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Iran Deploys Navy To Sea Despite U.S. Notice, Tensions High As Iran Destroyers Fill Strait Of Hormuz

March 1, 2017 Leave a comment

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When a nation is an open sponsor of terrorism and is called out for their evil on the world stage, it is not shocking in the least that the nation in question would lash out like a child upon being  (rightfully) humiliated. When the same nation, and yes we are talking about Iran, breaks a deal just as openly as they condone murder in their religions name and are exposed without reservation for all to hear, then they will likely do things like conduct military drills, which they are. For that matter, when Trump put the nation “on notice” for repeated provocations, rather than take it as signs that Trump is striving for peace, it is still not that shocking that they would provoke even more.

However when one of the nation’s that forbids women to drive, move about at will, may not even study certain topic areas in college, and condemn (admittedly, even) crude comments from Trump, then they are not only dangerous, but hilariously hypocritical. Blind to how mandating that women dress like the angel of death is worse than flirting – even crudely – with women, Iran’s Ahmadinejad said that he welcomes his criticisms of the political system but takes issue with his visa ban and attitudes towards women,” in a letter.

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While Iran also states that they agree that the U.S political and media system is corrupt (a stab at attempting to use Trump’s words against him), Iran is missing the point that if threatened, history has shown that America can come together. Vietnam was not a threat, Libya was not at threat, so America was, and is still, tremendously divided over such actions. However, when America is threatened, history has shown that even visceral division can heal with vision blurring speed and unity. As Iran conducts these tests with various degrees of attention towards any blocking of the Strait of Hormuz (an act that many have practically proven would lead to nuclear war), the eyes of the world rest upon Trump’s reactions to such constant saber rattling.

Due to these exercises, Yahoo News reports that Trump has stated prior that Iran “was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table.” The United States president, which has been accused of being for war by the media that even Iran sees as corrupt, has actually been doing nothing but warning the terrorist funding nation, but this could change overnight if Iran continues.

What is also alarming is that just like Hitler promised to fight evil while conquering nations like Poland who did not want them invading, so it is that Iran promises to fight terror by conducting these drills. Iran has been found guilty by virtually every nation in the world of sponsoring groups who bomb children and longs for the death of the U.S. and Israel even during times of (what passes for) peace. That means that these drills are only for planned use against those who Iran considers terrorists, which may or not be terrorist cells at all. Though certain groups that threaten Iran are also enemies of America, more often than not, Iran is prone to attack those who are trying to oppose Iran’s terror.

Therefore, when Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says, “Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy,” it may sound like a noble set of drills. Since Iran is the stated enemy of every ideal and influence that is not Sharia Islam however, what they consider “terror” will be anyone who allows a woman to drive a car or opposes the oppressive Iranian regime.

Trump has not moved to topple or change any leader in any country, but if it grows to a point to where he has no choice, no one should be surprised if he does at some point act. He has, after all, called himself a counter puncher, by nature. The reason that he may be forced to act is because America has allowed itself ever so foolishly and at great potential peril to every citizen to trust our energy needs to madmen in nations that detest us. While enough oil sits under Texas (and Alaska) to fuel America for quite some time, we tie our own hands with restrictions and lies about climate change instead. It seems that the planet only warms if America drills for oil, not when Iran does it, so we buy from them.

Millions and millions of barrels of oil coast through the Strait of Hormuz every day, having a direct result on both the United States and most of Asia. These are deals and travel rights that Iran has made with the world, and like their nuclear deal, defied the terms therein. Navy vessels, helicopters, and underwater subs will take part in the war games, which will cover an almost unimaginable 772,000 square miles. It will demonstrate the prowess of the Iranian skill, according to state news agency IRNA.

There is no word yet on how this will affect The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is in these waters protecting the shipping lanes. While piracy is still far more active than one would expect in 2017, America has already proven itself quite valuable in fighting piracy, so this drill would likely include America. It is also recalled that last month the United States were forced into firing upon fast attacking Iranian ships that closed in with a high rate of speed, much like Russia buzzing American warships.

As this carries onward, Iran would be wise to not mistake the president’s “quick with words and slow to action” response as lackadaisical of overly slow handed. Donald Trump will at some point be forced to do something, especially if this carries to the point to where energy issues become apparent. If we do avoid military actions with Iran then this should be seen as the dodging of a bullet from a machine gun. The time to start drilling and producing our own energy was about ten years ago, at least. The time to start making up the oversight is now.

Iran Conducts Massive Naval Drill Amid Tensions With US

February 28, 2017 Leave a comment

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Iran has staged a large scale military drill over a 2 million sq. kilometre area along the country’s southeastern coast.

