'Jaish-ul-Adl' Publishes Images of Abducted Iranian Soldiers

Jaish-ul-Adl carried out a spate of attacks on Iranian security forces in recent years. (File Photo: AFP)
Jaish-ul-Adl carried out a spate of attacks on Iranian security forces in recent years. (File Photo: AFP)
TT

'Jaish-ul-Adl' Publishes Images of Abducted Iranian Soldiers

Jaish-ul-Adl carried out a spate of attacks on Iranian security forces in recent years. (File Photo: AFP)
Jaish-ul-Adl carried out a spate of attacks on Iranian security forces in recent years. (File Photo: AFP)

A militant group claimed responsibility for the abduction of 12 Iranian security personnel and soldiers southeast the border with Pakistan, Iran’s semi-official news agency ISNA reported Monday.

"The terrorist group Jaish-ul-Adl has posted two photos... claiming that those in it are the forces abducted" on October 16, AFP reported. The photo shows seven members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and 15 security personnel in their military garb.

Jaish-ul-Adl, formed in 2012, is a successor to the extremist group Jundallah which led the bloody rebellion between 2005 and 2010.

Poor Sistan-Baluchestan province, bordering Pakistan and Afghanistan, where a majority of Sunnis are ethnic Baluchis, has been battling clashes between regime forces and Baloch separatists or militant groups, according to AFP. The Sunni Baloch minority accounts for about 2 percent of Iran's population.

The photos also show a haul of automatic weapons and sniper rifles, rocket launchers, machine-guns, grenades and ammunition, apparently seized from the Iranian forces.

IRGC Ground Force Commander, Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour, left for Pakistan on Monday to pursue the case of the kidnapped Iranians, according to an IRGC statement.

Meanwhile, Iranian Oil Ministry quoted Minister Bijan Zanganeh as saying that Iranian oil output cannot be replaced by other oil-producing countries if Tehran is hit by US sanctions in November, Reuters published in a report from Dubai.

“As I have repeatedly said there is no replacement for Iranian oil in the market,” said Zanganeh.

In May, US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international nuclear deal with Iran and announced sanctions against OPEC’s third-largest producer. Washington is pushing allies to cut imports of Iranian oil to zero and will reimpose sanctions on Iranian oil and financial sectors in November.

In June, OPEC agreed to boost supply to make up for the expected disruption to Iranian exports. But Iran has repeatedly said that its oil exports cannot be reduced to zero because of high demand levels in the market.

“The market’s knowledge of this inability has raised the prices as the average price (of crude) ... Rising oil prices have slowed down the economic growth of most of the consumer countries, which is affecting the global economy,” Oil Minister noted.

Zanganeh advised Trump “to forgo imposition of sanctions on Iran’s oil exports”, saying that the non-OPEC producers of oil were also unable “to offset disruptions in the market”.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, in an interview with Reuters on Sunday, dismissed concerns that oil prices could rise, saying the market had already factored in the losses.

Iran warned that if it cannot sell its oil due to US pressure, then no other regional country will be allowed to do so either, threatening to block the Strait of Hormuz, as referred by Reuters.

Under the 2015 nuclear deal, most international sanctions against Tehran were lifted in 2016 in exchange for Iran curbing its nuclear program.



Biden, Trump to Woo Union Workers in Michigan as Auto Strikes Grow 

Former President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up to his supporters before he speaks at a rally in Summerville, S.C., Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (AP)
Former President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up to his supporters before he speaks at a rally in Summerville, S.C., Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (AP)
TT

Biden, Trump to Woo Union Workers in Michigan as Auto Strikes Grow 

Former President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up to his supporters before he speaks at a rally in Summerville, S.C., Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (AP)
Former President Donald Trump gives a thumbs up to his supporters before he speaks at a rally in Summerville, S.C., Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (AP)

Joe Biden and Donald Trump will speak to striking auto workers in rare back-to-back events in Michigan this week, highlighting how important unions are to the 2024 presidential election, even though they represent a tiny fraction of US workers.

