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Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Convicted child rapist Adrian Cruz arrested in Mexico

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Four Israeli soldiers arrested for suspected gang rape

Four IDF soldier serving on an airbase in the south are under arrest after a female soldier said she was gang raped by the men.

Image result for rape

Military Police arrested the suspects, who served at the Hatzerim airbase west of Beersheba, and launched an immediate investigation, the IDF said. 

Military sources said the female soldier's commanders have closely supported her as she filed the complaint, and accompanied her throughout the aftermath of the alleged attack.

According to a Channel 2 report, the attack occurred two weeks ago, as the soldiers completed a shift and entered the female soldier's room, where they allegedly raped her in succession.

She filed a complaint to the Military Police on Tuesday, leading to their immediate arrest.

One of the suspects denied the suspicions during questioning, claiming that sexual relations were consensual.

"After receiving the complaint, Military Police launched an investigation and arrested the soldiers," the IDF Spokesman said in a statement. 

At the same time, the female soldier is being cared for by the Center For Support And Coping, a military center that assists female soldiers who fall victim to sexual offenses, and her commanders are closely accompanying her.

Ex- Senior U.S. officials: Maryam Rajavi’s congressional appearance, a right move


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In a rare bipartisan initiative, 20 prominent former US Government national security, and foreign policy officials as well as Military leaders in a joint letter expressed their support for the Iranian opposition leader, Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) testifying before the US Congress.
Mrs. Maryam Rajavi is scheduled to testify in a hearing “ISIS: Defining the Enemy” via videoconference on Wednesday before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade, chaired by Rep. Ted Poe (R-TX).
The former senior US officials said:“As a Muslim women advocating a tolerant and democratic interpretation of Islam, individual freedom, separation of religion and state, gender equality, and rejecting the implementation of Sharia law, Mrs. Rajavi represent the opposite of the misogynous Iranian regime’s rules and all Islamic fundamentalists and extremists.”
“Mrs. Rajavi’s personal experience in leading a popular movement against the religious dictatorship ruling Iran make her the right person to give testimony on this important issue,” they added.
The signatories of the statement included Rudy Giuliani - former NYC Mayor, Presidential Candidate; Howard Dean - former VT Governor, DNC Chairman, Presidential Candidate; Louis J. Freeh – former FBI Director, Edward Rendell - Former PA Governor, DNC Chairman; Tom Ridge – former PA Governor, Secretary Homeland Security; Mitchell B. Reiss - former Ambassador, Special Envoy to the Northern Ireland Peace Process; Michael B. Mukasey - former US Attorney General; John Bolton- former UN Ambassador; Frances Townsend – former Homeland Security Advisor to the President; General (Ret.) Charles (Chuck) Wald- former Deputy Commander U.S. European Command; Lt. Gen. (Ret.) David Deptula – former Deputy COS For Intel, Surveillance, and Reconnaissance, U.S. Air Force; Linda Chavez -former Assistant to the President For Public Liaison; Robert Joseph, former Under Secretary of State for Arms Control and International Security; Patrick Kennedy – former Rhode Island Congressman; and John Sano - former Deputy Director CIA National Clandestine Security.
In another statement, Ambassador Lincoln Bloomfield, strongly defended the scheduled testimony of Iranian opposition leader, Maryam Rajavi before the US Congress.
Bloomfield, the Assistant Secretary of State for Political Military Affairs in the George W. Bush administration in a statement said: “It was predictable that with the National Council of Resistance of Iran and its component entities including the MEK having successfully challenged and removed all terrorism listings in Europe and North America, NCRI leader Maryam Rajavi would at some point be given the opportunity to be heard in Washington; it was perhaps equally predictable that longstanding allegations of terrorism and cult-like behavior by this group would be revived.”
Bloomfield has conducted exhaustive reviews and research on the Mek and has authored a couple of books and studies on the subject. He rebuked allegations against the Iranian opposition and while pointing to extensive demonizing campaign of Tehran regarding its arch opponents said: “Western governments have for many years been asked by the Iranian regime to restrict the MEK as a terror organization. Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has repeatedly been revealed paying agents or seeking to pay trusted sources in several countries to propagate allegations against the MEK that are unsupported by any historical records. Yet many of these defamatory allegations continue to be repeated by the American media and current or former U.S. officials, none of whom have produced credible evidence to back them up. “
Former member of U.S. House of Representative Tom Tancredo wrote in The Hill on Wednesday: “I commend my former colleagues, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce (R-Calif.), and chair of subcommittee on Terrorism, non-proliferation and Trade, Judge Ted Poe (R-Texas) for doing the right thing and affording the U.S. Congress the opportunity to examine facts and hear from those in the field, rather than relying only on experts within the beltway.

