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Westlake Legal Group > fox-news/world/conflicts/iran

US graduate student released from Iran highlights cases of Americans detained by Tehran

A Chinese-American graduate student is on his way back to the United States after he was released from an Iran prison in exchange for an Iranian scientist who was held by the U.S.

The release of Xiyue Wang, who was detained in 2016 and sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly “infiltrating” the country and sending confidential material abroad, on Saturday put a spotlight on the detention of at least four other Americans in Iran.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo acknowledged on Saturday that the Trump administration’s top priority is to return Americans held in Iran and around the world.

AMERICAN GRADUATE STUDENT HELD IN IRAN ON SPY CHARGES SINCE 2016 RELEASED

The most notable detention is that of former FBI Robert Levinson, who vanished from the Iranian island of Kish in 2007 while on an unauthorized CIA mission.

Last month Iran acknowledged for the first time that Levinson was the subject of an “on going case” in the Public Prosecution and Revolutionary Court of Tehran. However, Iranian officials did not say how long the case has been open or how it started.

Levinson is now the longest-held hostage in U.S. history.

His daughter, Sarah Moriarty, told Fox News’ “The Story” last month the Trump administration has been “working very hard; very tirelessly to bring him home.”

The U.S. has offered a $25 million reward for information leading directly to Levinson’s safe location, recovery, and return. This is on top of a $5 million reward already posted.

“My message to my dad is that we are working tirelessly every day and we are working hard to bring him home,” Moriarty said.

DAUGHTER OF EX-FBI AGENT MISSING FOR A DECADE IN IRAN THANKS TRUMP FOR ‘CLEAR MESSAGE’ TO TEHRAN

Others detained in Iran include 81-year-old businessman Baquer Namazi, who has been held for over two years and has been diagnosed with epilepsy. He is a former representative for the U.N. children’s agency UNICEF who served as governor of Iran’s oil-rich Khuzestan province under the U.S.-baked shah.

He and his son Siamak Namazi, also a dual national who has been held for more than three years, are serving a 10-year sentence after they were convicted of collaborating with a hostile power.

Baquer Namazi’s other son told Fox News in a statement Saturday that while he is thrilled that Wang’s “horrific nightmare” has ended, he is “beyond devastated that a second President has left my ailing father Baquer Namazi and brother Siamak Zamasi behind as American hostages in Iran in a second swap deal.”

“I hope, pray and expect that this is not a one-time trade but the beginning of an expedited process that will bring my family home soon,” Babak Zamaki said.

Also detained is U.S. Navy veteran Michael White, who had been held in an Iranian prison on unspecified charges since late July 2018. The 46-year-old White was detained after visiting his Iranian girlfriend, his mother told the New York Times in January.

Westlake Legal Group white US graduate student released from Iran highlights cases of Americans detained by Tehran Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 2dd1fbbc-99d1-59ab-bc70-a3ed35f39999

American Navy veteran Michael R. White, 46, was detained in Iran after visiting his Iranian girlfriend, his mother said. (Instagram)

White was sentenced in March to 10 years in prison for allegedly insulting Iran’s supreme leader and posting private information only. Information surrounding the care remains vague.

At the time, Joanne White said that the U.S. had put in a request for a consular visit with the Swiss government.

IRAN, US IN WAR OF WORDS OVER PRISONERS

The Swiss Embassy in Tehran looks out for America’s interests in the country as the U.S. Embassy there has been closed since the 1979 student takeover and 444-day hostage crisis.

An Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari and his Iranian wife, Afarin Nayssari, received 27-year and 16-year prison sentences, respectively.

Pompeo said Saturday that Wang – who was released as part of the exchange of scientist Massoud Soleimani – is on his way back to the U.S.

Westlake Legal Group AP19341397294157 US graduate student released from Iran highlights cases of Americans detained by Tehran Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 2dd1fbbc-99d1-59ab-bc70-a3ed35f39999

FILE – In this Wednesday, May 9, 2018 file photo, Hua Qu, the wife of detained Chinese-American Xiyue Wang, poses for a photograph with a portrait of her family in Princeton, N.J. Iran’s foreign minister says a detained Princeton graduate student will be exchanged for an Iranian scientist held by the U.S. Mohammed Javad Zarif made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

“Mr. Wang will soon be reunited with his wife and son, who have missed him dearly,” he said.

