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Media Summary

Iran to limit inspections of nuclear sites

The Guardian reports that Iran will further reduce its commitment to the JCPOA nuclear deal by limiting inspections of its nuclear sites. The move, expected to take place in November, will be the fourth Iranian step away from the deal, and puts pressure on the E3 to make a counter-move. Reuters reports that France has urged Iran not to scale back further on its commitments to the JCPOA, saying Tehran’s new threat to speed up uranium enrichment next month was “especially worrying”.

BBC News, the Guardian, Independent, Financial Times and Reuters report that US President Donald Trump has said Turkey’s incursion into Syria is “not our border”, and called the former US allies the Kurds “no angels”. According to House Democrats, President Trump had a “meltdown” at the White House in a meeting with the House leadership after Congress passed a bipartisan resolution rebuking him for his withdrawal of troops in north-eastern Syria.

The Times and Telegraph report that Russian President Vladimir Putin is to oversee the carving up of northern Syria, as President Erdogan snubbed a US intervention and sought Russian assistance to end the ongoing crisis. Erdogan will travel to Moscow to meet Putin before the end of the month to discuss his war with the Syrian Kurds. Those talks will come before his planned meeting with President Trump on November 13.

The Telegraph, Times, Sky News and Reuters report that President Trump warned Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in a letter about Turkey’s incursion into Syria, “Don’t be a tough guy” and “Don’t be a fool!”. The 9 October letter was released by the White House on Wednesday.

Reuters reports that Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) commander Mazloum Kobani claims that President Trump did not object to an agreement cut between Kurdish-led forces and the Syrian government.

Reuters reports that President Trump said the US was “going to try to work it out” with Turkey regarding its assault into northeastern Syria, but US sanctions would be “devastating” if discussions with Ankara do not go well.

The Independent reports that the UN has warned humanitarian aid could be cut off to war-torn areas of northern Syria impacting hundreds of thousands of people, after foreign aid workers were forced to flee the country as Turkey’s week-long offensive intensified.

Reuters reports that the UNHRC voiced concern on Wednesday over the risks of a deterioration in the humanitarian situation in northeast Syria and the escape of IS fighters. Reuters reports that two IS militants from Belgium have escaped custody in northern Syria.

The Guardian reports that the UK will consider repatriating orphans and unaccompanied children in north-east Syria if they are alerted to their presence by local military or aid agencies.

In the Guardian, Natalie Nougayrède maintains that “Europe can’t keep shutting its eyes to the disaster in Syria”.

In the Financial Times, David Gardner reports that “Trump’s Syria pivot is a boon to enemies of the west”: “Russia, Iran and their client Assad have had a huge win from the US’s withdrawal”.

The Telegraph reports that France has demanded that Iran immediately release two of its nationals who have been held in prison since June, a situation likely to complicate Paris’s efforts to defuse tensions between the US and Tehran.

BBC News reports that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s brother has begun a five-year prison sentence for corruption. Hossein Fereydoun entered Tehran’s Evin prison on Wednesday, his lawyer told local media. He was convicted of “receiving bribes” in May and sentenced to seven years.

Reuters reports that Turkish authorities have arrested 24 people for spreading “black propaganda” on social media about Ankara’s military operation in Syria.

The Financial Times reports that the IMF has forecasted that the Iranian economy would contract by 9.5 per cent this year.

Reuters reports that the White House is warning Chinese shipping companies against turning off their ships’ transponders to hide Iranian oil shipments in violation of US sanctions.

The Guardian reports that eight environmental groups, including Oil Change International and Friends of the Earth, have warned banks linked to Saudi Aramco’s planned market float that they risk financing the destruction of the planet by supporting its public listing.

Reuters reports that Yemen’s Saudi-backed government and southern separatists are expected to sign a deal to end a power struggle in the southern port of Aden, officials said.

The Guardian reports that thirty-five foreign tourists were killed and four others injured when a bus collided with another heavy vehicle near Medina, Saudi state media said on Thursday.

The Times and Sky News report that a female agent working for Iranian intelligence is believed to have helped entrap and lure home an influential opponent of the regime living in Paris.

Reuters reports Iran-backed militias deployed snipers on Baghdad rooftops during the Iraq’s deadliest anti-government protests in years.

The Guardian reports that the International Labour Organisation has announced that the deeply resented employment condition for migrant workers in Qatar, the “kafala” system, is to be abolished in January 2020.

BBC News reports that archaeologists have found more than 20 ancient wooden coffins near the Egyptian city of Luxor, the country’s antiquities ministry says.

In BBC News, Steve Rosenberg presents a profile of Russian President Vladimir Putin: “From pariah to Middle East power broker”.

Gantz meets with IDF chief of staff: All the Israeli media report that Blue and White leader Benny Gantz met yesterday with IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi to discuss “security challenges and developments in the region.” The meeting was held at Gantz’s request with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s permission. The rare move carried political advantages for both leaders as Gantz could burnish his public image as a future prime minister and Netanyahu could use the meeting to highlight the severe security threats facing Israel.

Netanyahu’s  right-wing sign letter of support: The Israeli media report that Netanyahu arranged for his right-wing/ultra-Orthodox allies to sign a letter of support pledging continued fealty to his rule. The so-called bloc again pledged to only join “a government headed by Netanyahu that is comprised of all the undersigned, either in the framework of a right-wing government or in the framework of a unity government with [an] alternating [premiership],” adding: “If, heaven forbid, a [Gantz] minority government is sworn-in with the support of the Joint [Arab] List or part of it, we won’t join that government at any stage, we will vote against it in every vote and we will act by every meats to topple it.” The New Right, led by former ministers Naftali Bennett and Ayelet Shaked, declined to sign the letter, calling it unnecessary and gratuitous.

Gantz may serve under Netanyahu: Israel’s Channel 12 News reported last night that Benny Gantz may be willing to serve under Netanyahu, at least initially, in order to avoid a third election and resolve Israel’s political deadlock. “We’ll spend a few months under Netanyahu and hold our noses, but ultimately Netanyahu has an expiration date,” Gantz told associates, alluding to the plan put forward by President Reuven Rivlin whereby Netanyahu would go first in a rotating premiership arrangement until being declared “incapacitated” if he is indicted by the Attorney General. It is still unclear when exactly incapacitation would be triggered and how other elements within Blue and White would respond to serving under Netanyahu. Israel’s Channel 13 News and other media outlets reported growing speculation of a Gantz-led minority government being formed. Under such a scenario, Blue and White would join with Labour and the Democratic Union, and perhaps be supported from the outside by either the Joint (Arab) List and Avigdor Lieberman’s Yisrael Beitenu – or at least have one of the parties abstain from opposing such a government. The political and parliamentary hurdles to such a scenario coming to pass are thought to be extremely high.