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Russian bombers use Iranian air base to strike Syrian targets, signaling closer cooperation

Posted by Tip Staff - August 17, 2016


Russian bombers flew from an Iranian air base to strike targets across Syria on Tuesday—a clear escalation of Russian-Iranian collaboration. The two have been working together to keep Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in power since September. Russia has indiscriminately bombed civilian targets and moderate opposition forces supported by the U.S., while Iran, along with its proxy Hezbollah, has been directing military campaigns on the ground. The strike on Tuesday proved no different, as Russia attacked both terrorist targets and moderates.
Russia’s use of the Hamedan air base, 175 miles southwest of Tehran, is particularly notable given that Iran has long banned foreign militaries from using its territory. Russian officials claim that flying missions out of Hamedan enables heavier loads and lower costs. Iran analysts Behnam Ben Taleblu and Amir Toumaj assessed that the “latest developments indicate that Russia will rely more on Iran’s military air base to conduct sorties. It also suggests that Russia and Iran do not plan to draw down their support for the Assad regime in Syria any time soon, and that they are ready to boost bilateral military cooperation in new ways if need be.” The Associated Press’ Bradley Klapper wrote Tuesday, “If Russia is moving closer to the Assad-Iran-Hezbollah alliance, it could spell doom for Syria's besieged opposition.” State Department deputy spokesman Mark Toner called the flights “unfortunate, but not surprising or unexpected.”
It is possible that Russia has violated United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231, which enshrines the Iran nuclear deal. The resolution prohibits the supply, sale, and transfer of combat aircraft to Iran unless approved in advance by the U.N. Security Council. The U.S. State Department says such approval never took place and is assessing to see if Russia’s use of the Iranian air base constitutes a violation.


Iran has arrested an Iranian with dual citizenship over alleged ties to British intelligence, the Associated Press reported Tuesday. Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi identified the detained individual as “active in the economic field, related to Iran,” but gave no further details to local media except that the arrest occurred last week.The UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office issued a statement that they “are seeking information following the reported detention of a dual Iranian-British national in Iran,” but would not confirm whether the person arrested last week was British.
Iran does not recognize dual citizenship, and often deprives detainees of consular assistance. Details about the arrest of a dual citizen are usually only released weeks after the arrest, typically through media close to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The detainees are tried by courts run by the IRGC and are often charged with trying to overthrow the government.
Reuters reported last month that the six dual nationals arrested in recent months comprised “the highest number of Iranians with dual-nationality detained at one time in recent years to have been acknowledged.”
Many analysts believe that Iran is “seeking concessions from the West in exchange for releasing them,” the AP wrote.
Last month, Iranian authorities arrested dual American-Iranian citizen Reza “Robin” Shahini, who was visiting his ailing mother. Other detainees include Parviz Tanavoli, a prominent Iranian-Canadian sculptor, who was barred from leaving Iran last month;Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an employee of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, who was forcibly separated from her toddler daughter as they prepared to leave Iran in April; Homa Hoodfar, a Canadian-Iranian scholar who was arrested earlier this year when she returned to Iran to see her family; Iranian-American businessman Siamak Namazi and his father, Baquer Namazi; British-Iranian businessman Kamal Foroughi; and Nizar Zakka, a Lebanese national with U.S. permanent residency. (via the Tower.org)

Acceptance into college or graduate school in the United States necessitates taking a standardized exam. Taking a standardized exam necessitates taking a prep course costing as much as $1,500. At least, it did until now. LTG Exam Prep Platform, founded by Israeli high-tech entrepreneur Elad Shoushan, offers free Android and iOS apps to help applicants prepare for standardized admissions tests with a personalized course they can do at their own pace and even on the go. The app’s adaptive algorithms identify each user’s strengths and weaknesses, offering a range of features to reinforce strengths, build confidence and gauge progress. (via Israel21c)


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