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Westlake Legal Group > Posts tagged "Trump, Donald J" (Page 93)

Pompeo Says Iran Posed Continued Threat to the U.S.: Live Updates

Here are the latest developments:

Video

transcript

‘It Was the Right Decision’: Pompeo Defends Attack Against Suleimani

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, but did not provide new details about what led to the drone strike against the Iranian commander.

So if you’re looking for imminence you need look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Suleimani. And then you in addition to that, have what we could clearly see were continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead, potentially, to the death of many more Americans. It was the right decision — we got it right — the Department of Defense did excellent work. All of the others were prepared for what might happen if Iran decided to make choices that were bad for the Iranian people, and then you saw more tactically just these last few days, the president’s response when the Iranians made a bad decision to kill an American. We hope — we hope they won’t make another bad decision just like that one.

Westlake Legal Group 07iran-briefing-sub3-videoSixteenByNine3000 Pompeo Says Iran Posed Continued Threat to the U.S.: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addressed the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, but did not provide new details about what led to the drone strike against the Iranian commander.CreditCredit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_135400473_22f64a81-8061-449f-a318-71d25012008e-articleLarge Pompeo Says Iran Posed Continued Threat to the U.S.: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

A training session in Baghdad for Iraqi police offers led by NATO forces in 2018.Credit…Ahmed Jalil/Epa-Efe, via Shutterstock

NATO is removing some of the trainers who have been working with Iraqi soldiers battling the Islamic State, in the wake of the American killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

On Monday, the NATO secretary-general, Jens Stoltenberg, announced that training had been temporarily suspended.

Describing security of NATO personnel, the organization said in a statement that it would be taking precautions — including “the temporary repositioning of some personnel to different locations both inside and outside Iraq.’’

NATO “maintains a presence in Iraq’’ and remains committed “to fighting international terrorism,” an official said, but refused to provide “operational details’’ about troop movements.

NATO has had roughly 500 soldiers doing the training.

Some NATO countries, like Germany and Croatia, have announced that they are moving troops out of Iraq altogether, at least temporarily, because of security concerns.

Thirty of the 120 German soldiers in Iraq will be sent to Jordan and Kuwait, while others will remain positioned in the less volatile Kurdistan region, the German defense and foreign ministries said in a joint letter to the German parliament, the Bundestag.

“When the training is able to resume, the military personnel can be reinstated,” the letter said.

Croatia has also moved its small contingent of soldiers — 14 — from Iraq, with seven bound for Kuwait and the rest headed home, the Croatian Defense Ministry said. Slovakia has also removed its seven soldiers.

Some NATO troops began leaving Baghdad’s Green Zone in helicopters Monday night. The NATO training mission began in 2018 at Iraq’s request.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 07iran-briefing5-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Pompeo Says Iran Posed Continued Threat to the U.S.: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

As Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s body was taken home for burial, a crush is believed to have killed dozens of mourners who crowded the streets of Kerman, Iran.CreditCredit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In an appearance on Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo did not provide any new details on what prompted the killing of General Suleimani. But he said that Iran posed a threat to American lives.

Mr. Pompeo, a former C.I.A. director, said in a television appearance on Friday after the strike on General Suleimani that there had been intelligence showing an “imminent attack” on Americans and United States interests across the Middle East, which justified the deadly drone strike.

But since then, American officials have failed to provide any evidence to show what might have been targeted, or how soon an attack was expected.

“If you’re looking for imminence, you need look no further than the days that led up to the strike that was taken against Suleimani,” Mr. Pompeo told reporters at the State Department on Tuesday. “And then you, in addition to that, have what we can clearly see were continuing efforts on behalf of this terrorist to build out a network of campaign activities that were going to lead potentially to the death of many more Americans.”

Some Pentagon officials have said the intelligence did not show an imminent attack. The alerts on threat streams were not unusual, they said.

“It was the right decision, we got it right,” Mr. Pompeo said as reporters quizzed him on President Trump’s decision to carry out the attack.

Mr. Pompeo scoffed at the idea that General Suleimani was in Baghdad on a diplomatic mission and said, given his discussions with the Saudi defense minister on Monday, Riyadh also did not believe that.

“Anybody here believe that? Is there any history that would indicate it was remotely possible that this kind gentleman, this diplomat of great order, Qassim Suleimani traveled to Baghdad for the idea of conducting a peace mission?” Mr. Pompeo said sarcastically to journalists at the State Department. “I made you reporters laugh this morning, that’s fantastic.”

He added: “We’ve heard these same lies before. It is fundamentally false. He was not there on a diplomatic mission trying to resolve a problem.”

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for General Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s burial being postponed, state news media reported. It is still unclear when he will be buried.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

Fifty-six people died and 213 were injured, the broadcaster IRIB reported on its website.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made in General Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge — a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran, and images showed a sea of mourners, many wearing black and waving the Iranian flag.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

The New York meeting plans to focus on the topic of upholding the Charter of the United Nations, and comes as Iran and the United States are engaged in a heated back-and-forth over the American drone strike last week that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

The office of the United Nations secretary general did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Mr. Zarif visited New York in September to attend the United Nations General Assembly, after claims that his visa had been intentionally delayed. In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday issued a security alert for the entire country and warned Americans of potential mortar and rocket attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the embassy said in an alert published on its website.

The United States Mission to Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned Americans in the kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Baghdad and in Beirut, Lebanon, issued security alerts. Some airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi capital, including EgyptAir, which on Tuesday announced that its flights in and out of the city would stop from Wednesday through Friday.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

Parliament expedited the bill through an emergency process, according to the semiofficial Iranian news agency Tasnim.

Also on Tuesday, Parliament allocated $223 million to the Quds Force to “avenge” General Suleimani’s death, according to Fars, the state news agency.

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was sent out by mistake. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

“There’s been no decision made to leave Iraq, period,” Mr. Esper said. “There is no decision to leave, nor did we issue any plans to leave.”

General Milley said military officials had begun making arrangements for a withdrawal in the event that a decision is made to pull out. The Iraqi Parliament voted on Sunday to expel American troops from the country, amid anger over the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani on Iraqi soil. But Iraq has not formally notified the United States that it must leave.

General Milley said the military was “moving forces around” to consolidate positions. Not only were they not withdrawing, he said, but more forces were arriving from Kuwait.

Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with President Trump, who has insisted that such places would be legitimate targets. The president’s threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted, as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed: “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

The furor over the threat to Iranian antiquities was a classic controversy of Mr. Trump’s own creation, the apparent result of an impulsive threat and his refusal to back down in the face of criticism. While Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, none of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified correcting the president.

Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, met with the Iranian ambassador to the organization on Monday to discuss the current situation, and issued a statement pointing to international agreements that condemn acts of destruction of cultural heritage.

“Ms. Azoulay stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations,” UNESCO said in the statement.

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, Lara Jakes, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

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

Live Updates: Pompeo Says Killing Suleimani Was ‘the Right Decision’

Here are the latest developments:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166790505_a258ccea-48ab-441f-8fba-a39a14565ec0-articleLarge Live Updates: Pompeo Says Killing Suleimani Was ‘the Right Decision’ Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo during a press briefing at the State Department on Tuesday.Credit…Erin Schaff/The New York Times

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Tuesday addressed some of the many questions surrounding the American airstrike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani and a number of other people traveling with him.

“It was the right decision, we got it right,” Mr. Pompeo said as reporters quizzed him about President Trump’s decision to carry out the attack on Friday. General Suleimani posed an immediate threat, according to Mr. Pompeo, who cited the death of an American contractor in a rocket attack several days earlier as proof.

Mr. Pompeo also defended the broader “maximum pressure” campaign that President Trump has vowed to carry out against Iran, saying that the strategy had diplomatic, economic and military components. He added that the president had been “unambiguous” in the remarks he made following the attacks.

“In the event that the Iranians make another bad choice, the president will respond in the way he did last week,” he said.

Mr. Pompeo also rejected the idea that General Suleimani had been visiting Iraq “on a diplomatic peace mission.” That suggestion was “fundamentally false,” he said.

Video

Westlake Legal Group 07iran-briefing5-videoSixteenByNine3000-v2 Live Updates: Pompeo Says Killing Suleimani Was ‘the Right Decision’ Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

As Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s body was taken home for burial, a crush is believed to have killed dozens of mourners who crowded the streets of Kerman, Iran.CreditCredit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s burial being postponed, state news media reported. It is still unclear when he will be buried.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

He later told the news agency Fars, an outlet associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, that 40 people had been killed and another 213 injured.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made in Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani’s hometown on Tuesday, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge — a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the corps’s leader, Hossein Salami, said on Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he added, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with the Revolutionary Guards.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the enormous state funeral. The ayatollah, Iran’s supreme leader, had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the country’s second-most powerful man.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran, and images showed a sea of mourners, many wearing black and waving the Iranian flag.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

During a Tuesday morning news conference, Mr. Pompeo was asked about the visa but said he would not comment specifically on visa matters. He added that the United States would “comply with our obligations” under United Nations rules.

Robert C. O’Brien, the American national security adviser, was asked on “Fox & Friends” on Tuesday morning about the visa.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

The New York meeting plans to focus on the topic of upholding the Charter of the United Nations, and comes as Iran and the United States are engaged in a heated back-and-forth over the American drone strike last week that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

The office of the United Nations secretary general did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

Mr. Zarif visited New York in September to attend the United Nations General Assembly, after claims that his visa had been intentionally delayed. In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday issued a security alert for the entire country and warned Americans of potential mortar and rocket attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the embassy said in an alert published on its website.

The United States Mission to Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned Americans in the kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Baghdad and in Beirut, Lebanon, issued security alerts. Some airlines have halted flights to the Iraqi capital, including EgyptAir, which on Tuesday announced that its flights in and out of the city would stop from Wednesday through Friday.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department said the killing of General Suleimani was justified in part because of the corps’s terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the Quds Force, a unit of the Revolutionary Guards that conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside Iran’s borders.

Parliament expedited the bill through an emergency process, according to the semiofficial Iranian news agency Tasnim.

Also on Tuesday, Parliament allocated $223 million to the Quds Force to “avenge” General Suleimani’s death, according to Fars, the state news agency.

An official letter from the Defense Department informing Iraq that American troops were “repositioning forces” for “movement out of Iraq” produced headlines around the world saying that an American withdrawal had begun.

But the letter, drafted by the United States military command in Baghdad, was sent out by mistake. The furor it caused prompted Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper and the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Mark A. Milley, to call an urgent news conference to deny the reports.

“It was an honest mistake,” General Milley told reporters at the Pentagon. “That letter is a draft, it was a mistake, it was unsigned, it should not have been released.”

“There’s been no decision made to leave Iraq, period,” Mr. Esper said. “There is no decision to leave, nor did we issue any plans to leave.”

General Milley said military officials had begun making arrangements for a withdrawal in the event that a decision is made to pull out. The Iraqi Parliament voted on Sunday to expel American troops from the country, amid anger over the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani on Iraqi soil. But Iraq has not formally notified the United States that it must leave.

General Milley said the military was “moving forces around” to consolidate positions. Not only were they not withdrawing, he said, but more forces were arriving from Kuwait.

Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with President Trump, who has insisted that such places would be legitimate targets. The president’s threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted, as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed: “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

The furor over the threat to Iranian antiquities was a classic controversy of Mr. Trump’s own creation, the apparent result of an impulsive threat and his refusal to back down in the face of criticism. While Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, none of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified correcting the president.

Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, met with the Iranian ambassador to the organization on Monday to discuss the current situation, and issued a statement pointing to international agreements that condemn acts of destruction of cultural heritage.

“Ms. Azoulay stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations,” UNESCO said in the statement.

Germany announced on Tuesday that it would pull a contingent of its troops out of Iraq, given “recent developments.”

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the German defense minister, said over the weekend that about 120 soldiers taking part in the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State would be confined to their bases but would remain in the region.

On Sunday, the German Army’s inspector general decided that a planned rotation of troops to forward bases in Iraq would not be taking place, the Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

But another contingent of several dozen German soldiers normally stationed in Baghdad and in another Iraqi city, Taji, as part of a training mission were being pulled out, Roderick Kiesewetter, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament, told the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Tuesday.

“It is just a temporary reduction,” he said. “That means about 30 to 40 troops will be moved to Jordan, where we have reconnaissance jets and tankers. So our soldiers remain in the region.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Edward Wong, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

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

Live Updates: Deadly Stampede at Funeral Procession for Iranian General

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166777353_12391b28-a36e-4d8f-af89-55ce37794e66-articleLarge Live Updates: Deadly Stampede at Funeral Procession for Iranian General Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Mourners gathered around a vehicle carrying the coffin of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in Kerman, his hometown, on Tuesday.Credit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

The crowding and subsequent stampede in Kerman led to General Suleimani’s final burial being postponed, state news media reported. It is still unclear when he will be buried.

Photographs of the procession showed an elaborately decorated truck carrying General Suleimani’s coffin through streets packed densely with mourners, many wearing black and carrying pictures of the dead commander.