Tensions have been high between Iran and the U.S. since Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018. In the time since, the U.S. has imposed harsh sanctions on Iran’s economy. There also have been a series of attacks across the Mideast that the U.S. blames on Iran.

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The Western detainees from the U.S. and elsewhere will likely be used as bargaining chips for future negotiations amid Iran’s unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

In June, Iran released Nizar Zakka, a U.S. permanent resident from Lebanon who advocated for internet freedom and has done work for the U.S. government. The U.S. deported Iranian Negar Ghodskani in September, who had been brought from Australia and later sentenced to time served for conspiracy to illegally export restricted technology from the U.S. to Iran.

Fox News’ Charles Creitz, Samuel Chamberlain, Lucas Tomlinson and the Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Iran-Prisoners-Split US graduate student released from Iran highlights cases of Americans detained by Tehran Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 2dd1fbbc-99d1-59ab-bc70-a3ed35f39999   Westlake Legal Group Iran-Prisoners-Split US graduate student released from Iran highlights cases of Americans detained by Tehran Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 2dd1fbbc-99d1-59ab-bc70-a3ed35f39999

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American graduate student held in Iran on spy charges since 2016 to be released

An American graduate student held in Iran will be released in exchange for an Iranian scientist held by the U.S., officials confirmed.

Iran’s foreign minister and the White House both announced that Princeton University graduate student Xiyue Wang will be exchanged for scientist Massoud Soleimani.

“After more than three years of being held prisoner in Iran, Xiyue Wang is returning to the United States,” President Trump said in a statement released by the White House on Saturday. “The highest priority of the United States is the safety and well-being of its citizens.  Freeing Americans held captive is of vital importance to my Administration, and we will continue to work hard to bring home all our citizens wrongfully held captive overseas.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19341397294157 American graduate student held in Iran on spy charges since 2016 to be released Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc article 590fba93-80a2-5956-88d7-04a832230c46

FILE – In this Wednesday, May 9, 2018 file photo, Hua Qu, the wife of detained Chinese-American Xiyue Wang, poses for a photograph with a portrait of her family in Princeton, N.J. Iran’s foreign minister says a detained Princeton graduate student will be exchanged for an Iranian scientist held by the U.S. Mohammed Javad Zarif made the announcement on Twitter on Saturday, Dec. 7, 2019. The trade involves graduate student Xiyue Wang and scientist Massoud Soleimani. Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison in Iran for allegedly “infiltrating” the country and sending confidential material abroad. His family and Princeton strongly denied the claims. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke, File)

WIFE OF US SCHOLAR IMPRISONED IN IRAN SPEAKS OUT: ‘HIS ONLY CRIME IS HE’S AMERICAN’

Wang was sentenced to 10 years in prison for allegedly “infiltrating” the country and sending confidential material abroad. His family and Princeton University strongly denied the claims.

His wife, Gua Qu, rejoiced over the news of his release in a statement on Twitter.

“Our family is complete once again. Our son Shaofan and I have waited three long years for this day and it’s hard to express in words how excited we are to be reunited with Xiyue,” the statement said. “We are thankful to everyone who helped make this happen.”

Wang’s release was negotiated with the assistance of the Swiss Embassy in Tehran, who looks out for America’s interests in the country as the U.S. Embassy there has been closed since the 1979 student takeover and 444-day hostage crisis.

Westlake Legal Group Iran-prison-1-copy American graduate student held in Iran on spy charges since 2016 to be released Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc article 590fba93-80a2-5956-88d7-04a832230c46

Xiyue Wang with son Shaofan (Courtesy of Hua Qu)

Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency reported that Soleimani was with Iranian officials in Switzerland.

Soleimani — who works in stem cell research, hematology and regenerative medicine – was arrested by U.S. authorities on charges he had violated trade sanctions by trying to have biological material brought to Iran.

