Friday, November 27, 2020

From Ian:

Iran's nuclear program chief Mohsen Fakhrizadeh assassinated
Head of Iran's nuclear program Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, 59, was assassinated in Damavand, east of Tehran, local Iranian news reported on Friday.

Iran later confirmed the reports. "The nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated today by terrorists," the Iranian Defense Ministry wrote in a statement, while not blaming any specific entity for the incident.

However, Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later stated on Twitter that "serious indication" pointed to Israeli involvement and urged the international community to condemn the attack.

Pictures from the scene show two vehicles, one blown up and one shot at from the front. Several local reports in Iran indicated that a suicide bomber was involved in the attack, but that has not yet been confirmed.

The Prime Minister's Office and the Pentagon have yet to comment on the reports.

A military adviser to Iran's supreme leader Ali Khamenei accused Israel for trying to provoke "a full-blown" war by killing Fakhrizadeh.


Warning from the past comes back to haunt Iran’s top nuclear scientist
“Remember that name” Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned in 2018 of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who many referred to as the “father” of Iran’s nuclear weapons project.

But over the course of two years, no one remembered that name. Save for a few, including those who assassinated him on a busy street in Damavand, east of the capital of Tehran, on Friday.

Netanyahu made the comment when he divulged that Israel had obtained 100,000 files from Iran’s secret nuclear archives. He said that Fakhrizadeh, a brigadier general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and a professor of physics at the Guard’s Imam Hussein University, played a central role in the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program.

Though he had been sidelined for several years, Fakhirzadeh returned to drive Iran’s nuclear program, Project Amad, specifically to develop nuclear warheads for the multitudes of ballistic missiles the Islamic republic already possesses.

While Iran was forced to shelve Project Amad in 2003, it continued with its nuclear ambitions and Western intelligence sources even revealed that in 2013 Fakhrizadeh had attended a North Korean nuclear weapons test.


Trump's remarkable Middle East legacy
Regardless of how it plays out, this would seem to be a fitting time to look back at what the Trump administration has accomplished in the Middle East over the past four years. Simply put, it is nothing short of extraordinary.

Put aside for a moment whatever your feelings might be about Trump personally and place those emotions on hold. For anyone who values the US-Israel relationship, supports the Jewish state and cherishes it, there is no denying that the Trump team has done more than any previous administration ever did to bolster Israel and its future.

The list of achievements is lengthy, ranging from the symbolic to the substantive, and Jews everywhere owe an enormous debt of gratitude to Trump for his historic revamping of the region.

To begin with, the Middle East is a far safer place than it was just four years ago when Barack Obama resided in the White House.

Indeed, Obama bequeathed to Trump a region awash with rising Islamic fundamentalist extremism as the Islamic State controlled a large swath of territory in Syria and Iraq equivalent in size to Great Britain.

Just as promised, Trump succeeded in demolishing the would-be caliphate, quashing the evil regime that was responsible for beheading Americans, slaughtering Yazidis and committing unprecedented atrocities.

Then, on October 26, 2019, the president dispatched US special forces into Syria’s Idlib province, where they tracked down the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who died in the raid. The group hasn’t been the same since.

Similarly, when Obama turned over the keys to Trump, Iran was enjoying the windfall of the spurious nuclear deal it had reached with Washington. But Trump had the courage to pull out of the agreement and impose extensive and painful sanctions on the ayatollahs, which have left the tyrants of Tehran reeling.

And on January 3 of this year, Trump ordered an air strike on a convoy of vehicles at Baghdad International Airport which killed Qasem Soleimani, the mastermind of the Quds Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps and one of the most dangerous men in the Middle East.

Soleimani’s hands were drenched in blood and he bore responsibility for a wide array of terrorist activities ranging from the targeting of US troops in Iraq with roadside bombs to supplying Hezbollah with weapons and training. G-d only knows what other horrors he might have been planning.
Regardless of the US Election, There Are New Rules of the Game in the Middle East
Ultimately, Biden will have to take into account that relations with Israel are crucial to protecting American interests in the region and that the pragmatic Arabs are close allies of the United States, while the regimes in countries led by radical elements, such as Turkey and Iran, are involved in activities that undermine stability and blatantly violate the human rights of their citizens, much more than the pragmatic Arab camp.

