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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "fox-news/world/conflicts/iran" (Page 4)

UN aviation ruling could deny Iran hundreds of millions of dollars

Westlake Legal Group un-aviation-ruling-could-deny-iran-hundreds-of-millions-of-dollars UN aviation ruling could deny Iran hundreds of millions of dollars fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn article 15e9bdde-ccc5-5a6f-a89f-4a2b5170a9d5

A new ruling by a United Nations court could help pave the way for a resolution of the three-year-old blockade of Qatar, experts say, which could cost Iran hundreds of millions of dollars it reportedly receives for aviation overfly rights.

“We welcome today’s decision by the ICJ that will see the Blockading States finally face justice for violating international aviation rules,” said Jassim Saif Ahmed Al-Sulaiti, the Minister of Transport and Communications of the State of Qatar.

The U.N.’s highest court, at The Hague, declared that the International Civil Aviation Organization, the global agency that oversees international air travel, has jurisdiction over whether Qatar Airways can fly over the airspace of Qatar’s Gulf neighbors.

Four of those countries — Saudi Arabia, The United Arab Emirates, Bahrain and Egypt — imposed a blockade on Qatar in June, 2017 that among other measures banned flights from Qatar over their territory, forcing departures and arrivals to overfly Iran instead.

UAE SAID TO BE HOLDING UP GULF DEAL THAT COULD END QATAR BLOCKADE AND PROTECT US INTERESTS IN MIDDLE EAST

“We are confident that the ICAO will ultimately find these actions unlawful. This is the latest in a series of rulings that expose the Blockading Countries’ continued disregard for international law and due process. Step by step their arguments are being dismantled, and Qatar’s position vindicated,” the minister said.

Westlake Legal Group Qatar-Airways-iStock UN aviation ruling could deny Iran hundreds of millions of dollars fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn article 15e9bdde-ccc5-5a6f-a89f-4a2b5170a9d5

Easing the blockade’s restrictions on Qatar Airways so that its aircraft would no longer fly over Iran would make travel much safer for U.S. troops stationed at the Al Udeid Airbase in Qatar and for American diplomats stationed in Doha, say observers. (istock)

The ICAO could rule that the air blockade is illegal and that the boycott breached an international convention governing international aviation. But the UAE seems confident that will not happen.

The UAE Ambassador to the Netherlands, Hissa Abdullah Al Otaiba, said the decision was “technical and limited to procedural issues and jurisdiction to address the dispute; it did not consider the merits of the case.” She said the UAE will explain to the ICAO why it imposed the boycott on Qatari planes.

Tehran is reportedly paid about $133 million a year by Qatar for use of its airspace by flights arriving and departing Qatar. Easing the blockade’s restrictions on Qatar Airways so that its aircraft would no longer fly over Iran would make travel much safer for U.S. troops stationed at the Al Udeid Airbase in Qatar and for American diplomats stationed in Doha, say observers. That restriction could be dropped. Under International Civil Aviation Organization rules that regulate global air travel, a blockade does not affect overflight rights, meaning the U.N. court has backed Qatar’s position.

IRAN EXECUTES EX-DEFENSE MINISTRY EMPLOYEE ACCUSED OF SPYING FOR THE CIA

An agreement on the overflight issue would provide a small, but needed, first step toward Gulf reunification, say experts.

“An easy way to paper over the feud is to lift airspace restrictions. Right now, all Qatari Airways flights in and out of Doha pay a fee to fly over Iran since the feud closed other airspace,” said Rebecca Grant, a veteran national security analyst and president of IRIS Independent Research in Washington, D.C.

“The U.S. has strong relations and major military relationships with Qatar, UAE, Bahrain and Saudi Arabia. The question is whether Washington (with Kuwait’s help) can exert the right leverage to get the boycott lifted,” Grant added.

The ruling comes as one of the blockading nations, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), is said to not be responsible for the continued impasse.

“Unfortunately there has been no movement towards a solution of the Gulf rift,” an Arab diplomat familiar with the issue told Fox News. “There is no resolution in sight mainly because we have not seen any attempts by Qatar to resolve the rift.”

The Gulf nations cut ties and issued a list of 13 demands of Qatar including: shutting down the TV station Al Jazeera, closing a Turkish military base and scaling down ties with Iran, among other demands. The ties were cut over what the GCC members have long charged was Qatari support for Iran, the Muslim Brotherhood, Hamas, Hezbollah, al Qaeda and other radical Islamic groups, as well as other issues. Doha has always denied the allegations.

Analysts have been hopeful that the restrictions against Qatar could be ended as a way for the region to consolidate against the threat from Iran.

“The Qataris have not looked at the cause of their relationship with Iran. Qatar has chosen to prioritize its relationship with Hamas and the Muslim Brotherhood over its neighbors. That is one of the many reasons the rift has not been resolved,” the diplomat told Fox News. “The quartet has made its position abundantly clear with the 13 demands. Until today, not only has Qatar refused to address the demands, it has continued its support for extremists and terrorists throughout the Middle East.”

For its part, Qatar has pointedly blamed its neighbors for the standoff, accusing them of making unwarranted demands that also violate international law.

“The State of Qatar welcomes all efforts to end this rift which has impeded GCC unity and complicated regional issues including those of importance to the United States,” the Government Communications Office of the State of Qatar told Fox News in a statement.

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“Qatar thanks both Kuwait and the United States for their efforts to find feasible solutions to the GCC crisis. From the very outset, we have engaged in dialogue with our neighbors in good faith.”

