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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east

Energy Secretary Rick Perry to travel to Middle East next week

Westlake Legal Group Perry-Trump_AP Energy Secretary Rick Perry to travel to Middle East next week Trey Yingst fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/executive/cabinet fox news fnc/politics fnc d6de3b5f-f361-5a57-bfd2-db3bb2c0fa10 article

Secretary of Energy Rick Perry will travel to Israel and Egypt next week to hold meetings about regional energy and cybersecurity issues, according to an Energy Department official.

Perry will meet with government officials and energy stakeholders in the region during his trip, the official added.

After meeting with members of the Israeli government, Perry will travel to Cairo where he will represent the United States at the Eastern Mediterranean Gas Forum.

TRUMP VOWS TO SUBSTANTIALLY INCREASE IRAN SANCTIONS IN RESPONSE TO URANIUM ENRICHMENT

The Forum is being used to create a regional gas market that ensures supply and demand while improving trade relations. Other countries that are scheduled to attend include Jordan, Greece, Israel, Cyprus, Italy, and the Palestinians.

The visit comes amid rising regional tensions between the U.S. and Iran as the Islamic Republic continues to break key parts of the 2015 nuclear agreement in response to sanctions reimposed on the country by Washington. Earlier this month, Iran surpassed the Uranium enrichment and stockpile thresholds laid out in the deal.

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As Europe looks for ways to deescalate the situation and relieve economic pressure on Iran, U.S. allies in the region fear the eruption of a military conflict.

“It seems that there are those in Europe who won’t wake up until Iranian nuclear missiles fall on European soil,” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday. “And then, of course, it will be too late.”

Westlake Legal Group cbedafff-Perry-Trump_AP Energy Secretary Rick Perry to travel to Middle East next week Trey Yingst fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/executive/cabinet fox news fnc/politics fnc d6de3b5f-f361-5a57-bfd2-db3bb2c0fa10 article   Westlake Legal Group cbedafff-Perry-Trump_AP Energy Secretary Rick Perry to travel to Middle East next week Trey Yingst fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/executive/cabinet fox news fnc/politics fnc d6de3b5f-f361-5a57-bfd2-db3bb2c0fa10 article

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US officials suspect Iran may have seized missing UAE-based oil tanker

A small oil tanker that stopped transmitting its location more than two days ago while traveling through a vital waterway near the Persian Gulf didn’t emit a distress call, causing U.S. officials to suspect Iran may have seized the vessel, American defense officials said Tuesday.

The MT Riah, a Panamanian-flagged vessel based in the United Arab Emirates, was traveling Saturday night through the Strait of Hormuz when its tracking system went dark. The disappearance could add to already-heightened tensions between Iran and Western nations in the region.

“Could it have broken down or been towed for assistance? That’s a possibility,” an unidentified U.S. official told The Associated Press. “But the longer there is a period of no contact. It’s going to be a concern.”

IRAN HAS RAISED ITS ‘INTENSITY OF MALIGN ACTIVITY’ FOLLOWING US PULLOUT OF NUCLEAR DEAL, TOP GENERAL SAYS

Westlake Legal Group Capture-5 US officials suspect Iran may have seized missing UAE-based oil tanker Louis Casiano fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc cf490014-e652-50d1-be16-b96025172ef8 article

American defense officials suspect Iran may have seized a small oil tanker traveling near the Islamic Republic. (The Associated Press / Refinitiv)

If Iran did seize the ship, it’s apt to be the latest in a series of provocations involving oil tankers in the region. Iran has threatened to stop tankers in the strait if it is not allowed to sell its own oil abroad.

Around 20 percent of all crude oil passes through the strait.

The 190-foot tanker stopped transmitting its location around 11 p.m. as tracking data showed its last position pointing toward Iran.

“That is a red flag,” said Capt. Ranjith Raja of the data firm Refinitiv. He said the tanker had not switched off its tracker in three months of trips around the U.A.E.

The Islamic Republic has not commented on the ship’s disappearance.

An Emirati official speaking on condition of anonymity told AP that “we are monitoring the situation with our international partners.”

Several oil tankers traveling through the Persian Gulf have been targeted in recent months as Iran continues to mount a campaign aimed at obtaining relief from U.S. sanctions over its nuclear program.

It recently surpassed its uranium enrichment levels limited by its 2015 nuclear deal, from which President Trump withdrew over a year ago.

TRUMP VOWS TO ‘SUBSTANTIALLY’ INCREASE SANCTIONS ON IRAN IN RESPONSE TO URANIUM ENRICHMENT

Without commenting on the U.A.E.-based oil tanker, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Tuesday that the country will retaliate over the seizure of its supertanker carrying over 2.1 million barrels of light crude oil.

“God willing, the Islamic Republic and its committed forces will not leave this evil without a response,” he said.

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British Royal Marines seized the vessel earlier this month off Gibraltar on suspicion of trying to provide oil to Syrian leader Bashar Assad, a violation of European Union sanctions. On Saturday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said Britain will release the ship if assurances are given that it will not violate the sanctions.

