Vanessa Tomassini

75 years after Hiroshima-Nagasaki, the nuclear risk still alive
Geopolitics

75 years after Hiroshima-Nagasaki, the nuclear risk still alive

Seventy-five years have passed since the nuclear horror of Hiroshima. On 9 August, the city of Nagasaki recalled the similar fate suffered after the United States dropped the atomic bomb, an act of war that cost the lives of over 70,000 people, mostly civilians, effectively ending the Second World War. A minute of silence at 11:02 local time inside the Peace Park, in the city southwest of the archipelago. Only 500 people were able to attend the ceremony due to the coronavirus emergency. Among them, the hibakusha, the survivors of the nuclear catastrophe, whose average age is now 83 years old.

Nagasaki Mayor Tomihisa Taue once again urged the Tokyo government to ratify the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, adopted in 2017 by 43 nations but not by Japan, the only country in the world to have suffered a nuclear attack. For his part, the Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, present at the event, without providing details, replied that the government will contribute to the reduction of nuclear weapons globally, even though it is not planning to accede to the treaty.According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (Sipri), there are nine countries in the world with nuclear arsenals: China, North Korea, France, Great Britain, India, Israel, Pakistan, Russia, and the United States. Together at the beginning of 2020 they possessed a total of 13,400 nuclear warheads.

The international architecture for disarmament and non-proliferation are fundamental components of the global geopolitical system, and each violation represents a step towards the nuclear holocaust.Today, 75 years after the massacre, the conflictual dynamic of reality goes in the opposite direction, as demonstrated by the Russian, Chinese and American initiatives aimed at strengthening their nuclear power for defensive purposes, a clarification predictable in the context of a propaganda narrative.

“The Nuclear Operations,” a document of the US Armed Forces, which starts with the premise that nuclear forces provide the US with the ability to achieve its national objectives, underlines that they must be diversified, flexible and adaptable to a wide range of adversaries, threats and contexts. The strategic document also indicates that US nuclear forces provide the means to apply force to a wide range of targets at the timing and in the manner chosen by the president. The US intelligence will identify those targets.The start of the International Civil Society Campaign for the Abolition of Nuclear Weapons, which achieved a significant result, succeeded in bringing to the UN and approving a Nuclear Weapons Prohibition Treaty in July 2017, which it must be binding and which up to now has been ratified by 40 states.

Hydrogen revolution, this will change the geopolitics of energy
Geopolitics

Hydrogen revolution, this will change the geopolitics of energy

Anyone who deals with energy in the new millennium knows they have to deal with the climate emergency. Without intervention, the global temperature will rise by 4 degrees in 2100, and we know that going beyond 2 degrees would have devastating consequences. That is why the splitting of the H2O molecule into H2, and especially, when achieved thanks to energy produced with renewable sources, makes hydrogen revolutionary and potentially available to an unlimited extent.The positive factors of the revolution concern the availability, but also the cost reduction due to technological advancement and the ease of storage and transport given that hydrogen can be mixed with natural gas.If the target is zero emissions, however, hydrogen is not alone. It must face the competition of renewables and the electric car. Furthermore, hydrogen is currently produced – almost entirely – from fossil fuels (70% thanks to methane, the rest with lignite or coal). It is more grey than green, but the rush to change is fast.

Oil and gas have played a key role in international geopolitics since 1912. That year, Winston Churchill, the Royal Navy’s Minister of the Navy, decided to convert the fleet from coal to oil to keep pace with fast German ships. He believed that the speed of the new Queen Elizabeth frigates had to be at least 25 knots to escape the enemies. A speed-up was impossible to achieve with coal, which has a lower energy density. Also, coal logistics made refuelling at sea impossible. The gradual conversion of the fleet to oil made the logistics of oil production, storage, and distribution a strategic priority. One of the reasons that in 1914 prompted Churchill to nationalize the Anglo-Iranian oil company (ancestor of the current BP) was precisely the need to guarantee supplies to the Royal Navy for twenty years. For his part, in the Second World War, Adolf Hitler did everything, with the Barbarossa operations and the battle of the Caucasus, to get his hands-on Baku and Astrakhan and the greedy oil reserves of the Caspian. In the summer of 1941, England and the Soviet Union invaded Iran by deposing the king of Persia Shah, accused of being close to Hitler.

