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Attempts to Remove Morales’ Memory from Bolivia Will Likely Reinvigorate an Anti-Imperialist Struggle

By Paul Antonopoulos | January 20, 2020

Last Wednesday, the coup government of Bolivia launched a massive military operation claiming to be a pre-emptive strike against the expected violence to occur this Wednesday during Plurinational State Foundation Day celebrations that memorializes the change in the name of the country and the adoption of a new constitution in 2009 under the Presidency of Evo Morales. Heavily armed military personnel on the streets, arrest warrants and the denouncements of deputies who are intimidated by violent groups has just continued under the U.S.-backed coup government in La Paz.

The increased militarization has occurred despite violence, vandalism and looting decreasing since November when Morales was driven out of Bolivia. However, the fear continues and justice has been politicized to such a degree that the coup government has itself reported that there are more than 64,000 judicial proceedings in progress against former authorities and officials associated with Morales’ administration – all leading up to the elections on May 3.

However, the dilemma for the putschists is a fear that Morales’ Movement to Socialism (MAS) Party may win. Morales has refused to legitimize the current leader of Bolivia, Jeanine Añez, further complicating the upcoming elections. It is for this reason, with the huge popularity of Morales remaining, that the coup government fears what might occur on Wednesday, which is not only a Morales-era public holiday, but also the date on which the constitutional mandate of the Executive and Legislative powers ends. Even if the parliament decides to ratify the extension of the mandate by the Constitutional Court, the frustrations of the people might explode.

This comes as the Bolivian people were reinvigorated with Morales stating “If between now and in a little while… I were to return [to Bolivia] or someone else goes back, we must organize as in Venezuela, armed militias of the people,” referring to Bolivarian people’s militias organized by Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro. However, this could be a dangerous statement that could serve to justify further repression and the militarization of Bolivia.

Evo Morales then went to Twitter to say “Peace, reconciliation and unity in Bolivia they will only be achieved by restoring the rule of law, eliminating motorcycle groups and fighting, ultimately, against inequality, discrimination and poverty.”

It is this very symbol of Bolivian sovereignty and independence that Añez has prioritized the removal of statues and images of Morales from the public sphere. However, it is very unlikely that this would be enough to remove the memory of Morales that Bolivians have for the country’s first indigenous president. Bolivian people know the removal of references to Morales publicly will not erase his achievements from their memory.

With Bolivia being mired by a political crisis for months that still has no solution, the next few days before the anniversary of the founding of the Plurinational State on January 22 has put the government on top military alert, which now realizes that it cannot erase a country’s history at a stroke or deny its identity. However, Añez has decided to silence those voices as she cannot dissuade them by deploying the army and police to the streets.

The little widespread popularity that the coup government has will continue to decline, especially after the visit of Special Assistant to the President and Senior Director of the United States National Security Council’s Western Hemisphere Affairs directorate, Mauricio Claver-Carone, to Bolivia who reiterated his support for Añez on behalf of Trump. Claver-Carone and Añez talked about Trump’s priorities in this so-called transitional period. In the regional domain scheme, Trump cannot let the Andean country escape from his hands, which is why it is likely that he pushed Añez to rename the anti-imperialist school that Morales created in the Armed Forces of Bolivia in 2016, which was renamed on Friday to Heroes of Ñancahuazu – after the Bolivian military unit that killed revolutionary figure Ernesto “Che” Guevara in 1967, according to TeleSUR. This was of course part of a wider effort to destroy the memory of Morales in Bolivia.

The arrival of Áñez to power, by a coup d’etat in November, gave a twist to Bolivia’s international policy, which during the almost 14 years of Morales’ administration had assumed an “anti-imperialist” position, including the expulsion of the U.S. ambassador and the U.S. anti-drug (DEA) and ending cooperation  with (USAID) agencies. Claver-Carome’s visit certainly improved several steps of rapprochement between La Paz and Washington after the fall of Morales in November.

