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REUTERS, (U.S.) DAPD(Germany), NEUE ZURICHER ZEITUNG (Switzerland)

NEW YORK - As television images back home showed off Tehran's latest weaponry, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad prepared for his final official discourse to the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

Tensions are as high as ever over Iran's nuclear program and Ahmadinejad's threats against Israel, and yet the 56-year-old is seen as something of a lame-duck back in Tehran as he serves his final year as president. That, Reuters reports, could mean an even more aggressive speech.

"Now he's been sidelined at home he will really want to ham it up abroad," said Ali Ansari of Scotland's St Andrew's University, referring to the Wednesday morning address to the U.N.

Meanwhile, Iran countered doubts about its military hardware by showing images of a new, long-distance drone, the Shahed 129 dubbed with the Farsi and Arabic words for martyr which can travel 2000 kilometers, thus threatening Israel, among others.

According to the Tuesday night television commentary, Iran plans navy war games that are an open challenge to U.S. military maneuvers in the Persian Gulf. On Tuesday, it was also announced that Iran will be testing four anti-ship missiles.

A Revolutionary Guard commander said that the new drones will carry out surveillance but could also be equipped with “bombs or rockets,” according to German press service Dapd.

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh warned on Sunday that if Iran feels threatened by an imminent Israeli attack, it could launch a “preventive attack” on Israel and on U.S. military bases in the region.

In New York on Tuesday, U.S. President Barack Obama warned in a sharper tone than usual that the time for negotiation over Iran’s nuclear future was “not unlimited” and that the U.S. will “do what we must do” to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons.


Iranian nuclear sites

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In The News

War In Ukraine, Day 222: Ukrainian Army Makes New Gains In Regions Annexed By Russia

The Ukrainian army is pushing the front line forward in several directions.

Fire after a rocket attack by Russian troops in Kharkiv

Anna Akage, Meike Eijsberg and Sophia Constantino

The Ukrainian army is pushing the front line forward in several directions, including the liberation of two more cities – Arkhangelske and Myrolyubivka – in the southern region of Kherson. There were also reports Monday of major breakthroughs by Kyiv forces along the Dnipro River in the south.

Ukraine has also made progress in the past 48 hours in the region of Luhansk. Notably, these are two of the four regions that Vladimir Putin announced that Russia had annexed on Friday.

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With these advances by Ukrainian forces, along with gains in Donetsk (see below) and Zaporizhzhia, Russia does not hold the full territory of any of the areas of occupied Ukraine that Moscow now claims as its own.

Fighting has also intensified in the northeastern Kharkiv region, where Ukraine has also made significant advances and Russia continues shelling in response.

The successful counterattacks by the Ukrainian military in Kherson and the Kharkiv region since last month has left Russian forces controlling less Ukrainian land than they did at the start of the war in February 2022, an analysis by CNN found. Russia’s first massive push overnight into February 24 allowed it to secure or advance on one fifth of Ukrainian territory, or about 119,000 square kilometers. Russia now controls roughly 3,000 square kilometers less land than it did in the first five days of the war.

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Central to the tragic absurdity of this war is the question of language. Vladimir Putin has repeated that protecting ethnic Russians and the Russian-speaking populations of Ukraine was a driving motivation for his invasion.

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