US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

Source

US Attempts to Seize Four Iranian Tankers Headed to Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

US federal prosecutors are seeking to seize four tankers sailing towards Venezuela with gasoline supplied by Iran.

It is the latest attempt to disrupt ever-closer trade ties between the two heavily-sanctioned anti-US allies.

The Trump administration has been stepping up pressure on ship owners to abide by sanctions against US adversaries like Iran, Venezuela and North Korea, Al-Jazeera reported.

In May, Maduro celebrated the arrival of five Iranian tankers delivering much-needed fuel supplies to alleviate shortages that have led to days-long gas lines even in the capital, Caracas, which is normally spared such hardships.

The flotilla’s arrival angered the Trump administration, which struck back by sanctioning the five Iranian captains of the vessels.

The four tankers named in the complaint filed on Wednesday – the Bella, Bering, Pandi and Luna – are currently transporting 1.1 million barrels of gasoline to Venezuela, the report added.

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The US “Soft War” on Iran and Its Allies Turns Against Washington

By Elijah J. Magnier

Source

The US administration under Barack Obama drafted “Caesar’s Law” in 2016 to subdue Syria but kept it in the drawer. President Donald Trump and his administration dusted it off and are now implementing “Caesar’s Law”. In fact, Trump’s policy is manna to Iran: the US administration is playing straight into the hands of Tehran. Iran is reaping huge benefits, including more robust allies and resistant strongholds as a result of the US’s flawed Middle Eastern policies. Motivated by the threat of the implementation of “Caesar’ Law”, Iran has prepared a series of steps to sell its oil and finance its allies, bypassing depletion of its foreign currency reserves.

Iranian companies found in Syria a paradise for strategic investment and offered the needed alternative to a Syrian economy crippled by sanctions and nine years of war. Iran considers Syria a fertile ground to expand its commerce and business like never before. It has also found a way to support the Syrian currency and to avoid digging into its reserves of foreign currencies, skirting US sanctions in both Syria and Iran, while aiding the rest of its allies.

Iran supplied Syria with precision missiles and other anti-air missiles notwithstanding the hundreds of Israeli air attacks which managed to destroy large quantities of these Iranian advanced missiles but without removing the threat to Israel.

Moreover, following the announcement of the implementation of “Caesar’s Law”, Iran sent a large business delegation to Syria to schedule the supply of first necessities and goods in a time of sanctions. Iran has great expertise in this business and, after living for 40 years under sanctions, is in an excellent position to advise President Assad.

Russia also announced – via its vice Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov – that his country rejects the illegal sanctions on Syria, and that Russia will provide President Assad with whatever his country needs.

Idem in Syria: Iran proved its capability to break the fuel siege on Syria by sending several oil tankers to its ally in the Levant. Iran is ready to be paid in Syrian Lira rather than US currency for its oil. By doing this, Iran can pay its tens of thousands of allied persons spread across Syria with local currency, marginalising the US dollar.

The US and Israel, who worked throughout the years of war in Syria to remove Iran, were in fact the impetus for Iran’s presence (and that of Russia) in the Levant in the first place. The US is now imposing “Caesar’s Law”, which will help Iran cement its presence in the Levant and Mesopotamia. It is planning to build a railway between Tehran and Damascus (and possibly Beirut): this axis will be able to transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil and tons of merchandise. The only way for the US to reduce the collateral damage is to finally accept that all of its “maximum pressure” and harshest sanctions on Iran and its allies have little chance of working. In the meantime, it is Iran that is moving ahead with a robust ring of allies, and the US and Israel which are left with Middle Eastern allies who are both inefficient and insignificant.

THE US “SOFT WAR” ON IRAN AND ITS ALLIES TURNS AGAINST WASHINGTON

Source

Posted on  by Elijah J Magnier

By Elijah J. Magnier: @ejmalrai

The US administration under Barack Obama drafted “Caesar’s Law” in 2016 to subdue Syria but kept it in the drawer. President Donald Trump and his administration dusted it off and are now implementing “Caesar’s Law”. In fact, Trump’s policy is manna to Iran: the US administration is playing straight into the hands of Tehran. Iran is reaping huge benefits, including more robust allies and resistant strongholds as a result of the US’s flawed Middle Eastern policies. Motivated by the threat of the implementation of “Caesar’ Law”, Iran has prepared a series of steps to sell its oil and finance its allies, bypassing depletion of its foreign currency reserves.

