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Sanctions May Have Fueled Iran Protests, but Have Yet to Further U.S. Goals



The pressure on the leadership will not build “unless and until we start seeing fissures among Iran’s security forces, and so far there are no signs of that,” he added.

The key question is whether economic conditions deteriorate. Mr. Hook noted in an interview on Monday that as the country cuts back further on subsidies, there will be more protests of the kind spurred by the 50 percent surge in gasoline prices. “The regime is running out of money after wasting billions on proxy wars and graft,” Mr. Hook said. “We expect to see additional subsidy cuts and rationing.”

Even if that proves right, Ayatollah Khamenei may in fact be betting that he can wait things out until the American elections, hoping that any Democrat who may be elected would restore the 2015 agreement. It is an uncertain bet — few have made that commitment, and it is almost unimaginable that any future American president would re-enter the agreement without getting something from Iran in return.

In many ways, the decisions the administration finds itself confronting now are similar to the ones the Obama administration confronted in 2009 amid the outbreak of the so-called Green Revolution. It was the first uprising of Mr. Obama’s presidency, less than five months after his inauguration. He reacted with a caution that many of his aides later regretted, declining to speak out in favor of the protesters for fear that it would play into the hands of the Iranian government.

Mr. Pompeo took a swipe at that approach on Monday.

“This administration has taken a completely opposite view of the important political protests, the freedom-seeking, the freedom-loving people of Iran, than President Obama and his administration did,” he said.

He went on to trumpet the somewhat vague effort to put technology into the hands of the Iranian people to allow them to communicate — and slip out images of the carnage as Iranian forces opened up on protesters in places like Mahshahr, a city of 120,000 people where the Revolutionary Guards crushed protesters on Nov. 18, killing as many as 100.

“After the 2017-18 protests in Iran, we accelerated efforts to enable Iranians to communicate with each other and with the outside world,” Mr. Hook said on Monday. Over the past few weeks, he said, “tens of thousands of Iranians used circumvention tools facilitated by the U.S. and our partners, even during the shutdown.”


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House Democrats: Trump Abuse of Power Impeachable Offense



Congressional Democrats launched the next step in the impeachment of U.S. President Donald Trump Wednesday, hearing testimony from legal scholars on what the U.S. Constitution says about the standards for impeaching and removing a president from office. The House Judiciary Committee hearings take lawmakers a step closer to a vote on Articles of Impeachment, measures that if passed would lead to a Senate trial. VOA’s congressional correspondent Katherine Gypson has more from Capitol Hill.
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Saudi Arabia denies pushing OPEC allies for deeper cuts, source says




OPEC Secretary General Mohammed Sanusi Barkindo (L) and Saudi Arabia’s Energy Minister Prince Abdulaziz bin Salman (R) attend an Opec-JMMC meeting in the UAE capital Abu Dhabi on September 12, 2019.

KARIM SAHIB | AFP | Getty Images

OPEC kingpin Saudi Arabia has denied pursuing a deeper round of production cuts, one senior oil official told CNBC on Thursday, despite intense speculation the global oil-producing group was on the cusp of imposing further output curbs.

The oil-rich kingdom was widely considered to be pushing for other OPEC members to sign up for at least an additional 400,000 barrels per day (bpd) of production cuts. But, one anonymous Saudi oil official told CNBC on the sidelines of a meeting in Vienna, Austria that this was not the case — and Riyadh had not proposed any figures.

OPEC and non-OPEC allies — sometimes referred to as OPEC+ — have gathered in Vienna this week to discuss the next phase of their oil production policy. The 14-member group will hold talks on Thursday, before meeting with non-OPEC allies, including Russia, on Friday.

The energy alliance has reduced output by 1.2 million bpd since the beginning of the year. The current deal, which runs through to March 2020, replaced a previous round of production cuts that began in January 2017.

International benchmark Brent crude traded at $63.53 on Thursday afternoon, up more than 0.8%, while U.S. West Texas Intermediate (WTI) stood at $58.76, approximately 0.5% higher.