“Unfortunately, as a result of a stampede, some of our compatriots have been injured and some have been killed during the funeral processions,” Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, told the news agency IRIB.

He later told the news agency Fars, an outlet associated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps of Iran, that 40 people had been killed and another 213 injured.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made moments before Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was buried in his hometown, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge; a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the paramilitary group’s leader, Hossein Salami, said Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he said, according to Fars, an Iranian news agency associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the massive state funeral. The ayatollah had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the second most powerful man in Iran.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran, and images showed a sea of mourners, many wearing black and waving the Iranian flag.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards Corps. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

Mohammad Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister, said on Tuesday that he had been rejected for a visa to attend a Security Council meeting to be held at the United Nations headquarters in New York, confirming reports from American news outlets that he would be barred.

Mr. Zarif, in an interview with the Iranian news outlet Press TV, said that his office had requested a visa weeks ago to participate in the meeting on Thursday, rejecting claims by American officials that they had not had time to process the application.

“The Americans are trying to create the impression that our request to attend the meeting was put forth following the assassination of General Suleimani,” Mr. Zarif said, according to the news outlet, adding, “The question everyone needs to be asking this lawbreaking administration is: What are they so scared of?”

Mr. Zarif later posted on Twitter about the situation, taking aim at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and President Trump.

Robert C. O’Brien, the national security adviser, was asked on Fox & Friends on Tuesday morning about why Mr. Zarif’s visa was denied.

“I don’t think Secretary Pompeo thought that this was the right time for Mr. Zarif to come to the United States, and whenever he comes to New York, he spreads propaganda,” Mr. O’Brien said.

The New York meeting plans to focus on the topic of upholding the Charter of the United Nations, and comes as Iran and the United States are engaged in a heated back-and-forth over the American drone strike last week that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani.

Neither the office of the United Nations secretary general nor the State Department replied immediately to requests for comment.

Mr. Zarif visited New York in September to attend the United Nations General Assembly, after claims that his visa had been intentionally delayed. In August, the United States announced sanctions on Mr. Zarif, a seasoned diplomat who helped negotiate the 2015 nuclear deal.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday issued a security alert for the entire country and warned Americans of potential mortar and rocket attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the embassy said in an alert published on its website.

The United States Mission to Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned Americans in the kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Beirut, Lebanon, and Baghdad issued security alerts.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department justified the killing of General Suleimani in part because of the Guards Corps’ terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the paramilitary organization’s Quds Force, which conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside of Iran’s borders.

Parliament expedited the bill through an emergency process, according to the semiofficial Tasnim News Agency.

Also on Tuesday, Parliament allocated $223 million to the Quds Force to “avenge” General Suleimani’s death, according to Fars, the state news agency.

Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with President Trump, who has insisted that such places would be legitimate targets. The president’s threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted, as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed: “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

The furor over the threat to Iranian antiquities was a classic controversy of Mr. Trump’s own creation, the apparent result of an impulsive threat and his refusal to back down in the face of criticism. While Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, none of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified correcting the president.

Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, met with the Iranian ambassador to the organization on Monday to discuss the current situation, and issued a statement pointing to international agreements that condemn acts of destruction of cultural heritage.

“Ms. Azoulay stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations,” UNESCO said in the statement.

Germany announced on Tuesday that it would pull a contingent of its troops out of Iraq, given “recent developments.”

Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, the German defense minister, said over the weekend that about 120 soldiers taking part in the international coalition to defeat the Islamic State would be confined to their bases but would remain in the region.

On Sunday, the German Army’s inspector general decided that a planned rotation of troops to forward bases in Iraq would not be taking place, the Defense Ministry said on Twitter.

But another contingent of several dozen German soldiers normally stationed in Baghdad and in another Iraqi city, Taji, as part of a training mission were being pulled out, Roderick Kiesewetter, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee in Parliament, told the public broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Tuesday.

“It is just a temporary reduction,” he said. “That means about 30 to 40 troops will be moved to Jordan, where we have reconnaissance jets and tankers. So our soldiers remain in the region.”

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Melissa Eddy, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

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

Deadly Stampede at Funeral Procession for Iranian General: Live Updates

Here’s what you need to know:

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166777353_12391b28-a36e-4d8f-af89-55ce37794e66-articleLarge Deadly Stampede at Funeral Procession for Iranian General: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Mourners gathered around a vehicle carrying the coffin of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in Kerman, his hometown, on Tuesday.Credit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Iranian state-run news outlets reported a deadly stampede during the funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in his hometown, Kerman, in southeastern Iran, on Tuesday.

Millions were reported to have flooded the town’s streets to witness the procession for the general, who was killed in an American drone strike in Baghdad last week. His death has fanned smoldering tensions between the United States and Iran, and fueled fears of a broader conflict.

Pirhossein Koulivand, head of the Iranian emergency medical services, did not immediately detail the number of victims, according to several of the outlets, but at least 35 people may have been killed, one news service reported, according to The Associated Press.

Images and videos posted on social media showed the aftermath of the crush, with emergency workers and bystanders attempting to resuscitate people lying on the ground. The lifeless bodies of other victims, jackets covering their faces, could be seen nearby.

The general’s body had been flown to Kerman after a funeral in Tehran on Monday that had brought even bigger crowds into the streets of the Iranian capital.

In a fiery speech made moments before Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani was buried in his hometown, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge; a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the paramilitary group’s leader, Hossein Salami, said Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he said, according to Fars, the state news agency.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the massive state funeral. The ayatollah had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the second most powerful man in Iran.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran, and images showed a sea of mourners, many wearing black and waving the Iranian flag.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards Corps. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday issued a security alert for the entire country and warned Americans of potential mortar and rocket attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the embassy said in an alert published on its website.

The United States Mission to Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned Americans in the kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Beirut, Lebanon, and Baghdad issued security alerts.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department justified the killing of General Suleimani in part because of the Guards Corps’ terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the paramilitary organization’s Quds Force, which conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside of Iran’s borders.

Parliament expedited the bill through an emergency process, according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

Also on Tuesday, Parliament allocated $223 million to the Quds Force to “avenge” General Suleimani’s death, according to Fars, the state news agency.

Mark T. Esper, the secretary of defense, said striking Iranian cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with President Trump, who has insisted that such places would be legitimate targets. The president’s threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” the defense secretary said at a news briefing at the Pentagon on Monday when asked if cultural sites would be targeted, as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed: “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

The furor over the threat to Iranian antiquities was a classic controversy of Mr. Trump’s own creation, the apparent result of an impulsive threat and his refusal to back down in the face of criticism. While Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran, none of them qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified correcting the president.