Often, wars, colonialism, races to create regional and global spheres of influence had access to energy sources as their ultimate goal. The “cold energy war” narrative saw the United States oppose Russia and Iran and woo Saudi Arabia and other Persian Gulf states for energy interests. The recent increase in American domestic production due to shale has led to a rapprochement between Saudis and Russians, historical producers that today are facing a market flooded with oil and shale gas.

What was once a flood, became a tsunami with the COVID emergency, which reduced oil consumption by about a third, and temporarily led to negative prices in the United States. The suffering of American producers has changed the balance, bringing the United States to the same side of the table as traditional producers. In early April 2020, President Donald Trump phoned his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, asking him to find an agreement with Mohammed bin Salman’s Saudi Arabia to cut production and raise prices. The deal was made, with a cut also on the part of American producers who the first time after opposing OPEC found themselves cooperating with historical antagonists. The basis of the different approaches to international politics undertaken by the US administration is having gone from being an oil and gas importer to a leading producer and exporter of hydrocarbons after the success of the shale revolution.

In the common thought, energy dependence is a negative factor: no country likes to depend on another for such essential resources. Energy necessity is often perceived as a game that gives producing countries an undeserved competitive advantage from which consumer countries should free themselves. A more recent example is the initiatives implemented by the European Union to reduce its dependence on gas from Russia, which currently satisfies over a third of the consumption of member countries. Security of supply is one of the top issues on the political agenda of the European Union and every energy importing country.The question today is whether renewable energies can ease these tensions. For many analysts, one of the reasons that make appreciate solar and wind energy is precisely the possibility of producing it locally, guaranteeing self-sufficiency. That is partly destined to happen: the distribution of energy resources will be more equitable.

United State, Judge Esther Salas speaks two weeks after the killing of her son
Americas

United State, Judge Esther Salas speaks two weeks after the killing of her son

Esther prepared the notes, collected her hair, wears a white shirt with a bow and a blue jacket. Look at the camera, as if to say: I’m in full control. But it is difficult to tame the pain, the emotion if not even two weeks ago a stranger rang your door and madly killed your twenty-year-old son, seriously injured your husband.And then Judge Esther Salas stops, breathes deeply, starts talking slowly. He decided to appear on video two weeks after that July 21, when Roy Den Hollander, a New York lawyer, misogynistic fanatic and anti-feminist, showed up at his cottage in North Brunswick, New Jersey, dressed as a FedEx bellboy, the fast delivery companies.

It was five o’clock on a quiet, sultry Sunday afternoon. Esther says: “My son Daniel was conversing with me:” You know, mom, I really like talking to you.” At that precise moment, we hear the bell upstairs. “Who will be?” Daniel says, and a moment later, I see him run to open. A few seconds and here is the noise of the shots and a “nooo” cry. My son died like this, hit in the chest, and shielding his father.” Marc Anderl, 63, the husband of Judge Salas, has been operated on several times and is still in the hospital.

The killer managed to escape. Investigators found his body long a street in Catskill County, New York State, about 230 kilometers from the scene of the crime. Den Hollander had committed suicide by shooting himself in the head. The investigation reconstructed the killer’s crazy plans, a character well known by the television audience. He also appeared on the TV show The Colbert Report to defend his thesis “against women’s privileges.” He had sued clubs and discos that offered discounts to girls.

Den Hollander had married a Russian citizen who, however, left him as soon as he obtained the green card, the permanent residence permit in the United States. For the magistrate, that man is “the monster who has ruined our family forever.” Esther Salas is a federal judge in the New Jersey District Court since 2011, when Barack Obama appointed her. She has dealt with many difficult cases: drug trafficking, organized crime, murders. “It is part of our job to dissatisfy someone with our decisions. We can accept it. But what is inadmissible is the ease with which information about our private life is easily accessible to everyone. Even if this monster who targeted me for my position as a federal judge.”

The Federal Bureau made it known that Salas had not received specific threats, so much so that he moved without escorts and protections. But now the judge is asking to protect the privacy of the most exposed magistrates. Esther was born in California. She is the daughter of a Mexican father, Cuban mother. The parents moved to Union City, New Jersey. She graduated in law, thanks to scholarships for minorities. She is the first woman of Latin descent to become a judge in the New Jersey District Court.

She met her husband, MarckAnderl, in 1992 in a court. She was taking fingerprints from a client of Mark, now one of Newark’s most prominent criminal lawyers. Daniel was the only son: he attended the first year of the Catholic University of Washington. He played baseball and wanted to become a judge like Esther or a lawyer like Mark.

