DUBAI (Reuters) - Iran said on Sunday it could quit a treaty against the spread of nuclear weapons after the United States tightens sanctions, while an Iranian general said the U.S. Navy was interacting as before with an elite military unit blacklisted by Washington. Tensions between Tehran and Washington have risen since the Trump administration withdrew last year from a 2015 international nuclear deal with Iran and began ratcheting up sanctions. Earlier this month, the United States blacklisted Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) and demanded buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases by May or face sanctions. "The Islamic Republic's choices are numerous, and the country's authorities are considering them ... and leaving NPT (nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty) is one of them," state broadcaster IRIB's website quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as saying. Iran has threatened in the past to leave the NPT, as U.S. President Donald Trump moved to scrap the 2015 deal with world powers - the United States, Russia, China, Germany, Britain and France. Separately, Iran's armed forces chief of staff said the IRGC - which ensures security in Gulf waters and the Strait of Hormuz for Iran - had not observed any change in the U.S. military's behavior towards the elite force after the blacklisting. "U.S. warships are obliged to respond to the IRGC on the passage of the Strait of Hormuz ... and until yesterday they have been answering IRGC questions, and we have not seen change in their procedures," Major General Mohammad Baqeri was quoted as saying on Sunday by the semi-official Fars news agency. Lieutenant Chloe Morgan, U.S. Naval Forces Central Command spokeswoman, said on Sunday: "The Strait of Hormuz is an international waterway. Threats to close the strait impact the international community and undermine the free flow of commerce. "The U.S., along with our allies and partners, is committed to freedom of navigation and remains well positioned and postured to preserve the free flow of commerce, and we are prepared to respond to any acts of aggression," Morgan said in an emailed statement, without referring to interaction with IRGC forces. On Wednesday, Zarif called the IRGC blacklisting "absurd", but suggested Iran did not plan to respond militarily unless the United States changed the rules of engagement guiding how it interacts with Iran's forces. The U.S. military has not suggested it would alter its behavior after the blacklisting. "We don't intend to close the Strait of Hormuz, unless hostilities reach a level where this cannot be avoided," Fars quoted Baqeri as saying. "If our oil does not pass, the oil of others shall not pass the Strait of Hormuz either." President Hassan Rouhani and some senior military commanders have threatened to disrupt oil shipments from Gulf countries if Washington tries to strangle Tehran's oil exports. Carrying one third of the world's seaborne oil every day, the Strait of Hormuz links Middle East crude producers to markets in Asia Pacific, Europe, North America and beyond. Iran has also threatened to pull out of the 2015 deal unless European powers enable it to receive economic benefits. The Europeans have said they would help companies do business with Iran as long as it abides by the deal, but Tehran has criticized what it sees as the slow pace of progress on a promised payment mechanism for Iran-Europe trade. "The Europeans have had a year but unfortunately they have not taken any practical measures," Zarif told IRIB. (Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Toby Chopra, Dale Hudson and Raissa Kasolowsy)
- The Independent
Biden tells Fox News reporter he talked to Putin about ‘You’ when asked about his call with Russian president
Leaders reportedly discussed Ukraine tensions, a massive cyberattack and Russia’s poisoned opposition leader
- The Week
Biden did not, in fact, remove Trump's 'Diet Coke button' from the Resolute Desk, White House clarifies
The new Biden administration has yet not disclosed the secrets of Area 51 or explained what the Air Force really knows about UFOs, but it did clarify, at least, the mystery of the vanished "Diet Coke button" former President Donald Trump would use to summon refreshments in the Oval Office. The usher button, as it is formally known, is not gone, even if it is no longer used to summon Diet Cokes, a White House official tells Politico. The White House official "unfortunately wouldn't say what Biden will use the button for," Politico's Daniel Lippman writes, suggesting Biden might summon Orange Gatorade and not the obvious answer, ice cream — or, let's get real, coffee. What's more, there are evidently two usher buttons in the Oval Office, one at the Resolute Desk and the other next to the chair by the fireplace, a former White House official told Politico, adding that Trump didn't actually use the Diet Coke button all that much because "he would usually just verbally ask the valets, who were around all day, for what he needed." In any case, it is not the placement of the button that matters, of course, but how you use it. And Biden will presumably know better than to order ice cream treats during a top-secret national security briefing. More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'Mitch McConnell is the GOAT
- Associated Press
Investigators have found no evidence that terrorism, politics or any bias motivated a driver who repeatedly drove into people along streets and sidewalks in Portland, Oregon, killing a 77-year-old woman and injuring nine other people, police said Tuesday. The driver, whose name has not been released, was hospitalized and was expected to be booked into jail afterward, the Portland Police Bureau said in a news release. The woman, who died at a hospital, was identified as Jean Gerich of Portland, police said.