It is precisely the new rules of the game that create potential leverage to make significant changes in Palestinian and Iranian policy during the next US president’s term. The distress in which the Iranians, their proxies, and the Palestinians find themselves, and their high expectations that Biden will extract them from these pressures, create a convenient basis for the new president to demand flexibility from the Palestinians and the Iranians to further his foreign policy goals.

On the other hand, attempts to reinstate the old rules of the game unconditionally, and to reject everything achieved by the Trump administration, as expressed in some of the initial statements by Biden’s people, may dissolve the potential to bring about desired changes. Such a position could result in encouraging the Iranians to become more stubborn in their demands to reject any changes in the JCPOA.

Israel must do all it can to strengthen ties with the United States under the new administration, preserve as much as possible the new rules created in recent years, sharpen the positive potential inherent in these changes, and emphasize the importance of support for the pragmatic Arab camp, even though it has its problems. The more Israel cooperates with members of this camp and expands the circle of countries that openly promote normalization of relations with it, the stronger Israel and the pragmatists will become as they seek to bring the new US administration to support the positive changes in the Middle East and to realize their potential. At the same time, Israel will strive to maintain its fundamental positions and freedom of action toward Iran and the Palestinians.
Dore Gold: Diplomatic fantasies at the Council on Foreign Relations
Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Mohammad Shtayyeh appeared on November 17 at the Council on Foreign Relations (CFR). What might have been an opportunity to hear new thinking from the Palestinian side turned out to be a disappointing display of much of the same old rhetoric that led the Palestinian leadership to its current quagmire.

While the CFR prefers to be courteous with foreign guests, it let Shtayyeh’s appearance go to waste, by feeding him mostly softball questions. The unfortunate result of this is that the audience walks away learning very little.

When asked by the CFR moderator, Richard Engel of NBC News, about the situation of the Palestinians today, Shtayyeh chose to begin with an attack on Arab states for their relations with Israel. True, maybe he would prefer that Bahrain, Sudan and the United Arab Emirates declare the end of their conflicts with Israel only after all Palestinian political demands are met, however, Shtayyeh refused to recognize that Arab states have a right to defend their vital interests.

Since 1948, they had suspended these rights for the sake of the Palestinian cause. What Shtayyeh ultimately wants is for the Palestinians to continue to hold their past veto power over the Arab world. Essentially, he wants the Arabs to be Iranians, who supply Palestinian organizations like Hamas with weapons and money while taking the most extreme positions against peace. What the Arabs have begun to say this year is that this option is no longer on the table.

None of the questioners at the CFR asked what the Palestinian leadership thinks about Iran, even though it is this subject that preoccupies the Arab world and threatens it directly. A question to Shtayyeh on this subject would have been fitting. Does he have an opinion on this?
Report: Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was not informed of Netanyahu visit
Saudi Arabia’s King Salman was reportedly kept out of the loop about Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s secretive trip to the kingdom this week for talks with Crown Prince Mohammed Bin Salman.

Quoting a Saudi source and a foreign diplomat in Riyadh, Reuters reported Friday that normalization with Israel appeared off the table as long as the Saudi monarch is alive — an analysis also made Thursday by a senior Israeli source cited by Israeli TV.

King Salman, 84, is reported to oppose normalization without the establishment of a Palestinian state, while his son, the kingdom’s de facto ruler, is considered more open to warming ties.

The diplomat cited by Reuters also suggested that the prospect of normalization was greater under the incoming Biden administration, with the US president-elect having threatened to make Saudi Arabia a “pariah” over its human rights violations.

“Normalization… is a carrot to get [Biden’s] focus away from other issues, especially human rights,” the diplomat said.
‘Until King Salman has gone,’ no progress on Israel-Saudi normalization – report
No progress toward normalized ties with Saudi Arabia will be made so long as King Salman remains in power, according to an unnamed “senior Israeli source” who is familiar with the interactions between the two countries, Channel 12 news reported Thursday.

The source told the outlet that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman had a “very warm meeting” in Saudi Arabia on Sunday, in what was the first publicly reported meeting between the two.