He and his lawyers maintain his innocence, saying he seized on a former student’s plans to travel from the U.S. to Iran in September 2016 as a chance to get recombinant proteins used in his research for a fraction of the price he’d pay at home.

US WANTS INFO ON IRANIAN PLANNER OF 2007 ATTACK THAT KILLED 5 US TROOPS, OFFERS $15M

Wang is one of at least four known Americans being held prisoner in Iran, all accused of spying.

Westlake Legal Group Iran-prison-2 American graduate student held in Iran on spy charges since 2016 to be released Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc article 590fba93-80a2-5956-88d7-04a832230c46

Xiyue Wang and Hua Qu in an undated photo. (Courtesy of Hua Qu)

Hua Qu told Fox News in January that her husband was not a spy, but instead a “history nerd.”

“All he wanted to do is to do good research and then teach for the rest of his life,” she said at the time.

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Tensions have been high between Iran and the U.S. since President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew America from Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018. In the time since, the U.S. has imposed harsh sanctions on Iran’s economy. There also have been a series of attacks across the Mideast that the U.S. blames on Iran.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5989410414001_5989405332001-vs American graduate student held in Iran on spy charges since 2016 to be released Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc article 590fba93-80a2-5956-88d7-04a832230c46   Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5989410414001_5989405332001-vs American graduate student held in Iran on spy charges since 2016 to be released Lucia Suarez Sang fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy fox news fnc/world fnc article 590fba93-80a2-5956-88d7-04a832230c46

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US wants info on Iranian planner of 2007 attack that killed 5 US troops, offers $15M

Westlake Legal Group Troops-Karbala-Spc-Charles-Willingham US wants info on Iranian planner of 2007 attack that killed 5 US troops, offers $15M Louis Casiano fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox news fnc/us fnc article 2c0bc695-624c-521c-a2eb-38d74d6e6f31

The State Department on Thursday offered a $15 million reward for information related to a Yemen-based commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) suspected of plotting attacks against U.S. and coalition forces, including a 2007 offensive that left five American troops dead.

The bounty is for information on the financial activities, networks and associates of Abdul Reza Shahlai, who commands Iran‘s special foreign actions unit known as the Quds Force, Brian Hook, the U.S. special representative on Iran, told reporters during a briefing.

Shahlai has a long history of attacks on Americans and U.S. allies, Hook said, adding that he’s provided extremist Shia groups with weapons and explosives.

The Quds Force commander is also suspected of being behind the Jan. 20, 2007 attack on a provincial headquarters in Karbala, Iraq, that killed five U.S. troops and wounded three others.

PENTAGON MULLS SENDING UP TO 7,000 ADDITIONAL FORCES TO MIDDLE EAST, OFFICIALS SAY

Iran is believed to be behind the attack, the Military Times had reported. McClatchy said the attackers wore American uniforms and spoke some English and knew the layout of the compound.

Hook said Shahlai also funded a 2011 plot to assassinate Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the U.S., in a Washington D.C.-area restaurant. A follow-up attack that could have killed up to 200 American civilians was also planned but was not successful, he said.

Shahlai is suspected of providing weapons to Houthi rebels in Yemen, who are engaged in a war with the central government. The conflict is seen as a proxy war, with Iran supporting the rebels and Saudi Arabia siding with the government.

Hook said the U.S. is “gravely concerned” by Shahlai’s “presence in Yemen” while alluding to his potential involvement relating to a boat filled with sophisticated weapons that was intercepted late last month.

A Navy warship and Coast Guard boarding team seized a cache of weapons, including high-level missile components and anti-ship cruise missiles, on a vessel in the Arabian Sea thought to be headed toward Yemen.

The weapons have been linked to Iran.

“This discovery is yet more proof of Iran’s efforts to inflame conflicts in the region by proliferating deadly weapons to its proxies,” Hook said.

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Hook said the reward is not for the kill or capture of Shahlai, but rather for information leading to the disruption of IRGC operations.