The final phase of operation “Velayat-e 95” began Sunday, with Iranian naval forces staging war games from the mouth of the Persian Gulf to the north of the Indian Ocean.

It comes at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has put Iran “on notice” by telling the Islamic Republic to stop “playing with fire,” while U.S. naval deployment has been concentrated more on dealing with China.

 

Zero Hedge reports:

Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, quoted by Reuters. Today’s drill marks the last phase of war games that started in 2016, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported. The exercise, codenamed ‘Velayat 95’, kicked off in Iran’s south following an order from Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.

Apart from the main drills, Iran’s Navy commando units are conducting special operations in the southeastern Makran region. Last June, Sayyari said that Tehran was planning to carry out 20 military drills before March 2017. Iranian officials insist that the war games do not violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the nuclear deal between Iran and the Group 5+1 signed in January of 2016.

The UN nuclear watchdog said on Saturday that Iran has been found to be in full compliance with the nuclear deal, but the report comes against a backdrop of rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.

Earlier this month, then-US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said that “Iran had been put formally on notice” after Tehran fired a ballistic missile. Later in February, President Trump tweeted that “Iran is playing with fire,” promising that he won’t be as “kind as [former President] Obama” and warned the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table.

In response, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, blasted the US, saying Tehran remains “unmoved” by threats, but will use weapons “only in self-defense.” Last month, a US Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian military ships that were allegedly approaching them at high speed near the Strait of Hormuz.

The latest US naval deployment shows that while the South China Sea has been a recent focus of the US navy, the only US ship in the region is the LHD 8 Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, although the George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier is currently headed for the region.

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Iran holds naval war games amid rising tensions with U.S.

February 27, 2017 Leave a comment

Iran launched naval drills at the mouth of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean on Sunday, a naval commander said, as tensions with the United States escalated after U.S President Donald Trump put Tehran “on notice”.

Since taking office last month, Trump has pledged to get tough with Iran, warning the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table.

Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, according to state media.

Millions of barrels of oil are transported daily to Europe, the United States and Asia through the Bab el-Mandab and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways that run along the coasts of Yemen and Iran.

Navy ships, submarines and helicopters will take part in the drills across an area of about 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) and marines will showcase their skills along Iran’s southeastern coast, the state news agency IRNA said.

The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the region and protects shipping lanes in the Gulf and nearby waters.

Last month, a U.S. Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait of Hormuz after they closed in at high speed. The vessels belonged to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards which are not participating in the current war games.

Trump said earlier this month that “Iran has been put formally put on notice” for firing a ballistic missile, and later imposed new sanctions on Tehran.

(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Sami Aboudi/Keith Weir)

 

Iran Promises to Wipe Out Israel Should Trump Start a War in the Middle East

February 25, 2017 1 comment

Iran Israel conflict

Amando Flavio

Israel considers Iran to be its biggest Middle Eastern enemy. Because Iran has maintained that Israel should end its aggression and grant the people of Palestine their freedom, the Israelis claim Iran is interfering in their internal affairs.

The protracted conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is an international concern. Therefore, speaking against aggression on behalf of the Palestinians is in no way interfering in the internal affairs of the country, nor is it committing heinous crimes.

Iran Israel conflict

Since Donald Trump took office, tension has mounted between Iran and Israel, and Iran and the United States. The tension, some say, is because Israel wants to influence Trump into starting a war between the United States and Iran.

Before the Obama administration left office, it reached a nuclear deal, together with five other world powers and Iran.  As part of the deal, Iran agreed to reduce the number of its centrifuges by two-thirds, cap its uranium enrichment below the level needed for weapons-grade material, reduce its enriched uranium stockpile by 98% from around 10,000kg to 300kg for 15 years, and allow international inspections.

In return, international sanctions against Iran, due to its nuclear activities, would be lifted. Although Israel and the United States are close allies, the latter years of the Obama administration policies with Israel left the nations tense. The Obama administration demanded that Israel end its illegal occupation on Palestinian lands without any conditions, nearly halting the relationship between the two countries.

Iran Israel conflict

When the Iranian nuclear deal was reached, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly called it a “bad deal.” The Israelis, knowing they had lost the Obama administration’s support, switched sides to help Trump secure the White House – since they believed Hillary Clinton was likely to follow the foreign policy left by Mr Obama.

Trump himself also criticized the Iran nuclear deal when he campaigned for the presidency, promising to tear it up if elected. He called it “disastrous” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.”

Iran Israel conflict

Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference during his campaign, Trump said his number one priority was to dismantle the deal once he got into office.