Although Claver-Carome said that his visit sought to deepen the links between the two countries, of which he said they had the same democratic interests and values, the attempts to destroy the memory of Morales is likely to backfire and create a renewed vigor for support behind the MAS. It is for this reason that Áñez must consider scaling down the violence and persecution against Morales’ supporters, especially as Wednesday will be a highly charged and emotive day, in which Morales supporters view the resistance to her putschist government as part of an anti-imperialist struggle.

Paul Antonopoulos is a Research Fellow at the Center for Syncretic Studies.

January 20, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

E3 cannot logically activate JCPOA dispute settlement mechanism: Iran Deputy FM

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas Araqchi
Press TV – January 19, 2020

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs Abbas says the three European signatories to Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), cannot logically activate the deal’s dispute settlement mechanism, because Iran has already done that.

“We are now engaged in complicated legal discussions and Russia and China are of the same opinion. It was Iran that first resorted to Article 36 [of the JCPOA] and completed its application. Therefore, logically, legally and even politically speaking, the European countries cannot take advantage of this article, because we have already done that and applied its mechanism in full,” Araqchi said while addressing a meeting at the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s School of International Relation on Sunday.

On January 14, the three European signatories to the Iran deal — France, Britain and Germany — formally triggered the dispute mechanism, which accuses Iran of violating the agreement and could lead to the restoration of the anti-Iran UN sanctions that had been lifted by the JCPOA.

Under the mechanism outlined in the deal, the EU would also inform the other parties — Russia and China as well as Iran itself. There would then be 15 days to resolve the differences through the JCPOA Joint Commission. If no settlement is reached through the commission, the foreign ministers of involved countries will then discuss them for another 15 days. In case of need, an advisory board will be formed to help foreign ministers.

Elsewhere in his remarks, Iran’s deputy foreign minister said, the recent measure taken by three European countries is only aimed at dispute settlement and has nothing to do with restoration of UN sanctions against Tehran.

“The trigger mechanism, which may lead to restoration of the United Nations Security Council’s sanctions against Iran has not been started by the three countries,” Araqchi noted.

“They have only resorted to the dispute settlement mechanism as per Article 36 of the deal, while the trigger mechanism is enshrined in Article 37. Article 36 does not automatically lead to Article 37, though it can pave the way for its application,” the top Iranian diplomat added.

The US withdrew from the accord in 2018 and re-imposed its unilateral sanctions on Iran last May. Britain, France, and Germany, under Washington’s pressure, failed to protect Tehran’s business interests under the deal against the American bans.

This May, Iran began to gradually reduce its commitments under the JCPOA to both retaliate for Washington’s departure, and trigger the European trio to respect their obligations towards Tehran.

On January 5, Iran took a final step in reducing its commitments, and said it would no longer observe any operational limitations on its nuclear industry, whether concerning the capacity and level of uranium enrichment, the volume of stockpiled uranium or research and development.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has denounced as a “strategic mistake” the European Union’s decision to activate the dispute mechanism, taking them to task for failing to abide by their commitments under the JCPOA, and saying that activating the dispute resolution mechanism is legally baseless and politically a strategic blunder.

Britain, France reiterate commitment to JCPOA

In another development on Sunday, British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and French President Emmanuel Macron reiterated their commitment to the Iran nuclear deal and agreed that “a long-term framework” was needed, a Downing Street spokeswoman said.

In a statement after a meeting between Johnson and Macron on the sidelines of a Libya summit in Berlin, the spokeswoman said, “On Iran, the leaders reiterated their commitment to the JCPOA.”

“They agreed on the importance of de-escalation and of working with international partners to find a diplomatic way through the current tensions,” he added.

January 19, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Iran to Review Cooperation with Int’l Nuclear Watchdog In Case of ‘Unjust’ Steps by EU – Reports

Sputnik – 19.01.2020

The European parties to the Iranian nuclear deal earlier launched a dispute resolution mechanism under the agreement, a process that could entail the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran.

Iran’s cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency will be reviewed if the EU nations take “unjust” measures after triggering the nuclear deal’s dispute mechanism, Iran’s parliamentary speaker was quoted by the local TV as saying.

“We state openly that if the European powers, for any reason, adopt an unfair approach in using the dispute mechanism, we will seriously reconsider our cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency”, a local broadcaster quoted Iranian Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani as saying.