Westlake Legal Group Troops-Karbala-Spc-Charles-Willingham US wants info on Iranian planner of 2007 attack that killed 5 US troops, offers $15M Louis Casiano fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox news fnc/us fnc article 2c0bc695-624c-521c-a2eb-38d74d6e6f31   Westlake Legal Group Troops-Karbala-Spc-Charles-Willingham US wants info on Iranian planner of 2007 attack that killed 5 US troops, offers $15M Louis Casiano fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/state-department fox news fnc/us fnc article 2c0bc695-624c-521c-a2eb-38d74d6e6f31

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US officials release photos of ‘significant cache’ of Iranian missile parts captured

U.S. officials released photos Thursday of the missile parts intercepted by military personnel believed to be from Iran headed to Yemen.

The photos were displayed during an on-the-record briefing with Brian Hook, the U.S. Special Representative for Iran and senior adviser to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Westlake Legal Group Photo-1-State-Dept US officials release photos of ‘significant cache’ of Iranian missile parts captured Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 06dc0ecb-849f-5f5e-bbb1-24d75e24d09e

Suspected Iranian missile headed for Yemen 

On Wednesday, officials told Fox News a U.S. Navy warship intercepted a “significant cache” of alleged Iranian missile parts that were on their way to stock the Houthi rebels in Yemen.

PEARL HARBOR NAVAL SHIPYARD SHOOTER IDENTIFIED, SURVIVING VICTIM IN CRITICAL CONDITION 

This is the first time such high-level missile components have been seized en route to the four-year civil war in Yemen, officials said. The U.S. has repeatedly accused Iran of smuggling arms to the rebels, who are battling the Yemeni government. Saudi Arabia, backed by U.S. arms sales, has intervened in the war to counter Iranian influence in the region.

Westlake Legal Group Photo-2-State-Dept US officials release photos of ‘significant cache’ of Iranian missile parts captured Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 06dc0ecb-849f-5f5e-bbb1-24d75e24d09e

Suspected Iranian missiles headed for Yemen 

 IRANIAN MISSILE PARTS HEADED TO YEMEN CAPTURED BY US NAVY WARSHIP, OFFICIALS SAY 

A small Navy boat and a Coast Guard boarding team seized the weapons last Wednesday in the northern Arabian Sea.

According to officials, the USS Forrest Sherman, part of the Harry S. Truman strike group operating in the region, was conducting routine maritime operations when sailors noticed a small wooden boat that was not displaying a flag from any country.

Navy and Coast Guard personnel stopped the boat and boarded it for inspection when they found the weapons. They did not determine an exact number but asserted it was a significant cache.

They said the small boat was towed to port and the boat’s crew was transferred to the Yemeni Coast Guard. The weapons are being stored on the American warship.

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The civil war in Yemen is seen by many as a proxy conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia. In light of the violence, 20 million people have been rendered food-insecure, with half of those suffering extreme levels of hunger, according to a United Nations report from February.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group USS-Forrest-Sherman US officials release photos of ‘significant cache’ of Iranian missile parts captured Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 06dc0ecb-849f-5f5e-bbb1-24d75e24d09e   Westlake Legal Group USS-Forrest-Sherman US officials release photos of ‘significant cache’ of Iranian missile parts captured Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 06dc0ecb-849f-5f5e-bbb1-24d75e24d09e

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Iranian missile parts headed to Yemen captured by US Navy warship, officials say

U.S. officials confirmed to Fox News on Wednesday that a U.S. Navy warship has intercepted a “significant cache” of what is thought to be missile parts from Iran headed to rebels in Yemen.

This is the first time such high-level missile components have been seized en route to the four-year civil war in Yemen, officials said, where Iranians support the Houthi rebels. The U.S. has repeatedly accused Iran of smuggling arms to the rebels, who are battling the Yemeni government.

A small Navy boat and a Coast Guard boarding team seized the weapons last Wednesday in the northern Arabian Sea. The weapons have been linked to Iran.

