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Taylor Swift says she “felt so much lighter” after reconciling with Katy Perry

TAS Rights ManagementTaylor Swift and Katy Perry were once rivals, but now they go together like burgers and fries.

Taylor’s music video for “You Need to Calm Down” features Katy in a hamburger costume and Taylor dressed like an order of French fries embracing lovingly.  Now Taylor reveals that the two former frenemies buried the hatchet quite some time ago.

“She sent me a really nice note and an olive branch — like an actual olive branch — to my tour when it started, the Reputation Stadium Tour, a while ago,” Taylor tells U.K.’s Capital Breakfast radio show. “From that point on, we’ve been on good terms.”

Taylor says the two eventually ran into each other at a party and hugged it out in person, and then hung out at another party after that.

“It was just, like, something felt so much lighter about my life when things became really good between us,” she says.

But before they went public with their reconciliation, Taylor says they wanted to make sure things were “solid” between them – and now it seems things are.

On Monday, Katy shared photos from the music video set, captioning it, “This meal is BEEF-free.” Taylor also posted a pic of the two in their burger and fries costumes, writing, “A happy meal.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Ed Sheeran stars in actual Heinz Ketchup commercial, based on his idea

Courtesy Kraft Heinz First, Ed Sheeran reached out to Heinz online to tell them he had a great idea for a Heinz Ketchup commercial.  Then, he and Heinz teamed up to release his very own “Edchup,” which quickly sold out.  Now, Ed’s idea, which started the whole thing, has finally become a reality.

The ad starts with the words, “Based on a real DM from Ed Sheeran.”  Ed narrates the commercial, which shows him going to a “super-posh” restaurant, where he sits down and the waiter offers him lots of fancy-schmancy food.

When the food arrives, Ed describes how the waiter starts extolling the restaurant’s “farm-to-table blah blah blah, posh and fancy blah blah blah, with a side of blah blah blah.”

“Y’know, the food looked good,” Ed continues. “I just thought there was something missing. So I reach into my bag and I take out the only thing that can complete me. And at that point, the whole world came to a stop.”

We see Ed pulling out a bottle of Heinz, as everyone in the restaurant, including the waiter, freezes and looks on with horror as he proceeds to douse the fancy-schmancy food with ketchup.

“The waiter was screaming through his eyes, ‘Nooooo!'”  Ed concludes. “So that’s my idea. Wanna do it?”

In the comments section, it says, “Heinz Tomato Ketchup superfan Ed Sheeran, came to us with a great idea for a Heinz Advert based on his own experience. We were thrilled to make it happen. From one super fan to another. It has to be Ed Sheeran and Heinz.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Jonas Brothers score biggest album debut of 2019 with “Happiness Begins”

Republic RecordsHappiness continues for the Jonas Brothers: Their reunion album, Happiness Begins, debuts at number one on the Billboard 200 chart.

The album – the band’s first new release since 2009 – becomes the biggest debut of 2019 with a total of 414,000 units sold. It surpasses Ariana Grande’s thank u, next, which debuted at number one with 360,000 units in February.

Happiness Begins also has the largest week in traditional album sales since Taylor Swift’s Reputation, which sold 1.22 million albums in 2017. Of the total units sold, the JoBros generated 357,000 in traditional album sales.  Those sales were boosted by a deal which offered a ticket to the group’s upcoming arena tour to anyone who purchased the album.

The album is also the biggest streaming album of the week, with about 68 million audio streams for its songs, including the hits “Sucker” and “Cool.”

“Honestly blown away by the official first week numbers of #HappinesBegins thank you to every single one of you for making this chapter of our journey so incredible. It’s all because of you. We love you,” Nick Jonas tweeted Monday.

The Jonas Brothers kick off their Happiness Begins Tour in Miami on August 7.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Will Smith posts photo in drag to remind us ‘Aladdin’ in still in theaters

Disney(LOS ANGELES) — Will Smith is attempting to pump up the box office for Aladdin by posting a photo of himself dressed in drag on the set of the film.

Smith, who stars as Genie in the live-action remake of the classic 1992 animated film, appears in the Instagram photo wearing a colorful gown, glittery jewelry, a long wig, heavy makeup, hot pink lips and false eyelashes. He commented, “#Aladdin still in theaters!! How y’all gon’ Resist THIS?”

Will wasn’t just randomly dressing in drag, though: It was part of a scene from the movie.

The shot has received over three million likes — and Aladdin has earned $725 million worldwide, according to Deadline.

