حرب الخلجان والمضائق طهران تمنع تقدّم الأطلسي باتجاه موسكو وبكين

يوليو 22, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

كلّ شيء يحصل في بحر العرب وخليج فارس من حرب ناقلات وتحفز وأرصاد الى تعارض إرادات وديبلوماسية حياكة السجاد تشي بما يلي:

انّ ما يطلق عليه الأزمة الأميركية الإيرانية، الدائرة الآن في الخليج وبحر العرب وبقية مناطق الإقليم، من اليمن الى العراق وسورية ولبنان وفلسطين، ليست أزمة عادية وإنما هي معركة استراتيجية كبرى بين كتلتين دوليتين هما :

الهضبة الإيرانية المتمثلة بالجغرافيا ونظام الحكم والأمة الإيرانية ومعه حلف المقاومة، بدعم روسي صيني متعدد الأوجه والمسارات…

الولايات المتحدة الاميركية، مدعومة من حلف شمال الأطلسي بشكل كامل ومن الأنظمة العربية العميلة في جزيرة العرب، الى جانب الكيان الصهيوني طبعاً.

وهي بمعنى من المعاني إنهاء هيمنة القطب الواحد، ايّ الولايات المتحدة، على العالم.

لا يوجد أيّ أفق، لا على الصعيد التكتيكي ولا على الصعيد الاستراتيجي، لتحقيق أيّ من أهداف الولايات المتحدة، لا في منطقة الصراع المفتوح حالياً ولا مناطق أخرى من ساحات المواجهة، مثل وسط آسيا أو بحر الصين أو منطقة البحر الأسود/ أوكرانيا. وكذلك هو الوضع في منطقة بحر البلطيق/ شمال غرب روسيا، حيث يستمرّ تحشيد قوات كبيرة لحلف الناتو بالقرب من الحدود الروسية الشمالية الغربية/ أيّ بالقرب من مدينة لينينغراد ذات الرمزية التاريخية والوطنية الكبرى في روسيا خضعت لحصار الجيوش الألمانية لمدة 900 يوم دون أن تستسلم .

يتمثل الجانب الاستراتيجي، في المعركة الدائرة حالياً، في انّ إيران تتصدّى بشكل مباشر لمحاولات الولايات المتحدة السيطرة، ليس فقط على منابع النفط الموجودة في الجزيرة العربية وإيران بهدف التحكم في إمدادات الطاقة للأسواق الصينية والباكستانية وأسواق دول شرق آسيا لإبطاء نمو اقتصاديات هذه الدول وإضعاف قدرتها على منافسة الولايات المتحدة، على الصعيد الدولي، وانما تتعدّى الأهداف الأميركية كلّ ذلك، حيث انّ طبيعة هذه المواجهة تشمل قبل كلّ شيء الجوانب الاقتصادية الدولية. وبكلام أكثر وضوحاً فإنّ واشنطن ودول الناتو يحاولون السيطرة على منطقة المواجهة الحاليّة، الممتدة من سواحل فلسطين المحتلة غرباً وحتى سواحل الصين وروسيا الشرقية على المحيط الهادئ.

اما كلمة سر هذا الجانب الاستراتيجي فهي: مشروع الطريق والحزام الصيني، ذو الطابع الدولي والعابر للقارات، الذي سيكرّس إنهاء السيطرة الاقتصادية والمالية الأميركية على مقدرات شعوب العالم.

وهذا يعني أنّ معركة إيران، ومعها حلف المقاومة، الحاليّة، مع الأطراف الاستعمارية المذكورة أعلاه، هي معركة فرط استراتيجية، يتمثل هدف إيران وحلفائها، من وراء خوضها، في ما يلي:

ـ إنجاز حقوق إيران، ليس فقط في المجال النووي، وإنما في الحفاظ على أمن الملاحة البحرية في كلّ المنطقة الممتدة من خليج عدن وحتى غرب المحيط الهندي. وهو ما يشكل مانعاً قوياً أو خط دفاع أوّل عن حدود الصين الغربية وحدود روسيا الجنوبية الغربية.

ـ إنهاء عوامل التوتر المتجدّد في الإقليم وذلك باقتلاع جذور أسبابه، المتمثلة في الوجود العسكري الاميركي الأطلسي المكثف في جزيرة العرب وفي بحار المنطقة وصولاً الى بحر الصين الجنوبي، خاصة أنّ سلاح البحرية الإيراني قادر، ودون أدنى شك، على تأمين خطوط الملاحة بكلّ كفاءة واقتدار.

