Iran warns virus could kill ‘millions’ in Islamic Republic

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TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran issued its most dire warning yet Tuesday about the new coronavirus ravaging the country, suggesting “millions” could die in the Islamic Republic if people keep traveling and ignore health guidance.

A state TV journalist who also is a medical doctor gave the warning only hours after hard-line Shiite faithful on Monday night pushed their way into the courtyards of two major shrines that were finally closed due to the virus. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a religious ruling prohibiting “unnecessary” travel.

Roughly 9 out of 10 of the over 18,000 confirmed cases of the virus in the Middle East come from Iran, where authorities denied for days the risk the outbreak posed. Officials have implemented new checks for people trying to leave major cities ahead of Nowruz, the Persian New Year, on Friday, but have hesitated to quarantine the areas.

The death toll in Iran saw another 13% increase Tuesday. Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said the virus had killed 135 more people to raise the total to 988 amid over 16,000 cases.

Jordan announced a state of emergency, banning gatherings of more than 10 people, and Israel issued its own strict guidelines.

Most infected people experience only mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough, and recover within weeks. But the virus is highly contagious and can be spread by people with no visible symptoms. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia.

In announcing the new warning, the Iranian state TV journalist, Dr. Afruz Eslami, cited a study by Tehran’s prestigious Sharif University of Technology, which offered three scenarios: If people cooperate fully now, Iran will see 120,000 infections and 12,000 deaths before the outbreak is over; if they offer medium cooperation, there will be 300,000 cases and 110,000 deaths.

But if people fail to follow any guidance, it could collapse Iran’s already-strained medical system, Eslami said. If the “medical facilities are not sufficient, there will be 4 million cases, and 3.5 million people will die,” she said.

Eslami did not elaborate on what metrics the study used, but even reporting it on Iran’s tightly controlled state media represented a major change for a country whose officials had for days denied the severity of the crisis.

Underlining that urgency was the fatwa issued by Khamenei, which prohibited “unnecessary” travel. It comes as the public ignored repeated warnings and pleas from security forces. Such a decree is rare by Khamenei, who has final say on all state matters.

Some Iranian media later said Khamenei hadn’t issued a fatwa, though semiofficial news agencies believed to be close to the paramilitary Revolutionary Guard said the order had been made.

Late Monday night, angry crowds stormed the courtyards of the Imam Reza shrine in Mashhad and the Fatima Masumeh shrine in Qom. Many people visit the shrine in Qom 24 hours a day, seven days a week, touching and kissing the shrine.That has worried health officials, who for weeks wanted Iran’s Shiite clergy to close them.

State TV had announced the closures earlier in the day, sparking the demonstrations.

“We are here to say that Tehran is damn wrong to do that!” one Shiite cleric shouted at the shrine in Mashhad, according to online video. Others joined him in chanting: “The health minister is damn wrong to do that, the president is damn wrong to do that!”

Police later dispersed the crowds and made arrests. Religious authorities and a prominent Qom seminary called the demonstration an “insult” to the shrine.

Iran’s shrines draw Shiite pilgrims from all over, likely contributing to the virus’ regional spread. Saudi Arabia has closed off Islam’s holiest sites and on Tuesday said it would halt communal Friday prayers in the kingdom.

President Hassan Rouhani said that despite the closures, “our soul is closer to the saints more than at any time.”

State TV reported teams were deployed to screen travelers leaving major cities in 13 provinces, including the capital, Tehran. But Iran has 31 provinces and authorities haven’t tried to lock down the country the way its allies Iraq and Lebanon have done.

The teams check travelers and send those with fevers to quarantine centers. Iran has been urging people to stay home, but many ignore the call.

In apparent efforts to try to curb the spread, Iran has released 85,000 prisoners on temporary leave, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said. That number included half of all “security-related” prisoners, he said without elaborating. Western nations have urged Iran to release dual nationals and others, alleging they are used as bargaining chips in negotiations.