The 50-year-old rapper/actor also celebrated Father’s Day by posting a throwback photo of himself with Ben Vereen, who portrayed his father, Lou Smith, on The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. In the show, Lou abandoned his son when Will was four years old.

The Aladdin star referenced the show’s story line as he commented on the photo, “Happy Father’s Day, Lou! Kids, be Patient with your Dads. We’re all struggling… just tryna figure it out.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

O.J. Simpson denies he’s Khloe Kardashian’s father: “She’s not mine”

Jason Bean-Pool/Getty Images(LAS VEGAS) — O.J. Simpson opened a Twitter account for the first time over the weekend and then used it to shoot down a longstanding rumor that he’s Khloe Kardashian’s father.


The former football star says that someone pretending to be his manager, Norman Pardo, originally circulated the false story.


The man listed on Khloe’s birth certificate as her father — the late Robert Kardashian — was one of O.J.’s attorneys during O.J.’s infamous 1995 murder trial, in which he was accused of killing his ex-wife, Nicole Brown Simpson, and her friend Ron Goldman.


“Khloe, like all the girls I’m very proud of, just like I know Bob would be, if he was here, but the simple facts of the matter is, she’s not mine,” Simpson says in a Twitter video.


He also stated that he was never involved with Khloe’s mother, Kris Jenner, who remarried after Kardashian’s death.


“Never — and I want to stress never in any way shape or form — have I ever had any interest in Kris, romantically, sexually, and I never got any indication that she had any interest in me,” O.J. says. “So all of these stories are just bogus, bad, you know, tasteless.”


In separate video, O.J. says, “For years, people have been able to say whatever they want about me with no accountability, but now I get to challenge a lot of that BS and set the record straight.”  


His Twitter account already has over 660,000 followers, and 20 million views.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Dave Bautisa on defending James Gunn after his firing from ‘Guardians’: “My friend…was wronged”

ABC/Randy Holmes(LOS ANGELES) — Guardians of the Galaxy star Dave Bautista is on the promo trail for his action comedy Stuber, and he’s once again speaking his mind about the drama surrounding his Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn.

Then again, the former wrestler was never shy about going to the mat for Gunn: He did so after Marvel Studios’ parent company, Disney, fired Gunn from Guardians 3 last year over some old, offensive tweets.  Bautista also joined the entire cast in writing a letter of support for Gunn.

The writer-director was eventually reinstated earlier this year, though not because of the cast’s efforts.

Bautista tells Entertainment Tonight about his sharply-worded tweets to Disney at the time. “I was like, ‘Fire me. I don’t care. You’re going to hear what I have to say….I think you made a bad call and I don’t care if you fire me because I feel this way.” 

Bautista, who was contractually committed to being in a third Guardians film, reportedly threatened to leave the project and follow Gunn onto the Suicide Squad sequel instead.  The actor explained that the threat was about “me being honest and me sticking up for my friend who was wronged.'” 

Bautista praised Disney’s reversal, saying it proves, “It’s never too late to admit you’re wrong.”

In Stuber, Bautista plays a tough-as-nails L.A. cop who, thanks to laser eye surgery, has to rely on the eyes of his straight-laced Uber driver, played by Kumail Nanjani.

Incidentally, the movie also features his Guardians co-star Karen Gillan, who Bautista calls, “one of his favorite people.”

Stuber opens July 12.

Disney is the parent company of ABC News.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


10-year-old Selah Schneiter climbs Yosemite’s El Capitan, youngest person to do so

Mike Schneiter(NEW YORK) — This 10-year-old just made rock climbing history.

On June 12, Selah Schneiter became the youngest climber on record to make it to the top of “The Nose” route on El Capitan — one of the most challenging and infamous vertical rock formations, in Yosemite National Park, California.

“Our big motto was ‘How do you eat an elephant?’ Small bites,” she told ABC affiliate KFSN. “One pitch at a time, one move at a time, one day at a time.”

She was joined by her dad, Mike Schneiter, and longtime family friend Mark Regier, and their attempt to climb the full route took place over five days, including camping overnight on the slab.

Her dad, an American Mountain Guides Association-certified rock guide and instructor, told ABC News that after coming down from the high of her feat, Selah told him she’d “love to inspire other girls to just go be active” — just like the climbers who inspired her, including Margo Hayes and Lynn Hill.

“She’s all about wanting other kids to be more active, whether it’s biking, climbing, skiing — she always wants more kids to be active and not be on their phones, and I think that’s ultimately some of our motivation to talk about it, because it’s really near and dear to her,” he said.