Audrey Azoulay, the director-general of UNESCO, met with the Iranian ambassador to the organization on Monday to discuss the current situation, and issued a statement pointing to international agreements that condemn acts of destruction of cultural heritage.

“Ms. Azoulay stressed the universality of cultural and natural heritage as vectors of peace and dialogue between peoples, which the international community has a duty to protect and preserve for future generations,” UNESCO said in the statement.

Reporting was contributed by Megan Specia, Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff.

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

Iranian Military Leader Vows ‘Decisive’ Revenge: Live Updates

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166737801_b1b61895-e4e3-46f5-9565-afe71bcd95cd-articleLarge Iranian Military Leader Vows ‘Decisive’ Revenge: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Iranians set fire to American and Israeli flags on Monday during the funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in Tehran.Credit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

Here’s what you need to know:

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday issued a security alert for the entire country and warned Americans of potential mortar and rocket attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the embassy said in an alert published on its website.

The United States Mission to Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned Americans in the kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Beirut, Lebanon, and Baghdad issued security alerts.

In a fiery speech made moments before General Suleimani was buried in Kerman, his hometown, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge; a revenge that will be tough, strong, decisive and finishing and will make them regret,” the paramilitary group’s leader, Hossein Salami, said Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze the place they like, and they know where it is.”

“Today, the seeds of hatred for the U.S. have been sown in the hearts of Muslims,” he said, according to Fars, the state news agency.

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday. “Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, a close ally of the United States, has long been an enemy of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos of General Suleimani, crowded the central square of Kerman, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession Monday in Tehran, the capital.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei wept and offered prayers over General Suleimani’s coffin at the massive state funeral. The ayatollah had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the second most powerful man in Iran.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran, and images showed a sea of mourners, many wearing black and waving the Iranian flag.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guards Corps. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

The Iranian Parliament on Tuesday passed a bill declaring the American military’s top leadership to be “terrorists,” subject to Iranian sanctions, according to news reports in state media.

The bill aimed at the Pentagon’s top brass mirrored a Trump administration policy implemented in April that imposed economic and travel sanctions on the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps as well as organizations, companies and individuals with ties to it.

That policy represented the first time an arm of a sovereign government had been designated a terrorist organization.

The Defense Department justified the killing of General Suleimani in part because of the Guards Corps’ terrorist designation. General Suleimani led the paramilitary organization’s Quds Force, which conducted intelligence-gathering and attacks outside of Iran’s borders.

Parliament expedited the bill through an emergency process, according to the semi-official Tasnim News Agency.

Also on Tuesday, Parliament allocated $223 million to the Quds Force to “avenge” General Suleimani’s death, according to Fars, the state news agency.

Reporting was contributed by Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff

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

Iranian Military Leader Vows to Set Americans ‘Ablaze’: Live Updates

ImageWestlake Legal Group merlin_166737801_b1b61895-e4e3-46f5-9565-afe71bcd95cd-articleLarge Iranian Military Leader Vows to Set Americans ‘Ablaze’: Live Updates Trump, Donald J Targeted Killings Suleimani, Qassim Khamenei, Ali Iran Diplomatic Service, Embassies and Consulates Defense and Military Forces

Iranians set fire to American and Israeli flags on Monday during the funeral procession for Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani in Tehran.Credit…Atta Kenare/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

In Jerusalem and elsewhere across the Middle East, United States embassies warned Americans of potential attacks from Iran, as Iranian generals vowed to avenge the senior commander killed in an American drone strike.

In Jerusalem, the embassy told Americans on Monday to watch out for “mortars and rocket fire.” A day earlier, the United States Mission in Saudi Arabia had warned citizens to be prepared for “missile and drone attacks.”

The security alerts follow the targeted killing on Friday of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the leading figure in Iran’s foreign-facing intelligence and military operations.

At General Suleimani’s funeral in Tehran on Monday, military commanders promised vengeance. Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, told advisers that any retaliation against the United States should be direct, proportional and carried out openly by Iran.

That is a startling departure for the Iranian leadership, which has typically cloaked its attacks behind the actions of proxies it has cultivated around the region. But in the fury generated by the killing of General Suleimani, a close ally and personal friend of the supreme leader, the ayatollah was apparently willing to cast aside those traditional cautions.

In Israel, the United States Embassy on Monday issued a security alert for the entire country and warned Americans of potential mortar and rocket attacks.

“Out of an abundance of caution, the Embassy strongly encourages U.S. citizens to remain vigilant and take appropriate steps to increase their security awareness, as security incidents, including rocket fire, often take place without warning,” the embassy said in an alert published on its website.

The United States Mission to Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned Americans in the kingdom to be aware of a “heightened risk of missile and drone attacks.”

American embassies across the region have been on heightened alert since Dec. 31, when militants, backed by the Iranian government, stormed the embassy in Baghdad. President Trump said the assault was organized by General Suleimani.

Last week, embassies in Beirut, Lebanon, and Baghdad issued security alerts.

In a fiery speech made moments before the body of General Suleimani was buried in Kerman, his hometown, the leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps vowed to “set ablaze” places where Americans and their allies live.

“We will take revenge,” the paramilitary group’s leader, Hossein Salami, said Tuesday in a front of a crowd of mourners. “We will set ablaze where they live.”

The pledge to seek vengeance echoed the blood-soaked rhetoric of many of the country’s leaders since General Suleimani’s killing on Friday.

“Death to Israel,” the crowd chanted back, according to news reports. Israel, an ally of the United States, has long been a foe of Iran.

Thousands of mourners, dressed in black and carrying photos General Suleimani, crowded the central square of the town, where the general’s body was taken for burial after a funeral procession on Monday in Tehran, the capital, which was attended by at least a million people.

Before arriving in Kerman, the general’s remains were taken to the holy city of Qom, where thousands of residents came out, hoping for a chance to touch the coffin of a man the state has declared a martyr.

On Monday, Ayatollah Khamenei wept and offered prayers over the coffin of General Suleimani at a massive state funeral. The ayatollah had a close relationship with the general, who was widely considered to be the second most powerful man in Iran.

General Suleimani’s successor swore revenge during Monday’s ceremony, while chants of “Death to America” rang out from the crowds in the capital.

State-run news outlets reported that millions had gathered in Tehran, and images showed a sea of mourners, many wearing black and waving the Iranian flag.

“God the almighty has promised to get his revenge, and God is the main avenger,” said Esmail Ghaani, the Iranian general who will succeed General Suleimani as head of the Quds Force, the foreign expeditionary arm of the Revolutionary Guard. “Certainly, actions will be taken,” he added.

