Israeli poisoning plot rumors swirl around dead Iranian scientists

Israeli poisoning plot rumors swirl around dead Iranian scientists
One of the poisoned victims was a geologist who worked at Natanz nuclear facility. (File/AFP)
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Updated 15 June 2022

Israeli poisoning plot rumors swirl around dead Iranian scientists

Israeli poisoning plot rumors swirl around dead Iranian scientists
  • The suspected poisonings follow assassinations of men linked to IRGC

LONDON: Israel has been accused of poisoning two Iranian scientists involved with the regime’s missile programs amid a rise in assassinations in the country.

Ayoub Entezari, 35, a Yazd-based engineer at a missile and drone center, died of suspected poisoning after returning from a party on May 31.

Soon after, Kamran Aghamolaei, 31, died on June 2 of multiple organ failure after returning from a business trip in Tabriz. He was a geologist who reportedly worked at the Natanz nuclear facility.

Entezari’s dinner party host has since disappeared, according to The New York Times, which added that Iranian officials had said that the blame had been put on Israel.

The suspected poisonings, which have not seen blame directed at Israel in public, follow a spate of assassinations on men linked to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, a special branch of the Iranian regime’s military.

Col. Sayad Khodai, one of the men linked to the IRGC, was fatally shot on May 22 in Tehran. He was known in Iran for working in Syria to support Shiite militias that were taking on Daesh and other rebel groups. Iran has openly blamed Israel for his death, vowing to take revenge.

On June 3, Col. Ali Esmailzadeh, who was also linked to the IRGC, died after he fell from the roof of his house just outside of Tehran.

Iranian officials said it was a suicidal accident, but Iran International, an opposition television channel, said Esmailzadeh was murdered for spying on behalf of Israel.

Just over a week before Esmailzadeh’s death, Ehsan Ghadbeigi, an engineer, was killed in a drone attack on May 25 at the Parchin military research site.

Located just outside of Tehran, Parchin is central to the regime’s missile and drone development efforts. It is also reportedly related to the nuclear weapons development program.

And more recently, Iran announced the deaths of two low-ranking IRGC officers. 2nd Lt. Ali Kamani was reportedly killed in a “car accident,” according to early news reports, but later official publications said he had been “martyred.”

Kamani’s death over the weekend was followed by reports of another officer, Mohammed Abdous, dying “during a mission” in the north of Iran.


Woman, 90, stages sit-in at Beirut bank to obtain her deposit

Woman, 90, stages sit-in at Beirut bank to obtain her deposit
Updated 11 sec ago

Woman, 90, stages sit-in at Beirut bank to obtain her deposit

Woman, 90, stages sit-in at Beirut bank to obtain her deposit
  • Edro Khider, a disabled woman, was carried by her son to the Bank Audi branch
  • The elderly woman’s son, told Arab News: “My elderly mother and father need the equivalent of $1,000 per month for medicines and medical examinations”

BEIRUT: How ordinary Lebanese are suffering during the country’s financial crisis came under the spotlight on Tuesday when a 90-year-old woman staged a sit-in at a Beirut bank, demanding her deposit that is frozen for three years.
Edro Khider, a disabled woman, was carried by her son to the Bank Audi branch in the Salim Salam neighborhood in Beirut. When the bank’s management refused to release the $20,000 deposit, the woman decided to stage a sit-in inside the bank.
Bank holdups by depositors decreased during the current month, after they intensified during October, and included retired security men, a parliament MP, and businessmen.
Hussein Khider, the elderly woman’s son, told Arab News: “We are in the bank and will not leave until we get the deposit. My elderly mother and father need the equivalent of $1,000 per month for medicines and medical examinations, and we can no longer afford them. We, the four children, can no longer afford this exorbitant amount.”
Khider said his mother has been sick for five years, and during this period “we did not demand the deposit, and we did not sign any agreement with the bank to obtain it according to the decisions that authorize it to be paid in installments, but now we are no longer able to cover the cost of medical treatment.
“My mother saved the amount over the years from the money we gave her. She saved $100-200 each time and put them in the bank for the rainy day. The day has come, and they are not allowing her to get the deposit.”
He said his father, also in his 90s, needed open-heart surgery, and he has a financial deposit in the bank, but the bank refused to release, and now he lives on medicines that prolong his life to a minimum.”
Khider said: “The security forces surround the bank, but they are not interested in what happens inside the bank. The bank’s management informed me that it is ready to release the deposit according to Resolution 158, which means that it will give us $4,000. The bank manager said that he will give us an additional gift of $2,000. We refused; we want the full amount. Is he giving it to me from his pocket? It’s my mother’s money.”
He described the negotiations with the bank’s management as “procrastination, and no one is interested in a solution. There is an incomprehensible indifference.”
Musa Ghazi, the media official of the Depositors Outcry Association, which is following up on the case of Khider and his mother, told Arab News that “more tragic cases will be witnessed by banks in the coming days.”
Bank holdups by depositors came as a result of the failure of the political authority to resolve the issue.
Lebanese banks accuse the political authority of having withdrawn from banks, through the central bank, $62.670 trillion of deposits and wasting money on subsidies, fixing the exchange rate, high interests, electricity, the state’s import needs, and others.
The Association of Banks says that “the public sector has squandered the funds of the private sector. The state and its institutions have squandered the funds of depositors and the capital of bank shareholders.
“The most dangerous thing that the public sector has done is that it has placed the responsibility of solving its problems on the private sector and reached into its savings. Today, the state distances itself and establishes itself as arbiter between depositors and banks.”
Depositors accuse the banks of smuggling their money and the money of politicians abroad, and that the banks and the state are both accused of looting people’s deposits.


