Thursday, February 9, 2023

Americas

US weighs sanctions on Chinese companies over “Iran surveillance buildup”: Report

The US is considering new sanctions on Chinese surveillance companies over sales to Iran's security forces, the Wall Street Journal has reported citing people familiar with the matter.

US imposes visa restrictions on Taliban officials

The US has announced additional visa restrictions on the Taliban regime in response to thei bans on women's rights in Afghanistan.

US slams Israeli settlements but stresses Washington’s support for Tel Aviv

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken has criticized Israeli policies, including settlement expansion and home demolitions, as detrimental to the two-state solution. Still, at a news conference at the end of his trip to Israel and the occupied Palestinian territories, he reasserted Washington’s “ironclad” commitment to Israel.

Pentagon says US had nothing to do with drone attack on Iran military site

A Pentagon spokesman has said the United States was not involved in the recent airstrikes on Iran's defense facility in the city of Isfahan. The Iranian Defense Ministry has announced that its air defense units had fended off the raid.

US officials say Israel behind drone attack on Iran military workshop

Israel carried out a drone strike targeting a defense compound in Iran, according to US officials and people familiar with the operation. Iran says its air defenses had fended off an attempted attack by three small quadcopters targeting a munitions factory in the city of Isfahan.

US House urges Biden to sanction more Iranian individuals, organizations

The US House of Representatives has overwhelmingly approved a resolution praising anti-government protesters in Iran. Lawmakers have called for more sanctions against Iranian officials and entities over alleged “human right violations” following the recent unrest and deadly protests in the country.

Pompeo defends Saudi Arabia despite Khashoggi murder: Book

Publishing a new book, former US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threw his full support for Riyadh, despite the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, which has been widely blamed on Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman.

White House to ask Congress to approve F-16 sales to Turkey

The administration of President Joe Biden plans to ask Congress to approve a $20bn sale of new F-16 jets to Turkey, the Wall Street Journal has reported.

US extends protection for Pompeo and Hook, fearing “Iran threats”

The administration of US President Joe Biden has extended government protection for former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and the Trump administration’s special envoy for Iran Brian Hook due to what it calls persistent threats from Tehran.

‘Russian trolls’ did not help Trump in 2016 Election

Twitter Accounts labeled as “Russian trolls” had any meaningful effect pushing voters to Donald Trump in 2016 presidential according to a study published in Nature Communications. A team of researchers could not find any evidence that interactions with content attributed to the “Internet Research Agency” (IRA) in any way influenced attitudes, voting patterns, or political divisions.

US intelligence materials related to Iran found in Biden’s private office

Among the items from Joe Biden’s time as US vice president discovered in a private office last fall are 10 classified documents including US intelligence memos and briefing materials that covered topics including Iran, Ukraine and the United Kingdom, according to a source familiar with the matter.

Top US diplomats to visit Israel within days, Iran on agenda

US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is expected to visit Israel at the end of the month to get a better understanding of the new government's agenda. Prior to Blinken's visit, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan is expected to arrive in Israel on January 19.

Pentagon misled public on deadly drone raid in Kabul: Report

Erroneous assumptions and biases by US analysts led to the Kabul drone attack that killed ten civilians, including seven children, during the Pentagon’s chaotic August 2021 withdrawal from Afghanistan, an internal military investigation has found.

US says targeted Iranian drone companies over ties to Russia

The US Treasury on Friday imposed sanctions on officials allegedly tied to an Iranian defense manufacturer that designs and produces unmanned aerial vehicles, which Washington claims have been used in the war in Ukraine.

US looks at ways to target Iranian drone production: White House

The United States is looking at ways to target Iranian drone production through sanctions and export controls, and is talking to private companies whose parts have been used in production, the White House has announced.

Lavrov says Pentagon threats imply assassination of Putin

Statements made by ‘anonymous officials’ from the Pentagon about a ‘decapitating strike’ on the Kremlin speak about a threat of an attempted assassination of the Russian president, Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said in an interview with TASS.

Biden launches task force to investigate US parts in Iranian drones: Report

The administration of President Joe Biden has launched an interagency task force to investigate how US and western-made components are ending up in Iranian-produced military drones allegedly being used by Russia in Ukraine, according to a report by CNN.

CIA director says Iran-Russia cooperation “worrying”

CIA Director William Burns has expressed concern over the “growing cooperation between Tehran and Moscow” amid the Ukraine war. The White House is continuing to sound the alarm at the flourishing military partnership between Iran and Russia.

Russia says US to spend $11bn on cyberattacks against ‘unwanted’ governments

Washington plans to spend around $11 billion next year on carrying out cyberattacks with the aim of controlling unfriendly governments, says Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Oleg Syromolotov.

US greenlights Ukrainian attacks inside Russia: Report

The US has quietly given Ukraine the go-ahead to launch long-range strikes against targets inside Russian territory, The Times reported on Friday, citing sources. The Pentagon has apparently changed its stance on the matter as it has become less concerned that such attacks could escalate the conflict.

US expresses concern about “growing Iran-Russia defense partnership”

The White House has sounded the alarm at what it calls the flourishing military partnership between Iran and Russia. The US says it would work to "expose and disrupt" the exchange of weapons and know-how between Tehran and Moscow.

UN examining data over alleged Iran’s arms sales to Russia

The United Nations is examining "available information" about accusations that Iran supplied Russia with drones, the world body's Secretary-General has said. Antonio Guterres is under Western pressure to send experts to Ukraine to inspect downed drones.

US has no evidence of Iran’s transfer of ballistic missiles to Russia: White House

The United States has no evidence that Iran has transferred ballistic missiles to Russia for use against Ukraine, the White House has announced. Both Tehran and Moscow have repeatedly denied western claims that Iran has provided Russia with weapons for use in the Ukraine war.

US senators call for additional sanctions on Iranian officials over unrest, riots

The US Senate Foreign Relations Committee on Wednesday approved a bipartisan resolution reaffirming "US support for Iranian protesters" and calling on President Joe Biden to impose "additional sanctions on Iranian officials and entities responsible for repressing the demonstrations".

US judge dismisses lawsuit against MbS over Khashoggi killing

A US federal judge has dismissed a lawsuit against Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (MbS) over the murder of journalist Jamal Khashoggi.

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