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A pair of missiles hit an Iran-flagged oil tanker steaming off the coast of Saudi Arabia in the Red Sea, causing an explosion and oil spill, Iranian officials said Friday.

Iran's state-run IRNA identified the tanker as the Sabiti, and Iranian state television says the explosions damaged two storage tanks and caused an oil spill that is now reportedly under control.

The Iranian media reports did not assign responsibility for the incident.

Iran almost certainly had some role in a major attack on an oil production facility in Saudi Arabia, according to independent analysts reviewing the available evidence.

The question is how big.

The attack came on Sept. 14. Multiple drones or missiles struck Saudi Aramco's Abqaiq facility, causing massive damage and crippling the nation's oil production. The production of 5.7 million barrels of crude oil per day had to be suspended, according to the company.

Updated on Monday at 12:40 p.m. ET

Iran has crossed another line set in the 2015 nuclear deal between it and major world powers.

According to state media, Iran has begun enriching uranium above levels enshrined in the agreement. The move sends a signal that Iran is losing patience with a deal that has not provided the economic relief promised, more than a year after the United States withdrew from the agreement.

Updated at 1:26 p.m. ET

Iran has exceeded the limit under the 2015 nuclear deal for its stockpile of enriched uranium, the country's first breach of the international agreement following the Trump administration's decision to pull out a year ago.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Monday that the country now has more than 300 kilograms (661 pounds) of low-enriched uranium, surpassing the deal's 300-kilogram threshold.

U.S. Air Force

"Will America Attack Iran Over One Dead Robot?" That is the question a Daily Beast headline asks in the wake of Iran downing an unmanned U.S. drone in the Gulf. This hour, we get the latest on this evolving story from reporter Adam Rawnsley and consider what it all means for the future of U.S.-Iran relations. 

The Defense Department announced it is deploying 1,000 more U.S. troops to the Middle East "for defensive purposes" amid growing tensions with Iran.

Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said Monday in a statement that the action, meant to address air, naval, and ground-based threats, comes after "a request from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) for additional forces."

The Trump administration has blamed Iran for a series of attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

Updated at 11:50 a.m. ET

Within days Iran will exceed the limit on its stockpile of uranium under a 2015 nuclear deal, according to a spokesman for the country's atomic energy agency, who also said Tehran would increase uranium enrichment levels in violation of the agreement, "based on the country's needs."

The remarks come amid increased tension between the U.S. and Iran, particularly after last week's attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman that Washington has blamed on Tehran. Iran has denied any involvement.

Updated at 10:18 p.m. ET

The Pentagon's Central Command says U.S. aircraft saw a Revolutionary Guard patrol boat and other Iranian vessels "in the vicinity" of the motor tanker Altair, one of two oil tankers attacked in the Gulf of Oman Thursday.

Another crew, from the motor tanker Kokuka Courageous, abandoned their ship, according to the statement, after discovering "a probable limpet mine on their hull following an initial explosion." Central Command says the Iranian patrol boat later approached the craft and was recorded removing an unexploded mine.

The State Department has ordered all "non-emergency" U.S. government employees to leave Iraq right away.

The travel advisory specifically orders the departure of employees at the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and consulate in Irbil (sometimes spelled Erbil), noting that "normal visa services will be temporarily suspended at both posts."

Updated at 6:49 p.m. ET

Iran's president says increased uranium enrichment will begin in 60 days if world powers don't shield it from U.S. sanctions, under the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement. The move is a signal to the world that Tehran is losing patience with U.S. efforts to punish Iran economically.

Chion Wolf / WNPR/Connecticut Public Radio

This month marks the 40th anniversary of the Iranian revolution -- that is, the revolution that gave rise to what is today known as the Islamic Republic of Iran.

This hour, we look back on this historic time in Iran and consider its significance in 2019. 

President Trump threatened Iran in a late-night tweet on Sunday, responding angrily after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani criticized Trump and warned the American president not to "play with the lion's tail" and that "war with Iran is the mother of all wars."

Trump's tweet, posted in all-capital letters: "NEVER, EVER THREATEN THE UNITED STATES AGAIN OR YOU WILL SUFFER CONSEQUENCES THE LIKES OF WHICH FEW THROUGHOUT HISTORY HAVE EVER SUFFERED BEFORE."

Israel says it carried out airstrikes against dozens of Iranian military targets in Syria in what it is describing as the largest such operation it has ever conducted in the region, after it says its forces came under missile attack.

Updated at 6:36 p.m. ET

President Trump announced Tuesday that he has decided to exit a 2015 multinational agreement in which Iran agreed to limit its production of nuclear weapons material.

"I am announcing today that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal," Trump said.

He said the U.S. will reimpose economic sanctions that were lifted as part of the U.S. commitments made in the deal.

