Iran-US tensions May 2020
Updated: Jun 12
For the previous edition of our coverage of US-Iran tensions daily updates, see this link March 22-May 1, 2020.
Satellite photos of April 20 strike near Palmyra and April 27 strike at Mazzeh Airport in Damascus.
After series of ISIS attacks in Iraq Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba claims US reviving the group. Others also blame US for opposing PMU. 'Nujaba spokesman says U.S., sensing its imminent withdrawal, “has played the terror card,” apparently interpreting past U.S. warnings of the Islamic State’s return as veiled threats.' See Nasral Shammari's tweets.
Bagheri says Iran ready to help region with Covid-19.
IRGC navy warns US to leave Gulf.
Khatami praises IRGC launch of military satellite.
ISIS attacks increase in Iraq, Press TV notes "the US and Israel have repeatedly attacked the positions of the PMU and its affiliated groups and killed dozens of their members.
The PMU has long rejected Washington’s military presence in the country as an obstacle impeding long-lasting security and stability in Iraq."
Social media shows Hezbollah missiles.
Iraqi MP " from Defense & Security Parliamentary Committee: the ISIS attacks on the PMF in Salah ad-Din Province is proof there is cooperation between ISIS & those calling the PMF to withdraw from liberated areas.";
Lawk Ghafuri: "Secretary General of Asaib Ahl al-Haq, Qais al-Khazali accuses US for yesterday’s ISIS in multiple locations in Saladin province. He claims that US is pushing ISIS to conduct those attacks prior to the strategic dialogue that Washington plans to conduct with Baghdad in mid-June"; Part of several Khazali comments about US working with ISIS. Harakat Hezbollah al-Nujaba also blames US.
Iran complains that Israel provided Germany info to ban Hezbollah. Iran angry about the ban. "Front page of hardline Vatan-e Emrouz, which describes Angela Merkel as the "Maid of Zionism" and decorates her with Hitler's mustache." Lebanese pro-Hezbollah officials also angry.
"A Syrian military source told the Russian outlet that the radar used on the S-300 and the Pantsir-S systems has proven to be incapable of detecting and hitting Israeli cruise missiles on numerous occasions." - Middle East Monitor. Tom Cat notes "Not this shit again. Not only is Avia Pro an unreliable source, but the people who consistently spew this garbage about AD systems being ineffective have never stopped to realize that the SAA is dealing with saturation attacks. The defenses are overwhelmed by quantity alone."
New ImageSat International images. "report reveals evidence of a massive #strike on an ammunition storage located North of #Palmyra, #Syria. Nine bunkers, 30 x 10 meters in size, were struck and completely destroyed. According to media reports, the #attack occurred on 20 April 2020."
Syrian air defense on alert.
Iran's Press TV claims ISIS attacks are US "plot" in Iraq.
1:00am : Airstrikes reported near Deir Ezzor (ديرالزور) targeting (فاطميون و زينبيون) Faemiyun and Zeinabun units Badia Al-Mayadeen (بادية الميادين). May 5, "SOHR activists documented the killing of 14 Iranian and Iraqi militiamen due to Israeli airstrikes on positions of Iranian forces and Iranian-backed militias in the deserts of Al-Quriyah, Al-Salihyah and Al-Mayadin in the eastern countryside of Deir Ezzor."
ImageSat International report reveals: the #strike (4 May) in #AlSafirah#SSM facility, located Southeast of #Aleppo, #Syria, caused severe damage to the workshop building. #Assessment: the workshop probably had a critical role in the #missile production and assembly process.
Iran may capitalize on failed Venezuela raid.
WSJ: US removing Patriots from Saudi Arabia.
Jeffrey says that Iran's Syria strategy unchanged despite Israel reports of reduction of forces. He says it still transfers long-range weapons there to target Israel.
US General Pat White briefs reporters from Baghdad, guarantees force protection against any pro-Iran attacks.
Hashd operations PMU in Anbar.
