Iran taunts US after Washington left isolated by Tehran sanctions plan

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo insisted the measures which were suspended as part of a 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran were now back in force despite opposition from allies who have rejected the move as invalid. Mr Pompeo announced the US had re-imposed international sanctions using a so-called “snapback” mechanism in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He also said Washington ha imposed new sanctions on Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro, who has forged closer ties between Caracas and Tehran.

But the other JCPOA signatories and the UN Security Council said Washington gave up its rights to use JCPOA rules against Iran when Donald Trump pulled out of the accord in 2018.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani thanked other nations for resisting Washington and claimed Mr Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran had led to the isolation of his administration.

Mr Rouhani described the effort to reimpose sanctions as “illegal and incorrect” and warned Washington will face consequences for its unilateralism.

He said: “We can say that the maximum US pressure against the Iranian nation in the political and legal fields has not only failed but also turned into the maximum isolation of the United States.”

The other JCPOA signatories — the UK, Russia, China, France, Germany and the European Union — have stood by the deal and condemned Mr Trump’s efforts to undermine it.

Mr Rouhani singled out Russia and China as “two friendly countries, praising them for “standing firm against the irrationality of the United States, both in the past and the present”.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif launched a blistering attack on the White House.

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Mr Zarif, well-known for his frank and mocking remarks on the Trump administration, described US officials as “mythomaniacs who just can’t help themselves in their pathological lying”.

He said Mr Trump’s team “actually get lost in their own web of deceit” and warned: “Donald Trump should change tack before Mike Pompeo further turns ‘Make America Great Again’ into a global laughing stock.”

The foreign ministers from Britain, France and Germany released a joint statement saying US efforts to impose sanctions was legally void.

The statement said: “The USA ceased to be a participant in the JCPOA following their withdrawal from the agreement on 8 May, 2018.

“Consequently, the notification received from the US and transmitted to the member states of the Security Council, has no legal effect.

“It follows that any decision or action which would be taken on the basis of this procedure or its outcome have no legal effect.”

Mr Trump pulled the US out of the Iran deal more than two years accusing the Islamic Republic of violating its terms by pursuing a nuclear weapons program.

The US President wants more restrictive nuclear deal with Iran, which would include limits on its ballistic missile program and regional influence.

He has called on Iran to “make the big deal” before the November presidential elections but Tehran has repeatedly dismissed any suggestion of new talks.



Iran threat: Tehran warns US of ‘strategic mistake’ after Donald Trump intervention

The US President vowed any attack by the Iranians would be followed by a retaliation “1,000 times greater in magnitude”. His chilling words came after a report suggested Tehran was plotting an attack on the US ambassador to South Africa ahead of the November 3 American election.

Ali Rabiei, a spokesman for the Iranian government, told a televised news conference on Tuesday that the US would regret making any move they make on the reclusive nation.

He said: “We hope that they do not make a new strategic mistake and certainly in the case of any strategic mistake, they will witness Iran’s decisive response.”

The report in the US media suggested the planned attack on Lana Marks would be to avenge the killing of Qassem Soleimani.

The top Iranian general was assassinated in a drone strike near Baghdad airport in January.

A US government official said the threat to Ms Marks was laid out in a US intelligence report.

A report carried in the American media quoted unnamed officials as saying that government officials had been aware of a general threat towards the ambassador since the spring.

They said the intelligence about the threat had in recent weeks become more specific.

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“Any attack by Iran, in any form, against the United States will be met with an attack on Iran that will be 1,000 times greater in magnitude!”

On Tuesday the president appeared alongside Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Emirati Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al Nahyan and Bahrain Foreign Minister Abdullatif al-Zayani during a ceremony at the White House to sign the historic Abraham Accords.

The United Arab Emirates and Bahrain signed the agreements to normalise ties with Israel.

In doing so, they became the first Arab states in a quarter of a century to break a longstanding taboo.

The move was seen as a strategic realignment of Middle East countries against Iran.

Mr Trump hosted the White House ceremony, capping a dramatic month when first the UAE and then Bahrain agreed to reverse decades of ill will without a resolution of Israel’s dispute with the Palestinians.

The deals, denounced by the Palestinians, make them the third and fourth Arab states to take such steps to normalise relations since Israel signed peace treaties with Egypt in 1979 and Jordan in 1994.

Bringing Israel, the UAE and Bahrain together reflects their shared concern about Iran’s rising influence in the region and development of ballistic missiles.
Iran criticised both deals.

All three of the Middle East leaders hailed the agreements and Trump’s role in glowing terms, with Netanyahu saying it gave hope to “all the people of Abraham.”



Iran crisis: Expert issues ominous warning over UN sanctions as Tehran unveils new missile

The US is demanding a snapback of all the previous UN sanctions against Iran. President Donald Trump’s administration is citing significant violations of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, from which the US withdrew in 2018. Bardia Afshin, International Correspondent at Iran International TV which is owned by Volant Media UK, spoke to Express.co.uk about the likelihood of sanctions being enforced again – before warning “it’s unclear what happens next.”