Maryam Rajavi’s testimony before Congress is long overdue, Mr. Tancredo said.
“Rajavi’s movement alerted the world about Iran’s clandestine nuclear project, exposed Iran’s pervasive presence in Iraq and its operation of terror networks that exported improvised explosive devices to Iraq to kill American servicemen. The opposition has also waged a cultural and political war against Islamic fundamentalism emanating from Iran. Its ubiquitous representatives have galvanized a global campaign against human rights offenses, in particular against women within Iran."
“In that sense, if the issue is ISIS and defining the enemy, Rajavi is certainly qualified to speak as her movement has been fighting a regime that pursued sectarian violence in Iraq and supported Assad, which led to the rise of ISIS. If it is Islamic fundamentalism and Tehran’s role, Rajavi is more than qualified to speak. If it is Iran’s nuclear program, her movement has had its finger on the pulse of that issue throughout the past decade. On human rights abuses by those with ISIS mentality, her movement has endured the brunt of suppression and executions in Iran. As many as 120,000 activists of her movement have been executed in Iran over the past three decades in the hands of those who were the de facto mentors of ISIS.”
“To avoid the voices about Iran to be monolithic in Washington, Iranian people should be brought into the equation and Rajavi provides a serious, viable voice. That is not a matter of dispute.“

Gangs Target Purebred Dogs in Argentina



BUENOS AIRES – Purebred and expensive dogs, preferably small ones, are the latest victims of gangs in Argentina, where the snatching of canines has increased in the past year.

Public parks and shopping centers in upscale neighborhoods are the areas targeted by dog snatchers, attorney Javier Miglino told Efe.
Image result for chihuahua

The largest number of stolen dog reports - more than 1,000 in the past year - were filed in Buenos Aires province, where gated communities and high-income suburbs dot the land.

But the crime, first detected some five years ago on a much smaller scale, has spread to provincial capitals across the country, Miglino said.

The attorney is the founder of Defendamos Buenos Aires (Let’s Defend Buenos Aires), a non-governmental organization helping dog owners file police reports and start campaigns to find lost pets.

“These are among the most expensive and small dogs on the market,” Miglino said, adding that “sadly” only about 8 percent of stolen pooches have been recovered.

The breeds most sought by criminals are the French Bull Dog, Pug, Cocker Spaniel and Toy Poodles worth between 12,000 and 14,000 pesos ($1,350 and $1,580) that can be “sold easily for half the price” in traveling fairs or online auctions, Miglino said.

A major source of stolen dogs is La Salada, located on the outskirts of Buenos Aires and considered the largest black market in Latin America, where no dogs snatched by criminals have been recovered because it is “a criminal ghetto where police don’t go,” Miglino said.

The attorney has met with prosecutors and judges to discuss the situation, but he has not been able to identify who is behind the crimes, which are occurring as unsafe conditions and impunity in the region increase, and because it is quite easy to snatch, cage and sell puppies.
The dognappings are not the work of isolated robbers but of gangs that organize their operations - some scan public places for purebred dogs, others take the animals away on pickup trucks or a motorcycle, keeping them until they are sold, Miglino said.

About 10 percent of dog owners who have sought help from Miglino’s group were pressured by gangs into paying ransom and these cases are investigated as extortion rackets.

Two New Gangs Behind Violence in Northeast Mexico, Security Official Says



MEXICO CITY – Two small gangs formed following the break-up of a drug cartel are behind the violence in the northeastern state of Tamaulipas, Mexican National Security Commissioner Monte Alejandro Rubido on Tuesday.

The Ciclones and Metros gangs “are the ones clashing in the border region” with the United States, Rubido told Radio Formula.

One gang is based in Matamoros, located across the border from Brownsville, Texas, and the other operates out of Reynosa, across the Rio Grande from McAllen, Texas, Rubido said.

The gangs’ current power “cannot remotely be compared with the organizations’ capabilities when the leaders who are under arrest or neutralized were around,” the national security commissioner said.

“The 15 principal criminals who were sowing fear, who were attacking the citizens ... today 14 have been neutralized,” Rubido said, adding that 13 gang leaders were under arrest and one was dead.

Progress has been made in Tamaulipas in terms of security in the past year, but “we have still not turned” the situation around, Rubido said.

