Archive January 2020

Iran brands Britain America’s ‘partner in crime’ over handling of Qassim Soleimani assassination 

Iran has branded the UK “a partner in crime” with the US over the killing of its top general as the Defence Secretary took “urgent measures” to protect the safety of British troops in the region.

Britain’s ambassador to Tehran was on Tuesday summoned to the Iranian foreign ministry where he was told comments by Boris Johnson and Dominic Raab about the death of Qassim Soleimani were “unacceptable”.

The Prime Minister and the Foreign Secretary have urged Iran to “de-escalate” the growing crisis, but after Mr Johnson said the US was justified in killing Soleimani Tehran communicated its fury with Britain via ambassador Rob Macaire.

It came as Nato began withdrawing troops from Iraq to protect them…

Singed and raw, koalas are fighting for survival in hospital as bushfires sweep across Australia

In one of Port Macquarie Koala Hospital’s intensive care units "Flame" is climbing again for the fire time in weeks.

His fur is shorter than usual and brown in parts, telltale signs of his brush with death.

The koala, nicknamed by his rescuer, was brought in with burnt paws and a burnt nose, and patches of singed fur.

For about six weeks he huddled in his basket, but now he has enough strength to painstakingly ascend the branch frames in his room. He is sleeping today.

Located almost 390km north of Sydney, the koala hospital has seen a flood of patients as Australia’s wildfire crisis takes a heavy toll on the animals and their habitat. 

As ferocious blazes have destroyed  8.4 million hectares…

How a British teenager’s summer holiday in Cyprus turned into rape case nightmare

It was intended to be a sun-soaked working holiday, a rite of passage between finishing school and starting university. Instead, it turned into a nightmare.

When a British teenager arrived in the hedonistic party town of Ayia Napa in Cyprus in early July, her plan was to get a job, have fun and – in her own words – do some “growing up”.

Hoping to find work in a bar or handing out flyers for the resort’s raucous nightclubs, the 18-year-old found accommodation at the two-star Pambos Napa Rocks Hotel in the heart of Ayia Napa.

It was arranged through a company called Summer Takeover, which promises “heavy nights” and “madness” for youngsters who sign up.

The low-rise hotel, which packs in hundreds…

Taiwan heads for key poll with one eye on Hong Kong

On a slow Thursday evening in the Ling Ya night market in Kaohsiung, southern Taiwan, Huang Jin-yueh, 60, is despondent as she washes utensils in the sink under the harsh strip lighting of her empty restaurant.

Taiwanese meat delicacies, offal and chicken’s feet are laid out in neat rows on a road stall to tempt hungry passers-by, but the long queues that once lined up are gone.

“Business has been bad for the last four years, but in the past six months it’s been even worse. The tourists have stopped coming,” she said. Ms Huang plans to vote for Taiwan’s opposition party, the Kuomintang (KMT), in January’s presidential and legislative election, hoping that her economic woes can be resolved. 

Iran’s proxies: where will Tehran take its revenge for Qassim Soleimani’s assassination and who will help it?

Iran has warned the United States to prepare for a “dark day” of revenge for the killing of General Qassim Soleimani – but it remains unclear how and when the regime will retaliate. 

Experts say one thing is likely, which is that any response to the US airstrike will be carried out by Iran’s large network of proxies in the Middle East, rather than its own soldiers or spies. 

This is because the Iranian regime is reluctant to trigger direct confrontation with the US, even though the assassination of Soleimani marks the biggest escalation between the two countries in decades. 

Here we look at where Iran-sympathising militias, political parties and insurgents have footholds in the Middle East, and…

Analysis: Why Iran’s rejection of uranium enrichment restrictions is cleverer than it looks

The hawks were gleeful when Iran announced it would no longer respect restrictions on uranium enrichment on Sunday.

“Another good day,” former White House security advisor John Bolton wrote on Twitter. Final proof, he said, that Iran had ditched the 2015 agreement Donald Trump’s administration controversially pulled out of last year. 

But that is not entirely – or even remotely – true.

Iran’s latest rejection of the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement is actually more cautious and much more diplomatically shrewd than Mr Bolton claims. 

And that is important not only for arms control wonks. 

It also says a lot about the instincts that guide the Islamic Republic’s decision makers, and will probably…

Wife of British-Iranian engineer in Tehran prison fears Soleimani strike has destroyed all hope of release

The wife of a British-Iranian engineer held in prison in Tehran has said she fears he no longer stands a “hope in hell” of being released after the US strike on Iran’s top commander led the region to the brink of war.

Sherry Izadi, 56, told the Telegraph she was “terrified” that any chance of negotiation between the UK and Iran over Anoosheh Ashoori’s 10-year sentence was over.

Mrs Izadi spoke briefly to the 65-year-old retired civil engineer from Evin prison on Saturday morning: “He told me everyone there is very jittery. They are so scared of the fallout. 

“He had hoped that Iran would negotiate or relent on his release, but we feel that hope is now gone,” she said.

Sherry Izadi, 56, with her husband Anoosheh Ashoori, a 65-year-old retired civil engineer from London, jailed in Iran on espionage charges Credit: Sherry Izadi

Mr Ashoori, who has lived…

Britain is ‘soft target’ for Iranian revenge attacks

Britain is a ‘softer target’ than the US for an Iranian retaliatory attack in the wake of the assassination of Qassim Soleimani,  the UK’s former head of the navy and ex-national security adviser has warned.

Lord West of Spithead raised fears that British citizens and interests would be potentially easier for Iran to attack as the Tehran regime warned of “severe revenge”.

Hundreds of thousands of mourners poured onto the streets of Soleimani’s home town to receive his corpse after the drone strike which killed the general on Thursday night.

Lord West told the Telegraph: “Iran will assume that Britain would be party to any all out attack by the US and if they do then we would be a softer target…

Booming Istanbul hair transplant scene dubbed an ‘epidemic’ by healthcare specialists

In the years leading up to his fortieth birthday, John Sullivan found himself glancing himself increasingly often in the mirror to monitor the retreat of his hairline. 

The British salesman still had a relatively full head of dark hair but was unsettled by the ever deeper Vs pushing back from his brow.   

So he made the same decision as hundreds of thousands of other men suffering from hair loss around the world: he booked a flight to Istanbul. 

Acting on the local advice of a Turkish client he paid 5,000 lira (£661) for a hair transplant at a clinic in the city’s Etiler neighbourhood. 

After several painful hours in the chair – hair is first plucked from the back of the head and then replanted…

David Miliband underlines his commitment to dialogue with Iran

David Miliband said he is convinced that dialogue with Iran is the best way to secure stability in the Middle East, as he speaks for the first time about claims he called off an SAS plan to assassinate Qassim Soleimani. 

In a tweet, the former Labour foreign secretary said: “I did and do strongly believe that diplomatic engagement with Iran is the only route to a stable Middle East.”

His comments came after the Telegraph told how the SAS had Soleimani, Iran’s military chief, in their “crosshairs” in 2007 after he was identified as the mastermind behind a campaign to target UK troops in the southern port of Basra.

The Telegraph revealed how Mr Miliband vetoed the operation, meaning Soleimani survived…