Iranian companies found in Syria a paradise for strategic investment and offered the needed alternative to a Syrian economy crippled by sanctions and nine years of war. Iran considers Syria a fertile ground to expand its commerce and business like never before. It has also found a way to support the Syrian currency and to avoid digging into its reserves of foreign currencies, skirting US sanctions in both Syria and Iran, while aiding the rest of its allies.

Iran supplied Syria with precision missiles and other anti-air missiles notwithstanding the hundreds of Israeli air attacks which managed to destroy large quantities of these Iranian advanced missiles but without removing the threat to Israel.

Moreover, following the announcement of the implementation of “Caesar’s Law”, Iran sent a large business delegation to Syria to schedule the supply of first necessities and goods in a time of sanctions. Iran has great expertise in this business and, after living for 40 years under sanctions, is in an excellent position to advise President Assad.

Russia also announced – via its vice Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov – that his country rejects the illegal sanctions on Syria, and that Russia will provide President Assad with whatever his country needs.

Idem in Syria: Iran proved its capability to break the fuel siege on Syria by sending several oil tankers to its ally in the Levant. Iran is ready to be paid in Syrian Lira rather than US currency for its oil. By doing this, Iran can pay its tens of thousands of allied persons spread across Syria with local currency, marginalising the US dollar.

In Iraq,

The US and Israel, who worked throughout the years of war in Syria to remove Iran, were in fact the impetus for Iran’s presence (and that of Russia) in the Levant in the first place. The US is now imposing “Caesar’s Law”, which will help Iran cement its presence in the Levant and Mesopotamia. It is planning to build a railway between Tehran and Damascus (and possibly Beirut): this axis will be able to transport hundreds of thousands of barrels of oil and tons of merchandise. The only way for the US to reduce the collateral damage is to finally accept that all of its “maximum pressure” and harshest sanctions on Iran and its allies have little chance of working. In the meantime, it is Iran that is moving ahead with a robust ring of allies, and the US and Israel which are left with Middle Eastern allies who are both inefficient and insignificant.

To my readers: I can no longer provide open access to my articles. When you subscribe, you are supporting the investigative journalism necessary for a robust understanding of what is happening in the Middle East. Thanks to those who can contribute.

Proofread by:  Maurice Brasher and C.G.B.

Copyright © https://ejmagnier.com   2020 

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Why Did Russia Refuse Venezuela’s Request but Iran Accepted It?

By Elijah J. Magnier

Source

Tareck El Aissami Iran 257be

Iranian tankers were 2200 km from the US coast when the Iranian-flagged “Fortune”, followed by “Forest”, entered Venezuelan waters, challenging the US embargo and the US’s threats. The Islamic Republic was broadcasting loud and clear a strong message.

The first message was dispatched to the US administration after Gulf and Arab Leaders conveyed a direct message to the Iranian leaders: “Washington is determined to stop the Iranian tankers sailing to Venezuela”. Iran responded to all messages received that “its five tankers will sail to Venezuela and if any of these tankers is intercepted, Iran will respond in the Straits of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman or anywhere else it sees fit.”

“These five tankers – the Clavel, Fortune, Petunia, Forest and Faxul- are only the beginning of the supply to Venezuela. Iran has the right to send any of its tankers anywhere in the world and any US interception will be considered an act of piracy and will trigger a direct response,” said an Iranian decision-maker who revealed the Iranian response to the US administration via message-carriers.

“Iran had decided to avoid the horn of Africa because the plan was for the first tanker to reach the Venezuelan waters on the first day of Eid el-Fitr. The aim was to share an important day of the Islamic Republic’s defiance to the US in its backyard and to break the sanctions imposed on one of Iran’s main allies. It is a message for the “Axis of the Resistance” that Iran will not abandon its friends and allies anywhere in the world whatever the challenges. It is directly confronting the US by imposing a new rule of engagement”, said the source.