Mysterious attacks on oil tankers in recent months have been blamed n Iran, as well as the downing of a U.S. drone. In response to the escalation, the U.S. has sent thousands of troops, fighter jets and nuclear-capable B-52 bombers to the Middle East.

Fox News reporter and editor Lucia l. Suarez Sang and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group Capture-5 US officials suspect Iran may have seized missing UAE-based oil tanker Louis Casiano fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc cf490014-e652-50d1-be16-b96025172ef8 article   Westlake Legal Group Capture-5 US officials suspect Iran may have seized missing UAE-based oil tanker Louis Casiano fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/defense/conflicts fox news fnc/world fnc cf490014-e652-50d1-be16-b96025172ef8 article

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France sends top diplomat to Iran as Europe urges uranium enrichment cutback

Westlake Legal Group AP19182497755331 France sends top diplomat to Iran as Europe urges uranium enrichment cutback fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/germany fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc befcd677-db76-54ea-9c3b-ea5f0cddc9f7 article

France dispatched a top diplomat to Iran Tuesday while joining Germany and Britain in calling for the Tehran regime to scale back its recent uranium enrichment activities “without delay.”

Emmanuel Bonne, a diplomatic adviser to French President Emmanuel Macron, was expected to meet Wednesday with Iran’s senior security official, Ali Shamkhani, according to the semi-official Tasnim news agency. Bonne hopes to try to “obtain gestures” from Iran to show they’re serious about staying in the 2015 nuclear deal, a French official told The Associated Press.

The European nations, who remain part of the accord along with Russia and China, said they planned to organize a meeting among the signatories over “deep concern that Iran is not meeting several of its commitments.” They added that the meeting needed to be “convened urgently,” but did not say when it would take place.

“Iran has stated that it wants to remain within the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the formal term for the 2015 agreement],” the three nations said. “It must act accordingly by reversing these activities and returning to full JCPOA compliance without delay.”

PUTIN SAYS US MILITARY ACTION AGAINST IRAN WOULD BE A ‘CATASTROPHE FOR THE REGION’

Europe has been under pressure from the U.S. to withdraw from the accord as President Trump did last year, and is also being urged by Iran to offset the crippling effects of American economic sanctions. The tensions have thus strained Europe’s soft-power approach to its limits at a time of increasing tensions in the Middle East.

“For the Europeans, it’s going to be difficult not to lose credibility in their position with Iran and also with Washington, by not being too soft, but at the same time acknowledging that there is some truth to what Iran is saying,” Adnan Tabatabai, a political scientist with the Bonn-based CARPO think tank on Middle Eastern affairs, told the Associated Press.

Researcher Sanam Vakil of the London-based Chatham House think tank said that Europe will be forced to tread lightly with Macron leading the three European countries, known as the E3, trying not to escalate the situation while seeking a resolution between Tehran and Washington.

“What the E3 can do is kick-start diplomacy and diplomatic conversations,” she said. “They can potentially convince Iran to freeze its breach and prevent any further breaches while shepherding a process back and forth between Washington and Iran – worst case scenario is that nothing happens, but at least they’ve bought themselves time.”

So far, neither Iran’s announcement last week that it had exceeded the amount of low-enriched uranium allowed under the deal, nor Monday’s revelation it had begun enriching uranium past the 3.67 percent purity allowed, to 4.5 percent, are seen as such gross violations that they are likely to prompt Europe to invoke the deal’s dispute resolution mechanism. Both of Iran’s actions have been verified by the U.N.’s nuclear watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency.

Experts warn that higher enrichment and a growing stockpile narrow the one-year window Iran would need to have the necessary material for an atomic weapon, something that Tehran denies it wants but the deal prevented.

This is the second trip to Tehran by Bonne in as many months. He was in the Iranian capital in mid-June for one day.

“The idea [of Bonne’s visit] is to privilege dialogue [over] escalation that can become explosive,” and “not reach a situation of war,” the French official told AP.

“This is very much an E3 process, but Macron is leading it because obviously, the U.K. is in a period of leadership transition and Germany is taking a slightly less-visible role, but I think there is great unity here,” Vakil said.

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Britain, France and Germany urged all signatories in the accord to act responsibly toward deescalating ongoing tensions regarding Iran’s nuclear activities while proposing dialogue. They did not mention any country by name other than Iran itself.

The U.S. has deployed thousands of troops, an aircraft carrier, nuclear-capable B-52 bombers and advanced fighter jets to the Middle East amid fears of increasing tensions that followed the downing of an American drone by surface-to-air missiles and a disputed attack on a pair of oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman – these were a series of events most recent to Iranian provocation in the region.