IRAN’S SECURITY FORCES HAVE SHOT AND KILLED ‘RIOTERS’, STATE TV REPORTS

Westlake Legal Group navy-boat Iranian missile parts headed to Yemen captured by US Navy warship, officials say Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/coast-guard fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 14b567ea-04e1-51a9-8e36-1e1c6c72dfd6

USS Forrest Sherman (DDG 98), the Navy warship that seized the missile parts said to be from Iran en route to Yemen.

The Yemeni civil war has been seen as a proxy conflict between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and as a means to quell Iranian influence in the region. In light of the violence, 20 million people have been rendered food-insecure, with half of those suffering extreme levels of hunger, according to a United Nations report from February.

IRAN DEMANDING FAMILIES PAY FOR BULLETS USED TO KILL PROTESTERS, RIGHTS GROUP SAYS 

The seizure came just as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to discuss counterbalancing Iran.

According to officials, the USS Forrest Sherman, part of the Harry S. Truman strike group operating in the region, was conducting routine maritime operations when sailors noticed a small wooden boat that was not displaying a flag from any country.

Navy and Coast Guard personnel stopped the boat and boarded it for inspection when they found the weapons. They did not determine an exact number but asserted it was a significant cache.

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They said the small boat was towed to port and the boat’s crew was transferred to the Yemeni Coast Guard. The weapons are being stored on the American warship.

Fox News’ Lucas Tomlinson and The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

Westlake Legal Group navy-boat Iranian missile parts headed to Yemen captured by US Navy warship, officials say Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/coast-guard fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 14b567ea-04e1-51a9-8e36-1e1c6c72dfd6   Westlake Legal Group navy-boat Iranian missile parts headed to Yemen captured by US Navy warship, officials say Morgan Phillips fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military/navy fox-news/us/military/coast-guard fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 14b567ea-04e1-51a9-8e36-1e1c6c72dfd6

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Iran’s security forces shot and killed ‘rioters’ in gas price protests, state TV reports

Westlake Legal Group AP19321592350022 Iran's security forces shot and killed 'rioters' in gas price protests, state TV reports fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace be471303-32e6-5445-8ac4-f6048f9da819 article

Iranian security forces shot and killed “rioters” in multiple cities amid the recent gas price protests, according to a report by the state-run television on Tuesday.

Iran has faced growing international criticism and pressure over the security force crackdown on demonstrations that spread across at least 100 cities and towns throughout the Islamic Republic in mid-November. Amnesty International estimated that at least 208 people were killed across the country in less than a week since the demonstrations first began on Nov. 15.

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Iranian officials have disputed Amnesty’s figures but have offered no definitive accounts of how many people have been arrested, injured or killed in the protests following the theocratic government’s announcement that it would raise gas prices by 50 percent to fund handouts for the country’s poor.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19321592350022 Iran's security forces shot and killed 'rioters' in gas price protests, state TV reports fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace be471303-32e6-5445-8ac4-f6048f9da819 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19321592350022 Iran's security forces shot and killed 'rioters' in gas price protests, state TV reports fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Danielle Wallace be471303-32e6-5445-8ac4-f6048f9da819 article

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Iranian activist says unrest is ‘totally different’ from past protests against regime

Westlake Legal Group AP19321592350022 Iranian activist says unrest is 'totally different' from past protests against regime Victor Garcia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc eb9be09e-a390-5cbc-bba3-a6ec118d2bd0 article

Iranian activist and journalist Masih Alinejad appeared on “The Story with Martha MacCallum” Monday to discuss the unrest in Iran and the hundreds of protesters killed by the government’s brutal crackdown, saying the movement opposing Tehran’s authoritarian regime could topple the country’s theocratic regime.

“This time is totally different. People became their own leader. They took to the street. They risked their lives. And they had the message, which you hear through the videos,” Alinejad said after MacCallum showed clips of the unrest. “That is actually why the government shut down the Internet. Why? Because they didn’t want the rest of the world to hear the message.”

IRAN CONSIDERED STRIKING US BASES BEFORE DECIDING ON SAUDI ARABIAN OIL FIELD

Human rights group Amnesty International said Monday that at least 208 people in Iran have been killed amid protests over sharply rising gasoline prices and a subsequent crackdown by security forces. The Associated Press reported that the governor of a Tehran suburb that saw demonstrations openly acknowledged in a video interview with the state-owned IRAN newspaper that she ordered police to shoot protesters if they stormed her offices.

