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?
The Trump agenda: where's the beef? President Trump says big things are happening. After celebrating a House bill on health care, he doesn’t yet have Senate agreement. With James Comey’s public testimony scheduled tomorrow, the President today tweeted his selection of a new FBI Director. Is the Chief Executive all style and no substance? Later, terror attacks in Iran and conflicting claims about who’s behind them.
Replacing Obamacare: Now you see it… now you don’t As the Senate deliberates replacing Obmacare, health coverage for millions of people is at stake. There've been no public hearings, and a draft measure won't be made public. Is the House version so unpopular that that Senate is hiding a version that looks much the same?
Trump's 'America First' goes missing abroad In the Middle East, President Trump is changing some policies of the Obama Administration—and reversing his own campaign attacks on Islam as a religion that "hates us." We hear about his visit to Saudi Arabia and what's at stake for the rest of his foreign excursion.
Venezuela spirals into economic and political chaos Venezuela, a country whose potential for prosperity is unmatched, finds itself on the verge of civil war. What sustains the repressive government? With time running out, guest host León Krauze looks at what the international community can do to pull the country from the edge of collapse.