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Top Iran general says destroying Israel ‘achievable goal’

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The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards said on Monday that destroying arch-rival Israel was an “achievable goal”.

“This sinister regime must be wiped off the map and this is no longer … a dream (but) it is an achievable goal,” Major General Hossein Salami said, quoted by the Guards’ Sepah news site.

Four decades on from Iran’s Islamic revolution, “we have managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the imposter Zionist regime”, he said.

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Salami’s comments, while not unusual for Iranian officials, come amid particularly heightened international tensions over Iran’s nuclear programme and a series of incidents that have raised fears of a confrontation between Tehran and its other main regional rival, Riyadh.

The United States, which withdrew from a landmark nuclear deal between Iran and world powers in 2018, has imposed a campaign of “maximum pressure” — with vocal support from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

Salami’s comments were given prominent coverage by the Tasnim and Fars news agencies, close to ultra-conservative political factions.

The official IRNA agency also carried his remarks, but placed more emphasis on his assertion that Iran was growing stronger and would finally beat its foes despite “hostility” towards it.

Iran has been consistently hostile towards Israel since its 1979 revolution, and Tehran openly supports anti-Israeli armed groups including Palestinian Hamas and Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

In June 2018, supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reaffirmed Tehran’s long-held position that Israel is “a malignant cancerous tumor that must be removed and eradicated”.

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Iranian generals routinely express the desire to destroy Israel or claim to be able to wipe out Tel Aviv.

However, official discourse in recent years has generally taken care to clarify that the Jewish state will cease to exist because of its own “arrogance”, not because of an attack by Iran.


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2020 Election

GOP scrambling to pay for Jacksonville convention after Trump yanked it from North Carolina: report

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According to a report from the New York Times, Republican officials are having difficulties getting donors to pay for the Republican National Convention to be held in Jacksonville, Florida after Donald Trump yanked the gathering out of Charlotte, North Carolina in a fit of pique over COVID-19 health restrictions.

At issue, the report notes, is that millions of dollars were spent in North Carolina where a smaller event will now be held, and now the party is, in essence, forced to pay for a second convention.

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As much of US marks a muted Independence Day, Trump encourages big parties

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While public health officials are urging Americans to avoid large crowds and hold more muted July 4 celebrations amid a spike of coronavirus cases, President Donald Trump is going big for what he is promising will be a “special evening” in the nation's capital.

Trump is set hold his “Salute for America” celebration Saturday with a speech from the White House South Lawn that he says will celebrate American heritage, a military flyover over Washington, and an enormous fireworks display that is expected to draw thousands to the National Mall.

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COVID-19

COVID-19 close to overwhelming Houston’s vast healthcare complex

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Despite its claim to host the world's largest concentration of hospitals and research labs, the city of Houston is dangerously close to being overwhelmed by the explosion of coronavirus cases sweeping across Texas.

Since the Memorial Day weekend in late May and major anti-racism protests in June, "it is an unbelievable trajectory," as if the flood gates had opened, said Faisal Masud, director of critical care at Houston Methodist Hospital.

Masud has been on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19 since it reached Houston.

"This has been relentless for us," he told AFP. "We didn't get a break."

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