However, “Israel understands that there will not be a breakthrough with the Saudis in the near future” because King Salman “takes a diametrically opposite stance” on the matter of normalization with Israel to that of his son, the report said.

Therefore, the source said, it was understood that “progress will only be possible after King Salman has gone.”

Despite that, “cooperation against the joint enemy Iran” will increase, as will bilateral trade between the two nations.

The source also said that flights from Israel’s national carrier El Al will not overfly Saudi Arabia in the near future. In September, the kingdom approved the use of its airspace for Israeli flights to and from the UAE, a decision announced the day after Jared Kushner, US President Donald Trump’s son-in-law and senior adviser, met with Prince Mohammed in Riyadh.
Saudis urged to include Israel on official maps
The Zionist Organization of America has urged Saudi Arabia to include Israel on its official maps.

In a meeting with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel bin Ahmed Al-Jubeir in the kingdom earlier this year, ZOA President Mort Klein noted Israel was excluded from all of Saudi Arabia's official maps.

"We're all delighted and heartened to hear about your desire to improve relations among the Saudis and the Israelis. Your words of wishing to educate young Saudis about the appropriateness and mutual benefits of enhanced relations with Israel were especially encouraging. However, in this room, directly behind you, is a very large map of the world, which shows every country on earth, yet wrongly does not show Israel. Instead, the large map shows 'Palestine' covering all of Israel," Klein remarked to Al-Jubeir.

"How can Saudi Arabia educate Saudi youth and other Saudis of the mutual benefits of promoting relations with Israel, and to end antagonism towards Israel, if Israel is not even shown on the Saudi maps?" he asked.

Al-Jubeir, who spoke of improving ties with Israel, reportedly told Klein that the country would work on the issue.
Jordan warns against changing status of Temple Mt., after Netanyahu’s Saudi trip
Jordan said it opposes any effort to change the status quo at the Temple Mount in Jerusalem’s Old City, following Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s trip to Saudi Arabia this week.

In a statement Wednesday, the Jordanian foreign ministry said it rejects “attempts to alter the historical and legal status quo” at the Temple Mount, known to Muslims as Haram al-Sharif or Al-Aqsa Mosque.

“The kingdom will continue its efforts to protect and care for the mosque, and preserve the rights of all Muslims to it in compliance with the Hashemite custodianship of Jerusalem’s Muslim and Christian holy sites,” spokesman Daifallah al-Fayez said, according to the Guardian.

The comments came after Netanyahu held talks Sunday with Saudi Arabia’s powerful Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi Red Sea city of Neom, along with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, reportedly including discussions on Iran and normalization.

The warming ties between Jerusalem and Riyadh are raising concerns in Amman that Israel could seek to shift custodianship over the Temple Mount from the Jordanians to the Saudis. Jordan’s Hashemite monarchy has been custodian of the site since 1924.

The Waqf, a Jordanian-appointed council, oversees Muslim holy sites in Jerusalem. It claims exclusive authority over the Temple Mount compound and says it is not subject to Israeli jurisdiction. Tensions often escalate at the site.
Sudan’s former PM Sadiq al-Mahdi, staunch opponent of Israel ties, dies of virus
Sadiq al-Mahdi, Sudan’s last democratically elected prime minister and leader of the country’s largest political party, died of COVID-19 Thursday in a hospital in the United Arab Emirates, his party said. He was 84.

Al-Mahdi was taken to Abu Dhabi for treatment in early November. His body was expected to arrive in Sudan for burial Friday morning, the National Ummah Party tweeted. It had announced al-Mahdi tested positive for the coronavirus on Oct. 29.

Al-Mahdi was overthrown in a 1989 Islamist-backed coup that brought longtime autocrat Omar al-Bashir to power. Al-Mahdi’s party allied with Sudan’s pro-democracy uprising that led the military to overthrow al-Bashir in April 2019.

Sudan has since been ruled by a transitional military-civilian government. Elections could possibly be held in late 2022.