Minister calls for maintaining EU-Jordan cooperation

Minister calls for maintaining EU-Jordan cooperation
Updated 57 min 3 sec ago

Minister calls for maintaining EU-Jordan cooperation

Minister calls for maintaining EU-Jordan cooperation
  • Nancy Namrouqa lauds EU’s contribution and support to development projects in Jordan

AMMAN: Jordan’s state minister for legal affairs, Nancy Namrouqa, has reaffirmed the significance of continuing and advancing cooperation with the EU in various fields.
After receiving the EU Ambassador to Jordan Maria Hadjitheodosiou on Tuesday, Namrouqa spoke about the government’s endeavors to conduct the three political, economic, and administrative modernization paths, described by King Abdullah as “state projects.”
The minister lauded the EU’s contribution to and support for development projects in Jordan, reported Jordan’s News Agency.
Hadjitheodosiou expressed her appreciation for the EU-Jordan partnership and praised Amman’s efforts to achieve its three modernization tracks and enhance the investment environment.


Brothers among 4 Palestinians killed in West Bank

Brothers among 4 Palestinians killed in West Bank
Updated 3 min 50 sec ago

Brothers among 4 Palestinians killed in West Bank

Brothers among 4 Palestinians killed in West Bank
  • Jawad Abd Al-Rahman Rimawi, 22,  was shot dead in Kufr Ein, near Ramallah; his brother, Thafer, 21, was shot and critically injured, and later died
  • Mohammad Shtayyeh, Palestinian prime minister, said that the deaths of the two brothers was a “heinous crime”

RAMALLAH: Four Palestinians, including two brothers, were killed and 21 injured in the occupied West Bank on Tuesday.

Mufid Mahmoud Ekhlil, 44, was shot dead in the town of Beit Ummar, northern Hebron.

Nine Palestinians were injured by bullets during the confrontations and taken to nearby hospitals, the Palestinian Ministry of Health said.

The Israel Defense Forces said that “rioters” attacked soldiers with rocks and explosive devices after two IDF vehicles got stuck during an operational patrol near Beit Ummar.

It added: “The rioters also shot at the soldiers, who responded with riot dispersal means and live fire.”

Jawad Abd Al-Rahman Rimawi, 22,  was shot dead in Kufr Ein, near Ramallah. His brother, Thafer, 21, was shot and critically injured, and later died.

Rani Abu Ali, 45, from Betunia, west of Ramallah, was killed following a car accident involving a 20-year-old Israeli soldier, who was wounded.

The latest bloodshed took place amid a mounting surge of Israeli-Palestinian violence in the wake of a Jerusalem bombing last week that killed two Israelis.

A general strike in Ramallah and some surrounding towns was called to mourn the deaths of the two brothers.

Ghassan Al-Khatib, a Palestinian political analyst and vice president of Birzeit University, told Arab News that there is a clear indication of an Israeli policy of escalation.

He added that he believes the soldiers’ incursions into Palestinian cities and villages will increase in the light of the ultra right-wing Israeli government being formed under Likud leader Benjamin Netanyahu and including Itamar Ben-Gvir and Bezalel Smotrich.

He said: “We are facing a revolt and an escalation of violence because a popular Palestinian reaction will meet every attack of the Israeli army.”

Nabil Abu Rudeineh, Palestinian presidential spokesperson, said the Israeli government “bears full responsibility for these crimes and must be held accountable for them,” noting that successive right-wing governments have declared daily war on the Palestinian people.

He added: “The American administration also bears a great responsibility for the occupation and authorities’ continuous crimes against our people, as it is the only sponsor of the occupying state in the world, in arms and financing and at international forums.

Abu Rudeineh said the US administration needed to take action to deter Israel from carrying out crimes that destabilized the region.

Some 205 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli forces since the beginning of this year, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry.

Mohammad Shtayyeh, Palestinian prime minister, said that the deaths of the two brothers was a “heinous crime.”

He added: “With the continued declaration of war on our people, and the new Israeli government, we call on the world’s countries to intervene urgently to stop the Israeli killing machine and to hold the perpetrators accountable.”

Hundreds of Palestinians attended the funerals of the victims in Ramallah and Hebron, and chanted slogans condemning the crimes of the Israeli occupation, and calling for their cessation.

Hussein Al-Sheikh, from the Palestine Liberation Organization, tweeted that the deaths of the brothers was an “awful crime committed by the occupation forces.” He added that execution in cold blood is “fascist behavior.”