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group Qatar-Airways-iStock UN aviation ruling could deny Iran hundreds of millions of dollars fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn article 15e9bdde-ccc5-5a6f-a89f-4a2b5170a9d5  Westlake Legal Group Qatar-Airways-iStock UN aviation ruling could deny Iran hundreds of millions of dollars fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox news fnc/world fnc Eric Shawn article 15e9bdde-ccc5-5a6f-a89f-4a2b5170a9d5

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28 Hezbollah missile launch sites detected in civilian areas, highlighting its ‘human shield’ tactic in Lebanon

Westlake Legal Group 28-hezbollah-missile-launch-sites-detected-in-civilian-areas-highlighting-its-human-shield-tactic-in-lebanon 28 Hezbollah missile launch sites detected in civilian areas, highlighting its 'human shield' tactic in Lebanon Hollie McKay fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/tech fox-news/politics/judiciary/international-law fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 46338ee3-4562-51ac-b696-f2e82dc830e5

Hezbollah is continuing to bolster its cache of weapons by storing them in more urban, densely-populated locations throughout Lebanon, a new study has revealed.

According to a report released this week by the Israel-based Alma Center, 28 new depots have been determined, with the highest concentration in the capital city of Beirut, the Beqaa Valley, and southern Lebanon.

The 28 sites are connected explicitly to the launch, storage, and production of the terrorist group’s medium-range Fateh 110 / M 600 missiles. However, the report underscores that these particular missiles are part of Hezbollah’s “missile precision project,” and their “improved models” – referred to as “D’ Al-Ficar”–have a 435-mile destruction range, compared to their traditional missiles that could hit a maximum 186 miles.

Most significantly, ALMA claims that the locations – which include command and control launch capabilities, bunkers and missile assembly lines – are disguised in routine civilian areas, nestled in and around hospitals, personal residences, golf clubs, offices, soccer fields, churches, schools, and restaurants.

It’s a tactic deemed the “human shield,” which has long been associated with Hezbollah’s operating procedures.

“Hezbollah plans to launch these weapons toward civilian targets and population concentrations in Israel from within or adjacent to residential buildings. Hezbollah believes that this tactic will grant it immunity against IDF’s attacks,” the reports states, referring to the Israeli Defense Force. “As part of its modus operandi, Hezbollah stores its weapons in civilian structures and in the proximity of densely populated areas throughout Lebanon.”

IRAN’S NUCLEAR FACILITIES ARE MYSTERIOUSLY UNDER ATTACK

The researchers’ highlight that the “human shield” tactic has two main implications. The first is centered on “incapacitating players, who discriminate between combatants and non-combatants in armed conflicts, such as Israel, and preventing them from adequate retaliation\attacks, minimized in order to not harm innocent civilians as required by international law.”

The second, the report continues, is about “forcefully limiting the civilians’ freedom of movement by preventing them from leaving combat zones and directly endangering their lives,” which is said to be “enforced through checkpoints in various locations in Lebanon, particularly in the South and near the Shiite concentration in Beirut, which prohibits civilians from freely leaving the area.”

And it’s a tried and true technique.

“It is not surprising at all that Hezbollah has embedded rocket launchers in civilian areas, even in Beirut. Hezbollah is cynically using Lebanese civilians as human shields against Israeli retaliation,” Josh Lipowsky, senior research analyst, Counter Extremism Project, told Fox News. “It has long used Lebanese civilian structures to shield its arsenals. During the 2006 war with Israel, Human Rights Watch and U.N. humanitarian relief coordinator Jan Egeland both acknowledged that Hezbollah was blending among Lebanese civilians to decrease its own military losses.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19297579833791 28 Hezbollah missile launch sites detected in civilian areas, highlighting its 'human shield' tactic in Lebanon Hollie McKay fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/tech fox-news/politics/judiciary/international-law fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 46338ee3-4562-51ac-b696-f2e82dc830e5

Hezbollah supporters wave Lebanese national flag as Lebanese riot policemen separate them from anti-government protesters during a protest in Beirut, Lebanon, Thursday, Oct. 24, 2019. Lebanon’s President Michel Aoun has told tens of thousands of protesters that an economic reform package put forth by the country’s prime minister will be the “first step” toward saving Lebanon from economic collapse. (AP Photo/Hassan Ammar)

He also emphasized that Hezbollah’s goals are two-fold.

“By embedding its weaponry into civilian areas, it wants to decrease the likelihood of Israeli airstrikes against it by using human shields. Hezbollah also wants to draw Israeli soldiers into Lebanon on the ground to use the urban landscape as camouflage for snipers and anti-tank missile launchers so it can more easily pick off the Israeli military,” Lipowsky surmised. “Hezbollah continues to demonstrate that it views the Lebanese people as nothing more than the sacrificial pawns in its chess game with Israel.”

Defense analysts noted that the exposure of more than a dozen sensitive sites is hardly a surprise, given that the Iran-backed, Lebanon-based outfit has been steadily building its capabilities.

“Hezbollah currently has an arsenal of around 130,000 missiles. Most of the missiles are locally produced, short-range missiles and rockets. Some of the missiles have been and still are delivered from Iran via three ways–first, taken to Syria by air and then moved to Lebanon by land; second, taken to Lebanon by air; third, via land through Iraq, Syria and then Lebanon,” noted Ashkan Safaei Hakimi, an Israel correspondent at the U.K-based outlet Iran International. “The greatest strength of Hezbollah, besides its vast missile arsenal, is the support they receive from Iran.”

Raphael Marcus, a research fellow in the Department of War Studies, King’s College London and author of the book “Israel’s Long War with Hezbollah: Military Innovation and Adaptation Under Fire,” observed that reports such as the Alma investigation are also Israel signaling and publicly warning Hezbollah that it is aware of the group’s enhanced military capabilities.

“Last August, there were unexplained explosions in Beirut in Hezbollah’s Dahiyeh stronghold, which were attributed to Israel’s secretive effort to counter Hezbollah’s expanding precision missile arsenal,” he said. “Of course, we also saw Hezbollah operating militarily within civilian areas in Beirut during the 2006 Israel-Hezbollah War, and there have been Israeli intelligence reports leaked to the press for years about the locations of known Hezbollah military facilities in Beirut, southern Lebanon, and the Bekaa where Hezbollah stores missiles.”