Al-Mahdi was one of the staunchest opponents of Sudan’s recent normalization of ties with Israel, which he dismissed as “an apartheid state” over its treatment of the Palestinians. He also accused US President Donald Trump of being racist against Muslims and Black people.
Czech FM: Parallel reality of the Palestinian resolutions in the UN
The Czech Republic has acknowledged that both sides in the Israel-Palestinian conflict have a legitimate attachment to the place. This position is politically based in the acts of the Czech Parliament and the government’s concept of the Czech Republic’s foreign policy, as well as in the common position of the EU Council. In January 2016, the EU ministers of foreign affairs approved the designation “Temple Mount/Haram al-Sharif.” Within the UN they, however, fail to push this well-based bilingual name through.

Of course, the EU is an aggregate of 27 member states and, as such, it is not always easy to find a common ground. In practice, it means that not all of our EU partners agree with our views, just as we do not always see things their way. The development has led to the situation where the EU holds a declared common position – designation of the place as Temple mount/Haram al-Sharif – but at the same time is unable or even unwilling to stand up for it. This in turn leads to the fact that every new round of UN negotiations on the Palestinian declarations brings more discord to the EU common stand declared in 2016, and the gap between the Czech position and that of the EU is getting wider. True, to many – particularly in Central Europe – that may seem as mere wordplay, but for the Israelis and Palestinians that is virtually a basic question of their history and national identity.

I do not believe that we can reach peace and stability in the region without Israel and the Palestinians returning to the negotiation table. I also believe that UN Palestinian resolutions do not bring us any closer to this goal. According to them, Israel is the sole perpetrator of all Palestinian problems. That in result goes against long-standing Czech Republic’s foreign policy, which seeks balanced position throughout the whole region. We are sure that at the end of the day only such approach can prove truly effective and bring us concrete results.

The same can be applied to the EU. Only if it stands tall for its own values and its own balanced position – as is among others expressed in its internal designation of the “most controversial” place in Jerusalem – it will really exert the influence it fully deserves given its strength. We do believe that the EU does not want forever to be – as the saying goes – only a payer and not a player.

At the same time, we recognize the need of compromise in formulating the resolutions in question. Yet if it is to be really effective, it should not be reached at any cost and for too many concessions. This is the position from which we approach the ongoing EU deliberations on the UN General Assembly Palestinian resolutions. We want to be active and open minded. In the end, however, our vote will fully depend on the quality of the final text.
UN Watch: Hillel Neuer Testifies in Knesset on U.N.'s Anti-Israel Obsession
"Our mission at UN Watch is to monitor the United Nations by the principles of its Charter, which guarantees equal treatment to all nations large and small. Nowhere is that promise violated more frequently and more egregiously than by the UN’s one-sided, disproportionate and selective resolutions that single out Israel for discriminatory treatment. As we meet here in the Knesset, the world parliament, the UN General Assembly, is busy targeting Israel this month with 17 one-sided resolutions. By contrast, there will be a total of 7 resolutions on the rest of the world combined. That’s right: one on Iran, one on Syria, one on North Korea, and 17 on Israel. Meanwhile, millions of human rights victims around the globe—in places like China, Iraq, Venezuela, Saudi Arabia, Belarus, Cuba, Turkey, Pakistan, Algeria, Zimbabwe, and in more than 170 other countries—go completely ignored. Some people in this country think the UN doesn’t matter. Oom-shmoom. But the UN assault on Israel poisons the hearts and minds of hundreds of millions worldwide. It grants the imprimatur of international legitimacy that fuels the boycott movement. It sends a signal to Hamas that the world is with them. We need to demand that democracies like the UK, France and Germany respect the UN’s founding principles by ending their support for the UN’s obsessive scapegoating of the world’s only Jewish state, and to instead work on protecting human rights for the victims who need it most."




New bill seeks to bar terror sympathizers from vying for elected municipal roles
A new bill seeks to prevent individuals who have expressed support for terrorism or an armed struggle against Israel from vying for elected municipal roles.

The legislative proposal, sponsored by Likud MK Tali Ploskov also seeks to prevent individuals who have expressed support for acts carried out citing racist, nationalist, ethnic, and sectarian motives.

Ploskov explained that her initiative seeks to apply Article 7A of Basic Law: The Knesset, which excludes terror sympathizers for serving as lawmakers, to the law regulating elections in localities nationwide.

Im Tirtzu, a right-wing NGO, lobbied for the bill following a series of statements and acts by councilmen and municipal employees in various cities.