ـ أما آلية الحماية المنشودة فيمكن تحقيقها، وبكلّ سهولة، عبر تطبيق الاقتراح الإيراني، المقدّم منذ أشهر، والذي ينص على إنشاء نظام أمني إقليمي تشارك فيه كلّ دول المنطقة، العربية منها وغير العربية، كباكستان وإيران، وإخلاء المنطقة من القواعد والأساطيل الأجنبية.

أما في ما يتعلق باحتمالات سير هذه المعركة، وتطوراتها في الميدان، فإنّ ذلك لن يتعدّى مرحلة ممارسة التفاوض تحت النار، أيّ انّ طرفي المعركة، خاصة إيران وحلف المقاومة، سيواصلان تنفيذ خطوات للضغط العسكري على العدو، على امتداد ساحة المواجهة، وذلك لثقتها الكاملة بنفسها وقدراتها أولاً ولتيقنها من محدودية قدرات العدو ثانياً.

وعندما نتحدث عن محدودية قدرات العدو فإننا بالأكيد لا نعني انّ قدرات إيران العسكرية تفوق في حجمها قدرات المعسكر المعادي، وإنما نعني محدودية قدرة العدو في استخدام ما لديه من قدرات عسكرية. وهذا ما يسمّى في علم السياسة: محدودية استخدام القوة. الأمر الذي يعود الى أسباب عديدة لا مجال لتعدادها في هذا المجال…

وإنما لا بدّ من التذكير بأهمّها، ألا وهو عدم وجود ايّ نية حقيقية، لدى الرئيس الأميركي الحالي، في خوض حرب ضدّ إيران وحلفائها. علاوة على تخوّف الرئيس ترامب من تدحرج أيّ عمليات، حتى ولو كانت محدودة، ضدّ إيران إلى حرب شاملة، الأمر الذي لا قدرة للولايات المتحدة الأميركية على المغامرة به، إذ انّ مثل هكذا تطوّر سيحتاج الى نشر ما لا يقلّ عن 750 ألف جندي أميركي/ أطلسي في منطقة العمليات إيران والعراق وسورية ، بالإضافة الى قراءة الفاتحة على روح قاعدة واشنطن العسكرية في فلسطين المحتلة، «إسرائيل»، والتي ستزول عن الوجود خلال ساعات بدء الحرب الأولى.

إذن… فالولايات المتحدة لديها القوة العسكرية، المجمّدة او المشلولة او المغلولة الأيدي، بسبب ظروف الميدان السياسية والعسكرية. بينما تستند القيادة الإيرانية الى يد مطلقة في اتخاذ القرارت الحازمة والمبنية على الظروف الموضوعية المؤاتية أيضاً ما يجعل القارئ الموضوعي لمسرح العمليات، يخرج بنتيجة لا تقبل الشك ألا وهي:

انّ الطرف الأقوى في المواجهة سيكون بالتأكيد ذلك الطرف الذي تقاتل معه الجغرافيا والإرث الحضاري الإيراني، الأكبر والأعمق والذي يستند اليه الإمام السيد علي الخامنئي في قيادته للمعركة وفي قراراته وتوجيهاته للآلة السياسية والديبلوماسية والعسكرية في إيران، المتكئة الى فقه إسلامي ديناميكي ثوري أكثر عمقاً وزخماً من كلّ ما يمكن ان يتصوّره السياسيون التقليديون.

ثمة معادلة جديدة تتشكل في العمل السياسي الدولي تشي بحصول هزائم مدوية تنتظر الأميركيين وأذنابهم وانتصارات كبرى غير مسبوقة في المسرح الدولي لصالح إيران وحلفائها.

بعدنا طيّبين قولوا الله…

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WHAT MAKES IRAN STRONG ENOUGH TO STAND AGAINST A SUPERPOWER LIKE THE USA?

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

During the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s the Islamic Republic of Iran deployed the slogan “Karbala, Karbala we are coming” ( كربلا كربلا ما دارييم مياييم) to “defend the value of Islam”. In Syria the battle cry “Zeinab shall not be abducted twice” helped mobilise Shia allies and rally  thousands of men to fight the Sunni Takfiri of al-Qaeda and the “Islamic State” (ISIS).

Today, despite the existential battle between Iran and the US, the “Islamic Republic” no longer uses religious slogans, but is instead rallying support on a national basis. Even Iranians who disagree with the present regime are supporting their country in the face of the aggressive posture of the US. Iranian pragmatists were disappointed by the US’s unlawful revocation of the JCPOA nuclear deal. Severe sanctions are being imposed on the Iranian people because Trump ditched the deal to please Netanyahu and to spite his predecessor Obama. In the face of these sanctions, the Islamic Republic refuses to bow to US dictates. Unlike other Middle Eastern countries who willingly submit to Trump’s blackmail and bullying, Iran says “NO” to the superpower. Why? How can Iran do what Saudi Arabia and other regional powers could do but will not?

