Russian Air Defense Systems Repel Terrorists’ Attack on Hmeymim Airbase in Syria

MOSCOW- Russian air defense systems detected and destroyed three drones that were used by militants to attack the Russian airbase in Syria’s Hmeymim, Major General Alexey Bakin, chief of the Russian Center for Coordination and reconciliation of the conflicting sides in Syria, said on Friday.

"Late on 12 July 2019, militants operating in the Idlib de-escalation zone tried to attack the Russian airbase at Hmeymim with the use of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Russian air defense systems detected and destroyed three UAVs at a safe distance from the airbase. No one was injured. No material damage done. The Russian airbase at Hmeymim is operating in the routine mode," Bakin said, according to Itar Tass.

UK Urged to Immediately Release Iranian Supertanker, Avoid ‘Dangerous’ Game

Iran has urged the UK to immediately release the Iranian supertanker it has illegally seized in Gibraltar, warning London against entering a “dangerous game with no end in sight”.

On July 4, Gibraltar police and customs agencies, aided by a detachment of British Royal Marines, boarded and impounded Iranian supertanker Grace 1 in the Strait of Gibraltar, upon a request from the United States.

The British and Gibraltarian officials claim that the 300,000-ton supertanker was possibly transferring up to 2 million barrels of oil to the Baniyas refinery in Syria in breach of EU sanctions against the Arab country.

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Mousavi rejected the claim Friday, saying the tanker was not bound for Syria because no Syrian port could receive a vessel of such capacity.

“The documents and evidence and the contradictory remarks made by the British all indicate that London’s allegation, legally speaking, is not that significant and noteworthy unless they would want to enter into a dangerous game under the influence of the Americans with no end in sight,” Mousavi said.

Ireland Considering Port Checks on Whole Island in No-Deal Brexit

DUBLIN  - Ireland is exploring the idea of checking live animals and animal products from Britain as they arrive at ports on the whole island of Ireland if there is a no-deal Brexit, Prime Minister Leo Varadkar said on Friday.

How to manage the land border between European Union member Ireland and British-run Northern Ireland remains the most contentious part of a proposed agreement on the terms of Britain’s departure from the EU. Both contenders to become the next British prime minister want that agreement renegotiated.

Dublin repeated this week that it would not impose any restrictions along the now-open border if Britain quits without a transition agreement. But the Irish said for the first time they would need to make checks somewhere to protect the EU single market.

“The kind of things that we’re looking at and proposing, for example, is that the entire island of Ireland will be treated the same when it comes to agriculture or food and that any SPS (sanitary and phytosanitary) checks would happen at the ports,” Varadkar said in an interview with Ireland’s Newstalk radio station.

IAEA BoG Meeting Proves US Isolation, Says Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Jvad Zarif said the recent meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors proved the fact that US is in isolation.

Despite the US had pulled out of Iran nuclear deal also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and has resumed sanctions against Iran, the IAEA Board of Governors held an extraordinary meeting upon Washington’s request to discuss Iran decision to reduce some of its commitments under the nuclear deal.

Speaking in an interview with Arab satellite television channel ‘Al Mayadeen’, Zarif said the US political isolation will soon turn out to be economic isolation.

He described the Board of Governors’ meeting as the best indication for US isolation.

Americans misused power of dollar so much, he said, adding that they will gradually lose this privilege.

Referring that bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of the Emirate of Abu Dhabi and Saudi Crown Prince Bin Salman can withdraw from B-Team, he advised Iran’s neighbors in the region to return to region instead of joining new groups.

Kremlin Describes Putin’s Phone Call with Ukrainian President as Pragmatic

MOSCOW - The first telephone conversation between Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Ukrainian counterpart Vladimir Zelensky lasted about 20 minutes on Thursday, Kremlin Spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters, adding that the conversation had been pragmatic.

"As for the atmosphere of the phone call, it was the first introductory conversation between the two presidents, it was the first time they held a phone call as they hadn’t contacted each other before," Peskov said. According to him, "the conversation was rather pragmatic." Peskov added that the phone call had lasted "about 20 minutes."

The first conversation between Putin and Zelensky is important in itself, according to the Kremlin spokesman.

"It is hardly necessary to discuss tones and emotions, this is not what the conversation was for," he said when asked if Putin was satisfied with his phone call with Zelensky. "The first conversation between the Russian and Ukrainian presidents is very important in itself," Peskov pointed out.