An audacious drone strike by the U.S. has killed top Iranian General Qassim Soleimani. The President has said the assassination was to prevent a plot against America. President Trump described Soleimani as “the number one terrorist anywhere in the world.”
Mr Trump said: “We took action last night to stop a war, we did not take action to start a war.
“Soleimani made the death of innocent people his sick passion, contributing to terror plots as far away as New Delhi and London. His reign of terror is over.
“He was plotting imminent and sinister attacks on American diplomats and and personnel but we caught him in the act and terminated him.”
The attack happened whilst Soleimani, the head of the elite Quads Force, was in Baghdad. U.S. national security adviser Robert O’Brien said Soleimani was moving around the Middle East planning imminent attacks on U.S. diplomats and military personnel.
Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has issued a statement vowing to retaliate:
“America should know that its criminal attack on General Soleimani has been the country’s biggest mistake in west Asia, and America will not avoid the consequences of this wrong calculation easily,” it said.
“These criminals will face severe vengeance… in the right place and time,”
Read More: The Telegraph
Iran, China and Russia have held joint naval drills in the Gulf of Oman and the Indian Ocean. The operations come at a time of increased tension between the US and Iran. In May last year the US withdrew from the nuclear deal signed by Obama.
“The message of this exercise is peace, friendship and lasting security through cooperation and unity… and its effect will be to show that Iran cannot be isolated,” Rear Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said on state television.
Iranian State television said the co-operation between the nations signals “the new triangle of power in the sea”.
Iran said the drills aims were to increase security, combat piracy, and strengthen intelligence sharing operations.
Japan also said on Friday it would send its own battle ships to the region to aid security, but would not join a US-led collision. The Japanese Chief of Cabinet said “Japan’s own measure aimed at peace and stability in the Middle East as well as ensuring safety of Japan-related vessels,”
90% of Japan’s crude oil comes from the region.
Read More: France 24
It has been reported the Iran will soon hold a joint naval drill in international waters with China and Russia. The exercise will be held in the north Indian Ocean.
The announcement came after the US announced they will be sending a moderate number of troops to the Gulf region. This is in response to attacks by Iran on Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities.
Read More: Yahoo Finance
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard have said they shot down a US drone that entered into it’s air space. However, they say the drone was accompanied by a US plane which had 35 people on board. The Iranians claim this also strayed into it’s air space, but they refrained from shooting it down.
Read More: Jerusalem Post
Thursday saw two oil tankers- one Norwegian, the other Japanese- attacked in the Gulf of Oman. Crew members rescued from the Japanese vessel said, “that the ship was attacked by a flying object”. These fresh attacks come after four vessels were targeted a month ago.
The US have blamed Iran for the attacks, claims the Iranians deny. It is thought the Iranians are seeking to disrupt international shipping in one of the world’s busiest shipping routes. US-Iranain relations have deteriorated recently. The US have sent an aircraft carrier in response to the heightened threat from Iran in the region.
Read More BBC
In a recent propaganda message on a jihadist forum, Al Qaeda have posted a map of future strikes on countries sympathetic to the French, following French and allied attempts to oust Al Qaeda forces from Mali.
Concern over President Obama’s nominee for Defense Secretary, former Senator Chuck Hagel, who is set to appear before the Senate Armed Services Committee on Thursday.
Conservative former officers say Mr. Hagel is the wrong person to head the Pentagon because of his soft-line views on Iran, hostility toward Israel and support for cuts in U.S. military and nuclear forces.
The Pentagon has announced that Iran fired at an American drone last week as it flew over international waters. The incident occurred 16 nautical miles off the Kuwait coast on November 1st.
The Pentagon’s announcement coincides with a fresh round of sanctions imposed on Iran by the administration. The White House said these new sanctions are, “related to the Iranian government’s human rights abuses, it’s support of terrorism and Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.”
The drone attack was the first of it’s kind over international waters in the Persian Gulf region.
Read more: Fox News
Signs of public dissatisfaction are appearing in Iran with protests in central Tehran today. Iran’s currency has lost more than 50% of its value in the last week.
Police in the hundreds with anti-riot gear swarmed the capital around the currency exchange district looking for illegal money changers and closing other legally operating venues down, according to witnesses reporting to AFP (Agence France-Presse).