These incidents included a public reception held in the northern city of Shfaram celebrating the release of convicted terrorist Anis Saffouri, who was sentenced in 2009 to 14 years in prison for conspiring to murder Israeli Air Force pilots, soldiers, and scientists.

In another incident, Nazareth City Councilman Ihab Dahan lauded terrorists on social media; Haifa Councilman Raja Za'atara – a member of the city's defense committee – professed his support for Hamas and Hezbollah, and compared Zionism with the Salafist ideology of the Islamic State, and over in the Jerusalem Municipality, an employ if the city's community administration praised terrorists on social media.
PA says it conveyed to Biden administration interest in return to peace talks
Palestinian Authority Foreign Minister Riyad al-Maliki told the Mediterranean Dialogues Forum on Thursday night that the PA had indirectly informed US President-elect Joe Biden’s incoming administration of its willingness to return to negotiations with Israel on the basis of international law resolutions.

“Right now, we are sending clear messages, not only to the Israelis and to the Biden administration, but also to the Europeans and many others, that the Palestinians are ready to reengage completely, with Israel, in renewing negotiations with no preconditions, as long as such renewal is based on already recognized terms of reference — meaning UN resolutions, the Arab Peace Initiative, and international law,” al-Maliki said.

It was not clear how the message had been conveyed, as al-Maliki later clarified the PA is only in indirect communication with the Biden transition team.

“We indirectly have had contacts with his team, and we are hopeful that we will be able to reengage again with the new administration in Washington on January 20,” al-Maliki said.

Fatah deputy chief Mahmoud al-Aloul, a close confidante of PA President Mahmoud Abbas, told Voice of Palestine Radio on Monday that the PA had reached “a number of understandings” with the incoming administration’s transition team. Al-Aloul declined to comment further in his interview, saying that he did not want to rush matters.


Lebanese singer: Border talks prove it’s a lie by officials that Israel is enemy
One of Lebanon’s most notable recording artists said in an interview that she supports peace with “any country” and said the Jewish state was Lebanon’s enemy only because of the political “whims” of Lebanese officials.

Elissar Zakaria Khoury, known popularly by her stage name Elissa, told MTV Lebanon earlier this month she was surprised by the recent border demarcation talks between Jerusalem and Beirut.

“For 20 years, they have been talking to us about ‘the Zionist enemy’ and about how they want to pray in Jerusalem and so on and so forth, and all of a sudden, they are sitting at the negotiating table,” she said according to a translation by the Middle East Media Research Institute watchdog group.

“What is happening in Lebanon is not normal. Let me tell you, I am not against the demarcation of borders. I support peace with any country, regardless of the identity of that state,” Elissa said. “We want to live. We want to enjoy what life we have left. We want a good future for our children.”
Turkey rejects European Parliament call for sanctions over Cyprus
Turkey on Friday rejected a call by the European Parliament for sanctions against Ankara over President Tayyip Erdogan's recent visit to the breakaway Turkish Cypriot state in north Cyprus, calling the demand "disconnected from the realities."

On Thursday, the European Union's parliament agreed a non-binding resolution in support of EU member Cyprus urging EU leaders to "take action and impose tough sanctions" against Turkey, a move likely to bolster support for France's push for sanctions on Ankara at an EU summit next month.

Turkey is at odds with EU members Greece and Cyprus over hydrocarbon exploration in disputed east Mediterranean waters.

Erdogan incensed Cyprus, whose territory covers the southern half of the partitioned Mediterranean island, on Nov. 15 by visiting Varosha, a resort on the island that has been fenced-off and abandoned in no-man's land since 1974.

Ankara supported the partial reopening of Varosha last month in a move criticized by the United States, Greece and Greek Cypriots.
Iranian war games, Trump's legacy and boxing in Biden - analysis
For all of his zigzagging on some policy issues, Trump has actually been remarkably consistent on avoiding any major military conflict and trying to reduce US military commitments overseas.

His approach has been to threaten and scare, but not actually use military force.

The January assassination of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force chief Qasem Soleimani was an exception, but this was after Iran killed US forces and helped stage a violent protest on the US Embassy in Iraq.

Even in that case, Trump tried to cover up that dozens of US soldiers were injured in Iran’s counterattack on US bases in Iraq because he wanted to declare victory and move on.