Fox News’ Morgan Cheung and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19182497755331 France sends top diplomat to Iran as Europe urges uranium enrichment cutback fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/germany fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc befcd677-db76-54ea-9c3b-ea5f0cddc9f7 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19182497755331 France sends top diplomat to Iran as Europe urges uranium enrichment cutback fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/world/world-regions/germany fox-news/world/world-regions/france fox-news/world/world-regions/europe fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc befcd677-db76-54ea-9c3b-ea5f0cddc9f7 article

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‘Underground terror tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel’ discovered, military says

Westlake Legal Group Israel-Palestinian-Tunnel 'Underground terror tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel' discovered, military says Talia Kaplan fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 4b0f3087-4f6a-541c-8f36-0027845de583

An “underground terror tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel” was discovered in the southern part of the Gaza strip, Israel Defense Forces announced on Monday.

“IDF troops just revealed an underground terror tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel,” The Israel Defense Forces tweeted on Monday. “How’d we find it? While building an underground security barrier. Why are we building an underground barrier? To stop Gaza terrorists from digging tunnels into Israel. Guess it’s working.”

They made the discovery during construction of an underground barrier around the coastal enclave five years after the start of an operation geared toward finding and destroying such tunnels, The Times of Israel reported, citing the IDF.

It was not clear how long ago the tunnel had been built.

“At this time, IDF soldiers are conducting an investigation of the passage. More information will be provided shortly,” the army said Monday.

HEZBOLLAH TUNNEL DUG FROM LEBANON IS LATEST FOUND BY ISRAEL

The tunnel did not represent a threat and was “being taken care of by the IDF,” The Times of Israel reported, citing the Eshkol Regional Council, covering the area where the tunnel was found.

The council added that the tunnel was detected because of “groundbreaking technological defenses that are used along the Gaza border to protect our communities.”

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This cross-border tunnel reportedly was the 18th discovered since the end of the 2014 Israel-Gaza conflict, also known as Operation Protective Edge.

Israel’s military has been investing extensive resources to find these tunnels and have destroyed 16, including one that stretched into both Israel and Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, The Jerusalem Post reported.

Westlake Legal Group Israel-Palestinian-Tunnel 'Underground terror tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel' discovered, military says Talia Kaplan fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 4b0f3087-4f6a-541c-8f36-0027845de583   Westlake Legal Group Israel-Palestinian-Tunnel 'Underground terror tunnel dug from Gaza into Israel' discovered, military says Talia Kaplan fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 4b0f3087-4f6a-541c-8f36-0027845de583

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Dubai ruler’s wife, Princess Haya, goes into hiding in UK and hires divorce lawyer: report

Princess Haya, always considered a free spirit in the world of Middle Eastern royalty, where protocol and obscurity are expected of women, has fled her husband, the ruler of Dubai, and reportedly gone into hiding in England.

She also has hired a divorce lawyer who has worked for the British royal family, according to Business Insider.

The decision to leave her husband and Dubai arose from disturbing details the princess reportedly learned concerning one of the sheik’s daughters, who herself tried to flee Dubai last year. The daughter, Sheikha Latifa, appeared in a 40-minute video saying she had been imprisoned on and off for several years and had been abused. Her friends say she was forcibly returned after commandos stormed a boat carrying her off the coast of India when she tried to flee the Emirates.

Princess Haya’s escape was brought to light, ironically, by her husband, a poet who penned a few lines to lash out at his wayward bride – one of six and the most high-profile.

The poem, titled “You Lived and You Died” and posted by the Dubai ruler’s son, is about disloyalty, leading to speculation it is about Princess Haya.

“You betrayed the most precious trust, and your game has been revealed,” the poem says. “Your time of lying is over and it doesn’t matter what we were nor what you are.”

Westlake Legal Group Princess-Haya-Sheikh-Mohammed-Getty Dubai ruler's wife, Princess Haya, goes into hiding in UK and hires divorce lawyer: report fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/travel/regions/europe fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Elizabeth Llorente article 925cedf0-0b67-5862-9730-47f6529062fd

Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum (L), Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai, arrives with his wife Princess Haya bint al-Hussein (C), to the trophy presentation in the Meydan Racecourse on March 31, 2018 in Dubai. KARIM SAHIB/AFP/Getty Images

The Oxford-educated princess, who is the daughter of the late King Hussein of Jordan, has been quite the rebel even before her very public act of “good riddance” to her billionaire racehorse owner husband, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum.

The princess, who is 45, is an accomplished Olympic equestrian and is friends with Queen Elizabeth II. She married Sheik Mohammed, who is 69, in 2004. The Dubai ruler is said to have 23 children by different women.

Princess Haya’s flight paves the way for a showdown in a London courtroom later this month.

ROYAL BABIE ARCHIE HAS BROUGHT PEACE BETWEEN WILLIAM AND HARRY

The family division court hearing scheduled on July 30 is expected to focus on who will have custody of their two young children now that the princess has left Dubai.

The sheikh, who is the vice president and prime minister of the United Arab Emirates in addition to being the ruler of Dubai, is among the most influential figures in the Middle East.

