Senior Iranian official has warning for US



The Iranian Ambassador to the UK Hamid Baeidinejad warned that the United States and Iran are headed toward “a confrontation which is very serious for everybody in the region.”
In an exclusive interview with Christiane Amanpour, the Ambassador reacted to escalated tensions between the two countries, as the United States continues to blame Iran for an attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.
Ambassador Baeidinejad, a senior Iranian official within the Foreign Ministry, denied the allegations, and cautioned the White House would be “very sorry” to underestimate Iran, should a military conflict ensue.
When asked who else could be responsible for the attack, Baeidinejad pointed to other countries in the region “who have invested heavily, billions and billions of dollars to draft the United States into a military conflict with Iran.”

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Fans banned from Olympic venues in Tokyo due to coronavirus concerns



Tokyo venues for the pandemic-delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics will not have spectators due to the city’s coronavirus state of emergency through the Games, according to the Japanese Olympic Committee.
The announcement was made following a meeting of five Olympic and Japanese government groups responsible for the Games.
Japanese Olympic Committee Seiko Hashimoto said due to the pandemic, organizers have “no choice but to hold the Games in a limited way.”
According to an IOC spokesman, it’s unprecedented for a host city’s venues not to have spectators.
There are total 42 venues listed on the Tokyo 2020 website. Twenty-five are in Tokyo and the rest are in seven other prefectures.
However, three prefectures near Tokyo — Chiba, Kanagawa and Saitama — will not have spectators at Olympic competition venues, according to Hashimoto.
Miyagi, Fukushima, and Shizuoka prefectures have decided that venues can be filled to 50% of capacity with a maximum of 10,000 spectators, added Hashimoto.

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US hits Russia with sanctions, expels diplomats



The Biden administration targeted Russia with sweeping sanctions and diplomatic expulsions, punishing Moscow for its interference in the 2020 US election, its SolarWinds cyberattack and its ongoing occupation and “severe human rights abuses” in Crimea. CNN’s Alex Marquardt reports and Nic Robertson breaks down the diplomatic repercussions of the sanctions.

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US finds Russia poisoned Navalny, joins EU in sanctions



The Biden administration imposed a raft of sanctions on Russian officials and entities in response to the poisoning and imprisonment of opposition leader Alexey Navalny.

The actions — taken in coordination with the European Union, which also unveiled sanctions — represent the first significant move against Moscow since Joe Biden became President.

The Treasury Department sanctioned seven senior Russian government officials: two of President Vladimir Putin’s deputy chiefs of staff, two Russian defense ministers, the Russian prosecutor general, the director of the Federal Penitentiary Service and the head of Russia’s security services, the FSB. In addition, the State Department sanctioned the FSB as an entity, a designation that department spokesperson Ned Price said “speaks to where we believe culpability lies.”

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Germany's AfD is first party since Nazi era to be monitored



Germany’s BfV domestic intelligence service has formally placed the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) under surveillance on suspicion of trying to undermine Germany’s democratic constitution, a person briefed on the move said. Four years after becoming the first avowedly anti-immigrant party to enter the German parliament, the AfD now becomes the first party to be monitored in this way since the Nazi era ended in 1945.

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