Microsoft’s bet on TikTok, between geopolitics and the fight for hegemony on the web
Geopolitics

Microsoft’s bet on TikTok, between geopolitics and the fight for hegemony on the web

A month and a half to finalize the sale of TikTok to Microsoft or Washington will take action by prohibiting the Chinese application in the US. And the promise, by the US computer giant, to subject the app to a complete security review to provide adequate economic benefits to the United States. According to Reuters, these are the basis of the agreement reached between US President Donald Trump and Microsoft CEO, Satya Nadella, who in a blog announced the continuation of the negotiations for the acquisition of TikTok from the Chinese ByteDance. An operation that is part of the already tense relations between Washington and Beijing and which could redesign the panorama of the giants of the web, catapulting Microsoft, already the owner of LinkedIn, into the arena of social media and competition for online advertising.

Confidential negotiations between Microsoft and ByteDance had been going on for weeks. They had almost stalled after the latest statements by the American president announcing a decree to block the app as a source of concern for national security. Trump’s hatred of TikTok – a video sharing platform accused, among other things, of having ruined his first post lockdown rally – is joined by bipartisan concerns about Beijing’s open-mindedness regarding data collection and processing. The Trump administration has raised its voice several times, up to the threats re-launched yesterday by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, interviewed by Fox News.

“President Trump said it is enough: in the coming days, he will take measures in response to the various national security risks posed by software related to the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo affirmed. Specifically, President Trump spoke of TikTok during a phone call with the CEO of Microsoft. Phone call that would have pushed him to grant a truce, without prejudice to the above points: conclusion of the agreement by 15 September and complete revision of the security terms. With the prospect of an injection of oxygen for the American economy, perhaps even more than the 10,000 jobs in three years announced by the current management.

In the TikTok climb, the geopolitical plan intertwines with that for hegemony on the internet. Proof of this is the accusation launched by ByteDance on Facebook of plagiarizing and muddying TikTok, an application on the rise, especially among young and very young people, valued up to 50 billion dollars. “ByteDance has always been committed to becoming a global company. In this process, we are facing all types of difficulties, complex and unimaginable, including the tense international political climate, the collision and conflict of different cultures, the plagiarism and defamation by the competitor Facebook “, read in a post of the Chinese company. “However, we continue to pursue the idea of ​​globalization and increase investment in markets around the world, including China, to create value for global users,” continues ByteDance. “We strictly respect local laws and – he ensures – we will actively use the rights granted by law to safeguard the company’s legal rights.” The long struggle for technological supremacy is fought even in this way, with post shots.

Buddy, the first coronavirus positive dog in the United States, has died
Americas

Buddy, the first coronavirus positive dog in the United States, has died

It had been the first confirmed case of a coronavirus positive dog in the United States: now Buddy, a German shepherd, has died in New York. His family, Robert and Allison Mahoney, of Staten Island, told National Geographic that Buddy, 7, had developed respiratory problems in mid-April, after Robert himself contracted Covid-19.Six weeks later, a vet found that the dog tested positive. On July 11st, Buddy was subjected to euthanasia, as his health has deteriorated. Blood tests showed that Buddy had cancer, but it is unclear whether coronavirus played a role in his illness.

“The medical records provided by the Mahoney by two veterinarians who were not involved in his treatment indicate that Buddy probably had lymphoma, a type of cancer, which would explain the symptoms he had before his death – reads on National Geographic -. The Mahoney learned of the lymphoma only on the day of his death, they say, when further blood test results confirmed it. It is unclear whether cancer made him more susceptible to coronavirus contraction, or whether the virus made him ill, or if it was still just a case of coincidence. Buddy’s family, like thousands of families dealing with the effects of coronavirus worldwide, have many questions and few answers. “