Having Trump on their side, the Israelis are now planning to use the United States to spark a war with Iran. Israel’s influence on the Trump administration is so great that it has set the United States at odds with Iran.

Iran Israel conflict

In February, James Mattis, the United States Defense Secretary, called Iran the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. President Trump added Iran to his ban, which was later reversed by a unanimous vote in the courts.

Among these threats, name calling and trying to ban Iranian citizens from entering the United States; the Iranians believe Israel might succeed in misleading Trump into starting a Middle Eastern war. According to the Iranians, this United States war would primarily target their country.

In response to these concerns, Iran issued a stern warning to Israel, to be careful with how it is pushing their agenda on Trump to start a conflict.

Iran Israel conflict

The Iranian Defense Minister, Hossein Dehghan, told state media that Trump’s election as President of the United States has led to “unease” between Iran and the United States. Mr Dehghan blamed Israel for fanning the flame of war between Iran and the United States, warning that if Trump does attack, it would allow Iran to destroy Israel with advanced weapons. He admitted this could lead to World War III.

“Enemies may want to impose a war on us based on false calculations and only taking into consideration their material capabilities. If such a war were to occur, it would mean the destruction of the Zionist regime [Israel]…and will engulf the whole region and could lead to a world war,” Dehghan said.

Iran Israel conflict

Mr Netanyahu and his government reportedly met to deliberate on the statement, but refused to publicly comment.  Already, Israel firmly believes that Iran has developed a nuclear weapon. The warning sounded by Iran will lead to more verbal attacks from Trump. It seems clear that the Israelis have firmly secured the White House. Don’t forget that Trump’s daughter Ivanka is married to Jared Kushner—who has a Jewish decent.  Kushner is now serving as a senior to his father-in-law, President Trump. He practices Modern Orthodox Judaism, and has converted Ivanka to his faith.

Why Trump Needs to Deploy Missile Defenses to Counter North Korea and Iran

February 22, 2017 Leave a comment

The efforts by North Korea and Iran to develop ballistic missiles capable of targeting not only its regional adversaries but the U.S. homeland are intensifying. Two days ago, it directly challenged the new U.S. Administration and the international community, by testing what may be a new intermediate-range ballistic missile at the exact time that President Trump and Japanese Prime Minister Abe were meeting in the United States. Iran has test-fired two ballistic missiles in the three weeks since President Trump was inaugurated. While these launches clearly carry a political message, they also starkly underscore how swiftly these two nations are moving to pose an existential threat to the United States.

The image of North Korea as a backward totalitarian state, unable to feed its people and lacking modern technologies is not true when it comes to ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons. Pyongyang has been working on ballistic missiles and nuclear weapons for nearly thirty years. It deployed its first operational ballistic missile, the Rodong, in 1990 and may now have fielded as many as 100 ballistic missiles of various ranges. It has twice successfully employed a space launch vehicle, the classic predecessor to an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM), to put satellites in orbit, most recently in February 2016. It has successfully launched a ballistic missile from a submarine, something only the five major nuclear powers had previously done. Pyongyang even is developing a road-mobile ICBM, the KN-O8, something only Russia has ever done. North Korea has to date conducted at least five nuclear tests of increasing sophistication. It is busily working on miniaturization technologies necessary to putting a weapon of mass destruction (WMD) on the end of a ballistic missile. According to the head of North American Aerospace Defense Command, “It’s the prudent decision on my part to assume that [Kim Jong Un] has the capability to miniaturize a nuclear weapon and put it on an ICBM.”

The Iranian ballistic missile program can trace its roots back to the era of the Shah. The regime in Tehran has been working assiduously on its ballistic missile capabilities since its 1980s war with Iraq. Today, Iran has deployed one of the world’s largest arsenals of medium and intermediate-range ballistic missiles capable of holding at risk U.S. and allied targets in the region, including Israel. There are reports that Iran has received assistance with its missile program from China, North Korea and even Russia.  Last year, Iran too tested what appears to be a space launch vehicle. In the opinion of former Director of National Intelligence, James Clapper, “Iran’s ballistic missiles are inherently capable of delivering WMD, and Tehran already has the largest inventory of ballistic missiles in the Middle East.”

Iran’s nuclear weapons program is currently being held in abeyance, one hopes, as a result of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement between the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, Germany and the European Union and Iran to freeze or cut back many of the latter’s nuclear activities for ten years. The JCPOA did not address Iran’s ballistic missile program. Though there are other “impediments” in place that in theory could contain Iran’s nuclear ambitions it is hard to not to see a future less than ten years hence when Iran will be able to resume its nuclear weapons program and marry warheads to future, more capable and longer-range ballistic missiles.