The harsh words of his poem about the princess caused reverberations and speculation throughout royal circles in the Middle East and beyond.

The couple has a daughter, 11, and son, 7, together. Both were educated at elite English universities and they share a love for horses.

Media reports indicate she took the children with her when she left Dubai. Under Islamic law, a woman can at least nominally retain custody of her children in a divorce. Nonetheless, decisions about schooling, travel and lifestyles of the children often remain with the father in the Middle East. Given the Dubai ruler’s power, it is unlikely Princess Haya would have had a say in her children’s ability to leave the UAE had she not reportedly fled with them.

Haya’s half-brother is Jordan’s current monarch, King Abdullah, who was pictured at her side when she wed Dubai’s ruler, reportedly becoming his sixth wife.

She is a former Olympic athlete who competed in equestrian show jumping in the 2000 Sydney Games, a taboo-breaking feat for women from traditionally Muslim countries. Her love of sports and horse riding began early — she was just 13 when she became the first female to represent Jordan internationally in equestrian show jumping.

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Haya has long stood out from other wives of Gulf Arab rulers not only because of her Jordanian royal background and Olympic ambitions, but because she was seen and photographed in public. Most rulers’ wives in the Gulf are never photographed and their faces and names aren’t known to the public. But Princess Haya wasn’t only visible at humanitarian events, often seated front row in Dubai by her husband’s side, but was a stylish fixture in glossy magazines and at prestigious equestrian events in the U.K,, like the Royal Ascot and Epsom Derby.

In a 2009 Daily Mail interview, the princess said she deliberately postponed marriage until she could meet a man “who doesn’t feel he has to mold me.”

She was quoted as saying, “You have to accept that you’re in control of yourself but not your destiny.”

The government of Dubai hasn’t commented on the media reports about Princess Haya fleeing with her children to Europe.

Based on reporting by The Associated Press.

Westlake Legal Group Princess-Haya-Sheikh-Mohammed-2-Getty Dubai ruler's wife, Princess Haya, goes into hiding in UK and hires divorce lawyer: report fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/travel/regions/europe fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Elizabeth Llorente article 925cedf0-0b67-5862-9730-47f6529062fd   Westlake Legal Group Princess-Haya-Sheikh-Mohammed-2-Getty Dubai ruler's wife, Princess Haya, goes into hiding in UK and hires divorce lawyer: report fox-news/world/world-regions/united-kingdom fox-news/travel/regions/europe fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/entertainment fnc Elizabeth Llorente article 925cedf0-0b67-5862-9730-47f6529062fd

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White House: ‘Little doubt’ Iran was enriching uranium under Obama administration’s watch

President Trump told reporters in the Oval Office on Monday that Iran is “playing with fire,” hours after the country  effectively acknowledged that it was violating the terms of the 2015 multinational nuclear accord and threatened to pursue weapons-grade uranium as soon as July 7.

“No, no message to Iran,” Trump said. “They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re playing with. And I think the’re playing with fire. So no message to Iran whatsoever.”

Earlier in the day, the semi-official Fars news agency in Iran cited an unnamed source as saying that U.N. inspectors had recently weighed Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium. According to the report, Iran’s stockpile of low-enriched uranium was greater than the 660-pound limit set by the nuclear deal. The Trump administration withdrew the U.S. from the deal more than a year ago.

In a terse written statement Monday, the White House said the development should have been foreseeable to the Obama administration “even before the deal’s existence.”

The White House also vowed to continue to exert “maximum pressure” on Iran to ensure that the country never obtains nuclear weapons, even as it worked to undo what it called the “mistake” of the previous administration.

While uranium enriched to 3.67 percent is usable for nuclear power plants, enrichment closer to 90 percent is needed for atomic weaponry. Separately, Iran has threatened to rapidly raise its uranium enrichment closer to weapons-grade levels starting on July 7 if Europe fails to offer it a new deal that provides economic relief.

IRAN SAYS LATEST TRUMP SANCTIONS END THE CHANNEL OF DIPLOMACY ‘FOREVER’

“The Iranian regime took action today to increase its uranium enrichment,’ the White House said in the statement. “It was a mistake under the Iran nuclear deal to allow Iran to enrich uranium at any level. There is little doubt that even before the deal’s existence, Iran was violating its terms.”

Westlake Legal Group ContentBroker_contentid-72cfcb48e33546699d3770e18e833ef9 White House: 'Little doubt' Iran was enriching uranium under Obama administration's watch Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 74ab0a8c-b03a-5230-ad08-092659f88128

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said this past May that the country would exceed the nuclear deal’s limitations on stockpiling uranium. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP, File)

Tensions in the Persian Gulf, where Iranian forces shot down a U.S. drone last month, have escalated sharply in recent weeks, as crippling sanctions imposed by the Trump administration have sent Iran’s economy into a tailspin. Some of the sanctions had been suspended under the nuclear deal.