Iran shut its ears to all threatening messages from the US menace and instructed its five tankers to go not round the horn of Africa but through the Gulf of Aden via Bab al-Mandab strait, the Suez Canal and Gibraltar into the Atlantic Ocean- where the US has a strong presence and influence. This shortens the distance and it tested the intentions of the American Navy. Simultaneously, Iran informed its allies of its readiness to confront the US if ever an escalation should loom on the horizon so that these allies within the “Axis of the Resistance” are ready for a wider confrontation if needed.

The first Iranian tanker, “Fortune”, reached the Caribbean Sea on the first day of Eid al-Fitr, on Sunday 24th of May, with US Navy ships in the vicinity. The tankers are carrying over 10 million barrels of oil but also Alkylate and spare parts to start repairing any of the eight “out of order” refineries, to enable oil-rich Venezuela to be self-sufficient in the future. The US sanctions on Venezuela had paralyzed Venezuelan refineries and caused gasoline shortages, with the aim of overthrowing the legitimately elected President, Nicolas Maduro.

Iran is challenging the US administration and considers it a victory that its first tanker went through without being intercepted. Tehran considers this challenge to US authority much more significant than the downing of the US’s most sophisticated drone or the bombing of the US’s largest military base in Ayn al-Assad, Iraq.

“Our allies used to wonder why Iran was not confronting the US dominance face-to-face. In fact, we were preparing for this day, and what helps us the most is the US sanctions that force this country to be autonomous on many levels. Today, Iran and its allies are all equipped with strong ideology and motivation to face down US hegemony, with sufficiently advanced military and financial support to stand up to the US and its allies, both in the Middle East and outside the Middle East. Since World War II the US has not faced a challenge to its hegemony similar to the one Iran is representing, particularly when the main enemy, the US, believes that 40 years of sanctions and maximum pressure have crippled Iran’s capabilities. Imam Khamenei informed all our allies that the military and financial support to all of them will increase and will meet all their needs in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. The Axis of the Resistance is now ready and united as one front”, said the source.

Venezuela had asked President Vladimir Putin for help. Russia said clearly it was not willing to send ships close to the US coast because that might support President Trump by triggering a false threat which could lead to unifying the national feeling behind him. This is why Putin had to refuse Venezuela’s request. Iran came forward at the first demand and was grateful for the opportunity to challenge the US and to pay back the support Venezuela offered in the year 2008 when Iran was in need and under heavy US sanctions that forbid technology transfer to build or repair its own refineries. Since then, Iran has built 11 refineries (and 3 more in Pars, Anahita and Bahman Geno which are still under construction) and is considered the third most important country in the world to have developed Gas to Liquid technology (GTL).

Since the US assassinated Brigadier General Qassem Soleimani at Baghdad’s airport, Iran has imposed new rules of engagement on the US. Its message consists in the inevitability of a response against its enemies if they hit Iran, and the threat that no attack will go unanswered. It seems Iran is no longer ready to turn the other cheek and has decided to take special measures to respond to any attack against its troops or interests, including in Syria (more details will be provided in another article). Also, Iran and its allies have raised the level of readiness to maximum in case the US administration decides to attack any aspect of Iran’s interests, particularly the flotilla heading to Venezuela.

Iran is not facing the US directly, and is not asking its allies to do the job on its behalf. The “Persian rug weaver” waited through 40 years of sanctions for this day, until its capability and preparations were completed. This means that now Iran will be tougher and harder, and that is manifest in the election of the new parliament and the new government. President Trump has abused and exhausted all the avenues used by President Hassan Rouhani. Therefore, any new negotiation between Iran and the US will be very difficult: there is a total lack of trust in any document signed by the US.

Whether a Republican or a Democrat reaches the White House at the end of 2020, they will be waiting by the phone for many long years if they imagine that Iran will take the initiative and call the US for a meeting. It will now be up to the US to prove to Iran that it is worth holding any negotiations at all.