The U.S. Department of Defense has been working on developing counters to ballistic missile threats since the mid-1980s. Over time, the Pentagon was able to develop the capability to “hit a bullet with a bullet,” the essential task of any missile defense system. U.S. tactical and theater ballistic missile defenses have an impressive track record of successful intercepts. Today, the United States is deploying multiple missile defense systems on land and at sea including the Army’s Patriot missile and Terminal High Altitude Area Defense (THAAD) system, the Navy’s Aegis ballistic missile defense system (BMDS) with the Standard Missile (SM)-3 and the National Missile Defense (NMD) system with its Ground-Based Interceptors.

The United States is employing its missile defense capability as a political and military counter to North Korea and Iran’s ballistic missile programs. The European Phased Adaptive Approach (EPAA), intended to protect Europe from Iranian long-range ballistic missiles, is being deployed. The EPAA consists of a land-based version of the Aegis BMDS with the SM-3.  The first phase of the planned deployment has been completed with an Aegis radar and 24 SM-3 Block IA missiles based in Romania. In 2018, an additional Aegis radar and set of SM-3 missiles will be deployed in Poland. In addition, the Navy is on a trajectory to deploy more than 80 Aegis BMDS-capable ships which can provide protection not only for the fleet but land targets as well.

The current plan is to continually upgrade the Aegis BMDS with more capable radars and battle management systems and to deploy ever-more capable variants of the SM-3 so as to be able to intercept longer-range faster flying ballistic missiles. The improved SM-3 Block IB is currently being deployed. An even more capable interceptor, the SM-3 Block IIA with a longer range and improved kill vehicle is a co-development program between the United States and Japan. Ironically, the successful first intercept test of the Block IIA was conducted on February 4, 2017.

The U.S. has done something similar with the THAAD system. Responding to North Korean tests of longer-range ballistic missiles, the United States first deployed a THAAD battery to Guam. The new Secretary of Defense, James Mattis, reconfirmed a plan formulated in the final year of the Obama Administration to deploy a THAAD battery to South Korea. Since 2016, the United Arab Emirates has operated a THAAD battery.

There are a number of steps the United States could take with respect to missile defenses to both send a strong message to North Korea and Iran while also posing a military counter to its growing ballistic missile threats. First, the THAAD deployment to South Korea must be completed. This goal is complicated by the political situation in Seoul. Nevertheless, the deployment of THAAD would send a strong message to all the capitals of East Asia. Second, the Trump Administration should consult with Japan about accelerating the SM-3 Block IIA program.  Third, consideration should be given to the possibilities of deploying Aegis Ashore sites to the Persian Gulf area and on allied territory in North Asia. Finally, President Trump and Secretary Mattis should look at current plans by the Missile Defense Agency to improve the capabilities of the NMD system. It may well be time to begin building a Third Site for the NMD system in the Eastern United States to better defend the homeland against an Iranian ICBM.

Dr. Dan Goure is a Vice President of the Lexington Institute. He served in the Pentagon during the George H.W. Administration and has taught at Johns Hopkins and Georgetown Universities and the National War College. You can follow him on twitter @dgoure and you can follow the Lexington Institute @LexNextDC.

Iran Warn Of ‘Dark Days’ Ahead For Trump

February 12, 2017 Leave a comment

Iran warns Trump of 'dark days ahead'

Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned President Trump that Iran and the US have “dark days ahead” following Trump’s threats over Iran’s nuclear programme. 

Trump warned Iran last week that the country was “on notice” following Tehran’s continued testing of ballistic missiles. Iran responded by firing another weapon on Sunday and issuing Trump with their own warning.

 

Dailystar.co.uk reports:

Earlier this week Khamenei struck back after a meeting with his military leaders and promised the nation is planning to respond to mark today’s anniversary of the Iran’s revolution in 1979.

Since then Trump’s adminstration has threatened to blacklist Iran’s elite military force the Revolutionary Guard as terrorists as tensions continue to brew.

Ali Akbar Velayati, foreign-affairs adviser the Ayatollahi, said “Washington does not dare carry out its military threats against Iran”.

“The Americans know very well that Iran and its allies in the region would retaliate very hard, that will make America face dark days to come,” he said.

Hundreds of thousands of Iranians are rallying across the country to celebrate the 38th anniversary of the revolution.

Carrying “Death to America” banners and effigies of Trump, Iranians in Tehran marched towards the Freedom Square.

“No enemy can paralyse the Iranian nation,” Khamenei was quoted as saying by his website after a meeting with his commanders in Tehran.

