Israel stayed away from UAE arms fair ‘for fear Iran would target its delegates’

While COVID was cited as official reason for cancelation in this week’s Abu Dhabi event, TV says decision was taken by security establishment

Buyers and sellers pictured on the opening day of the International Defence Exhibition Conference, IDEX, in Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, Sunday, Feb. 21, 2021. (AP Photo/Kamran Jebreili)

Israel canceled its participation in this week’s Abu Dhabi arms fair because of fears that its delegates would be targeted for assassination by Iran, a television report said.

The Israeli delegation was to have included the heads of Israel’s major defense companies, seeking lucrative contracts and underlining the newly normalized relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates.

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Israel Says Iran Behind Blast On Israeli-Owned Ship In ‘Initial Assessment’

Israel is blaming Iran for the Thursday incident in the Gulf of Oman wherein a cargo vessel owned by an Israeli businessman was hit by a ‘mystery’ explosion, forcing it to divert to the nearest port after sustaining severe damage.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz has announced as part of an “initial assessment” that Tel Aviv believes Iran was behind a bomb attack on the car-carrier vessel, identified as the Helios Ray. Suspicion of Iran’s involvement has been rampant in Israeli media since the blast. However, there’s yet to be definitive proof or evidence that either a state actor or terrorist elements were involved, much less any specific details released to the public. 

Iran is looking to hit Israeli infrastructure and Israeli citizens. The location of the ship in relative close proximity to Iran raises the notion, the assessment, that it is the Iranians,” Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Saturday, according to Reuters.

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Exiled Iranian crown prince confident end of ayatollahs’ regime is near

Reza Pahlavi, the exiled son of the last Shah of Iran, believes that the majority of the Iranian people see the Islamic republic’s track record in the global theater as a failure, and would therefore be happy to strike peace with the Jewish state. “I would love to travel to Israel,” he says.

Israel and Iran are archenemies – that is a simple fact of the modern Middle East. So much so, that is it easy to forget that was not always the case. In fact, Iran was the second Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel as a sovereign state after Turkey.

Back in the 1950s, after the pro-Western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi came to power, relations between Jerusalem and Teheran were close. improved. Israel had a permanent delegation in Tehran which served as a de facto embassy and ambassadors were officially exchanged in the late 1970s.

That all changed in 1979, when the Shah’s regime was toppled by Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and Iran was declared an Islamic republic. The Shah had no choice but to flee Iran with his family. He died on July 27, 1980 while in exile in Egypt, where then-President Anwar Sadat had granted him asylum.

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Iran tests ‘smart’ missile with 300-kilometer range

Top military officer says weapon can work in any weather conditions; deputy army chief reveals joint naval exercise with Russia planned soon for Indian Ocean

TEHRAN, Iran — Iran’s army test-fired a sophisticated short-range missile on Sunday, state media reported.

The report by the official IRNA news agency quoted the chief of the army’s ground forces, Gen. Kioumars Heidari, as saying that the missile’s range was 300 kilometers (186 miles).

Gen. Heidari said the “smart” missile is capable to work under “any weather condition.” He did not say where the test took place.

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Huge blasts on Afghanistan-Iran border spotted from space

At least 60 injured in explosions at Islam Qala crossing that consumed 500 natural gas and fuel trucks

A fuel tanker exploded on Saturday at the Islam Qala crossing in Afghanistan’s western Herat province on the Iranian border, injuring at least 60 people and causing a massive fire that consumed more than 500 trucks carrying natural gas and fuel, according to Afghan officials and Iranian state media.

Two explosions at the border crossing were powerful enough to be spotted from space by Nasa satellites. One blast erupted around 1.10pm Afghan time (8.40am GMT), the next around a half hour later at 1.42pm local (9.12am GMT).

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European powers blame Iran for ‘undermining opportunity’ for nuclear diplomacy

Britain, France and Germany ‘strongly urge’ Tehran to halt uranium metal production activities; analysts say narrow window of opportunity exists to bring US back into deal

The Bushehr nuclear power plant outside the southern city of Bushehr, Iran. (AP Photo/Mehr News Agency, Majid Asgaripour, File)

PARIS, France  — Iran risks losing the chance to fully realize the 2015 deal reducing sanctions in exchange for limits to its nuclear program after starting to produce uranium metal in the latest violation of the accord, European powers said on Friday.

There have been hopes that the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) over Tehran’s nuclear ambitions could be revived through new talks under the administration of US President Joe Biden, after his predecessor Donald Trump walked out of the deal in 2018.

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Iran warns its ‘peaceful’ nuclear program could change if it’s ‘backed into a corner’

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said the country’s nuclear program is peaceful, and it will be the fault of others if it is pushed towards the path of creating nuclear weapons.

“The leadership [of Iran] has explicitly stated that the production of nuclear weapons is against Sharia law, and the Islamic Republic forbids it, but if a cat gets backed [into a] corner, it may act as it wouldn’t have acted while free,” Alavi said, as cited by Iranian media.

If they push Iran in this direction, it won’t be the fault of Iran, but the fault of those who have pushed Iran.

At the same time, Alavi said Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful and the country does not have plans or intentions to build nuclear weapons in “normal circumstances.” He also stated that the US must immediately lift the sanctions against Iran and compensate the losses from the “illegal” restrictions.

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Russia, Iran & China To Hold Joint Naval Drills As CENTCOM Chief Blasts Iran As “Driver Of Instability”

On Monday Russia announced plans to hold joint naval drills with Iran and China in the Indian Ocean, according to Reuters, which cites comments made by Moscow’s ambassador to Tehran. Russian Ambassador Levan Dzhagaryan said, “The next multilateral naval exercises will take place in the northern part of the Indian Ocean in mid-February 2021.”

It comes just after the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier was ordered out of its Mideast region of responsibility at the start of this month. The Nimitz is headed home to its base in Washington state, after Trump kept it in the Indian Ocean and gulf region on standby amid ratcheting tensions with Iran. Biden then ordered it home within his first couple weeks in office.

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The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps received 340 new speedboats during a ceremony at the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.

The delivered speedboats are co-produced by the IRGC Navy and the Defense Ministry and are capable of carrying various types of missiles to attack enemy targets. The delivery took place alongside the celebration of the 42nd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. These boats are to be actively used in the Persian Gulf, Sea of Oman, and the Caspian Sea.

The IRGC Navy is focused on smaller vessels, aimed at swarming a potential adversary. The newly-delivered speedboats were described as agile, maneuverable and equipped with radar-evading stealth technology.

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