- The Independent
Mike Pence is homeless after leaving office and ‘couch-surfing’ with Indiana politicians, report says
Mike Pence has been residing in public housing for the past eight years
- The Week
In an interview with MSNBC's Rachel Maddow on Monday afternoon, Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said his caucus won't allow Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) to dictate the agenda in the Democratic-led 50-50 Senate or demand an end to the legislative filibuster as a precondition for a power-sharing pact. "We've told McConnell no on the organizing resolution, and that's that. So there's no negotiations on that," Schumer said, suggesting he had a secret plan. "There are ways to deal with him." Maddow included an update when she broadcast the interview Monday night. "While we were airing that right now, and you were watching it, Republican Minority Leader Mitch McConnell just put out a statement that he is folding on this" and willl "agree to go forward with what Sen. Schumer told him he must," she said. "Sen. Mitch McConnell has caved and Sen. Schumer has won that fight. That was quick. Let's see what else we can do." No sooner has the portion of Rachel Maddow's interview with Senator Majority Leader Chuck Schumer aired than Mitch McConnell has put out a statement that he is folding, ending the stand-off. pic.twitter.com/9qR1jpKXkf — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 McConnell said he would allow the Senate to move forward because two Democrats had reiterated their opposition to ending the filibuster, effectively taking that option off the table. Maddow asked Schumer about that, too, and he didn't answer directly. "The caucus is united with the belief that I have: We must get big, strong, bold things done," Schumer said. The Democratic caucus is also "totally united" that "we will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do," and "we have tools that we can use," notably the budget reconciliation process," he added. "We will come together as a caucus and figure it out." "We will not let Mitch McConnell dictate to us what we will do and not do." Here's Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer earlier in his interview with Rachel Maddow, talking about the filibuster specifically, and getting things done. pic.twitter.com/xOAKWfe2Fu — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 Schumer also suggested he is not interested in playing cat-and-mouse with McConnell's Republicans again. Watch below. "We will not repeat that mistake." Senate Majority Leader Schumer cites Obama era lessons in prioritizing legislation over bad faith Republican 'bipartisanship.' pic.twitter.com/gpc1kBP45w — Maddow Blog (@MaddowBlog) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'Mitch McConnell is the GOAT
- Yahoo News Video
A former pathologist at an Arkansas veterans’ hospital has been sentenced to 20 years in federal prison after pleading guilty last year to involuntary manslaughter in the death of a patient that he misdiagnosed.
Former Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will join the Hudson Institute, giving him a platform to stay active in policy discussions and potentially run for president in 2024. Why it matters: By aligning himself with the conservative think tank, Pompeo will keep close to the debates — and donors — that matter to the Republican Party.Get smarter, faster with the news CEOs, entrepreneurs and top politicians read. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.“I am pleased to be joining Hudson Institute and look forward to contributing to its mission of promoting American leadership and global engagement,” Pompeo said in a statement obtained by Axios.The big picture: The Hudson Institute has minted many of the policy proposals that have gained currency in the GOP, even as it prided itself on serving as a forum for Democrats and Republicans to exchange views during the Trump administration. * It's also become a landing spot for conservative national security thinkers, including Tim Morrison, a National Security Council official, and Jon Lerner, a GOP strategist who has advised Nikki Haley and former Vice President Pence. * Hudson’s former president and CEO, Ken Weinstein, was nominated by Trump as ambassador to Japan but he never received a full vote in the Senate. Hudson is now led by John Walters and Weinstein is a distinguished fellow. What they are saying: “Secretary Pompeo’s exemplary record of public service and his commitment to the values underpinning our mission makes this an exciting opportunity for collaboration,” said Sarah May Stern, chair of Hudson's board of trustees. Flashback: The day after President Biden's inauguration, Pompeo tweeted, "1,384 days," an apparent countdown to the 2024 election.Support safe, smart, sane journalism. Sign up for Axios Newsletters here.