Oil prices have rallied in recent trading sessions, boosted by growing speculation about the potential for deeper production cuts.

However, Brent crude futures remain around 15% lower when compared to an April peak, with WTI down 12% over the same period.

— CNBC’s Dan Murphy, Hadley Gamble and Emma Graham contributed to this report.


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Political and General News Events from Dec. 5




Dec 5 (Reuters) –

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Today in Washington

—————————————————————- This Diary is filed daily. ** Indicates new events —————————————————————- THURSDAY, DECEMBER 5 ** SLOVAKIA – Turkey’s Foreign Minister, Mevlut Cavusoglu, meets with his counterparts from the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe at their annual meeting in Bratislava.

** BRUSSELS – EU Council President Charles Michel meets with EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, ECB President Christine Lagarde and Eurogroup President Mario Centeno – 0715 GMT

** LISBON – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo holds a press conference with Portuguese Foreign Minister Augusto Santo Silva and Defence Minister Joao Gomes Cravinho, after a private meeting to discuss bilateral relations and multilateral themes such as NATO and the situation in Venezuela. – 1040 GMT

** LISBON – Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, meets with Portugal’s Prime Minister, Antonio Costa. – 1500 GMT

** ACCRA – South Africa’s President, Cyril Ramaphosa, is in Ghana for a two-day working visit(final day)

** TOKYO – Prime Minister of Hungary Orban Viktor visits Japan (to Dec. 7)

** LONDON – Lithuanian President Gitanas Nauseda meets with Norwegian Prime Minister Erna Solberg, during the NATO Summit hosted in London on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of the alliance.

WASHINGTON, D.C – Sudan’s Prime Minister Abdalla Hamdok visits United States (final day). BEIJING – El Salvador’s President Nayib Armando Bukele Ortez will pay a state visit to China (to Dec. 6) DELHI – King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will pay a six-day state visit to India (to Dec. 6)

MADRID – World leaders meet in Madrid for the 2019 UN climate change conference (COP25) (to Dec. 13).

LONDON/RABAT/LISBON – US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to the UK, Morocco and Portugal (to Dec. 6)

MOSCOW – Mongolia Prime Minister Ukhnaagiin Khurelsukh will visit Russia (to Dec. 6).

SEOUL – Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi visits South Korea (final day).

BENTO GONZALVES, Brazil – The presidents of Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay and Uruguay meet in Bento Gonzalves in the southern Brazilian state of Rio Grande do Sul for their semiannual Mercosur summit (final day).

ATHENS – EU Commissioner for Home Affairs Ylva Johansson and EU Commission Vice-President Margaritis Schinas will visit Athens.

BERLIN – German Chancellor Angela Merkel welcomes Kazakhstan’s President Kassym-Jomart Tokayev with military honors in Berlin – 1100 GMT

ROME – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov visits Italy (to Dec. 7).

New Delhi – OECD Economic Surveys: India 2019

UTTARAKHAND, India – King of Sweden Carl XVI Gustaf and Queen Silvia will visit Uttarakhand (to Dec. 6) BRUSSELS – EU Economic and Financial Affairs Council meeting.

BRATISLAVA – OSCE holds Council of Ministers meeting in Bratislava (to Dec. 6).

VIENNA – 177th Meeting of the OPEC Conference.

– – – – – – – – –

FRIDAY, DECEMBER 6 ** BALI, Indonesia – Australian and Indonesian foreign and defense ministers hold working meetings in the resort island of Bali.

ADDIS ABABA – European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen visits Ethiopia. ROME – Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov meets with Italian Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio and hold joint news conference – 1130 GMT

MOSCOW – Russia’s Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev meets Belarusian Prime Minister Siarhiej Rumas.

LISBON – The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo meets with Portuguese Prime Minister Antonio Costa and Foreign Minister Augusto Santos Silva during a visit in Lisbon to discuss the U.S.-Portuguese cooperation.

