Iran continues nuclear missile work; Thousands troops in Middle East; US completes pullback from Syria

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PANAGYURISHTE, (BM) – Your briefly report on December 6 in last twelve hours from

Iran vows to continue missile work, dismisses EU powers’ UN letter

Iran on Thursday rejected pressure to shelve its ballistic missile programme after a European letter to the UN Security Council accused Tehran of developing missiles capable of being delivering nuclear bombs, Reuters reports.

The British, German and French ambassadors to the UN Security Council, in a letter circulated on Wednesday, called on UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres to inform the Council in his next report that Iran’s missile programme was “inconsistent” with a UN resolution underpinning the 2015 nuclear deal reached between Iran and six world powers.

Iran responded defiantly, saying it was determined to proceed with its disputed ballistic missile programme, which it has repeatedly described as defensive in purpose and nothing to do with its nuclear activity.

“Iran is determined to resolutely continue its activities related to ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles,” Iranian UN envoy Majid Takhte Ravanchi said in a letter to Guterres.

US plans major military expansion in Middle East

The US is seriously considering bulking up its military presence in the Middle East to counter Iranian threat. Some 14,000 additional troops, dozens of war ships and other military hardware could be deployed to the region, the Wall Street Journal reported.

President Donald Trump is expected to make a decision on the new deployments as soon as this month, the US daily said citing an American official. If true, the large-scale deployment could double the number of US military personnel who have been sent to the region since the start of a troop build-up in May, despite Trump’s promise to withdraw American forces from the region.

News of possible expansion of US military in the region came the same day as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned against the threat from Iran. The Likud leader, who is facing corruption charges at home, called for increased action against the Islamic Republic, indicating that the recent unrest in Tehran offers an opportunity to topple the regime.

“Iran’s aggression is growing, but its empire is tottering. And I say: let’s make it totter even further,” he said at the beginning of a meeting with US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Lisbon, Portugal, yesterday.

EXCLUSIVE: US military completes pullback from northeast Syria, Esper says

The United States has completed its military pullback in northeastern Syria, settling into a more stable posture of about 600 troops in the rest of the country after repositioning and reducing forces, Defense Secretary Mark Esper said.

Esper’s remarks in an interview with Reuters could signal the end of a period of turbulence and uncertainty surrounding the U.S. military presence in Syria after President Donald Trump’s initial withdrawal order in October.

Since then, troop levels in Syria have fallen about 40 percent from around 1,000.

Esper stressed he retained the ability to move in and out smaller numbers of forces as needed into Syria. But he suggested the number of troops will fluctuate around the 600-level for the foreseeable future.

“It will be relatively static around that number. But if we see things happen … I can dial up a little bit,” Esper said late on Wednesday during a flight back from the NATO summit on the outskirts of London.

Read more: A terror attack in Jerusalem has been thwarted (video); The terrorism is ‘persistent threat’ – NATO

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Editorial team
Source: MEMO, Yeni Safak

BrieflyDefence NewsIranMiddle EastMilitary and Defence NewsSyriaUS