He said: “Iranian President, Hassan Rouhani, has said that America will fail and their position is clear.

“They took the previous arms embargo extension to the UN Security Council, saying it was a violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Again they are insisting that the US is not legitimate to trigger the snapback.

“On the other hand, the US administration is insisting that they are going to do that.”

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Mr Afshin continued: “It is the only way for them out of this situation.

“Iran is not delusional about the European position on this.

“Europe might not be supporting, for example, the US exit from the JCPOA.

“At the same time, they are afraid of Iranian activities in the region.”

Mr Afshin also pointed to the November US election as another factor towards the uncertainty.

Incumbent leader Trump will face off against Democratic Party nominee Joe Biden.

The two rivals are seen to have very different foreign policies towards Iran.

Mr Trump is looking to put more pressure the country, particularly through sanctions.

In contrast, Mr Biden is looking for more engagement with the nation.



Iran threat: Tehran calls for new alliance with China and Russia to ‘overcome’ Trump

In a bold move, Iran has called on Russia and China to form an alliance of countries hit by US sanctions to end America’s era of “maximum pressure”. All three countries have seen relations with the US disintegrate fuelling fears of a new Cold War. Speaking to Russian newspaper Kommersant, Iran’s ambassador to the country, Kazem Jalali stated the US under Mr Trump was trying to weaken all three states to help maintain America’s supremacy.

He said: “It’s high time we created a club of countries hit by sanctions.

“Among its members will be many strong powers with developed economies: Russia, China and Iran.

“They want Russia to be weak, China to be economically subordinated to them and Iran to become their colony.

“That’s why we need to cooperate, help each other and complement each other.

“If we make joint efforts we will overcome US pressure.”

The US has imposed severe sanctions on Iran which effectively crippled its economy.

These economic sanctions were imposed following the end of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

The 2015 treaty was initially intended to halt Iran’s production of nuclear materials.

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In contrast, the US has pushed for an extension of the arms embargo on Iran.

The embargo ends in October and an attempt to extend it by US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was rejected by the United Nations Security Council.

Both China and Russia vetoed the proposal as they look to closer ties with Tehran.

In a sign of deteriorating relations with the US, Russia and China published the contents of a joint phone call openly mocking America.

In the call between China Foreign Minister, Wang Yi and his Russian counterpart, Sergei Lavrov, the two claimed the US government had “lost its mind”.

The two also accused Washington of becoming more closed off from the world and pushing forward with a Cold War mentality.

Wang said: “The US has bluntly pursued its ‘America First’ policy, pushing egoism, unilateralism and bullying to the limit, and that’s not what a great power should be about.

“The US has resorted to extreme measures and even created hot spots and confrontations in international relationships, has lost its mind, morals and credibility.”

In conclusion, the two states also claimed the US had finally shed its disguise and was now openly aggressive.



Iran-US: Tehran taunts Donald Trump for latest defeat as UN arms embargo set to end

The US had hoped to extend the embargo past the deadline of October 18 but both Russia and China rejected the motion in the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). The other permanent members of the UNSC – the UK and France – also failed to support the extension of the embargo despite Secretary of State Mike Pompeo dire warnings. The arms embargo has stopped the Islamic Republic from importing or exporting any kind of weapon.

Due to this, the nuclear programme has been severely inhibited, thus leading to President of Iran, Hassan Rouhani claiming the US had suffered another political defeat.

Ahead of the meeting, Mr Pompeo had warned the Islamic Republic could become a de facto arms dealer to enemy nations such as North Korea or groups in Syria and Afghanistan.

Mr Pompeo said ahead of the decision: “Iran is already violating the arms embargo, even before its expiration date.

“Imagine if Iranian activity were sanctioned, authorized by this group, if the restrictions are lifted.

Iran will be free to become a rogue weapons dealer, supplying arms to fuel conflicts from Venezuela, to Syria, to the far reaches of Afghanistan.”

UN officials had also presented information claiming missiles used on Saudi Arabian oil facilities last September had been made in Iran.

With the West insisting the Islamic Republic is trying to destabilise the region, several nations called for the 2015 nuclear deal to be resurrected.

While supporting the 2015 deal, representatives from the UK, France and Germany also hit out at the American approach of threatening a snapback clause from the deal.

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The 2015 Joint Plan of Action Agreement was signed to limit Iran’s efforts to develop its nuclear programme.

Under the accord, Iran agreed to limit its sensitive nuclear activities and allow international inspectors into its facilities.

Mr Trump withdrew from the accords in 2018 claiming he would negotiate a better deal.

Iran has since ended its compliance with the agreement and has claimed it has exceeded previous levels.

The Islamic Republic further stated it would not comply with the agreement following the assassination of Revolutionary Guard general, Qassem Soleimani in January.