Biden will join striking United Auto Workers (UAW) members on a picket line in Wayne County, Michigan at 12 p.m. EDT (1600 GMT) on Tuesday, which labor historians said is the most support shown for striking workers by a sitting president in at least 100 years.

Republican rival Donald Trump, the front-runner to be his party's 2024 presidential candidate, will address hundreds of workers at a gathering at an auto supplier in a Detroit suburb on Wednesday.

Biden said on Monday that the UAW gave up "an incredible amount" when the auto industry was struggling and the union "saved the automobile industry," an apparent reference to a 2009 government bailout that included wage cuts.

"Now that the industry is roaring back, they should participate in the benefits," he said.

UAW President Shawn Fain is expected to join Biden at the picket line on Tuesday, said a source familiar with the matter. The union is not involved with Trump's visit and Fain does not plan to attend that event, the source added.

To date, the UAW has declined to support either 2024 presidential candidate, making it the only major union not to back Biden.

"We are a long way from the general election, but it sure feels like the general election," said Dave Urban, a Republican strategist who previously worked for Trump.

UAW workers this month began targeted strikes against General Motors, Ford and Chrysler parent Stellantis seeking wage rises to match CEO pay jumps, shorter work weeks and job security as the industry moves toward electric vehicles.

The White House is having discussions about ways to blunt any economic fallout from a full walkout.

Only 10.1% of US workers were union members in 2022, but they have outsized political influence because the states where they are strong often swing from Democrat to Republican, and they have grassroots networks that are powerful.

Striking auto workers say they would like to see more support from elected officials as they push to get companies to share more of the profits.

"There definitely needs to be more of a light shined on the auto industry," said Brandon Cappelletty, 25, who was on a picket line in Toledo, Ohio last week. "The politicians need to back us a lot more."

Rust belt in the balance?

The auto industry and its labor movement are deeply intertwined with Michigan's politics and that of other Midwestern US states.

Biden has made support for unions a cornerstone of his economic policies. As president, he has emphasized reinvestment in US manufacturing, union jobs and workers' rights even though he is struggling to impress voters with his economic stewardship as he campaigns for a second term.

Trump, who sometimes fought with unions as a real estate developer, slashed corporate taxes as president and generally backed the interests of businesses over labor, experts said.

The Trump administration's stance on labor issues was "unconditionally anti-union," said Robert Bruno, professor of labor and employment relations at the University of Illinois.

In 2016, Trump earned a level of support from union members that no Republican had reached since Ronald Reagan, helping him narrowly capture critical states such as Pennsylvania, Michigan and Wisconsin.

Biden rebounded with unions in 2020, with a roughly 16-percentage-point advantage as he reclaimed those so-called rust belt states, which have been scarred by decades of job losses as companies moved jobs to lower-cost, often non-union locations. He won Michigan in 2020 by some 154,000 votes.

Republicans believe Biden's push to electrify America's vehicle fleet, by pumping billions of dollars of tax rebates into EV manufacturing, is unpopular with auto workers.

"Bidenflation and Biden's insane EV mandate have put the state of Michigan and the critical constituency of working middle class voters in Michigan in play," said Jason Miller, a senior Trump adviser.

In Michigan, Trump will criticize Biden's economic policies and incentives promoting EVs and say he would do a better job of protecting blue-collar workers if elected to a second term, Miller added.

Trump is banking on driving a wedge between union members and their leaders, who criticized the former president's labor policies during his term, labor experts said.

Karen Finney, a Democratic strategist, said it was critical for Biden to make the trip to Michigan to ensure that Trump does not rewrite history.

"Biden is saying that we are not just going to let you go there and lie to people and try to change the conversation," Finney said.

Biden's Michigan visit represents the most support a sitting president has shown striking workers since Theodore Roosevelt invited striking coal workers to the White House in 1902, historians said.

As a presidential candidate, then former Vice President Biden joined multiple picket lines, including a UAW picket in Kansas City in 2019.