Among those released is Mohammad Hossein Karroubi, the son of opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, who was in jail for nearly two months.

Also temporarily freed was Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an Iranian-British dual national long held on internationally criticized charges. Zaghari-Ratcliffe, who works for the charitable Thomson Reuters Foundation, was arrested in 2016 on charges of trying to topple the government while traveling with her toddler daughter.

In Jordan, King Abdullah II by royal decree declared a national emergency over the virus outbreak, which allows the suspension of laws and grants greater powers to the state to restrict public gatherings and make arrests.

Troops were deployed outside of Jordan’s major cities to block travel, newspapers were ordered to stop publishing, gatherings of more than 10 people were banned and a quarantine zone was established at Dead Sea hotels. It also halted all private sector work and public transportation as well.

Egypt, which has 196 confirmed cases of the virus and six deaths, announced the immediate shutdown of all movie theaters across the Arab world’s most populous country.

It also locked down the Red Sea province that includes the resort town of Hurghada. Authorities barred workers in all tourist sites, hotels, bazaars and restaurants from leaving the province and imposed a 14-day quarantine, according to a document from the governor’s office obtained by The Associated Press.

In Oman, the sultanate announced anyone coming from abroad would be subject to quarantine.

Israel’s Defense Ministry plans to use near-empty hotels, as recovery centers for patients with COVID-19, the illness caused by the virus. Israel also urged citizens to stay home, closing parks, museums, libraries, beaches and other public areas.

In Syria, all sports clubs, movie theaters, concerts, theaters, as well as halls used for weddings or funerals were ordered closed in Damascus, and all restaurants and other shops around the country were ordered shut. Syria says it has no cases of the virus.

Pakistan’s number of coronavirus cases rose to 237, although no deaths have been reported. Government critics blame improper border screenings for thousands of pilgrims returning from Iran this month.

Prime Minister Imran Khan warned that the disease will spread but said the public “should not fret as most of the people easily recover.” (Click to Source)

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Gambrell reported from Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Associated Press writers Mehdi Fattahi in Tehran, Iran, Aron Heller in Jerusalem, Omar Akour in Amman, Jordan, Bassem Mroue in Beirut and Samy Magdy in Cairo contributed.

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The Associated Press receives support for health and science coverage from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute’s Department of Science Education. The AP is solely responsible for all content.

 

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ANALYSIS: Turkey announces war on pro-Assad coalition in Syria

February death toll in Syria the highest in nearly 2 years as Erdogan all but declares war on Assad’s forces.

Yochanan Visser, 01/03/20 22:42

Tulsi Gabbard, one the Democratic Party’s hopefuls in the race for the Presidency of the United States called him “one of the most dangerous dictators in the world”.

Gabbard was talking about Turkey’s autocratic leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan who’s just declared war on the regime of Syrian tyrant Bashar al-Assad after the latter’s forces killed 34 Turkish soldiers in the northern Syrian Province Idlib.

US President Donald J. Trump “needs to make it clear to NATO and Erdogan that the United States will not be dragged into a war with Russia by the aggressive, Islamist, expansionist dictator of Turkey, a so-called “NATO” ally,” Gabbard wrote on her Twitter account.

The 33 Turkish soldiers who died as a result of an airstrike by Assad’s air force caused Erdogan to lose his cool once again and prompted operation “Spring Shield” after the Turkish army had already lost 55 soldiers to fighting in Syria since the beginning of February.

The new Turkish offensive in Syria and the aggressive moves by the pro-Assad coalition which is trying to re-conquer the last major rebel hub in Idlib have created an unprecedented humanitarian disaster even by Syrian standards.

The violence has driven more than one million Syrians from their homes while hundreds, including many children and women, died in February.

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that 1,773 individuals were killed in February across the war-torn nation; most of them in the Idlib province. It was the highest single month death toll over the last 23 months of fighting.

The pro-Assad coalition also ‘took out’ 73 hospitals in Idlib by bombing them to smithereens in an old tactic to deprive the mostly Islamist rebels of medical assistance in case they got wounded.

