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Messages - Rudi Jan

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Russian Military Has Info Downed US Drone Violated Iranian Airspace - Security Council Secretary

12:42 25.06.2019(updated 14:05 25.06.2019)

CC0 / Staff Sgt. Andy M. Kin

Tensions between Iran and the US have intensified since Tehran downed an American drone, which as Iran said, had violated the country's borders. Washington, meanwhile, has accused Tehran of allegedly attacking oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman, something that the Islamic Republic denies doing.

Russian Security Council Secretary Nikolai Patrushev stated in negotiations with US National Security Adviser John Bolton and Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu that the Russian military has information that the US drone, destroyed in an incident on 20 June, was shot down in Iranian airspace thus confirming the information earlier provided by Tehran. The US, for its part, insists that the UAV was flying above neutral waters when it was destroyed.

Iranian air defences shot down the American drone, which was flying above the Strait of Hormuz. Tehran stated that the UAV had violated its airspace and failed to respond to multiple warning, later presenting maps, showing the drone's flight path. Iran also noted that at the same time its forces detected a P-8 Poseidon spy plane, which also violated the country's airspace, but chose not to shoot it down to avoid casualties.

The US insists that the drone was flying over neutral waters, when it was destroyed by Iranian missiles, presenting maps, allegedly proving it. Washington planned a retaliatory strike against Iran in response to the incident, but it was stopped by US President Donald Trump minutes prior to launch. Trump stated that estimated casualties for the strike were too high for a response to a downed unmanned aircraft.

Investigation Into Attacks on Oil Tankers, Instead of Appointing Culprit

Patrushev addressed Washington's accusations that Iran allegedly attacked oil takers, damaged in the Gulf of Oman, in May and June, by saying that the information which the US presented in a bid to prove Tehran's guilt, was of poor quality and unprofessional. He noted that a torpedo attack or sabotage would result in different damage to the vessels.

"We need to conduct a due investigation, to understand what really happened, instead of simply appointing the culprit", he said.

A number of oil tankers have been damaged reportedly as a result of blasts in May and June in the Gulf of Oman, but none sank or resulted in an oil spill. While the exact reason for the damage has not been determined, the US was quick to accuse Iran of "attacking" the vessels. Tehran denies attacking the ships and called the incident a false-flag operation to blame it.

In a bid to substantiate its claims, Washington released videos allegedly showing Iranian forces removing unexploded limpet mines from the hull of one of the tankers. However, testimony from the crew of the tanker Kokuka Courageous cast a shadow on the US account of events. They saw an object flying towards the ship right before an explosion took place. The head of the tanker's operator, Yutaka Katada, insisted that it was unlikely that a mine could do the damage seen on the ship's hull.

On US-Iranian Relations

Patrushev, furthermore, called "unacceptable" US attempts to present Iran as an alleged threat to the region in line with terrorist organisations such as Daesh*.

US National Security Adviser John Bolton in turn touched upon the issue of bilateral relations between Washington and Tehran, which have been in a downward spiral of late, by saying that Iran's "silence" regarding American offers to negotiate "has been deafening".

"The [US] president has held the door open to real negotiations. All that Iran needs to do is to walk though that open door", Bolton said.

Relations between the two states turned for the worse after Washington withdrew from Iran nuclear deal and imposed sanctions against Tehran's energy, banking and shipping sectors. US President Donald Trump has demanded that Iran signed a new deal with Washington that would be better ensure the country won't obtain nuclear weapons than the previous deal did, but Tehran has refused to negotiate under pressure.

*Daesh (also known as ISIS/ISIL/IS) is a terrorist organisation banned in Russia

Trump tells countries to PAY UP if they want US protection in Strait of Hormuz

Published time: 24 Jun, 2019 15:09
Edited time: 24 Jun, 2019 15:59

©  Reuters/Jonathan Ernst/File Photo

Ever the businessman, US President Donald Trump saw something in the ongoing crisis in the Strait of Hormuz most others didn’t: a chance to rake in some cash by demanding foreign nations pay for “protection.”

Trump took to Twitter Monday to, once again, call out world governments for supposedly freeloading off the US, this time by allegedly getting premium American protection services in the Strait of Hormuz.

China gets 91% of its Oil from the Straight, Japan 62%, & many other countries likewise. So why are we protecting the shipping lanes for other countries (many years) for zero compensation.

While the plan has a certain mafioso quality to it, Trump did suggest the alternative that everyone defend their own ships from any of the future tanker attacks John Bolton blames on Iran.

The safety concerns come following explosions on two tankers from Japan and Norway in the Gulf of Oman earlier this month. While the US was quick to point the finger at its long-term regional enemy, Iran has firmly denied the accusations.

The Islamic Republic was, however, quick to claim responsibility when it shot down a US surveillance drone last week, an incident which brought the two countries to the brink of open conflict. While the US claims the drone was downed over international waters, Iran has given coordinates indicating that it had violated Iranian airspace.

Relations between Washington and Tehran have been severely strained since Trump reneged on the 2015 Nuclear deal last year and reimposed economic sanctions.

After a small flex over the US’ energy production, Trump’s Monday tweet also reiterated his ostensible demands on Iran: no nuclear weapons, and no sponsoring terror. His message comes as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo joins the paragon of peace in the Middle East, Saudi Arabia, to talk about curbing Tehran’s actions and influence in the region.

R ~ Businessmen with a modicum of ethics do not come off sounding like a mafia Don providing 'protection'. Even worse the nations he intends to protect are mini-mafias in their own right. As well he is essentially repurposing the military into a mercenary force, available to those who can afford the cost. This is not business. It is extortion. I believe his days in gambling and whoring have taken its toll on his perceptions.

Netanyahu to Bolton: Any Palestine deal ‘must include’ Israeli presence in Jordan Valley

Published time: 23 Jun, 2019 16:38
Edited time: 23 Jun, 2019 17:22

©  YouTube / IsraeliPM

Benjamin Netanyahu, who on Sunday toured the West Bank with John Bolton, said he will listen to US peace proposals – but added that “any future agreement” with Palestine must guarantee an Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley.

Footage posted on Sunday showed Israel’s prime minister and the US national security adviser overlooking the Israeli-occupied area from an aircraft and on the ground, with Netanyahu seen giving Bolton an excursion.

Speaking English on camera standing next to Bolton, the PM rammed the message home that Israel will not be leaving the area under any deal, saying it ensures “the minimal strategic depth and strategic height for the defense of our country.”

Netanyahu was also adamant that the Israeli presence in the Jordan Valley “guarantees stability and security for the entire region,” and that the IDF leaving the occupied Palestinian lands would result in “war and terror.”

To those who say that for peace to be established, Israel has to leave the Jordan Valley, I say: That’s not going to bring peace. That’s going to bring war and terror – and we’ve been there. We don’t want to be there again.

Israel will study US President Donald Trump’s Middle East peace plan in “a fair and open manner,” Netanyahu said, a day after White House senior adviser Jared Kushner presented the economic part of the deal.