Israel’s Netanyahu Says US Visit Was ‘Very Successful’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows a map of what he called the "New Middle East" during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Friday. (EPA)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows a map of what he called the "New Middle East" during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Friday. (EPA)
TT

Israel’s Netanyahu Says US Visit Was ‘Very Successful’

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows a map of what he called the "New Middle East" during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Friday. (EPA)
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shows a map of what he called the "New Middle East" during his speech before the United Nations General Assembly on Friday. (EPA)

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wrapped up his six-day US visit and arrived in Israel on Sunday, saying it was a “very successful trip”.

In a brief statement aboard the return flight, Netanyahu told delegation members that he “met with about 20 heads of state across five continents” and secured “many achievements.”

The PM was in the US to attend the 78th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

The premier said he had “an excellent meeting with US President Joe Biden during which we discussed expanding the circle of peace, a continuation of the Abraham Accords that we [signed] three years ago.”

“I will continue to work hard to bring more achievements to our beloved country. More good news is coming,” he said.

Over the course of Netanyahu’s visit this week, which began with a sit-down with Tesla CEO Elon Musk, the premier met with Biden and other world leaders, such as Türkiye’s Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky.

He spoke before the General Assembly, sat down with American-Jewish leaders and gave a number of television interviews in which he argued that he was trying to reach a compromise on his hardline coalition’s divisive bid to overhaul the judiciary.

The bid has sparked widespread, sustained protests that followed Netanyahu everywhere he went during his US visit.

On Saturday night, as his convoy left for the airport, hundreds protested outside in the rain, shouting “shame” and “democracy,” while police secured the area.


German Police Raid Locations Across the Country in Connection with Smuggling of Syrian Migrants 

A warning signal stands on the road during a police check against smuggling of migrants, in Roggosen, Germany, Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (dpa via AP)
A warning signal stands on the road during a police check against smuggling of migrants, in Roggosen, Germany, Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (dpa via AP)
TT

German Police Raid Locations Across the Country in Connection with Smuggling of Syrian Migrants 

A warning signal stands on the road during a police check against smuggling of migrants, in Roggosen, Germany, Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (dpa via AP)
A warning signal stands on the road during a police check against smuggling of migrants, in Roggosen, Germany, Monday, Sept. 25, 2023. (dpa via AP)

Police in Germany found more than 100 Syrian citizens inside apartments and other buildings that were searched Tuesday in connection with the suspected smuggling of migrants, German news agency dpa reported.

More than 350 German federal police officers searched locations as part of an investigation. The Syrians allegedly were brought into Germany without holding legal residency documents, dpa said.

Police executed five arrest warrants, three in the northern town of Stade and two in the western town of Gladbeck. All five arrested people were Syrian asylum-seekers already living in Germany, the news agency said.

The Syrian migrants had to pay them 3,000 to 7,000 euros ($3,170- 7,400) to be smuggled into Germany. The suspects then bought gold with the money, dpa said.

The raids were ordered by federal police at Frankfurt airport on suspicion of gang and commercial smuggling of foreigners, the news agency reported.

The focus of the raids was on cities and towns in northern and western Germany but also in Bavaria in the south, dpa said.


US Calls on Azerbaijan to Safeguard Armenians as Thousands Flee Karabakh

A general view shows Stepanakert, a city mostly inhabited by ethnic Armenians, as seen from the Azerbaijani-controlled town of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh region, September 23, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer
A general view shows Stepanakert, a city mostly inhabited by ethnic Armenians, as seen from the Azerbaijani-controlled town of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh region, September 23, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer
TT

US Calls on Azerbaijan to Safeguard Armenians as Thousands Flee Karabakh

A general view shows Stepanakert, a city mostly inhabited by ethnic Armenians, as seen from the Azerbaijani-controlled town of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh region, September 23, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer
A general view shows Stepanakert, a city mostly inhabited by ethnic Armenians, as seen from the Azerbaijani-controlled town of Shusha in Nagorno-Karabakh region, September 23, 2023. REUTERS/Stringer

