Iran threatens new ‘confrontation’ in Gulf

Iran threatens new ‘confrontation’ in Gulf
This combination of file pictures created on July 22, 2019, shows Iranian soldiers taking part in the "National Persian Gulf day" in the Strait of Hormuz, on April 30, 2019 (up) and the amphibious assault ship USS Boxer (LHD 4) receiving a vertical replenishment-at-sea in the Arabian Sea on July 14, 2019. (US Navy photo via AFP)
Updated 25 July 2019

Iran threatens new ‘confrontation’ in Gulf

Iran threatens new ‘confrontation’ in Gulf
  • If we can’t export oil no one can, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps chief vows
  • The maritime crisis in the Gulf began when IRCG forces boarded a British tanker last week and diverted it to an Iranian port

JEDDAH: Tehran on Wednesday threatened a “dangerous confrontation” in the Strait of Hormuz amid escalating tension over Iranian state piracy in the Arabian Gulf.

All countries should be able to export their oil through the strait or else no one could, said  Hossein Dehghan, a commander of Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and military adviser to Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Tehran would not negotiate with the US under any circumstances and if Washington decided to go to war then all American bases in the region would be targeted, Dehghan said.

He accused Abu Dhabi, the capital of the UAE, of becoming a US center to strike Iran’s national security.

The maritime crisis in the Gulf began when IRCG forces boarded a British tanker last week and diverted it to an Iranian port, in retaliation for the British seizure in the Mediterranean of an Iranian tanker carrying oil to Syria in breach of EU sanctions.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani hinted on Wednesday that the two vessels could be swapped. “We don’t want tensions with some European countries,” Rouhani said.

BACKGROUND

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and top French diplomatic adviser Emmanuel Bonne have visited Tehran in the past month.

If such countries were to “cease the incorrect acts that they have done, including that of Gibraltar, Iran’s response would be appropriate.”

Rouhani also said Iran would be open to talks should there be a “cease-fire” in US economic sanctions that are crippling the Iranian economy.

“In this regard some countries are intermediaries, though they themselves say they are not mediators and are just expressing their own views,” he said. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and top French diplomatic adviser Emmanuel Bonne have visited Tehran in the past month.

Meanwhile, the Israeli spy agency Shin Bet said security forces had uncovered Iranian intelligence efforts to recruit Israeli Arabs and Palestinians.

“The network was based in Syria under Iranian guidance and was led by a Syrian operative nicknamed Abu Jihad,” it said. 

“It attempted to recruit people via fictitious Facebook profiles and messaging apps.”

The recruits were asked to gather data on sites such as military bases and police stations with a view to providing Iran with potential Israeli targets. Most refused to cooperate, Shin Bet said.


Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
Bookseller Yaqoub Mohamed Yaqoub, 45, sits by his roadside stall where he has been working for 15 years, in the Sudanese capital Khartoum, on January 14, 2021. (AFP)
Updated 16 January 2021

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate

Sudan schoolbook picture sparks angry reform debate
  • Unrest ricocheted beyond North African country, triggering uprisings, crackdowns, civil wars

KHARTOUM: As Sudan’s transitional government shifts the nation from the Islamist rule of ousted strongman Omar Bashir, a new schoolbook has sparked controversy for reproducing Michelangelo’s iconic “Creation of Adam.”
Khartoum’s government has embarked on deeply controversial reforms in a bid to boost its international standing and rescue its ailing economy — but bringing it into a confrontation with those who see changes as anti-Islamic.
The offending picture, in a history textbook for teenagers, has become a flashpoint in the argument. “It is an ugly offense,” said Sudan’s Academy of Islamic Fiqh, the body ruling on Islamic law, which issued an edict banning teaching from the book.
Michelangelo’s fresco, depicting the Biblical story of God reaching out with his hand to give life to Adam, is a flagship piece of 16th century Renaissance art that forms part of the Sistine Chapel’s ceiling in Rome.
“The book glorifies Western culture in a way that makes it the culture of science and civilization — in contrast to its presentation of Islamic civilization,” the Fiqh academy added.

BACKGROUND

In a viral video, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting ‘apostasy’ and ‘heresy.’

Furious Muslim clerics have railed against the book and other changes to the school curriculum.
In one video widely shared on social media, a preacher broke down as he waved the book during Friday prayers, accusing it of promoting “apostasy” and “heresy.”
Another urged followers to “burn the book.”
But others defended the changes, saying they were part of necessary education reforms.
“The picture is not in a religious book,” teacher Qamarya Omar said.
“It is in a history book for the sixth-grade under a section called European Renaissance, which makes it placed in context.”