Moreover, Hezbollah’s second-in-command,Sheikh Naim Qassem, told Iranian news agency Tasnim this week that their movement “has greatly developed its defense capabilities in the past years, and the Tel Aviv regime is well aware of this fact.”

Miguel Miranda, an expert analyst in military technology across the Middle East and Asia, emphasized that there are three additional types of rockets and missiles that should be of most concern to regional stability, namely Israel.

There is the Fadjr 3/5, best described as “large diameter rockets” of two calibers, 240mm and 333mm, and if equipped with a GPS navigation kit, they become scary accurate missiles. Second, the Fateh-110 – Iranian-made ballistic missiles and proven to be effective at ranges exceeding 150 miles.

“These are extremely dangerous. And then the Zelzal, another class of Iranian large diameter rocket artillery with an effective range between 90 and 125 miles. Because of their size, any deliveries to Hezbollah needs to be overland, from bases in Syria,” Miranda explained. “Hezbollah has limited manpower, but they know how to fight ‘asymmetric’ campaigns that render large conventional forces ineffective.”

And because of the sheer size and variety of Hezbollah’s weaponry stash, conjectured U.S.-based defense analyst, John Wood, it presents a massive threat.

“Its degradation is the best one could hope for hence, the almost weekly Israeli air and missile attacks in Lebanon and Syria,” he pointed out. “And as Syria moves ever closer to Russia and accommodation with both Israel, as well as Saudi Arabia and the Gulf States, Hezbollah becomes even more important to Iran.”

UN ACCUSES TRUMP OF BREAKING INTERNATIONAL LAW IN SOLEIMANI KILLING

Hakimi also stressed that the financial crisis currently crippling Lebanon is forcing Hezbollah to change some of its ways, relying more on internal production rather than external.

“They have also been trying to produce precise missiles in Lebanon after almost all missile shipments from Iran were destroyed by alleged Israeli attacks in Syria,” he said. “There are also reports that the terror group is now more dependent on its network of money laundering and trafficking to support itself financially.”

Westlake Legal Group AP19239569929230 28 Hezbollah missile launch sites detected in civilian areas, highlighting its 'human shield' tactic in Lebanon Hollie McKay fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/tech fox-news/politics/judiciary/international-law fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 46338ee3-4562-51ac-b696-f2e82dc830e5

Aug. 25, 2019: Hezbollah leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah lies amid other damage inside the Lebanese Hezbollah media office, in a southern suburb of Beirut, Lebanon. The long shadow war between Israel and Iran has burst into the open in recent days, with Israel allegedly striking Iran-linked targets as far away as Iraq and crash-landing two drones in Lebanon. These incidents, along with an air raid in Syria that Israel says thwarted an imminent Iranian drone attack, have raised tensions at a particularly fraught time. (AP Photo/Bilal Hussein)

Lipowsky also detected some operational changes as its role in neighboring Syria has been drawn down as the protracted civil war dwindles, bringing the homefront – and Iraq – back into sharper focus.

“Since Hezbollah has largely withdrawn its fighters from Syria, it has focused on regrouping its forces in Lebanon. Hezbollah has continued to build its deadly arsenal of rockets and medium-range missiles while embedding these weapons around Lebanon. Hezbollah’s expansion into Iraq overseeing the Iranian-sponsored militias there is further proof of its flourishing role as Iran’s trusted enforcer in the region,” he surmised. “While the Hezbollah leadership openly declares its allegiance to Iran and the support it receives from Iran, the Iranian regime can deny direct responsibility for any Hezbollah action while remaining confident that Hezbollah will work to exert Iran’s influence throughout the region. We that now in Iraq with Hezbollah’s new position overseeing the Iranian-sponsored militias, and we see that in Lebanon, where Hezbollah and its allies dominate the Lebanese government and promote Iranian positions.”

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According to Marcus, Hezbollah knows that its most significant military asset is its rocket and missile stockpile and the group’s ability to target Israel’s civilian home front.

“Rocket fire against Israel’s towns and cities cause the economy to grind to a halt and terrorize the civilian population and causes severe pressure against the Israeli government. While Israel developed an innovative solution with its Iron Dome short-range missile defense system, Hezbollah has also learned that with an expanded arsenal, it will attempt to saturate Iron Dome’s capabilities,” he said. “In a future war, Hezbollah’s also hopes to use precision missiles to target sensitive sites and critical installations in Israel in order to deliver a sharp blow that will impact Israel’s ability to declare a clear victory.”

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5851079140001_5851075537001-vs 28 Hezbollah missile launch sites detected in civilian areas, highlighting its 'human shield' tactic in Lebanon Hollie McKay fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/tech fox-news/politics/judiciary/international-law fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 46338ee3-4562-51ac-b696-f2e82dc830e5  Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_5851079140001_5851075537001-vs 28 Hezbollah missile launch sites detected in civilian areas, highlighting its 'human shield' tactic in Lebanon Hollie McKay fox-news/world/world-regions/israel fox-news/world/terrorism fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts fox-news/tech fox-news/politics/judiciary/international-law fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc article 46338ee3-4562-51ac-b696-f2e82dc830e5

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Iran blames Ukrainian jetliner shootdown on miscommunication, misaligned missile battery  

Westlake Legal Group iran-blames-ukrainian-jetliner-shootdown-on-miscommunication-misaligned-missile-battery Iran blames Ukrainian jetliner shootdown on miscommunication, misaligned missile battery   fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc d2bbc10a-b263-5b45-bed5-b7fa0afce5f6 Bradford Betz article

A report released Saturday by Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization blames the shootdown of a Ukrainian jetliner on a misaligned missile battery and miscommunication between troops and their commanders.

