(CNN)Apologies from Iranian leaders over the downing of an airliner last week have done little to quell mass anti-government protests spreading across the country.Thousands of demonstrators hit the streets this weekend condemning Iranian authorities for shooting down a Ukrainian passenger plane and killing all 176 people on board.The airliner disaster came hours after Iran fired missiles at Iraqi military bases housing US troops. That was retaliation for a drone strike at Baghdad airport that killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani.Amid rising tensions in the region, eight Katyusha rockets hit Iraq’s Balad Air Base, north of Baghdad, on Sunday, wounding four Iraqi air force officers, the Iraqi military said in a statement. No American or coalition forces were at the base when the rockets struck, a US military official told CNN.In Iran, demonstrators are calling for Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to step down and for those responsible for downing the plane to be prosecuted.
The U.S. is sending thousands of additional troops to the Middle East after Iran vowed “harsh retaliation” for the death of a top Iranian general. Qassem Soleimani’s convoy was hit early Fridany morning in a drone strike ordered by President Trump. U.S. officials had been tracking Soleimani as he traveled in the region. CBS News’ national security correspondent David Martin reports from the Pentagon.
An American graduate student was released from prison in Iran after nearly three years as part of a prisoner exchange this weekend.
Tehran claims Iraqi tanker was smuggling fuel; Lucas Tomlinson reports from the Pentagon. #FoxNews
Iran seized a vessel it accused of smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf, the third time the Iranian Revolutionary Guards detained a ship in the waterway in recent weeks as the stalemate between the Islamic Republic and the US continues.
The Iranian forces intercepted the ship Wednesday near Farsi Island, which is used by the Revolutionary Guards as a navy base, state media reported on Sunday.
“The IRGC’s naval forces have seized a foreign oil tanker in the Persian Gulf that was smuggling fuel for some Arab countries,” the paramilitary’s forces commander Ramezan Zirahi said, according to state-run media.
The U.S. Navy warship that the Pentagon says brought down an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz last week may also have brought down a second drone, according to CENTCOM Commander Gen. Kenneth McKenzie.
“We’re confident we brought down one drone; we may have brought down a second,” McKenzie said in an interview with CBS News on Tuesday, referring to the USS Boxer’s encounter with an unmanned aircraft.
Chief Pentagon Spokesperson Jonathan Hoffman confirmed to Fox News in a statement: “At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz. A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”
Five Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps gunboats tried to seize a British oil tanker in the Persian Gulf Wednesday but backed off after a British warship approached, a senior U.S. defense official told Fox News.
The British warship was said to have been less than 5 miles behind the tanker but soon intercepted the Iranian boats and threatened to open fire. A manned U.S. reconnaissance aircraft was above as well, the official said, adding that Iranian forces left without opening fire.
President Trump met with top members of the House and Senate at the White House Thursday, after Iran shot down a U.S. drone flying over what the U.S. says was international airspace over the Strait of Hormuz. Iran claims the drone was in its airspace.The meeting, which included House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell and other top Republicans, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Defense Secretary Mark Esper, and national security adviser John Bolton, came after Mr. Trump told reporters Iran’smay have been a mistake.
A source in the meeting tells CBS News “Face the Nation” moderator Margaret Brennan the meeting was a positive one, without arguments. Mr. Trump, the source said, went around the room and gathered input, although he did not run through options. No one objected to the premise of a U.S. response, but that had many possible permutations, according to the source.
>North Korea’s government said Tuesday that it had no interest in pursuing a nuclear agreement of its own with the U.S. as long as Washington pursued what Pyongyang described as provocative U.S. policies.
The statement from the isolated, totalitarian country’s Foreign Ministry was its first official response to the agreement concluded earlier this month between Iran and six global powers, including the U.S.
The unidentified Foreign Ministry spokesman said the North’s nuclear deterrent was “not a plaything to be put on the negotiating table” in the statement, which was carried by the official Korean Central News Agency. There was no immediate comment form the U.S.
