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Pentagon says Iran’s missiles unrivaled in Middle East

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Despite decades of sanctions, Iran has succeeded in developing its missile arsenal, which is larger than that of any other Middle Eastern country including Israel, a Pentagon study said Tuesday.

“Iran has an extensive missile development program, and the size and sophistication of its missile force continues to grow despite decades of counterproliferation efforts aimed at curbing its advancement,” the Defense Intelligence Agency said.

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The study said Iran considered missiles to be a strategic necessity due to the limitations of its air force, which still has some US planes ordered by the pro-Western shah, who was toppled in 1979.

“Lacking a modern air force, Iran has embraced ballistic missiles as a long-range strike capability to dissuade its adversaries in the region — particularly the United States, Israel and Saudi Arabia — from attacking Iran,” the report said.

Iran has “the largest missile force in the Middle East,” the report said. A US intelligence official said on condition of anonymity that the assessment included Israel.

The report said that Iran had developed a series of missiles that could strike at a distance of 2,000 kilometers (1,250 miles) — capable of reaching Israel or Saudi Arabia.

Iran in 2017 showcased the 2,000-kilometer-range Khoramshahr missile, which can carry multiple warheads. The Pentagon study, in line with a tweet at the time by President Donald Trump, said the missile appeared to use technology from North Korea.

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But the Pentagon study said that Iran was spending slightly less on its military, with $20.7 billion budgeted in 2017.

Iran’s economy has come under growing pressure since Trump last year withdrew from a denuclearization accord and reimposed sweeping sanctions.

Christian Saunders, an expert on Iran at the Defense Intelligence Agency, warned of the impact if an arms embargo is lifted on Iran in October 2020.

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The Islamic republic has faced UN-mandated sanctions on importing most weapons since 2006, but the embargo is set to expire five years after implementation of the nuclear deal.

The accord, which Iran reached in 2015 with former president Barack Obama’s administration as well as Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia, is on life support after Trump left it and as Tehran takes steps to end compliance as a protest over continued sanctions.

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“With the embargo ending, we expect them to go after fighters — their current air force is dated — and also main battle tanks” which the Iranians either “haven’t built or haven’t been able to acquire for years,” Saunders told reporters.

He expected that Iran would seek to procure weapons from Russia and China.

Iran argues that it must keep up its defenses, pointing to Western support for Saddam Hussein during the Iran-Iraq war and Israel’s undeclared nuclear program.

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Florida outbreak is ‘much worse’ than Gov. DeSantis is letting on: Former COVID-19 data chief

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Rebekah Jones, the Florida data scientist who in May claimed that she was fired for refusing to manipulate state coronavirus data to meet the Republican governor's reopening criteria, has issued a new warning: The ongoing outbreak is "much, much worse" than it has been painted by the administration.In a Monday interview with MSNBC host Lawrence O'Donnell, Jones, who built the state government's coronavirus data portal, identified a number of failures since she left her state job. Florida recently posted the highest daily caseload in a single day across all 50 U.S. states.
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2020 Election

Jeff Sessions’ fate is a warning for us all

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Former Attorney General Jeff Sessions lost his primary race to be the Republican candidate for U.S. Senate in Alabama on Tuesday night in a landslide, according to Decision Desk HQ. Early returns showed him losing the shot to win back his old seat by more than 20 points to opponent Tommy Tuberville, who will face off against Democratic Sen. Doug Jones in November.

It wasn't a surprising loss for Sessions, though it is a brutal one. He gave up his seat in the Senate to become President Donald Trump's attorney general, and he lost his big chance to return because his one-time benefactor turned against him. Trump enthusiastically endorsed Tuberville while viciously and repeatedly denouncing Sessions.

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2020 Election

Trump Jr. blasted for dragging Barron Trump into 2020 campaign: ‘You are messing up his mind’

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President Donald Trump's eldest son on Tuesday dragged his 14-year-old half brother Barron into the 2020 presidential campaign -- and it did not end well.

Barron is the son of first lady Melania Trump from the president's third marriage, while junior's mother is Ivana, from the president's first marriage.

"In all fairness, Joe Biden is not capable of debating Barron Trump let alone Donald Trump," Trump, Jr. tweeted.

He was quickly blasted for bringing a minor into a presidential race.

Here's some of what people were saying:

https://twitter.com/AdamParkhomenko/status/1283190894401859584

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