only recommenced trading once increased security was in place.”

European leaders are scrambling to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal that the United States withdrew from last year, laying the groundwork for the current standoff.

Understanding Iran’s Threats to the Nuclear Deal

In the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment program but retained some of the technology and material to make fuel for a weapon.

Westlake Legal Group iranweb-Artboard_1 U.S.-Iran Crisis Live Updates: Trump Says Military Was Ready to Strike United States International Relations United States Strait of Hormuz Politics and Government Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces Airlines and Airplanes

Uranium ore

Uranium ore contains less than 1 percent of U-235, an isotope used to fuel reactors and make bombs. A process called enrichment increases the percentage of U-235.

enrichment PROCESS

3.7% enrichment

Iran was allowed to keep up to 300 kilograms, or 660 pounds, of uranium enriched to 3.7 percent for nuclear power. Iran also agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent.

Iran’s threat: Iran announced Monday that it would break the 660-pound cap in 10 days.

20% enrichment

Iran had a stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent, which could have made it faster to accumulate fuel for a weapon. The country agreed to dilute the stockpile or make it unusable.

Iran’s threat: Iran said it might resume enriching uranium to 20 percent.

90% enrichment

Iran would need to continue enriching to 90 percent or higher to make a weapon, something it had never achieved.

Iran did not say whether it planned to enrich uranium beyond 20 percent.

Westlake Legal Group iranweb-Artboard_1_copy U.S.-Iran Crisis Live Updates: Trump Says Military Was Ready to Strike United States International Relations United States Strait of Hormuz Politics and Government Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces Airlines and Airplanes

enrichment PROCESS

Uranium ore

Uranium ore contains less than 1 percent of U-235, an isotope used to fuel reactors and make bombs. A process called enrichment increases the percentage of U-235.

3.7% enrichment

Iran was allowed to keep up to 300 kilograms, or 660 pounds, of uranium enriched to 3.7 percent for nuclear power. Iran also agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent

20% enrichment

Iran had a stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent, which could have made it faster to accumulate fuel for a weapon. The country agreed to dilute the stockpile or make it unusable.

90% enrichment

Iran would need to continue enriching to 90 percent or higher to make a weapon, something it had never achieved.

Iran’s threat: Iran announced Monday that it would break the 660-pound cap in 10 days.

Iran’s threat: Iran said it might resume enriching uranium to 20 percent.

Iran did not say whether it planned to enrich uranium beyond 20 percent.

What Iran

said it would

do now

Westlake Legal Group iranweb-Artboard_1_copy_2 U.S.-Iran Crisis Live Updates: Trump Says Military Was Ready to Strike United States International Relations United States Strait of Hormuz Politics and Government Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces Airlines and Airplanes

Uranium ore

Uranium ore contains less than 1 percent of U-235, an isotope used to fuel reactors and make bombs. A process called enrichment increases the percentage of U-235.

enrichment PROCESS

3.7% enrichment

Iran was allowed to keep up to 300 kilograms, or 660 pounds, of uranium enriched to 3.7 percent for nuclear power. Iran also agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent.

Iran’s threat: Iran announced Monday that it would break the 660-pound cap in 10 days.

20% enrichment

Iran had a stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent, which could have made it faster to accumulate fuel for a weapon. The country agreed to dilute the stockpile or make it unusable.

Iran’s threat: Iran said it might resume enriching uranium to 20 percent.

90% enrichment

Iran would need to continue enriching to 90 percent or higher to make a weapon, something it had never achieved.

Iran did not say whether it planned to enrich uranium beyond 20 percent.

By Sergio Peçanha/The New York Times

Asked about the tensions, President Emmanuel Macron of France said on Friday that “we absolutely need to avoid escalation in the region,” but added that countries needed to remain committed to regulating Iran’s nuclear activity.

Guillaume Xavier-Bender, an Iran expert with the German Marshall Fund in Brussels, said that the United States, having withdrawn from the nuclear deal, appeared to have “no real plan or strategy on Iran.”

“No one understands the goal,’’ including Iran, he said.

“Do the Americans want regime change, or a photo op, or negotiations,’’ and on what terms, Mr. Xavier-Bender said, adding, “Europeans are trying to preserve the situation without knowing what the end game is.’’

