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Trump Adds Big Names to Impeachment Defense Team

January 18, 2020 by · Comments Off on Trump Adds Big Names to Impeachment Defense Team 

VOA – WASHINGTON – President Donald Trump has assembled a made-for-TV legal team for his Senate impeachment trial.  The team includes Ken Starr, the prosecutor whose investigation two decades ago resulted in the impeachment of Bill Clinton. Also, former Harvard law professor Alan Dershowitz will deliver constitutional arguments meant to shield Trump from allegations that he abused his power.  The additions on Friday bring experience in the politics of impeachment as well as constitutional law to the team, which faced a busy weekend of deadlines for legal briefs and other documents before opening arguments begin Tuesday.  The two new Trump attorneys are already nationally known both for their involvement in some of the more consequential legal dramas of recent American history and for their regular appearances on Fox News, the president’s preferred television network. 

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Will Latest Iran Protests Spark Popular Uprising?

January 16, 2020 by · Comments Off on Will Latest Iran Protests Spark Popular Uprising? 

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VOA -“My expectation is that the demonstrations, however large they may be, are really not huge and are really not likely to metastasize a lot more,” said Michael O’Hanlon, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution. The demonstrations erupted Saturday in the capital and other cities after Iranian officials admitted the military shot down a civilian plane, a Ukraine International Airlines Boeing 737, shortly after takeoff  from Tehran that was bound for Kyiv on Jan. 8. All 176 people on board were killed. Most of the passengers were Iranian citizens or of Iranian descent. For three days, Iran insisted that mechanical problems likely caused the plane to crash before acknowledging the truth. Videos widely shared on social media showed Iranian demonstrators in the hundreds. In one, a group of protesters chant “down with the dictator,” while in another, crowds cheer as a man tears down a meters-tall picture of Soleimani that was put up during his funeral.

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Iranian Students Stage Noisy Rallies at 4 Tehran Universities

January 15, 2020 by · Comments Off on Iranian Students Stage Noisy Rallies at 4 Tehran Universities 

WEB – Iranian students have staged noisy rallies at four Tehran universities in a fourth day of protests against Iran’s Islamist rulers after they admitted to mistakenly shooting down a passenger jet full of Iranians. Video clips obtained by VOA appeared to show dozens of students chanting anti-government slogans in Tuesday protests at Tehran University, Amirkabir University of Technology, Shahid Beheshti University and Tehran University of Art. VOA could not independently verify the authenticity of the clips. There were no immediate reports of Iranian police action against any of the student demonstrations, which appeared to be peaceful.

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Iranian Police, in Riot Gear, Confront Hundreds of Protesters

January 14, 2020 by · Comments Off on Iranian Police, in Riot Gear, Confront Hundreds of Protesters 

VOA -The streets of Tehran turned bloody Monday, as police in riot gear confronted hundreds of protesters denouncing the government’s admission of shooting down a Ukrainian airliner, killing all 176 people on board, most of them Iranian citizens. The protests entered a third day in several cities across the country, as anger shifted from the United States for the killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3, to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, which admitted its role in the downed airliner after days of denial.

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New Protests Erupt in Iran Аfter Military Admits Shooting Down Plane

January 13, 2020 by · Comments Off on New Protests Erupt in Iran Аfter Military Admits Shooting Down Plane 

VOA – Anti-government protests erupted again Sunday night in Iran for a second day of demonstrations against the military, which first denied and then admitted it mistakenly shot down a civilian Ukrainian plane, killing all 176 on board. “They are lying that our enemy is America, our enemy is right here,” one group of protesters chanted outside a university in Tehran. Videos showed protesters at other locations in the capital and in other Iranian cities. Black-clad police, wearing protective riot helmets, massed in iconic Azadi Square south of the city center and at other landmarks. The police were equipped with water cannons and batons and brandished paintball guns, potentially to mark protesters to authorities. But there were no immediate reports of any crackdown on the protests.

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Blowback: Iran Abandons Nuclear Limits After US Killing

January 6, 2020 by · Comments Off on Blowback: Iran Abandons Nuclear Limits After US Killing 

VOA- TEHRAN, IRAN – The blowback over the U.S. killing of a top Iranian general mounted Sunday as Iran announced it will no longer abide by the limits contained in the 2015 nuclear deal and Iraq’s Parliament called for the expulsion of all American troops from Iraqi soil. The twin developments could bring Iran closer to building an atomic bomb and enable the Islamic State group to stage a comeback in Iraq, making the Middle East a far more dangerous and unstable place. Iranian state television cited a statement by President Hassan Rouhani’s administration saying the country would not observe limits on fuel enrichment, on the size of its enriched uranium stockpile and on its research and development activities. “The Islamic Republic of Iran no longer faces any limitations in operations,” a state TV broadcaster said.