Iran manufactures its own tanksmissiles,submarines and is a member of the global club of nuclear science capable countries.

Iran has strong allies in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, Palestine, Afghanistan and Yemen and can rely on them to take part in any war imposed on Tehran, even one imposed by the US.

Iran has democratically elected members of the parliament and a President who serves a four-year mandate and has the right for a single term renewal if he wins via the ballot, unlike Arab states who have presidents for life or inherited monarchies. Christians and Jews are recognised minorities in Iran; the Jews have a member of the Parliament, Siamak Moreh, and feel “safe and respected”. They number around 15,000 out of 85 million Iranians and have more than 25 synagogues.

Iran has faced US sanctions for over 40 years without bowing to US demands. It has confronted the US in many arenas around the Middle East and recently shot down a drone to send the clear message that it is ready to face war and its consequences, if war is imposed on it. Iran is ready to pay the price of defending its air, water and lands; it will not compromise on any violations of its sovereignty even by a superpower like the US. Iran is sending a message to the US, its main ally Israel, and to all Middle Eastern countries: it will retaliate harshly against any aggression.

Iran is not afraid of regime-change attempts because its electoral system is in the hands of the people, and, if hit internally, Iran has the capacity to hit back anywhere its allies are deployed, against its regional enemies wherever they are deployed.

Iran’s situation should not be unique or surprising. It is natural to have democratic institutions. It is normal for a country to have allies ready to stand by and lend support when needed. It is ordinary for any country to use force, when needed, to defend its sovereignty and protect its borders. Citizens support their government and armed forces when they defend the country against aggression and when their rulers take tough and courageous decisions.

There are no voices in Iran calling for the fall of the current regime despite the US “maximum pressure”. The Iranian President responded with “maximum patience” for 14 months before taking the first legal step to partially withdraw from the nuclear deal. Rouhani then moved towards a “confrontational strategy” and has ended up adopting a “strategy of equal response” against any attack. The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has no need of religious slogans this time because Iranians are united, regardless of ethnicity, behind their leaders and against the US. Trump has managed to unite the pragmatists and the radicals under one flag, against him.

Europe rushed to play a mediation role in a failed attempt to ease tensions between the US and Iran. European leaders have little leverage against President Trump because they are far from united, even if they are signatories of the JCPOA nuclear deal and are therefore bound to respect it. Iran imposed on Europe the devising of a new payment system, INSTEX, notwithstanding its lack of effectiveness. INSTEX shows the will of European leaders to accommodate Iran in order to stop its production of nuclear bombs. That is a substantial European effort.

Iran will not give up on its allies neither would they because they are at the forefront of its national security and the defenders of its values and existence. Without them a confrontational policy towards US hegemony would not be possible. The harsh sanctions on Iran have hurt its allies but have not deteriorated or even affected their military capabilities.

Iran will not give up on its missile capabilities because they are its only defensive mechanism and potential. Iran is ready to go to war; it will not abandon its missile production and development. It has delivered many of these missile capabilities to allies in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Iran will not submit to the blackmail by which Trump extorts hundreds of billions of dollars from Middle Eastern countries by forcing them to buy US weapons and spare parts. Middle Eastern countries, like Saudi Arabia, the Emirates and Qatar, pay handsome ransoms to limit the damage of Trump’s bullying.

If all these Middle Eastern countries were to stand up against the “neighbourhood bully” as Iran has done, and invest a fraction of what they are paying Trump in the region’s development and prosperity, the US would be incapable of racketeering Saudi Arabia, Qatar and the Emirates.

And last but not least, Iran rejects the plan Trump is attempting to impose on the Palestinians: a demand that they sell their territories for a handful of dollars. Many Middle Eastern countries have adopted the childish plan of an amateur – Jared Kushner, who holds power only because he is the US President’s son-in-law – who believed he could achieve what many experienced presidents and diplomats failed to do over decades. Iran, together with Iraq, Lebanon and Kuwait, has rejected the “Deal of the Century”.

Trump admits that he understands only “the language of figures and money”. Iran’s response to the US blackmail strategy embodies the perception that this world only respects and understands those who manifest strength and refuse to submit to coercion, and its conscience is only awakened by those who have the will to resist.

Proofread by: C.G.B 

New scandal around empire of lies

By Mohammad Ghaderi

July 19, 2019

On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump, who is also the commander in chief of the country’s armed forces, falsely claimed that a U.S. warship had downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.

Speaking at the White House, Trump said the USS Boxer shot down the drone after it got within 1,000 yards, “ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew.”

Also, the Pentagon announced the Iranian drone was within a “threatening range” of the Boxer.