The nearly 3,000-foot route has 31 pitches — sections of a climbing route — and is “really wild” because it gets steeper and more challenging at the end, Schneiter said.

“It’s really overhanging in spots, you’re looking down and you can see 3,000 feet down where you started and you’re just thinking, ‘Oh my gosh it’s so big,'” he said.

When they got to the end of the route, Schneiter was leading with their ropes, so he was ahead of her. But he got so “excited,” he said, that he rappelled down to watch her finish it.

“Once she topped out, she was the first one to go up to this tree, that is a symbolic thing for climbers, and she just broke down in tears,” he said. “She said it was her ‘first happy tears she’s ever had.”

Selah, who stands a mere 4-foot, 2-inches tall was “just really in shock once we got to the top,” her dad said. “We were tired after a long five days and camped out that night, but she was like a little kid again and wanted to check everything out exploring almost like it was nothing.”

Schneiter said his daughter’s name literally means “to stop and reflect,” which is exactly what they did throughout the route and after her epic finish.

“She just kept saying ‘I can’t believe I did that,’ and I was like, ‘Yeah I can’t believe it either,” he added, laughing.

Selah began getting “pretty serious” about climbing El Capitan last year, Schneiter said, and so he got to work with her in training.

While they worked on technique and 500-foot climbs, Selah did her own research, and because of that, during the climb, her dad said “she always knew what was coming up along the way and was excited to see all these features” she’d read so much about.

Going into the actual attempt, though, Schneiter made sure his daughter kept an easygoing mindset about the reality of finishing the ambitious climb.

“I just thought, ‘We’ll just see how it goes, it might just be too big for her.’ But every day we’d get a little closer to the top and we thought, ‘It’s actually harder to go down than up, so I think we’re gonna pull this off,'” he said.

“Our mindset was never just, ‘Oh we got this’ — it was more of, ‘We just gotta keep on it and keep going.’ So to finally get that moment we were all really blown away,” he said.

Rock climbing has been a huge part of Mike and Joy Schneiter’s lives as they “met and fell in love climbing El Capitan,” their first climb together.

Once the couple got married and had children, Schneiter said they took their kids to their favorite northern California spot and have made it an annual tradition to visit Yosemite.

“El Capitan and Yosemite has always been in our family’s story,” he said.

Scott Cory had been the youngest to climb the same route on El Capitan in 2011 on two occasions when he was 11, and Tori Allen was 13 when she climbed The Nose in 2001.

Professional climber Alex Honnold, 33, made history in 2017 when he became the first (and so far only) person to free solo El Cap — by himself, without ropes, in one go — in a feat made popular by an Oscar-winning documentary.

Prior to Selah’s completed El Cap climb, she scaled over 5,000 feet to the top of Independence Monument in Colorado for her seventh birthday.

She was unable to comment to ABC News as she was at a sleepover.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Captain Carli Lloyd leads US to 3-0 win over Chile in World Cup

Catherine Ivill – FIFA/FIFA via Getty Images(PARIS) — The U.S. women’s national team celebrated another big World Cup win on Sunday, beating Chile 3-0 in a group-stage match in Paris’ Parc des Princes stadium.

With the shutout victory, the U.S. secured a spot in the round of 16.

Team captain Carli Lloyd, 36, led the U.S. with two goals, becoming the first player ever to score in six consecutive World Cup appearances. Julie Ertz scored the third goal.

The U.S. will next play Sweden on Thursday as they continue their quest to defend their World Cup title.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Scoreboard roundup — 6/16/19

iStock(NEW YORK) — Here are the scores from Sunday’s sports events:


Cincinnati 11, Texas 3

Boston 8, Baltimore 6, 10 Innings
Tampa Bay 6, LA Angels 5
Cleveland 8, Detroit 0
Toronto 12, Houston 0
NY Yankees 10, Chi White Sox 3
Kansas City 8, Minnesota 6
Seattle 6, Oakland 3

Pittsburgh 5, Miami 4
St. Louis 4, NY Mets 3
Atlanta 15, Philadelphia 1
Washington 15, Arizona 5
San Diego 14, Colorado 13
Milwaukee 5, San Francisco 3
LA Dodgers 3, Chi Cubs 2

Connecticut 81, Seattle 67
Las Vegas 80, Minnesota 75

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Off-duty officer pulls injured victim from rubble after explosion levels New Jersey home

WABC-TV(RIDGEFIELD, N.J.) — An off-duty officer rushed to the scene after a Ridgefield, New Jersey, home exploded, rescuing an injured man from the collapsed home.

