FROM Najmeh Bozorgmehr
Iran's Supreme Leader Just Says 'No' The Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told a huge crowd that President Ahmadinejad was re-elected by a landslide. He denied that last Fridays voting was rigged. He told protesters to stay off the streets and warned that future violence would be blamed on their leaders. The opposition has scheduled a rally tomorrow. Will they back down? Will there be violent repression? Whats the impact on Middle East neighbors? And whats the status of President Obamas hope for engagement with the Islamic Republic? We look at these and other issues today.
Iranian Missile Tests and Russian Threats Iran today test-fired nine ballistic missiles, including a new version of the Shahab-3, which Iran says has the capacity to strike Tel Aviv. The tests were shown on government-run TV and a commander of the Revolutionary Guard said they were designed to "tell the world...that our finger is always on the trigger." We get perspective from Iran, Israel, Russia and the US.
New Intelligence on Iran's Nuclear Program US intelligence agencies now believe that Iran stopped trying to build nuclear weapons four years ago. The "military option" appears to be off the table. President Bush's effort to increase sanctions against Iran is still going strong, but the latest intelligence estimate may undermine that, too. In Iran today, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad called the latest US Intelligence Estimate a "victory" for his claim that Iran is not building nuclear weapons. He did not mention the finding that there was such a program up until 2003. Mohamed elBaradei of the International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran is " somewhat vindicated " but that there still are "lingering concerns." Have 16 intelligence agencies declared their independence from political influence? Has the President turned his back on the neo-cons who wanted to follow the war in Iraq with attacks on Iran?
Concern deepens amid Trump's controversies President Trump delivered today's commencement speech to the Coast Guard Academy in Connecticut. As he praised the accomplishments of the graduates, he listed some of his own… and made reference to reports that he leaked intelligence to the Russians and tried to shut down an FBI Investigation into his associates.
Healthcare debate now shifts to the Senate Both parties are celebrating yesterday's House bill to repeal and replace Obamacare. House Republicans are cheering because they were able to pass it. Democrats are happy because they think it's so bad. We look at the details… and the politics.
Trump, the GOP and the rule of law Conservatives — and some Republicans — are criticizing the President for "the mess he made" in firing FBI Director James Comey. We hear about a potential successor, the possibility of "obstruction of justice" and the constitutional separation of powers.