Iran’s oil exports have more than halved since sanctions were reinstated and imposed last year, and the rial has lost approximately 60 percent of its value against the dollar. Additionally, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said inflation in Iran hit 31 percent in 2018, and could continue to rise. The IMF said Iran’s economy contracted by 3.9 percent in 2018, and in April forecast a massive economic contraction of as much as 6 percent this year.

After the drone shootdown, the Trump administration hit Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other officials with new sanctions. That prompted Iran’s Foreign Ministry to say diplomacy was permanently off the table. Iranian President Rouhani, speaking on television, also mocked the White House and said it is “afflicted by mental retardation.”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the country’s decision to exceed stockpile limits on Monday was “reversible,” but he pleaded again for European countries to work to reduce the sanctions.

“Today, Iran has to stand against U.S. economic sanctions through domestic production and relying on national potentials,” Zarif said on state-run media.

“They know what they’re doing. They know what they’re playing with. And I think the’re playing with fire.”

— President Trump

The White House statement, however, suggested no compromise.

“We must restore the longstanding nonproliferation standard of no enrichment for Iran,” the White House said. “The United States and its allies will never allow Iran to develop nuclear weapons. Maximum pressure on the Iranian regime will continue until its leaders alter their course of action. The regime must end its nuclear ambitions and its malign behavior.”

This past May, nuclear officials said Iran had quadrupled its uranium-enrichment production capacity amid tensions with the U.S. over Tehran‘s atomic program, just hours after Trump and Iran’s foreign minister traded threats and taunts on Twitter.

Iranian officials made a point to stress that the uranium would be enriched only to the 3.67 percent limit set under the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. But by increasing production, Iran steamrolled towards exceeding the stockpile limitations set by the accord.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted Monday that Iran’s latest announcement continued a larger trend.

“Iran’s regime has taken new steps to advance its nuclear ambitions,” Pompeo said. “Once again, the regime uses its nuclear program to extort the international community and threaten regional security. The world’s top sponsor of terrorism can never be allowed to enrich uranium at any level.”

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In May, Pompeo revealed that Iran-backed missiles positioned rockets near American military bases in Iraq, prompting the State Department to order non-emergency personnel at the U.S. embassy and consulate there to leave the country.

Understanding how quickly low-enriched uranium could be weaponized is key to recognizing the threat posed by Iran’s nuclear program, experts have said. Enriching a supply of uranium means boosting its concentration of the type of uranium that can power a nuclear reaction.

Fox News’ Nicole Darrah, Anna Hopkins and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6054346775001_6054339757001-vs White House: 'Little doubt' Iran was enriching uranium under Obama administration's watch Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 74ab0a8c-b03a-5230-ad08-092659f88128   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6054346775001_6054339757001-vs White House: 'Little doubt' Iran was enriching uranium under Obama administration's watch Gregg Re fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/secretary-of-state fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/politics fnc article 74ab0a8c-b03a-5230-ad08-092659f88128

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Brett Velicovich: Iran now sees America as weak – That’s dangerous

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6052043300001_6052046129001-vs Brett Velicovich: Iran now sees America as weak – That’s dangerous fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/politics/executive/national-security fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc Brett Velicovich article 20f753c1-3967-5f9c-94fc-1fdc009a8e45

It’s not often I disagree with President Trump. But as someone who has witnessed the brutal actions of Iran firsthand, I believe the president’s decision to put new financial sanctions on the country in response to the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone is simply not enough to deter Iran in the near term.

The U.S. has almost 1,000 separate sanctions levied against Iran already. There is no doubt the Iranians are being squeezed economically and their latest actions are a sign that they are feeling it. Targeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei directly with sanctions will likely exacerbate the situation and produce additional military strikes by Iran.

The latest attack on our own drone makes it clear to me that Iran’s hardliners currently believe we are at war with them. They have clearly been covertly at war with us for years.

US-IRAN TENSIONS: A TIMELINE OF KEY EVENTS

The hardliners were smart enough, until recently, to not directly target U.S. properties. That is why this Iranian strike on our surveillance drone last week represents such a serious change in the Iranian leadership’s calculus and an escalation that absolutely warranted a direct response from our military forces.

Yet we did nothing.

By not conducting even a limited military strike, we look weak in the eyes of the Iranian leadership.

My fear is that due to this perceived weakness, we will see another Iranian attack in the near term directed against our forces. The Iranians feel emboldened because they got away with their attack on our drone.

Trump’s decision to call off airstrikes and instead increase sanctions makes the Iranian leadership believe we are not ready to take the appropriate action necessary to defend ourselves.

If we did nothing when Iran took out a $130 million drone – one of the most expensive in our arsenal – what’s to stop the Iranians from striking our other assets in the region at even half the cost? If it happens another time and we don’t conduct a military strike, Iran will continue down the same path until we do, putting more and more innocent lives in danger.

To be clear, this isn’t about being in the business of revenge. It’s something that should have been done a long time ago to stop the Iranian reign of terror. A U.S. military strike on Iran is about stopping future attacks and American deaths. Iran’s leaders have American blood on their hands and they don’t plan to stop anytime soon.