Police, fire and PSE&G officials arrived at the multi-floor, single family home shortly before 11:30 a.m. Officers heard the victim, who was alone in the house, moaning as a fire consumed the property.

Off-duty police officer and 14-year veteran Hagop Cigercioglu, who lives a block away, said he worked with other officers to help lift a large “plank of wood” to allow the man to crawl out from under the debris of the collapsed home.

“As I called to him, he did respond. He gave his name, and I advised him of the house that was on fire, that he needed to crawl out,” Cigercioglu said. “We were able to take some wood out to make a big enough hole where he crawled out. And several officers and I helped him get out of the house.”

That victim has not been identified, according to ABC owned station WABC-TV. He was rushed to Hackensack University Medical Center in stable condition.

Meanwhile, Ridgefield Police Chief Thomas Gallagher said other officers worked to contain the fire around them, which was being fed by a gas leak. It is unclear whether the gas leak was a result of the explosion.

PSE&G officials were able to turn off the gas and the Ridgefield Fire Department was able to extinguish the fire.

Bergen County Executive Jim Tedesco said surrounding houses do not have gas, and electricity will also be cut as they work at the scene.

Bergen County prosecutors and the New Jersey state division of fire safety is investigating the cause of the explosion.

One firefighter was hospitalized for heat exhaustion and two police officers were also treated for minor injuries.

“This is a sad situation,” said Ridgefield Mayor Anthony Suarez. “Fortunately for the borough it could’ve been a heck of a lot worse.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

261 bottlenose dolphins have washed dead up along the Gulf Coast since February: NOAA

Wild & Free/iStock(NEW YORK) — More than 200 bottlenose dolphins have become stranded on beaches along the Gulf of Mexico from Louisiana to Florida since Feb. 1, according to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration.

The elevated number of strandings represents three times the average in the same time period, NOAA announced. They have mostly been occurring in the northern portions of the Gulf Coast, including Louisiana, Mississippi, Alabama and the Florida panhandle.

NOAA declared the deaths an unusual mortality event. A UME was also declared for dozens of gray whales that have been washing up dead on the west coast of the U.S.

Some of the stranded dolphins have had visible skin lesions that are consistent with freshwater exposure, NOAA announced.

It is too early to determine any potential causes for the increase in deaths, according to NOAA. Since many of the dolphins are decomposed by the time researchers get to them, they are limited in their ability to collect samples to determine the cause of illness or death.

In addition, many of the dolphins have become beached in remote areas.

Scientists are asking the public to assist investigators by immediately reporting any sightings of live dolphins in distress or stranded dolphins, which are floating or on the beach, by calling the Southeast Marine Mammal Stranding Network at 877-WHALE HELP (877-942-5343). Citizens can also contact the U.S. Coast Guard or use the Dolphin and Whale 911 app on their smartphones.

NOAA warned citizens to not push the animal back into sea, as they may be sick or injured, but encouraged them to stay with the animal until rescuers arrive, using caution and keeping a safe distance away.

If the animal is alive, citizens can keep its skin moist by splashing water all over its body. Wet towels will also help them remain moist and protect them from sunburn.

In addition, do not collect any parts of the animal, as they fall under the Marine Mammal Protection Act.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Divers pull 1,200 pounds of lead fishing weight out of the ocean on Florida beach

felixmizioznikov/iStock(NEW YORK) — A team of hundreds of divers has beaten the Guinness World Record for the largest underwater cleanup worldwide off a South Florida beach over the weekend.

Arilton Pavan, owner of diving store Dixie Divers in Deerfield Beach, Florida, has been organizing an annual cleanup for the past 15 years to obtain the lead weights used by fishermen off the city’s pier, he told ABC News.

This year, Pavan decided to raise the stakes, aiming for a Guinness World Record to entice divers far and wide to attend the event. The rules dictated that each person had to be a certified diver in full scuba gear and had to spend more than 15 minutes underwater looking for trash, Pavan said. Participants also had to sign a liability release before entering the water, Pavan said.

Guinness World Record Judge Michael Empric, who personally counted each diver as he or she went into the water, announced Saturday that 633 people participated in the underwater event. The previous record-holding underwater cleanup was in Egypt, where 614 divers took part in 2015, Empric said, before handing Pavan the plaque acknowledging the new record.

In just three hours, divers plucked more than 1,200 pounds of lead fishing weights from the bottom of the ocean floor, Pavan said.