Saadi returns to CTS in Iraq. "Iraqi Ministerial Cabinet meeting decides to remove longtime CTService Director General Talib Shaghati Kennani & replace him with Lieutenant General Abdel-Wahab al-Sa’idi. Kennani has been CTS Director since it was formed in 2006." Yehia Rasool also returned; Haditha also may get more role in Kadhimi's cabinet. Asaib angered.
Khazali slams US, Israel and Jews.
After US said forces and Patriots being reduced in Gulf, Tasnim spreads rumors they are moving to Iraq.
Badr and Asaib offices burned in protests in Wasit.
Deir Ezzor: Iran militias' movements are just within Deir Ezzor and all the news about their withdrawal outside Deir Ezzor or outside Syria are false. It as a security measure to avoid air strikes.
Iran cyberattack against Israel water infrastructure revealed.
Hamas accused of drone attacks on Israel.
Putin vs. Assad? ""Vladimir Putin wants a stable Syria, with billions from abroad for his oligarch cronies to rebuild the country. But Assad's infamy and the ayatollahs stand in the way." - Daily Beast.
US-Iran discuss prisoner swap
Israel annexation ruffles feathers in Gulf.
Pro-Iran elements in Basra.
Iran sank its own naval ship.
US may establish more bases -Iran
Rouhani to Iraq new PM about US
Cyber attack on Iran report after Iran cyber attack on Israeli water infrastructure.
Shia militias moved in Syria
Iran seeks to divert coronavirus funds to Hezbollah funding on eve of Pompeo visit to Israel
Jeffrey slams Syria regime for transfers to Hezbollah, including chemical weapons potentially.
Outrage after Al-Jazeera posts pro-Soleimani video.
More attacks on PMU reported in Iraq.
PM Kadhimi in Iraq has returned Saadi to his position. Some pro-Iran militias still slam him.
Fox News reveals new Iranian construction at Imam Ali base. "#ISI#intelligence report reveals Iran is building a new #tunnel at the Imam Ali #military base in Eastern #Syria capable of storing advanced weapons systems."
Brian Hook vows to continue sanctions on Iran
Russia and Assad force UN to stop aid to eastern Syria.
US advises KNC to discuss a deal with PYD.
Iran says Kadhimi will be forced to remove US.
Readout of May 13 US briefing after Pompeo visit: "Maybe in some places slow down operational tempo a little bit, certain countries where the sort of proxies – there are curfews so it is hard for their proxy militias to go out at night and try and kill Americans.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: Well, let’s see, I mean, the most obvious thing is that you see things oftentimes blowing up in Syria.
SENIOR STATE DEPARTMENT OFFICIAL ONE: What appears to be increased Israeli operational tempo there and broadening its target set. It’s —
IRGC-backed Zaynabiyoun Brigade, "which recruits Pakistani fights, holds religious ceremony in the eastern Syrian border town of Albu Kamal with the participation of Liwa Fatemiyoun."
Explosion in Aleppo, possible Israeli strikes. "That attack last night by the Israeli's air forces attacked (for the first time) Al-Ramouseh artillery base, which being used by the Iranian forces years ago, confirmed reports about the death of many generals last night. Israel never attacked this area before," - Asaad Hanna.
Jewish tomb set afire in Iran, parliament passes series of pro-Palestine resolutions related to 'Nakba Day'
Tensions rise between US and Iran over oil shipments and Venezuela. Ships revealed online. Iran is shipping 1,5 million barrels of fuel to Venezuela. The US has stated that it will take action against Iran, Iran's IRGC warns US not to interfere. Reuters: U.S. considering measures to take in response to #Iran's shipment of fuel to #Venezuela; options to be presented to - Senior Trump administration official, U.S. has "high degree of certainty" #Venezuela is paying for Iranian fuel with tons of gold. IRGC linked Nour news agency warns that "piracy" against an Iranian fuel shipment to #Venezuela will have repercussions. Sounds like Tehran may be expecting an interdiction. Statement. RGC tracking four US warships. Tanker Trackers reveals info on ships. Iran's Tasnim compares Zionism to coronavirus.
