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US Navy says it fired warning shots at Iranian vessels in Gulf

 

The United States Navy has said it fired warning shots at vessels from Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the Gulf, accusing the IRGC vessels of coming close to US ships in international waters.

 

In a statement on Tuesday, the US Fifth Fleet said three IRGC vessels came close to a US Navy patrol ship and a US Coast Guard patrol boat on Monday evening.

 

“The U.S. crews issued multiple warnings via bridge-to-bridge radio and loud-hailer devices, but the IRGCN vessels continued their close range maneuvers,” the statement reads.

 

“The crew of [US navy patrol ship] Firebolt then fired warning shots, and the IRGCN vessels moved away to a safe distance from the U.S. vessels.”

 

It is the second encounter between US and Iranian naval forces in Gulf waters this month, after about a year without any such incidents.

 

Earlier this week, the US Navy released footage dated April 2 showing a ship commanded by the IRGC cut in front of the USCGC Monomoy, causing the US Coast Guard vessel to come to an abrupt stop with its engine smoking.

 

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Iran's Largest Navy Ship Sinks In The Gulf Of Oman After Catching Fire

 

Iran's largest navy vessel caught fire in the Gulf of Oman on Wednesday and sank, according to the Tasnim News Agency.

 

A fire broke out on the IS Kharg while the ship was near Iran's port of Jask, southeast of Tehran, according to the Iranian navy. All crew members were able to flee the burning ship and were transferred to safety on the coast. The Kharg — sometimes spelled "Khark" — was one of navy's few ships capable of replenishing other ships at sea.

 

Military and civilian responders tried for 20 hours to extinguish the fire that gradually spread throughout the vessel, reported the Tasnim News Agency. Photos and videos shared online show the entire ship out at sea engulfed in thick, black smoke.

 

 

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Hard-line judiciary head wins Iran presidency as turnout low

 

Iran’s hard-line judiciary chief won a landslide victory Saturday in the country’s presidential election, a vote that both propelled the supreme leader’s protege into Tehran’s highest civilian position and saw the lowest turnout in the Islamic Republic’s history.

 

The election of Ebrahim Raisi, already sanctioned by the U.S. in part over his involvement in the mass execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988, became more of a coronation after his strongest competition found themselves disqualified from running.

 

That sparked calls for a boycott and many apparently did stay home — out of over 59 million eligible voters, only 28.9 million voted. Of those voting, some 3.7 million people either accidentally or intentionally voided their ballots, far beyond the amount seen in previous elections and suggesting some wanted none of the four candidates.

 

Iranian state television immediately blamed challenges of the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. sanctions for the low participation. But the low turnout and voided ballots suggested a wider unhappiness with the tightly controlled election, as activists criticized Raisi’s ascension.

 

“That Ebrahim Raisi has risen to the presidency instead of being investigated for the crimes against humanity of murder, enforced disappearance and torture is a grim reminder that impunity reigns supreme in Iran,” Amnesty International’s Secretary-General Agnes Callamard said.

 

In official results, Raisi won 17.9 million votes overall, nearly 62% of the total 28.9 million cast.

 

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Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant has emergency shutdown - state TV

 

Iran's Bushehr nuclear power plant underwent an emergency shutdown, Iranian media reported on Sunday.


The Iranian Atomic Energy Organization reported that a technical defect in the power plant led to the plant being temporarily shut down and disconnected from the national electricity grid, according to the Iranian Fars News Agency. The AEO stated that the plant would be reconnected to the electricity grid in the next few days.

 

The deputy coordinator of the Iran Power Transmission, Generation and Distribution Company (TAVANIR) told Fars that the plant was temporarily closed for "technical repairs," which would continue for about three to four days.


Last month, a massive fire broke out near the Islamic Republic's only functioning nuclear power plant in Bushehr. Last July, the city of Bushehr saw another large fire break out at the Delvar Shipyard.


In addition to the fires plaguing the plant, Iran said in March that Bushehr could stop operating this year altogether as the country struggles to keep the unit running due to financial troubles caused by American sanctions, the semi-official Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) reported.


The incident comes as Iran and world powers continued negotiations on renewing the Iran nuclear deal on Sunday for the first time since Ebrahim Raisi, a hardline judge under US sanctions for human rights abuses, was elected as Iran's next president.

 

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DOD linguist sentenced for transmitting classified docs to Hezbollah

 

A former contract linguist stationed in Iraq with the Department of Defense (DOD) was sentenced Wednesday for knowingly transmitting classified information to a Lebanese national with ties to a designated terrorist organization.

 

Mariam Taha Thompson, 62, held a top-secret government security clearance prior to her February 2020 arrest and admitted to passing information she believed would be provided to Hezbollah – a terrorist organization backed by Iran.

 

Thompson will serve 23 years in prison.

 

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