The report comes months after the Jan. 8 crash near Tehran that killed all 176 people on board. Authorities had initially denied responsibility but changed course days later after Western nations presented extensive evidence that Iran had shot down the plane.

Westlake Legal Group AP20194383969025-1 Iran blames Ukrainian jetliner shootdown on miscommunication, misaligned missile battery   fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc d2bbc10a-b263-5b45-bed5-b7fa0afce5f6 Bradford Betz article

FILE: Rescue workers search the scene where a Ukrainian plane crashed in Shahedshahr, southwest of Tehran, Iran. (AP)

The report signals a new phase in the investigation into the crash, as the aircraft’s black box flight recorder is due to be sent to Paris, where international investigators will finally be able to examine it. It also comes as public opinion remains low over Iran’s government as it faces both crushing U.S. sanctions and vast domestic economic problems.

The shootdown happened the same night Iran launched a ballistic missile attack targeting U.S. soldiers in Iraq, its response to the American drone strike that killed Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad on Jan. 3.

At the time, Iranian troops were bracing for a U.S. counterstrike and appear to have mistaken the plane for a missile. The civil aviation report detailed a series of moments where the shootdown of Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 could have been avoided.

The report said the surface-to-air missile battery that targeted the Boeing 737-800 had been relocated and was not properly reoriented.

UAE SAID TO BE HOLDING UP GULF DEAL THAT COULD END QATAR BLOCKADE AND PROTECT US INTERESTS IN MIDDLE EAST

Those manning the missile battery could not communicate with their command center, they misidentified the civilian flight as a threat and opened fire twice without getting approval from ranking officials, the report said.

The report notes that the Ukrainian flight had done nothing out of the ordinary up until the missile launch, with its transponder and other data being broadcast.

The plane had just taken off from Imam Khomeini International Airport when the first missile exploded, the report said. The second missile likely struck the aircraft directly, as videos that night show the plane exploding into a ball of fire before crashing on the outskirts of Tehran.

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The report put the blame entirely on the crew of the missile battery. Already, six people believed to be involved in the incident have been arrested, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Westlake Legal Group AP20194383969025-1 Iran blames Ukrainian jetliner shootdown on miscommunication, misaligned missile battery   fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc d2bbc10a-b263-5b45-bed5-b7fa0afce5f6 Bradford Betz article  Westlake Legal Group AP20194383969025-1 Iran blames Ukrainian jetliner shootdown on miscommunication, misaligned missile battery   fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/politics/foreign-policy/middle-east fox news fnc/world fnc d2bbc10a-b263-5b45-bed5-b7fa0afce5f6 Bradford Betz article

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UN accuses Trump of breaking international law in Soleimani killing

Westlake Legal Group un-accuses-trump-of-breaking-international-law-in-soleimani-killing UN accuses Trump of breaking international law in Soleimani killing Vandana Rambaran fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc article aa463c14-c8da-5bb3-9410-f48287d26981

A United Nations report concluded that President Trump violated international law by staging a drone strike on an airport in Baghdad that killed the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ elite Quds Force, Gen. Qassem Soleimani.

At the time of the Jan. 8 attack – carried out without the knowledge or consent of Congress or U.S. allies in the region – Trump claimed the ambush was necessary to avoid an imminent threat posed by Iran on U.S. interests. The U.N. said these vague claims were likely exaggerated and unsupported by evidence.

THOUSANDS OF AMERICANS REMAIN STRANDED IN YEMEN AMID GROWING HUMANITARIAN CRISIS

“No evidence has been provided that Gen. Soleimani specifically was planning an imminent attack against U.S. interests, particularly in Iraq, for which immediate action was necessary and would have been justified,” Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary execution, said in her report submitted to the U.N. Human Rights Council on Monday.

Westlake Legal Group soleimani UN accuses Trump of breaking international law in Soleimani killing Vandana Rambaran fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc article aa463c14-c8da-5bb3-9410-f48287d26981

In this Sept. 18, 2016 file photo released by an official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Revolutionary Guard Gen. Qassem Soleimani, center, attends a meeting in Tehran, Iran. As Iran’s frontman in Syria since 2011, Soleimani helped turn the tide in the now 9-year-old civil war, intervening to save Assad as armed rebels reached the capital Damascus and seized several key cities. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP, File)

Although America claimed self-defense, the U.N. argued that “by killing Gen. Soleimani on Iraqi soil without first obtaining Iraq’s consent, the U.S. violated the territorial integrity of Iraq.”

The drone strike violated article 2(4) of the U.N. Charter, which “prohibits the threat or use of force and calls on all members to respect the sovereignty, territorial integrity and political independence of other states,” the agency said.

The U.N. council is scheduled to convene on Thursday to discuss the findings of the report, but the scope of their authority is limited in condemning the U.S., which is no longer a member of the council.

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The report comes a week after Tehran issued an arrest warrant for Trump in Solemaini’s death and asked Interpol for assistance in detaining him, a request which was rejected by the international police organization.

Westlake Legal Group AP20161410385699 UN accuses Trump of breaking international law in Soleimani killing Vandana Rambaran fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc article aa463c14-c8da-5bb3-9410-f48287d26981  Westlake Legal Group AP20161410385699 UN accuses Trump of breaking international law in Soleimani killing Vandana Rambaran fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/united-nations fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/person/donald-trump fox news fnc/world fnc article aa463c14-c8da-5bb3-9410-f48287d26981

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Rocket fired at Baghdad’s international airport, not far from US troops and diplomats

Westlake Legal Group rocket-fired-at-baghdads-international-airport-not-far-from-us-troops-and-diplomats Rocket fired at Baghdad's international airport, not far from US troops and diplomats Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/world fnc article 070d3350-c37d-5a04-924b-6051e6700fe1
Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6125079376001_6125076050001-vs Rocket fired at Baghdad's international airport, not far from US troops and diplomats Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/world fnc article 070d3350-c37d-5a04-924b-6051e6700fe1

An unguided Katyusha rocket was fired at Baghdad’s international airport Sunday night near where American troops and diplomats are housed one night after the U.S. military shot one down, according to U.S. officials.