Iran has never been held accountable for its actions. I know this all too well because I’ve personally witnessed the brutality of the Iranian regime when U.S. soldiers were killed right in front of me as a result of Iranian actions.

I nearly lost my own life when the Iranians trained, equipped, and directed a proxy group to try and bring down a building where other soldiers and I lived in Iraq. A recent Pentagon study proved that over 600 American soldiers have died as a result of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps actions between 2003 and 2011.

When will it end?

When trying to ascertain why Iran is acting as it does, many people don’t take into account Iranian culture. This is a regime that only understands the concepts of power and strength. To negotiate right now would be to surrender.

The Iranian government will send its own people to their deaths instead of surrendering to U.S. sanctions pressure. Even this week, Iran’s parliament was seen collectively chanting death to America – a clear indicator that more aggressive action is imminent.

Could you imagine members of our own Congress being psychotic enough to stand up and start screaming death to another country?

While a limited military strike would do more harm to Iran than cyberattacks and increased economic sanctions in the near term, the only thing that will stop the Iranian regime over the long term is time. The truth is that Iran has the potential of being our biggest ally strategically in the Middle East.

With nearly 60 percent of Iran’s population under the age of 30, the youth and the majority of moderates in the nation want change. They want a better relationship and business with the West. They have no appetite for war.

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Unfortunately, the actions of Iran are due to a small group of hardliners hell-bent on protecting the principles of the 1979 Islamic Revolution. They will only be stopped when their own people have had enough.

The best thing we can do now is put in place conditions to slow the Iranian regime down and allow the new generation of Iranians to correct the mistakes of the past.

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James Carafano: Trump adopts shrewd Iran strategy

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6052239950001_6052234696001-vs James Carafano: Trump adopts shrewd Iran strategy James Jay Carafano fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 14c1cde8-229d-540d-a4a2-f387c9d5c99b

There is a hard and messy way – and a smart and skillful way – to do almost anything.

Take a melon. Hit it with a sledgehammer. Or slice it with a sharp knife. Either way, you get fruit.

There are also hard ways and smart ways to deal with Iran. With sweeping new sanctions, President Trump has opted for shrewd strategy over blunt-force trauma.

TRUMP VOWS IRAN CANNOT HAVE PATH TO NUKES, SAYS HE HOPES SANCTIONS SENT ‘MESSAGE’

The president has decided to target Tehran with precision-guided economic sanctions rather than maul the mullahs with missiles.

At issue was the question: How should the U.S. retaliate in response to the Iranian regime’s latest provocation – the downing of a high-priced surveillance drone?

When America didn’t strike back immediately, some of Trump’s critics blasted him for not attacking Iran – the same “loyal opposition” lawmakers who had previously accused him of trying to start a war.

On the other side of the aisle, hawks screeched that Trump wasn’t hawkish enough.

Frankly, it all sounded like a bunch of Monday morning quarterbacks who hadn’t bothered to watch the game on Sunday.

Iran and the entire Middle East have to realize that America is no longer a pushover. When President Barack Obama blinked after Syrian dictator Bashar Assad’s use of chemical weapons in that nation’s civil war, Obama gave Syria’s mass murderer in chief a green light to do whatever he wanted.

Trump is not about to give Iran a free pass. But in opting not to thump Tehran militarily for drone-downing, he actually saved lives without letting the regime off the hook. Iran still faces a red light – and one that shines brighter than ever.

The U.S. capacity to keep the Gulf waters open is not diminished a whit. The U.S. effort to build a coalition to contain Iran has not been dented. Indeed, by showing restraint and statesmanship, Trump probably helped the cause.

Even within Iran, there are increasingly grumpy voices noting that the regime’s constant head-butting with Washington is getting it precisely nowhere.

All three Iranian claims are nonsense. The only people who believe these whoppers are Trump critics, who see the president much as the mullahs do: as the Great Satan incarnate.

Indeed, Iran now finds itself more boxed in than before, thanks to the new sanctions Trump imposed Monday.

“President Trump signed a new executive order authorizing even more expanded sanctions against Iran,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said, emerging from the Oval Office. “So now, along with our existing sanctions authority, we have additional sanctions to go after the supreme leader’s office and lock up literally billions of dollars more of assets.”

Let’s be clear. The new U.S. sanctions are unlikely to bring Tehran to the negotiating table any time soon. The Trump team knows that.

The new sanctions aren’t designed to change Iran’s bad behavior – they are designed to punish bad behavior. 

As a result, the new sanctions are likely to hurt Iran’s leadership a lot more than killing some luckless Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps member who might have had the misfortune to be standing too close to an American cruise missile’s target. 

Hard cash is what Iran’s elite need to maintain to control. The less they have, the less they are able to stay in control.

