The US vice-president, Joe Biden, has delivered an unusually sharp critique of the government of Binyamin Netanyahu, saying the Israeli prime minister is leading Israel in the wrong direction through his policies, including settlement building. Biden described the Obama administration’s “overwhelming frustration” with Israel, adding that “profound questions” existed about how the country could remain both Jewish and democratic.
President Obama on Friday criticized Iranian leaders for undermining the “spirit” of last years historic nuclear agreement, even as they stick to the “letter” of the pact. In comments following the Nuclear Security Summit in Washington, Obama denied speculation that the United States would ease rules preventing dollars from being used in financial transactions with Iran, in order to boost the country’s engagement with the rest of the world.
The US military carried out an airstrike against an al-Qaeda training camp in the group’s stronghold in southeastern Yemen on Tuesday, killing and wounding dozens, according to a Pentagon spokesman. The bombing targeted an al-Qaeda training camp in Hajr, west of Hadramawt’s provincial capital Mukalla which has been held by the jihadists since April, according to local sources.
The 80-year-old father of an Iranian-American detained in Iran since last fall has himself been arrested in Tehran, his family said on Wednesday. Baquer Namazi, a former United Nations Children s Fund official and the father of Siamak Namazi, was taken into custody on Monday, his wife, Effie Namazi, announced in a Facebook post. Ms. Namazi said she believed her husband, also an American citizen, had been taken to Tehran s infamous Evin Prison, where their son has been in custody since October.
With three Americans long held in Iran flying to Europe on Sunday, President Obama urged young Iranians to ‘pursue a new path’ with the West as he imposed modest new sanctions on the country for banned missile tests. Mr. Obama also announced the resolution of another argument between Tehran and Washington that dates to the Iranian revolution, this one over $400 million in payments for military equipment that the United States sold to the shah of Iran and never delivered when he was overthrown. The Iranians got their money back, with $1.3 billion in interest that had accumulated over 37 years.
Iran’s release of 10 United States Navy sailors on Wednesday, less than 24 hours after they were detained on the Persian Gulf, is being hailed in both countries as a sign that their relations have evolved since the signing of the nuclear accord last summer. Secretary of State John Kerry thanked the Iranians “for their cooperation in swiftly resolving this matter” and suggested in a statement that the quick resolution of the issue was a product of the nearly daily back-and-forth that now takes place between Washington and Tehran, after three decades of hostility and stony silence.
The recent wave of heightened Islamophobia in the U.S. is not limited to the violent rhetoric and cruel policies of conservative politicians; it’s also being drummed into police through a Georgia-based program that has sent thousands of American law enforcement officials to Israel for counter-terrorism training. In an unusually candid discussion about the Georgia International Law Enforcement Exchange (GILEE), program director Robert Friedmann recently declared that, There is no Islamophobia. There is knife-o-phobia, as he presented decontextualized video clips of Arabs stabbing Israeli police officers. GILEE’s rabid brand of Zionism is as transparent as its operations are secretive. In 2011, GSU students sought information to determine how the program impacts policing in the United States. Their public records request was denied and met with unexpectedly intense backlash. State Attorney General Sam Olens told a local news station (whose parent company sponsors GILEE) that the students were aiding terrorists.
Iran’s president denounced the United States on Thursday for suggesting the possibility of new sanctions over Iranian missiles, and he ordered his Defense Ministry to respond by swiftly building more of them. Hours after circulating a draft of proposed sanctions on Wednesday, however, the White House did not provide a timetable or even say that they would be put into effect.
Iran’s foreign ministry said on Monday that Israeli lobbying was behind a new measure passed by the U.S. Congress that will prevent visa-free travel to the United States for people who have visited Iran or hold Iranian nationality. Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday said it was “absurd” that Iran should be included on the list. “Existing sanctions not yet lifted, additional sanctions imposed,” ran the front-page headline of the hardline daily Kayhan on Monday.
An investigation into tax-exempt donations helping to finance West Bank settlements found that almost 50 nonprofit organizations raise money in the United States for the settlements. Within five years, from 2009 to 2013, more than $220?million was sent across the ocean and into schools, synagogues and playgrounds dotting the hills of Judea and Samaria. Millions of tax-subsidized dollars have gone to Jewish settlements in Hebron, helping to sustain a grim reality in the segregated part of the city, where Palestinian movement is sharply restricted and their economic life has been suffocated.