The Trump administration has reimposed economic sanctions against Iran, following Trump’s decision to withdraw from the landmark 2015 Iran nuclear deal. The reimposition of sanctions increases tensions between the U.S. and Iran, and the U.S. and its European allies. This morning Trump threatened other countries seeking to trade with Iran, tweeting, “Anyone doing business with Iran will NOT be doing business with the United States.” Trump withdrew from the nuclear agreement even though international experts certified that Iran was complying with the terms of the deal. On Monday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned the sanctions as “psychological warfare” and said he wouldn’t begin negotiations until the sanctions are withdrawn.
President Hassan Rouhani: “The first step would be for U.S. President Donald Trump to show that he genuinely wants to engage in negotiations to solve a problem. What’s the meaning of negotiations when you impose sanctions at the same time? It’s like someone pulling a knife to stab a rival or an enemy in the arm, while at the same time claiming, 'We should be talking and negotiating.' The answer in such a case would be to say, 'Remove the knife from the arm and put the knife away.'”
In Brazil, the Workers’ Party has nominated imprisoned former President Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, known as Lula, as the party’s presidential candidate. Lula is currently in jail serving a 12-year sentence on a corruption conviction his party says was politically motivated. Polls show him as the front-running candidate for the October presidential elections, but the Supreme Electoral Court is expected to bar him from running. His imprisonment has been condemned internationally, including by 29 U.S. lawmakers, who wrote, “The facts of President Lula’s case give us reason to believe that the main objective of his jailing is to prevent him from running in upcoming elections.”
Rick Gates, the right-hand man of Trump’s former campaign chair Paul Manafort, testified in federal court Monday that he has been involved in criminal activity with Manafort. Gates has accepted a plea deal to testify against Manafort, who is facing 18 charges, including tax fraud, bank fraud and money laundering. Manafort’s trial is the first trial associated with special counsel Robert Mueller’s investigation into Trump’s ties to Russia. During Monday’s hearing, Gates testified he helped Manafort hide secret foreign bank accounts, obscured by 15 shell companies, which the prosecution alleges were part of a long-running tax and bank fraud scheme. In his testimony, Gates said, “I was the one who helped organize the paperwork.”
Voters are heading to the polls for primary races in four states today: Missouri, Kansas, Michigan and Washington state. In Michigan, former Detroit Health Commissioner Abdul El-Sayed is facing off against Gretchen Whitmer for the Democratic nomination for Michigan’s governor. Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders, New York congressional Democratic nominee Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and other progressive leaders have endorsed El-Sayed, who is vying to become the nation’s first Muslim governor. This is Dr. Abdul El-Sayed speaking with The Intercept’s Mehdi Hasan about what he would do on his first day of office, if elected.
Dr. Abdul El-Sayed: Number one, I want to shut down Line 5. Our Great Lakes account for 20 percent of the world’s freshwater, 85 percent of the water in North America. And right now we’ve got an oil pipeline that’s 15 years past when it was supposed to shut down, that’s already had several incidents. We’ve got to shut down that Line 5, because we’ve got to protect that water. There are also issues related to water in Flint and Detroit. And in Flint, I want to set up a Flint task force that would work on, within the first year, getting all of the lead piping out of the ground, so that folks can drink easily in the city of Flint. They have suffered too much, and they still don’t have clean water. And then we need to put a moratorium on water shutoffs in the city of Detroit. The city alone, this summer, shut down about 17,000 homes from having basic access to water because they can’t pay. Meanwhile, we’ve got Nestlé bottling our freshwater for $400 a year, and folks have to pay $400 a month in Detroit. I want to put a moratorium on that, as well.”
Abdul El-Sayed is one of a handful of Muslim-American candidates on the ballot today in Michigan. Former state legislator Rashida Tlaib and former Obama administration official Fayrouz Saad are also running for congressional seats. Meanwhile, in Kansas, a crowded congressional race pits progressive labor lawyer Brent Welder against Sharice Davids, a Native American lawyer and former mixed martial arts fighter.
And in Ohio, Republicans are scrambling to avoid an embarrassing defeat in a special congressional election in a district Republicans have held for decades. Republican Troy Balderson is facing Democrat Danny O’Connor. Both Democrats and Republicans have poured millions into the race to replace Ohio Republican Rep. Pat Tiberi.
In more election news, Democrats in Tennessee are celebrating a “blue wave” that swept through Shelby County last week, as Democrats won 21 of the 26 county offices up for grabs. The “blue wave” reinstalls Democrats to power, after Republicans seized control in 2010. Among the winners was Democrat Lee Ardrey Harris, who was elected mayor of Shelby County.
In Bangladesh, massive student protests have brought the capital Dhaka to a standstill, as students demand safer roads. The protests began after a speeding private bus ran over a group of students, killing two teenagers on July 29. Since then, massive youth-led demonstrations have swept the country, which has one of the highest rates of road accidents in the world. The Bangladeshi government has responded by violently cracking down on the student protesters and arresting journalists reporting on the protests. This is one of the protesting students, Nazmul Houssain.
Nazmul Houssain: “We’ve been protesting on the roads for a few days with some of our demands. We’re demanding justice for those students of the Ramiz Uddin Cantonment College killed by a bus, and we want safe roads.”
Diplomatic tensions are rising between Saudi Arabia and Canada, after Canada accused the Saudi government of human rights violations and demanded the release of feminist activists imprisoned in the kingdom. In response, Saudi Arabia has expelled the Canadian ambassador, frozen trade with Canada and suspended direct flights to Toronto. Since May 15, Saudi Arabia has arrested at least 15 high-profile human rights and women’s rights activists.
Back in the United States, in California, the raging Mendocino Complex fire is now the largest wildfire ever recorded in California’s history. The fire has already scorched more than a quarter of a million square acres. It’s one of more than a dozen fires burning statewide.
The for-profit prison company GEO Group has threatened to sue the human rights group Dream Defenders, which is planning a national day of action today to protest the private prison company. GEO Group is Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s single biggest contractor, receiving hundreds of millions of dollars to run private immigrant prisons. The Dream Defenders are planning to disrupt GEO Group operations in cities across the United States today, including in Florida, Arizona, California and New York City.
In Wisconsin, a masked gunman opened fire on a Madison community radio station early Sunday morning, injuring one person. A station DJ who was shot in the buttocks was taken to the hospital and later discharged. WORT-FM resumed normal programming Sunday morning, just hours after the attack on their studio. No arrests have been made. WORT-FM is a member-controlled community radio station broadcasting to South Central Wisconsin that has been on the air since 1975. The Madison police say they do not believe the attack was motivated by hatred of the media.
And in New York, former Black Panther Robert Seth Hayes has been released from prison after 45 years behind bars. He was convicted of the 1973 killing of a New York City transit officer. He has been eligible for parole since 1998, but had been denied parole 10 times before finally being set free.