Iran has planted robust roots in Afghanistan, Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Yemen. It is now spreading towards Venezuela and will support President Maduro, a strategic rather than ideological ally, to stand against US hegemony and sanctions. More tankers are expected to follow in the very near future. Iran is eager to confront President Trump and tempt him into a confrontation only months before the elections. The Coronavirus mismanagement, the US’s rebuttal of its deals with Russia, Trump’s aggressive position towards China and the World Health Organisation, and his rejection of the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA): all these are striking possibilities for a challenge to his re-election. This is why Iran is preparing more surprises for Trump- to show that his Middle Eastern policy is jeopardizing the safety and security of the US and its allies both in Europe and the Middle East, and indeed global world security.

US’ Decline Speeding Up – Iran’s Shamkhani

US’ Decline Speeding Up – Iran’s Shamkhani

By Staff, Agencies

Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council [SNSC] Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani in a message referred to US President Donald Trump team’s empty boasting and said that the decline of the US has been speeding up.

“Empty boasting of #Trump’s team amid the decline of the US has accelerated,” Shamkhani wrote on his Twitter account on Saturday.

“Successive failures in front of the axis of resistance and international conflicts; abroad economic crisis, catastrophic health system, restriction of media, deep social & security crisis; at home are undeniable,” he added.

Earlier, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a message said lawless bullying threatens international peace and security.

Breaking: Angry Venezuela ambassador slams US Iran threat

Trump veto’s Iran War Powers resolution, bill was passed after Soleimani’s assassination

By News Desk -2020-05-07

BEIRUT, LEBANON (12:20 P.M.) – U.S. President Donald Trump has vetoed the Iran War Powers resolution, putting an end to a bill that would have limited his ability to wage war against the Islamic Republic.

The resolution was previously passed in January after Trump ordered the assassination of Quds Force commander Major General Qassem Soleiamni.

In March, federal lawmakers passed a resolution amending the War Powers Act of 1973 by requiring the president to obtain Congressional approval before ordering military actions against other states.

“Congress should not have passed this resolution,” the White House said in a Wednesday press release announcing the veto decision.

“This was a very insulting resolution, introduced by Democrats as part of a strategy to win an election on November 3 by dividing the Republican Party,” the statement reads. “The few Republicans who voted for it played right into their hands.”

Trump further argued the resolution was “based on misunderstandings of facts and law,” adding that his January 3 order to assassinate Iranian Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani with a drone strike outside Baghdad Airport “was fully authorized by law, including by the Authorization for Use of Military Force Against Iraq Resolution of 2002 and Article II of the Constitution.”

The 2002 AUMF gave then-President George W. Bush the congressional authority to order the invasion of Iraq in order to depose Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

“Finally, S.J. Res. 68 would have greatly harmed the President’s ability to protect the United States, its allies, and its partners,” the statement continues. “The resolution implies that the President’s constitutional authority to use military force is limited to defense of the United States and its forces against imminent attack. That is incorrect. We live in a hostile world of evolving threats, and the Constitution recognizes that the President must be able to anticipate our adversaries’ next moves and take swift and decisive action in response. That’s what I did!”

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إيران بلغت مستوى جديداً من القوة.. والحرس الثوريّ يكشف عن مخطط أميركيّ لقصف منزل خامنئيّ

المصدر

قال قائد القوة الجو فضائية في حرس الثورة الإيراني، العميد أمير علي حاجي زادة، إن «الغربيين، ولا سيما الأميركيين منهم، غاضبون من نجاح عملية إطلاق قمر نور إلى الفضاء».

وأضاف حاجي زاده أن الغرب أدرك أن «إيران بلغت مستوى جديداً من القوة. ومن الطبيعي أن يتسبب ذلك في إزعاجهم، ولا سيما أن أجهزتهم الاستخبارية لم تكن على علم بالأمر، كما أنه جاء في ظل انشغالهم بأزمة كورونا».

وأكد زادة أن «جميع مراحل صناعة القمر وإطلاقه تمت من دون علم أجهزة المخابرات الغربية. ولهذا فوجئت».

وأضاف خلال لقاء تلفزيوني: «لا يمكن للولايات المتحدة الأميركية ارتكاب أي حماقة ضد إيران… ما يصرّح به المسؤولون فيها للاستهلاك الداخلي لا أكثر».

وأكد أن بلاده «ستعزز قدراتها الدفاعية والعسكرية والفضائية لضمان أمن إيران القومي».