Reporting was contributed by Russell Goldman, Farnaz Fassihi, David D. Kirkpatrick, Peter Baker, Maggie Haberman, Alissa J. Rubin, Ben Hubbard, Mark Landler, Helene Cooper and Thomas Gibbons-Neff

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

Pentagon Rules Out Striking Iranian Cultural Sites, Contradicting Trump

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-antiquities-facebookJumbo Pentagon Rules Out Striking Iranian Cultural Sites, Contradicting Trump War Crimes, Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity United States Politics and Government United States International Relations United States Defense and Military Forces Trump, Donald J Suleimani, Qassim Iran Esper, Mark T Destruction of Cultural Antiquities and Heritage Defense Department

WASHINGTON — Defense Secretary Mark T. Esper sought to douse an international outcry on Monday by ruling out military attacks on cultural sites in Iran if the conflict with Tehran escalates further, despite President Trump’s threat to destroy some of the country’s treasured icons.

Mr. Esper acknowledged that striking cultural sites with no military value would be a war crime, putting him at odds with the president, who insisted such places would be legitimate targets. Mr. Trump’s threats generated condemnation at home and abroad while deeply discomfiting American military leaders who have made a career of upholding the laws of war.

“We will follow the laws of armed conflict,” Mr. Esper said at a news briefing at the Pentagon when asked if cultural sites would be targeted as the president had suggested over the weekend. When a reporter asked if that meant “no” because the laws of war prohibit targeting cultural sites, Mr. Esper agreed. “That’s the laws of armed conflict.”

The furor was a classic controversy of Mr. Trump’s creation, the apparent result of an impulsive threat and his refusal to back down in the face of criticism. When Mr. Trump declared on Saturday that the United States had identified 52 potential targets in Iran if it retaliates for the American drone strike that killed Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, none of those targets qualified as cultural sites, according to an administration official who asked not to be identified correcting the president.

Nonetheless, when Mr. Trump casually said on Twitter that they included sites “very high level & important to Iran & the Iranian culture,” the resulting uproar only got his back up. Rather than simply say that cultural sites were not actually being targeted, the official said, he decided to double down the next day with reporters flying with him on Air Force One, scoffing at the idea that Iran could “kill our people” while “we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site,” saying, “It doesn’t work that way.”

The comments drew protests from Iran and other American adversaries who said they showed that Mr. Trump is the aggressor — and not just against Iran’s government but against its people, its history and its very nationhood. Even some of America’s allies weighed in, with Prime Minister Boris Johnson of Britain breaking with Mr. Trump by issuing a statement through an aide warning against targeting antiquities.

Military leaders were left in the awkward position of trying to reaffirm their commitment to generations of war-fighting rules without angering a volatile commander in chief by contradicting him. Mr. Trump’s remarks unsettled even some of his allies, who considered them an unnecessary distraction at a time when the president should be focusing attention on Iran’s misdeeds rather than promising some of his own.

“We’re not at war with the culture of the Iranian people,” Senator Lindsey Graham, Republican of South Carolina and one of the president’s staunchest supporters in Congress, said on Monday. “We’re in a conflict with the theology, the ayatollah and his way of doing business.”

Mr. Graham, a retired military lawyer in the Air Force Reserve, said he delivered that message to Mr. Trump in a telephone call on Monday. “I think the president saying ‘we will hit you hard’ is the right message,” he said. “Cultural sites is not hitting them hard; it’s creating more problems. We’re trying to show solidarity with the Iranian people.”

Senator Jack Reed, Democrat of Rhode Island and a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, said Mr. Trump’s threats would only encourage despots of the world to target antiquities themselves.

“America is better than that, and President Trump is flat-out wrong to threaten attacks on historic places of cultural heritage,” said Mr. Reed, a former platoon leader in the Army’s 82nd Airborne Division. “Destroying some of these culturally significant Iranian sites wouldn’t be seen as just an attack against the regime in Tehran, it could be construed as an attack on history and humanity.”

Iran, home to one of humanity’s most storied ancient civilizations, has 22 cultural sites designated on the World Heritage List by UNESCO, the United Nations cultural organization, including the ruins of Persepolis, the capital of the Achaemenid Empire later conquered by Alexander the Great. Others include Tchogha Zanbil, the remnants of the holy city of the Kingdom of Elam, and a series of Persian gardens that have their roots in the times of Cyrus the Great.

The United States is a signatory to a 1954 international agreement to protect cultural property in armed conflict and has been a leader in condemning rogue nations and groups that destroy antiquities, including the Islamic State’s destruction of sites in Mosul, Iraq, and Palmyra, Syria, and the Taliban’s demolition of the famed Bamiyan Buddhas in Afghanistan in 2001.

Experts said that what Mr. Trump described would likewise violate international law. “We and others accused ISIS of war crimes when they did this,” said Jeh C. Johnson, a former secretary of homeland security under President Barack Obama who previously served as the top lawyer at the Pentagon. “Certainly, in aggravated circumstances, it should be considered a war crime.”

Mr. Johnson and others said there could be situations that are murkier, if the actual cultural value was less clear or it was being used as a military facility. Still, Mr. Johnson said, “my guess is his national security lawyers did not vet that tweet.”

Indeed, the president’s advisers ever since have sought to deny that he was actually making a threat even though his initial tweet said the sites — including those of cultural importance — “WILL BE HIT VERY FAST AND VERY HARD” if Iran responded to General Suleimani’s killing.

“President Trump didn’t say he’d go after a cultural site,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted the next day on Fox News. “Read what he said very closely.”

But just hours later, Mr. Trump made very clear that he thought cultural sites were in fact legitimate targets. “They’re allowed to kill our people,” he told the reporters on Air Force One as he flew back to Washington from his winter holiday in Florida. “They’re allowed to torture and maim our people. They’re allowed to use roadside bombs and blow up our people. And we’re not allowed to touch their cultural site? It doesn’t work that way.”

By Monday, the White House was again denying that Mr. Trump actually made a threat. “He didn’t say he’s targeting cultural sites,” Kellyanne Conway, the president’s counselor, told reporters. “He said that he was openly asking the question why in the world they’re allowed to maim people, put out roadside bombs, kill our people, torture our people.”

Peter Baker reported from Washington, and Maggie Haberman from New York. Helene Cooper and Emily Cochrane contributed reporting from Washington.