While nobody was injured or killed and the damage appeared minimal, it marked the seventh rocket attack on the airport in less than a month, the officials told Fox News, accusing Iranian-backed militias for the attack.

The increased attacks against U.S. and coalition forces prompted the American military recently to deploy C-RAM [“Counter-rocket, artillery and mortar”] — which could fire 3,000 rounds of 20-mm high-explosive tracer rounds per minute — to protect the Green Zone housing the U.S. Embassy.

Early Sunday morning, the American C-RAM shot down a Katyusha rocket for the first time since it was deployed to Iraq’s capital city, according to U.S. officials.

Rocket debris fell into a residential area after it was shot down.

“We have a right to defend ourselves,” the official said.

The deployment of the defensive weapon system took place after consultations with the Iraqi government, the official said.

C-RAM is the land-based version of the CWIS [close-in weapons system] which U.S. warships have used for decades.

C-RAM has protected American troops in bases in Iraq for many years dating back to the Iraq War.

A statement by the U.S.-led coalition said another rocket attack early Sunday morning resulted in four Iraqi casualties.

“This attack is one more illustration of the indiscriminate nature of these attacks, how [Iranian-backed militias] harm Iraq’s sovereignty and security, and our need for self-defense capabilities,” the statement read.

U.S., CHINA RAMP UP SOUTH CHINA SEA TENSION WITH NEW MILITARY DRILLS

Back in early May, Iraq’s Parliament picked an American-backed former intelligence chief, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, 53, as the new prime minister.

In his short time in office, Kadhimi has appeared to take a harder line against the Iranian-backed militias at the urging of top U.S. military officials following a series of rocket attacks against American troops inside Iraq.

Late last month, Iraqi forces raided a base in southern Baghdad used by the Iranian-backed militia Kataib Hezbollah, accused of launching the rocket attacks against U.S. and allied forces in recent months.

But, just days later, 14 members of Kataib Hezbollah were released on bail, Reuters reported, adding that it was the most brazen action taken against the terrorist group in years by the Iraqi government.

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One rocket attack in March killed two American service members and a British Army medic, prompting retaliatory airstrikes by American jets against five weapons depots used to store the rockets.

There have been roughly 5,000 American troops deployed to Iraq.

Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6125079376001_6125076050001-vs Rocket fired at Baghdad's international airport, not far from US troops and diplomats Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/world fnc article 070d3350-c37d-5a04-924b-6051e6700fe1  Westlake Legal Group 694940094001_6125079376001_6125076050001-vs Rocket fired at Baghdad's international airport, not far from US troops and diplomats Lucas Tomlinson fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/world-regions/iraq fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/defense/pentagon fox news fnc/world fnc article 070d3350-c37d-5a04-924b-6051e6700fe1

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Iran nuclear site fire hit centrifuge facility, analysts say

A fire and an explosion struck a centrifuge production plant above Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility early Thursday, analysts said, one of the most-tightly guarded sites in all of the Islamic Republic after earlier acts of sabotage there.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran sought to downplay the fire, calling it an “incident” that only affected an under-construction “industrial shed,” spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. However, both Kamalvandi and Iranian nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi rushed after the fire to Natanz, a facility earlier targeted by the Stuxnet computer virus and built underground to withstand enemy airstrikes.

The fire threatened to rekindle wider tensions across the Middle East, similar to the escalation in January after a U.S. drone strike killed a top Iranian general in Baghdad and Tehran launched a retaliatory ballistic missile attack targeting American forces in Iraq.

While offering no cause for Thursday’s blaze, Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency published a commentary addressing the possibility of sabotage by enemy nations such as Israel and the U.S. following other recent explosions in the country.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran has so far has tried to prevent intensifying crises and the formation of unpredictable conditions and situations,” the commentary said. But ”the crossing of red lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran by hostile countries, especially the Zionist regime and the U.S., means that strategy … should be revised.”

The fire began around 2 a.m. local time in the northwest corner of the Natanz compound in Iran’s central Isfahan province, according to data collected by a U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration satellite that tracks fires from space.

DOJ SEEKS TO SEIZE OIL ON 4 TANKERS WITH ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS TIES BOUND FOR VENEZUELA

Images later released by Iranian state media show a two-story brick building with scorch marks and its roof apparently destroyed. Debris on the ground and a door that looked blown off its hinges suggested an explosion accompanied the blaze.

“There are physical and financial damages and we are investigating to assess,” Kamalvandi told Iranian state television. “Furthermore, there has been no interruption in the work of the enrichment site. Thank God, the site is continuing its work as before.”

In Washington, the State Department said that U.S. officials were “monitoring reports of a fire at an Iranian nuclear facility.”

“This incident serves as another reminder of how the Iranian regime continues to prioritize its misguided nuclear program to the detriment of the Iranian people’s needs,” it said.

The site of the fire corresponds to a newly opened centrifuge production facility, said Fabian Hinz, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, California.

Hinz said he relied on satellite images and a state TV program on the facility to locate the building, which sits in Natanz’s northwest corner.

THE RISE AND FALL OF SYRIA’S FIRST LADY: WHY THE US IS GOING AFTER ASMA ASSAD?

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Centrifuge machines in the Natanz uranium enrichment facility in central Iran. (Atomic Energy Organization of Iran via AP, File)

David Albright of the Institute for Science and International Security similarly said the fire struck the production facility. His institute previously wrote a report on the new plant, identifying it from satellite pictures while it was under construction and later built.