“At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

The interesting point here is that even the Pentagon did not bother to confirm Trump’s hallucination regarding downing of an Iranian drone, since its statement does not at all refer to the owner of the drone.

But regarding Trump’s false claim, which is an intelligence disaster for a country which boasts of the biggest and most modern army in the world, a few points should be noted:

1- More than approximating reality, Trump’s false and hallucinatory claim of having downed an Iranian drone is rather indicative of the great shock the U.S. suffered after Iran’s Revolution Guards forces downed the Global Hawk spy drone recently, which has become a bitter nightmare for the U.S. president. America’s inability to provide answer in kind to the IRGC’s firm action has severely marred the image of U.S. military power.

This is to say that resort to such false claims by the White House depart to the public mind nothing but desperation.

2- It seems that for Trump to make such a false claim is in fact the indication of the onset of a new era of media and propaganda campaign against the Islamic Republic, with the hope to realize on the political and media arena what has not been achieved in field, thus concealing a deep degree of military powerlessness of the U.S.

Although Trump’s recent move shows how deeply the U.S. has been impressed by a psychological vibe surrounding the ever-increasing military power of Iran, in case the U.S. Army’s decision-making processes are based on such sort of information we should expect increasing risk of U.S. military presence as well as unexpected moves that should ensue.

What should be noted regarding Trump’s claim, is that according to statements by Iranian authorities, all Iranian drones in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, including the one mentioned by Trump, have returned home after their reconnaissance missions, and that the USS Boxer has been unable to engage in any sort of confrontation with the drone. This is why we should conclude that Trump has intended to take initiative and create a favorable media vibe for his administration.

3- Creating tension by resorting to false news making is a mechanism constantly tapped by the U.S. and its Western allies, which is especially used over the Persian Gulf with a number of objectives. One of the main objectives is to present Iran as a threat to other regional countries and those whose economy somehow depends on the security of the Persian Gulf. A great part of this hype is created especially to mild the backward Arab leaders, especially those of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

4- The other noteworthy point is that based on the entire international rights, especially those concerning the rights governing seas, since a great part of the Persian Gulf waters are part of Iran’s territory, it is naturally Iran’s right to use whatever in its power to secure the region. This is while none of the international protocols allow U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf. This is why the White House, seeking help from its allies such as the UK, is trying to misrepresent the Persian Gulf as insecure, and thereby to justify its bullying presence in the region.
* Author: Mohammad Ghaderi , Tehran Times editor in chief and political commentator

His page on Twitter : @ghaderi62 – and Gmail address : m.ghaderi62@gmail.com

IRGC says captures British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Press Tv

1

Fri Jul 19, 2019 05:59PM

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has said that it has captured a British oil tanker for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been confiscated “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”

The oil tanker was transferred to the coast to undergo the required legal proceedings, the statement added.

(This item is being updated.)

IRGC Navy Seizes British Tanker in Persian Gulf

IRGC Navy Seizes British Tanker in Persian Gulf

 

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in a statement issued on Friday evening that its naval forces have seized British tanker ship, ‘Stena Impero’, for violating maritime rules and regulations in the Persian Gulf.

“UK tanker ship, Stena Impero, has been detained by the vessels unit of the IRGC Navy’s First Naval Zone at the request of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s office of Hormuzgan province for disregarding international maritime rules and regulations as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz this afternoon,” the statement by the IRGCN public relations said.

The statement said the ship has been escorted to the Iranian coastal waters in Hormuzgan province and its control has been transferred to the Ports and Maritime Organization for further legal procedures and investigations.

A statement by Stena Impero shipping firm said there are 23 crew onboard the UK ship, adding that there has been no report on any harm or injury to the crew members since the vessel came under detention by the Iranian forces.

Media reports said the tanker was heading to Saudi Arabia’s port of Al-Jobail from the UAE port of Fujairah when it was detained by the IRGC.

Director-General of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s office in Hurmuzgan province said he filed a request for the seizure of the British tanker by the IRGCN after reports on its risky moves that made the vessel prone to accident.

Meantime, sources told FNA that “the British ship had switched off its tracking systems in violation of maritime rules and regulations and was making an entry from the exit point of the Strait of Hormuz in the South, disregarding the established procedures that require all entries be made through the Northern pass.

In early July, British marines and Gibraltar police seized an Iranian tanker off the Southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo claimed that the ship was transporting crude oil to Syria “in violation” of the EU sanctions placed on Damascus. Washington has applauded the move, hailing it as a sign that Europe is on board with the US’ unilateral sanctions against Iran.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the “illegal move” of London and described it as “tantamount to piracy”. Tehran accused the UK of doing Washington’s bidding and helping the US attempt to stifle the Islamic Republic’s oil exports, rejecting London’s claim that the supertanker was carrying crude for Syria.