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Bolton Is Willing to Testify in Trump Impeachment Trial, Raising Pressure for Witnesses

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-impeach-sub-facebookJumbo Bolton Is Willing to Testify in Trump Impeachment Trial, Raising Pressure for Witnesses Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate McConnell, Mitch House of Representatives Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, said on Monday that he was willing to testify at President Trump’s impeachment trial, putting new pressure on Republicans to call witnesses and raising the possibility of revelations as the Senate weighs Mr. Trump’s removal.

Mr. Bolton’s surprise declaration, in a statement on his website, was a dramatic turn that could alter the political dynamic of the impeachment process in the Senate and raise the risks for Mr. Trump of Republican defections. The former national security adviser is a potentially vital witness, with direct knowledge of presidential actions and conversations regarding Ukraine that could fill in blanks in the narrative of the impeachment case.

It came as the House continued to withhold the articles of impeachment necessary to start the trial in a bid to increase Democratic leverage in Senate negotiations over calling Mr. Bolton and three other administration witnesses the president blocked from testifying in the House inquiry.

“I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify,” Mr. Bolton said in the statement.

His decision raised immediate questions for Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, around how to proceed with the trial. He has steadfastly refused to commit to calling witnesses, but as majority leader, he must also weigh the wishes of a small group of moderate Republicans who may press to hear from them.

Mr. Bolton announced his intentions minutes after leaving a voice mail message alerting Mr. McConnell of them.

Democrats quickly seized on Mr. Bolton’s public declaration to press their case that the Senate must hear from him and the other senior officials at the outset of any trial, training attention on the few Republicans who have said they are open to calling witnesses.

“Given that Mr. Bolton’s lawyers have stated he has new relevant information to share, if any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we have requested, they would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover-up,” the Democratic leader, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, said in a speech on the Senate floor.

But Mr. McConnell appeared unmoved by the development, and there was no immediate clamor from rank-and-file Republicans for him to change his stance. Instead, the loudest voices in the party on Monday were from a group of Republican senators who spent the day trumpeting a newly introduced resolution that would alter Senate rules to allow the chamber to dismiss the House case without a trial.

It was unclear how the White House would respond to Mr. Bolton, who left his post in September amid sharp disputes with Mr. Trump. The president did not address his former adviser in an interview with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk radio host, that aired on Monday, but he accused Democrats of trying to “affect the election illegally” by impeaching him.

Mr. Bolton did not say precisely what he would be willing to tell Congress. But his lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, told the House’s top lawyer in November that Mr. Bolton knew about “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine matter that had not been shared with House impeachment investigators. And former White House officials and people close to Mr. Bolton have indicated that his testimony would most likely be damning to Mr. Trump and put additional pressure on moderate Republicans to consider convicting him.

While that could cause some Republican defections, it is unlikely to put him at great risk in the Senate, where a two-thirds vote — 67 senators — is needed to remove a president. Mr. McConnell has confidently predicted Mr. Trump’s acquittal.

The two parties have been at an impasse over the issue of witnesses for weeks now, and the dispute has delayed the start of Mr. Trump’s trial. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, has declined to send the Senate the charges against Mr. Trump, which would prompt the start of the trial, saying that she first wants assurances that Mr. McConnell would run a fair process.

Mr. McConnell argues the Senate should not even consider admitting new information in the trial until after it hears opening arguments from the prosecution and the defense. He addressed the only development obliquely in a speech on Monday afternoon, accusing Democrats of trying to “pre-commit the Senate to redoing House Democrats’ slapdash work for them, and pursuing avenues” that the House did not.

“The Senate has a unanimous, bipartisan precedent for when to handle midtrial questions such as witnesses: In the middle of the trial,” Mr. McConnell said.

The matter is all but certain to come to a vote at some point, and under Senate rules, it takes only 51 senators to call a witness or request new evidence, meaning Mr. McConnell’s ability to call the shots is limited. Democrats are focused on persuading moderate Republicans — like Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Senator Mitt Romney of Utah — to join them in insisting on witnesses.

Mr. Romney told reporters on Monday that hearing from Mr. Bolton would be a “good thing” that he hoped would come to pass, though he declined to commit to voting for a subpoena until the shape of the trial was clear. Ms. Collins said that she would make determinations about witnesses only after the Senate heard opening arguments in the eventual trial.

Ms. Murkowski said she, too, agreed with Mr. McConnell’s position and would prefer to wait to address the need for witnesses until midtrial, as was done in the 1999 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Despite Mr. Bolton’s offer, many Republicans made clear they were opposed to hearing from any new witnesses. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida wrote on Twitter that the Senate should only consider “the same testimony & evidence the House relied upon when they passed the Articles of Impeachment.”

“Our job is to vote on what the House passed, not to conduct an open ended inquiry,” he tweeted.

Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, went further, introducing a long-shot resolution to allow the Senate to dismiss the articles of impeachment if the House failed to deliver them within 25 calendar days.

“If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case,” Mr. Hawley said, “the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute and Congress should get back to doing the people’s business.”

If he did appear under oath on Capitol Hill, Mr. Bolton would be the closest adviser to the president to answer questions about what Mr. Trump said behind closed doors as he pressured the Ukranians to investigate his political rivals as he was withholding nearly $400 million in military aid from the country.

The Democratic-led House impeached Mr. Trump last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, charging him with a corrupt scheme to solicit help from Ukraine in the 2020 election and concealing his actions from Congress.

The president has repeatedly sought to block his most senior aides, as well as former advisers who have left the White House, from speaking to Congress, and has gone to court to stop several of them from cooperating.

Mr. Bolton’s statement strongly suggested that he would be willing to testify regardless of whether Mr. Trump sought to prevent him, and even in the absence of a legal ruling compelling him to do so.

“It now falls to the Senate to fulfill its constitutional obligation to try impeachments, and it does not appear possible that a final judicial resolution of the still-unanswered constitutional questions can be obtained before the Senate acts,” Mr. Bolton wrote. “Accordingly, since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study.”

Although Mr. Bolton never spoke with House investigators, his aides testified that he had been deeply concerned about how Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani pressured the Ukranians to investigate Democrats. A top former deputy said Mr. Bolton alluded metaphorically to a “drug deal” that some top White House officials were involved in regarding the investigations, and called Mr. Giuliani “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”

Others described a campaign by Mr. Bolton to persuade Mr. Trump to release his hold on the military assistance for Ukraine, a case he made to the president at one point.

Mr. Bolton had previously said he would abide by the ruling of a federal judge in a separate lawsuit by his former deputy, Charles M. Kupperman, over whether to appear as requested in the House impeachment inquiry or comply with a White House directive to stay silent. But House Democrats withdrew their subpoena for Mr. Kupperman, arguing that they did not have time to await the outcome of a potentially yearslong lawsuit before moving to impeach Mr. Trump.

