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US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley takes aim at Iran and its proxy militia Hezbollah

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FILE - United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley attends a meeting of the Security Council at U.N. headquarters in New York, Feb. 7, 2017. VOA
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The U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations took aim at Iran and its proxy militia Hezbollah on Thursday, saying the United States would act against this “growing menace.”

At the monthly meeting of the U.N. Security Council that focuses on the Middle East, specifically the Israeli-Palestinian issue, Nikki Haley said the council should expand its attention to focus on other threats in the region.

“We need to start with the chief culprit: Iran and its partner militia Hezbollah,” she said, referring to the Lebanese Shi’ite militant group, which the U.S. has designated as a terrorist organization. She said the two have conspired together to destabilize the region through terrorist acts and military action.

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“Today they prop up Bashar al-Assad’s brutality, fighting alongside his forces, adding to the killing of thousands of civilians and the misery of millions of refugees,” Haley said of Iran and Hezbollah’s involvement in the Syrian conflict. “They train deadly militias in Iraq, and arm Houthi militants in Yemen,” she added.

“While this council has paid too little attention to this growing menace, the United States will not,” she warned. “We are going to speak up about Iran and Hezbollah, and we are going to act against their lawlessness.”

The U.S. ambassador’s strong comments come a day after Secretary of State Rex Tillerson criticized Tehran, saying that while it had abided by its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action agreed between the six major powers and Iran in 2015, the deal had not stopped Iran’s ability and determination to develop nuclear weapons.

“An unchecked Iran has the potential to follow the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it,” Tillerson told reporters on Wednesday.

FILE - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to the media during a shared press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following their talks in Moscow, Russia, April 12, 2017
FILE – Secretary of State Rex Tillerson speaks to the media during a shared press conference with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov following their talks in Moscow, Russia, April 12, 2017 , VOA

The Trump administration said this week that it is conducting a 90-day review of the nuclear deal to evaluate whether suspending Iran sanctions are in the vital interest of U.S. national security.

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At the United Nations, Haley told council diplomats that Washington is not waiting to respond to Iran for its non-nuclear related behavior.

“Iran remains a designated state sponsor of terrorism and we continue to enforce all sanctions related to Iran’s support for terrorism and destabilizing activities in the region,” Haley said.

In February, the Trump administration designated for sanctions 25 individuals and entities for their support for Iran’s ballistic missile program, or for their support for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. (vOA)

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)