Iranian nuclear officials did not respond to a request for comment about the analysts’ comments. However, any damage to the facility would be a major setback, said Hinz, who called the fire “very, very suspicious.”

“It would delay the advancement of the centrifuge technology quite a bit at Natanz,” Hinz said. “Once you have done your research and development, you can’t undo that research and development. Targeting them would be very useful” for Iran’s adversaries.

Natanz, also known as the Pilot Fuel Enrichment Plant, is among the sites now monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency after Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. That deal saw Iran agree to limit its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions.

The IAEA said in a statement it was aware of reports of the fire. “We currently anticipate no impact on the IAEA’s safeguards verification activities,” the Vienna-based agency said.

Natanz became a flashpoint for Western fears about Iran’s nuclear program in 2002, when satellite photos showed Iran building an underground facility at the site, some 200 kilometers (125 miles) south of the capital, Tehran. In 2003, the IAEA visited Natanz, which Iran said would house centrifuges for its nuclear program, buried under some 7.6 meters (25 feet) of concrete.

TEHRAN MEDICAL CLINIC EXPLOSION KILLS AT LEAST 13, STATE MEDIA REPORT

Natanz today hosts the country’s main uranium enrichment facility. In its long underground halls, centrifuges rapidly spin uranium hexafluoride gas to enrich uranium. Currently, the IAEA says Iran enriches uranium to about 4.5% purity — above the terms of the nuclear deal but far below weapons-grade levels of 90%. Workers there also have conducted tests on advanced centrifuges, according to the IAEA.

The U.S. under President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018, setting up months of tensions between Tehran and Washington. Iran now is breaking all the production limits set by the deal, but still allows IAEA inspectors and cameras to watch its nuclear sites.

Natanz remains of particular concern to Tehran as it has been targeted for sabotage before. The Stuxnet malware, widely believed to be an American and Israeli creation, disrupted and destroyed centrifuges at Natanz amid the height of Western concerns over Iran’s nuclear program.

Satellite photos show an explosion last Friday that rattled Iran’s capital came from an area in its eastern mountains that analysts believe hides an underground tunnel system and missile production sites. Iran has blamed the blast on a gas leak in what it describes a “public area.”

Yoel Guzansky, a senior fellow at Israel’s Institute for National Security Studies and former Iran analyst for the prime minister’s office, said he didn’t know if there was an active sabotage campaign targeting Tehran. However, he said the series of explosions in Iran feel like “more than a coincidence.”

“Theoretically speaking, Israel, the U.S. and others have an interest to stop this Iran nuclear clock or at least show Iran there’s a price in going that way,” he said. “If Iran won’t stop, we might see more accidents in Iran.”

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Late Thursday, the BBC’s Persian service said it received an email prior to the announcement of the Natanz fire from a group identifying itself as the Cheetahs of the Homeland, claiming responsibility for an attack on the centrifuge production facility at Natanz. This group, which claimed to be dissident members of Iran’s security forces, had never been heard of before by Iran experts and the claim could not be immediately authenticated by the AP.

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DOJ seeks to seize oil on 4 tankers with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ties bound for Venezuela

Westlake Legal Group doj-seeks-to-seize-oil-on-4-tankers-with-islamic-revolutionary-guard-corps-ties-bound-for-venezuela DOJ seeks to seize oil on 4 tankers with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ties bound for Venezuela Michael Ruiz fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/crime fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc article 38c1d148-d1ae-5e6f-8b59-ec459901faec
Westlake Legal Group Iran-Oil-Tanker-iStock DOJ seeks to seize oil on 4 tankers with Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps ties bound for Venezuela Michael Ruiz fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/us/crime fox-news/tech/topics/fbi fox-news/politics/justice-department fox-news/politics/executive/homeland-security fox-news/politics fox news fnc/politics fnc article 38c1d148-d1ae-5e6f-8b59-ec459901faec

Federal investigators have obtained warrants to seize Iranian oil products aboard four tankers bound for Venezuela in violation of U.S. sanctions, the Justice Department said Thursday.

FBI and Homeland Security investigators found that the cargo vessels, the Bella, the Bering, the Pandi and the Luna, are assets of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), a U.S.-designated terrorist organization, according to a criminal complaint.

Profits from the shipments are allegedly intended to support terrorism and a “full range of nefarious activities,” ranging from buying weapons of mass destruction to funding human rights abuses. The four ships are carrying a combined total of more than a million barrels of Iranian gasoline.

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The complaint alleges that Mahmoud Madanipour, an Iranian businessman with ties to the IRGC and a separate United Arab Emirates-based trading company, arranged the shipments and attempted to conceal Iranian and IRGC involvement.

But investigators said they were able to trace the shipments anyway.

“Publicly available satellite tracking data known as the automated identification system (AIS) revealed that in March 2020, the Pandi visited the Sirus Oil Terminal in Iran,” the complaint alleges. “AIS additionally shows that the Pandi engaged in a ship-to-ship transfer…to the Bella on or about April 17.”

IRAN ISSUES ARREST WARRANT FOR TRUMP OVER SOLEIMANI KILLING, US CALLS IT ‘PROPAGANDA STUNT’

The Bella then allegedly set sail with Iranian oil falsely identified as cargo from the UAE.

The other ships also used similar ship-to-ship transfers to try and conceal their efforts, investigators said.

Alireza Miryousefi, a spokesman for the Iranian mission to the United Nations, tweeted that a U.S. attempt to halt Iran’s lawful international trade would be “piracy, pure and simple.”

“This is a direct threat to international peace and security,” he wrote. “And in contravention of international law, including the UN Charter.”

Iran’s government earlier this week said it issued an arrest warrant for President Trump in connection with a missile strike that killed IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January.