As thousands of Armenians fled their homes in Nagorno-Karabakh saying they feared ethnic cleansing, the United States called on Azerbaijan to protect the rights of civilians and allow in humanitarian and monitoring missions.
The Armenians of Karabakh - a breakaway part of Azerbaijan beyond Baku's control since the dissolution of the Soviet Union - began fleeing this week after their forces were defeated in a lightning military operation by Azerbaijan's military, Reuters said.
At least 13,550 of the 120,000 ethnic Armenians who call Nagorno-Karabakh home arrived in Armenia on the first day of the exodus, with hundreds of cars and buses crammed with belongings snaking down the mountain road out of Azerbaijan.
"We are calling on Azerbaijan to maintain the ceasefire and take concrete steps to protect the rights of civilians in Nagorno-Karabakh," US Agency for International Development (USAID) chief Samantha Power told reporters in Yerevan.
Power, who earlier handed Armenian Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan a letter of support from US President Joe Biden, said Azerbaijan's use of force was unacceptable and that Washington was looking at an appropriate response.
She called on Azerbaijan's President Ilham Aliyev to live up to his promise to protect ethnic Armenian rights, fully reopen the Lachin corridor that connects the region to Armenia and let in aid deliveries and an international monitoring mission.
Aliyev has pledged to guarantee the safety of Karabakh's Armenians but said his iron fist had consigned the idea of the region's independence to history.
FEAR AND FIRE
Ethnic Armenians who managed to get to Armenia gave harrowing accounts
of fleeing death, war and hunger.
Some said they saw many dead civilians - one said truckloads. Others, some with young children, broke down in tears as they described a tragic odyssey of running from war, sleeping on the ground and with hunger churning in their bellies.
"We took what we could and left. We don’t know where we’re going. We have nowhere to go," Petya Grigoryan, a 69-year-old driver, told Reuters in the border town of Goris on Sunday.
Reuters was unable to independently verify accounts of the military operation inside Karabakh. Azerbaijan has said it targeted only Karabakh fighters.
"We are going to learn a lot more in a hurry about the severity of those conditions and what those individuals have gone through causing them to leave Nagorno-Karabakh," USAID's Power said.
As Armenians rushed to leave the Karabakh capital, known as Stepanakert by Armenia and Khankendi by Azerbaijan, fuel stations were overwhelmed by panic buying.
The authorities there said at least 20 people were killed and 290 injured when a fuel storage facility blew up on Monday.
"The doctors and medical staff in Stepanakert are doing their best to save the lives of the wounded in these difficult and cramped conditions," the local Armenian authorities said.
BALANCE OF POWER
The Azerbaijani victory changes the balance of power in the South Caucasus region, a patchwork of ethnicities crisscrossed with oil and gas pipelines where Russia, the United States, Türkiye and Iran are jostling for influence.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Armenia had relied on a security partnership with Russia, while Azerbaijan grew close to Türkiye, with which it shares linguistic and cultural ties.
Armenia has sought closer ties with the West and blames Russia, which had peacekeepers in Karabakh but is now preoccupied with the war in Ukraine, for failing to protect Karabakh. Moscow denies blame and has told Pashinyan that he is making a big mistake by flirting with the United States.
Aliyev hinted on Monday at the prospect of creating a land corridor to Türkiye across Armenia.
Anatoly Antonov, the Russian ambassador to the United States, told Washington to stop stoking anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia.


IAEA Urges Iran to Offer Assurances Proving its Nuclear Program Is Peaceful

Grossi at the IAEA General Assembly meeting in Vienna. (AFP)
Grossi at the IAEA General Assembly meeting in Vienna. (AFP)
TT

IAEA Urges Iran to Offer Assurances Proving its Nuclear Program Is Peaceful

Grossi at the IAEA General Assembly meeting in Vienna. (AFP)
Grossi at the IAEA General Assembly meeting in Vienna. (AFP)

Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Rafael Grossi said on Monday that only full cooperation by Iran, and tangible results, will lead to the credible assurances that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively peaceful.

In return, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Mohammad Eslami called on the UN agency to close the case of “outstanding issues” between the two sides as soon as possible.

Both men made their remarks at the 67th Annual Regular Session of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in Vienna.

