Archive for August 1, 2019

IDF Reportedly Strikes Targets in Syria’s Quneitra Province 

August 1, 2019

 

 

Rouhani slams US for ‘childish’ sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister

August 1, 2019

Source: Rouhani slams US for ‘childish’ sanctions on Iran’s foreign minister | The Times of Israel

Iranian president says Trump administration trying to silence Islamic Republic on world stage by imposing embargo on Zarif

In this photo from November 24, 2015, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, listens to his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif prior to a meeting in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

In this photo from November 24, 2015, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, right, listens to his Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif prior to a meeting in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi, File)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said Thursday that a US decision to impose sanctions on Mohammad Javad Zarif showed Washington is afraid of the top diplomat.

“They are afraid of our foreign minister’s interviews,” Rouhani said in a televised speech, referring to a recent round of interviews Zarif gave to foreign media in New York.

“It is completely clear that the foundations of the White House have been shaken by the words and logic of an informed, devoted and diplomatic individual,” he said.

“They are doing childish things now. Maybe there’s no better way to describe (the sanctions) but childish,” Rouhani said on a visit to the northwestern city of Tabriz.

President Hassan Rouhani speaks in a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, July 3, 2019. (Iranian Presidency Office via AP)

“Our enemies are so helpless that they have lost the ability to act and think wisely,” he added.

Rouhani was speaking after Washington announced Wednesday it was placing Zarif under sanctions. The sanctions freeze any of Zarif’s assets that are in the United States or that are controlled by US entities, the government announced, saying it also would curtail his international travel.

While the Trump administration did extend waivers allowing foreign firms to work at Iranian nuclear facilities without fear of US, it said that Zarif “implements the reckless agenda of Iran’s Supreme Leader, and is the regime’s primary spokesperson around the world.”

Zarif has been at the heart of complex talks with foreign capitals over Iran’s nuclear power industry, which Tehran says is peaceful, but Washington and regional allies including Israel insist is cover for a secret weapons program.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (2R) gestures during a high level political forum on sustainable development on July 17, 2019 at UN Headquarters in New York. (Kena Betancur/AFP)

But a senior Trump administration official said that Zarif’s diplomatic image — bolstered by his fluent English, self-effacing humor and background as a US-educated academic — was false.

“The key issue is that he has had this veneer… of being the sincere and reasonable interlocutor for the regime. Our point today is that he is no such thing,” the official said on condition of anonymity.

“Today President Trump decided enough was enough,” the official said, accusing Zarif of functioning as “propaganda minister, not foreign minister.”

The highly unusual action of penalizing the top diplomat of another nation comes a month after Trump signed an executive order placing sanctions on Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

In response to that announcement, Zarif claimed Washington was trying to silence the Islamic Republic on the international stage.

“The US’ reason for designating me is that I am Iran’s ‘primary spokesperson around the world’ Is the truth really that painful?” he tweeted.

The sanctions against Zarif are largely symbolic as US officials said his travels to New York for official UN business will not be inhibited, in accordance with America’s international obligations, and the fact that he has little financial interest in American jurisdictions.

“It has no effect on me or my family, as I have no property or interests outside of Iran,” Zarif tweeted.

In addition to attempting to freeze his assets, Washington is attempting to limit Zarif’s ability to function as a globe-trotting diplomat.

US President Donald Trump looks at Secretary of State Mike Pompeo as he participates in a Cabinet meeting at the White House on July 16, 2019 in Washington,DC. (Nicholas Kamm / AFP)

In mid-July, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that Zarif would be issued a visa to the US, but would be limited to the area reaching six blocks around the UN headquarters.

Trump last year left the 2015 denuclearization accord negotiated by Zarif with six nations including the United States under former president Barack Obama and imposed crippling sanctions on Tehran’s economy, also vowing to curb Tehran’s regional influence.

With tensions escalating in June, Trump says he issued a last-minute cancellation of military strikes on Iran after it shot down a US drone.

 

Three troops injured by Gazan gunman in border clash; attacker killed 

August 1, 2019

Source: Three troops injured by Gazan gunman in border clash; attacker killed | The Times of Israel

Hamas operative opens fire after crossing border into Israel, army says; soldiers taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries; tank hits terror group’s post

Troops secure communities in Gaza border area, August 1, 2019 (Israel Defense Forces)

Troops secure communities in Gaza border area, August 1, 2019 (Israel Defense Forces)

Three Israeli soldiers were injured by Palestinian gunfire near the Gaza border early Thursday, sparking the heaviest cross-border fighting in weeks.

An officer and two soldiers were hit by fire by a Palestinian gunman who crossed the border into Israel, according to the Israeli military.

The gunman was shot and killed by Israeli soldiers, the army said, adding that it also hit a Hamas post in the area with tank fire.

The attacker was armed with a rifle and grenades and wearing a Hamas uniform, according to the IDF. However, an army spokesperson said the military believes the attacker was acting alone and not on orders from Hamas.

Last month the IDF said a misunderstanding led its troops to kill a member of the Hamas terror group as he was trying to prevent Palestinian youths from breaching the security fence. That highly irregular acknowledgment of such a mistake appeared to be an effort by the Israel Defense Forces to calm tensions with Hamas and prevent another round of violence.