U.S. officials called the move a “propaganda stunt that no one takes seriously.”

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Soleimani played a role in the deaths of 608 American troops during the Iraq war, according to the State Department. He was the leader of the IRGC’s elite Quds Force, an intelligence branch and designated terrorist group.

For months, the Trump administration has throttled up pressure on the maritime shipping industry to adhere to US sanctions against Iran, Venezueal and North Korea. The Department of Treasury has also cracked down on companies violating them.

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Rebecca Grant: Russia bounties reports – 5 critical factors to keep in mind as story unfolds

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Westlake Legal Group image Rebecca Grant: Russia bounties reports – 5 critical factors to keep in mind as story unfolds Rebecca Grant fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 48f11d88-13bb-5f8b-bdf1-d080f8775714

Russia!  It’s the one word guaranteed to make officials in Washington, D.C., temporarily forget coronavirus, racial justice and statues.

The idea that Russia offered the Taliban bounties to kill Americans would be horrifying, if true. So far, all we know is that U.S. intelligence agencies couldn’t agree if the Russian bounty rumor was credible or not. Rep. Adam Smith, D-Wash., said Tuesday the agencies had been debating it since February. Monday night, the Pentagon said they have no hard evidence of bounties.

Unfortunately, the Russia-Taliban rumors have swirled for years without materializing into actionable intelligence. The rumors benefit many: those who dislike Trump and those who oppose the Afghanistan peace process.

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Russia’s capable of anything, but this murky story needs to be put in context. Here are five factors to consider while we see what happens next.

More from Opinion

The Russia-Taliban coziness isn’t new. U.S. commanders informed Congress about Russia and the Taliban years ago. The Senate Armed Services Committee was told on March 23, 2017, that Russia was increasing its influence, association “and perhaps even supply” to the Taliban. That was an open hearing, with NATO Commander Gen. Curtis Scaparotti testifying. Senators and staff doubtless got more detail behind closed doors.

Of course, Russia has been playing a double game. Russia supports Afghanistan’s government, including giving them 10,000 Kalashnikov rifles in 2016. Russia also improved ties with its old enemy the Taliban in order to combat ISIS in Afghanistan. What was in it for Moscow? If the Taliban got strong enough to enter the peace process, that might lead to getting rid of the Americans and coalition. Moscow has also been involved in the Taliban talks leading up to the February peace deal.

Wild rumors about Russian bounty schemes are an insult to families who lost military members in Afghanistan within the last few years.

Russia’s bold moves in Libya are worse than any influence in Afghanistan right now. Russia sent at least 14 MiG-29 fighter jets to Libya with their markings smudged out and the planes are flying support missions for rebel Libyan forces out of two bases on the coast near Sirte and in central Libya at al-Jufra. U.S. Africa Command has a picture of the Mig-29s in action. Mind you, this is Russia supporting forces attacking the U.N.-recognized government of Libya.

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The Russian warplanes are a menace and an attempt by Moscow to gain a “strategic foothold on NATO’s southern flank,” said Maj. Gen. Bradford Gering, U.S. Marine Corps, who is on staff at Africa Command, told Stars and Stripes on June 18.

Watch out for Afghan peace process spoilers. It’s entirely possible the Russia rumors surfaced with intent to harm the peace process. The Afghan peace process is moving forward slowly, with prisoner exchanges, despite an attack on Afghan lawyers last week that killed five civilians. “Spoilers both domestic and foreign are trying to disrupt and delay,” warned U.S. Special Envoy Zalmay Khalilzad. Planting Russia bounty stories could be an attempt to keep U.S. forces pinned down or otherwise derail the fragile peace process.

Don’t forget Iran. Whenever there are unexpected trouble and a pile of cash, I always wonder about Iran, which shares a 572-mile border with Afghanistan and has been messing about in the southwest for years. Since February, a new Taliban splinter group has warmed up to Iran with hopes of spiking the peace deal. With the AP reporting that a SEAL team stumbled on $500,000 at a Taliban camp, you have to wonder about drug operations money or even some of the greenbacks flown into Iran. It would certainly be in Iran’s interest to besmirch Trump. On the other hand, the U.S. has been delivering wads of cash to Afghanistan at least since 2001 so who knows.

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Election politics are fueling the story. Obviously, some party-line Democrats appear to want Russia back in the mix at any cost. Voters can and should debate President Trump’s Afghanistan policy, including the surge, the peace process and the plan to withdraw by 2021. Take the Russia angle with a grain of salt until and unless we find out more.

The most disgraceful part of this imbroglio is who it hurts most. Wild rumors about Russian bounty schemes are an insult to families who lost military members in Afghanistan within the last few years. Wisely, Rep. Smith said Tuesday he will ask the Pentagon how U.S. forces in Afghanistan responded to threat reports. That’s the best way forward for now.

CLICK HERE TO READ MORE BY REBECCA GRANT

Westlake Legal Group image Rebecca Grant: Russia bounties reports – 5 critical factors to keep in mind as story unfolds Rebecca Grant fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 48f11d88-13bb-5f8b-bdf1-d080f8775714  Westlake Legal Group image Rebecca Grant: Russia bounties reports – 5 critical factors to keep in mind as story unfolds Rebecca Grant fox-news/world/world-regions/russia fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fox-news/world/conflicts/afghanistan fox-news/us/military fox-news/politics/2020-presidential-election fox-news/person/donald-trump fox-news/opinion fox news fnc/opinion fnc article 48f11d88-13bb-5f8b-bdf1-d080f8775714

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‘Incident’ near Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility damages building

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TEHRAN, Iran — An “incident” damaged an under-construction building Thursday near Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, though it did not affect its centrifuge operations or cause any release of radiation, a spokesman said.