While the UN embargo is scheduled to end in October, the US still has crippling economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Under the sanctions, Iran cannot buy US dollars, certain mineral, trade in gold while the oil and shipping industries have also been restricted.

Illustrating the pursuit to limit the country’s economic capability the US has also seized four oil tanks sailing towards Venezuela this week.



Iran explosion: Huge fireball in Tehran – Panic as major blast erupts

The incident is said to have taken place clost to the Tajrish Square, north of Tehran, with suggestions the building was a health centre. Those at the scene say the cause of the explosion is unknown.

Newsweek reporter Tom O’Connor tweeted: “Following reports of an explosion at northern Tehran, Iran’s Tajrish Metro Station.”

Footage on social media showed plumes of black smoke rising high in the sky over the city, together with flames. 

Midway through the clip there is a second, very loud blast.

Zillay Shah tweeted: “The cause of explosion is still not known.”

Journalist Kian Sharifi posted: “A spokesman for the fire department confirms to Fars news that a health care centre is on fire in northern Tehran, saying ‘people may be trapped inside’.”

Semi-official Iranian news agency ISNA has also reported on the explosions, without citing any additional information.

The explosion comes days after another blast close to an Iranian missile facility earlier this week.

This is a breaking news story. Refresh for updates. More to follow



Iran horror: Large explosion near military base causes panic in Tehran

Tehran authorities are looking into the blast, which happened just east of Iran’s capital. A military site, located near where the blast happened, is thought to have been of importance in Iran’s past nuclear endeavours.

The explosion was captured in video footage and pictures shared on social media as local media outlets captured them.

A Twitter user who posted footage of the incident wrote: “We suddenly saw this scene and we were all terrified.”

The images show a bright light flashing through the sky early on Friday, that was then followed by a large column of smoke.

Witnesses said the explosion was located near Parchin, a key military base.

Defence ministry spokesman Davoud Abdi told state TV the explosion occurred at a gas storage site in a “public area” of Parchin rather than the military grounds.

The fire had been extinguished and no deaths had been reported, he added.

But Mr Abdi did not explain further details about what caused the explosion.

“Our colleagues are present on the ground and investigating the incident carefully,” Mr Abdi said.

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“At the entrance of the (nearby) Parchin military zone, there is no movement or traffic of fire and rescue vehicles,” Fars added.

Mehr news agency had reported a “terrible sound” was heard.

“The cause of this sound and light is not yet known, but it was clearly heard in Pardis, in Boumhen and surrounding areas” of Tehran.

According Iran’s state television reports several entities were investigating the incident.

Fars added that police were taking part in the investigation.

Parchin is home to a major military site where Iranian technicians had reportedly been testing high explosive materials for a nuclear warhead in the early 200s, but this allegation has been refuted by Iran.

“Parchin is basically the largest military explosive manufacturing site in Iran,” said Fabian Hinz, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif.

“They produce artillery rockets there, and had tests related to nuclear weapons designs before 2003.”

In 2014, the base was believed to have been destroyed by a fire or a blast, but an inquiry by International Atomic Energy Agency was frustrated by a lack of access.



Iran horror: Large explosion near military base causes panic in Tehran

Tehran authorities are looking into the blast, which happened just east of Iran’s capital. A military site, located near where the blast happened, is thought to have been of importance in Iran’s past nuclear endeavours.

The explosion was captured in video footage and pictures shared on social media as local media outlets captured them.

A Twitter user who posted footage of the incident wrote: “We suddenly saw this scene and we were all terrified.”

The images show a bright light flashing through the sky early on Friday, that was then followed by a large column of smoke.

Witnesses said the explosion was located near Parchin, a key military base.

Defence ministry spokesman Davoud Abdi told state TV the explosion occurred at a gas storage site in a “public area” of Parchin rather than the military grounds.

The fire had been extinguished and no deaths had been reported, he added.

But Mr Abdi did not explain further details about what caused the explosion.

“Our colleagues are present on the ground and investigating the incident carefully,” Mr Abdi said.

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“At the entrance of the (nearby) Parchin military zone, there is no movement or traffic of fire and rescue vehicles,” Fars added.

Mehr news agency had reported a “terrible sound” was heard.

“The cause of this sound and light is not yet known, but it was clearly heard in Pardis, in Boumhen and surrounding areas” of Tehran.

According Iran’s state television reports several entities were investigating the incident.

Fars added that police were taking part in the investigation.

Parchin is home to a major military site where Iranian technicians had reportedly been testing high explosive materials for a nuclear warhead in the early 200s, but this allegation has been refuted by Iran.

“Parchin is basically the largest military explosive manufacturing site in Iran,” said Fabian Hinz, a researcher at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies in Monterey, Calif.

“They produce artillery rockets there, and had tests related to nuclear weapons designs before 2003.”

In 2014, the base was believed to have been destroyed by a fire or a blast, but an inquiry by International Atomic Energy Agency was frustrated by a lack of access.