The Mahoney recounts their bitterness related to the fact that health workers have never looked more closely at the possible connections between COVID and his health problems: after Buddy’s diagnosis of positivity, Robert Mahoney asked the veterinary health officials of New York City, who were responsible for the case, if they were interested in doing further tests on Buddy, but no one ever dealt with them.The New York City Department of Health told National Geographic that because Buddy was severely anaemic, they decided to don’t subject him to further blood. The original Buddy samples collected on May 15th were positive for SARS-CoV-2. The one collected on May 20th was negative, indicating that the virus was no longer present in the dog’s blood, but he has developed antibodies. That confirmed that Bubby entered in contact with the virus. The situation remains dramatic in the United States, where the virus continues to spread quickly. According to Worldometer, the country recorded 4,706,059 cases and 156,752 deaths from the beginning of the pandemic. The United States represents 5% of the world population, but they account for 25% of global deaths from COVID.Washington is experiencing more deaths per day than any other country in the world. In one day, July 31st, 1,379 people died, according to John Hopkins University. Arizona, Texas, and Florida contributed to the statistic by hitting a record high in one day the day before.Nineteen American states have not yet made the mask mandatory. The virus does not behave like an influenza: from the World Health Organization, they reiterate that it does not go in waves seasonally, even if the contagions in the various countries can accelerate and decelerate. It is also ten times more lethal than the flu.

Facebook sues the EU: “Our employees’ privacy has been violated”
Europe

Facebook sues the EU: “Our employees’ privacy has been violated”

According to British media, Facebook has sued the European Union for the invasion of its employees’ privacy.The appeal, filed before the Luxembourg Court, is linked to the requests of the Brussels authorities in the context of two ongoing antitrust investigations, which according to the American social giant, go well beyond the scope of the inquiries. In particular, the European Union is examining how Facebook collects and gains its data and is trying to determine whether the company’s Marketplace has an unfair advantage over competitors in the classifieds sector.

Since March, Facebook has provided the Commission with 1.7 million pages of documents, including internal e-mails. According to well-informed anonymous sources cited by several British media, Brussels has asked for more information, demanding all documents containing keywords and phrases like big questions, free, not good for us, and shutdown.In its appeal, the company claims that this request is too broad and would also include private information about its employees.

“The nature of the Commission’s requests means that we would be required to deliver mostly irrelevant documents, which have nothing to do with the Commission’s investigations.That includes highly sensitive personal information such as employee medical information, personal financial papers, and information.”

The Facebook lawyer Tim Lamb explained, adding that his company believes that EU courts should review these requests.The Commission will defend its case before the EU Court of Justice, and the EU investigation into Facebook’s potential anti-competitive behavior is ongoing. A spokesman for the European Commission said, commenting on the move by the social network to appeal to the EU Court against requests for documents made by the European antitrust.

A year ago, the European Commission launched an antitrust assessment on Facebook and the use of data collected by third-party apps, within an investigation of the American giants of the web and their conduct in terms of respect for competition. Amazon and the collection of seller data on its marketplace, Apple and its digital store are also under examination of EU. Within these investigations, the Commission may ask to deliver documents containing some keywords.The European Court will have to verify what privacy protections the Commission is taking in its investigations. Hence the preliminary suspension, necessary to avoid a situation in which the disputed material is made public in violation of Facebook’s fundamental right to privacy of managers and employees.

The geopolitical challenge for space control
Geopolitics

The geopolitical challenge for space control

Space is not only a place to be explored for mere scientific research purposes, but has a profound geopolitical significance.”America will always seek peace in the space. But history shows us that peace comes only with power, and the American Space Force will turn into power in the years to come.” So American Vice President Mike Pence commented on the decision to establish a Space Force, or a sixth armed force entirely dedicated to space affairs. This initiative follows the creation of the US Space Command, the new unified combat command that is part of the US military. The US feels his spatial dominance is under threat and is running for cover.

At the end of the Second World War, the United States welcomed a group of scientists and engineers from Nazi Germany, led by Werner von Braun. Von Braun’s “Rocket Team” was crucial to allow Washington to learn the secrets of the technology behind the famous V2 rocket, to guarantee US space supremacy in the bipolar context. It was von Braun’s team that launched the Explorer satellite in 1958, drawing the match with the Soviet Union, which had just launched its Sputnik. The latter event, closely followed by the launch of the first military pilot in orbit, seemed to project Moscow at the head of the so-called space race. Washington was called upon to react to make the country proud, amaze its allies and intimidate its enemies, and it did so in style. Thus, the Apollo program was born, the aim of which was much more geopolitical than scientific.

Later, in the 1980s, during the Reagan presidency, the intention was announced to build a “space shield” around the Earth to make the Soviet nuclear threat obsolete. The Space Defense Initiative (SDI) was, however, a purely military initiative, therefore difficult for the public to digest: the project for the construction of a Space Station to be shared with the allies, today’s International Space Station (ISS), was born. In the vision of the engineer Spagnuolo, the never completed initiative of the Space Shield was crucial for the birth of the start-ups that today dominate the world from Silicon Valley, which has benefited from the technological fallout deriving from investments in the SDI.