Other than that instance, Trump has consistently avoided using force, including in 2019 when a multi-million dollar US drone was shot down by Iran and when Tehran laid waste to major Saudi oil fields.

If anything, the firing of Esper to take dramatic action was likely about Trump’s major drawdown of troops in Afghanistan and Iraq.

In other words, he wanted to radically reduce US military commitments overseas, not leave office with a new major regional war on his hands. After all of that, the bluffs may be beneficial.

If Iran and Gaza stand down now and come into negotiations with the Biden administration a bit more admonished, that would mostly be a plus. It would not be the first time the psychological threat of war was used to make war less likely.
Israel-Saudi-UAE alliance sends signal to Biden to tread lightly with Iran
The Trump administration is clearly committed to continuing its policies against Iran, and maybe even doing more than that, as long as it is in office.

In an interview with The Jerusalem Post last week, Pompeo said all options are still on the table to counter Iran, and that maximum pressure will go on as long as he is office.

“We’re continuing to work and stand behind the policies we have laid down for four years, and we will continue to do that for as long as the country demands it,” he said.

The New York Times reported that the day after the IAEA report, US President Donald Trump inquired about the option of attacking Iran’s nuclear program before he leaves office. His most senior advisers, including Pompeo and Vice President Mike Pence, reportedly talked Trump out of the strike, saying it could escalate into a bigger conflict.

Then, last weekend, American B-52 bombers flew a “short-notice, long-range mission into the Middle East to deter aggression and reassure US partners and allies,” US Central Command said.

The heavy bomber planes were spotted on civilian air travel tracking sites heading toward Israel, until they disappeared from the maps, apparently after turning off their transponders. This was a clear signal to Iran: American planes with the capability of blowing up their nuclear sites are in the neighborhood.

Despite this show of force, Israel and other countries targeted by Iran cannot take any chances as Trump leaves office.

That’s one reason we’re seeing a flurry of activity in recent weeks. In addition to the Netanyahu-MBS meeting, the prime minister aims to visit the UAE and Bahrain at the end of December. Admittedly, these trips abroad will likely give Netanyahu political points as Israel lurches toward a fourth election in less than two years. But their significance on the diplomatic-security front are not to be underestimated.

Israel and the UAE and Saudi Arabia are telling the incoming Biden administration that they will not take a JCPOA redux sitting down. Loud opposition from Israel was to be expected, but Gulf states are standing with Israel.

And, in fact, they have not been quiet, either. Shortly after the IAEA released its latest report on Iranian violations, King Salman of Saudi Arabia called on the world to take “a decisive stance against Iran that guarantees a drastic handling of its efforts to obtain weapons of mass destruction and develop its ballistic missiles program.”

Expect more of these statements and shows of unity – official or through leaks, like the Netanyahu-MBS meeting – in the coming weeks and months.


Iranian Envoy Faces Trial Over Foiled Bomb Plot Targeting Trump Lawyer Giuliani
An Iranian diplomat and three other Iranians went on trial in Belgium on Friday accused of planning to bomb a meeting of an exiled opposition group in France in 2018, the first time an EU country has put an Iranian official on trial for terrorism.

Belgian prosecutors charged Vienna-based diplomat Assadolah Assadi and the three others with plotting an attack on a rally of the Paris-based National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). The rally’s keynote address was given by US President Donald Trump’s lawyer, Rudy Giuliani.

Assadi, who was arrested while on holiday in Germany and handed over to Belgium, is refusing to appear in court and did not attend the first day of the trial in Antwerp; he has not commented on the charges.

“My client asked me to represent him today, he let me know he has the fullest respect for these judges but as he considers that he should benefit from immunity, they are not allowed to judge him,” his lawyer Dimitri de Beco told Reuters.

Assadi was the third counsellor at Iran’s embassy in Vienna. French officials have said he was in charge of intelligence in southern Europe and was acting on orders from Tehran.

The Islamic Republic has repeatedly dismissed the charges, calling the attack allegations a “false flag” stunt by the NCRI, which it considers a terrorist group.

The trial is expected to continue next week, with a possible verdict later this month or in early January, lawyers said.





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