The Bushehr nuclear plant in southern Iran in 2010.CreditAbedin Taherkenareh/EPA, via Shutterstock

Iran’s takedown of an RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone on Thursday was not the first time the Iranians have outfoxed an unmanned surveillance aircraft used by the United States.

In December 2011, an RQ-170 Sentinel, a smaller, bat-winged drone, disappeared after takeoff from a base in Afghanistan. It either crashed or was forced down in northern Iran, nearly intact.

The Iranians claimed they had hacked the drone’s avionics and guided it to a controlled landing. The Americans attributed the loss of the drone to a technical malfunction.

Iran rejected President Barack Obama’s request to return the drone. Instead Iranian scientists dissected it with the aim of reverse-engineering the drone’s capabilities. The semiofficial Fars News Agency claimed at the time that Iran’s armed forces had captured a prize that could “blunt the U.S. technological edge over its adversaries.”

David D. Kirkpatrick, Megan Specia, Steven Erlanger, Rick Gladstone, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Stanley Reed, Neil MacFarquhar, Michael Wolgelenter, Nick Cumming-Bruce, David Halbfinger, and Fahim Abed contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com 

Iran Live Updates: Trump Says Military Was ‘Cocked and Loaded’ to Strike

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_156737607_e395017f-b089-4eff-94a6-49ae929f3b61-articleLarge Iran Live Updates: Trump Says Military Was ‘Cocked and Loaded’ to Strike United States International Relations United States Strait of Hormuz Politics and Government Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces Airlines and Airplanes

President Trump said on Thursday that he suspected that an individual in Iran “made a big mistake” in shooting down an American drone.CreditErin Schaff/The New York Times

In a series of tweets posted Friday morning, Mr. Trump said that American forces were “cocked and loaded” to strike three targets in Iran, but that he had called off the military action with 10 minutes to spare when a general told him that the attack would probably kill 150 people.

He added that he was “in no hurry” to attack Iran. “Our Military is rebuilt, new, and ready to go,” he said.

Mr. Trump also called the 2015 nuclear deal negotiated during the Obama administration a “desperate and terrible deal.”

The downing of an unmanned, $130 million American surveillance drone on Thursday by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps brought tensions to the boiling point. President Trump ordered a retaliatory strike but backed away at the last minute, officials said.

Hostilities have intensified between the two countries since President Trump withdrew the United States from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and reintroduced economic sanctions.

Last week, United States officials said Iran was responsible for explosions on two tankers in the Strait of Hormuz, a vital passageway for much of the world’s oil. This week, Iran announced that it would soon breach a limit on nuclear material that it had agreed to in the 2015 deal, and soon after, the United States announced it would be sending additional troops to the region.

Now, both sides are trying to dominate the narrative about what happened to the drone, and what may happen next.

An Air Force photograph of an RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone, the kind of aircraft that was shot down this week.CreditAgence France-Presse — Getty Images

The tensions between Iran and the United States had led international diplomats to call for a calm and considered approach from both countries.

Sergei Ryabkov, Russia’s deputy foreign minister, called the situation “a balancing act on the edge of war.”

“It is absolutely evident from the incoming information that the situation is extremely dangerous,” he told Russian news outlet TASS. “The menace of a conflict is not gone, and we once again are calling on responsible parties, if any are still left in Washington, to weigh all the consequences. We warn against incautious steps.”

The United Nations secretary general, António Guterres, also issued a statement on the situation in the Gulf.

“I have only one strong recommendation: nerves of steel,” he said, according to Alessandra Vellucci, a United Nations spokeswoman.

Europe has found itself stuck between the United States and Iran as their dispute escalates, and officials are still working to preserve the 2015 Iran nuclear deal that the United States withdrew from last year.

Chancellor Angela Merkel of Germany, speaking to journalists in Brussels after a European Union summit meeting, said the bloc’s foreign policy advisers had discussed the situation.

“We’re concerned,” she said, but added that there was still hope and trust for “a diplomatic, political solution in a very tense situation.”

Alexander Graf Lambsdorff, a German lawmaker for the Free Democrats, said that “the Iranians are trying to provoke the United States after they realized the rift between Bolton and Trump, but that brinkmanship could backfire.”

“The Iranians may also be frustrated in their desire to divide Europe and the United States,” he said, adding that if military action begins, “Iranians should not think that Europeans will come to their aid.”