On Tuesday, three of the signatories to the JCPOA, namely France, the UK, and Germany, confirmed that they had initiated a dispute mechanism that could see the sanctions against Iran reinstated. The move comes amid Iran’s gradual scale-back on its commitments under the deal, prompted by the US unilateral withdrawal from it in 2018.

Iran’s foreign minister previously condemned the three nations for dancing to the tune of the US. President Trump reportedly threatened the European nations with imposing tariffs on them for their lack of action against Tehran.

Iran recently scrapped its remaining limitations under the JCPOA following the assassination of its top military commander Qasem Soleimani in a US drone strike on 3 January. Tehran has been gradually reducing its commitments under the JCPOA since May 2019 following Washington’s unilateral pullout of the treaty one year earlier and imposition of energy and banking sanctions on the state.

January 19, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

Libyan leaders Sarraj & Haftar to hold talks in Moscow on Monday – Russian Foreign Ministry

RT | January 13, 2020

Libya’s two key political figures – Fayez al-Sarraj, the prime minister of the Government of National Accord (GNA), and Commander of the Libyan National Army (LNA) Khalifa Haftar will take part in talks held under the auspices of the Russian and Turkish Foreign and Defense Ministries in Moscow on Monday, the Russian Foreign Ministry told TASS.

“In [the] context of implementing the initiative of the Russian and Turkish presidents announced following a summit in Istanbul, inter-Libyan contacts will be held today in Moscow,” the diplomats said. “The contacts are expected to be attended by Sarraj, Haftar and representatives of other Libyan parties.”

Moscow will host talks between Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov and Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu with their Turkish counterparts, Mevlut Cavusoglu and Hulusi Akar. The main topics on the agenda are settlement in Libya, cooperation in Syria, and developments in the Middle East.

On January 12, a ceasefire entered into force between the conflicting sides in Libya.

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | Leave a comment

Libya’s warring parties vow to observe ceasefire without preconditions, stop all offensive military actions – draft agreement

RT | January 13, 2020

The Libyan National Army (LNA) and the internationally recognized Government of National Accord (GNA) in Tripoli have pledged to observe the ceasefire suggested by Russia and Turkey after negotiations in Moscow.

The draft document suggests that all parties would stop military actions and observe the ceasefire conditions. Meanwhile, a commission is to be established to determine a contact line between the warring sides. Russia and Turkey promised to support all sides in the conflict to help them implement the agreement.

Libya has been plunged into chaos for years after its longtime ruler Muammar Gaddafi was ousted and killed during a NATO-led bombing campaign. Following the years of devastation and chaos, the country became engulfed in a civil war.

Previous lengthy UN-backed talks on reconciliation, which led to the establishment of the GNA, eventually failed to bring peace to the war-ravaged land.

Haftar began an offensive against Tripoli last year and over the last few months the two sides were engaged in intense fighting. LNA controls most of Libya’s territory, but it is the GNA which is recognized by the international community.

Ankara became involved in the conflict in December promising to send troops to help the government in Tripoli as the international community called on all sides to enter negotiations.

January 13, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | Leave a comment

‘Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster’: FM Zarif on Iran’s downing of Flight 752

RT | January 11, 2020

Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has offered “profound regrets, apologies and condolences” over an unintentional downing of a Ukrainian civilian aircraft over Tehran, stating “human error” during a “crisis” led to the accident.

“A sad day,” the FM wrote on Twitter, adding “Preliminary conclusions of internal investigation by Armed Forces: Human error at time of crisis caused by US adventurism led to disaster. Our profound regrets, apologies and condolences to our people, to the families of all victims, and to other affected nations.”

The incident took place soon after an Iranian missile attack on American positions in Iraq, launched as a reprisal for a US kill strike on Qassem Soleimani, the commander of Iran’s elite Quds Force, seeing months of rising tensions between the two countries come to a head. All 176 passengers on board the airliner were killed in the crash.