“China and Russia have created space weapon systems and have transformed Earth’s orbit into a possible operational scenario of war,” said Stephen Kitay, US deputy secretary of defense with responsibility for space policy. According to the non-governmental Union of Concerned Scientists, in 2017 there were 1,783 satellites in orbit, including 803 Americans, and 310 of these militaries. China and Russia, on the other hand, had 346 satellites, which is little more than the Pentagon alone.The spatial gap between the US and the rest of the contenders is still widespread today. For this, China and Russia are investing in the qualitative dimension of their offensive tools, in particular on ASAT anti-satellite weapons.

In 2007, a Chinese missile shot down an old satellite in orbit, demonstrating Beijing’s ability to hit spy satellites in low orbits. In 2013, however, China launched a space rocket that reached geostationary orbit, an orbit hitherto considered inaccessible to ASAT missiles.Furthermore, a close confrontation between the United States, China, Russia, and the European Union on satellite navigation systems is underway. The current global standard is GPS made in the USA. But Moscow launched Glonass into operation. The European Union wants to become more independent thanks to Galileo, while China is building Beidou. Beijing completed its constellation on June 22.

GPS is an essential tool for the military and economic supremacy of the USA: many are unaware that, in addition to ballistic missiles and strategic bombers, almost all industries depend on GPS, from finance to telecommunications, from airlines to banks, from logistics to televisions.

Coronavirus, Trump cancels the Jacksonville Republican convention
Americas

Coronavirus, Trump cancels the Jacksonville Republican convention

Trump surrenders to COVID and cancels the Jacksonville Republican Convention. After underestimating the epidemic for over six months, pushing for an electoral hurried economy’s reopening that is now causing a spike in contagions and deaths, the US president has been forced to accept the reality. So, he canceled the appointment he cared about most, that is, the crowds in Florida. COVID-19 continues to spread worldwide, with 15 million positive people. Of these over 8 million in the American continent. On Thursday, the United States registered a new record of coronavirus contagions: 76,500. More 1,225 deaths, according to Worldometer.

With over 144,000 deaths, the country is by far the most affected in the world in absolute terms, ahead of Brazil and the United Kingdom. Donald Trump, for the first time, decided to cancel an event he was due to attend: The Republican convention in Jacksonville, Florida.Amid an election campaign because of the unexpected and problematic presidential elections, Donald Trump still has the card of security and public order. Objective: to paint the Democrats as weak on the subject of crime, irresponsible who risk leaving the country in the hands of radical and far-left or anarchist fringes.

In the past few hours, an opportunity to accelerate security has come again from Portland, Oregon, Northwest of the United States. Here Trump has sent hundreds of federal agents in a campaign against crime that has deliberately targeted the city led by Democratic leader. Portland has been the theatre of the main protests of “Black Lives Matter” movement, against police racism and held up by the US leader Trump as the most violent in America. That is an extension of the LeGend operation, named after a 4-year-old boy, LeGend Taliferro, killed in Kansas City, Missouri, in June while he was in his apartment, hit by the shots of a running car. Yesterday’s mother said she was in favor of the operation, which aims to tame the crime. Democratic cities are in turmoil. As a result, during the protests against police never dormant in Portland, Democrat Ted Wheeler ended up under the tear gas of federal agents. The mayor was with the protesters behind the protective fence mounted around the court when the agents hit him.The scene is the perfect photo of the conflict that Trump is looking for. On the one hand, an exponent of the opposition alongside the protesters who oppose the police. On the other, the order in person: the agents sent by the president to fight crime.

Watch President Trump saying that he has canceled the Florida component of the Republican National Convention:

Trump Embraces Face Masks: “It’s patriotic!”
Americas

Trump Embraces Face Masks: “It’s patriotic!”

After months of declining to wear a face covering at public events amid the novel coronavirus pandemic, the United States President Donald Trump on Monday saidon Twitter that it’s “patriotic” to wear a face mask.“We are United in our effort to defeat the Invisible China Virus, and many people say that it is Patriotic to wear a face mask when you can’t socially distance,” Trump wrote. “There is nobody more Patriotic than me, your favourite President.”

Donald Trump affirmed, posting a photo where he is wearing a facemask in public for the first time at the Walter Reed National Military Medical Centre in Washington, D.C., where he met wounded service members and health care providers caring for COVID-19 patients.As he departed the White House, Trump told reporters: “When you’re in a hospital, especially … I think it’s a great thing to wear a mask.”