Turkey first tried to stop the advances of the pro-Assad coalition in Idlib by using its local Syrian allies – all of them Islamist rebel groups – but this didn’t have a major impact on the battlefield.

After the Turkish axis seemed to be on the brink of defeat, Erdogan realized he would have to come up with a more powerful military move without risking a major confrontation with Assad’s patron Russia.

The Turkish regime now says it “doesn’t want a face-off with Russia” and that “Our only aim is to stop the Syrian regime’s massacres, radicalization and, migration.”

During the new operation Erdogan’s air force claims to have attacked 200 Syrian targets while his ground forces reportedly “neutralized” 2,200 targets belonging to the pro-Assad coalition which is a predominantly Iranian-Shiite fighting force.

“Some 2,200 Syrian regime troops, a drone, 8 helicopters, 103 tanks, tens of howitzers, 3 air defense systems were neutralized during the operation Spring Shield,” Turkey’s Defense Minister Hulusi Akar said.

Among those ‘neutralized’ were at least “21 Iranian-affiliated terrorists” according to Turkish state-controlled media while 9 members of Lebanese Hezbollah were also killed.

On Monday afternoon, Turkey’s military downed two Syrian warplanes over Idlib after Syria’s official news agency SANA reported that Assad’s forces had downed a number of Turkish drones.

Earlier, Erdogan demanded that NATO, of which Turkey is still a member despite closing military deals with Russia, interfere in the escalating conflict on behalf of his country.

“We call on NATO to (start) consultations. This is not (an attack) on Turkey only, it is an attack on the international community. A common reaction is needed. The attack was also against NATO,” one of Erdogan’s spokesmen told media outlets.

After this call upon NATO apparently fell on deaf ears, the Turkish regime demanded that Russia “get out of Turkey’s way” and leave it “face to face” with the Assad regime.

When that didn’t help either, after the Kremlin pointed out to Turkey that Russian forces are there legally since Assad invited them, Erdogan reverted to other means of exerting pressure on Russia and arrested the editor-in-chief and two reporters of the Russian news site Sputnik.

The Russians subsequently responded by demanding that the detention of the three journalists be resolved “without further delay” and that Ankara safeguard the security of Russian journalists in the country.

The crisis between Russia and Turkey further exacerbated on Monday afternoon when the Turkish army shelled the headquarters of the Russian army command near the border town of Manbij which is controlled by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces.

Putin and Erdogan discussed the crisis over the telephone without reaching a solution. The two leaders are expected to meet in Moscow on March 5.

Turkey also upped the pressure on the European Union which Erdogan expects to choose sides with his country in the escalating conflict in Syria and finally made good on his threat to deport Syrian refugees to Europe.

According to the state-controlled Anadolu News Agency almost 81,000 of the 3.7 million Syrian refugees in Turkey “voluntarily” traveled to the borders with Greece and other European countries over the past few days.

Reporters belonging to non-Turkish media, however, reported that the refugees were being transferred to the border on government chartered buses.

Most of the refugees are stuck on the border with Greece that refuses to let them in and that shot with tear gas on those who nevertheless attempted to make the crossing.

Greece together with Cyprus has now requested an emergency meeting of the EU’s Foreign Affairs Council to discuss the refugee crisis.

To futher complicate matters, Iran is now reportedly also threatening Turkey and warned the Erdogan regime to leave Syria or have its troops face a missile barrage.

The Islamic Republic’s proxies are, in fact, the ones conducting the ground offensive against the Turkey-backed rebels in Idlib on behalf of Assad. (Click to Source)

 

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Pakistan declares national emergency over worst locust infestation in 27 years

Posted by Julie Celestial on  (4 days ago)

The government of Pakistan declared a national emergency on Saturday, February 1, 2020, as the nation faces its worst locust plague in 27 years. The insects have been devastating crops on a large scale in Punjab province, the country’s main region for agricultural production.