The meeting came after Trump’s administration slapped a new raft of sanctions on Iran and deployed a destroyer off Yemen in move to intimidate Tehran’s allies the Houthi rebels.

Today sees Iran mark the Islamic Revolution which saw the overthrow of the US-backed Pahlavi dynasty and the establishment of a republic beneath the Ayatollah.

Iranians have flooded the streets after Tehran as the Ayatollah promised to confront “warmongers”.

Marchers burned US flags and carried banners depicting Trump and Prime Minister Theresa May with the message “not scared of threats”.

Caricatures of Trump being punched by an Iranian fist with the words “down with the US” were waved by crowds.

Earlier this week, Khamenei said: “Trump says ‘you should be afraid of me’. No.

“The Iranian people will respond to his words on Febuary 10, and will show their stance against such threats.”

He added: “We are thankful to (Trump) for making our life easy as he showed the real face of America.

“During his election campaign and after that, he confirmed what we have been saying for more than 30 years about the political, economic, moral and social corruption in the US ruling system.”

Tensions between Iran and the US have spiked in the wake of Trump’s so-called Muslim ban which cracked down on refugees from the Middle East.

Chilling threats were issued by the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard who said “roaring missiles” will fall on the heads of their enemies.

Iran has also boosted its uranium stocks amid the threat of a nuclear face-off with Trump and the US.

Hundreds of thousands rally in Iran against Trump, chant ‘Death to America’: TV

February 11, 2017 Leave a comment

FILE PHOTO: Iran's national flags are seen on a square in Tehran

Parisa Hafezi

ANKARA (Reuters) – Hundreds of thousands of Iranians rallied on Friday to swear allegiance to the clerical establishment following U.S. President Donald Trump’s warning that he had put the Islamic Republic “on notice”, state TV reported.

On the anniversary of Iran’s 1979 Islamic Revolution, which toppled the U.S.-backed shah, marchers including hundreds of military personnel and policemen headed towards Tehran’s Azadi (Freedom) Square.

They carried “Death to America” banners and effigies of Trump, while a military police band played traditional Iranian revolutionary songs.

State TV showed footage of people stepping on Trump’s picture in a central Tehran street. Marchers carried the Iranian flag and banners saying: “Thanks Mr. Trump for showing the real face of America.”

“America and Trump cannot do a damn thing. We are ready to sacrifice our lives for our leader”, a young Iranian man told state TV in a reference to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Last week, Trump put Iran “on notice” in reaction to a Jan. 29 Iranian missile test and imposed fresh sanctions on individuals and entities. Iran said it will not halt its missile program.

Iranian leading religious and political figures, including Pragmatist President Hassan Rouhani had called on Iranians to join the rally on Friday to “show their unbreakable ties with the Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic”.

VIGILANT

In a speech marking the revolution’s anniversary, Rouhani urged Iran’s faction-ridden elite to seek unity amid increased tensions with the United States.

“Some inexperienced figures in the region and America are threatening Iran … They should know that the language of threats has never worked with Iran,” Rouhani told the crowd at Azadi Square.

“Our nation is vigilant and will make those threatening Iran regret it … They should learn to respect Iran and Iranians … We will strongly confront any war-mongering policies.”

The rallies were rife with anti-U.S. and anti-Israeli sentiment. Some carried pictures of Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and British Prime Minister Theresa May captioned “Death to the Devil Triangle”.

“This turnout of people is a strong response to false remarks by the new leaders of America,” Rouhani told state TV, which said millions had turned out at rallies across Iran.

U.S. flags were burned as is traditional although many Iranians on social media such as Twitter and Facebook used the hashtag #LoveBeyondFlags to urge an end to flag-burning during the anniversary.

They also thanked Americans for opposing Trump’s executive order banning entry to the United States to travellers from seven mainly Muslim countries, including Iran. Trump’s travel ban is being challenged in U.S. courts.

Some marchers carried banners that read : “Thanks to American people for supporting Muslims”.

Both U.S.-based social media sites are blocked in Iran by a wide-reaching government censor but they are still commonly used by millions of Iranians who use special software to get around the restrictions. Iranian officials, including Khamenei, have Twitter and Facebook accounts despite the ban.

Trump has criticized a nuclear deal reached between Iran, the United States and other major powers in 2015 aimed at curbing the country’s nuclear work. Most of the sanctions imposed on Iran were lifted last year under the deal.

Rouhani defended the deal, which his hardline rivals oppose as a concession to pressure from Washington, saying it protected the Islamic Republic’s rights to nuclear power, ending Iran’s political isolation and crippling economic sanctions.

(Writing by Parisa Hafezi; editing by Ralph Boulton; Editing by Catherine Evans)

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