Before this event in Washington, Trump had declined to wear a mask at public events including news conferences, rallies and during updates from the coronavirus task force.Trump has also repeatedly referred to the new coronavirus(COVID-19) as the “Chinese virus,” as the virus was first detected in Wuhan, China last December.

Since it was discovered, the virus has infected more than 14.6 million people around the world, according to the Johns Hopkins University latest data. So far, according to the Worldometer, the US recorded in total 3.9 million confirmed cases and 140,811 people have died as a result of COVID-19.More than 70,000 new coronavirus cases have been recorded daily in recent days in the U.S.

“We do have embers, we do have flames,” Trump said of the recent surge in cases, while claiming, “It’s going to be under control.” The president played down the threat, saying that many of those catching the virus are young people who will quickly recover. “They have the sniffles,” he said.Trump contended, as he has in recent weeks, that the number of confirmed coronavirus infections in the U.S. is increasing because of the thousands of tests it has conducted, even though the growth in the number of infections is outpacing the increased number of tests.

“It really skews the numbers,” Trump said of the increased testing. As the White House and Congress consider another funding plan to help the country recover from the pandemic, Trump aides are opposing more money for increased testing, according to reporting by The Washington Post.Asked why the White House has attempted to discredit Fauci, Trump said, “Dr. Fauci made some mistakes,” while adding that he personally has a “great relationship” with him. Still, Trump called Fauci “a little bit of an alarmist.” But the president dismissed his own early mistakes, including a comment that the coronavirus would “just disappear,” from 15 cases down to zero.“I’ll be right eventually,” Trump declared. “I’ve been right probably more than anyone.”  Health experts predict that tens of thousands more Americans will die from the pandemic in the coming months.

Iran executes citizen charged with spying for CIA
Middle East & Africa

Iran executes citizen charged with spying for CIA

Iran executed on Monday an Iranian citizen sentenced to death on charges of spying for the US Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and the Mossad, the official Fars news agency reported. Amir Rahimpour “earned a lot of money” to pass on information about Iran’s nuclear programme to the US, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said. He added that “two more American spies” had been sentenced to 10 years in prison for espionage and five years for acting against Iran national security. The spokesman did not name them, but said they had been working for a charity organization. So far, there was no immediate comment from the US government or the CIA.

Mahmoud Mousavi-Majd was arrested in October 2018 and sentenced to death in August 2019, Fars revealed. According to the State-run news agency, one of the charges against the man was providing information about the whereabouts of slain military commander Qassem Soleimani and other Iranian commanders. Mousavi-Majd, who left Iran with his family as a child and grew up in Syria, was never a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), “but he was able to infiltrate many sensitive areas under the guise of a translator,” Fars said. Other local media previously reported that Mousavi-Majd was arrested and handed over to Iran in 2018 by the Lebanese Hezbollah in Syria.He received a monthly payment of $5,000 from the CIA and the Mossad in exchange for information on Iranian forces in Syria, Irian newspaper Tasmin claimed.

Executed CIA and Mossad spy - Iran executes citizen charged with spying for CIA
 Executed CIA and Mossad spy, Mahmoud Mousavi Majd

In early July US officials cast doubt on an announcement by Iran that it had arrested 17 spies who were allegedly collecting information on the country’s nuclear and military sectors for the United States Government, adding that some had been sentenced to death.”It’s part of the nature of the ayatollah to lie to the world,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed at the time, referring to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. “I would take with a significant grain of salt any Iranian assertion about actions that they’ve taken.” Last month, a former contractor for Iran’s defence ministry, Jalal Hajizavar, was executed after being found guilty of espionage. Hajizavar allegedly confessed that he had been paid to spy for the CIA.

In 2016, Iran executed a nuclear scientist convicted of spying for the US. Shahram Amiri reportedly defected to the US in 2009, but he returned to Iran the following year after claiming that he had been kidnapped and held against his will. The confirmed death sentence of Amir Rahimpourcomes at a time of high tension between Tehran and Washington.The U.S. and Iran nearly entered into an open conflict on 8 January 2020 when the IRGC launched missile attacks against two Iraqi military bases housing U.S. soldiers in retaliation for the killing of Soleimani, a rare direct Iran–U.S. confrontation and the closest to the brink of war between the two nations in decades.

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