Gen. Amir Ali Hajizade, the commander of Iran’s Aerospace Force, in Tehran on Thursday, inspecting debris from what the division described as fragments of the American drone.CreditMeghdad Madadi/Tasnim News Agency, via Associated Press

Until President Trump took to Twitter on Friday morning, American officials were largely quiet in the immediate aftermath of the strike. But the Iranian authorities have spent much of the day working to define the narrative of what happened to the American drone, including displaying what officials said were fragments of the aircraft.

A Revolutionary Guards commander said on Friday that Iran had refrained from shooting down an American military plane that was accompanying the drone.

“With the U.S. drone in the region there was also an American P-8 plane with 35 people on board,” Gen. Amir Ali Hajizade, the commander of Iran’s Aerospace Force, said, according to the Tasnim news agency. “This plane also entered our airspace and we could have shot it down, but we did not.”

General Hajizade earlier told the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB that his forces had issued “repeated warnings” to the drone before a surface-to-air missile was fired at it on Thursday.

The same news outlet on Friday released a series of photographs that it said showed the retrieved fragments of the American drone.

Iranian state-run news outlets posted footage that they said showed the moment an Iranian air defense system shot down the American drone early Thursday.

In the clip, a missile can be seen being fired from a Khordad 3 air defense system of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, and a few seconds later, an explosion can be seen in the sky. Neither the video or the photographs reveal much about the nature of the strike.

United Airlines has suspended flights from Newark Airport to Mumbai, India.CreditJulio Cortez/Associated Press

On the heels of American security warnings, several international airlines announced on Friday that they had diverted flights that cross Iranian-controlled airspace.

The Federal Aviation Administration issued an emergency order early Friday that prohibited all American flights in Tehran-controlled airspace above the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman because of “heightened military activities and increased political tensions.”

United Airlines said in a statement it had suspended its service between Newark Airport in New Jersey and Mumbai, India, that travels through Iranian airspace after conducting “a thorough safety and security review.” Customers planning to travel to Newark from Mumbai are to be rebooked on alternative flights to the United States.

The German carrier Lufthansa said in ad statement that its planes would not fly over the Strait of Hormuz and that the diversion area was likely to expand. The Dutch airline KLM has also diverted flights as a precautionary measure because of the “incident with the drone,” it said in a statement.

Qantas Airlines of Australia said in a statement that it would be rerouting flights to avoid the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman, which would affect its flights between Australia and London. British Airways said it was also taking similar measures in line with the F.A.A. advisory.

A photograph released on June 13 by the Iranian news agency Tasnim is said to show an Iranian Navy boat trying to control fire on a tanker in the Gulf of Oman.CreditTasnim News/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Oil prices are reflecting security concerns about the Persian Gulf. Brent crude, the international standard, has risen about 5.8 percent since the drone was shot down, trading at about $64.80 a barrel Friday morning. That is below the recent high of about $72 a barrel in mid-May.

About a third of the world’s crude oil and other petroleum products carried by tanker pass through the region, and incidents in the Gulf have caused the tanker companies to proceed with caution.

One executive at a company that operates a large global tanker fleet, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss confidential business matters, described a sudden “drying up” of transactions in the region, with some companies saying they would stay away for now.

The Norwegian shipping company Frontline, whose Front Altair tanker was attacked on June 13 in the Gulf of Oman, said this week that until “the security of this important shipping lane is secured, Frontline will exercise extreme caution when considering new contracts in the region.”

Robert MacLeod, Frontline’s chief executive, said in an email on Friday that the company took “immediate action after its ship was attacked. “We stopped some of our vessels in the area, and only recommenced trading once increased security was in place.”

The Bushehr nuclear plant in southern Iran in 2010.CreditAbedin Taherkenareh/EPA, via Shutterstock

European leaders are scrambling to preserve the 2015 nuclear deal that the United States withdrew from last year, laying the groundwork for the current standoff.

Both Iran and the European signatories of the deal have made efforts to sustain it in the face of renewed American sanctions. Crisis talks are scheduled to take place in Vienna on June 28, even after the Iranian foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said on Friday that Tehran would move forward with plans to reduce compliance with the agreement. The downing of the drone has further complicated efforts to save the deal.

Understanding Iran’s Threats to the Nuclear Deal

In the 2015 nuclear deal, Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment program but retained some of the technology and material to make fuel for a weapon.