President Trump has called it the "one of the worst deals" he has ever seen — but for now, he is keeping the U.S. in the nuclear deal with Iran.

The president decided Friday to continue waiving — that is, easing — some economic sanctions against Iran. That is part of the U.S. commitment in the 2015 nuclear deal known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Under the deal, Iran allows strict limits on its nuclear program in return for easing of economic sanctions.

Feng Wei / Creative Commons

President Trump decertified the internationally-supported Iran nuclear deal Friday but didn't walk away from it. Instead, he kicked it to Congress to determine whether to reimpose sanctions even though the International Atomic Energy Agency has verified Iran was in compliance with the deal.

Updated at 3:40 p.m. ET

President Trump is striking a formal blow against the Iran nuclear deal. But he is stopping short of asking Congress to reimpose sanctions on Tehran. Instead, the president is urging lawmakers to pass a new law, spelling out conditions under which sanctions could be reimposed.

Update at 6:30 a.m. Wednesday: Iranian cancer researcher Dr. Sayed Mohsen Dehnavi and his family were put on a flight back to Iran Tuesday night, per U.S. Customs and Border Protection and Boston Children’s Hospital.

Original story:

An Iranian researcher coming to work at Boston Children’s Hospital as a visiting scholar has been denied entry to the United States.

Two teams of attackers used gunfire and explosives to strike Iran's parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini in Tehran on Wednesday, according to state media. The twin attacks killed at least 12 people and wounded 42 others.

"Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Zolfaqari said that the terrorists had entered the parliament in [women's] dress," Iran's state news agency reports. It adds that a female assailant detonated herself outside the mausoleum.

What difference does it make who's president of Iran?

It's fair to ask the question on this weekend of Iran's presidential election. After all, the president's title makes him sound like the top official, but he is not. Iran's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, holds far more power.

Last year, an Iranian economist named Mohammad Mehdi Behkish was extremely optimistic about prospects for a nuclear deal that would end many economic sanctions on his country.

"Personally, I would say it can't be that there would not be a deal," he told me when I met him in Tehran.

The alternative, he said, was disaster.

Behkish leads Iran's International Chamber of Commerce. When I met him again this month in his Tehran office, he sounded even more optimistic.

Less than 24 hours after reports of their detention emerged, 10 U.S. Navy personnel have been freed by Iran. The sailors left an Iranian naval base on Farsi Island in the Persian Gulf on Wednesday morning, along with the boats they were operating when they were taken into custody.

"There are no indications that the sailors were harmed during their brief detention," the Department of Defense says, confirming the release of nine men and one woman.

The cold war between Saudi Arabia and Iran turned a lot hotter in the past 48 hours, after the Saudis executed a Shiite cleric accused of terrorism on Saturday and hours later an Iranian mob ransacked and firebombed the Saudi Embassy in Tehran.

After executing a well-known Shiite cleric, inflaming sectarian conflict, Saudi Arabia has now announced it is severing diplomatic ties with Iran, NPR's Leila Fadel reports.

Saudi Foreign Minister Abdel al-Jubeir said Iran's diplomatic mission to Saudi Arabia had 48 hours to leave the country, Reuters reports; Saudi Arabia's diplomats in Tehran have already left Iran, the wire service notes.

sipo / Creative Commons

The Iranian government has criticized the decision by a U.S. court to sentence an engineer with dual citizenship to more than eight years in prison for trying to send sensitive military documents to Iran. 

Zachary Korb www.flickr.com/photos/zkorb/ / Zachary Korb Creative Commons

An Iranian-American engineer has been sentenced to more than eight years in prison for trying to send sensitive U.S. military documents to Iran as part of his application to teach at state-run universities. 

Today marks 90 days since the United Nations Security Council endorsed the landmark nuclear accord agreed between Iran and six world powers (the U.S., Britain, France, Germany China and Russia.)

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) will unfold in a series of steps that include nuclear cutbacks made by Iran and sanctions relief offered by the other countries. The phase that begins now is of special interest to nuclear non-proliferation experts.

Iran's Guardian Council on Wednesday approved the deal intended to control Iran's nuclear program. The approval is a final step before implementation, according to the Islamic Republic News Agency.

The 12-member group of senior clerics' OK followed passage by Iran's Parliament on Tuesday.

Iran's Parliament voted Tuesday to support the implementation of the nuclear deal struck by world powers in Vienna in July.

Updated at 4:10 a.m. ET

Imprisoned American journalist Jason Rezaian has been convicted, according to an Iranian Judiciary spokesman who appeared on state TV Sunday night. The spokesman did not say on which charges Rezaian had been convicted or whether a sentence had been imposed.

It's the latest development in a case that's been marked by secrecy and uncertainty. Rezaian, The Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief, was arrested in Tehran in 2014 and accused of espionage, a charge the Post denies.

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