IRAN REGIME TAKES LEAD IN BRUTAL IRAQI CRACKDOWN, RAMPS UP NUCLEAR PROGRAM
Street demonstrations continued throughout Central and Southern Iraq today, as thousands of protesters took to the streets in defiance of 24-hour curfews. They were met by Iraqi security forces and PMU militias firing live ammunition, catapulting the death toll to over 100 after a fourth consecutive day of grassroots protests.
Many protesters claimed that Iran was responsible for the government's heavy-handed response, directing Iranian-linked militias to attack protesters in the streets and shoot them from rooftops. Some even claimed to hear security forces speaking Farsi, the native language of Persians in Iran. Infamous Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr called on Iraqi Prime Minister Abdul-Mahdi to step down today, and for early elections to be held. Al-Sadr is closely linked to Iranian ayatollahs in Iran, and travels there often, suggesting that Iran may be both repressing the demonstrations while also exploiting them to topple the current government in favor of installing one that is even more compliant with Iranian meddling.
Meanwhile, Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced today that Iran would continue to ramp up its nuclear program next month, stating that the rollback of nuclear restrictions would continue "with precision until we attain the desirable outcome." He shrugged off the effect of US sanctions on the Iranian economy, claiming, "“the Americans have failed in their ‘maximum pressure’ policy." Both President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have repeatedly vowed that they will use any means necessary to prevent Iran from obtaining the means to build a nuclear weapons.
Shalom from Israel.