The judge ruled late last month that the issue was moot, which Mr. Bolton said left him no choice but to make his own decision.

Catie Edmondson and Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.

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Bolton Is Willing to Testify in Trump Impeachment Trial, Raising Pressure for Witnesses

Westlake Legal Group 06dc-impeach-sub-facebookJumbo Bolton Is Willing to Testify in Trump Impeachment Trial, Raising Pressure for Witnesses Trump, Donald J Trump-Ukraine Whistle-Blower Complaint and Impeachment Inquiry Senate McConnell, Mitch House of Representatives Bolton, John R

WASHINGTON — John R. Bolton, the former White House national security adviser, said on Monday that he was willing to testify at President Trump’s impeachment trial, putting new pressure on Republicans to call witnesses and raising the possibility of revelations as the Senate weighs Mr. Trump’s removal.

Mr. Bolton’s surprise declaration, in a statement on his website, was a dramatic turn that could alter the political dynamic of the impeachment process in the Senate and raise the risks for Mr. Trump of Republican defections. The former national security adviser is a potentially vital witness, with direct knowledge of presidential actions and conversations regarding Ukraine that could fill in blanks in the narrative of the impeachment case.

It came as the House continued to withhold the articles of impeachment necessary to start the trial in a bid to increase Democratic leverage in Senate negotiations over calling Mr. Bolton and three other administration witnesses the president blocked from testifying in the House inquiry.

“I have concluded that, if the Senate issues a subpoena for my testimony, I am prepared to testify,” Mr. Bolton said in the statement.

His decision raised immediate questions for Senator Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, around how to proceed with the trial. He has steadfastly refused to commit to calling witnesses, but as majority leader, he must also weigh the wishes of a small group of moderate Republicans who may press to hear from them.

Mr. Bolton announced his intentions minutes after leaving a voice mail message alerting Mr. McConnell of them.

Democrats quickly seized on Mr. Bolton’s public declaration to press their case that the Senate must hear from him and the other senior officials at the outset of any trial, training attention on the few Republicans who have said they are open to calling witnesses.

“Given that Mr. Bolton’s lawyers have stated he has new relevant information to share, if any Senate Republican opposes issuing subpoenas to the four witnesses and documents we have requested, they would make absolutely clear they are participating in a cover-up,” the Democratic leader, Senator Chuck Schumer of New York, said in a speech on the Senate floor.

But Mr. McConnell appeared unmoved by the development, and there was no immediate clamor from rank-and-file Republicans for him to change his stance. Instead, the loudest voices in the party on Monday were from a group of Republican senators who spent the day trumpeting a newly introduced resolution that would alter Senate rules to allow the chamber to dismiss the House case without a trial.

It was unclear how the White House would respond to Mr. Bolton, who left his post in September amid sharp disputes with Mr. Trump. The president did not address his former adviser in an interview with Rush Limbaugh, the conservative talk radio host, that aired on Monday, but he accused Democrats of trying to “affect the election illegally” by impeaching him.

Mr. Bolton did not say precisely what he would be willing to tell Congress. But his lawyer, Charles J. Cooper, told the House’s top lawyer in November that Mr. Bolton knew about “many relevant meetings and conversations” connected to the Ukraine matter that had not been shared with House impeachment investigators. And former White House officials and people close to Mr. Bolton have indicated that his testimony would most likely be damning to Mr. Trump and put additional pressure on moderate Republicans to consider convicting him.

While that could cause some Republican defections, it is unlikely to put him at great risk in the Senate, where a two-thirds vote — 67 senators — is needed to remove a president. Mr. McConnell has confidently predicted Mr. Trump’s acquittal.

The two parties have been at an impasse over the issue of witnesses for weeks now, and the dispute has delayed the start of Mr. Trump’s trial. Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, has declined to send the Senate the charges against Mr. Trump, which would prompt the start of the trial, saying that she first wants assurances that Mr. McConnell would run a fair process.

Mr. McConnell argues the Senate should not even consider admitting new information in the trial until after it hears opening arguments from the prosecution and the defense. He addressed the only development obliquely in a speech on Monday afternoon, accusing Democrats of trying to “pre-commit the Senate to redoing House Democrats’ slapdash work for them, and pursuing avenues” that the House did not.

“The Senate has a unanimous, bipartisan precedent for when to handle midtrial questions such as witnesses: In the middle of the trial,” Mr. McConnell said.

The matter is all but certain to come to a vote at some point, and under Senate rules, it takes only 51 senators to call a witness or request new evidence, meaning Mr. McConnell’s ability to call the shots is limited. Democrats are focused on persuading moderate Republicans — like Senator Susan Collins of Maine, Senator Lisa Murkowski of Alaska and Senator Mitt Romney of Utah — to join them in insisting on witnesses.

Mr. Romney told reporters on Monday that hearing from Mr. Bolton would be a “good thing” that he hoped would come to pass, though he declined to commit to voting for a subpoena until the shape of the trial was clear. Ms. Collins said that she would make determinations about witnesses only after the Senate heard opening arguments in the eventual trial.

Ms. Murkowski said she, too, agreed with Mr. McConnell’s position and would prefer to wait to address the need for witnesses until midtrial, as was done in the 1999 impeachment of President Bill Clinton.

Despite Mr. Bolton’s offer, many Republicans made clear they were opposed to hearing from any new witnesses. Senator Marco Rubio of Florida wrote on Twitter that the Senate should only consider “the same testimony & evidence the House relied upon when they passed the Articles of Impeachment.”

“Our job is to vote on what the House passed, not to conduct an open ended inquiry,” he tweeted.

Senator Josh Hawley, Republican of Missouri, went further, introducing a long-shot resolution to allow the Senate to dismiss the articles of impeachment if the House failed to deliver them within 25 calendar days.

“If Speaker Pelosi is afraid to try her case,” Mr. Hawley said, “the articles should be dismissed for failure to prosecute and Congress should get back to doing the people’s business.”

If he did appear under oath on Capitol Hill, Mr. Bolton would be the closest adviser to the president to answer questions about what Mr. Trump said behind closed doors as he pressured the Ukranians to investigate his political rivals as he was withholding nearly $400 million in military aid from the country.

The Democratic-led House impeached Mr. Trump last month for abuse of power and obstruction of Congress, charging him with a corrupt scheme to solicit help from Ukraine in the 2020 election and concealing his actions from Congress.

The president has repeatedly sought to block his most senior aides, as well as former advisers who have left the White House, from speaking to Congress, and has gone to court to stop several of them from cooperating.