January 10, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | 12 Comments

Justice at Last? ‘Panic’ in Israel as the ICC Takes ‘Momentous Step’ in the Right Direction

By Ramzy Baroud | Palestine Chronicle | January 8, 2020

At long last, Fatou Bensouda, the Chief Prosecutor of the International Criminal Court (ICC) has uttered the long-anticipated conclusion that “all the statutory criteria under the Rome statute for the opening of an investigation (into alleged war crimes in the Occupied Palestinian Territories) have been met”.

Bensouda’s verdict has been in the making for a long time and should, frankly, have arrived much earlier. The ICC preliminary investigations into Israeli war crimes began back in 2015. Since then, many more such war crimes have been committed, while the international community persisted in its moral inertia.

The ICC statement, issued on December 20, asserted that the court saw “no substantial reasons to believe that an investigation would not serve the interests of justice”.

But can the “interest of justice” be served while the United States government continues to wield a massive stick, using its diplomatic, political and financial clout to ensure Israel emerges unscathed from its latest legal scuffle?

There is little doubt that Michael Lynk, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for the situation of human rights in the Palestinian territory, is absolutely right: A formal ICC criminal investigation into war crimes in Palestine is a “momentous step forward in the quest for accountability”.

He is also correct in his assessment, published in the United Nations Human Rights Officer of the High Commissioner website, that “accountability has, until now, been largely missing in action throughout the 52-year-old occupation.”

I would go even further and expand the timeline of the missing accountability to include the two decades prior to the Israeli occupation of East Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip. Otherwise, how is one to account for the ethnic cleansing of Palestine in 1947-48, the numerous massacres and other wanton killings that accompanied and followed those defining years, or the fact that Israel was never held accountable for its violations of international and humanitarian laws between 1948 and 1967?

That issue notwithstanding, the Palestinian Authority and all political parties in Palestine should exploit this unprecedented opportunity of holding Israel accountable.

As soon as the ICC issued its statement, news reports surfaced conveying a sense of “panic” in Israel. The Times of Israel reported that an Israeli government meeting to discuss the ICC decision was held shortly after, with the aim of considering a proper response, including the possibility of preventing ICC investigators from reaching Israel.

This is eerily familiar. Israel has denied entry to – or refused to cooperate with – international investigators and observers on many occasions in the past.

Following a UN planned investigation into alleged Israeli war crimes in the Palestinian refugee camp of Jenin in 2002, the Israeli government quickly moved, and, sadly, succeeded in blocking the investigation altogether.

It has done so time and again, often demonizing the very individuals entrusted with the mission of examining the illegality of Israel’s behavior in the context of international law. Well-respected judges and international law experts, such as Richard Goldstone, Richard Falk, and John Dugard, were vehemently attacked by Israeli officials and media and, by extension, by the US government and media as well.

Israel has managed to survive dozens of United Nations Resolutions and countless legal reports and indictments by the UN and all UN-affiliated organizations, largely because of blind and unequivocal American support, which has shielded Israeli war criminals from ever answering to their horrific actions in Palestine.

“Remember, it was (then-Secretary of State) Hillary Clinton who took pride in the fact that she personally killed the Goldstone Report,” said US author, Norman Finkelstein, in a recent interview with the news website Mondoweiss.

The Goldstone report was issued in the wake of the Israeli war on Gaza in 2009, dubbed ‘Operation Cast Lead’. The campaign of intimidation and pressure on Goldstone, personally, has forced the once-respected judge to retract his accusations of Israeli war crimes and the deliberate targeting of civilians.

While Clinton did her part in torpedoing the Goldstone Report, former US President, Barack Obama, according to Finkelstein, went to great lengths to “neutralize international law against settlements and other Israeli crimes in the occupied territories”.

Worse still, on September 14, 2016, Obama handed Israeli Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, himself accused of carrying out numerous war crimes against Palestinians, the largest US aid package to a foreign country in modern history, a whopping $38 billion over the course of ten years.

This is not a new phenomenon, where the US enables Israeli crimes and simultaneously shields Tel Aviv from any accountability for these crimes before the international community. All US administrations, whether Republican or Democrat, have honored the same sinister maxim, thus ensuring Israel, literally, gets away with murder.