He made known his bewilderment at the Palestinian reaction to the proposal, saying “I can’t understand how the Palestinians rejected the plan before even hearing what it is in it.”

Bolton appeared to be supportive of Netanyahu’s stance, saying that “it’s too bad... that more Americans can’t come to locations like this, see the geography, understand its significance, understand how it affects Israel’s critical security position, and explain why Israel has taken the view that it has.”

R ~ Only if you are a Zionist would Bolton attach another piece of the ME to the Jewish invaders of Palestine. 'A fair and open manner' is not a negotiating platform was ever possible with jews, not yesterday, not today and not tomorrow. Anyone elect this fellow to dictate what we in America should support? Trump needs to reign in this penchant for his employees to set the agenda. Had it been up to Bolton we would be bombing Iran as I write this. But enough of this crap. Trump has NOT drained the swamp. He's actually in need of a wall to hold back the swamp creatures dragging their same old tired rhetoric into the public discourse. Netanyahoo carries on about the American Peace Process when even a child knows it's a "Jew Peace Process" from top to bottom. Here we have two of the world's foremost war mongers discussing what to do with Jordan, as if they can so easily decide what to do with the neighbors who ALL want them gone from their land. The hubris is beyond belief.

Trump: If it was up to John Bolton we’d be fighting WHOLE WORLD at once

Published time: 23 Jun, 2019 15:54
Edited time: 23 Jun, 2019 15:54

John Bolton sits behind Donald Trump during a White House event earlier this year. ©  REUTERS/CARLOS BARRIA

Donald Trump has confirmed that his top foreign policy adviser wants to embroil the US in multiple international conflicts. But the US president insists he retains final say on whether American missiles are to fly into Iran.

In a sit-down Meet the Press interview broadcast Sunday, host Chuck Todd asked Trump if he was “being pushed into military action against Iran” by his advisers – presumably pointing to the aggressive pronouncements from National Security Advisor John Bolton.

“I have two groups of people. I have doves and I have hawks,” replied Trump. “John Bolton is absolutely a hawk. If it was up to him he'd take on the whole world at one time, okay?”

Trump then brushed away concerns about the influence of Bolton, who also served in the White House during the Ronald Reagan and George W. Bush administrations.

“That doesn't matter because I want both sides,” said Trump.

Trump went on to defend his record of preserving peace – including speaking out against the invasion of Iraq in 2003, and the decision to call off a strike against Iran in response to a drone downing this week, because it would not have been “proportionate” and would have resulted in “150 dead people.”

This was the second time in 24 hours that Trump was forced to back Bolton, after saying on Saturday that the official is “doing a very good job” but adding that he “disagrees very much” with him on the Middle East.

Meanwhile, Bolton himself spent Sunday in Tel Aviv, warning Tehran not to “mistake US prudence and discretion for weakness” and asking his audience to “stay tuned” for further developments in the stand-off.

Following his appointment last year, Bolton has used his post to advocate for regime change in Iran and Venezuela, and is considered the architect of the increased American-backed attempts to overthrow President Nicolas Maduro.

New Russian S-500 ‘Prometheus’ can hit targets in space

By News Desk -2019-06-23

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:00 A.M.) – The new Russian S-500 ‘Prometheus’ air defense system has the capability to hit targets in outer space, the First Deputy General Director of the VKO Almaz-Antey, Sergei Druzin, told RIA Novosti this week.

According to Druzin, the S-500 can be used to combat “ballistic missiles of all types.” He said the system is capable of “working outside the atmosphere where aerodynamic control is impossible.”

The S-500 Prometheus is equipped with active phased antenna arrays that do not require transmitting devices. It can scan and analyze signals from a great distance. In addition, one antenna can create multiple rays. Beam control is carried out without turning the antenna. Furthermore, its phased antenna requires much less energy, and this is very important for homing missiles.

According to reports, the S-500 is capable of intercepting at a distance of 600 kilometers. Each type of target (aircraft, satellite, cruise or ballistic missiles) will be monitored by its own radar. Each will be destroyed by specialized means. The S-500 will be integrated with the other Russian missile defense systems: SPRN, A-235 Nudol, interceptor aircraft, S-400 and S-300.

Palestine’s ‘opportunity’ or ‘entirely wrong’? Rocky reception for dawn of $50-bn Trump Mideast plan

Published time: 22 Jun, 2019 19:40
Edited time: 22 Jun, 2019 20:56

White House senior adviser Jared Kushner reveals the economic plan to follow the undisclosed political part of the US-proposed Israeli-Palestinian
peace deal. ©  Reuters / Kevin Lamarque

A $50 billion plan for Palestine’s economy that hinges on peace with Israel has been revealed by Donald Trump’s son-in-law Jared Kushner. He calls it the “opportunity of the century” but a chorus of Palestinian groups disagrees.

Speaking to Reuters on Saturday, Kushner dangled the multibillion proposal separately from the central –political– part of US President Trump’s Israeli-Palestinian peace deal plan. He said he did so on purpose to let people “digest” the “less controversial” side of the plan before the political details finally land.

The interview, as well as the document shared by the White House, draw an optimistic picture of a million jobs created in the West Bank and Gaza and Palestine’s GDP “doubled” in 10 years with the help of the specially created, multinationally-controlled fund. Donors would pour some $28 billion into the West Bank and Gaza, while further investment would go to Jordan, Egypt and Lebanon, where several million Palestinian refugees live.

The Gulf monarchies are being eyed as the biggest donors for the plan, while specifics include dozens of development projects, such as one to connect Gaza with the West Bank, and some proposals as ambitious as turning Palestinian land into “a successful global tourism destination.”

The catch is, of course, that without Palestinians agreeing to Trump’s yet-to-be-unveiled political plan, often referred to in the media as the “deal of the century,” there is no flow of US-led investments into Palestine. Preferring the catchphrase “peace to prosperity,” Kushner still played on the widely-mocked label, telling Palestinian officials that “this is going to be the ‘Opportunity of the Century’ if they have the courage to pursue it.”

Palestinian groups were quick to respond to the “challenge” by outright rejecting the very premise of Kushner’s proposal. Widely expected to be biased to favour Israel, based on Trump’s policy choices alone, there are no great hopes that it will address the Israeli occupation in a way acceptable to Palestinians. Worse still, many have chosen to boycott the proposal in advance.

“The plan cannot pass because it ends the Palestinian cause,” Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas said a meeting of Fatah leaders in Ramallah on Saturday, adding that “there can be no economic solution before there’s a political solution.”

Branding the plan a “humiliating blackmail,” he also called for mass Palestinian demonstrations to be held against it.

“Palestine isn’t for sale, and it is not an issue for bargaining. Palestine is a sacred land and there is no option for the [Israeli] occupation except to leave,” was the response of Hamas, which is in control of Gaza. Hamas has said that it will reject Trump’s upcoming deal in its entirety.

