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Iran made a ‘very big mistake!’ but advisers aren’t favoring war, says Trump

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June 20 : President Donald Trump termed shooting down of an American spy drone by Iran near the entrance to the Persian Gulf as “very big mistake”.Trump termed the downing of a US spy drone by Iran as a new provocation but clearly said his hawkish advisers are not leading him into war and reiterated that endless wars need to end.

“Iran made a very big mistake!” President Donald Trump said on Twitter Thursday morning.
President Trump held a meeting at the White House attended by acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan, incoming Acting Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo .

“We’re pulling a lot of people back but this is a new wrinkle,” Trump said, noting decisions to draw down troops in Syria and Afghanistan. “This is a new fly in the ointment, what happened shooting down the drone. And this country will not stand for it, that I can tell you.”

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Thursday that they had used a surface to air missile to shoot down the RQ-4 Global Hawk drone when it entered Iran’s airspace “near the Kouhmobarak district in the south,” inside Iranian airspace. The U.S. said the Global Hawk drone was flying in international airspace when it was shot down by an Iranian missile over the Strait of Hormuz, an oil choke point.

Already the tensions between Washington and Tehran are high over the oil tankers attacks and the downing of the drone fanned fears that military confrontation is just a matter of time, stoking tension throughout the Gulf, which supplies one-third of the world’s oil.


The US has confirmed that Iran’s Revolutionary Guards shot down a maritime surveillance drone, but denied that it had been flying over Iranian airspace. US military officials called the incident an “unprovoked attack.”
US Central Command released a statement confirming that an RQ-4 Global Hawk maritime surveillance drone had been “shot down by an Iranian surface-to-air missile system while operating in international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz.”

A CentCom spokesman, Capt Bill Urban said it was a US navy Global Hawk surveillance drone, which had been downed by an Iranian surface-to-air missile over the Strait of Hormuz at 11.35pm GMT.

“Iranian reports that the aircraft was over Iran are false. This was an unprovoked attack on a U.S. surveillance asset in international airspace,” Urban said.
General Hossein Salami, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, said the incident sent “a clear message” to the US, adding that Iran does “not have any intention for war with any country, but we are ready for war.”

The tensions have escalated to the extent that Washington has also increased its military presence in the region.


The US accused Iran last week of attacking Japanese and Norwegian flagged tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz.Iran has rejected Washington’s claims.

It all started   when Trump unilaterally withdrew from the nuclear deal  and consequently reimposed sanctions  on Iranian oil sales in early May, sent military reinforcements to the region so that Iran can be prevented from developing a nuclear bomb.

By Arti Bali

Sr Journalist
Persian Gulf

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Confusion over Trump’s Ashram visit

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Gandhinagar, Feb 20 : Two Tweets, one from the Ministry of External Affairs and the other from Ajay Tomar (Special Commissioner of Police, Crime Branch Ahmedabad) contradicting each other on Thursday created confusion about the possibility of the US President Donald Trump’s visit to the Gandhi Ashram at Sabarmati.

The MEAIndia tweet states that the US President and First Lady Melania Trump accompanied by Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be going to the Motera Stadium for the ‘Namaste Trump’ event directly from the Ahmedabad airport.

However, an official tweet from Ajay Tomar, the Special CP, Crime Branch Ahmedabad says that the US President will arrive at Ahmedabad on February 24 and to welcome him, PM Narendra Modi will be here. Both of them will go to Sabarmati Ashram first, then they will go to Motera Stadium to attend ‘Namaste Trump’ event.’

Following the expected visit four days from now, the preparations were underway at the famous Gandhi Ashram. Apart from turning the place into a fortress and getting all the security aspects covered, there were also some infrastructure changes put in place at the Ashram.

The Trump couple was expected to spend half an hour at the Ashram. A new parking space was being created at the place. To the rear side of the ashram, a platform was being built so that PM Modi could show the entire Sabarmati riverfront to the visiting dignitaries from one place.

A special room was also being prepared at the Ashram, where the dignitaries would be spending some time. Sources said all that ongoing work has been halted for now.

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2 die in Iran after testing positive for COVID-19

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Tehran, Iranian health authorities have confirmed that two men have died after testing positive for the deadly coronavirus (COVID-19), making it the first fatalities in the country and the second outside Asia.

An informed source said on Wednesday that the two old men died in a hospital in Qom city after being tested positive for coronavirus earlier in the day, reports Press TV.

The source said one of the two had been suffering from chemical weapons injuries sustained during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. He described the other victim as a 65-old man, without elaborating.

The news of the deaths came hours after authorities confirmed first two cases for coronavirus in Iran. In response, Deputy Health Minister Qassem Janbabaei visited Qom on Wednesday to supervise preparations to curb the spread of the disease.

Janbabaei said the two men were from two separate neighbourhoods of Qom, a city of close to one million people, adding that they had never been out of the province let alone to any foreign country.

“How they contracted coronavirus is not clear and the issue is being probed,” he told the state-run IRNA news agency.

The development came nearly a month after authorities evacuated 57 Iranian students from the central Chinese city of Wuhan, the epicentre of the outbreak, reports Press TV.

The students were released from a 14-day quarantine in Tehran on Tuesday.Hong Kong (two), the Philippines (one), Japan (one) and France (one) have each reported deaths.

The overall death toll in China increased to 2,118 on Thursday, with a total of 74,576 confirmed cases.

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9 die in German bar shootings, suspect’s body found

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The body of the suspected perpetrator of the two shootings in the German city of Hanau that left at least nine people dead, has been found in his house along with another one, police said on Thursday.

In a tweet, police said the “alleged perpetrator” was found “lifeless” at his home in Hanau, and special police officers also found another body there, reports Efe news.

In a statement, the state police said they had received witness information about a fleeing vehicle.The home address was blocked off extensively and searched by special police forces… One of the dead people is most likely the culprit,” said the statement, which also confirmed the new shooting death toll as nine, bringing the total to 11 deaths.

“Investigations into the identity of the victims and the suspected perpetrator are ongoing,” it said, adding that “there are currently no indications of other perpetrators”.

The suspect is a German national with a hunting weapons license, in whose car ammunition was found, according to a report in the German Bild newspaper.

In the consecutive shootings on Wednesday night in two shisha bars, nine people were killed and at least five others were believed to have been seriously injured.

The first attack took place at around 10 p.m. in a bar called Midnight, followed by the second shooting at the Arena Bar & Cafe, a similar establishment in the city’s Kesselstadt neighbourhood.

The shots were allegedly fired from a car, according to regional public broadcaster Hessischer Rundfunk. Local police deployed a large search operation for the attacker over several hours.

Hanau MP Katja Leikert said it was a “horrific scenario for us all” and sent her “heartfelt condolences” to those close to the victims.

Several local media outlets also reported another alleged attack at a third location in the city, but police did not confirm this.The city of Hanau – home to some 100,000 people – is located 25 km east of Frankfurt.

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