JERUSALEM – President Obama has been engaged in secret, back-channel talks with Iran in which he informed Tehran’s leaders he is completely opposed to any Israeli strike on Iran’s nuclear facilities, according to informed Middle Eastern officials.
The officials told WND the behind-the-scenes talks aim to secure a guarantee from Iran that it will not retaliate against the U.S. in the event of any Israeli military strike, the officials said.
(Reuters) – Vladimir Putin won a resounding victory in Russia’s presidential election on Sunday, exit polls showed, securing a new six-year term in the Kremlin and a mandate to deal with opposition protests after a vote that opponents said was marred by fraud.
Two television exit polls, released after voting ended at 1700 GMT, forecast the former KGB spy would win 59.3 and 58.3 percent of the votes, enough to make a runoff against the second-placed candidate unnecessary.
The Sunday morning edition of Germany’s Die Welt reports that Western intelligence agencies detected two nuclear weapons tests in North Korea in 2010, and that one or both of them might have been conducted for Iran. Die Welt sets the reported nuclear tests in the context of new documentation showing that the Iranian regime began its drive for nuclear weapons as early as 1984, under the direct orders of the late Ayatollah Khomeini. The author is the respected German analyst Hans Rühle, whose evaluation of Israel’s capacity to cripple the Iranian nuclear program created a stir last month.
From Joel C. Rosenberg…
The media is fixated on the GOP primaries and the American presidential campaign and giving scant attention to Russia’s upcoming election on Sunday, March 4th. But the Russian vote may prove to be a bigger deal than our own. Here’s why:
- Though protests movements against Vladimir Putin throughout Russia in recent months suggest a growing number of Russians finally see the former KGB chief for what he is — a thug and a bully – polls still suggest he is expected to win handily. If those polls are right and Putin does, in fact, reemerge as president then let’s be clear: we will be watching a new Czar rising, a tyrant who will rule with an iron hand over his own people, and look to project Russian power elsewhere in the world. Putin has, for example, drawn sharp criticism from Mikhail Gorbachev who says Putin’s political party is a bad copy of the Soviet Communist Party: anti-freedom and corrupt.
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (R) gestures to the media next to Cuba's Vice president Esteban Lazo at Havana's Jose Marti Airport January 11, 2012.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad arrived in Cuba Wednesday for a brief visit that is the third stop in his Latin American tour.
Ahmadinejad was to meet with Cuban President Raul Castro later Wednesday, after lecturing at the University of Havana. Cuban diplomatic sources in Havana said that Ahmadinejad also has plans to meet with historic Cuban leader Fidel Castro.
Vladimir Putin, the Russian prime minister, who seems set to become president in March. Photograph: Reuters
As prime minister for the past four years, Vladimir Putin never really went away. But his looming reincarnation as the all-powerful, executive president of Russia – the country’s “paramount leader” in Chinese parlance – poses a stark challenge for which the US, Britain and other beleaguered western powers seem ill-prepared. As president, potentially until 2024, Putin has one overriding objective: the creation of a third, post-tsarist, post-Soviet Russian empire.
Afghan President Hamid Karzai speaks during a news conference in Kabul October 20, 2011. REUTERS/Omar Sobhani
ISLAMABAD — Afghanistan would support Pakistan in case of military conflict between Pakistan and the United States, Afghan President Hamid Karzai said in an interview to a private Pakistani TV channel broadcast on Saturday.
Syrian President Bashar Assad delivering a speech in Damascus, Syria, on June 20, 2011. Photo by: AP
Syria will strike Israel and “set fire” to the Middle East if foreign forces choose to launch a military strike on the protest-ridden country, Syrian President Bashar Assad said on Tuesday.