Iranian Reformist Leader Calls for New Constitution

A young man holds a sign that reads, Stand with the women of Iran, in Venice. (Reuters)
A young man holds a sign that reads, Stand with the women of Iran, in Venice. (Reuters)
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Iranian Reformist Leader Calls for New Constitution

A young man holds a sign that reads, Stand with the women of Iran, in Venice. (Reuters)
A young man holds a sign that reads, Stand with the women of Iran, in Venice. (Reuters)

Iranian reformist leader Mir Hossein Moussavi has called for drafting a new constitution and submitting it to a popular referendum, followed by a “free and fair” vote to change the structure of political power in Iran.

Moussavi, who has been under house arrest since February 2011, said in a statement published by his official website, Kalima, that the “bloody” events in recent months and years in Iran showed that the slogan “implementing the constitution without concessions” - which he raised in the 2009 presidential elections – was no longer viable, stressing the need for fundamental change.

Moussavi criticized the “obstinacy” of the authorities and their insistence on repressive methods in the recent protests, instead of dialogue and persuasion. Pointing to Iran’s increasing problems, he said that the biggest crisis was the contradictory structure of the country that was no longer viable.

“Iran and the Iranians need a fundamental change that takes its main features from the pure movement of ‘Woman, Life, Freedom,’ Moussavi said, referring to the main slogan of the Iranian women’s uprising that erupted following the death of the young Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, and became the focus of the latest public protests calling for the overthrow of the regime.

The Iranian reformist leader called for working on three proposals: first, drafting a new constitution, second, holding a referendum on it in a “free and fair” vote, and then forming a Constituent Assembly to finally adopt the new constitution.

He urged all components of the Iranian people to formulate a basic pact, thus proposing a new structure and system to replace the Islamic Republic.

Moussavi stressed that the introduction of such system “will shake the authoritarian power and force it to respond, because the source of strength is in the people, not in weapons and oppression.”



Russian Black Sea Commander Sokolov Shown on Video Call after Ukraine Said it Killed Him

Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a send-off ceremony for reservists drafted during partial mobilisation, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022. (Reuters)
Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a send-off ceremony for reservists drafted during partial mobilisation, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022. (Reuters)
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Russian Black Sea Commander Sokolov Shown on Video Call after Ukraine Said it Killed Him

Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a send-off ceremony for reservists drafted during partial mobilisation, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022. (Reuters)
Commander of the Russian Black Sea Fleet Vice-Admiral Viktor Sokolov salutes during a send-off ceremony for reservists drafted during partial mobilisation, in Sevastopol, Crimea September 27, 2022. (Reuters)

Admiral Viktor Sokolov, the commander of Russia's Black Sea Fleet, was shown on Russian state television on Tuesday attending a defense leaders' meeting remotely, a day after Ukrainian special forces said they had killed him.

In video and photographs released by the defense ministry, Sokolov was shown as one of several fleet commanders on video apparently joining an in-person meeting of Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu and other army chiefs, although not speaking. It was not clear when the video was filmed.

Ukraine's special forces said on Monday that Sokolov had been killed along with 33 other officers in a missile attack last week on the headquarters of Russia's Black Sea Fleet in the port of Sevastopol in Crimea, seized from Ukraine in 2014.

In response to the Russian video, the Ukraine special forces said on Telegram: "Since the Russians were urgently forced to publish a response with Sokolov allegedly alive, our units are clarifying the information."

Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov had declined to comment on the Ukrainian claim, referring reporters to the ministry.

In the video, Shoigu said more than 17,000 Ukrainian soldiers had been killed in September and that more than 2,700 weapons, including seven American Bradley fighting vehicles, had been destroyed.

Reuters could not independently verify battlefield claims.

"The Ukrainian armed forces are suffering serious losses along the entire front line," Shoigu said, adding that the Ukrainian counteroffensive had so far produced no results.

"The United States and its allies continue to arm the armed forces of Ukraine, and the Kyiv regime throws untrained soldiers to the slaughter in senseless assaults," Shoigu said.

Kyiv's counteroffensive has yet to seize much territory from Russian forces, which control about 17.5% of Ukraine's internationally recognized territory.

According to a Sept. 19 scorecard by the Belfer Center at Harvard's Kennedy School, Russia has gained 35 sq miles (91 sq km) from Ukraine in the past month while Ukrainian forces have taken 16 sq miles (41 sq km) from Russian forces.


Türkiye’s Erdogan Says Corridor through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran Must Be Completed

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 19, 2023. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 19, 2023. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)
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Türkiye’s Erdogan Says Corridor through Armenia, Azerbaijan, Iran Must Be Completed

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 19, 2023. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 78th United Nations General Assembly at UN headquarters in New York City on September 19, 2023. (Photo by Ed JONES / AFP)

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the so-called Zangezur trade corridor passing through Armenia, Azerbaijan, and Iran must be completed, broadcasters reported on Tuesday, a day after he met Azerbaijan's leader.
Speaking to reporters on his return flight from the Azeri exclave of Nackchivan, where he met President Ilham Aliyev, Erdogan said that if Armenia does not allow the trade corridor to pass through its territory then Iran was warm to the idea of allowing it passage through its territory, Reuters said.
The Zangezur corridor aims to give Baku unimpeded access to Nakhchivan through Armenia. Both Türkiye and Azerbaijan have been calling for its implementation since the Second Karabakh War in 2020.
Erdogan also said all materials required by civilians in the Karabakh region were being provided by trucks after Azerbaijan's lightning offensive to retake control of the region last week.


Erdogan: Türkiye Will Back Sweden's NATO Bid if US Keeps Promise on F-16 Sale 

Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, September 19, 2023. (Reuters)
Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, September 19, 2023. (Reuters)
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Erdogan: Türkiye Will Back Sweden's NATO Bid if US Keeps Promise on F-16 Sale 

Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, September 19, 2023. (Reuters)
Türkiye’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan addresses the 78th Session of the UN General Assembly in New York City, US, September 19, 2023. (Reuters)

Türkiye’s parliament will keep its promise to ratify Sweden's NATO bid if US President Joe Biden's administration paves the way for F-16 jet sales to Ankara, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday, according to Turkish media.

Speaking to reporters on his flight back from Azerbaijan's exclave of Nakhchivan, Erdogan said that Foreign Minister Hakan Fidan and US Secretary of State Antony Blinken discussed Sweden's NATO membership bid last week in New York.

The US administration is linking F-16 fighter jet sales to Türkiye with Ankara's ratification of Sweden's bid, Erdogan said.

"If they (the US) keep their promises, our parliament will keep its own promise as well. Turkish parliament will have the final say on Sweden's NATO membership," he said.


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)
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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)
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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)
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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
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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)
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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)
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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
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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.