The Palestine Liberation Organization (PLO) called the US plan “abstract promises,” with only the political part making the difference. Senior PLO official and veteran Palestinian negotiator Hanan Ashrawi told Reuters that Kushner and the Trump administration in general have taken an “entirely wrong approach.”

“They can end the occupation, which is the most basic requirement for prosperity. There can be no prosperity under occupation,” Ashrawi said.

The Palestinians need their freedom to prosper, not the Gulf money, Saad Nimr, professor of political science at Birzeit University in the West Bank, told RT.

There’s not much new about Kushner’s plan, Nimr pointed out, as “during Shimon Peres as a Prime Minister in Israel (1995-96), he tried that approach of talking economic ease to the Palestinians instead of talking about a political solution,” but without success.

Palestine would earn $5.5 billion extra every year if it had access to the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, which is now blocked by Israel, Nimr pointed out, citing a World Bank report.

The whole issue is a political issue. Give us our freedom and we are able to live equally, normally and in prosperity in Palestine.

Kushner will present the ambitious economic plan at a US-led conference in Bahrain on June 25 and 26. The White House senior adviser will be flying to Manama in order to get feedback from finance ministers and investors from countries such as Saudi Arabia, UAE, Egypt, Jordan and Morocco.

The Saudis said their participation was in line with their “permanent and supportive stance to the Palestinian people and what would help it achieve stability, development and good living.” Jordan’s King Abdullah II explained his country’s attendance is based on the need to “listen and remain knowledgeable of what is taking place.”

However, the so-called “workshop” will proceed without Palestinian representatives, who refused to participate in it or accept its results. They said that to discuss economy ahead of a political solution was “offering a carrot before the stick” on the part of the Americans.

With the Palestinians absent, Washington ruled against inviting the Israeli government to Manama, with the event to be attended only by a small delegation of businessmen from Israel.

R ~ Israel's Plan for what remains of Palestine. That's going up like lead balloon. You ave to really be in la-la land to even propose this 'deal'.

Iranian FM Zarif Reveals Detailed Map of Downed US Drone's Route

17:14 22.06.2019(updated 17:42 22.06.2019)

© Photo: Javad Zarif/ Twitter

The Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (ISRC) stated on 20 June that it had shot down a US surveillance drone over the coastal Hormozgan Province, facing the Persian Gulf, for entering Iranian airspace, while the US claimed the drone was in international airspace.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has posted on Twitter a detailed map with the "path, location, and point of impact of the US military drone Iran shot down" on 20 June.

"At 00:14 US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode & violated Iranian airspace. It was targeted at 04:05 at the coordinates (25°59'43"N 57°02'25"E) near Kouh-e Mobarak. We've retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down", he said.

According to Zarif, Tehran doesn't seek war, "but will zealously defend our skies, land & waters".​

Earlier, the Iranian foreign minister assured that Tehran intends to prove that the United States is lying by claiming that its drone was downed by the Iranian Army while in international airspace.

US President Donald Trump reacted to the incident by saying that Iran made "a very big mistake", adding that the US military is ready to strike targets in Iran in response to the downing of the drone, but he called off the attack at the last minute because he deemed the response disproportionate.

Tensions in the region have escalated since the US increased its military presence in the Persian Gulf in what US National Security Adviser John Bolton described as "a clear and unmistakable signal to the Iranian regime that any attack on the interests of the United States or [its] allies will be met with ruthless force".

Last week, two oil tankers were attacked in the Gulf of Oman near the Strait of Hormuz. While the cause of the incident remains unknown, the United States claims Iran sabotaged the vessels.

The World Below / ‘Come heavily armed’: Showdown in Oregon
« on: June 21, 2019, 01:23:20 PM »
‘Come heavily armed’: Showdown in Oregon as governor sends police to round up Republican lawmakers

Published time: 21 Jun, 2019 19:32

©  Reuters / Jim Urquhart

A Republican state senator in Oregon told police to show up ready for a fight if they moved to enforce Democrat Governor Kate Brown’s order to compel attendance for a contentious vote on climate-change legislation.

Democrats have a supermajority in the state legislature, but cannot approve a bill that would impose carbon caps in the name of combating climate change without at least the presence of Republican lawmakers. After days of heated debate, the GOP chose to boycott the vote, prompting Governor Brown to authorize Oregon State Police to round up the senators and force them to participate.

Oregon Republican Senator Brian Boquist was having none of it, telling a reporter in response to the governor's threat that he would not be a political prisoner, and said the state troopers should prepare for a shootout.

Send bachelors, and come heavily armed; I’m not going to be a political prisoner in the state of Oregon, it’s just that simple.

Boquist previously warned the governor that “hell is coming to visit you personally” if she issued the order to police. Some Republican lawmakers have reportedly left the state altogether.

Governor Brown released a statement on Thursday denouncing the GOP walkout and explained her decision to compel a quorum, or the minimum number of senators required for votes to go forward in the Oregon State Capitol.

“The Senate Democrats have requested the assistance of the Oregon State Police to bring back their colleagues to finish the work they committed to push forward” Brown said. “As the executive of the agency, I am authorizing the State Police to fulfill the Senate Democrats’ request.”

Brown added it was “absolutely unacceptable” that the lawmakers would “turn their backs on their constituents.”

The bill, which remains stalled due to the Republican walkout, would have implemented a cap and trade program to limit carbon emissions in the state, and allow companies to exchange emission “allowances.”

Oregon GOP Representative Carl Wilson said the bill would “punish” Oregon’s workers for the “reckless” environmental policies of other countries, while Republican Senate Leader Herman Baertschiger Jr. argued it would only represent “Portland and the environmental community, not rural Oregonians.”

Tensions between the coastal and inland communities are not new in Oregon. Back in 2016, land rights activists occupied the Malheur National Wildlife Refuge in protest at the federal government’s mistreatment of landowners. Nevada ranchers Ammon and Ryan Bundy led the group that took over the refuge, kicking off a 40-day standoff with Oregon and federal police.

That incident culminated in the arrest of dozens of activists, some charged with federal crimes, as well as the death of activist Robert ‘LaVoy’ Finicum, who was shot at an Oregon State Police roadblock.

Tehran Confirms Downed US Drone Was in Stealth Mode and Engaged in Spy Activity - Letter to UN Chief

01:16 21.06.2019(updated 01:21 21.06.2019)

© AP Photo / Kirsty Wigglesworth

UNITED NATIONS (Sputnik) - The US Navy drone that was shot down by Iran over the Strait of Hormuz was in a full stealth mode and engaged in a spying operation, Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi said in a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres obtained by Sputnik.

"A US unmanned aircraft system, taken off from one of the bases of the US military forces in the South of the Persian Gulf, conducted an overflight through the Strait of Hormuz to Chabahar port in a full stealth mode as it had turned off its identification equipment and engaged in a clear spying operation", Ravanchi said in a letter on Thursday.

Moreover, the Iranian military gave repeated radio warnings to the US Navy drone before downing the unmanned flying vehicle, Ravanchi said.