The decision to declare a national emergency was made during a meeting summoned by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Friday, January 31. The meeting was attended by federal ministers and senior officials of four provinces.

A national action plan was also approved to allocate a sum of 7.3 billion rupees (102 million dollars) to tackle the crisis.

“We are facing the worst locust infestation in more than two decades and have decided to declare a national emergency to deal with the threat,” said Information Minister Firdous Ashiq Awan.

In addition, the potential for large scale devastation poses risks of food insecurity.

According to the National Food Security Minister Makhdoom Khusro Bakhtiar, the locust swarms are on the border of Pakistan and India around the Cholistan and were previously in Sindh and Balochistan.

“The locust attack is unprecedented and alarming,” said Bakhtiar. The last time Pakistan faced a serious locust infestation was in 1993.

“Action has been taken against the insect over 121 400 ha (300 000 acres) and aerial spray was done on 20 000 ha (49 421 acres). District administrations, voluntary organizations, aviation division, and armed forces are put into operation to combat the attack and save the crops.”

Khan ordered the formation of a high-level committee to be led by Bakhtiar to take decisions at the federal level for the eradication of the locusts.

“[The] protection of farms and farmers is the highest priority of the government. Therefore, the federal government should take all necessary steps to save national crops and provide required resources to the quarters concerned,” Khan stated.

The desert locusts came to Pakistan from Iran in June 2019, and have already infested crops including cotton, wheat, and maize. (Click to Source)

 

While Iran, US Go Head-to-Head, Iranians Are Turning Their Hearts to Jesus

06-26-2019 – Chris Mitchell

 

It may surprise you that the fastest growing church in the world is in Iran.  Yet that’s the assessment of those who have seen and heard the remarkable story of millions turning away from Shiite Islam and turning toward Jesus Christ.

The image Iran presents to the world is large demonstrations with shouts of ‘Death to America’ and ‘Death to Israel’.

Those who have seen Iran from the inside, however, paint a very different picture.

“You can’t believe the images on TV.  Because for example, all the protests you see on the streets, those are mostly contrived.  They’re young people on the streets and they’ve told us if we don’t go to the streets, we won’t get our grades so we’re forced to go and protest,” one Iranian church worker said.

He spoke to CBN News on condition of anonymity.

He says there are two Irans.  The one you see on the news and the other hidden from the world.

“I would say there’s a 10 percent Iran and a 90 percent Iran.  Ten percent control the country in a more oppressive manner, hardline, religious manner and then the majority of the people, 90 percent of the people love America.  They don’t hate Americans.  I think that’s the message that Americans need to hear.  They tell us all the time, we don’t hate Americans, we love America.”

He wants Americans to know that forty years after Iran’s Islamic revolution, there’s another spiritual revolution underway.

“Awaken to the truth that we live in a time that’s very special.  More people have come to faith in Iran in the forty years than in the previous 1400 years.  So, there’s a once, not only in a lifetime, but in history where we have a moment where Iranians are coming to faith at such a rapid rate.”

Frontiers Alliance International (FAI) is producing a documentary called Sheep Among Wolves to introduce the Iranian church to Christians worldwide.

“What’s taking place in Iran right now is spectacular,” says FAI founder and director Dalton Thomas.  “It’s the fastest growing church in the world that owns no buildings, has no 501c3’s, that owns no property, that has no bank accounts; that has no centralized leadership; that has no denominational leaning and yet it’s multiplying like crazy … What the Lord is doing there is staggering.”

The evangelism results in intense persecution that Thomas says leads Iranian believers to seek prayer but not in a way you may think.

“Typically, the way we pray is we expect that they want us to pray for the persecution to end and they say, no, no, don’t do that.  Persecution is growing the church.  When the persecution stops, the growth stops.  What we want is the Gospel to spread far and wide and deep in Iran.”

With Iran and the use on the brink of war, Thomas says it’s important to see what’s happening behind the Iranian veil.

