United States – The threat of a terror attack against a busy commuter rail station in the Los Angeles area has prompted authorities to increase security throughout the region and urge commuters to report any suspicious behaviour they see it was reported on the 6 Dec 16. 'Information was relayed this morning to the FBI's Joint Terrorism Task Force from our international partners that there was a potential threat,' Deirdre Fike, assistant director of the FBI's Los Angeles office, told reporters on the night of the 5 Dec 16. She said the caller threatened to carry out the attack sometime Tuesday (6 Dec 16) at the Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority's Universal City rail station, which is near Universal Studios. 'We are right now looking at the credibility of the threat,' she said. Although authorities tend to receive such threats more often during the holidays, Fike said, they chose to tell the public about this one because of its specificity and because the attack was threatened for the next day. The Universal City Red Line station is adjacent to Universal CityWalk, an area filled with restaurants, nightclubs and other entertainment activities and often crowded with tourists. Universal Studios and several high-rise hotel and office buildings are nearby. Los Angeles County Sheriff's deputies could be seen patrolling the area with dogs on the night of the 5/6 Dec 16.
United States/Iran – Iranian Faris News Agency revealed that the Iranian lawmakers want to draft an urgent bill to resume all nuclear activities in the country in response to the extension of US sanctions against Tehran. The agency said on the 2 Dec 16 that Iranian MPs intend to prepare an urgent draft law to resume all nuclear activities in the country in response to the US Senate’s decision. It added that the deputies stressed on the need to have a serious answer in the face of the US Senate’s decision.
(United States)/Afghanistan/Iran/Taliban – In an unprecedented move, Tehran is publicly hosting leaders of hardline Taliban movement in the ‘Islamic Unity’ conference it was reported on the 14 Dec 16. Tehran had previously denied any direct contact with the movement. According to the Iranian Mehr news agency, Iranian cleric Mohsen Araki, who is the Secretary-General of the World Forum for Proximity of Islamic Schools of Thought, said at a press conference on Tuesday that Tehran has invited moderate figures such as Taliban to attend the two-day International Islamic Unity Conference in Tehran. Araki said that “the invitation was sent to some Islamic and political figures in the Taliban movement who believe in the unity of Muslims,” stressing that “Iran has always held contacts with some parties in the Taliban movement, who believe in the Islamic unity.” This announcement comes two days after the statement of the Iranian ambassador to Kabul, Mohammad Reza Bahrami, who spoke about talks between his country and hardline Taliban. Afghan authorities had accused Tehran of providing military and logistical support to Taliban, which in turn has in recent months escalated its operations in various regions of the country. 361 COMMENT: With the United States declaring further sanctions on Iran it is possible that Iran are now openly courting the Taliban which would go against the United States wishes. This will be a step that they can court and get away with as it will not directly impact on the nuclear deal. But with openly siding with the Taliban it has now stated that it is against the Afghan government no matter what rhetoric it will spin in the future. There will be more support for the Taliban from Iran and there will be other groups that will be openly supported in the coming year. COMMENT ENDS