On top of the sanctions came reports that the U.S. unleashed cyberattacks on Iranian military systems. Iran claims the attacks failed. Then again, Iran also claims that it didn’t attack oil tankers in international waters and that it shot the U.S. drone in Iranian airspace.

All three Iranian claims are nonsense. The only people who believe these whoppers are Trump critics, who see the president much as the mullahs do: as the Great Satan incarnate.

Make no mistake, Trump has given Tehran plenty to think about.

So while Iran plays Rock ‘Em Sock ‘Em Robots, Trump is striking back in a much more refined manner, and in ways to which Tehran can’t respond in kind. Meanwhile, if the Iranian regime decides it wants to strike again, Trump has plenty more tools at his disposal – military and otherwise.

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If military action is provoked, expect the U.S. to conduct counterstrikes to eliminate the immediate threat, rather than more expansive punitive strikes to punish the regime. 

In the end, Trump is likely to use force to protect U.S. forces only if that is absolutely required. He isn’t going to start a war. But he’s not about to let Iran get away with murder.

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Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6052239950001_6052234696001-vs James Carafano: Trump adopts shrewd Iran strategy James Jay Carafano fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 14c1cde8-229d-540d-a4a2-f387c9d5c99b   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6052239950001_6052234696001-vs James Carafano: Trump adopts shrewd Iran strategy James Jay Carafano fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 14c1cde8-229d-540d-a4a2-f387c9d5c99b

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Fred Fleitz: Trump knows his Iran strategy is working – Now the ball is in Tehran’s court

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051783532001_6051782192001-vs Fred Fleitz: Trump knows his Iran strategy is working – Now the ball is in Tehran's court Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 9376bf64-41f8-5bb5-adb0-37f37e4440ef

Iranian leaders believed that mining oil tankers in the Gulf of Hormuz and shooting down a U.S. drone would force President Trump to drop his tough “maximum pressure” policy against Iran by reversing the U.S. withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal (the JCPOA) and dropping increased U.S. sanctions. This was a reasonable assumption after eight years of President Barack Obama’s incompetent foreign policies including his “leading from behind” Middle East strategy and his “strategic patience” approach to North Korea.

Iran’s leaders were wrong. President Trump is not about to back away from his Iran strategy which has been highly successful in denying Tehran revenue to spend on its nuclear and missile programs, terrorism, and meddling in regional disputes. Instead, President Trump, Monday doubled down on his Iran policy by approving new sanctions.

The president also knows he made the right call in withdrawing from the deeply flawed nuclear deal which lets Iran continue nuclear weapons-related activities like uranium enrichment and does not cover Iran’s missile programs and other threats it poses to the region.

IRAN SAYS LATEST US SANCTIONS ENDS ‘CHANNEL OF DIPLOMACY FOREVER’

In addition, Israel produced clear evidence last year of Iranian cheating and lying on its JCPOA commitments when it revealed the “Iran nuclear archive” – a treasure-trove of documents stolen by Israeli intelligence on Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

At the same time, while President Trump promised during the presidential campaign and as president to end wars and not start new ones, he has made clear on numerous occasions, including in Syria and Afghanistan, that he is prepared to use military force when necessary to defend U.S. interests and those of our allies.

Iran dodged a bullet last week when Trump decided to call off airstrikes minutes before they were launched. Contrary to claims by his critics, this was not a sign of indecisiveness by the president – it reflected his decision that airstrikes that could kill 100-200 people were a disproportional and unjustified response to Iran’s shoot-down of an unarmed U.S. drone. Iranian leaders should conclude from this incident that the next time the president orders a military strike, they will not be so lucky.

The increased tensions with Iran are a result of Iran’s leaders attempting to use violence and terrorism to force President Trump to drop his maximum pressure policy. Obviously giving into these threats would be a sign of American weakness and amount giving into blackmail. The United States also should not remain in an agreement because the other party threatens to attack us if we withdraw.

Iranian leaders reacted angrily to the new sanctions imposed by President Trump Monday, calling them “outrageous and idiotic” and claimed they permanently closed the path to diplomacy.

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Such rants will have no effect on President Trump because he knows his approach to Iran is working – he has no need to offer Tehran concessions. Trump remains open to talks with Iran to find a diplomatic solution that addresses the full range of threats posed by Iran. If Iran wants to negotiate an end to U.S. sanctions, it will need to agree to significant concessions. The ball is in Iran’s court.

The U.S. presidency is often described as the most difficult job on earth because of the enormous responsibility as the leader of the free world and the requirement of having to make difficult decisions with no easy answers that sometimes may result in the loss of human lives. President Trump has demonstrated with his careful and prudent handling of the threat from Iran how he has excelled at meeting the heavy demands of being America’s commander in chief.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051783532001_6051782192001-vs Fred Fleitz: Trump knows his Iran strategy is working – Now the ball is in Tehran's court Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 9376bf64-41f8-5bb5-adb0-37f37e4440ef   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6051783532001_6051782192001-vs Fred Fleitz: Trump knows his Iran strategy is working – Now the ball is in Tehran's court Fred Fleitz fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/white-house fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 9376bf64-41f8-5bb5-adb0-37f37e4440ef

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Winning ugly? Media hit Trump style over Iran, but sometimes it works

Westlake Legal Group TrumpGettyIMagesJoeRaedle Winning ugly? Media hit Trump style over Iran, but sometimes it works Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/economic-policy fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 57db892f-407d-58bb-80b6-66bbd07e2ad5

It’s a headline that captures the establishment’s disdain for the president’s unorthodox style of governing.