A particular case in point was in 2001, when 28 Palestinian and Lebanese survivors of the 1982 Sabra and Shatila massacre attempted to try, in a Belgian court, late Israeli leader and accused war criminal, Ariel Sharon. Intense American pressures and a brazen intimidation campaign, targeting the Belgian government and the judicial system, resulted in the dismissal of the case in 2003. To deny Israel’s victims the opportunity to seek justice everywhere in the country, Belgium revised its very law, to the satisfaction of Israel and the United States.

The high level of the ICC investigations places the legal push against Israel at a whole new level. This is uncharted territory for Israel, the United States, Palestine, the ICC and the international community as a whole. There is little doubt that some joint Israeli-American effort is already underway to develop strategies aimed at countering if not altogether dismissing, the ICC investigation.

It is clear that justice for Palestinians in the face of Israeli aggression, itself fueled by unconditional American support, is not at all possible if it is not accompanied by regional and international unity, and a clear and decisive decision by all parties concerned that Israel, once and for all, must pay for its military occupation, racist apartheid laws, protracted siege on Gaza, and the many massacres in between.

Without this kind of international will, the ICC investigation could become another sad case of justice denied, a non-acceptable option for any justice-seeking individual, organization, and government anywhere in the world.

– Ramzy Baroud is a journalist and the Editor of The Palestine Chronicle. He is the author of five books. His latest is “These Chains Will Be Broken: Palestinian Stories of Struggle and Defiance in Israeli Prisons” (Clarity Press, Atlanta). Dr. Baroud is a Non-resident Senior Research Fellow at the Center for Islam and Global Affairs (CIGA), Istanbul Zaim University (IZU).

January 8, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , , | 2 Comments

Iran didn’t want to kill US troops with its strike, it wanted to make point to Trump about its missile tech & resolve. It did that.

By Scott Ritter | RT | January 8, 2020

Iran’s anticipated retaliation for the US assassination of Qassem Suleimani sent a clear signal to Donald Trump that while the current round of violence may be over, Iran stands ready to respond to any future US provocation.

Tehran warned Iraq to spare US soldiers

On Tuesday night, the Iranian nation buried the body of Qassem Soleimani, the charismatic senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) officer assassinated by the US this past week. In the early hours of Wednesday morning, that task completed, Soleimani’s IRGC comrades, acting on the orders of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, launched some 22 ballistic missiles from Iranian territory into neighboring Iraq, targeting the huge US air base Al Asad, in western Iraq, and the US consulate in the city of Erbil, in Iraqi Kurdistan.

In the hours following the announcement of these attacks, which were broadcast on Iranian television for the Iranian people, the world held its breath, waiting for the results. Shortly after the missiles were launched, Iran signaled its desire for a diplomatic resolution to the crisis through a tweet sent out by its Foreign Minister, Javad Zarif, who described the attacks as “proportionate measures in self-defense under Article 51 of UN Charter.” Zarif concluded by noting that “We do not seek escalation or war, but will defend ourselves against any aggression.”

The ultimate decision to deescalate, however, was not Iran’s to make. War is not a one-way street, and the enemy always gets a vote. However, in launching its missile attack on US targets in Iraq, Iran appeared to go out of its way to signal that it considered the matter of retaliation for the assassination of Soleimani closed. First and foremost, Iran communicated its intent to strike US targets in Iraq directly to the Iraqi Prime Minister a full two hours prior to the missiles being launched; Iraq then shared this information with US military commanders, who were able to ensure all US troops were in hardened shelters at the time of the attack.

Showing off its new-gen ballistic missiles

But the most important aspect of Iran’s actions was the way its missiles were targeted. For years now, Iran has made significant strides in terms of the reliability, range and accuracy of its ballistic missile force. Gone are the days when Iran’s arsenal consisted solely of inaccurate Soviet-era SCUD missiles.