من جهته، أكد المتحدث باسم مجلس صيانة الدستور في إيران، عباس علي كدخدائي، أن «قرار 2231 لمجلس الأمن الدولي لا يمنع إطلاق الصواريخ من جانب إيران بالمطلق»، معتبراً أن «المنع يشمل الصواريخ المصممة لحمل رؤوس نووية».

وكان أمين المجلس الأعلى للأمن القومي الإيراني علي شمخاني قال: «لا يمكن للعقوبات أو التهديدات أو الإغراءات السياسية أن تبطئ حركة إيران نحو تحقيق مصالحها الوطنية ونيل حقوقها الشرعية».

وأعلنت وكالة «إيسنا» الإيرانية في 22 نيسان الحالي عن إطلاق قوات حرس الثورة الإيرانية قمر «نور – 1» الاصطناعي للأغراض العسكرية.

الوكالة أكّدت نجاح حرس الثورة في وضع القمر الاصطناعي في مدار الأرض على بعد 425 كيلومتراً، لافتةً إلى أن ذلك يُعدّ إنجازاً كبيراً وتحولاً جديداً في المجال الفضائيّ لإيران.

من جهة أخرى، قال قائد القوة الجوية للحرس الثوري الإيراني، أمس، إن «الولايات المتحدة كانت تريد استهداف وقصف مقر المرشد الأعلى للبلاد علي خامنئي، عقب اغتيال الجنرال قاسم سليماني».

وقال القائد بالحرس الثوري، إن «أحد تلك المواقع الثقافية والمهمة، هي أنهم أرادوا قصف المقر الرسمي والمكتب ومكان العمل الرئيسي للمرشد الأعلى للثورة الإيرانية بالعاصمة طهران، لكنهم رأوا أن قاعدة عين الأسد أصيبت بصواريخ، وصباح اليوم نفسه تمّ بث برنامج لقاء خامنئي من مكتبه مع حشد من الإيرانيين».

وأضاف زاده أن «أميركا أرادت إيصال رسالة باغتيال سليماني، وهي أننا ضربنا رمز المقاومة، حتى نجعل الخوف والرعب في قلوب قادة المقاومة».

وتابع: «كان لديهم (الأميركان) تأكيد خاطئ بأن إيران لن ترد على اغتيال قاسم سليماني، عندما رأوا أن الناس كانوا يرددون شعار الانتقام، قالوا إن إيران إذا اتخذت إجراء، فسوف نقصف 52 موقعاً ونقطة في إيران».

واشار العميد حاجي زادة إلى انه حينما استهدفنا قاعدة عين الأسد تصوّرنا بانهم سيردون ولهذا الغرض فقد خططنا لاستهداف 400 نقطة تابعة للأميركيين في حال حصول ذلك.

WHAT WAR BETWEEN THE UNITED STATES AND IRAN COULD LOOK LIKE

South Front

The US-Iranian standoff in the Persian Gulf has once again entered an acute phase. On April 22, US President Donald Trump announced that he had ordered the US Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian gunboats that follow or harass US ships. In response, Commander-in-chief of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, Major General Hossein Salami declared on April 23 that Iran will provide a swift, “decisive” and “effective” response to US forces if they threaten Iranian “vessels or warships”.

One of the reasons behind the escalation is the consistent and strengthening anti-Iranian rhetoric of the White House as a part of Trump’s presidential campaign. Another driving force of the US actions is likely the sharpening global economic crisis and the turmoil on the energy market that has led to the dramatic collapse of oil prices. Indeed, a new conflict in the Persian Gulf could theoretically return the oil prices to $50-60 per barrel.

In the current situation, Iran is not interested in an escalation of the conflict with the United States. The escalation could, however, be instigated by the US military:

  • A warship or a group of warships could enter Iranian territorial waters;
  • A US military aircraft could violate Iranian airspace;
  • US forces could block for Iran the civilian maritime traffic through the Strait of Hormuz, or detain an Iranian oil tanker;
  • Warships of the US Navy could imitate an attack on an Iranian submarine;

Iranian forces would have to respond to such a provocation. Thus, a military confrontation could start. After initiating a localized military incident, the White House would accuse Iran of aggressive actions against US forces and the US navy could carry out a demonstrative missile strike on a target or several targets inside Iran. Such an attack would prompt an Iranian response that would involve both its regular and irregular warfare capabilities.