“When Muslims from Iran come in contact with the Man from Nazareth, something beautiful happens.  And when they realize that they have been bought and saved and purchased with Jewish blood; prophesized by Jewish prophets in a Jewish Bible something crazy happens; something beautiful happens and that’s what we’re seeing take place in Iran.”

Thomas believes one day the world may wake up to find Iran’s church growth in the 21stcentury rivaling that in China and Korea in the last century. (Click to Source)

Just like something out of the Bible! Nightmarish swarm of millions of locusts darken the sky over Najran, Saudi Arabia, just weeks after devastating Iran

A few weeks after Iran, swarms of locusts are currently invading southern Saudi Arabia, near Najran, darkening the skies and adding a thick layer of insects to trees. Just like something out of the Bible!

Najran, Saudi Arabia, played host to an invasion of nightmarish proportions when millions of swarming locusts descended over the weekend. On their way from Iran they first crossed Kuwait and its desert before arriving to Saudi Arabia:

Very creepy, isn’t it? Earlier this year, the United Nations warned that swarms of locusts would be bearing down on Saudi Arabia and spreading among the Red Sea thanks to unusually heavy rainfall.

The UN also called on countries in the flight path to take the necessary precautions to ensure the insects make a limited impact.

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Locust swarms contain up to 80 million insects per square mile and they can extend for hundreds of square miles.

The biggest fear surrounding locusts is the amount of food they can consume in a short period of time, a “small swarm” weighing about one ton can eat the same amount of food in one day as 35,000 people.

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نجران الان جراد بشكل غير طبيعي

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Plagues can consume fruits, crops, vegetation in their path ultimately causing devastation to farmers and locals.

Another biblical attack of locusts! (Click to Source)

 
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US gives Israel go-ahead to take out powerful Iranian general

Kuwaiti report: US gives Israel go-ahead to kill powerful Iranian general

Newspaper says Washington and Jerusalem have overcome the differences that saw Americans tipping off Tehran about Israeli attempt to kill Qassem Soleimani 3 years ago

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US intelligence agencies have given Israel the green light to assassinate the senior Iranian responsible for coordinating military activity on behalf of the Islamic Republic in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq, according to the Kuwaiti newspaper al-Jarida.

For the past 20 years or so, Qassem Soleimani has commanded the Quds Force — the branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards responsible for military and clandestine operations outside of the Islamic Republic.

Soleimani is a key figure in efforts to prop up Syrian President Bashar Assad and to enable him to retake cities and towns from rebel groups during his country’s ongoing civil war. He is also responsible for providing military aid to the Lebanese terror group Hezbollah and the Palestinian Hamas in Gaza — both of which are committed to the destruction of Israel — as well as to Shia and Kurdish groups in Iraq.

Thursday’s report by al-Jarida, which has been known to publish improbable-sounding stories about Israel, was widely picked up by Israeli media.

There was no immediate reaction to the report from Jerusalem or Washington.

Three years ago, Israel came close to assassinating Soleimani near Damascus, al-Jarida quoted unnamed source as saying, but the Americans tipped off the Iranians against the background of intense disagreement between Washington and Jerusalem.

That was during the Obama administration, which, according to reports at the time, was so focused on securing the 2015 Iran nuclear accord that it chose to overlook and even obstruct efforts to clamp down on Iranian-backed terror organizations.

It’s not clear if the reported tip-off was related to efforts to secure the Iran deal.

Today, the Trump and Netanyahu administrations see eye to eye on Iran. Just four days ago, the two countries signed a joint memorandum of understanding laying the groundwork for full cooperation to deal with Iran’s nuclear drive, its missile programs and its other threatening activities, an Israeli TV report said recently.

