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The Papers: ‘World waits for Iran’s revenge’

i weekend front page 4 January 2020
Image caption “World waits for Iran’s revenge,” is the i Weekend’s headline as it follows most of the Saturday papers in splashing news of the US assassination of Qasem Soleimani, who it calls Iran’s second-most powerful leader.
Financial Times front page 4 January 2020
Image caption The FT says the death of Soleimani, a senior commander of Iran’s army, came in a targeted air strike near Baghdad airport in Iraq. The paper reports the killing came days after the US embassy in Iraq was targeted by Iran-backed militias.
Daily Mail front page 4 January 2020
Image caption “Britain braced for Iran revenge,” says the Daily Mail. The paper reports concerns of security officials who fear UK citizens in the Gulf – or British troops in the region – could be in the firing line as Tehran plots retaliation.
Guardian 4 January 2020
Image caption The same story leads the Guardian, which highlights the decision by the Pentagon to order an additional 3,000 US troops to the Middle East following the strike.
The Sun front page 4 January 2020
Image caption The Sun describes Qasem Soleimani as “Iran’s terror mastermind” and says his killing was greeted with a “Twitter celebration” by US President Donald Trump. “Revenge is tweet” is its headline.
Mirror front page 4 January 2020
Image caption “Gulf War 3 fear” is the front page headline of the Daily Mirror, which speculates that Britain’s status as a close ally of the US could see it dragged into a fresh conflict in the Middle East.
Times front page 4 January 2020
Image caption American citizens in Iraq have been advised to leave the country, the Times says. The paper notes how US President Donald Trump claimed following the air strike that Qasem Soleimani had been responsible for “the deaths of millions” and that his killing was an effort to “stop a war”.
Daily Telegraph front page 4 January 2020
Image caption The Daily Telegraph also reports Donald Trump’s news conference on Friday night, in which the US president said the drone strike to kill Soleimani – whom he dubbed a “sick monster” – was ordered to prevent an “imminent and sinister” plot against the US.
Express front page 4 January 2020
Image caption “On the brink of war,” says the Daily Express, which also runs a newly portrait of the Queen, the Prince of Wales, the Duke of Cambridge and Prince George on its front page.
Star front page 4 January 2020
Image caption The Daily Star avoids news from the Middle East with a report on its front page of a sexism storm following comments by former 007 actor George Lazenby.

One story dominates Saturday’s papers – the fallout from the US assassination of Iran’s top military commander.

“Gulf War Three Fear” is the Daily Mirror’s headline above a warning that Britain could be dragged into a fresh conflict following the killing of Qasem Soleimani.

A senior UK security source tells the paper that Britain had not been told by Washington about the attack, despite the fact that hundreds of British troops – deployed to train Iraqi armed forces – are “virtually surrounded by heavily armed and dangerous militia who hate them”.

The Daily Express is critical of US President Donald Trump for keeping Boris Johnson in the dark about the attack.

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Under the headline, “Allies should surprise our foes not each other,” the Express says that if “the fabled US-UK special relationship means anything it should include the right to be consulted and warned”.

The Sun meanwhile calls General Soleimani a “brutal terror chief” who was responsible for thousands of deaths after directing terrorist operations across the Middle East for decades.

The paper says his fighters trained in unconventional warfare also targeted UK forces in Iraq, often with roadside bombs.

Miliband ‘decision’

A report in the Daily Telegraph says the SAS was ready to kill General Soleimani in 2007 when he was identified as the man running the campaign against British troops.

But it says the operation was called off by the then Foreign Secretary David Miliband.

A senior military commander, based in the south of Iraq at the time, told the paper that – after Soleimani was located – Mr Miliband said he wanted to talk to the Iranians, not to kill them.

Mr Miliband has yet to comment.

Image copyright Getty Images

The Labour MP, Lisa Nandy – who has entered the contest to succeed Jeremy Corbyn – argues in the Guardian that the party’s next leader has to be “up for a scrap” – willing to run to the places where the party is “loathed” and to” take anger on the chin”.

Another new contender in the leadership race, Jess Phillips, features in the Daily Telegraph, saying the party needs a leader who understands why it lost the election, rather than someone who believed Mr Corbyn’s claim that he had won the argument.

Everton bid

The Financial Times has interviewed the Russian billionaire Alisher Usmanov, who says he is considering investing in Everton football club, a year after he abandoned an attempt to take control of Arsenal.

Everton’s majority owner is his long-time business partner Farhad Moshiri, and the club is struggling both financially and on the pitch. Mr Usmanov said he could become Everton’s sponsor or a shareholder.

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Sir Robbie Gibb, who was Theresa May’s director of communications, is urging the BBC to, in his words, “wake up to its bias”.

Writing in the Daily Mail the former BBC editor says ministers will continue to refuse to be interviewed on Radio 4’s Today programme as its election coverage “spectacularly misread the politics”.

Sir Robbie says Today had “endless outside broadcasts in universities, full of left-wing, entitled, virtue-signalling students”.

But the real election story – he argues – was being played out in working class English towns across the Midlands and the North.


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