“Trump’s Erratic Policy Moves Put National Security at Risk, Experts Warn,” says The Washington Post.

Never mind that the first three critics quoted — after a defense from Mike Pence on CNN — were Bernie Sanders, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker.

The other “experts” were two professors who were mildly critical and a lawyer who was supportive of Trump.

But the piece does get at a central question about this president in the wake of the aborted airstrikes against Iran, which he called off with 10 minutes to spare.

Does Trump preside over a messy and sometimes chaotic process? Of course. But sometimes that style gets results.

On Iran, for instance, many liberals liked that he pulled back on bombing over the downing of an unmanned drone, even as they say he extinguished a fire that he had started. (Maureen Dowd: “As shocking as it is to write this sentence, it must be said: Donald Trump did something right.”)

TRUMP SIGNS EXECUTIVE ORDER DELIVERING ‘HARD-HITTING’ SANCTIONS AGAINST IRAN

In negotiations, the president often makes a dramatic demand or threat, sparking a media and diplomatic furor over whether this time he’s gone too far — then hammers out a compromise and claims victory. It’s the style of a blustery New York real estate developer who’s always one minute from walking away from the table, transferred to the staid, tradition-bound world of Washington.

Over the weekend, Trump called off a wave of ICE arrests that was to begin on Sunday, which he said would begin deportations of “millions” of illegal immigrants. That set off the predictable uproar.

Trump, after a reported call with Nancy Pelosi, said he was delaying the arrests for two weeks to allow time for negotiations with the Democrats. Nobody seems to think a deal can be struck in so short a period, but Trump won points with his base by threatening the mass arrests and again drove the news agenda.

SUBSCRIBE TO HOWIE’S MEDIA BUZZMETER PODCAST, A RIFF OF THE DAY’S HOTTEST STORIES

The Post’s take: “Three policy turnarounds by President Trump this month have underscored his freewheeling governing style, an approach that some experts warn sends mixed messages and puts U.S. national security at risk …

“The results of Trump’s strategy on policy have been mixed at best — and few issues offer as complete a picture of the president’s habitual brinkmanship as his effort to overhaul U.S. trade policy.”

Remember when Trump threatened to close the Mexican border? The Beltway went ballistic. He didn’t.

PELOSI SAYS ‘VIOLATION OF STATUS’ NOT A REASON TO DEPORT ILLEGAL IMMIGRANTS

Then he threatened to slap tariffs on all Mexican products, beginning at 5 percent, if the country didn’t crack down on migrants fleeing Central America for the U.S. border. Lo and behold, Trump got a last-minute agreement. It’s hard to judge how concrete these steps are, and The New York Times said most of them had been previously agreed to, but the perception — or perhaps the reality — is that he got Mexico to move.

Trump even used the tough-talk tactics against Canada before finally hammering out a trade deal. Whether the tariffs imposed on China ultimately lead to an agreement is another question.

The point is that while Trump’s approach horrifies the traditionalists, he rarely carries out the well-publicized threats.

I see a link between the zig-zagging negotiating style and the repeated failures of Trump’s vetting operation. Rather than wait for full-fledged inquiries and background checks, the president announces who he wants to nominate — and often has to pull back.

That was painfully on display when acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan had to withdraw over a violent family past that would have made clear he would be impossible to confirm. The same was true when the president had to drop his planned nominees to the Fed, Herman Cain and Steve Moore.

Axios obtained nearly 100 Trump transition vetting documents that clearly show the RNC and others were overwhelmed in trying to check on potential nominees. The documents show that ethical and management questions were raised about Scott Pruitt and Tom Price, who later had to resign their posts at EPA and HHS.

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As president, Trump has far more resources available to vet nominees, yet still rushes to name them before any real investigation.

This president isn’t going to win any awards for a tidy management process. But when it comes to military action and trade talks, he sometimes wins ugly.

Westlake Legal Group TrumpGettyIMagesJoeRaedle Winning ugly? Media hit Trump style over Iran, but sometimes it works Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/economic-policy fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 57db892f-407d-58bb-80b6-66bbd07e2ad5   Westlake Legal Group TrumpGettyIMagesJoeRaedle Winning ugly? Media hit Trump style over Iran, but sometimes it works Howard Kurtz fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox-news/politics/executive/economic-policy fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/columns/media-buzz fox news fnc/politics fnc article 57db892f-407d-58bb-80b6-66bbd07e2ad5

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