Tamaulipas “has 17 border crossings with the United States, three ports, five international airports,” making it the only Mexican state with that many airports, the national security commissioner said.

Last Thursday, marines arrested nine suspects in connection with a wave of violence in Tamaulipas that left a police officer dead.

Four other suspects, including the purported head of the gang, were arrested a day earlier.

Suspected members of the same unidentified gang responded to the four arrests by mounting roadblocks, burning vehicles and carrying out armed attacks against federal and state security forces, actions that left a police officer dead and two suspected gang members wounded.

Tamaulipas has been for years a battleground between the Gulf and Los Zetas drug cartels, and it is regularly among the states with the highest numbers of homicides.

President Enrique Peña Nieto sent additional Federal Police and military personnel to Tamaulipas last May and ordered a thorough vetting of the state and municipal police forces to root out corrupt officers.

Mexican Woman Escapes from Laundry Where She Was Forced to Work for 2 Years



MEXICO CITY – A 22-year-old woman managed to escape from the Mexico City laundry where she was chained, beaten and forced to work for two years, the Federal District Attorney’s Office said.

The unidentified woman applied for a job at the business in Lomas de Padierna, a district in the southern Mexico City borough of Tlalpan, and “was chained by her employers, and to make her keep working they beat her until she bled, and when the cuts started to heal they tore off the scabs,” the DA’s office said.

“That allowed them to hold her for two years until she managed to escape and seek help. The Federal District Attorney’s Office requested search warrants for the establishment, where they arrested the five people likely responsible” for keeping the woman as a slave, prosecutors said.

The suspects have been identified as Jose de Jesus Sanchez Vera, Leticia Molina Ochoa, Fani Molina Ochoa, Ivette Hernandez Molina and Jannet Hernandez Molina, the DA’s office said.

“This is the first case of this kind to occur in Mexico City,” the DA’s office said.

The victim told investigators that she was fed a small amount of food once a day and chewed on the plastic bags used to cover garments to stave off hunger, prosecutors said.

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mexican Students Burn Cars in Front of Guerrero Congress Building

A group of students in Mexico's Chilpancingo city, in Guerrero, set fire to vehicles outside the regional Congress building and carried out other acts of vandalism, after a march in solidarity with 43 students missing for seven months.
A group of 800 marchers, led by the parents of the missing, unionists and students from several states left Chilpancingo at 1pm on Sunday and reached the gates of the Congress at 2.30pm.

Yoga for "Dogs"!

Cop disrespects the U.S. Flag. No respect for America ( No salute ) ?

Iran - Poverty and impoverishment forced an entire family to commit suicide

The entire family of three committed suicide by poisoning themselves
In the clerical regime ruled Iran, and while the country’s elite plunder billions of dollars with unaccountable wealth, the entire members of a family of three in Ivan Township; west of Iran were forced to take their lives due to poverty and lack of the basic and minimum needs a human being for survival. 
According to the local news agency, all three members of a family including the father and two young children committed suicide on Friday, April 24 in the Ivan Township, western Iran. 
It is reported that the father of the family poisoned himself and his two young children to relieve himself and his innocent kids of the miserable life of pain of poverty.

Yemen: Airstrikes and fighting amid efforts towards peace talks

Sunday, April 26, 2015

Iran - Nine Bahais arrested in Hamadan: Seven Released on Bail

Posted on: 26th April, 2015

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Atefeh Zahedi
HRANA News Agency – In late March, nine Bahais were arrested in Hamadan. In recent days seven of these have been released on bail, ranging from 25 to 60 million Tumans (8000 to 19,500 euros / $US 9000 to 21,000).
According to the report of Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA), two Bahai women, Farida Ayoubi and Fataneh Mushtaq are still being held. Those who have been bailed are Hamid Adharnoush, Mas`oud Adharnoush, Shahin Rashedi, Atefeh Zahedi, Roumina Tabibi, Mina Hemmati and Parvaneh Ayoubi.
There is no indication of the reasons for the arrests.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Iranian ship convoy turned back from Yemen

A convoy of Iranian ships in the Arabian Sea, believed to be carrying arms to Houthi rebels in Yemen are moving away from that country, a U.S. military official said on Friday.
The official, speaking anonymously, calls this a "promising sign" adding that the Pentagon will continue to watch the ships carefully.
The White House has said it has seen evidence that the Iranian regime supplied arms to the Houthis in Yemen.
The Pentagon has deployed a number of U.S. warships to Yemeni waters to ensure that key Gulf shipping channels stay open.
Senior U.S. defense officials said the incident occurred sometime after Monday, when U.S. warships capable of intercepting the Iranian ships arrived in the Arabian Sea.
The action could also have been undertaken by the navies of Saudi Arabia, Egypt or the United Arab Emirates, who are also patrolling the area, NBC News reported Thursday.
A U.N. Security Council resolution, earlier this week, approved an arms embargo of Yemen

Gunmen Kill Chinese Businessman in Bolivia



LA PAZ – A Chinese man was gunned down outside his restaurant in the eastern Bolivian city of Santa Cruz over the weekend, media reports said Monday.

