Iranian Leaders Amplify Rhetoric before Talks Resume
Speaking to an audience of military commanders yesterday, Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the United States “created the myth of nuclear weapons so they could say the Islamic Republic is a source of threat. No, the source of threat is America itself, with its unrestrained, destabilising interventions.” The deputy leader of the Iranian Revolutionary ...
Speaking to an audience of military commanders yesterday, Iranian Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that the United States “created the myth of nuclear weapons so they could say the Islamic Republic is a source of threat. No, the source of threat is America itself, with its unrestrained, destabilising interventions.” The deputy leader of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps told Iranian press that international weapons inspectors will not be allowed to visit military sites under an agreement, saying that it would be tantamount to “occupation” and would make Iran “a paradise for spies.” “We will not roll out the red carpet for the enemy,” he said.
But writing today in the New York Times, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif sounded a much more conciliatory note, suggesting that the nuclear negotiations could be a foundation for further regional engagement. He called the framework for a nuclear agreement “important progress” that will “remove any doubt about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.” “With courageous leadership and the audacity to make the right decisions, we can and should put this manufactured crisis to rest and move on to much more important work,” Zarif writes, proposing greater regional engagement with the Gulf on issues from counterterrorism and reducing sectarian tensions, to the free flow of oil exports, to environmental protection. According to a report by the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, Australia has reached a tentative intelligence-sharing agreement with Iran on counterterrorism issues.
Nuclear negotiations are set to resume between the P5+1 and Iran in Vienna on Wednesday.
Houthi Leader Gives Defiant Speech in Yemen despite Setbacks
The leader of Yemen’s Houthi movement, Abdel Malek al-Houthi, claimed in a speech on Sunday that Saudi Arabia’s goal is “the invasion of this country, its occupation and placing this country again under its feet and hegemony.” The firebrand’s speech comes as the commander for Yemen’s First Military District, which covers portions of Yemen’s border with Saudi Arabia, affirmed his allegiance to ousted President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi. The Saudi-led intervention remains ongoing and a strike this morning targeting a Scud base set off a huge explosion in the capital of Sanaa. Last week, a group of 18 British and American scholars who work on Yemen affairs issued a letter condemning the current violence, citing the country’s humanitarian crisis and the absence for a compelling justification for intervention. The scholars called for an immediate U.N.-backed ceasefire and a domestically-brokered political agreement.
- A new video released by the Islamic State shows the execution of two groups of Ethiopian Christians in Libya.
- As many as 700 migrants are believed dead after their vessel capsized while transiting from Libya towards Italy; the European Union’s top diplomat said there are “no more excuses” and called for “immediate action” by member states to prevent further deaths.
- Iraqi forces supported by U.S. airstrikes have retaken the Bayji oil refinery north of Baghdad; on Friday, the Islamic State conducted three car bombings across Iraq, including one targeting the U.S. consulate in Erbil.
- After a retrial, an Egyptian court has sentenced 11 people to death for their role in a deadly 2012 soccer riot in Port Said; the previous trial handed down 21 death sentences.
- Kuwaiti opposition leader Musallam al-Barrak has been released on bail after a court reduced his sentence from five years to two; the charges stem from a speech in 2012 in which he said Kuwait risked becoming an autocracy.
-J. Dana Stuster
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