Al-Sharq al-Awsat: "US, Russia, and Israel are pushing to block a strategic road corridor between Tehran and Beirut, passing through Baghdad and Damascus and which is used by Iran to transport ammunitions and arms to its allies, particularly Hezbollah. SDF meets with Maghawir al-Thawra Forces and al-Nukhba Forces." Kadhimi visits PMU and meets Fayyadh and others (Brigades 2, 11, 26, 44), wears PMU jacket. Abu Fadak was present.
Syrian Observatory activists have reported hearing a loud explosion in the early hours of Saturday morning in “Madfa’iyat Al-Ramouseh” area in the southern sector of the regime-controlled city of Aleppo. Regime forces captured the artillery base area in September 2016, with support by the Lebanese Hezbollah and Iranian-backed militia."
A group calling itself "The Second 1920 Revolution Company" published two videos claiming it targeted two logistics convoy in #Iraq intended for U.S. troops stationed in the country. However, the video is suspicious due to some inconsistencies of the message in the video.
A vessel was attacked in the Gulf of Aden on Sunday, offshore of Yemen’s port of Mukalla, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations (UKMTO) said...Maritime security firm Dryad Global said it was the ninth reported incident in the Gulf of Aden this year. Details here.
Seven pro-Iranian militiamen have reportedly been killed in an airstrike on their position in eastern Syria, a war monitor revealed Sunday. "The attack killed seven Iran-backed paramilitary fighters," the monitor said, also reporting material damage, cited a report on AFP.
Funeral for Asghar Pashapour. "Member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ (IRGC) Quds Force Asghar Pashapour was announced killed in Aleppo’s battles in February according to Iranian sources." Photos here.
Sadr condemns gay pride flag.
Behnam Ben Taleblu's Long War Journal factsheet on rocket attacks.
MBC media attacked for critical report on Soleimani Rasha al-Aqeedi. "MBC Iraq recently aired a show detailing Abu Mehdi Al Muhandis' role in the attack on the Iraqi Embassy in Beirut. A mob sacked the channel's HQs in Baghdad yesterday for "spreading lies". Pre-2003 Iraqi opposition not only acknowledged the attack, but fully justify it." May 19 Rocket attack near US embassy, Baghdad. Ayatollah Khamenei calls to arm "West Bank."
Washington Post says Israel linked to cyber attack on Iran.
Iran says US waging "silent war" against Iran gas trade.
Hajizadeh discusses the Noor satellite.
UAE flight lands in Israel with aid for Palestinians. May 20.
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani also bashed Israel, claiming that Islam commands that people be in “conflict with the oppressors” and that Palestinians are being persecuted. He said that the US is involved in a “conspiracy against Muslims” and that the Palestinian people must “resist” until they are “liberated.”
Ayatollah Khamenei threatened Israel over the last several days, apparently linked to the country’s “Quds Day” events where Iran pushes pro-Palestinian propaganda. In recent social media posts he wrote that “the Zionist regime has no power or strength on its own.” He slammed Arab countries and Saudi Arabia for “relations” with Israel. He slammed Gulf states for working with Israel. Bagheri says the end of Israel will come soon.
Iran role in Africa.
Khamenei continues tirade against Israel, calling it cancerous and a "virus." Also "Let that European government, which should be eternally ashamed for selling #chemical agents to the regime of #Saddam Hussein, designate the honorable Hezbollah as ‘illegal’. ‘Illegal’ is that same government whose chemical agents caused the death of thousands in Iran and Iraq...#Hamas & #IslamicJihad in Palestine, #Hezbollah in Lebanon have been a proof for everyone.The world will not forget the day Zionist army, pounded by Hezbollah, retreated from Lebanon & begged for a truce after heavy casualties. This is what full hands & a position of power means...My main advice is to continue this struggle & better organize anti-occupation organizations, cooperation & expand the areas of #Jihad inside Palestinian territories. Everyone must help the Palestinian fighters. We will proudly do everything in our power on this path...The long-lasting virus of Zionism will be uprooted thanks to the determination and faith of the youth...Westerners & Jewish corporation owners’ main goal by fabricating the Zionist regime & this cancerous tumor was to build a stronghold to influence & dominate West Asia. So, they equipped the bogus, occupying regime with all kinds of military & non-military tools, even nukes."