Grossi urged Iran to show more transparency in its nuclear activities and to build trust with the UN agency.

He said talks between the UN body and Tehran “have not made the progress I was hoping for,” in accordance with the agreement signed with the Iranians last spring.

Iran and the IAEA announced an agreement in March on solving the issue of uranium traces found at two undeclared sites, and reinstalling surveillance cameras introduced under a deal with major powers in 2015 but removed at Iran's behest last year.

The IAEA chief also spoke about Iran’s decision to stop implementing the Additional Protocol, attached to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons in February 2011.

Iran applied the Additional Protocol under its 2015 nuclear deal with major powers but stopped after then President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the accord in 2018.

Grossi, who on Monday was appointed to a second four-year term as head of the IAEA, said that to achieve mutual cooperation and transparency between Iran and the UN agency, “each of us must do our own work.”

He stressed that members of his team cannot present a correct report on Iranian activities when they do not have correct information.

Meanwhile, Esalmi said his country is determined to expand the use of nuclear energy for electricity generation and other civilian uses.

He stressed that despite the sanctions imposed on Iran, the country will continue peaceful activities in the field of nuclear science and technology.

“Iran is committed to increasing its nuclear electricity generation to 20,000 megawatts per year by 2040,” Eslami added.

Moreover, he criticized the US sanctions, describing them as “baseless and unacceptable.”

“Now, five years after the withdrawal of the US from the nuclear deal, the US government has not yet stopped the imposition of illegal sanctions against Iran,” he said.

The official stressed that Iran is cooperating with the IAEA.

“Iran, with the highest number of safeguards inspections of its peaceful nuclear program, has an exemplary record of cooperation with the IAEA,” he claimed.

Eslami urged the IAEA to take effective and concrete measures to protect the confidentiality of the information it gathers.


Russian Air Strike Damages Ukraine’s Izmail Port, Injures Two 

Firefighters work near damaged trucks following a Russian strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, at a location given as Odesa region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released September 26, 2023. (Odesa Regional Military Administration/Handout via Reuters)
Firefighters work near damaged trucks following a Russian strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, at a location given as Odesa region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released September 26, 2023. (Odesa Regional Military Administration/Handout via Reuters)
TT

Russian Air Strike Damages Ukraine’s Izmail Port, Injures Two 

Firefighters work near damaged trucks following a Russian strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, at a location given as Odesa region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released September 26, 2023. (Odesa Regional Military Administration/Handout via Reuters)
Firefighters work near damaged trucks following a Russian strike, amid Russia's attack on Ukraine, at a location given as Odesa region, Ukraine, in this handout picture released September 26, 2023. (Odesa Regional Military Administration/Handout via Reuters)

An overnight Russian air strike on the key Ukrainian grain exporting port of Izmail injured two people and damaged infrastructure, the governor of the Odesa region said on Tuesday.

A port building, storage facilities and more than 30 trucks and cars were damaged in the attack, which lasted more than two hours, Oleh Kiper said on the Telegram messaging app.

The Ukrainian military reported shooting down 26 of the 38 Iranian-made attack drones it said were launched by Russia.

Moscow has intensified its air attacks on Ukrainian ports on the Danube River, including Izmail and Reni, after it quit a grain deal in July that ensured the safe export of Ukrainian grains.

Separately on Tuesday, a Russian missile strike also damaged a local enterprise in the southern Ukrainian city of Kryvyi Rih, Mayor Oleksandr Vilkul said. There were no immediate reports of casualties.

Reuters could not independently verify the report. There was no immediate comment from Russia.

A Ukraine drone attack on Russia's Kursk resulted in power being cut off to about seven settlements in the region, the region's governor Roman Starovoyt said on Tuesday. He said there were no reports of injuries.

Earlier, Russia's defense ministry said its air defense systems had destroyed one Ukraine-launched drone over the Kursk at around 5:30 a.m. (0230 GMT). That followed reports of multiple drones being shot down over the region that borders Ukraine on Monday.

Reuters could not independently verify the reports. There was no immediate comment from Ukraine.