The missile attack on the US incorporated new, advanced missiles—the Qaim 1 and Fahad-110—possessing advanced guidance and control capable of pinpoint precision. Iran had used these weapons previously, striking targets inside Syria affiliated with the Islamic State. But this was the first time these weapons had been used against the US. From the US perspective, the results were sobering. The Iranian missile attacks resulted in no casualties among US, Iraqi or coalition forces stationed in either Al Asad or Erbil. But the lack of lethality, however, is actually Tehran’s way of proving the accuracy of its ballistic missiles.

Commercial satellite images of the Al Asad air base taken after the attack show that the Iranian missiles struck buildings containing equipment with a precision previously only thought possible by advanced powers such as the US, NATO, Russia and China. Iran fired 17 missiles at Al Asad, and 15 hit their targets (two missiles failed to detonate).

Iran also fired five additional missiles at the US consulate in Erbil; US commanders on the ground said that it appeared Iran deliberately avoided striking the consulate, but in doing so sent a clear signal that had it wanted, the consulate would have been destroyed.

Trump had to back down

This was the reality that President Trump had to wrestle with when addressing the American people regarding the state of hostilities between the US and Iran.

Trump had previously promised a massive retaliation should Iran attack any US personnel or facilities. Surrounded by his national security team, Trump had to back down from that threat, knowing full well that if he were to attack Iran, the Iranian response would be devastating for both the US and its regional allies, including Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE. The US might be able to inflict unimaginable devastation on Iran, but the cost paid would be unacceptably high.

Trump’s rhetoric was aggressive, however, and his message made it clear that the US still considered Iran to be a rogue state whose pursuit of nuclear technology, ballistic missiles, and regional dominance would be opposed by the US, with force if necessary. But the Iranian missile attack drove home the new reality that, when it came to Iran’s actions in the Persian Gulf, American Presidential rhetoric no longer held sway as it once did.

Ali Khamenei, the Iranian Supreme Leader, drove this point home in a series of tweets claiming to have “slapped” the US in the face for its assassination of Soleimani, emphasizing that the policies pursued by Soleimani seeking the withdrawal of the US from the Persian Gulf region were becoming a reality, citing the recent vote by the Iraqi parliament to evict all foreign troops, including those of the US, from its soil.

President Trump, in his address to the American people, certainly talked the talk when it came to articulating a strong anti-Iranian policy. The real question is whether Trump and the American people are prepared to walk the walk, especially in a world where Iranian missiles are capable of dealing death and destruction on a scope and scale previously unimaginable.

Scott Ritter is a former US Marine Corps intelligence officer. He served in the Soviet Union as an inspector implementing the INF Treaty, in General Schwarzkopf’s staff during the Gulf War, and from 1991-1998 as a UN weapons inspector.

January 8, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , , | 3 Comments

Russia Proposes To Secure Iraqi Airspace With S-400 Air Defense

By Tyler Durden – Zero Hedge – 01/07/2020

The Ministry of Defense of the Russian Federation has offered Iraq Tuesday the option to purchase the world’s most advanced missile defense system to protect its airspace, reported RIA Novosti.

According to the report, the Iraqi Armed Forces could purchase the Russian S-400 Triumf air defense system, which RIA points out, can “ensure the country’s sovereignty and reliable airspace protection.”

“Iraq is a partner of Russia in the field of military-technical cooperation, and the Russian Federation can supply the necessary funds to ensure the sovereignty of the country and reliable protection of airspace, including the supply of S-400 missiles and other components of the air defense system, such as Buk-M3, Tor -M2 “and so on,” said Igor Korotchenko, Russian Defense Ministry’s Public Council member.

For the last several months, Iraq has considered purchasing Russian air defense and missile systems, including the S-400, however, it has been met with fierce pressure from the US.

But with a political crisis between the US and Iraq underway, thanks partly to the US assassination of Iran’s Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Russia could profit as Iraq attempts to decouple from the US.

A recent U.S. intelligence assessment indicated that at least 13 countries had expressed interest in purchasing the S-400s.

Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Algeria, Morocco, Egypt, Vietnam, and Iraq have all be in discussions with Russia to purchase the missile defense system in the last several quarters.

Meanwhile, China, India, and Turkey have already signed agreements with Russia.