Bagheri says any mistake by US will be met with decisive result. Tensions continue with tankers heading to Venezuela.
Tha'ar al-Muhandis: "The 5th militia declared since the assass. of Muhandis & QS. 21st May: TaM takes responsibility for accurately targeting the Victory Base Complex (US troops) with 4 Katyushas (6th May) & firing 2 SAMs at an American Chinook (17th April) in Baghdad's SE belt." Quds day posters in Diyala in Iraq.
Iranian tankers near Venezuela
Iraqis destroy Iranian posters in Diyala.
Khamenei's Press Office "released image of al-Aqsa with Hamas Ismail Haniyeh in the front row alongside #Hezbollah Hassan Nasrallah, in front of PIJ’s Ziyad al-Nakhalah, IRGC Ismail Ghaani, Houthi leader and Syria’s Bashar Assad."
Iranian IRGC General Yadollah Javani says US role in region is coming to an end. First of five Iranian tankers arrives in Venezuela and unloads gas at El Palito refinery. Second tanker arrives in Venezuela waters.
"Announcing #CPOA waiver revocations, Pompeo cites #Iran's supreme leader's "Final Solution" poster. Also new sanctions on AEOI Managing Director Amjad Sazgar & Majid Agha’i, who is focused on R&D for advanced centrifuges." Iran carries out drone strike in Syria using Shahed 129 and Mohajer 6.
Salami says there is a jump in iran's naval power.
Sayyid Shuhada battalions calls for US to leave region.
May 31 Iranian shura council says not to negotiate with US
Fifth Iranian tanker arrives in Venezuela. Alleged airstrikes on Iran-backed militias near Deir Ezzor or Raqqa.
IRGC's Ghaani reportedly went to Iraq.
Iran and US appear to trade prisoners
Nujaba's Al-Kaabi swears allegience to Iran, again.
Hadi al-Amiri resigns as rumors persist PMF may push out Fayyadh.
Elijah Magnier: "A likely front is the Levant, where preparations are being made to confront Israel and end its continued violations of Syria’s sovereignty and bombardment of hundreds of targets in Syria throughout the years of the war. This particular issue may bring the Middle East into an all-out war; one mistake could turn fatal and drag the region into an all-out clash in which Syria will not be alone...Iran has decided – according to private sources – to evacuate the sites of the gatherings of its advisers, not for withdrawal or for redeployment but to find bases within the Syrian Army barracks. Hezbollah has taken over the vacated Iranian buildings."
Hadi al-Ameri, the President of the Fateh Alliance and Badr Organization has resigned from the Iraqi Parliament.
"Unidentified drones" bombed a military base used by pro-Iran militias in eastern Syria killing 12 people, SOHR reported on Sunday. The London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said the Meizileh base, used as the headquarters of Iranian militias in the region was the target of eight drone strikes just before midnight. Israel accused of airstrikes.
Lebanese army worried over tensions.
Syrian currency collapses. "A back of bread, eight loafs, in Idlib is now 800 SP. Most shops all over Syria closed today, they can't afford to sell anything."
Iran discusses history of its drone program.
50 Coalition vehicles head to eastern Syria, SANA says.
Iraq-US strategic dialogue could being soon.
Iraqi armed forces say they don't need US to fight terror- Tasnim.
Kataib Hezbollah comments on US dialogue.
Al-Nujaba in Iraq says it sent balloon images to Gaza.
Rocket fired in Baghdad near airport
Iran says death sentence for spy who led US to Soleimani.
Iran challenges protests in Lebanon as "sedition"
Iran slams US pressure on Baghdad.
Rouhani says US put a knee on Iran's throat, referencing US protests
Iran highlights US-Iraq strategic dialogue.
Iran works with Russia and China against sanctions.
Iran built a fake US carrier to train with.
Rocket lands in Green Zone.
US will "kneel" before Iran