“When the [US] aircraft was returning towards the western parts of the region near the Strait of Hormuz, despite repeated radio warnings, it entered into the Iranian airspace where the air defense system of the Islamic Republic of Iran, acting under Article 51 of the United Nations Charter, targeted the intruding aircraft at 04:05 hours local time on the same date at the coordinates N255943 and E570225 near the Kouh-e Mobarak region in the central district of Jask in the Islamic Republic of Iran”, Ravanchi said in the letter.

Ravanchi also urged the international community to influence the United States to halt its destabilizing actions in the Persian Gulf region.

"The international community is called upon to demand the United States to put an end to its continued unlawful and destabilizing measures in the already volatile region of the Persian Gulf", Ravanchi stressed.

Earlier on Thursday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said that the Iranian military had retrieved the fragments of a US drone from the Iranian territorial waters.

The incident followed recent attacks on at least six oil tankers in the Persian Gulf region that the United States blamed on Iran.

Prior to those incidents, Trump began stepping up military forces in the Middle East in response to intelligence claims that Iran was allegedly planning attacks on US interests and allies in the region.

Tensions between Tehran and Washington have been mounting ever since the abrupt US withdrawal from the Iranian nuclear deal back in May 2018. A year later, the situation only worsened, with the United States unveiling batches of sanctions against the Islamic Republic, targeting the country's finance, transport, military and other spheres.

In May this year, Iran announced that it had partially discontinued its commitments under the landmark accord and gave Europe 60 days to ensure Iran's interests were protected under the agreement.

Georgian Opposition Storms Parliament Building in Tbilisi - Report

21:35 20.06.2019(updated 22:06 20.06.2019)

Despite police efforts to hold back thousands of protesters, some demonstrators managed to break into the parliament's courtyard, according to the local media.

Demonstrators, as well as opposition representatives, are attempting to storm the parliament building in Tbilisi, demanding the ousting of Chairperson of the Parliament Irakli Kobakhidze and Minister of Internal Affairs of Georgia Giorgi Gakharia, Georgia's Channel 1 reported on Thursday.

Police are now blocking off access to the building to the demonstrators, and clashes with the law enforcers have been reported at Prospect Rustaveli. Some demonstrators managed to break into the parliament's courtyard, according to Georgia's Channel 1.

Bottles and other items were reportedly thrown at a special police unit operating at the site.

This comes after Georgian opposition lawmakers left the 26th Interparliamentary Assembly on Orthodoxy (IAO) session earlier on Thursday as President of the assembly Sergey Gavrilov, a member of the Russian delegation, opened the session in the seat of the head of the Georgian parliament. The session was interrupted, then the building was assaulted by radicals. Gavrilov later told Sputnik that water was splashed over him.

We won’t sell out our allies or principles to strike Syria deal with US, says Putin

Published time: 20 Jun, 2019 13:16

A Russian military engineer during demining of Aleppo, Syria. ©Russian Defense Ministry via Sputnik

Russia will not reach any agreement with the United States on the future of Syria at the cost of Syria itself or Moscow’s interests and principles, President Vladimir Putin has said.

During his annual Q&A session on Thursday, a journalist asked Putin if there would be a “grand deal” with the US on Syria as the country begins to recover from years of hostilities and destruction.

What do you mean ‘a grand deal’? Sounds like some commercial act. No. We don’t sell out our allies, our interests or our principles,” Putin said.

He said that Russia is willing to negotiate a political transition in Syria with various stakeholders. “Can it be done? I believe it can, provided there is goodwill of everyone involved in the conflict.”

Putin highlighted Turkey and Iran as Russia’s immediate partners in resolving the Syrian crisis, but said countries like the US, Israel, Egypt, and Jordan have legitimate interests in what happens in Syria as do the European nations, which were hurt by mass migration triggered by it. “We have to work together on it,” he stressed.

US Navy Claims to Have Found Mine Fragments, Magnet Pointing to Iran in Oil Tankers Attack

14:20 19.06.2019(updated 15:08 19.06.2019)


Tensions between the US and Iran have escalated after an alleged attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman was blamed on Iran by the United States. Tehran vehemently denies the allegations.

The United States Navy has shown limpet mine shards as well as a magnet extracted from one of the oil tankers allegedly attacked last week, claiming that they bore striking resemblance to Iranian mines.

According to Cmdr. Sean Kido of the U.S. Navy's 5th Fleet speaking to reporters at a NAVCENT facility in Fujairah, the UAE, the damage inflicted to the Kokuka Courageous tanker was "not consistent with an external flying object hitting the ship" which contradicted a previous eyewitness testimony earlier revealed by the ship's owner.

The official added that fingerprints and a hand print have been recovered as a result of the probe conducted by the US Navy.

The Kokuka Courageous, one of two oil tankers targeted in an apparent attack in the Gulf of Oman

The already-tense relations between the United States and Iran took a turn to the worse last week following an apparent sabotage attack against two tankers in the Gulf of Oman. According to some reports, the vessels were subject to a torpedo attack, which caused explosions and fire on at least one vessel. However, there was no official information on the cause of the incident. All crew members of the tankers were evacuated to Iran.

The US immediately blamed Iran for the attacks to which official Tehran responded by saying that the US made its claims "without a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence." The US Central Command then released a video claiming to show Iranian sailors removing an unexploded mine from the hull of one of the tankers as “proof” of Tehran being the culprit.

​Iranian-US relations have been extremely strained since May 2018, after the US unilaterally withdrew from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. Exactly one year after the US pullout, Iran announced that it would withdraw from some of its voluntary commitments under the agreement.

R ~ All that's needed next is an Iranian passport floating about in a sealed plastic envelope... Talk about trying to beat a dead horse to life.

British weapons and personnel doing much of the killing in Yemen: Report

Tue Jun 18, 2019 02:10PM [Updated: Tue Jun 18, 2019 02:19PM ]

Britain's Prince Charles, Prince of Wales (L) and Britain's Prince William, Duke of Cambridge, (C) meet with Saudi
Arabia's Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman (R) for dinner at Clarence House in central London on March 7, 2018. (AFP photo)

A detailed reports published by the Guardian newspaper has shown how Britain is massively contributing to Saudi Arabia’s devastating war on Yemen as it suggests that London is not only supplying the bombs that fall on Yemenis, but it provides the personnel and expertise that keep the war going.

The comprehensive report by Arron Merat published on Tuesday showed that Britain was doing much of the killing in Yemen as the country continues to provide Saudi Arabia with everything it needs to turn its southern impoverished neighbor into a graveyard.

“Every day Yemen is hit by British bombs – dropped by British planes that are flown by British-trained pilots and maintained and prepared inside Saudi Arabia by thousands of British contractors,” said Merat in the report.

Tens of thousands of people have been killed since Saudi Arabia and a number of Arab allies launched their illegal war on Yemen in March 2015 in an attempt to restore power to a resigned and fugitive president.