Luping Lin, who owned a chicken restaurant in Santa Cruz, was murdered on Saturday, the El Deber newspaper reported on its Web site.

The 47-year-old Luping was shot by two suspected gunmen, who also wounded a passerby before fleeing on a motorcycle.

A gang had been trying to extort money from the businessman, whose son was kidnapped and later released by the criminal organization, El Deber said.

Santa Cruz, Bolivia’s most populous city, has the highest crime rate in the country, official figures show.

Russia and Argentina Sign Several Cooperation Agreements



MOSCOW – Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Argentinean counterpart Cristina Fernandez convened on Thursday to sign ten cooperation agreements, including a plan of strategic partnership, during their official meeting in the Kremlin.

One of the agreements signed was a memorandum of understanding, or MOU, between Russian gas company Gazprom and Argentinian oil company YPF, which was signed by their respective officials, Alexei Miller and Miguel Galuccio.

Another agreement for the development of the Neuquen province 637-megawatt Chihuido I hydroelectric dam for a total of 1.84 billion euros (nearly $2 billion), was also signed.

Similarly, an MOU to build a nuclear plant in the South American country was signed by Russian Rosatom agency representative Sergei Kiriienko and Argentinian Planning Minister Julio de Vido.

Also during the Russia and Argentina meeting, respective foreign ministers Sergey Lavrov and Hector Timerman signed a comprehensive strategic partnership plan, while defense ministers Sergei Shoigu and Agustin Rossi signed an agreement on military cooperation.

In the end, Putin and Fernandez personally signed a joint declaration for the establishment of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. 

Thursday, April 23, 2015

Iran news in brief, 23 April 2015

Argentine Jewish Community Denies Nisman Links to Hedge Funds



BUENOS AIRES – The top Argentine Jewish association, known as DAIA, on Monday denied that there was any relationship linking the Jewish community with deceased prosecutor Alberto Nisman and hedge funds involved in a U.S. court case in response to accusations made on the weekend by President Cristina Fernandez.

“It’s part of a campaign that is not coincidental, it’s part of ‘lie, lie and something will stick,’” said DAIA vice president Waldo Wolff on Monday in remarks to Mitre radio.

Wolff called the article published on the weekend by the government daily Pagina 12 “nonsense,” an article that Fernandez mentioned on Sunday in a text published on her Web page.

Fernandez claimed online that Nisman offered Argentina’s Jewish community assistance from U.S. tycoon Paul Singer, owner of the NML Capital Limited hedge fund, in its effort to prevent Argentina from implementing a memorandum with Iran over an attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association, AMIA, in Buenos Aires in 1994.

Singer is one of those behind the lawsuit to collect on Argentina’s debt, in arrears since 2001, which obtained a favorable ruling in New York courts.

“It’s based on an article by a former employee who today is employed by this government and is telling lies. Lies that are impossible to prove ... because it’s impossible to prove something that one did not do,” Wolff answered on Monday.

The DAIA VP said that Jewish organizations appealed the memo through “constitutional channels,” adding that “if that bothers someone and if that transforms us into international conspirators, it seems to me that Argentina is (moving backwards).”

“Never has a president grasped onto an article of doubtful origin ... We don’t have to give a response; regrettably we’re the victims,” he added.

Fernandez had linked Nisman to the hedge funds trial Argentina faces in U.S. courts, and has raised the specter of a global political operation interfering in Argentina’s affairs.

The president cited paragraphs from the article which reports meetings in 2013 between Nisman, then the special prosecutor investigating the AMIA attack, and leaders of the Jewish community, in which they planned to stall the memorandum.

“If necessary, Paul Singer would be willing to help,” Nisman said in one those meetings, according to the article’s author, Jorge Elbaum, a former DAIA director.

Fernandez accused AMIA and DAIA leaders, along with Nisman, of taking judicial recourse to prevent the application of the memorandum by attempting to have it ruled unconstitutional.

“We are against a global modus operandi that not only damages sovereign nations, interfering and coercing different branches of government, but is also behind several kinds of international political operations,” Fernandez said.

Nisman was found dead of a bullet to the head on Jan. 18, four days after he charged Fernandez with covering up Iran’s involvement in the 1994 terrorist attack on the AMIA Jewish cultural center in Buenos Aires which claimed 85 lives.

Nisman’s charges against Fernandez and several of her alleged collaborators have been dismissed by two judicial authorities for lack of evidence, though the prosecutor in charge of the case has yet to make a final decision on the matter.

Mexican Authorities Recover Stolen Radioactive Material



MEXICO CITY – A container of highly radioactive material stolen last week in the southeastern state of Tabasco was recovered intact and unopened Wednesday, Mexican authorities said.

The industrial X-ray machine containing iridium-192 was found abandoned beneath a highway overpass about 20 kilometers (12 miles) from where it was stolen, the state government said.

“In the interest of everyone’s peace of mind, I inform you that the stolen capsule of iridium-192 has been recovered,” Tabasco Gov. Arturo Nuñez said on Twitter.

The capsule was not tampered with, according to the state government.

Experts from Mexico’s CNSNS nuclear safety commission were on hand to verify “the identity and safety status of the radioactive source,” the Nuñez administration said in a statement.

The radioactive material was inside a truck stolen on April 13.

Authorities immediately issued an alert for Tabasco and the neighboring states of Campeche, Chiapas, Oaxaca and Veracruz, warning that even brief exposure to the iridium-192 could cause serious harm.

Protest gathering of 1500 workers of Rural Communication in Tehran

Workers protesting lack of job security and layoffs
Approximately 1500 workers of Rural Communication in Tehran staged a protest gathering in front of Communication Company building in Tehran, on Tuesday April 21st. The workers from different provinces including; Khorasan Razavi, Hourmozgan, western Azerbaijan, Qazvin, Kurdistan, Kermanshah, Gilan, Fars, Kerman, Khuzestan, Blusher, Elam and Sistan Baluchistan went to the capital to take part in a protest gathering against poor job conditions. 
Currently, more than 9,000 workers of Rural Communication Centers are at work around the country, which a great number of them have no insurance and no work contracts.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Iran News in Brief - 20 April 2015

Saudis noses will be rubbed in dirt over Yemen

US Navy deploys two more warships near Yemen as conflict escalates (video)

U.S. Will Send Additional Humanitarian Aid to Ukraine



WASHINGTON – U.S. Vice-President Joe Biden has told Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko by phone that the United States will send an additional $17.7 million in humanitarian aid to support vulnerable populations in Ukraine.

In a statement issued Monday, the White House said the aid is for food, shelter and water.

It added that the two leaders urge Russia to comply with the Minsk agreements and cease sending heavy weaponry and troops to Ukraine.

Poroshenko has said repeatedly that Kiev will reinforce its armed forces in eastern Ukraine despite the cessation of hostilities, in response to the latent threat from Russia.

Tensions along the line separating the forces have risen in recent days with accusations by both sides of truce violations, especially around Donetsk airport and the town of Shirokino on the Sea of Azov.

Russia’s Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov accused Kiev on Monday of breaching the peace deal with the separatists in eastern Ukraine.

Monday, April 20, 2015

IRAN: Executions in a week reaches 81

NCRI - Coincident with mass executions in the prisons of Ghezel-Hessar, Karaj and other cities, the anti-human regime of mullahs sent 16 other prisoners to the gallows in Mashhad and Birjand (northeastern Iran). Twelve of them were hanged collectively in Vakilabad prison of Mashhad on April 16, and the other four were executed in Birjand prison the following day. Thus, the number of executions from 12 to 18 April reached 81, meaning 12 executions per day.
The unprecedented increase in the wave of executions after the Lausanne nuke framework is a clear indication of the mullahs’ desperate need of creating an atmosphere of fear in the society to confront the explosive situation.
Iranian Resistance calls on Iranian brave youths to express their solidarity with the families of the executed and prisoners, and to protest against this criminal move in the country. It also underscores the need for ousting this bloodthirsty and fascist regime from the world community.
Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran
April 20, 2015

Sen. Kirk: Iran regime is the world’s biggest state sponsor of terror

The Iran under role of mullahs is ‘the world’s biggest state sponsor of terror’ and is now trying to build nuclear weapons, Senator Mark Kirk said on Saturday.
Kirk said: “We must use strong economic pressure on Iran to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons.”
Senator Kirk said in video address: “Iran is the world’s biggest state sponsor of terror. Iran’s Aytatollah’s are now trying to build their own nuclear weapons.”
“Lately, Iran has tried to backtrack on the promises they made to President Obama," Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Illinois, said in a video Saturday.
"Iran now wants sanctions immediately lifted which would fund Iran's terror subsidiaries with billions."
"We must use strong economic pressure on Iran to prevent them from getting nuclear weapons," the Illinois senator continued.
"Stopping Iran from getting nuclear weapons is the greatest challenge to peace in our time."

