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'US, Zionist regime behind riots'

The Leader of Iran’s Islamic Revolution says the recent riots in the country were plotted by the United States, Israel and their paid agents. Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei made the comment in an address to military cadets in Tehran. The Leader said he was saddened by the death of a young woman, which triggered the riots. But he said reactions to the incident, including insecurity on the streets and burning of the Holy Qur'an and mosques were not normal. Ayatollah Khamenei said the death of the young woman was a pretext for some foreign governments to foment insecurity and rioting. The Leader added that such governments cannot tolerate Iran’s progress and power. Ayatollah Khamenei described those governments as bullies, saying they are taking aim at Iran’s independence, resistance and power.

Backing Putin's annexation bill

In Russia, members of the lower house of parliament approve legislation to annex four Ukrainian regions into the country.  The State Duma voted to incorporate Donetsk, Luhansk, Kherson and Zaporizhzhia with no abstentions or votes against the ratification. Russia’s upper house, the Federation Council, is expected to formalize the annexation on Tuesday. Last Friday, President Vladimir Putin signed a decree for the formal accession of the territories to Russia. Moscow says people in the four regions have voted overwhelmingly to join the Russian Federation in referendums held last week. But Ukraine and its Western allies have called the votes illegal and a sham.

Europe energy crunch

The International Energy Agency says Europe must reduce gas consumption ahead of winter to survive the impact of Russia’s halt to its natural gas flow to the continent. The agency says Russia's reduced flows to Europe deepen market tensions as global gas demands are expected to fall by point-eight percent this year. The IAEA says it also disrupts trade flow, leading to fuel shortages in some emerging and developing economies ahead of the winter. The IAEA has also anticipated that markets will remain tight well into 2023.Russia supplied about forty percent of European gas consumption before the Ukraine war. Russian gas flows are still running but at severely reduced rates, pushing prices to record levels. Moscow says western sanctions have hindered gas exports. European politicians say that’s just a pretext and Russia is using energy as a weapon.

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