Cracks appear in Iranian regime
The Telegraph, Times, Independent note that tensions between the Iranian government and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps spilled into the open on Monday as the president’s office accused the elite military force of misleading them over the accidental shooting down of a civilian airliner. The Guardian notes that two presenters working for the Iranian state broadcaster IRIB have announced they have quit their jobs, with a third saying she quit some time ago after having told lies on behalf of the state for 13 years.
The BBC, Telegraph, Guardian report Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab’s statement to the House of Commons yesterday in which he said “the regime in Tehran is at a crossroads” as he warned Iran against slipping “further and further into political and economic isolation”. The Foreign Office summoned Iran’s envoy to London to demand a formal apology for the arrest of the British ambassador in Tehran on Monday.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson gave an extensive interview to BBC Breakfast this morning. Asked about Iran he said: “The most important thing now is that tensions in the region calm down.” On the JCPOA Iran nuclear deal, the Prime Minister said “If we are going to get rid of it, we need something to replace it” and urged US President Trump to work with him to “get the Trump deal instead.”
The BBC report on the news that Israeli police have arrested a rabbi in Jeruslaem who is suspected of running a “closed community” where women and children “worked under conditions of slavery”. The suspect, in his 60s, has denied doing anything wrong.
The Financial Times reports comments by Canada’s Prime Minister that the 57 Canadians who died in the Ukraine airline flight “would be right now home with their families” if not for “escalation recently in the region”. The report says that Justin Trudeau faces a difficult balancing act: “expressing anger and making demands towards Iran in a way that will not jeopardise efforts to repatriate victims’ bodies or scupper efforts to be involved in the crash investigation, while also reflecting deep unease in Canada about the US’s role in the crisis.”
Roland Oliphant in the Telegraph argues that in light of the US-Iranian tensions, it is always tempting to turn to lessons from recent history. But he argues “that no one, from ordinary Iranians to regime officials and foreign diplomats, has any idea what is going to happen next.”
In The Times, Richard Spencer argues that the latest protests in Iran are reminiscent of the “green revolution” that swept the streets of Tehran after the 2009 presidential election had ushered in the populist hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for a second term. The social classes taking to the streets against the regime over the accidental shooting down of Ukraine International Airlines flight 752 appear to be primarily from the young, urban, educated elite.
The Daily Mail leads with new images that show the damaged caused by the Iranian missile strike on an Iraqi military base that housed US soldiers. The barrage on the Ain al-Asad base in Iraq left huge craters in the ground and damaged military trailers in the compound.
The Daily Mail reports that King Abdullah of Jordan has warned that the Jihadist terrorist group ISIS has been re-establishing itself over the past year in south-eastern Syria and western Iraq. He added that many foreign fighters in Syria have made their way to Libya.
The Independent reports that US President Donald Trump authorised the killing of Iran‘s top general seven months before he was hit in a drone strike. Five current and former senior administration officials reportedly claim that the US president said in June he would sign off on the operation to kill Qassem Soleimani if Iran crossed his red line of killing an American. The Guardian report that US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo, spoke at Stanford University’s Hoover Institute yesterday and said Soleimani was killed as part of a broader strategy of deterring challenges by US foes that also applies to China and Russia.
Israel working to stop ICC investigation: Maariv reported that Israel was working with several allies, including the US, Australia, Hungary, Canada and Germany, to stop the International Criminal Court (ICC) from opening a formal investigation into Israel. ICC chief prosecutor Fatou Bensouda had recommended opening such an investigation, with ICC judges yet to approve the measure. But Israeli officials, according to the report, already believe that the court is drafting arrest warrants for senior Israeli officials (both past and present) due to alleged “war crimes” relating to settlement construction in the West Bank. Israel has launched a major diplomatic effort among friendly allies to apply pressure on the ICC, arguing that the Palestinian Authority is not a state and therefore has no standing in the ICC, among other arguments put forward.
Israel to increase permits for Gaza labourers: Kan Radio reports that Israel will increase the number of entry permits into Israel issued for Gazan labourers. An additional 500 permits will be added to the current 5,000 issued. The number is the highest it has been since the Second Intifada, with the IDF supporting the move as a means to ease the economic and humanitarian crisis in Gaza. Traders and businessmen had previously only been eligible for such entry permits. The move is part of the overall ceasefire talks between Israel and Hamas, brokered by Egypt and the United Nations. The Shin Bet is still reportedly opposed to allowing more Gazans enter Israel, viewing it as a security risk.