Mr. Bolton’s statement strongly suggested that he would be willing to testify regardless of whether Mr. Trump sought to prevent him, and even in the absence of a legal ruling compelling him to do so.

“It now falls to the Senate to fulfill its constitutional obligation to try impeachments, and it does not appear possible that a final judicial resolution of the still-unanswered constitutional questions can be obtained before the Senate acts,” Mr. Bolton wrote. “Accordingly, since my testimony is once again at issue, I have had to resolve the serious competing issues as best I could, based on careful consideration and study.”

Although Mr. Bolton never spoke with House investigators, his aides testified that he had been deeply concerned about how Mr. Trump and his personal lawyer Rudolph W. Giuliani pressured the Ukranians to investigate Democrats. A top former deputy said Mr. Bolton alluded metaphorically to a “drug deal” that some top White House officials were involved in regarding the investigations, and called Mr. Giuliani “a hand grenade who’s going to blow everybody up.”

Others described a campaign by Mr. Bolton to persuade Mr. Trump to release his hold on the military assistance for Ukraine, a case he made to the president at one point.

Mr. Bolton had previously said he would abide by the ruling of a federal judge in a separate lawsuit by his former deputy, Charles M. Kupperman, over whether to appear as requested in the House impeachment inquiry or comply with a White House directive to stay silent. But House Democrats withdrew their subpoena for Mr. Kupperman, arguing that they did not have time to await the outcome of a potentially yearslong lawsuit before moving to impeach Mr. Trump.

The judge ruled late last month that the issue was moot, which Mr. Bolton said left him no choice but to make his own decision.

Catie Edmondson and Michael D. Shear contributed reporting.

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E.P.A. Aims to Reduce Truck Pollution, and Avert Tougher State Controls

Westlake Legal Group 06CLI-TRUCKS1-facebookJumbo E.P.A. Aims to Reduce Truck Pollution, and Avert Tougher State Controls United States Politics and Government Trump, Donald J Trucks and Trucking Respiratory Diseases Regulation and Deregulation of Industry Greenhouse Gas Emissions Global Warming Environmental Protection Agency environment Air Pollution

WASHINGTON — The Trump administration on Monday took its first step toward tighter pollution controls on trucks, an anomalous move for a government known for weakening environmental policies but one that would pre-empt tougher state rules.

Andrew Wheeler, the head of the Environmental Protection Agency, began the legal and regulatory process for curbing highway truck emissions of nitrogen dioxide, which has been linked to asthma and lung disease.

While the move could give President Trump a nominal environmental achievement for the 2020 campaign, public health experts say the truck regulations are not as out of line with administration policy as they would appear. The emerging rule will quite likely limit nitrogen dioxide pollution more than current standards, they say, but still fall far short of what is necessary to significantly prevent respiratory illness and even premature deaths.

Instead, the administration appears to be complying with the wishes of the trucking industry, which has called for a new national nitrogen dioxide regulation to override states that could otherwise implement their own, tighter rules. On that front, the E.P.A. rule is likely to open a new battle in Mr. Trump’s long-running war with California over environmental regulations and states’ rights. California is already moving ahead with stringent state-level standards on nitrogen dioxide pollution from trucks that could be replicated by other states.

“A strong and resilient trucking industry is imperative to maintaining a strong and resilient economy,” Mr. Wheeler said Monday morning at a livestock exchange in Marshall, Va., surrounded by leaders of the trucking lobby. “Through this initiative, we will modernize heavy duty truck engines, improving their efficiency and reducing their emissions, which will lead to a healthier environment.”

Paul Billings, a senior vice president at the American Lung Association, said no one from his group or other major health or environmental groups had been invited to the event, although the Lung Association has led the lobbying push to limit nitrogen dioxide from trucks.

“Trucks remain a major source of pollution that creates smog, and smog is linked with coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, and can cause asthma and premature death,” he said.

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The opening of the regulatory process is in keeping with Mr. Trump’s efforts to have it both ways on the environment. Polls show that independent voters in their 20s and 30s are increasingly concerned about environmental issues, and even as the president celebrates his rollbacks of environmental rules, he has insisted that he believes in a clean environment, frequently citing his desire for “the cleanest air” and “crystal-clean water.” In a White House speech last summer, Mr. Trump sought to recast his record by describing “America’s environmental leadership” under his command.

In other areas, at Mr. Trump’s directive, the E.P.A. has sought to weaken or undo regulations on car and truck emissions. The agency is rolling back an Obama-era rule that had limited planet-warming carbon dioxide pollution from vehicle tailpipes.

The E.P.A.’s current rule on nitrogen dioxide pollution from heavy-duty highway trucks, put in place in 2001, required trucks to cut emissions of nitrogen dioxide by 95 percent over 10 years. The rule contributed to a 40-percent drop in national nitrogen dioxide emissions.

Although the law does not require the agency to update the rule, the Obama administration’s E.P.A. began examining a tighter standard after multiple states and public health organizations like the American Lung Association petitioned to cut emissions an additional 90 percent by about 2025.

Over the past two years, California has begun the legal process aimed at making such cuts. That prompted the trucking industry to lobby the E.P.A. to move forward with a new rule that would be much looser, imposing emissions cuts of 25 percent to 50 percent. The E.P.A.’s new rule-making effort comes after Mr. Trump last year revoked California’s legal authority to set tighter standards on tailpipe emissions, escalating the clash between the president and the most populous state.

“Industry is very concerned about” California’s “stringent proposal,” said Margo Oge, a former vehicle policy specialist at E.P.A. who now advises several auto companies. She saw the truck rule as “another area for a fight between E.P.A. and California.”

The legal step taken Monday by the E.P.A. will begin the drafting of such rules, by requesting public comments and input from states, industry groups and health and environmental advocates.

Trucking industry leaders said they were confident that their concerns would be taken into account.

“Serious problems with earlier rule-makings have left small business truckers justifiably wary of new emissions reduction proposals,” said Todd Spencer, president of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, a lobbying group. “However, over the last year, representatives of the E.P.A. have gone to great lengths to fully understand how new policies may affect our members, which wasn’t standard practice under previous administrations.”

The fact that the 2001 rule to curb emissions by 95 percent still allows trucks to emit harmful levels of the pollutant “speaks to how dirty trucks were before this rule,” Mr. Billings of the Lung Association said. “Now it’s 20 years later. Technology has improved. People are still getting sick. We can do better.”

Although his group was not invited to Monday’s announcement, Mr. Billings said, “We’d welcome the opportunity to work with the agency to see that the strongest, most health-protective rule is adopted.”

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