According to the witnesses, many were arrested, smoke was seen in at least two places and stones where being thrown at police.
Ahmadinejad however, blames the sanctions imposed by the USA and European Union for the freefall of their currency but remains defiant and committed to Iran’s nuclear program “We are not a people to retreat on the nuclear issue… If somebody thinks they can pressure Iran, they are certainly wrong and they must correct their behaviour,”.
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has given an interview with the Associated Press at the United Nations this week, where he calls for the establishment of a “New World Order”. Ahmadinejad wants to see the world move away from “years of American bullying and domination” In the interview he said, “God willing, a new order will come together and we’ll do away with everything that distances us…I do believe the system of empires has reached the end of the road. The world can no longer see an emperor commanding it.”
“Now even elementary school kids throughout the world have understood that the United States government is following an international policy of bullying,” he said.
Ahmadinejad also called American and Israeli insistence that Iran abandon it’s nuclear program as a non-issue, claiming America was using it as an excuse for the US to impose it’s will on Iran.
President Ahmadinejad is due to speak at the UN tomorrow, the United States delegates have already said they will boycott his speech.
In the interview Ahmadinejad also addressed the issue of Syria. He is calling for a group of countries to work together to bring an end to the bloody conflict in the country. However, intelligence suggests Iran is actively helping the Assad, with weapons and logistical support.
This will be Ahmadinejad’s last appearance at the UN General Assembly as he is due to leave office next June.
To read more about his interview see The Telegraph
The UN General Assembly opened today in New York. The annual gathering of world leaders will see 116 heads of state and government leaders meeting in New York. This year discussions will be dominated by the civil war raging in Syria as well as the heightened tensions between Israel and Iran. Also on the agenda is the continued economic crisis in Europe.
On Tuesday President Obama will address the assembly as well as the Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, and French President Francois Hollande. Wednesday will see the controversial Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, in past years his speeches have seen mass walk outs of delegates, appalled by his hate-filled rhetoric. On Thursday Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas will both be speaking. Last year the issue of Palestinian statehood was on the agenda, however it is believed this year the matter will be sidelined.
The gathering ends on Monday October 1st. The week will allow meetings of different delegates to discuss in detail the Middle East issues as well as the economic problems facing the world.
Iran have sent a chilling message to Israel warning them not to strike, or they will destroy Israel. The chief of Iran’s Revolutionary Gaurd, General Mohamed Ali Jafari, has publically acknowledged for the first time that war with Israel is highly likely but warned that a was would see the nation of Israel destroyed. General Jafari said at a military exhibition in Tehran, “The shameful and cancerous tumour that is Israel is seeking war against us, but it is not known when that war will happen. They now consider war as the only way to confront us, but they are so stupid that their (US) masters should stop them,”
“If they begin, it will spell their destruction and will be the end of the story, even if they act rationally, this incident will happen,” he added, noting that the Islamic revolution is “moving rapidly towards its goals and they (Israel) cannot tolerate this.”
Jalfari also warned that any military action between the two countries would be “very different” to any previous conflicts.
Jalfari’s warnings came after the US Senate passed a measure endorsing their continued diplomatic and economic pressure on Iran to halt it’s nuclear program. However, these measures do not go far enough for Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu. The Israeli PM is continuing to push Washington to define its criteria for a US-led military strike against Iran.
Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, believes that Iran is only 6-7 months away from having a nuclear bomb. Tensions are continuing to intensify, as the liklihood of an Israeli strike against Iran increases. Many believe Nethanyahu will strike before the November US Presidential elections. Israel’s fear is that if Obama was to win a second term he would not stand by his promises to help Israel after the election, however a strike before November would force his hand.
Also it has emerged that Iran’s newest nuclear facility has been struck by “saboteurs”, according to reports from Fereydoun Abbasi, the head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organisation. Abbasi disclosed that power lines into the facility had been blown up. The nuclear facility is deep under ground, near the city of Qom.
An armada of battleships, aircraft carriers, minesweepers and submarines are gathering in the Gulf. The vessels are from 25 nations and are meeting at the Strait of Hormuz.
This show of force comes as the likelihood of an Israeli strike againt Iran increases. Military experts believe Iran would respond to any strike by attempting to close the vitally important trade route of the Strait of Hormuz – where 18 million barrels of oil pass through the narrow strait everyday.