Iran has yet to release any nationwide statistics over the unrest that gripped the Islamic Republic beginning Nov. 15, when the government announced that the minimum prices for subsidized gasoline would increase by 50 percent. State-run media did not acknowledge the Amnesty report and Iran’s mission to the U.N. did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Alinejad told MacCallum “more than 500 people” were killed.

The activist also described the protest scenes in Iran, saying a 27-year-old protester was filming one demonstration when he was shot in the head in front of his mother. Alinejad also became emotional as MacCallum played a video of her brother telling her to continue highlighting the protest movement in Iran.

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other Iranian leaders have blamed the United States for the protests, something Alinejad disputed.

“Why don’t we hear any single slogan against America in the streets of Iran and across Iran?” Alinejad said. “So that is why I have to say that people are suffering from corruption. People actually are witnessing that.”

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Alinejad also spoke of the importance of the Internet and social media access to Iranians and blasted the regime as “criminals.”

“We want to find a legal way to bring the Islamic Republic to justice,” Alinejad said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19320584183542 Iranian activist says unrest is 'totally different' from past protests against regime Victor Garcia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc eb9be09e-a390-5cbc-bba3-a6ec118d2bd0 article   Westlake Legal Group AP19320584183542 Iranian activist says unrest is 'totally different' from past protests against regime Victor Garcia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/shows/the-story fox-news/media/fox-news-flash fox-news/media fox news fnc/media fnc eb9be09e-a390-5cbc-bba3-a6ec118d2bd0 article

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Iran navy commander previews potential joint war games with Russia and China, say reports

Westlake Legal Group Hossein-Khanzadi-Getty Iran navy commander previews potential joint war games with Russia and China, say reports Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 153c3f2f-b795-55d2-98a5-0a3933b6b358

Iranian navy commander Rear Adm. Hossein Khanzadi indicated this week that the rogue nation would flex its muscle by possibly participating in joint war games with Russia and China in December, according to reports.

“[T]he joint war game between Iran, Russia and China, which will hopefully be conducted next month, carries the same message to the world, that these three countries have reached a meaningful strategic point in their relations,” Khanzadi said Wednesday, according to Iran’s semi-official Mehr news agency.

The war games would follow economic and civic turmoil for the nation, which recently came under crippling sanctions after the United States controversially withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal last year.

The Tasnim News Agency, another semi-official group, also reported on the games, which were reportedly planned by representatives from the three nations in October.

AT LEAST 40 IRAQ PROTESTERS KILLED IN 24 HOURS AS VIOLENCE ESCALATES

“The purpose of the war game is to ensure collective security and help strengthen security in the northern region of the Indian Ocean, which is witnessing incidents such as piracy,” Khanzadi reportedly said on Saturday.

He claimed his fleet could travel to the Gulf of Mexico or the Gulf of Finland. The naval commander also portrayed the games as a way of extending Iran’s commercial reach.

“The war game seeks to deliver this message to the world that any kind of security at sea must include the interests of all concerned countries,” he said. “We do not condone the kind of security that only caters to the benefits of one specific country at a specific time and which disregards the security of others.”

He added: “Seas, which are used as a platform for conducting global commerce, cannot be exclusively beneficial to certain powers.”

IRAN CONSIDERED STRIKING US BASES BEFORE DECIDING ON SAUDI ARABIAN OIL FIELD

In an apparent attack on the United States, Khanzadi called out “bullying tactics” used to “sanction another country’s oil by restricting its passage through international waters.”

“They need to realize that those countries with common interests have close military cooperation with one another in a bid to achieve a desirable level in their collective security,” he said.

U.S. sanctions, re-imposed by Trump, largely have stopped Iran from selling its crude oil abroad, cutting into a crucial source of government income. While Iranian President Hassan Rouhani pledged the money saved from cutting gasoline subsidies would go to the poor, Tehran also needs to cut back spending in order to weather the sanctions.