PressTV-‘British army servicing Saudi jets bombing Yemen’
A British minister admits the RAF is servicing Saudi jets bombing civilians in Yemen.

Rights campaigners have repeatedly criticized Britain for its role in helping the killing of civilians in Yemen, the poorest country in the Arab world which has suffered from a major humanitarian crisis as a result of the Saudi-led war.

The report by the Guardian showed that it is effectively the United States and Britain who are leading the massive onslaught in Yemen as Saudi Arabia contracted out the vital parts of the war to the two military powers from the very beginning of the conflict.

“Britain does not merely supply weapons for this war: it provides the personnel and expertise required to keep the war going,” said the report, adding that the Royal Air Force personnel have been deployed to Saudi Arabia to work as engineers and trainers over the past four years.

It said the Britain’s biggest arms company BAE Systems has played an even larger role in the Saudi-led war on Yemen as it has been subcontracted by London to provide weapons, maintenance and engineers inside Saudi Arabia.

“The Saudi bosses absolutely depend on BAE Systems ...They couldn’t do it without us,” said John Deverell, a former British defense attaché to Saudi Arabia and Yemen.

PressTV-UK’s secret war: British commandos wounded in Yemen
At least five elite British troops have been injured in gun fights with Yemeni fighters over the past months, a new report reveals.

A BAE employee also said recently that if it was not for the British support, the Saudis would have not been able to continue the war on Yemen for a single week.

“If we weren’t there, in seven to 14 days there wouldn’t be a jet in the sky,” said the employee in an interview with the Channel 4 in early April.

Reports last year also suggested that Britain had even sent its troops to Yemen to help Saudis in their fight against fighters from the ruling Houthi Ansarullah movement.

In fact, there have been multiple reports in the British newspapers showing that UK special forces, known as the SAS, were wounded in battles inside Houthi-controlled territories.

R ~ I find that photo of royalty meeting a crypto jew rather disingenuous. Who runs Britain's Royalty? It isn't the English or their puppet Royals. As to the Saudis - they don't fight - they hire mercenaries with western money and must have a good laugh when they watch white men fight for these psychopathic nomads whose only claim to fame is the oil they wandered over for centuries. The Royals are not much better that a PR firm, happy to be in the media spotlight while their jew handlers hide in the shadows. We wouldn't want the British to fully realize that they are fully occupied. Thank the Royals for the sellout that has been going on for more than a century.

Pentagon seeks to build global ‘consensus’ on Iran. Is it time to worry?

Published time: 15 Jun, 2019 03:15
Edited time: 17 Jun, 2019 08:43

Consensus builders: Mike Pompeo, Patrick Shanahan and John Bolton © Reuters / Piroschka van der Wouw, Aaron P. Bernstein, and Kevin Lamarque

The Trump administration is looking to “build international consensus” against Iran following attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman. But what does that actually mean? And to what end is it used?

"The focus for myself and Ambassador Bolton and Secretary Pompeo is to build international consensus to this international problem," acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan told reporters outside the Pentagon on Friday.

Shanahan went on to say that the Pentagon would contribute to this effort by sharing intelligence with allies, as it did Friday when it released a video it claims shows Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) removing an undetonated mine from the hull of one of two tankers attacked on Thursday.

For National Security Advisor John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, consensus-building will likely take a different shape. Pompeo has already blamed Iran for the attack, citing non-specific “intelligence” and Tehran’s alleged history of “unprovoked attacks” in the region. The State Secretary has jetted off in search of consensus before; taking a tour of the Middle East at the beginning of the year to unite the US’ Arab allies against Iran.

Bolton has been clamoring for war with Iran for over a decade, advocating pre-emptive strikes on the Islamic Republic since 2008. Shaping consensus for him will likely entail more beating of the war drums on the international stage.

Rallying allies

Why build consensus at all? There are two reasons: moral and material.

The US paints itself not as the “world police” but as a moral beacon, an exemplar for “democracies” to aspire to and follow, so the more allies sign on to its cause the more legitimate it looks.

On a more practical level, going against Tehran is not an endeavor the US can do alone. Iran has a population of nearly 90 million people, the world’s 14th-most powerful military, a navy and array of land-to-sea missiles capable of inflicting devastating losses on American ships in the Persian Gulf, and the ability to close off the Strait of Hormuz, through which a fifth of the world’s oil transits.

Put simply, the US needs allies on its side, believing its story and fighting its fight, either diplomatically or militarily.

Demonizing adversaries

When Washington-backed opposition leader Juan Guaido declared himself President of Venezuela in January, the US was waiting in the wings to recognize him, having strangled the country with economic sanctions for years in preparation for just this moment, allowing it to declare President Nicolas Maduro had run the country into the ground with his evil corrupt socialist dictatorship, Venezuelans were eating their dogs and zoo animals, and the time had come to recognize this fresh young face whom only a fifth of the country had ever heard of.

Additionally, the US had a pre-selected slate of allies on hand in order to give the appearance of massive international support: the Lima Group, consisting of 12 South and Central American governments and Canada, was formed in 2017 with the aim of securing regime change in Venezuela. After they jumped on board the Guaido train, a handful of European nations also offered their recognition, though the EU officially hedged its bets by calling for a ‘fair election’. The UN, notably, did not offer its endorsement of this regime change ‘consensus’.

When Syrian leader Bashar Assad was accused of using chemical weapons on the town of Douma last April, the United States reached out to just Britain and France. Though Assad’s guilt had not been ascertained, and remains in doubt, the trio released a joint statement of condemnation and battered Syrian military and scientific targets with airstrikes.

The cruise missile stunt did not require support from any other countries – or UN approval, apparently – while the “international consensus” to blame everything on Assad has been established long ago, in the early stages of the war that broke out in 2011.

The invasion of Iraq in 2003 was a different story, and Washington spent months beforehand hammering home the line that Saddam Hussein was harboring weapons of mass destruction, and was working with Al-Qaeda terrorists. Neither statement was true, and skepticism abounded, but the message was repeated and 39 allies eventually joined the ‘Coalition of the Willing’ to aid the US war effort.

Incidentally, John Bolton was a member of the Bush administration at the time, serving as undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs while Bush delivered his “Axis of Evil” speech to the world.

If history has one abiding lesson to offer here, it’s to always be wary of any talk of consensus from Washington. With storm clouds gathering over the Gulf of Oman, Shanahan’s statement could possibly be viewed as a rare telegraphing of intent, and a sign to watch out for the next “axis of evil” speech.

R ~ the faces of war like Bolton et al are just mask. they do not decide a thing. A consensus already exists and it is driven by the money power which dangles Bolton et al like worms on a hook. What they are doing is ramping up every dirty trick as described by Pompeo using the tools they think still work. Lies and propaganda to tweak the patriotism of their 'citizens' to comply with the government agenda uncritically. The MSM parrots the lines fed to Bolton & Pompeo with no critique or independent investigation. Nameless 'experts' or 17 intelligence agencies lying in unison are simply unassailable by facts and reason by the talking heads, who would not be honest in any event. To watch these two clowns carry water for their handlers entirely oblivious to what the people who actually do the research and investigations without the big bucks know full well what a charade for a 'war to end peace' these swamp scum are peddling. Only fools would fall for the narrative coming at you from all directions.