China Firmly Opposes US Inclusion of Some Chinese Entities on Iran List

The flags of the United States and China fly from a lamppost in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, US, November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
The flags of the United States and China fly from a lamppost in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, US, November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
TT

China Firmly Opposes US Inclusion of Some Chinese Entities on Iran List

The flags of the United States and China fly from a lamppost in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, US, November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder
The flags of the United States and China fly from a lamppost in the Chinatown neighborhood of Boston, Massachusetts, US, November 1, 2021. REUTERS/Brian Snyder

China firmly opposes the US inclusion of some Chinese companies and individuals in Iran-related sanctions, Chinese commerce ministry said in a statement on Tuesday.

The ministry said the US had included some Chinese entities into a sanction list in connection with Tehran's drone and military aircraft development, Reuters reported.


Russia, US Trade Diplomatic Blame over Instability in Karabakh Crisis

An Azeri serviceman checks on ethnic Armenians leaving Nagorno-Karabakh through a checkpoint on the entrance of the Lachinsky corridor, which connects the Nagorno-Karabakh region with Armenia, in Lachin, Azerbaijan, 25 September 2023.  EPA/ROMAN ISMAYILOV
An Azeri serviceman checks on ethnic Armenians leaving Nagorno-Karabakh through a checkpoint on the entrance of the Lachinsky corridor, which connects the Nagorno-Karabakh region with Armenia, in Lachin, Azerbaijan, 25 September 2023. EPA/ROMAN ISMAYILOV
TT

Russia, US Trade Diplomatic Blame over Instability in Karabakh Crisis

An Azeri serviceman checks on ethnic Armenians leaving Nagorno-Karabakh through a checkpoint on the entrance of the Lachinsky corridor, which connects the Nagorno-Karabakh region with Armenia, in Lachin, Azerbaijan, 25 September 2023.  EPA/ROMAN ISMAYILOV
An Azeri serviceman checks on ethnic Armenians leaving Nagorno-Karabakh through a checkpoint on the entrance of the Lachinsky corridor, which connects the Nagorno-Karabakh region with Armenia, in Lachin, Azerbaijan, 25 September 2023. EPA/ROMAN ISMAYILOV

Moscow and Washington have accused each other of destabilizing the South Caucuses region, as thousands of ethnic Armenians fled their homes in Nagorno-Karabakh over ethnic cleansing fears.
"We urge Washington to refrain from extremely dangerous words and actions that lead to an artificial increase in anti-Russian sentiment in Armenia," Russia's Ambassador to the United States Anatoly Antonov said on the Telegram messaging app on Tuesday.
Antonov's comments follow the US State Department spokesman saying on Monday that Russia had shown it was not a reliable partner after Armenia blamed Moscow for failing to intervene in last week's capture of Nagorno-Karabakh by Azerbaijani forces, said AFP.
Since the breakup of the Soviet Union, Armenia had relied on a security partnership with Russia, but relations between the two countries have frayed badly since President Vladimir Putin launched the invasion of Ukraine in 2022.
"I do think that Russia has shown that it is not a security partner that can be relied on," US State Department spokesman Matthew Miller told reporters.
Thousands of ethnic Armenians fled the breakaway region of Nagorno-Karabakh by Monday after their fighters were defeated by Azerbaijan in last week's lightning military operation.
Baku has promised to protect the rights of the roughly 120,000 Armenians who call Karabakh home but many refuse to accept its assurances. Armenia's Prime Minister Nikol Pashinyan blamed Russia for failing to ensure Armenian security.
Washington and a number of its Western allies condemned the Azeri hostilities, which have changed the contours of the South Caucasus - a patchwork of ethnicities crisscrossed with oil and gas pipelines where Russia, the United States, Turkey and Iran vie for influence.
Moscow has said Armenia only had itself to blame for Azerbaijan's victory over Karabakh because it flirted with the West rather than working with Moscow and Baku for peace.
On Monday, US Agency for International Development (USAID) chief Samantha Power and US State Department Acting Assistant Secretary for Europe and Eurasian Affairs Yuri, arrived in Armenia, in the first visit by senior US officials since the Karabakh Armenians were forced into a ceasefire last week.
From 1988-1994 about 30,000 people were killed and more than a million people, mostly ethnic Azeris, displaced as the Armenians threw off nominal Azerbaijani control in what is now known as the First Karabakh War.
Azerbaijan gained back territory in and around Nagorno-Karabakh in a second war in 2020, which ended with a Moscow-brokered peace deal and the deployment of a contingent of Russian peacekeepers.
Turkey, who backed Azerbaijan with weaponry in the 2020 conflict, said last week it supported the aims of the Azerbaijan's latest military operation but played no part in it.