The attorney general announced on Friday that Gibraltar’s supreme court has ruled that the Iranian tanker seized by Britain’s Royal Marines can be detained for 30 more days. The court’s decision came a day after a senior Gibraltar’s official described as “constructive” talks with Iran, raising hopes that the tanker would be released imminently.

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has slammed Britain’s illegal seizure of the oil tanker, warning London of a pending response to the seizure of the supertanker that he referred to as a case of “piracy”.

“They commit crimes and make it appear legal. The Islamic Republic and devout agents of the system will not leave such vicious acts without a response and they will respond in a proper opportunity and place,” Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.

On Thursday, naval forces of the IRGC seized a foreign ship smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf, according to a statement by the public relations office of the IRGC Navy’s first zone. The foreign vessel was smuggling a million liters of fuel from Iran and was seized in Iranian waters South of Lark island.

Yet, a statement issued by the IRGC on Thursday denied that any other foreign ship had been seized during the last week as claimed by the western media.

The statement reiterated that the ship had been seized for “smuggling fuel from Iran”, and no other reason.

The recent moves by foreign powers in the Middle East such as US sanctions on Tehran’s oil, UK seizure of Iranian supertanker, as well as, “sabotage operations” on oil ships have intensified the turmoil in the region and the turmoil in the international energy market, affecting global crude prices in recent months.

 

IRAN SEIZES BRITISH TANKER IN STRAIT OF HORMUZ

South Front

19.07.2019

Iran Seizes British Tanker In Strait of Hormuz

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in the late hours of July 19 that its naval units had captured a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The Guards said in a press release that the tanker, Stena Impero, was seized for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.

حرس الثورة يعلن أن الناقلة البريطانية لم تراع قوانين الملاحة البحرية

Stena Impero’s operator Clyde-based Northern Marine Group (NMG) confirmed in an offical statement that the tanker was taken over by force. The group said that 23 seafarers were aboard the tanker when it was captured.

“At approximately 1600 BST on 19th July UK registered vessel Stena Impero (built 2018, 49,683 DWT) was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters. We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran,” the NMG’s statement reads.

In its first response to the Iranian move, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said that it is looking for further information on the incident.

Stena Impero was likely captured by the IRGC as a response to the UK seizure of Iran’s supertanker, Grace 1, off the shores of Gibraltar, earlier this month. Senior Iranian officials, including the country’s Supreme Leader, had warned the UK that Iran will not tolerate such moves.

More on this topic:

IRGC Releases Surveillance Footage in Rebutal to Trump’s Claim about Downing Iranian Drone

IRGC Releases Surveillance Footage in Rebutal to Trump’s Claim about Downing Iranian Drone

TEHRAN (FNA)– The Islamic Revolution Gauds Corps (IRGC) on Friday released the footage that has been recorded by its drone from the USS Boxer during a surveillance mission over the Strait of Hormuz in a move to counter the US president’s allegation that the American navy has downed the aircraft. [+VIDEO]

US President Donald Trump claimed on Thursday that the USS Boxer had fired on an Iranian drone on Thursday, shooting it down in the Strait of Hormuz.

“The Boxer took defensive action against an Iranian drone, which had closed into a near distance, approximately 1000 yards, ignoring multiple calls to stand down threatening safety of ship and ship’s crew,” he said at the White House.

The US president claimed that Iran’s drone “was immediately destroyed.”

Minutes later the Pentagon also issued a statement to confirm the report, but did not claim that the drone was Iranian.

The Pentagon claimed the Iranian drone was within a “threatening range” of the US ship.

“At approximately 10 am local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.

“A fixed wing unmanned aerial system (UAS) approached Boxer and closed within a threatening range. The ship took defensive action against the UAS to ensure the safety of the ship and its crew.”

The top military brass in Tehran rushed to deny the claim. Spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said on Friday that Trump’s statement was absurd and baseless, stressing that the false claim about downing an Iranian Unmanned Aerial System (UAS) was intended to increase tensions in international waterways and disrupting security in the Strait of Hormuz.

“Unlike Trump’s delusional and groundless claim, all drones belonging to the Islamic Republic of Iran in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, including the one mentioned by the US president, have returned to their bases safe and sound after carrying out their scheduled surveillance and control operations,” the Armed Forces mouthpiece added.

“The Armed Forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran always feel duty-bound to protect, control, and safeguard the security of the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz with full vigilance while observing international regulations,” he added.

Hours later on Friday, the IRGC described the US president’s claim as “ridiculous”, and declared that it would release the footage collected by its drone from the US warship to prove the falsity of Washington’s claims.

