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Iran warns US of ‘crushing response’ to any threat

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Brig Gen Shekarchi
Iranian armed forces general staff spokesman Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi

Tehran, June 22 (IANS) Iran on Saturday warned the US against the “mistake” of taking military action against the Islamic republic, saying any attack will draw Tehran’s “crushing response” that will cost Washington dearly and blow up a powder keg in the region.

“Threat for threat means that if the enemy fires a single bullet at us, it will receive 10 bullets and have to pay a heavy cost,” Iranian armed forces general staff spokesman Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Shekarchi told Tasnim news agency in an interview.

He said that any act of aggression against Iran will draw such a “historic response that would make the assailants regret their move”.

Brig. Gen. Shekarchi‘s comments came after Iran shot down a US Global Hawk surveillance drone earlier this week. Tehran said the unmanned US aircraft entered Iranian airspace in the early hours of Thursday. Washington, however, maintains it was shot down in international airspace.

Following the incident, US President Donald Trump said on Friday that he aborted a military strike to retaliate against Iran’s move because doing so would have killed around 150 people.

In the interview with Tasnim, Shekarchi said that the Iranian Armed Forces were closely monitoring the US moves. “A military mistake from the enemy, particularly from the US and its regional allies, will be tantamount to firing at a powder keg… it will set the region ablaze and burn up the US, its interests and its allies.”

He added that the Islamic republic “will never be the first side to start a war, but the enemy’s slightest mistake will draw a revolutionary response from Iran in West and Central Asia from which the attackers would not survive”.

Tension has been escalating between the two countries, with the US blaming Iran for last week’s attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman and on four tankers off the United Arab Emirates in May — both near the Strait of Hormuz, through which between two and three dozen ships pass every day.

Tehran denies any role in these incidents.

Relations between the US and Iran plummeted to fresh lows after Trump decided to withdraw from the 2015 international nuclear deal and apply fresh sanctions targeting Iran’s oil and banking sector.

Middle East

Iran ready for interaction, cooperation with Europe: Rouhani

He expressed the hope that under new EU representative the relations between the Islamic republic and Europe will improve.

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Iranian President Hassan Rouhani

Tehran, Feb 4 : Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the Islamic republic is ready for interaction and cooperation with Europe to settle nuclear deal-related problems, the official IRNA news agency reported.

Rouhani made the remarks while meeting with Josep Borrell, high Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, who arrived in Tehran on Monday for talks on a range of issues, Xinhua news agency reported.

Rouhani referred to Iran’s reduction of commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA,) saying that Tehran is ready to re-embrace its vows if the Europeans help protect Iran’s economic interests enshrined by the JCPOA.

He expressed the hope that under new EU representative the relations between the Islamic republic and Europe will improve.

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Middle East

76 Syrian soldiers “neutralized” in Idlib: Akar

The Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, have been carrying out airstrikes in Idlib, the last stronghold of rebels in the war-torn country.

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Istanbul, Feb 4: Turkey’s Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said a total of 76 Syrian soldiers “were neutralized” and 54 targets were hit by Turkish forces in Syria’s northern region of Idlib.

“We continue our efforts and take additional measures to ensure the continuity of the ceasefires and the security of the troops,” Akar was quoted as saying by a written statement published on the ministry’s website on Monday, Xinhua news agency reported.

Meanwhile, the death toll in the Syrian artillery shelling in Idlib climbed to eight, including five Turkish soldiers, press reports said.

The Syrian government forces, backed by Russia, have been carrying out airstrikes in Idlib, the last stronghold of rebels in the war-torn country.

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey might consider launching a military operation if the bombardments in Idlib continue.

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Middle East

Erdogan meets Hamas chief in Istanbul over regional developments

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Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan

Istanbul, Feb 3 : Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan met with Islamic Hamas movement chief Ismail Haniyeh in Istanbul to discuss the latest developments in the region, local media reported.

The meeting took place on Saturday behind closed doors and lasted more than one hour, reported state-run Anadolu agency on Sunday.

US President Donald Trump recently revealed the details of his Middle East peace plan, dubbed as the “deal of the century”, Xinhua news agency reported.

The Turkish Foreign Ministry declared the plan as “stillborn” in a written statement.

“This plan is an annexation plan aiming to destroy the two-state solution and seize Palestinian territories,” the ministry said in the statement.

Erdogan also expressed his supports to his Palestinian counterpart Mahmoud Abbas in a phone conversation on Friday, Turkey’s Directorate of Communications said.

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