- NBC News
The suspension, which will last at least 30 days, has been in effect since last week, YouTube said.
The U.S. Air Force is approaching its sunset date for the Airman Battle Uniform, known as the ABU.
- Architectural Digest
Let’s get loudOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest
- Associated Press
Israel's military chief Tuesday warned the Biden administration against rejoining the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, even if it toughens its terms, adding he's ordered his forces to step up preparations for possible offensive action against Iran during the coming year. The comments by Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi came as Israel and Iran both seek to put pressure on President Joe Biden ahead of his expected announcement on his approach for dealing with the Iranian nuclear program.
- The Independent
‘There appeared to be no remorse,’ says Calcasieu Parish sheriff Tony Mancus
- The Week
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) will have his work cut out for him as he tries to maneuver through the 50-50 upper chamber. To pass most legislation, he'll need to work with Republicans to get things done, but that won't be easy, especially after he rigorously campaigned against a few of them in recent election cycles, CNN reports. Take, for example, Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), who ultimately won a hard fought re-election campaign last year against Democratic challenger Sara Gideon. Despite the victory, Collins appears to have taken Schumer's efforts to unseat her personally. "What this campaign taught me about Chuck Schumer is that he will say or do anything in order to win," she told CNN. "It was a deceitful, despicable campaign that he ran." Collins is generally considered one of the more bipartisan voices in the Senate and has crossed the aisle not infrequently throughout her tenure, but those words don't make her sound like someone who's excited to help hand Schumer easy wins. Read more at CNN. Susan Collins doesn't sound like she's keen on cutting lots of deals https://t.co/YHgj2ydgN6 — Jonathan Chait (@jonathanchait) January 26, 2021 The only way governing with the filibuster can ever work is if Republicans are willing to engage in good faith negotiations. Even SUSAN COLLINS is explicitly stating she’s a partisan who has no interest in working with Democrats. — Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) January 26, 2021 More stories from theweek.comSarah Huckabee Sanders' shameless campaign for governorTrump's impeachment lawyer said he thinks 'the facts and the law will speak for themselves'Mitch McConnell is the GOAT
- NBC News
Robert Unanue previously praised then-President Donald Trump at a White House event, saying the country was “truly blessed” to have him leading it.
Marine officials declined to comment on when the review is expected to be complete or what changes could result.
- Associated Press
All but five Senate Republicans voted in favor of an effort to dismiss Donald Trump's historic second impeachment trial on Tuesday, making clear a conviction of the former president for “incitement of insurrection” after the deadly Capitol siege on Jan. 6 is unlikely. While the Republicans did not succeed in ending the trial before it began, the test vote made clear that Trump still has enormous sway over his party as he becomes the first former president to be tried for impeachment. Many Republicans have criticized Trump's role in the attack — before which he told his supporters to “fight like hell” to overturn his defeat — but most of them have rushed to defend him in the trial.
A 19-year-old Tibetan monk has reportedly died after battling two months of alleged mistreatment under Chinese authorities. Tenzin Nyima, also known as Tamay, served at Dza Wonpo monastery in Wonpo township, Kandze prefecture, a Tibetan area in the Sichuan province of China. Nyima was first arrested in November 2019 after distributing leaflets with three other monks according to Human Rights Watch (HRW).
- NBC News
"The member in question had been advised numerous times about the requirements and had refused to be tested," the House speaker said.
- Associated Press
The United States says all soldiers from Eritrea should leave Ethiopia’s embattled Tigray region “immediately.” A State Department spokesperson in an email to The Associated Press late Tuesday cited “credible reports of looting, sexual violence, assaults in refugee camps and other human rights abuses." "There is also evidence of Eritrean soldiers forcibly returning Eritrean refugees from Tigray to Eritrea,” the spokesperson said.
- Architectural Digest
Everything they need to put the horrors of moving behind themOriginally Appeared on Architectural Digest