“We will soon release the footage recorded by the IRGC Aerospace Force drone from the USS Boxer to expose Americans’ baseless claims to the public opinion of the world,” the public relations department of the IRGC announced today.

“The footage will show that the drone of the IRGC’s Aerospace Force was conducting its routine mission in the region before the arrival of the American vessel at the Strait of Hormuz,” read the communique, adding that the drone has sent footage of its “monitoring and surveilling the aforementioned ship both before and after the time that Americans claim”.

The statement added that after recording the footage from the US warship, the drone returned to its base intact.

“The marine and aerospace units of the IRGC vigilantly and continuously monitor the moves by the foreigners, particularly the terrorist forces of the US and the UK in the strategic region, based on their legal duties and for establishing security in the Strait of Hormuz and the Persian Gulf,” it added.

The IRGC reassured that with its complete intelligence dominance and preparedness, it will deliver a proportionate response to any act of aggression and violation of the international law.

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The footage released by the IRGC has been recorded by the drone during a surveillance mission over the Strait of Hormuz over the USS Boxer.

IRGC Navy drones routinely fly over the strategic waterway of the Strait of Hormuz to ensure its security for free international maritime transportation.

The footage shows the trafficking of vessels through the Strait of Hurmuz before the arrival of the American warship and continues to cover the area after the US vessel moves forward and then keeps surveilling the USS Boxer.

The IRGC issued a statement after releasing the video on Friday evening, saying that the drone has been watching the USS Boxer and five other US warships accompanying it for three hours, from the time when they had not made an entry into the Strait of Hormuz to the time when exited the waterway.

“During this period, out drone bases have not observed and recorded any unconventional and threatening action by the US terrorist forces on the stated warship,” the IRGC statement reiterated.

“Hence, it is more evident and proved now that the claim raised by the US officials about the shooting down of an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz without any (supportive) evidence has been baseless and a lie,” it added.

The footage indicates that it has been recorded by the Iran-made drone, Mohajer-4, an unmanned aircraft  designed and manufactured for surveillance and reconnaissance missions, with the maximum speed of 200km/phr and flight durability of 7 hours.

The claim by the US president has been refuted by a range of Iranian officials since it was first raised by Donald Trump at a White House event on Thursday. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Seyed Abbas Araqchi said in a tweet, “We have not lost any drone in the Strait of Hormuz nor anywhere else.”

“I am worried that USS Boxer has shot down their own UAS by mistake!”, he said in sarcastic words.

The incident came almost a month after the IRGC shot down an intruding American spy drone in the country’s southern coastal province of Hormuzgan.

On Tuesday, Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh said the shooting down of a US spy drone over Iranian territorial waters by the IRGC shattered the US military awe.

“The operation to shoot down the US drone in Iran’s sky was successful in every aspect. The operation shattered the awe of the world arrogant power (US) and displayed the rotten and cracked skeleton of the arrogant powers to everyone,” General Hajizadeh said in the Northeastern city of Mashhad on Tuesday.

He added that the different dimensions of the operation will come in light throughout time.

In relevant remarks on Monday, Iranian Defense Minister Brigadier General Amir Hatami underlined Armed Forces’ full preparedness to give a strong response to enemies, saying that downing of a US spy drone over Iran’s territories proved the country’s high capability to defend itself.

“Downing of the US advanced and expensive Global Hawk spy drone by Iran’s integrated air defense surprised foreign experts about the Islamic Republic of Iran’s military capability in defending the country’s borders and confronting the aggressors,” General Hatami said, addressing the Iranian parliamentarians in Tehran.

He underlined that all stages which led to the destruction of the spy drone, including detection, interception and destruction, were completed by using indigenized technology and military equipment, and said, “The Iranian Armed Forces are fully prepared to give a crushing response to any threat and stupidity by enemies and will make them regret their deeds.”

General Hatami stressed that the Iranian Armed Forces would powerfully continue enhancement of their defense power.

Also, last week, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri warned of his country’s strong and painful response to any enemy offensive.

“Undoubtedly, a hard and crushing response will be waiting for those who intend to harm Iran and its borders’ security,” General Baqeri said during a visit to the country’s Northeastern bordering areas on Wednesday.

He added that the Iranian people, including the Shiites and the Sunnis, along with the country’s Armed Forces would foil any enemy plots against Iran’s sustainable security.

His remarks came after the IRGC Aerospace Force shot down an American spy drone over the territorial waters of Iran near the Strait of Hormuz at dawn on June 20.

Also, US President Donald Trump said the US air force was “cocked and loaded” to attack three Iranian targets a day later, but he called off the strike with 10 minutes to spare after being told that the airstrike might kill as many as 150 people.