The affected building, described as an “industrial shed,” was above ground and not part of the enrichment facility itself, said Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. The state-run IRNA news agency quoted Kamalvandi as saying there was “no need for concern” over the incident.

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However, there was no previously announced construction work at Natanz, a uranium enrichment center some 250 kilometers (155 miles) south of the capital, Tehran. Natanz includes underground facilities buried under some 7.6 meters (25 feet) of concrete, which offers protection from airstrikes.

Natanz is among the sites now monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency after Iran’s 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. The IAEA did not immediately respond to a request for comment over the incident.

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An “incident” damaged an under-construction building Thursday, July 2, 2020 near Iran’s underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, though it did not affect its centrifuge operations or cause any release of radiation.

Natanz, in Iran’s central Isfahan province, hosts the country’s main uranium enrichment facility. There, centrifuges rapidly spin uranium hexafluoride gas to enrich uranium. Currently, the IAEA says Iran enriches uranium to about 4.5% purity, above the terms of the nuclear deal, but far below weapons-grade levels of 90%.

The U.S. under President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal in May 2018, setting up months of tensions between Tehran and Washington. Iran now is breaking all the production limits set by the deal, but still allows IAEA inspectors and cameras to watch its nuclear sites.

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However, Natanz did become a point of controversy last year as Iranian officials refused to allow an IAEA inspector into the facility in October after allegedly testing positive for suspected traces of explosive nitrates. Nitrates are a common fertilizer. However, when mixed with proper amounts of fuel, the material can become an explosive as powerful as TNT. Swab tests, common at airports and other secure facilities, can detect its presence on the skin or objects.
___

Associated Press writer Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, contributed to this report.

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Iran journalist who fueled 2017 protests sentenced to death

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TEHRAN, Iran — Iran sentenced a once-exiled journalist to death over his online work that helped inspire nationwide economic protests that began at the end of 2017, authorities said Tuesday.

Ruhollah Zam’s website and a channel he created on the popular messaging app Telegram had spread the timings of the protests and embarrassing information about officials that directly challenged Iran’s Shiite theocracy. Those demonstrations represented the biggest challenge to Iran since the 2009 Green Movement protests and set the stage for similar mass unrest last November.

TEHRAN MEDICAL CLIIC EXPLOSION KILLS AT LEAST 13, STATE MEDIA REPORT

The details of his arrest still remain unclear. Though he was based in Paris, Zam somehow returned to Iran and found himself detained by intelligence officials. A series of a televised confessions have aired in recent months over his work.

Westlake Legal Group IRAN-1112pm Iran journalist who fueled 2017 protests sentenced to death NASSER KARIMI fox-news/world/world-regions/middle-east fox-news/world/conflicts/iran fnc/world fnc Associated Press article 937df525-28ca-5553-9423-68191a2194cd

Iranian journalist Ruhollah Zam speaks during his trial at the Revolutionary Court, in Tehran, Iran, June 2, 2020. (Associated Press)

Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili announced Zam’s death sentence on Tuesday, saying he had been convicted of “corruption on Earth,” a charge often used in cases involving espionage or attempts to overthrow Iran’s government. It was not immediately clear when the sentence was handed down.

Zam is able to appeal his sentence, issued by a Revolutionary Court. The name of his public defender wasn’t immediately known.

Zam had run a website called AmadNews that posted embarrassing videos and information about Iranian officials. He highlighted his work on a channel on Telegram, the secure messaging app that remains incredibly popular among Iranians.

The initial spark for the 2017 protests was a sudden jump in food prices. Many believe that hard-line opponents of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani instigated the first demonstrations in the conservative city of Mashhad in eastern Iran, trying to direct public anger at the president. But as protests spread from town to town, the backlash turned against the entire ruling class.

Soon, cries directly challenging Rouhani and even Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei could be heard in online videos shared by Zam. Zam’s channel also shared times and organizational details for the protests as well.

IRAN ISSUES ARREST WARRANT FOR TRUMP OVER SOLEIMANI KILLING, US CALLS IT ‘PROPAGANDA STUNT’

Telegram shut down the channel over Iranian government complaints it spread information about how to make gasoline bombs. The channel later continued under a different name. Zam, who has said he fled Iran after being falsely accused of working with foreign intelligence services, denied inciting violence on Telegram at the time.

The 2017 protests reportedly saw some 5,000 people detained and 25 killed.

Zam is the son of Shiite cleric Mohammad Ali Zam, a reformist who once served in a government policy position in the early 1980s. The cleric wrote a letter published by Iranian media in July 2017 in which he said he wouldn’t support his son over AmadNews’ reporting and messages on its Telegram channel.

France’s Foreign Ministry described the death sentence for Zam as “a serious blow to freedom of expression and press freedom in Iran.” France abolished the death penalty in 1981, four years after its last decapitation. The ministry described the death penalty as “unjust, inhumane and ineffective” and said France opposes its use “everywhere and in all circumstances.”

Separately, the judiciary spokesman said an appeals court had upheld a previous prison sentence for Fariba Adelkhah a prominent researcher with dual French-Iranian citizenship. Esmaili said she got two separate sentences, a five and a one year prison terms on security charges and that under Iranian law, the longer sentence is the one a convict serves. He said her time spent in jail will count toward the sentence.

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Iranian officials disclosed last July that Adelkhah had been arrested on espionage charges. Those charges were later dropped but security-related charges remained against her.

Adelkhah and her French fellow researcher, Roland Marchal, were held in Iran’s Evin Prison. Authorities released Marchal in March in an apparent prisoner swap for Iranian Jalal Ruhollahnejad, who had been held in France.

Iran, which does not recognize dual nationality for its citizens, has a track record of detaining dual nationals or those with ties to the West.

Associated Press writers Jon Gambrell in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and John Leicester in Paris contributed to this report.

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