DOMINICA – Dominican House of Assembly Election.

VIENNA – 7th OPEC and non-OPEC Ministerial Meeting. BRATISLAVA, Slovakia – Foreign ministers of members of the Organisation for Security and Cooperation in Europe meet for their annual Council of Ministers meeting in Bratislava (to Nov. 6). – – – – – – – – –

SATURDAY, DECEMBER 7 ** NAYPYITAW – China’s State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi visits Myanmar (to Dec. 8) – – – – – – – – –


BRUSSELS – EU-Kyrgyzstan Cooperation Council meeting.

Oslo – OECD Economic Surveys: Norway 2019

PARIS – French President Emmanuel Macron hosts the Normandy summit, where he will meet Russian President Vladimir Putin, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, to discuss steps to resolve the conflict in eastern Ukraine.

BRUSSELS – EU Foreign Affairs Council meeting. – – – – – – – – –


BRUSSELS – EU-Tajikistan Cooperation Council meeting.

BRUSSELS – EU General Affairs Council meeting. – – – – – – – – –

THURSDAY, DECEMBER 12 ALGERIA – President’s election.

BRUSSELS – European Union leaders gather in Brussels for a summit (to Nov. 13). – – – – – – – – – TUESDAY, DECEMBER 17

TOKYO – Uzbekistan President Shavkat Mirziyoyev visits Japan (to Dec 20).

– – – – – – – – –


SAINT PETERSBURG, Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin holds talks with Azerbaijani counterpart Ilham Aliyev.

– – – – – – – – –

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 22 UZBEKISTAN – Uzbekistani Legislative Chamber election. – – – – – – – – –


TALLINN – 9th anniversary of adoption of the euro by Estonia. – – – – – – – – –


PALM SPRINGS, Ca – 31st Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival (to Jan. 13). – – – – – – – – –


BURMA – 72nd anniversary of Burma’s independence. – – – – – – – – – MONDAY, JANUARY 6

LONDON – Costa Book Category Awards Winners to be announced. – – – – – – – – –


WASHINGTON DC, United States – U.S. President Donald Trump meets with Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis at the White House.

PHNOM PENH – The ruling Cambodian People’s Party celebrates the 41st anniversary of the victory over the Khmer Rouge regime. – – – – – – – – –


ISTANBUL, Turkey – Russian President Vladimir Putin holds talks with Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Istanbul.

– – – – – – – – – Friday, JANUARY 10

BRUSSELS – European Motor Show Brussels 2020 (to Jan. 19).

– – – – – – – – –

SATURDAY, January 11

WASHINGTON/MOSCOW – 9th Anniversary of U.S.-Russia civilian nuclear cooperation agreement.

TAIWAN – Taiwanese Legislative Yuan election.

TAIWAN – Referendum election. – – – – – – – – – Sunday, JANUARY 12

HAITI – 10th anniversary of Haiti’s magnitude 7 earthquake that destroyed much of the Haitian capital. – – – – – – – – –


ABU DHABI – International Water Summit 2020 (to Jan. 16).

ABU DHABI – World Future Energy Summit (WFES) 2020 (to Jan. 16). – – – – – – – – –


TUNISIA – 9th Anniversary of ousting of President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali. – – – – – – – – –


MOSCOW – The Gaidar Forum 2020 (to Jan. 16). – – – – – – – – –


Paris – OECD ministerial meeting on migration. – – – – – – – – –

TUESDAY, January 21

DAVOS, Switzerland – 2020 World Economic Forum annual meeting in Davos. (to Jan. 24) – – – – – – – – –


EGYPT – 9th Anniversary of beginning of Egyptian revolution, which marked a series of mass popular protests leading to the resignation of President Hosni Mubarak. – – – – – – – – –


TUESDAY – Costa Book of the Year will be announced.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – NOTE: The inclusion of diary items does not necessarily mean that Reuters will file a story based on the event.

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