Pavan said the event brought diving enthusiasts from all over the country to his small town, where he has owned and operated his shop for more than 22 years. Not only did the quest bring a sense of community and comradery to the group, but it also boosted the local economy by filling up hotel rooms and restaurants, Pavan said.

About 80 snorkelers and 150 beach volunteers also participated — all united with a single goal of helping the environment, he said.

“I think everybody was happy,” said Pavan. “There was a sense of friendship, helping each other.”

While the volunteers didn’t find much plastic garbage during the cleanup, Pavan said the number one item he sees littering the coral reefs when he takes people out on dives are plastic shopping bags.

The marine enthusiast said he is “slowly” trying to educate the community to be more conscious and more aware of conservaton.

In the future, Pavan said he hopes to organize multiple cleanup events throughout the year.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.


Pentagon releases new photos as proof Iran was behind tanker attacks

Department of Defense(WASHINGTON) — The Pentagon has released new color photos as proof that Iran was behind last week’s attack on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman.

The release is part of an ongoing effort by the Trump administration to declassify U.S. intelligence gathered on Thursday when two tankers suffered damage by what the U.S. has said were magnetic mines placed on the side of the Kokuka Courageous.

Last Friday, U.S. Central Command released a grainy video that showed, what it claimed, was a crew aboard an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps boat removing an unexploded mine that was left on the ship’s hull.

While that video convinced the British government that Iran was responsible, Germany’s foreign minister said that the video was not enough to prove the case against Iran.

“The German foreign minister has seen a great deal more than just that video,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on CBS’s “Face the Nation” Sunday. “He will continue to see more.”

The new color images released by U.S. Central Command show an Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Ghashti-class patrol boat alongside the Kokuka Courageous during and after the removal of the unexploded mine that had been left on the ship’s hull.

The photos were taken by an MH-60R helicopter that had arrived at the Kokuka Courageous’ location along with the destroyer USS Bainbridge, said a defense official.

According to the official, the color and higher-resolution photos taken by the helicopter show that the individuals aboard the Ghashti were wearing IRGC uniforms and have weapons aboard the craft. The photos were taken at or near the same time as the grainy video that was released earlier by U.S. Central command.

There are also close-up photos that show the ring around where magnets had attached the mine to the ship, as well as composite residue from the mine still on the ship’s hull. Additional photos from the Pentagon show the holes caused to the two tankers by the mines.

The damage on the Front Altair was more extensive as the explosions caused a fire aboard the oil tanker.

Navy explosive ordnance disposal officials, not involved in the investigation of the tanker attacks, provided their analysis to reporters at the Pentagon on Monday.

One of the officials said the damage to the ships did not appear to have been caused by a torpedo because those typically strike below the water line, unlike the mines placed above the water line in Thursday’s attack.

The placement of the mines above that water line would have prevented water from rushing in, an indication to them that the attackers’ intent was not to sink the ships.

The officials described the attempt to remove the unexploded mine in the way shown in the images as “very high risk” and not a way that the U.S. Navy would have ever undertaken. According to those officials they would have removed the mine remotely with as few personnel around the ship as possible.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US to send 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East as tensions escalate with Iran

Staff Sgt. Arielle Vasquez/U.S. Air Force(WASHINGTON) — The United States is sending 1,000 additional troops to the Middle East, amid rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran. The decision follows last week’s attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman that the U.S. blamed on Tehran, with the Pentagon releasing new images on Monday that officials said show Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members removing an unexploded mine from one of the ship’s hulls.

“In response to a request from the U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM) for additional forces, and with the advice of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and in consultation with the White House, I have authorized approximately 1,000 additional troops for defensive purposes to address air, naval, and ground-based threats in the Middle East,” acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan said in a statement on Monday.

The additional personnel are mostly part of intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and force protection units, a U.S. official told ABC News.

The U.S. has already accelerated the deployment to the Middle East of the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and sent B-52 bombers after what it said were credible threats by Iran against U.S. forces and interests in the region. Since then, the U.S. has sent an additional 1,500 troops and increased defensive capabilities to continue to help deter Iran.

“The recent Iranian attacks validate the reliable, credible intelligence we have received on hostile behavior by Iranian forces and their proxy groups that threaten United States personnel and interests across the region,” Shanahan said.

“The United States does not seek conflict with Iran,” the statement continued. “The action today is being taken to ensure the safety and welfare of our military personnel working throughout the region and to protect our national interests. We will continue to monitor the situation diligently and make adjustments to force levels as necessary given intelligence reporting and credible threats.”