Iranian officials looking to hit back at the U.S. over crippling economic sanctions reportedly considered attacking American bases before launching airstrikes in September on a massive Saudi Arabian oil facility instead.

Iran’s per-capita gross domestic product, often used as a rough sense of a nation’s standard of living, is just over $6,000, compared to over $62,000 in the U.S., according to the World Bank. That disparity, especially given Iran’s oil wealth, fueled the anger felt by protesters in the nation.

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Already, Iranians have seen their savings chewed away by the rial’s collapse from 32,000 to $1 at the time of the 2015 nuclear accord to 126,000 to $1 today. Daily staples also have risen in price.

Even with the hike in gasoline prices, Iran still subsidizes fuel costs. Its economy remains largely state-planned despite privatization efforts. Among other major subsidies are bread and wheat, diesel fuel, heating oil and electricity.

Fox News’ Greg Norman and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Hossein-Khanzadi-Getty Iran navy commander previews potential joint war games with Russia and China, say reports Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 153c3f2f-b795-55d2-98a5-0a3933b6b358   Westlake Legal Group Hossein-Khanzadi-Getty Iran navy commander previews potential joint war games with Russia and China, say reports Sam Dorman fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/world-regions/china fox-news/world/world-regions/asia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 153c3f2f-b795-55d2-98a5-0a3933b6b358

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Israel’s defense minister calls for ‘worldwide hackathon’ for Iranian freedom to access social media

Westlake Legal Group AP19328605665945 Israel's defense minister calls for 'worldwide hackathon' for Iranian freedom to access social media fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 05f008b2-4c91-5e56-9053-1fc93a880051

Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett on Saturday called for a “worldwide hackathon” to help Iranian citizens whose Internet has been shut down by the government in response to ongoing protests over an increase in fuel prices.

In a video posted on his social media accounts, Bennett paints an image of a typical Iranian who may try to access his social media page to have his voice heard, but who is unable to do so.

“How scared must a regime be of its own people that it doesn’t allow them to access Facebook and Twitter and social media?” said Bennett, a former tech entrepreneur.

The Iranian government shut down the Internet earlier this month after protests spread to some 100 cities and towns across Iran over a 50 percent rise in fuel prices. The lack of Internet access has shielded the government’s brutal response to the protesters.

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the State Department has amassed more than 20,000 pieces of digital evidence showing the Iranian regime’s abuses of street protesters.

IRANIAN COMMANDER WARNS US ALLIES, ‘WE WILL DESTROY YOU’

“So, here is a crazy idea. How about every techie in the world — Israelis, Arabs, Iranians, Americans, Europeans and everyone else unite for one purpose: to help the long-suffering Iranian people gain open access to all social media. A worldwide hackathon for freedom,” Bennet says.

He said everyone — be it a senior engineer at an AI startup or someone “tinkering” in their own garage — “has a role to play.”

“Call up your most brilliant friends, grab some Red Bull and code through the night to do the impossible,” he said.

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He then called the Iranians “good and decent” people who deserve the same basic rights as everyone on Earth.

“Together, we can show the Persian people, and the Iranian dictatorship, that the power of the people is stronger than the people in power,” he added.

Fox News’ Alex Pappas and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP19328605665945 Israel's defense minister calls for 'worldwide hackathon' for Iranian freedom to access social media fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 05f008b2-4c91-5e56-9053-1fc93a880051   Westlake Legal Group AP19328605665945 Israel's defense minister calls for 'worldwide hackathon' for Iranian freedom to access social media fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Bradford Betz article 05f008b2-4c91-5e56-9053-1fc93a880051

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At least 40 Iraq protesters killed in 24 hours as violence escalates

At least 40 anti-government protesters have been killed in Iraq over a 24-hour period, government officials told The Associated Press late Thursday, as violence in Baghdad and the south of the country threatened to spiral out of control.

Security and medical officials say five protesters were killed and 32 wounded late Thursday when security forces fired live rounds to repel them from setting fire to a mosque in the central city of Najaf. Protesters had torched the Iranian consulate in that city the previous night.

