Lou Owayni

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Reporters stand by Saudi prince's Qatar swipe

The Middle East Monitor has reported that three <i>Wall Street Journal</i> reporters who said that Saudi Arabia's Prince Bandar bin Sultan had described Qatar as "nothing but 300 people … and a TV channel" are standing by their claim.<p>The quotes in the WSJ article last week were attributed to "a person …

Hezbollah denies it got Syria chemical arms

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah, a staunch ally of Damascus, has denied that his group received chemical weapons from Syria.<p>Last month, members of the opposition Syrian National Coalition group accused President Bashar al-Assad of transferring chemical weapons to the Lebanese Shia group to avoid …

Abbas urges international pressure for Israel

Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas has warned the United Nations that US-brokered peace talks offered a "last chance" as he demanded an agreement with Israel that permanently resolves all disputes.<p>Speaking before the UN General Assembly on Thursday, Abbas urged the international community to …

Deadly clashes erupt in eastern Lebanon

At least three people have been killed in clashes in the Lebanese town of Baalbek after armed men opened fire on a checkpoint manned by the Lebanese Shia Muslim group Hezbollah, security sources say.<p>At least one Hezbollah member was killed and two others wounded when the assailants, believed to be …

Israel arrests alleged Iranian spy

Israel's domestic security service says it has arrested a Belgian citizen of Iranian origin, who it claims has admitted he was sent to Israel to spy for Iran.<p>The Shin Bet intelligence service said in a statement on Sunday that it arrested Ali Mansouri three weeks ago at Tel Aviv's Ben-Gurion …

Kerry sees potential for swift Iran deal

A deal on Iran's nuclear programme could be reached within the three- to six-month time frame and would have the potential to dramatically improve the relationship between the two countries, US Secretary of State John Kerry said.<p>What we need are actions that prove that we and our allies, our …

Kurds and women top Turkish PM reform plans

Turkish Prime Minister has announced a package of proposals that include lifting of some restrictions on the use of the Kurdish language, as well as further steps to liberalise the wearing of Islamic headscarves.<p>Recep Tayyip Erdogan said rules preventing pro-Kurdish and other smaller parties from …

Syrian FM defends government at UN

Syria's foreign minister has accused regional and Western powers of providing chemical weapons to the armed opposition, alleging that those weapons were used in an August attack that killed hundreds.<p>Addressing the UN General Assembly on Monday, Walid al-Muallem further alleged that while the Syrian …

US concerned over Turkey-China missile deal

The United States has reacted with alarm to news that Turkey has chosen a Chinese company, slapped with US sanctions, to build its first long-range air defence and anti-missile system.<p>China Precision Machinery Export-Import Corp (CPMIEC) beat out competition from a US partnership of Raytheon and …

Iran FM accuses Israel's Netanyahu of lying

The Iranian foreign minister has accused the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of lying about Iran's nuclear ambitions by dismissing Tehran's statements as "charm offensive".<p>"We have seen nothing from Netanyahu but lies and actions to deceive and scare, and international public opinion will …

Israeli PM urges world not to 'trust' Rouhani

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has reiterated his country's position that the only way to peacefully stop Iran from developing nuclear weapons is to combine tough sanctions with a credible military threat, asserting that Israel would present that threat alone if need be.<p>"Don't let up the …

Disarmament team begins Syria mission

A chemical weapons disarmament team has arrived in Damascus to begin evaluating the country's arsenal of the banned weapons.<p>The inspectors from The Hague-based Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons travelled by road from Lebanon on Tuesday, a day after UN experts departed after …

Rouhani: Iran-US relationship angers Israel

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani said that Israel was "upset and angry" with signs of an emerging new relationship between the Islamic republic and the West.<p>His statement on Wednesday comes a day after Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told a UN summit that his country was ready to act alone …

Iranian cyber warfare commander shot dead in suspected assassination

The head of Iran’s cyber warfare programme has been shot dead, triggering further accusations that outside powers are carrying out targeted assassinations of key figures in the country’s security apparatus.<p>Mojtaba Ahmadi, who served as commander of the Cyber War Headquarters, was found dead in a …