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Legal Basis for US Killing of Iran General Depends on Threat

January 4, 2020 by · Comments Off on Legal Basis for US Killing of Iran General Depends on Threat 

VOA – WASHINGTON – Did President Donald Trump have the legal authority to order the killing of a top Iranian general in Iraq? But it depends on facts that aren’t publicly known yet. And legal experts are quick to point out that even if it was legal that doesn’t make it the right decision, or one that will be politically smart in the long run. Iran and its allies are vowing revenge. In its limited explanation so far, the Pentagon said Gen. Qassem Soleimani was “actively developing” plans to kill American diplomats and service members when he was killed in a U.S. drone strike Friday near the Baghdad airport shortly after arriving in the country. That would appear to place the action within the legal authority of the president, as commander in chief, to use force in defense of the nation under Article II of the Constitution, said Bobby Chesney, a professor at the University of Texas School of Law who specializes in national security issues. “If the facts are as the Defense Department said, then the president relatively clearly has Article II authority to act in self-defense of American lives,” Chesney said.

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Esper: US Prepared to Take ‘Preemptive’ Action to Prevent Attacks on US Forces

January 2, 2020 by · Comments Off on Esper: US Prepared to Take ‘Preemptive’ Action to Prevent Attacks on US Forces 

VOA – PENTAGON – The U.S. is prepared to take “preemptive” military action to prevent future attacks on U.S. forces, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said Thursday. The Pentagon continues to see indications that Iran and Iranian-backed militias may be planning more strikes on U.S. forces in the Middle East, according to Esper. “The game has changed, and we’re prepared to do what is necessary to defend our personnel and our interests and our partners in the region,” he said. There were about a dozen attacks from Iranian-backed groups on bases in Iraq hosting U.S. and international forces in November and December, including one blamed on Kataeb Hezbollah in Kirkuk that killed an American contractor and wounded several U.S. and Iraqi troops.

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War After Baghdad Embassy Attack

January 1, 2020 by · Comments Off on War After Baghdad Embassy Attack 

VOA – Security forces at the U.S. Embassy in Iraq’s capital used tear gas Wednesday to disperse protesters led by pro-Iran militiamen as they gathered for a second day at the diplomatic site. Some spent the night camped outside the embassy walls in Baghdad after a large crowd Tuesday breached the outer reaches of the compound and set several fires. U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he is holding Iran responsible for any damage or injuries at U.S. facilities. “They will pay a very big price. This is not a warning. It is a threat,” Trump tweeted. Speaking to reporters late Tuesday, Trump said he does not see the United States going to war with Iran. “I don’t think Iran would want that to happen. It would go very quickly,” Trump added. Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei condemned U.S. actions in Iraq and Syria in his own Twitter comments Wednesday, and responded directly to Trump’s threats by saying, “You can’t do anything.”

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Iraqi Politicians Condemn US Strike on Pro-Iran Shi’ite Militia

December 31, 2019 by · Comments Off on Iraqi Politicians Condemn US Strike on Pro-Iran Shi’ite Militia 

CAIRO – Multiple Iraqi politicians condemned U.S. airstrikes on the pro-Iranian Shi’ite Kataib Hezbollah militia Sunday, which left 25 dead and over 50 wounded, according to Iraqi government TV. Local reports say the group is becoming increasingly unpopular with large segments of the Iraqi public. Iraq’s Parliament met Monday to debate the U.S.’s  action, but failed to muster a quorum.  Amateur video showed survivors of the U.S. airstrike on the pro-Iranian Kataib Hezbollah picking through the rubble and gathering the remains of victims killed in the strike Sunday. Iraqi government media reported that 25 people died, including three Iranian officers. On social media, pro-Iranian Shiite groups spread photos of militia fighters killed in the raid, calling them martyrs.  Iraqi state TV read a list of political leaders who condemned the raid. The broadcast added that Sunni Parliament speaker Mohammed al-Halbousi was calling on all Iraqi forces to “use self-control” to avoid any escalation.

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