Money & Markets / Bitcoin Soars Above $9K, And This Time Is Different
« on: June 16, 2019, 06:38:39 PM »
Bitcoin Soars Above $9K, And This Time Is Different: "It's Mostly Institutions Now"

by Tyler Durden
Sun, 06/16/2019 - 12:50

The recent surge in bitcoin, and the entire cryptocurrency space accelerated over the weekend, coinciding with the latest massive protest in Hong Kong which may be among the catalysts for the aggressive buying, and sending bitcoin above $9,000 for the first time since May 10, 2018, a price that is almost triple where bitcoin traded at the start of the year, making it the best performing major asset class of 2019, with a market cap of $163 billion.

And as the price of bitcoin surge, naturally so does its volatility, which has quadrupled from its near all-time lows hit at the start of April to 95 for the 30-day historical vol, in the process making it once again a favorite of traders desperate for highly-volatile assets.

It's not just Bitcoin's volatility that has returned: so have volumes as what appears to be the latest reflation of the bitcoin bubble is drawing in investors from around the globe, hoping to make a quick profit. Only this time there is one major difference as JPMorgan explains.

According to JPMorgan's Nikolaos Panigirtzoglou writes, there has been a sharp increase in reported trading volumes of Bitcoin and other cryptocurrencies  over the past few months, with Bitcoin trading volumes on crypto exchanges increasing to $445bn in April from a 1Q19 average of $220bn per month, and in May volumes increased further to around $725bn. This compares to previous peak volumes in Dec17 and Jan18 of $420bn. Curiously, for the three largest three cryptocurrencies by market capitalization, Bitcoin, Ethereum and Ripple, the combined volumes for May stand at above $1tr compared to a previous peak in Jan18 of around $685bn, suggesting that all else equal, there is an even greater interest in the crypto space .

Meanwhile, this development comes at a time when the market value of outstanding bitcoins is around half of its Dec17 high, and the combined market value of all crypto currencies is around a third of its previous high. While a substantial part of the increase in volumes in dollar terms reflects an increase in the market value of bitcoin and other crypto currencies, the volumes in bitcoin terms are also significantly above their previous peaks.

But there is more here than meets the eye.

As JPM explains, taken at face value, this volume surge would suggest a dramatic increase in cryptocurrency activity. But over the past year or so, concerns have increasingly been expressed over how authentic the reported volumes really are. To wit:

...  recently published work by Bitwise, a cryptocurrency asset manager, to the SEC as part of an application for a bitcoin ETF suggests that bitcoin trading volumes on many cryptocurrency exchanges are significantly overstated by ‘fake’ trading, e.g. exchanges reporting volume of trades that never took place or via wash trades, and that genuine trading volumes could be around 5% of the reported total. Similarly, the Blockchain Transparency Institute publish monthly market surveillance reports, and estimated in April 2019 that less than 1% of reported volume for some exchanges represented real trades.

If these estimates of the proportion of real trades are correct, i.e. "that only around 5% of trading is genuine," that would imply that the genuine volumes of Bitcoin trading on cryptocurrency exchanges in May were around $36bn, rather than $725bn.

If this sharp revision in actual trading volumes is accurate, a critical implication, beyond the fact that the actual market size is markedly lower than reported numbers would suggest, is that as JPM notes, "the importance of the listed futures market has been significantly understated." According to the Bitwise report, traded futures are credited as an important development in allowing short exposures that enabled arbitrageurs in properly engaging in arbitrage (and also resulted in a massive squeeze at the start of April that sent bitcoin breaking out again, and which we discussed previously), and that the futures share of spot bitcoin volumes increased sharply in April/May.

Indeed, when looking at aggregate volumes on both the CME and CBOE futures contracts (shown below), JPM estimates around $12bn of traded volume on these two futures exchanges in May. Indeed, the $12bn of bitcoin futures trading volume in May also represented a significant increase on the April’s $5.5bn and a 1Q19 monthly average of $1.8bn, suggesting that some rise in trading volume was genuine, even if the total volumes on cryptocurrency exchanges was  likely vastly overstated.

The conclusion to this overstatement of trading volumes by cryptocurrency exchanges, and by implication theunderstatement of the importance of listed futures, suggests that in the two years since bitcoin's last major spike in 2017 the "market structure has likely changed considerably... with a greater influence from institutional investors."

This also means that whereas bitcoin's historic surge to its all time high of $20,000 in December 2017 was largely retail driven, and thus extremely fickle as the subsequent crash showed, this time it is largely the result of institutional buying, which is far more stable and far less prone to sudden, painful shifts in sentiment and volatility.

In other words, "this time may be different" for bitcoin in a good way: because with institutions now piling into the crypto space, this is precisely the investor group that bitcoin bulls wanted from the beginning as it creates a far more stable price base for the future. Add to this the potential return of retail buying from east Asian (or even US) retail clients, and it is possible that what we predicted in early April, namely that the 3rd bitcoin bubble is starting...
... may soon be confirmed, and that the next bitcoin bubble peak will be somewhere between $60,000 and $100,000.

The World Below / Pompeo Claims Steps to Deter Iran to Continue
« on: June 16, 2019, 08:58:42 AM »
Pompeo Claims Steps to Deter Iran to Continue as Tehran Suggests Gulf 'Attacks' are US False Flag Op

18:43 16.06.2019(updated 18:56 16.06.2019)


The US earlier claimed that the Islamic Republic was behind the attack against ships operated by Japan and Norway in the Gulf of Oman on 13 June and has even released video “evidence”. While Tehran vehemently denies any involvement, the Japanese government reportedly considers Washington’s allegations unconvincing.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has warned that the US will continue to pressure Iran, reiterating his claims that the Islamic Republic carried out the attacks against two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman “with a clear intent to deny transit through the strait”. In an interview with Fox News on Sunday, the US top diplomat insisted that “the intelligence community has lots of data, lots of evidence” and promised that “the world will come to see much of it”. R ~ Lie No. 1

“We don't want war. We've done what we can to deter this. The Iranians should understand very clearly that we will continue to take actions that deter Iran from engaging in this kind of behaviour”, he said. R ~ Lie No. 2

Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani earlier took aim at Pompeo and his calls not to meet diplomacy with “terror, bloodshed, and extortion”, mocking the American top diplomat.

“Is it diplomacy to start a face-off with a revolutionary nation with acts of economic terrorism, [economic sanctions] which they themselves call the toughest ever. Is it diplomacy, Mr Pompeo, to renege on one’s promises in the nuclear agreement?” Larijani asked rhetorically, referring to the scrapped Iran nuclear deal.