North Korea’s nuclear program is a major regional concern, with the country having conducted atomic weapons tests in 2006, 2009 and 2013. International nuclear disarmament talks have been stalled since early 2009, and outside analysts believe the North has built a small but growing nuclear bomb arsenal.
The Foreign Ministry spokesman said North Korea is different from Iran because it already has nuclear weapons. He said the North faces constant military and nuclear threats from the U.S., citing its regular military exercises with South Korea.
On Thursday, U.S. Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman had said that Iran’s compliance with the terms of the agreement, followed by the lifting of sanctions, “might give North Korea second thoughts.”
But Tuesday’s statement said that North Korea “is not interested at all in the dialogue to discuss the issue of making it freeze or dismantle its nukes unilaterally first,” adding that the North “remains unchanged in the mission of its nuclear force as long as the U.S. continues pursuing its hostile policy toward” the country.
In May, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that the U.S., South Korea, China, Russia, and Japan were coordinating attempts to engage North Korea in preliminary talks about Pyongyang’s nuclear program. However, officials in Washington and Seoul told the Wall Street Journal that North Korea had not responded to overtures made by the U.S. and South Korea in recent months.
The so-called six-party talks began in 2003 to negotiate for North Korea’s denuclearization in exchange for economic aid and security guarantees. Talks have been stalled since late 2008. Earlier this year, the Journal reported that Chinese experts had warned U.S. officials that North Korea could double the size of its nuclear arsenal by the beginning of next year.
The U.S. stations about 28,500 troops in South Korea as deterrence against potential aggression from North Korea, a legacy of the 1950-53 Korean War, which ended with an armistice, not a peace treaty.
Under the Iranian nuclear deal reached by Tehran, Washington and others, Iran’s nuclear program will be curbed for a decade in exchange for potentially hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of relief from international sanctions. Many key penalties on the Iranian economy, such as those related to the energy and financial sectors, could be lifted by the end of the year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
After 18 days of intense and often fractious negotiation, diplomats on Tuesday declared that world powers and Iran had struck a landmark deal to curb Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for billions of dollars in relief from international sanctions Time
Brent crude and West Texas Intermediate, or WTI, oil futures both fell about 2% as the deal was announced on Tuesday. Oil prices also fell in the prior session.
Brent crude is an international oil benchmark that reflects global prices, and any related turmoil, whereas WTI is focused on the North American market.
WTI cut some of its early losses and was trading down 1.2% at $51.58 a barrel.
Iran has the world’s fourth-largest oil reserves with about 157,530 million barrels, or 10% of the world’s proven oil stores, according to the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, or OPEC, of which it is a member.
But Tehran’s ability to export those reserves was severely curtailed by crippling international sanctions that bludgeoned its economy and targeted its industries.
Iran’s oil exports have fallen in half since 2012 to about 1 million barrels a day. Its oil will now reach world markets at a time when crude prices have been under pressure for months due to a global supply glut.
Sara Vakhshouri, Washington-based energy analyst at SVB Energy International, said that with Iran’s sanctions lifted it would be able to boost its oil production from 2.9 million barrels a day to 4.2 million barrels a day by 2020.
Iran’s oil production is worth about $60 billion a year on the world market.
Oil prices can also be expected to drop, Vakhshouri said, because Iran has as much as 37 million barrels of crude in storage on tankers floating in the Persian Gulf.
U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said the topic of detained U.S. citizens in Iran was raised at every meeting he held with the Iranian negotiating team during the final weeks of nuclear negotiations. “We remain very, very hopeful that Iran will make the decision to do the right thing and to return those citizens to the United States,” Kerry said in a July 17 interview with MSNBC.Kerry also said he raised the issue during his last meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif before the announcement of the Iran nuclear deal on July 14.The three Americans held in Iran are Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, and former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati.Based on reporting by Reuters and AP