Threat-Hit Iranian TV Channel Resumes London Broadcasts

 The skyline of the financial district known as The City, as the sun sets in London, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (AP)
The skyline of the financial district known as The City, as the sun sets in London, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (AP)
TT

Threat-Hit Iranian TV Channel Resumes London Broadcasts

 The skyline of the financial district known as The City, as the sun sets in London, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (AP)
The skyline of the financial district known as The City, as the sun sets in London, Tuesday, Nov. 23, 2021. (AP)

Private network Iran International TV said Monday that it was broadcasting again from London having shut down its studios earlier this year due to threats it blamed on Tehran.

The station had been giving extensive coverage to anti-government demonstrations that erupted in Iran last year, and said two of its senior journalists received death threats in response to their reporting.

Acting upon police advice, it closed its base in the UK capital in February, but said in a statement on Monday that "Iran International TV has begun broadcasting from its new London studios".

"This resumption marks a return to London for Iran's most-watched news channel after broadcasting was temporarily moved to the United States earlier this year because of the credible, state-sponsored threats against its staff," it added.

London's Metropolitan Police last year installed concrete barriers outside the old studios in Chiswick, west London, to prevent any attack by vehicle and warned of "imminent and credible threats" to the lives of the channel's journalists.

The decision to close came after the arrest of Austrian national Magomed-Husejn Dovtaev, who was charged with terror offences having been seen photographing and filming the exterior of the studios.

The Persian-language network's general manager Mahmood Enayat celebrated Monday's news, saying "it is great to be back broadcasting from London".

"Britain is the home of free speech. Resuming our broadcast from here is a statement that we will not be deterred from serving the Iranian people with independent, uncensored news," he added.

The channel will now broadcast from a secure site in north London, supported "by the guidance and expertise of the Metropolitan Police."

Iran International TV employed around 100 journalists in London while a similar number work for the station in Washington, serving a global audience of 30-40 million Farsi speakers.


US Abrams Battle Tanks Arrive in Ukraine, Zelensky Says

President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington. (AP)
President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington. (AP)
TT

US Abrams Battle Tanks Arrive in Ukraine, Zelensky Says

President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington. (AP)
President Joe Biden meets with Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky in the Oval Office of the White House, Thursday, Sept. 21, 2023, in Washington. (AP)

Ukraine has received US Abrams battle tanks, President Volodymyr Zelensky announced Monday, boosting Kyiv's forces as they seek to break through heavily-fortified Russian defensive lines.

The announcement came just after Ukraine claimed it had killed the commander of Russia's Black Sea fleet in a missile strike on Moscow's naval headquarters in Crimea last week in what would be a major embarrassment for Russia.

"Abrams are already in Ukraine and are preparing to reinforce our brigades," Zelensky said on social media.

Ukraine has repeatedly asked for more Western weapons, including longer-range missiles, to help break through Russian positions and launch strikes deep within Russian-controlled territory.

Zelensky did not elaborate on how many tanks had arrived, nor on how long it would take for them to be deployed to the front line.

"I am grateful to our allies for fulfilling the agreements. We are looking for new contracts and expanding the geography of supply," he said.

Washington had promised to provide 31 Abrams tanks to Kyiv at the start of the year, part of more than $43 billion in security assistance pledged by the United States since Moscow invaded in February last year.

Russia has repeatedly denounced the arms shipments to Ukraine, arguing they "prolong" the conflict and risk causing it to spiral out of control.