The Iranian politician suggested that the recent attacks could be a US false-flag operation to frame Iran and put extra pressure on the Islamic Republic, Press TV reports.

“Suspicious acts in the Gulf of Oman against oil tankers… seem to be supplementary to the [US] economic sanctions as the Americans went nowhere with the sanctions, [also,] especially, given America’s historical record in the area [of false flag ops]”, Larijani said while talking at a parliamentary session.

The Panama-registered Kokuka Courageous oil tanker, operated by Japan’s Kokuka Sangyo Co, and Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair, owned by Norway's Frontline, were hit by blasts in the Gulf of Oman, near the strategic Strait of Hormuz on 13 June. The Japanese Trade Ministry said in a statement that both ships were carrying “Japan-related cargo”.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has previously claimed that Tehran was behind the attacks, saying that no proxy group operating in the area has the resources to carry out such an operation, while the Pentagon has released a video that it claims shows an Iranian patrol boat removing a mine from the side of one of the tankers. CENTCOM, meanwhile, deployed a US Navy destroyer to the scene to "provide assistance". R ~ Lie No. 3

The accusations were harshly slammed by Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who described Washington's moves as part of "sabotage diplomacy". At the same time, Kyodo news agency reported that the Japanese government does not share the US view of Iran’s involvement and appealed for additional evidence, considering the US statements to be insufficiently convincing.

The Gulf of Oman incident marked a new escalation in the confrontation between Iran and the US, which was initially prompted by President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and Washington’s campaign of “maximum pressure” on Iran.

R ~ Pompeo has a problem. No one in their right mind not his page don't believe a word he says. How can a man be so obtuse as to not realize he wears no clothes. It's remarkable.

Blackwater founder seeks to invest in Israeli start-ups

By News Desk -2019-06-15

Erik Prince, the founder of the notorious Blackwater private military company and chairman of the Frontier Services Group security firm, has revealed his plans to seek opportunities to invest in Israeli start-ups during his visit in July 2019 in an interview with The Jerusalem Post.

During his stay in the country, Prince will meet representatives of companies working in the defence and intelligence spheres, such as BlueBird Aero Systems and Axon Vision, the media outlet reported.

“I love the spirit of the Israeli people who have stepped out and followed their dream or a nagging idea to build something new. They have combined knowledge, tenacity and grit to build new entities and options”, he said.

Prince has a particular interest in former members of the IDF’s elite intelligence unit 8200, which became a cradle for future founders of Israeli hi-tech start-ups. The US businessman pointed out that people who have served in such units are usually those who are able to sort out problems without a “lot of hand-holding along the way”.

The Blackwater founder is planning to not just invest in these firms, but also to help them grow, sharing his experience, aiding them in conquering new markets, and warning them against some typical mistakes.

Prince’s Blackwater private military company wound up in hot water after several of its employees were found guilty of killing 14 unarmed Iraqi civilians for no reason in 2007.  The Blackwater contractors claimed that they were ambushed while they were escorting a US Embassy convoy through Nisour Square in Baghdad.

However, the court found one of the employees guilty of murder and three others of manslaughter. The contractors received sentences varying from 30 years in prison to life.

Following the scandal, which drew major criticism from the public, Blackwater was rebranded as Academi, with Prince leaving the company. He later founded the Hong Kong-based Frontier Services Group (FSG), which has reportedly recently faced scrutiny from the US Department of Defence over its contracts in China.

R ~ Whitewashing Murder Inc. as a 'start-up'. Sick. Prince is merely going to where his main customer lives. Having a Jewish mother will give him carte blanc to prosper in the seat of Terrorism Central to violate US laws and morality to change his passion to change blood into gold.

Intel Shows Iran 'Almost Certainly' Behind Tanker Attacks, UK Foreign Secretary Hunt Claims

13:08 16.06.2019(updated 13:59 16.06.2019)


The development comes shortly after Britain's ambassador to Iran, Rob Macaire, denied reports that he had been summoned by the Iranian Foreign Ministry in the wake of London accusing Tehran of attacking two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on 13 June.

The BBC has cited Britain's Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt as claiming that the UK has done its "own intelligence assessment", which showed that Iran was "almost certainly" behind the oil tanker attacks in the Gulf of Oman.

"We have done our own intelligence assessment and the phrase we used is almost certain... We don't believe anyone else could have done this", he said.

Hunt, who previously claimed that Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), designated as a terrorist group by the US, was "almost certainly" responsible for the attacks, also urged all sides to de-escalate.

Meanwhile, Russian presidential spokesperson Dmitry Peskov said on Sunday that the situation in the Gulf of Oman was potentially dangerous for the world economy, and urged to ignore "unfounded finger pointing".

Hunt's allegations come shortly after the United States accused Iran of targeting the vessels on 13 June, with the US CENTCOM releasing video "proof" claiming to show Iranian sailors removing an unexploded mine from the hull of one of the tankers.

In a parallel development, UK ambassador to Iran Rob Macaire took to Twitter to brush off reports that he had been summoned by the Iranian Foreign Ministry over London's accusations and said that he had asked for "an urgent meeting" himself:

Washington's version of events was rejected by Yutaka Katada, the president of the Japanese company operating the tanker Kokuka Courageous, who told the Japanese media that the ship’s crew had spotted a flying object ahead of the blast.

"I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship. A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level. We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship", Katada was cited as saying.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas has as well noted that the footage was insufficient to substantiate the US claims.

Tehran has strongly denied its involvement, calling on Washington to stop the "blame game" and cease false flag operations in the region.

On 13 June, the Panama-registered Kokuka Courageous, operated by Japan's Kokuka Sangyo Co, and Marshall Islands-flagged Front Altair, owned by Norway's Frontlone, were hit by explosions in the Gulf of Oman. At the time, the Japanese Trade Ministry stated that both ships were carrying "Japan-related cargo".

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo appeared to be the first to accuse Tehran of orchestrating the attacks - something which prompted CENTCOM to deploy a US Navy destroyer to the scene to "provide assistance".

The accusations were harshly slammed by Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who described Washington's moves as part of "sabotage diplomacy".

The 13 June incident followed a similar episode last month, when four oil tankers - two Saudi, one Emirati, and one Norwegian - were targeted near a UAE port in what Abu Dhabi described as "acts of sabotage". The US accused Iran of those attacks as well, while Tehran has flatly denied the allegations.

R ~ Doubling down on the lies. Jeremy Hunt is so deep state his ass hurts.

US gov narrative blaming Iran for oil tanker attacks falls apart in hours

June 14, 2019

The Trump administration’s claims Iran attacked oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman were quickly debunked, with the ship’s crew saying it “was hit by a flying object.” But the US disrupted important Iranian diplomatic efforts at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit in Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan.
By Ben Norton

The Donald Trump administration’s evidence-less accusations against Iran have fallen apart within a matter of hours. But these US allegations did manage to disrupt an important meeting of Asian leaders at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit, where Tehran was hoping to make diplomatic breakthroughs to ease a crippling American economic blockade.