Wednesday’s gunman was named by Gaza media as Hani Abu Salah, a member of the military wing of Hamas whose brother was killed in a clash with the IDF last May.

כאן חדשות

@kann_news

תקרית הירי בגבול רצועת עזה: הקצין נפגע מירי בכתפו. הוא נותח ונמצא בהתאוששות. שני החיילים הנוספים פצועים קל וישוחררו בשעות הקרובות@Itsik_zuarets

כאן חדשות

@kann_news

דיווחים בעזה: המחבל שנהרג הוא האני אבו סלאח מהזרוע הצבאית של חמאס. על פי הדיווחים, אחיו נהרג מאש צה”ל בהפגנות הגדר במאי שנה שעברה@galberger

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There was no immediate comment from Hamas, a terror group which is the de facto ruler in the Strip.

The Israeli soldiers were taken to Soroka hospital in Beersheba with non life-threatening injuries. The officer was receiving care for moderate injuries while the two lightly wounded soldiers were released shortly after their arrival.

The army said the incident began after troops were deployed to investigate the suspected gunman as he neared the Gaza border fence.

Palestinians had earlier reported heavy fighting near Khan Younis in the southern Gaza Strip.

Video purportedly from the scene published by Palestinian news outlets showed flares fired into the sky, apparently by Israeli troops, to light the battlefield. Local residents also reported hearing heavy gunfire.


There were also reports of Israeli aircraft in the area.

The army said it closed roads near the border and deployed extra troops to communities near the border during the firefight.

The flareup of violence broke several weeks of relative calm along the normally restive border.

The beginning of 2019 saw a dramatic increase in the level of violence along the Gaza border, with near nightly riots and airborne arson attacks, but the violence has waned in recent weeks due to a de facto ceasefire agreement between Israel and the Gaza-ruling Hamas terror group.

Palestinian demonstrators throw stones at Israeli security forces during protests along the border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, in the southern Gaza Strip on July 12, 2019. (MAHMUD HAMS / AFP)

On Wednesday, Israel wrapped up a four-day drill meant to prepare for the possibility of war with fighters based in the Palestinian enclave.

During the drill troops took to the streets of the city of Ashkelon in the middle of the night to simulate Gaza’s urban environment.

IDF soldiers during a military drill near the Gaza Strip, late July 2019. (IDF Spokesperson’s Unit)

Other scenarios included a possible terrorist attempt to take over Ashkelon and other locations via the sea; the evacuation of casualties in helicopters; the evacuation of residents from their homes; and taking over a neighborhood in the Strip.

Wednesday also saw the first fire in two weeks sparked in Israel by an incendiary balloon launched from Gaza, according to authorities.

 

Ted Cruz Sounds the Alarm: Deep State Staffers at Treasury and State Working Behind Trump’s Back to Preserve Obama’s Iran Nuke Deal

August 1, 2019

Source: Ted Cruz Sounds the Alarm: Deep State Staffers at Treasury and State Working Behind Trump’s Back to Preserve Obama’s Iran Nuke Deal

Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX) sounded the alarm on Wednesday and said that staffers at the Treasury and State Departments are tirelessly working behind President Trump’s back to preserve Obama’s Iran nuke deal.

Ted Cruz accused many senior Trump administration officials of continuing to give Tehran waivers allowing the terrorist-supporting regime to conduct nuclear tests at a military bunker that holds Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

Cruz said “Deep State” in the Treasury and State who are giving these waivers are undermining President Trump.

“If these reports are indeed accurate, then it is a temporary victory for the deep state staffers at Treasury and State who continue working tirelessly to preserve the Obama Iran deal rather than implementing the president’s directive,” Cruz said. “I will continue to work towards permanently ending the nuclear deal, including by exercising Congress’s important oversight responsibility to ensure the implementation of United States policy.”

“I hope these reports turn out to be wrong,” Cruz said. “The president has correctly ordered his administration to halt implementation of the catastrophic Obama-Iran nuclear deal. These waivers are part of the deal, and allow the Ayatollahs to build up their nuclear program, including at Fordow, a bunker they dug into the side of a mountain so they could build nuclear weapons.”

Ted Cruz and other Iran hawks in Congress have been pressuring the State Department to end the waivers for several months, reported Adam Kredo.

The waivers are allowing Iran to continue business as usual marching forward to develop a fully functioning nuclear weapon.

Adam Kredo

@Kredo0

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Obama’s former Secretary of State and architect of the Iran nuke deal John Kerry has also been engaging in shadow diplomacy with Iran.

In May of 2018 it was reported by the Boston Globe that John Kerry had been secretly meeting with foreign officials to salvage Iran’s nuclear weapons program.

On May 8th, 2018, President Trump announced he was set to withdraw from Obama’s Iran nuke deal calling it one of the worst deals he’s ever witnessed.

Leading up to Trump’s announcement, John Kerry, the architect of the Iran nuke deal, was reportedly behind the scenes on a “stealthy yet aggressive mission” of shadow diplomacy, desperately trying to preserve his pact by meeting with Iranian official, Javad Zarif.

Iran is becoming increasingly defiant and recently announced it will be once again breaching a limit set on uranium enrichment.