Westlake Legal Group iranweb-Artboard_1 Iran Live Updates: Trump Says Military Was ‘Cocked and Loaded’ to Strike United States International Relations United States Strait of Hormuz Politics and Government Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces Airlines and Airplanes

Uranium ore

Uranium ore contains less than 1 percent of U-235, an isotope used to fuel reactors and make bombs. A process called enrichment increases the percentage of U-235.

enrichment PROCESS

3.7% enrichment

Iran was allowed to keep up to 300 kilograms, or 660 pounds, of uranium enriched to 3.7 percent for nuclear power. Iran also agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent.

Iran’s threat: Iran announced Monday that it would break the 660-pound cap in 10 days.

20% enrichment

Iran had a stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent, which could have made it faster to accumulate fuel for a weapon. The country agreed to dilute the stockpile or make it unusable.

Iran’s threat: Iran said it might resume enriching uranium to 20 percent.

90% enrichment

Iran would need to continue enriching to 90 percent or higher to make a weapon, something it had never achieved.

Iran did not say whether it planned to enrich uranium beyond 20 percent.

Westlake Legal Group iranweb-Artboard_1_copy Iran Live Updates: Trump Says Military Was ‘Cocked and Loaded’ to Strike United States International Relations United States Strait of Hormuz Politics and Government Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces Airlines and Airplanes

enrichment PROCESS

Uranium ore

Uranium ore contains less than 1 percent of U-235, an isotope used to fuel reactors and make bombs. A process called enrichment increases the percentage of U-235.

3.7% enrichment

Iran was allowed to keep up to 300 kilograms, or 660 pounds, of uranium enriched to 3.7 percent for nuclear power. Iran also agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent

20% enrichment

Iran had a stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent, which could have made it faster to accumulate fuel for a weapon. The country agreed to dilute the stockpile or make it unusable.

90% enrichment

Iran would need to continue enriching to 90 percent or higher to make a weapon, something it had never achieved.

Iran’s threat: Iran announced Monday that it would break the 660-pound cap in 10 days.

Iran’s threat: Iran said it might resume enriching uranium to 20 percent.

Iran did not say whether it planned to enrich uranium beyond 20 percent.

What Iran

said it would

do now

Westlake Legal Group iranweb-Artboard_1_copy_2 Iran Live Updates: Trump Says Military Was ‘Cocked and Loaded’ to Strike United States International Relations United States Strait of Hormuz Politics and Government Iran Drones (Pilotless Planes) Defense and Military Forces Airlines and Airplanes

Uranium ore

Uranium ore contains less than 1 percent of U-235, an isotope used to fuel reactors and make bombs. A process called enrichment increases the percentage of U-235.

enrichment PROCESS

3.7% enrichment

Iran was allowed to keep up to 300 kilograms, or 660 pounds, of uranium enriched to 3.7 percent for nuclear power. Iran also agreed to stop enriching uranium beyond 5 percent.

Iran’s threat: Iran announced Monday that it would break the 660-pound cap in 10 days.

20% enrichment

Iran had a stockpile of uranium enriched to 20 percent, which could have made it faster to accumulate fuel for a weapon. The country agreed to dilute the stockpile or make it unusable.

Iran’s threat: Iran said it might resume enriching uranium to 20 percent.

90% enrichment

Iran would need to continue enriching to 90 percent or higher to make a weapon, something it had never achieved.

Iran did not say whether it planned to enrich uranium beyond 20 percent.

By Sergio Peçanha/The New York Times

Asked about the tensions, President Emmanuel Macron of France said on Friday that “we absolutely need to avoid escalation in the region,” but added that countries needed to remain committed to regulating Iran’s nuclear activity.

Guillaume Xavier-Bender, an Iran expert with the German Marshall Fund in Brussels, said that the United States, having withdrawn from the nuclear deal, appeared to have “no real plan or strategy on Iran.”

“No one understands the goal,’’ including Iran, he said.

“Do the Americans want regime change, or a photo op, or negotiations,’’ and on what terms, Mr. Xavier-Bender said, adding, “Europeans are trying to preserve the situation without knowing what the end game is.’’

David D. Kirkpatrick, Megan Specia, Steven Erlanger, Matina Stevis-Gridneff, Stanley Reed, Neil MacFarquhar, Michael Wolgelenter, Nick Cumming-Bruce and Fahim Abed contributed reporting.

Real Estate, and Personal Injury Lawyers. Contact us at: https://westlakelegal.com