Trump said in a series of tweets that he decided that the death toll was not a proportionate response to the Iranian shooting down of a US spy drone off the Iranian coast.

After Trump’s remarks, General Hajizadeh said that his forces could have shot down a US P8 aircraft with 35 on board which was violating Iran’s airspace, but decided to shoot down the drone to only send a message to Washington.

“We intended to send a message to American terrorists in the region,” Brigadier General Hajizadeh said, adding that his forces had also traced a military P8 aircraft violating the airspace of Iran.

“Along with the American drone was an American P8 aircraft with 35 on board, and it was also violating our airspace and we could have downed it too,” he said, adding, “But we did not do (shoot down) it, because our aim was to warn the terrorist forces of the US.”

General Hajizadeh also stressed that Iran was not after war but was fully ready to defend itself, adding that the fate of the downed US spy drone was waiting for any intruding flying object.

“Our response to anything trespassing Iranian territory is like this, and if such acts of aggression are repeated, our response will also be the same,” General Hajizadeh said.

“We don’t embrace war but we are ready to fully defend the country,” he said.

“We possess a collection of US drones which is a proof that US has violated Iran’s airspace and shows that they don’t want to respect the international law,” General Hajizadeh said.

“If such an aggression is repeated, we will add other US (military) products to complete this collection,” he noted.

“The US measure was in violation of international law and we acted according to our legitimate responsibility,” General Hajizadeh said, adding, “It is possible that a US general or some operators were behind this American aggression, we don’t know that. But that measure (intruding into Iranian airspace) is a violation of international aviation rules by a spy drone which then received our natural response.”

Also, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that his country had retrieved parts of the spy drone that was shot down from the country’s territorial waters, rejecting Washington’s claim that the aircraft was targeted in international waters.

“(The) US drone took off from UAE in stealth mode and violated Iranian airspace,” Zarif wrote on Twitter, adding that the drone “was targeted near… Kouh-e Mobarak” region in the Central district of Jask in Hormuzgan province after the aircraft violated Iran’s airspace.

Zarif even provided the coordinates where the US aircraft was intercepted, and added, “We’ve retrieved sections of the US military drone in OUR territorial waters where it was shot down.”

In an earlier tweet, Zarif stated that Iran “will take this US new aggression to (the) UN and show that the US is lying about international waters”.

The Iranian foreign minister noted that Tehran does not want war, “but will zealously defend our skies, land and waters”.

Meantime, IRGC Commander Major General Hossein Salami stressed that the move should alert Washington officials to stay away.

The incident sent “a clear message” to the US and other enemies that Iran will show a firm and crushing response to any aggression, Salami stated.

“Borders are our red lines and any enemy which violates them will not go back home and will be annihilated. The only way for enemies is to respect Iran’s territorial integrity and national interests,” the major general noted.

Also, earlier this month, General Salami said Iran’s military power and might had taken the military option off the table for the US, stating that the US was fearful of war against Iran.

“We have completely blocked the road to the enemies in the military field and we have reversed the balance. Under the current situation, it is the enemies who are concerned about war and this concern is displayed in their physical and tactical behavior,” General Salami said, addressing the commanders and personnel of Khatam al-Anbia base in Tehran.

He said the US exercised a similar offensive strategy in the political field first, but “eventually, they announced that they didn’t intend to go for a confrontation and called it a quit; in fact, this was a retreat to give them a chance to save themselves from a bottleneck they had created themselves.”

“Today, our global power is very well known and credited, and it includes an extraordinary deterrence capacity; we have managed to shatter the United States’ awe in the world public opinion” on the scene of action, General Salami said.

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Politico: Rand Paul to Become Trump’s Iran Point Person

By Staff, Politico

Over a round of golf this past weekend, Sen. Rand Paul asked US President Donald Trump’s blessing for a sensitive diplomatic mission.

Paul proposed sitting down with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif to extend a fresh olive branch on the president’s behalf, according to four US officials. The aim: to reduce tensions between the two countries. Trump signed off on the idea.

With Zarif in New York City this week for UN meetings and private sit-downs with journalists and think-tank experts, the prospect of the dovish Kentucky senator serving as the administration’s chief diplomatic emissary has rankled many administration officials, who are expressing concern that Paul’s intervention threatens to scuttle the president’s “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran.

It is unclear whether the senator will meet with Zarif. He and his office declined multiple requests for comment. But the president’s willingness to tap Paul as the go-between with a top Iranian official is a demonstration both of his unorthodox approach to foreign affairs and his continuing desire, even as his aides threaten to squeeze Iran until it capitulates to US demands, to entice the Islamic Republic’s leaders to the negotiating table.

