At least 40 people are feared dead in Iran and seven more in Pakistan after a powerful earthquake near the countries' shared border, Iran's state-run Press TV reported Tuesday, citing local reports.
Akbar Hussain Durrani, provincial home minister of Balochistan province, told CNN that six people had been killed by the quake and more than a dozen injured in the province's Washuk district.
The quake destroyed more than 50 shops in the district, Durrani said.FULL STORY
President Barack Obama is visiting Israel, Jerusalem and the West Bank for the first time since he became president. He and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu held a joint news conference Wednesday evening in Jerusalem.
[Update 3:16 p.m.] The news conference has concluded.
[Update 3:15 p.m.] Netanyahu said the United States and Israel have a "common assessment" on Iran's progress in developing a nuclear weapon.
[Update 3:09 p.m.] Obama said that he "purposely did not want to come here and make some big announcement that might not match up to the reality" on the ground regarding the Middle East peace process.
[Update 3:04 p.m.] "I think there is time to resolve this issue diplomatically," Obama said about tension over Iran's nuclear program.
[Update 2:56 p.m.] Obama said that "all options are on the table" regarding Iran's nuclear ambitions, adding that "we will do what is necessary in preventing Iran from getting the world's worst weapons."
Netanyahu said he was "absolutely convinced" that Obama is "determined to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon."
[Update 2:52 p.m.] Obama said he has ordered an investigation of whether the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its own people, adding he was "deeply skeptical" of any claim the opposition had used them.
"Once we have established the facts, I have made clear that the use of chemical weapons is a game-changer," Obama said, stopping short of saying what he would do if Syria had crossed his "red line" for stronger action.
[Update 2:49 p.m.] Obama said the Syrian government's "use of chemical weapons against the Syrian people would be a serious and tragic mistake," adding that Damascus "will be held for accountable for the use of chemical weapons or their transfer to terrorists."
[Update 2:45 p.m.] Obama said he and Netanyahu discussed extending U.S. assistance for Israel beyond the 2017 deadline of the current agreement between their countries.
[Update 2:42 p.m.] Netanyahu said Wednesday that he hoped the visit by Obama and Secretary of State John Kerry can "help us turn a page in relations" with Palestinians seeking their own state.
[First post 2:38 p.m.] Netanyahu said Wednesday that diplomacy and sanctions have not stopped Iran's efforts to develop a nuclear weapon so far, adding that a peaceful solution also requires a clear and credible threat of military action.
The United States will deploy additional ground-based missile interceptors as part of efforts to enhance the nation's ability to defend itself from attack by North Korea or Iran, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel announced Friday.
Still relatively new in his post, the Pentagon chief told reporters that 14 additional interceptors would bring the total to 44. He said the expansion should be completed by 2017.
Part of the move would involve reopening a missile field at Fort Greely, Alaska, Hagel said.FULL STORY
Iranian military aircraft targeted a U.S. Predator drone over the Persian Gulf this week, administration officials said. It was the latest in Iranian efforts to thwart the U.S. military's airborne intelligence collections efforts in the region.
Three administration officials have separately confirmed details of the incident, although the Pentagon has not publicly acknowledged it.FULL STORY
Barack Obama said on Thursday that he will not engage in any "chest beating" over Iran's nuclear program, but plans to issue a "clear and direct" challenge to Tehran during his upcoming Middle East trip, according to sources familiar with his comments.
Obama said at a White House meeting with Jewish American leaders that he will still work toward a diplomatic resolution with Iran over its nuclear program, but that no options are off the table, including military ones, one of the sources said.FULL STORY
Severe sanctions against Iran – under fire for its nuclear activities – are not working, the top U.S. commander in the Middle East said on Tuesday.
Gen. James Mattis, the commander of U.S. Central Command, made the statement in response to a question from U.S. Sen. James Inhofe, an Oklahoma Republican.
Mattis said at a Senate hearing, he said, "we have to continue sanctions" to keep Iran from obtaining nuclear weapons capability, "but have other options ready."FULL STORY
Iran is not cooperating, making it difficult for the UN's nuclear watchdog agency to provide "credible assurance" that the country doesn't possess undeclared nuclear material, the IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said Monday.
Amano said Iran should grant access "without further delay" to the Parchin military complex, where it is believed to have tested rockets.FULL STORY
Diplomats emerged Wednesday from an unusually secretive round of talks over Iran's controversial nuclear program with a joint announcement to hold a follow-up meeting within weeks.
In a joint statement after the meeting in Kazakhstan, the European Union's foreign policy chief, Catherine Ashton, and the chief Iranian negotiator, Saeed Jalili, announced that technical experts would meet in Istanbul, Turkey, on March 18.FULL STORY
Iran said Saturday that it downed and captured another "enemy drone," the semi-official Fars News Agency reported.
The incident reportedly took place during Iranian military maneuvers in southern Iran.
"IRGC's electronic warfare systems detected electronic signals, which indicated that foreign drones intended to enter our country," said Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Lt. Gen. Hamid Sarkheili, Fars reported. "Our specialist forces then succeeded in bringing down the drone in the field of maneuvers."FULL STORY
First it was monkeys in space (or not) and now it’s “GI Joe” fighter jets. Not the best of times for Iran’s aviation and aerospace programs, at least if you listen to the skeptics.
First there were doubts about Tehran’s claim it sent a monkey into space in late January. After photos of two different monkeys that were aboard the alleged one-monkey space shot surfaced, Iran media said there was a photo mix-up and, yes, there was just one Iranian monkey in space.
Then this week Iran unveiled what it said was its new high-tech stealth fighter plane. The jet shown in pictures on the website of Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been the butt of jokes all week from aviation bloggers.
“This aircraft looks a lot like an old GI Joe toy,” wrote one blogger.
And from another, “This has to be a joke, right?”
Click through the gallery above to see the bloggers' comments and evidence in the photos.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad joked he is so serious about making sure Iran advances technologically that he'd volunteer to go to space for his country if needed.
"I am ready to be the first human to be sent to space by Iranian scientists,” he said after meeting Monday with Iranian space scientists, according to the semi-official Mehr News Agency.
The president's comments, made in jest, came a week after the state's semi-official Fars News Agency said Iran had "sent a monkey to the orbit, brought it back to the Earth and retrieved the animal and the relevant data successfully."
Iran will give "positive consideration" to a renewed prospect of one-on-one talks with the United States on its nuclear program, its foreign minister said Sunday.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said a new round of talks between Iran and the five permanent U.N. Security Council members, plus Germany, would be held February 25 in Kazakhstan. Salehi spoke on the last day of the 49th Munich Security Conference, a day after U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said the Obama administration remains willing to hold direct talks with the Islamic Republic.FULL STORY
Iranian authorities have arrested several journalists, including the editor-in-chief of a leading reformist newspaper, on accusations of collaborating with the regime's opponents and working for foreign news organizations.
Acting on a court-issued warrant, security officers detained several journalists at their work places Sunday, the semi-official Mehr News Agency reported. The publications raided by officials included the newspapers Etemaad, Bahar, Arman and Shargh, it said.FULL STORY
An Iranian judge has sentenced an American Christian pastor to eight years in prison after he was tried for his religious beliefs, a U.S.-based religious group said Sunday.
Saeed Abedini was swiftly sentenced by a member of the Islamic Republic's Revolutionary Court, according to the American Center for Law and Justice, an organization founded by television evangelist Pat Robertson.
CNN was not immediately able to confirm what went on in the court proceedings.FULL STORY
The Syrian regime this week fired at least two Iranian-made, short-range ballistic missiles in what appears to be an effort to more precisely target Syrian rebels, two U.S. military officials tell CNN.
The Fateh A-110 missiles are more accurate than the older Scud variants that Syrian government forces have used in recent weeks.FULL STORY
Iran's navy has captured what it says is a U.S. drone after it entered Iranian airspace over the Persian Gulf.
However, a U.S. defense official, who could not be named because the official was not authorized to speak to the media, told CNN that whatever the Iranians claim to have, it is not an actively operating U.S. Navy drone.
"The U.S. Navy has fully accounted for all unmanned air vehicles (UAV) operating in the Middle East region. Our operations in the Gulf are confined to internationally recognized water and air space," the source said. The internationally recognized territorial limit is 12 nautical miles off the coast.
It is not yet clear whether any other branch of the U.S. military or government might have been operating a drone in the area.FULL STORY
An Iranian air force helicopter crashed Wednesday, killing all 10 people on board, according to the semiofficial Fars News Agency.
"The helicopter was carrying five people who had been injured earlier in a road accident, as well as four crew members and one medic," a medical official was quoted as saying.
The five passengers worked for the Ministry of Education, another official said.
The crash took place near a hospital in the holy city of Mashad.
Two Iranian Su-25 fighter jets fired on an unarmed U.S. Air Force Predator drone in the Persian Gulf last week, CNN has learned.
The incident raises fresh concerns within the Obama administration about Iranian military aggression in crucial Gulf oil shipping lanes.
You can read more about the incident on our Security Clearance blog.
The White House denied a report Saturday that said the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks over Iran’s nuclear program.
Such talks, as reported by The New York Times, would be a first.
“It’s not true that the United States and Iran have agreed to one-on-one talks or any meeting after the American elections,” White House National Security Council Spokesman Tommy Vietor said in a statement.
“The President has made clear that he will prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon, and we will do what we must to achieve that. It has always been our goal for sanctions to pressure Iran to come in line with its obligations. The onus is on the Iranians to do so, otherwise they will continue to face crippling sanctions and increased pressure."
Citing an anonymous senior official within the Obama administration, The New York Times reported earlier Saturday that Iranian officials insisted the talks not start until after the presidential vote.
Secret discussions between U.S. and Iranian officials date almost to the start of Obama’s term, the newspaper said.
Iran says its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes and to fill energy shortages, but Western leaders believe Tehran is an aspiring armed nuclear power. U.N. inspectors have also expressed doubts about the program's aims.
Manssor Arbabsiar once denied that he participated in a plot to kill the Saudi ambassador to the United States. Now he says he did.
Arbabsiar, a 57-year-old Iranian-American man from Texas, pleaded guilty Wednesday to trying to recruit a Mexican drug cartel to bomb a Washington, D.C., restaurant while Saudi Ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir dined there.
Arbabsiar, who was arrested in September 2011 after an undercover informant's tip to authorities, said in Manhattan federal court on Wednesday that he conspired with members of the Iranian military in the formulation of the plot. The admission comes nearly a year after he pleaded not guilty.
Federal authorities say Arbabsiar and cohorts hired someone they thought was a cartel contact to assassinate the ambassador, but the contact was an undercover government informant who kept in contact with Arbabsiar until there was enough evidence for his arrest, according to federal court documents.
Arbabsiar is scheduled to be sentenced in January.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad last year dismissed allegations that Iran was connected to the plot.FULL STORY