Another 35 protesters have been killed by security forces in separate demonstrations in Nasiriyah and Baghdad since Wednesday evening. In all, at least 350 people have died since protesters first took to the streets on Oct. 1 to protest government corruption.

The attack on the Najaf consulate one of the worst attacks targeting Iranian interests in the country since the anti-government protests erupted two months ago. The Iranian staff were not harmed and escaped out the back door. Abbas Mousavi, a spokesman for Tehran’s foreign ministry, called for a “responsible, strong and effective” response to the incident from Iraq’s government in statements to Iran’s official IRNA news agency.

Westlake Legal Group Iraq720 At least 40 Iraq protesters killed in 24 hours as violence escalates Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 84f4c149-0238-5829-b9ee-1c9e7f2700c4

A wounded protester is carried to receive first aid during clashes in Baghdad Thursday. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed)

Iraq’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs condemned the torching of the consulate, saying it was perpetrated by “people outside of the genuine protesters,” in a statement, adding that the purpose had been to harm bilateral relations between the countries.

One demonstrator was killed and 35 wounded when police fired live ammunition to try to prevent them from entering the consulate building. Once inside, the demonstrators removed the Iranian flag and replaced it with an Iraqi one, according to a police official who spoke on condition of anonymity, in line with regulations.

A curfew was imposed in Najaf after the consulate was burned. Security forces were heavily deployed around main government buildings and religious institutions Thursday morning. The province is the headquarters of the country’s Shiite religious authority headed by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani.

The largely leaderless protest movement has also decried Iran’s growing influence in Iraqi state affairs as well as government corruption. Influential Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on the government to resign “immediately to stop the bloodletting,” while also imploring protesters to maintain the peacefulness of their movement and punish and abolish those behind the violence to protect the reputation of their movement.

“If the government does not resign, this will be the beginning of the end of Iraq,” he warned. Al-Sadr, who has supported the protests, also categorically denied that his supporters were involved in the attack against the Iranian consulate in Najaf.

Westlake Legal Group AP19331392838064-1 At least 40 Iraq protesters killed in 24 hours as violence escalates Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 84f4c149-0238-5829-b9ee-1c9e7f2700c4

Anti-government protesters set fire to block streets during ongoing protests in Baghdad Wednesday. (AP Photo/Ali Abdul Hassan)

Protesters have staged sit-ins and closed roads, using burning tires to cut access to main thoroughfares and bridges with burning tires. Protesters have also lately targeted the state’s economic interests in the south by blocking key ports and roads to oil fields.

In Basra, security forces were deployed in the city’s main roads to prevent protesters from staging sit-ins, with instructions to arrest demonstrators if they tried to block roads.

Basra’s streets were open as of Thursday morning, but roads leading to the two main Gulf commodities ports in Umm Qasr and Khor al-Zubair remained closed. Schools and official public institutions were also closed.

Separately, the U.S. Embassy denounced a recent decision by Iraq’s media regulator to suspend nine television channels, calling for the Communications and Media Commission to reverse its decision. Thursday’s statement from the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad also condemned attacks and harassment against journalists.

Local channel Dijla TV had its license suspended Tuesday for its coverage of the protests, and its office was closed and equipment confiscated, according to an official from one of the channels under threat. Other channels have been asked by the regulatory commission to sign a pledge “agreeing to adhere to its rules,” said the official, who requested anonymity out of fear of reprisal.

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The Islamic State group (ISIS) also claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s coordinated bombings in three Baghdad neighborhoods, which killed five people. That was the first apparent coordinated attack since anti-government protests began. The bombings took place far from Baghdad’s Tahrir Square, the epicenter of weeks of anti-government protests that have posed the biggest security challenge to Iraq since the defeat of ISIS.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Iraq720 At least 40 Iraq protesters killed in 24 hours as violence escalates Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 84f4c149-0238-5829-b9ee-1c9e7f2700c4   Westlake Legal Group Iraq720 At least 40 Iraq protesters killed in 24 hours as violence escalates Samuel Chamberlain fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc article 84f4c149-0238-5829-b9ee-1c9e7f2700c4

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