Middle East

Updated at 2:15 p.m. ET

The U.S. says it has reached a deal with the Taliban in Afghanistan that lays out what could be the first steps toward ending America's longest-running war.

Administration officials, speaking on the condition of anonymity at the Munich Security Conference, say there will be a seven-day "reduction in violence" but did not specify when it would start. The seven days are meant as an initial confidence-building measure.

The European Union expressed major reservations about President Trump's newly unveiled plan to end the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, saying it doesn't meet "internationally agreed parameters" on issues such as where Israel's borders should be drawn.

The plan, which has been roundly rejected by Palestinians, sides with Israel on major sticking points such as Jerusalem, settlements in the West Bank and the right of return for Palestinian refugees.

Updated at 5:50 p.m. ET

President Trump says his long-awaited Mideast peace plan unveiled Tuesday is a road map for a "realistic two-state solution" that envisions Jerusalem as Israel's "undivided capital."

A Democratic-led Senate resolution to limit the president's war powers in the wake of escalated tensions with Iran has won support from several key GOP members to potentially gain passage in the Republican-controlled chamber.

Republican Sens. Rand Paul of Kentucky, Mike Lee of Utah, Todd Young of Indiana and Susan Collins of Maine have all signed on as co-sponsors to the measure led by Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine.

Updated at 3:50 p.m. ET

Iranian authorities have arrested an undisclosed number of people over the accidental shootdown of a Ukrainian airliner. The move comes as Iranians continue to protest against the government over the tragedy. Hours after the arrests, a new video emerged that purportedly shows two missiles hitting the passenger jet.

The White House announced Friday it is imposing additional economic sanctions against Iran, including officials in the Iranian government.

The penalties, promised earlier this week by President Trump, "will cut off billions of dollars of support to the Iranian regime," said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

Mourners march during the funeral of Iran's top general Qassem Soleimani, and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, deputy commander of Iran-backed militias in Iraq known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, in Baghdad, Iraq, Saturday, Jan. 4, 2020.
Nasser Nasser / Associated Press

One Ohio professor has a front-row seat to the U.S. conflict with Iran.

GOP Sen. Mike Lee of Utah says he found a classified military briefing from administration officials Wednesday so "upsetting" that he will now back a proposal to limit President Trump's power to take military action against Iran and to reassert Congress' role in authorizing the use of military force.

Sherrod Brown

Following an Iranian attack on Iraqi airbases housing U.S. troops, President Trump stopped short of declaring immediate military action—instead announcing new sanctions against Iran.

Updated at 2:45 p.m. ET

Satellite photos taken Wednesday show that an Iranian missile strike has caused extensive damage at the Ain al-Assad air base in Iraq, which hosts U.S. and coalition troops.

The photos, taken by the commercial company Planet and shared with NPR via the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey, show hangars and buildings hit hard by a barrage of Iranian missiles that were fired early Wednesday morning local time.

Updated at 5 p.m. ET

President Trump said that Iran appears "to be standing down" after Tuesday night's missile attack in Iraq and that "the American people should be extremely grateful and happy no Americans were harmed."

Trump, in a nationally televised address from the White House, also announced a new round of what he termed "punishing economic sanctions" against the Iranian government. And he called on NATO to become "much more involved in the Middle East process."

Updated at 10:03 p.m. ET

Iran has launched more than a dozen ballistic missiles against U.S. military and coalition forces, targeting at least two military bases in Iraq, the U.S. Defense Department announced late Tuesday.

The strikes on military and coalition personnel at the Ain al-Assad air base in Anbar province and in Irbil — at the center of Iraq's Kurdistan region — began at approximately 5:30 p.m. ET, according to a statement.

Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif defended the strike, saying it was an act of "self-defense."

Iran's cultural heritage is suddenly a topic of urgent global interest, after President Trump threatened to strike such sites if the country retaliates for the United States' killing of Gen. Qassem Soleimani last week.

Updated at 7:43 p.m. ET

Secretary of Defense Mark Esper announced on Monday that some forces are being repositioned inside Iraq, not leaving the country.

Two other U.S. officials told NPR that some are going to Kuwait temporarily.

Afkham Davis, who joined a Columbus protest on Saturday, says she fears for her family in Iran.
Roger Ingles / Statehouse News Bureau

Following the assassination of Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani, some Ohioans took to the streets in several cities this weekend.

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