Hamas spokesman Hazem Qassem said: “The Israeli occupation is trying desperately to stop the legitimate struggle of the Palestinian people, through killings and assassinations, but this blood will be fuel for our people’s revolution and continuous uprising.”

Meanwhile, Benny Gantz, outgoing Israeli defense minister, said he had approved the construction of 10,000 units in the West Bank and East Jerusalem, and that settlements, especially in the Jordan Valley, must be strengthened.

In addition, Yair Lapid, the outgoing Israeli prime minister, has sent more than 50 world leaders a letter calling on them to exert their influence on the Palestinian Authority to prevent the General Assembly vote on an advisory opinion from the International Court of Justice on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

“This resolution is the outcome of a concerted effort to single out Israel, to discredit our legitimate security concerns, and to delegitimize our very existence,” Lapid said in the letter.


IRGC threatens Iranian footballers’ families ahead of US match

IRGC threatens Iranian footballers’ families ahead of US match
Updated 29 November 2022

IRGC threatens Iranian footballers’ families ahead of US match

IRGC threatens Iranian footballers’ families ahead of US match
  • Players warned their relatives face arrest, torture if they do not back regime in final group game
  • Source tells CNN IRGC has flooded Qatar with operatives, officials to monitor players

LONDON: Iran’s footballers at the World Cup in Qatar have been warned that their families could be imprisoned and tortured if they show any signs of protest or dissent during the team’s final group game on Tuesday.

In their opening game against England, the Iranian players refused to sing the national anthem in a show of solidarity with protests across the country, but did participate during the second game against Wales.

A source told CNN, ahead of the match against the US, that the players had been informed in a meeting with members of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps that “violence and torture” awaited their relatives if they did not “behave” this time.

It marked a severe change in tone, the source added, as prior to the World Cup the team had been promised lavish gifts if they performed well at the tournament.

Coach Carlos Queiroz also had a separate meeting with IRGC officials, but it is not known what was discussed.

Queiroz had previously said his players could protest as long as it met with criteria established by FIFA.

The source said “dozens” of IRGC members are in Qatar to monitor the players, who are not allowed to meet with or talk to foreigners for the duration of the competition.

“There are a large number of Iranian security officers in Qatar collecting information and monitoring the players,” the source told CNN.

“In the last game against Wales, the regime sent over hundreds of these actor supporters in order to create a false sense of support and favor amongst the fans.

“For the next game against the US, the regime is planning to significantly increase the number of actors into the thousands.”

Protests have engulfed Iran since September following the death of 22-year-old Kurdish woman Mahsa Amini at the hands of the country’s morality police, for allegedly wearing her hijab incorrectly. Hundreds have been killed and tens of thousands arrested, with many facing execution.

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Turk called the situation a “full-fledged human rights crisis.”

Thousands of Iranian fans have taken their protests to World Cup venues, holding anti-regime banners, calling for women’s rights to be protected, and booing the national anthem.


UAE set to launch rover to the moon Wednesday

UAE set to launch rover to the moon Wednesday
Updated 29 November 2022

UAE set to launch rover to the moon Wednesday

UAE set to launch rover to the moon Wednesday
  • Rashid rover will blast off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, tomorrow (Nov.30)
  • If the lunar mission succeeded, the UAE would be the fourth country to land on the moon.

DUBAI: The UAE has completed the final preparations to launch its rover to the moon in the Arab world’s first lunar mission, it was announced on Tuesday.

Rashid rover will blast off from Cape Canaveral Space Force Station in Florida, US, on Wednesday, Nov. 30, embarking on a five-month journey to the moon.

In a statement, Japan-based ispace inc. announced it had completed the integration of its HAKUTO-R Mission 1 lunar lander into the SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket.

“We are pleased to have finished the first phase of the Mission 1 with the final preparations before launch completed,” said Takeshi Hakamada, Founder and CEO of ispace.

“To do this, we utilized a design and development model that balanced reliability and low costs by employing proven technologies and components from around the world,” he added.

The Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center (MBRSC) invited viewers from all over the world to watch the launch live at 12:39pm UAE time (GMT+4).

 

 

The rover will land on the “unexplored moon surface at Atlas Crater, on the southeastern outer edge of Mare Frigoris (“Sea of Cold”)” in April 2023, the center said.

“The target site criteria were carefully considered by the Emirates Lunar Mission Team, including the duration of continuous sun illumination and communication visibility from Earth,” the MBRSC said in a statement. Once launched, the integrated spacecraft will take a low-energy route to the moon rather than a direct approach.

If the lunar mission succeeded, the UAE would be the fourth country to land on the moon.

The 10kg Rashid rover will study the properties of lunar soil, mobility on the lunar surface, the petrography and geology of the moon, dust movement, and study surface plasma conditions and the moon’s photoelectron sheath.

It will send data and images back to Earth, using two high-resolution cameras: Microscopic, and thermal imaging ones, said the mission’s team.

The lunar mission was the latest of the UAE’s effort in space exploration. Earlier in February 2021, the UAE made history by landing its Hope probe to Mars, becoming the first Arab nation to launch an unmanned mission to the red planet.