Trump has been attempting to start negotiations with Iran for months, a campaign that has included letters to Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei, an attempt to use Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe as an emissary to Tehran, and public comments expressing his desire to talk. Some Iranian officials have said that they are open to negotiations, but only after the administration removes sanctions. Imam Khamenei, however, has likened talking with the US to drinking “poison.”

Paul, along with Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and David Perdue (R-Ga.), played a round of golf with the president on Saturday at his club in Sterling, Va.

The libertarian-leaning Paul has long been wary of US foreign intervention, and he’s clashed with Trump administration officials over the possibility of a military conflict with Iran. When Trump last month called off retaliatory military strikes against Iran after an Iranian military official downed a US drone over international waters, Paul went on the president’s favorite television network to offer unqualified praise. “It really takes a statesman to show restraint amidst a chorus of voices for war,” Paul told Fox News’ Martha MacCallum.

He also criticized the administration’s policy, arguing that Iranians view the punishing sanctions imposed by the Trump administration as “an act of war.”

Paul has long been at odds with the team of hawks serving at the top echelons of the Trump administration, including National Security Adviser John Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. At the outset of the administration, he led a public campaign against the administration’s current special envoy to Venezuela, Elliott Abrams, when his name was floated as a candidate for deputy secretary of state – and helped to scuttle his candidacy by bashing his hawkish views in an appearance on Tucker Carlson’s Fox News show, according to a source directly familiar with the events.

Earlier this year, Paul pressed Pompeo on whether the administration believes it has the authority to battle the Iranian government under a 2001 law that allowed the US to pursue the fight against al-Qaeda and affiliated terrorist groups in Afghanistan and beyond.

When Pompeo tried to sidestep the question, Paul warned the administration not to pursue such a conflict, at least not without Congress’ imprimatur.

“You do not have the permission of Congress to go to war with Iran,” Paul told Pompeo during the April hearing on Capitol Hill. “Only Congress can declare war.”

The move smacks of desperation, said Mark Dubowitz, head of the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies, which has pushed for a hard line on Iran.

“It’s a fine idea to make it clear you’re interested in negotiating and a diplomatic path, but you have to be selective and circumspect,” Dubowitz said. “Right now, Trump has tapped everybody and their mother to be an emissary.”

“The one thing that these guys don’t understand is the more desperate they look for a deal the more the Iranian regime will play hard to get,” he added. “Then when it comes to the table it will be even more inflexible in its negotiating position. And the final result will end up looking like Obama 2.0.”

When told that the president had blessed an outsider to reach out to Zarif, a Trump administration official familiar with Iran issues laughed and quipped: “He’s given up on all of us!”

Nasrallah says all of Israel is within range of Hezbollah’s missiles

Press TV
The video grab shows Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during an interview with Al-Manar television on July 12, 2019.
The video grab shows Secretary General of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah during an interview with Al-Manar television on July 12, 2019.

The secretary general of the Lebanese Hezbollah resistance movement says all of Israel is within the range of the missiles of the group, adding that the resistance movement is stronger than ever despite Western sanctions.

Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah made the remarks during a televised interview with Hezbollah’s al-Manar television on Friday on the occasion of the 13th anniversary of the Second Lebanon War in 2006.

“Once we said that we could strike targets south of Haifa. Today, we can say that if Israel has sites south of Eilat, then we can also hit them. All of Israel is under the range of our missiles,” he said.

The Hezbollah leader, while presenting the group’s developed capabilities, warned that in case of any confrontation, the Zionist entity would be brought to the “verge of vanishing, and it knows this.”

“We have a larger number of missiles and we have precise missiles that we did not have in 2006. We also have a large and powerful branch of UAVs,” Hezbollah’s chief further said.

Then, he held up a map of Israeli-occupied territories to the camera, pointing to potential targets for Hezbollah’s attacks.

“There is an area 70 kilometers long and 20 kilometers wide … we can destroy it all,” Nasrallah said.

However, he said a war with Israel was unlikely to happen anytime soon, stressing that Israel will not risk another war on Lebanon thanks to Hezbollah’s deterrent force.

Nasrallah also said that he had deep hope that “we will pray in al-Quds [Mosque compound]” and that he was “certain of victory in any future war, God is with us.”

Elsewhere in his remarks, the Hezbollah leader blasted US President Donald Trump’s so-called Deal of the century, as a means to solve the decades-long conflict between Palestinians and the Israeli regime, stressing the proposal is doomed to fail.

The US killed the initiative after it recognized the whole Jerusalem al-Quds as Israel’s capital.

“The deal took its last breath when Trump recognized al-Quds as the capital of Israel. There is not a single Palestinian who will agree to a deal in which the Christian and Muslim holy sites of al-Quds will be transferred to Israel,” Nasrallah said.

 

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