The S-400s can strike stealth bombers, aircraft, cruise missiles, precision-guided projectiles, and ballistic missiles, some military experts have even said the Russian missile defense system is far superior than the US’ MIM-104 Patriot.

January 8, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 1 Comment

US denies Iran’s FM Zarif visa to address Security Council in violation of UN treaty – reports

RT | January 7, 2020

Washington has reportedly refused to issue a visa to Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, even though, as the host of the United Nations headquarters, the US is obliged to allow foreign officials into the country.

According to multiple diplomatic sources, the visa request was filed several weeks ago, before the latest escalation, and would give the top Iranian diplomat a stage to speak out following last Thursday’s drone strike assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Qassem Soleimani, along with senior Iraqi militia leaders.

The murder of Soleimani, who played a key role in the fight against Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorists in Syria and Iraq, has drawn outrage across Iran and Iraq, with Tehran vowing to avenge the assassination, which it called “an act of international terrorism.” Washington, meanwhile, insists that Soleimani was the mastermind behind a spate of attacks on American personnel, including at the US Embassy, and says he was plotting new assaults.

This wouldn’t be the first time Washington abused its status as the host of the UN headquarters, refusing to issue visas for nearly a dozen members of the Russian delegation to a summit in New York last year.

January 6, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , , | 3 Comments

Enrichment based on technical needs: Iran rolls back on 2015 nuclear deal

RT | January 5, 2020

Tehran has removed the last constraints it agreed to impose on its nuclear program under the 2015 deal but said it is ready to return to fulfilling its obligations under the agreement if the US lifts sanctions.

Iran’s nuclear program “no longer faces any operating restrictions,” a government statement cited by Iranian media said, adding that parameters of enrichment capacity, enrichment level and the amount of enriched material would from now on be determined only by the program’s “technical needs.”

Tehran still vowed to continue its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and said that it could potentially return to fulfilling its obligations under the nuclear deal if sanctions imposed by Washington are lifted and Tehran’s interests are respected.

January 5, 2020 Posted by | Aletho News | , | Leave a comment

Mexico orders ambassador in Bolivia to return after she declared non grata

Press TV – December 30, 2019

Mexico has ordered its ambassador in Bolivia to return to the country in order to ensure her safety.

The Mexican Foreign Ministry said on Monday that the order was issued after Bolivia declared Mexico’s Ambassador Maria Teresa Mercado a “persona non grata.”

Bolivia’s interim leader Jeanine Anez announced Monday that the country has decided to expel Mexico’s ambassador and two Spanish diplomats.

“The constitutional government that I preside over has decided to declare persona non grata the ambassador of Mexico in Bolivia, Maria Teresa Mercado, the charge d’affaires of Spain, Cristina Borreguero, and the (Spanish) consul, Alvaro Fernandez,” Anez said.

The announcement came after Bolivia accused Spanish embassy staff of trying to infiltrate the Mexican mission in the Bolivian capital, La Paz, with a group of masked men to take out former Bolivian president Evo Morales’s aide.

Madrid has strongly denied the accusation.

“The ministry wishes to clarify that the charge d’affaires was purely making a courtesy visit and vehemently denies there was any aim to facilitate the exit of people holed up inside the building,” Spain’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement.

The Mexican embassy in La Paz has become the center of the diplomatic row after it housed nine officials from Morales’s former government.

On Thursday, Mexico said the Bolivian regime is “harassing” and “intimidating” its diplomatic personnel in La Paz in what seems to be retribution for the granting of asylum by Mexico to Morales.

Mexico City said Bolivia has, among other things, boosted police presence outside the Mexican diplomatic mission in La Paz since Monday, intimidating the diplomats.

Last month, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador gave political asylum to Morales, who had been forced to resign under pressure from the country’s military.

Morales has since relocated to Argentina.

Morales, who had already been president since 2006, won his country’s presidential election in October, but the Bolivian military and opposition claimed that the election had been rigged, inciting deadly street protests.

The 60-year-old president, who enjoys a broad popular base both at home and in Latin America, nevertheless decided to step down and go into exile in Mexico amid threats of violence against him and with an apparent intention not to push the country toward further instability.

December 30, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment