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Trump threatens 'obliteration' against Iran as Tehran blast new sanctions
DUBAI (Reuters) - President Donald Trump threatened on Tuesday to obliterate parts of Iran if the Islamic Republic attacked "anything American," as Iran said the latest U.S. sanctions had closed off any chance of diplomacy.
"Any attack by Iran on anything American will be met with great and overwhelming force," Trump tweeted just days the United States came within minutes of bombing Iranian targets.
"In some areas, overwhelming will mean obliteration," the U.S. president tweeted.
Trump on Monday signed an executive order imposing sanctions against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and other senior figures. Sanctions against Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif are expected later this week.
"Imposing useless sanctions on Iran's Supreme Leader and the commander of Iran's diplomacy is the permanent closure of the path of diplomacy," Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi tweeted.
"Trump's desperate administration is destroying the established international mechanisms for maintaining world peace and security."
The moves came after Iran shot down a U.S. drone last week and Trump called off a retaliatory air strike minutes before impact. It would have been the first time the United States had bombed Iran in decades of hostility between them.
Trump said last week that he had decided at the last minute that too many people would die.
In a televised address on Tuesday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said sanctions against Khamenei would have no practical impact because the cleric had no assets abroad.
Rouhani, a pragmatist who won two elections on promises to open Iran up to the world, described the U.S. moves as desperate and called the White House "mentally retarded" - an insult that other Iranian officials have used in the past about Trump, but a departure from Rouhani's own comparatively measured tone.
Rouhani and his cabinet run Iran's day-to-day affairs, while Khamenei, in power since 1989, is Iran's ultimate authority.
"The White House actions mean it is mentally retarded," Rouhani said. "Tehran's strategic patience does not mean we have fear."
The United States has imposed crippling economic sanctions against Iran since last year, when Trump withdrew from an agreement between Tehran and world powers to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions.
The crisis has escalated sharply since last month, when the Trump administration tightened the sanctions, ordering all countries to halt purchases of Iranian oil.
That has effectively starved the Iranian economy of the main source of revenue Tehran uses to import food for its 81 million people, and left Iran's pragmatic faction with no benefits to show for its nuclear agreement.
Washington says the 2015 agreement reached under Trump's predecessor Barack Obama did not go far enough because it is not permanent and does not cover issues beyond the nuclear program, such as missiles and regional behavior.
Iran says there is no point negotiating with Washington when it has abandoned a deal that was already reached.
The downing of the U.S. drone - which Iran says was over its air space and the United States says was international skies - followed weeks of rising tensions that had begun to take on a military dimension.
The United States and some regional allies have blamed Iran for attacks on tankers in the Gulf, which Tehran denies. Washington's European allies have repeatedly warned both sides of the danger that a small mistake could lead to war.
The Navy has identified the missing sailor from the aircraft carrier USS Abraham Lincoln as Aviation Electronics Technician 2nd Class Slayton Saldana, who was assigned to Helicopter Sea Combat Squadron 5, with Carrier Air Wing 7.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - The U.S. Air Force has suspended paying incentive fees at all 21 military housing bases operated by landlord Balfour Beatty Communities following a Reuters-CBS News report that the company falsified maintenance records at an Oklahoma base to help it qualify for millions of dollars in bonuses.
The wait is over: the Marine Corps's brand new sniper is officially ready for action.
The Mk13 Mod 7 sniper rifle reached full operational capacity earlier this year after extensive testing, Marine Corps Systems Command announced on Wednesday. Now, the new rifle is finally available in both scout snipers and recon Marine arsenals.
DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran announced on Monday it had captured 17 spies working for the U.S. Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and sentenced some of them to death, deepening a crisis between the Islamic Republic and the West.
Iranian state television published images that it said showed the CIA officers who had been in touch with the suspected spies.
In a statement read on state television, the Ministry of Intelligence said 17 spies had been arrested in the 12 months to March 2019. Some have been sentenced to death, according to another report.
One of the few things that aggravates your friend and humble narrator more than hazelnut flavored coffee is Soviet apologists.
Case in point: A recent opinion piece in the New York Times claims the Soviet space program was a model for equality, noting the Soviets put a woman into space 20 years before NASA when Cosmonaut Valentina Tereshkova orbited the Earth in 1963.
"Cosmonaut diversity was key for the Soviet message to the rest of the globe: Under socialism, a person of even the humblest origins could make it all the way up," wrote Sophie Pinkham just in time for the 50th anniversary of the Apollo 11 moon landing.