The source was quoted by the paper as saying that Soleimani’s assassination would serve both countries’ interests and that US authorities have given Israel the go-ahead to carry it out. (Click to Source)

GOG AND MAGOG WATCH: Turkey and Russia sign deal on supply of S-400 missiles

Turkey, Russia sign deal on supply of S-400 missiles

ANKARA (Reuters) – Turkey and Russia on Friday signed an accord for Moscow to supply Ankara with S-400 surface-to-air missile batteries, Turkish authorities said, finalizing a deal set to deepen military ties between NATO member Turkey and the Kremlin.

Russian S-400 Triumph medium-range and long-range surface-to-air missile systems drive during the Victory Day parade at Red Square in Moscow, Russia, May 9, 2015. REUTERS/Sergei Karpukhin

The S-400 deal, reportedly worth some $2.5 billion and in the works for more than a year, has worried the West because the system cannot be integrated into NATO’s military architecture.

As part of NATO’s collective defense pledge, the allies integrate their ships, planes and weapons systems to make them work together, as well as sharing command across the alliance.

The accord is the latest in a series of moves by Ankara to boost its defense capabilities as it faces threats from Kurdish and Islamist militants at home and conflicts across its borders in Syria and Iraq.

In a statement late on Friday, Turkey’s Undersecretariat for Defence Industries (SSM) said that Moscow would supply the S-400 missile batteries to Ankara in an initial delivery planned for the first quarter of 2020.

On Wednesday, Sergei Chemezov, head of the Russian state conglomerate Rostec, told the Kommersant daily that Russia would supply Turkey with four batteries of S-400s under the deal.

However, the SSM said Turkey would buy two S-400 batteries from Russia under the agreement, with one being optional, and added the systems would be used and managed “independently” by Turkish personnel, rather than Russian advisors.

It said the Turkish Armed Forces (TSK) would have full control over the systems, and added that the accord signed earlier on Friday included clauses on cooperation for technologic gains and joint development.

Turkey’s purchase of the systems has unnerved NATO member countries, who are already wary of Moscow’s military presence in the Middle East, as the system is incompatible with the alliance’s systems.

NATO officials have warned Turkey about unspecified consequences of purchasing the S-400, but Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan has said ties with NATO remain strong.

Chezmezov said Moscow was expected to begin the first deliveries in March 2020 and that Turkey was the first NATO member state to acquire the advanced S-400 missile system.

Earlier on Friday, Turkish newspapers cited Erdogan as saying Turkey would borrow in the Russian currency in a loan deal under the accord.

BORROWING “IN RUBLES”

“We will not borrow in dollars in this loan, we will borrow in rubles,” Hurriyet newspaper quoted Erdogan as telling reporters on his plane, returning from a trip to Africa.

According to Chemezov, Turkey would pay 45 percent of the cost of the agreement up front, with Russia providing loans to cover the remaining 55 percent.

The Russian Finance Ministry will finance a deal from the state treasury, while Russian banks will take part solely in the transfer of funds in the deal, a Russian banking source said.

Relations between Moscow and Ankara deteriorated sharply in 2015 after Turkey shot down a Russian air force jet that it said had crossed into Turkish airspace, but they have since repaired ties despite having backed different sides in the Syrian war.

They are now cooperating on Syrian peace efforts as well as projects in the defense industry and energy sectors.

While pushing ahead with the S-400 project, Ankara has sought to secure defense deals with other countries as well.

In November, Turkey signed a letter of intent with France and Italy to strengthen cooperation on joint defense projects. As a first step, the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium and Turkish companies will look into a system based on the SAMP-T missile systems.

Turkey has also invested heavily in the development of its domestic defense industry, with projects encompassing areas including combat helicopters, tanks, drones and warships. (Click to Source)

US and Israel sign secret pact to tackle Iran nuclear and missile threat

Report: US, Israel sign secret pact to tackle Iran nuclear and missile threat

‘Dramatic understandings’ were agreed at the White House on December 12, and deal signed by the two countries’ national security chiefs, Channel 10 says

Israel and the United States have secretly signed a far-reaching joint memorandum of understanding providing for full cooperation to deal with Iran’s nuclear drive, its missile programs and its other threatening activities, an Israeli TV report said.