Iran attempted to shoot down a U.S. drone that was surveilling the attack on one of two tankers hit in the Gulf of Oman last week, CENTCOM said. The attempt missed the MQ-9 Reaper by “approximately one kilometer.”

The U.S. has also blamed Iran for an attack on four commercial vessels off the coast of the United Arab Emirates in May.

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

US blasts Iran’s ‘nuclear extortion,’ Pompeo plans to meet American military leaders

CIL868/iStock(WASHINGTON) — Hours after Iran threatened to increase its enrichment levels, the Trump administration called on Tehran not to break its commitments under the Iran nuclear deal, despite the U.S. withdrawal from the accord.

Iran’s threat comes after mounting economic pressure from the U.S. and heightened tensions between the two countries.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo will travel to Florida on Monday to meet with leaders from U.S. Central Command and Special Operations Command on Tuesday. The U.S. is considering “all options,” including military force, to respond to Iran’s reported attack on two oil vessels, Pompeo said on Sunday, raising concerns of a U.S. strike.

“Unfortunately, we are heading towards a confrontation,” Iran’s ambassador to the United Kingdom Hamid Baeidinejad said in an interview.

Iran’s nuclear agency said Monday that in 10 days, the country will surpass the limits on its uranium stockpile outlined in the nuclear deal unless European countries can provide the economic relief Iran was promised under the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA.

The U.S. withdrew from the deal in May 2018, criticizing it as giving Iran a pathway to a nuclear bomb even though it forbids Iran from developing one. Despite that withdrawal, the U.S. blasted Iran’s threat to also violate the deal as “nuclear extortion.”

“We continue to call on the Iranian regime not to obtain a nuclear weapon, to abide by their commitments to the international community,” said State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus on Monday. She declined to answer questions on whether the limits spelled out in the JCPOA are good, instead citing the announcement as an example of “why the president has often said that the JCPOA needs to be replaced with a new and better deal.”

A new and better deal seems further away then ever. Instead of driving Iran to the negotiating table, the Trump administration’s maximum pressure campaign has seen the country lash out repeatedly. Last Thursday, two oil vessels in the Gulf of Oman were attacked in what the U.S. said was an operation by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps — which Iran has denied.

Hours earlier, the country’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei rejected an offer by President Donald Trump to talk, with the president later responding that both sides were “not ready” to meet.

Khamenei said Thursday that Iran did not want nuclear weapons, but asserted Iran’s right to pursue them if it wanted to, adding, “America could not prevent us.”

Monday’s threat to increase enrichment was a sign Iran “seems to be keen on expanding their nuclear program,” warned Ortagus, saying the U.S. was “not surprised” by the announcement.

European leaders have not responded to Iran’s ultimatum, but they have been working to create a special economic mechanism to allow companies to work inside Iran and evade U.S. sanctions. That mechanism is said to be online soon, but it’s unclear how many companies will risk U.S. economic penalties, with dozens of European firms already leaving Iran.

Instead of allowing any economic relief, the U.S. vowed to increase the pressure on Monday.

“There should be no relieving of sanctions for their malign and unacceptable behavior,” Ortagus said.

Pompeo will meet with CENTCOM and Special Operations Command at MacDill Air Force Base in Florida on Tuesday to “discuss regional security concerns and ongoing operations,” according to Ortagus, after calling several world leaders over the weekend to discuss America’s evidence that Iran was behind last week’s attacks.

On Saturday, Pompeo spoke to China’s highest-ranking diplomat, Politburo member Yang Jiechi, and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg. On Sunday, Pompeo called the foreign ministers of Singapore, Kuwait, the United Kingdom, the United Arab Emirates and South Korea. He called Qatar’s foreign minister on Monday morning.

Important on that list are countries reliant on shipping or the oil that passes through the waters off Iran’s coast, especially China, Singapore and South Korea. But among those that Pompeo hasn’t called are allies that have publicly expressed skepticism about the U.S. claim that Iran is responsible for the attacks, including Germany and Japan.

Despite those public doubts, Ortagus said the U.S. is not disappointed in allies’ response.

“We have seen the international community and our allies step up to condemn this behavior,” Ortagus said. “We have worked incredibly hard with our allies on this assessment.”

Copyright © 2019, ABC Radio. All rights reserved.

Magic104.9’s Top Tracks







  1. Panic! At The Disco-“High Hopes”
  2. Marshmello feat. Bastille-“Happier”
  3. Halsey-“Without Me”
  4. Dean Lewis-“Be Alright”
  5. Maroon 5 feat. Cardi B-“Girls Like You”

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