On Thursday, June 13, two oil tankers traveling through the Gulf of Oman on their way to Japan suffered from mysterious explosions. The cause of the incident was not clear.

The US government claimed without evidence that Iran was responsible for supposed “attacks” on the vessels. Trump administration officials accused Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of damaging a Japanese tanker with a mine.

But by the morning of Friday, June 14, the narrative had been debunked, with the Japanese cargo company Kokuka Sangyo telling journalists that the US government’s version of the story was simply bogus.

“The crew is saying that it was hit by a flying object,” explained the president of the company, Yutaka Katada. “They are saying that something came flying.”

“To put a bomb on the side is something that we are not thinking,” he added, in comments at a press conference.

The US military published video of what it claims is an Iranian boat crew removing an unexploded mine from the hull of the Japanese tanker Kokuka Courageous.

But the company’s president insisted in remarks reported by Reuters that it was not an Iranian mine but rather two “flying objects” that damaged the ship.

“The crew told us something came flying at the ship, and they found a hole,” Katada reiterated. “Then some crew witnessed the second shot.”

Reuters noted that the “tanker was attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, a major strategic waterway through which about one-fifth of global oil consumption passes on its way from Middle Eastern producers including Saudi Arabia, Iraq, the UAE and Kuwait as well as Iran.”

The company president added, “This strait is very crucial. Without this route we can not transport gasoline and heavy oil to Japan.”

Sabotaging Iran’s diplomacy with Asian leaders
Iran’s foreign minister, Javad Zarif, shot back at the Trump administration’s allegations on Twitter. Zarif accused the White House of seeking to “sabotage diplomacy” and “cover up [American] economic terrorism against Iran,” without offering “a shred of factual or circumstantial evidence” to back up its claims.

As The Grayzone reported, the US government accused Iran of the alleged attacks just as Prime Minister Shinzo Abe became the first Japanese leader to visit Tehran in four decades.

The Trump administration also issued its unsubstantiated allegations a day before an even more important meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a pan-Asian political and economic alliance that brought together the leaders of the world’s largest countries.

On June 14, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani joined President Xi Jinping of China, President Vladimir Putin of Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India, and Prime Minister Imran Khan of Pakistan, among other heads of state, at a regional summit in Bishkek, the capital of Kyrgyzstan.

The US government’s accusations may have at least partially derailed Iran’s diplomatic efforts, as Modi cancelled a bilateral meeting with Rouhani at the last minute, vaguely citing “scheduling issues.”

PM Modi's meeting with Iranian President Rouhani cancelled due to scheduling issues | India News -...
India News: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday could not hold a bilateral meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the SCO summit her

Until the Trump administration illegally violated the international Iran nuclear deal (known officially as the JCPOA) in May 2018, India had been the second-largest purchaser of Iranian oil. But US threats of secondary sanctions forced New Delhi to cut Iranian oil imports.

Rouhani and Modi have recently discussed efforts to create a new mechanism through which India can pay in rupees for Iranian oil, thereby bypassing American sanctions.

Despite US attempts at sabotage, Iranian-Chinese talks at the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit went smoothly. Reuters reported, citing Beijing’s state media, that “Chinese President Xi Jinping told Iran’s president on Friday that China will promote steady development of ties with Iran no matter how the situation changes.”

At the summit, Rouhani also met with Putin, and called for closer ties between Iran and Russia.

Foreign Minister Zarif tweeted that Rouhani was in Kyrgyzstan for the summit, noting he had “Important multilateral dialogue” and “fruitful bilateral talks” with Xi and Putin.

“Unilateral US actions—incl. its #EconomicTerrorism on Iran—are solely responsible for insecurity & renewed tension in our region,” Zarif added.

In his speech at the Bishkek summit, Rouhani condemned the United States for international aggression.

“The US government over the last two years, violating all the international structures and rules and using its economic, financial and military resources, has taken an aggressive approach and presents a serious risk to stability in the region and the world,” the Iranian president said.

Rouhani tells SCO summit: US poses 'serious threat' to world

Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:00AM [Updated: Fri Jun 14, 2019 10:16AM ]

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (right), Chinese President Xi Jinping (center), and Russian President Vladimir Putin (left)
pose for a photo after the 19th summit of the leaders of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) in
Bishkek, Kyrgyzstan, on June 14, 2019. (Photo by

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the Trump administration is a serious threat to the stability of the Middle East and the world, urging the international community to stand up to US unilateralism.

"For the past two years, the US government has used its economic, financial and military power through an aggressive approach to disrupt all international structures and regulations," Rouhani said Friday.

This has turned the US administration "into a serious threat for the stability of the region and the world", he noted.

He was speaking at a meeting of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation -- a Eurasian security alliance that includes China, India and Russia -- in Bishkek, the capital of the Central Asian nation of Kyrgyzstan.

"The Islamic Republic of Iran believes that today, the international community has been challenged more than ever by the issue of unilateralism, and the problems and complexities of today's world, especially terrorism, extremism and drug trafficking, have made multilateralism a necessity," Rouhani added.

PressTV-'US unilateralism existential threat to entire world'
Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says American unilateralism poses an “existential threat” to the whole world.

Rouhani also warned that "terrorism, in its different forms, extremism, unilateralism and interference of extra-regional countries in the affairs of other regions and interference in the internal affairs of other countries have put the international community in a grave situation."

The situation, he noted, can pose a threat to the stability, security and interests of all countries around the world.

"Today, we all have to be united from the East to the West against the danger of extremism; because extremism threatens development, peace and security of the world," Rouhani said.

"It does not matter whether we are Muslim, Christian, Jewish, Buddhist or following any other religion; what matters is to be united against extremism of any color, race or religion."

On Thursday, Rouhani reaffirmed Iran's commitments to guarding regional peace and security, saying Tehran has practically shown over the past years how much it is sensitive to the security of its neighboring and regional countries.

Rouhani reminded how the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Iran's compliance with its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal in 15 successive reports.

"Unfortunately, however, the United States trampled on this agreement, violated UN Security Council Resolution 2231 and launched economic war and terrorism" against the Islamic Republic, he said in Tehran.

PressTV-‘Security of Persian Gulf, world of special import to us’
President Hassan Rouhani underlines the importance Iran attaches to international, especially Persian Gulf’s security.

The 19th SCO summit was held in Kyrgyzstan, with the presidents of 11 countries taking part, including Russia, China, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, India, Pakistan and Iran.

The Shanghai Cooperation Organization is an intergovernmental organisation founded for multilateral, political, economic and security cooperation.

China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Tajikistan, Uzbekistan, Pakistan and India are its main members, and Iran, Mongolia, Afghanistan and Belarus are observers.

On the second leg of his three-day trip, Rouhani was to leave Bishkek later Friday for Dushanbe, the capital of Tajikistan to participate at the 5th summit of Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA).

Iran, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, South Korea, China, Russia, India, Palestine, Mongolia, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, Azerbaijan and Thailand are among members of the CICA organisation.

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