The document was signed on December 12 at the White House, culminating intensive talks between representatives of the major Israeli and American intelligence and defense hierarchies, headed by the US and Israeli national security advisers, H. R. McMaster and Meir Ben-Shabbat, respectively, the Channel 10 report said Thursday.

Citing both American and Israeli officials, the report said the document is designed to translate into “steps on the ground” the positions set out by US President Donald Trump in his October 13 speech on Iran, in which he decertified the Iran nuclear deal.

At what the TV report described as a “secret” meeting at the White House, the US and Israel formulated and signed a joint agreement on strategy and policy regarding Iran. Specifically, they agreed to set up joint teams to handle various aspects of the Iranian threat.

One such joint team, the report said, will deal with Iranian activity in Syria and Tehran’s support for the Hezbollah terror organization.

Another joint team will deal with both diplomatic and intelligence activities designed to grapple with Iran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

A third joint team, it was reportedly agreed, would grapple with Iran’s ballistic missile program and its efforts to build accurate missile systems in Syria and Lebanon.

Finally, a fourth team would oversee preparation for any escalation by Iran and/or Hezbollah.

McMaster and Ben-Shabbat signed the joint document, the TV report said, quoting a “senior US government” source and “senior Israeli officials.”

Quoting the Israeli officials, Channel 10 said that the meeting confirmed that the US and Israel “see eye to eye on the trends and processes in the region,” and have now reached agreement on the strategy and policy required to deal with them.

“With all due respect to President Trump’s [December 6] declaration on Jerusalem [as the capital of Israel]” Channel 10 reporter Barak Ravid said, the December 12 “dramatic understandings” would have “a far greater impact on the security of Israel’s citizens.”

In a speech on October 13, Trump announced he would not recertify the Iranian nuclear deal, and outlined a new, tougher approach toward Tehran.

Trump said he was launching the new strategy to check Iran’s “fanatical regime” and warned that 2015’s landmark international nuclear deal could be terminated at any time.
“We cannot and will not make this certification,” he said. “We will not continue down a path whose predictable conclusion is more violence, more terror and the very real threat of Iran’s nuclear breakout.”Trump stopped short of withdrawing from the accord, but “decertified” his support for the agreement and left its fate in the hands of Congress.

In addition, outlining the results of a review of efforts to counter “aggression” by Tehran and its proxies in a series of Middle East conflicts, Trump ordered tougher sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and on its ballistic missile program.

Trump said the agreement, which defenders say was only ever meant to curtail Iran’s nuclear program in return for sanctions relief, had failed to address Iranian subversion in the region and its illegal missile program.

The US president said he supported efforts in Congress to work on new measures to address those threats without immediately torpedoing the broader deal.

He added later, speaking of Congress, “They may come back with something that’s very satisfactory to me, and if they don’t, within a very short period of time, I’ll terminate the deal.”“However, in the event we are not able to reach a solution working with Congress and our allies, then the agreement will be terminated,” Trump said in a televised address from the Diplomatic Room of the White House. “It is under continuous review and our participation can be canceled by me as president at any time,” he warned.

Trump accused the administration of his predecessor Barack Obama of lifting sanctions on Iran as part of the 2015 nuclear accord “just before” they could cripple the regime and bring it to collapse.

“The Iran deal is one of the worst and one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” he said. “In just a few years, as key restrictions disappear, Iran can sprint toward nuclear weapons breakout… What is the purpose of a deal that, at best, only delays [Iranian nuclear ambitions]?“ he asked.

Trump said he planned to ensure “Iran never — and I mean never — acquires a nuclear weapon.”

Netanyahu was a fierce opponent of the Iran deal before it was ratified in the US, even traveling to Washington to urge Congress to reject it in a controversial speech. Obama, however, insisted that the agreement would benefit Israel as well as the rest of the region, and touted the accord as one of his administration’s signature foreign policy achievements. (Click to Source)