Sunday, April 19, 2015

"We answer with bullets to the international inspectors"; Deputy IRGC Commander

Iran IRGC deputy commander  Hussein Salami
Hussein Salami, deputy commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards Corps, IRGC, said 'we answer with bullets to inspectors who want to visit our military sites.'
In an interview with Iran’s main state run television, Salami said Saturday night that 'Iran would never make an agreement with the P5+1 on the basis of verification.' He also reacted to the US officials stressing that the military option remains on the table by saying 'Doctrine, the structure and our military capabilities have been set according to an all-out war with the United States.'
US defense secretary; Ashton Carter told CNN on Friday, April 17 that any nuclear agreement with Iran must include inspection of Iran’s military installations.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Chile students on the streets again

A$AP Rocky back with a single and a film

U.S. House Speaker: Iran has no intention of giving up nuclear weapon

U.S. House Speaker John Boehner on Friday said he does not think the Iranian regime has any intention of giving up its desire for a nuclear weapon.
Boehner told Fox Business Channel: “I’ve never been optimistic that we’d get to an agreement, a real agreement that would stop the nuclear threat from Iran and I don’t think the Iranians have any intention of giving up their desire for a nuclear weapon.”
Asked whether he’s expecting an agreement, Boehner said: “I would hope not” because he did not believe Iran would ever live up to its side of a bargain that would lift U.S. sanctions on Tehran.
“I don’t think we can get to agreement with people who have no intention of keeping the agreement,” he said.
Meanwhile, former Texas Gov. Rick Perry said Thursday that he would immediately eliminate any Iranian agreement made under the Obama administration if he were to win the presidency.
Calling the Iranian regime the world’s largest state sponsor of terrorism, Perry said the negotiations between President Barack Obama and Iran legitimized the country’s attempts to obtain or construct a nuclear weapon.
He said his first acts, if voters put him in the Oval Office, would be to reduce Iran’s growing influence in the Middle East and cancel deals put in place by the outgoing Democratic president.

Friday, April 17, 2015

Iran news in brief, 16 April 2015

A deadly day in Iraq: Three car bombs in two cities kill at least 30

Obama Decides to Remove Cuba from Terrorism Sponsor List




WASHINGTON – U.S. President Barack Obama on Tuesday informed Congress of his intention to remove Cuba from the list of countries sponsoring terrorism, where that nation has been since 1982 and which comes with the imposition of sanctions.

White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest announced the move in a communique.

Cuba has been demanding for years that it be removed from the list prepared annually by the State Department. Countries on the list – which currently includes Cuba, Iran, Sudan and Syria – are subjected to sanctions such as a prohibition on weapons sales and economic aid.

Congress now has 45 days to study the decision and, if it disagrees with Obama’s action, it can present a bill to try and revoke the presidential order.

Obama’s decision comes just three days after his historic meeting with Cuban President Raul Castro during the 7th Summit of the Americas in Panama, a significant step toward the normalization of bilateral relations announced by the two governments on Dec. 17.

In his message to Congress, Obama certifies that the Cuban government “has not provided any support for international terrorism during the preceding 6-month period (and) has provided assurances that it will not support acts of international terrorism in the future.”

Obama made the decision after receiving a recommendation on the matter from Secretary of State John Kerry, who on Tuesday hailed the president’s move.

In a communique, Kerry said that circumstances have changed since 1982, when Cuba was originally included on the list because of its efforts to promote armed revolution in Latin America.

The reasons that Washington had kept Cuba on the list to date include Havana’s alleged welcoming of members of the Basque ETA terrorist organization and the Revolutionary Armed Forces of Colombia, or FARC, as well as certain fugitives from U.S. justice.

Kerry acknowledged that although the United States has, and will continue to have, significant concerns and disagreements regarding many Cuban policies and actions, those concerns do not meet the criteria established to define a state as a terrorism sponsor.

The review that Kerry made of the matter included contributions from the U.S. intelligence community regarding Cuban actions and guarantees provided by the Cuban government, Earnest said.