The IRGC Navy doctrine reflects irregular warfare principles that include the use of surprise, deception, speed, flexibility and adaptability, decentralization and highly mobile and maneuverable units,  all of which are used at sea. These include hit-and-run style surprise attacks or the amassing of large numbers of means and measures to overwhelm the enemies’ defenses. In this scenario the employed naval forces might be described as a mosquito-like swarm of small boats using their size and maneuverability to track and hunt down enemy warships.

The IRGCN’s mosquito-fleet concept enables rapid formation of tactical groups of small crafts to carry out a surprise strike at any given time from different directions in a particular area of the offshore zone. Such groups can deploy in attack formation immediately prior to reaching the area of the attack.

Crafts from the formation reach their assault line position either independently or in small groups. This is the way the Iranian Navy would employ the swarm concept. It is important to note the high motivation and ideological training of the mariners involved, who well understand the high level of threat to them personally in the event of the employment of this tactical scheme. IRGCN personnel are motivated and ready to accomplish any feat to defend their homeland. This factor (the high motivation of the personnel) makes a mosquito-fleet armed with missile, torpedo and anti-air weapons especially dangerous to naval forces of the US.

Th aircraft carriers and large warships of the US naval group would become the main priority target of the Iranian response. In the event that the Iranian attack succeeds, the US would have to carry out a massive strike on Iranian infrastructure objects or political and military command centers. Teheran would have either to accept their defeat in this limited confrontation or to respond with another attack on US forces in the region.

Current US military doctrine dictates the prior employment of mobile interoperable forces, unmanned and robotized systems, as well as massive strikes with high precision weapons in conjunction with the maximum usage of electronic warfare and information warfare. If the confrontation develops further the US would be forced to conduct a limited landing operation on key parts of the Iranian coast. The success of such a limited operation under the likely condition of a strong Iranian military response is improbable. Furthermore, the move would be hampered by the weak psychological condition of US service members caused by current developments inside the US.

The US military would have to either retreat or venture on to a large-scale military operation in the Persian Gulf region. If the number of forces involved does not allow Washington to deliver a devastating blow to Iran within 1-2 weeks, China or Russia could intervene in some form likely turning the military standoff into a frozen conflict.

It is likely that despite all difficulties, the US would be able to create an occupation zone inside Iran, likely in the coastal area near the Strait of Hormuz. The Iranian oil trade would be fully blocked and the US shale industry would be rescued. At the same time, Washington would have to deal with a permanent insurgency in the occupied area.

Another possible scenario is the defeat of the United States in this limited conflict because of significant losses in warships, aviation and service members of the involved interoperable forces. In this case, US influence in the region would be drastically undermined and the White House would start drawing up plans of revenge.

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New Satellite Greatly Boosting IRGC’s Intelligence Power – Chief Commander

New Satellite Greatly Boosting IRGC’s Intelligence Power – Chief Commander

By Staff, Agencies

Chief Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps Major General Hossein Salami said a multipurpose satellite that was launched into orbit on Wednesday is a great jump forward for the IRGC’s intelligence capabilities.

In comments after the launch of Iran’s first-ever military satellite “Noor1” into an earth orbit, Major General Salami said the successful launch of the multipurpose satellite would elevate the country’s defense power.

It is necessary for a powerful defense force like the IRGC to acquire space technologies, the general noted, saying strong armies in the contemporary era would lack a comprehensive defense plan without reaching the space.

“The acquisition of this raising technology that sends us to space and enhances the domain of our capabilities is a strategic achievement,” he stressed.

Salami further noted that the IRGC has made a great stride in promoting the scope of strategic intelligence capabilities.

“Today, we can observe the world from the space, which means the expansion of the strategic data of the IRGC’s mighty defense power.”

Salami underscored that the homegrown multipurpose satellite is generating “strategic added value” for Iran both in the information technology sphere and in information warfare.

The IRGC successfully put Noor1 [light] into orbit on Wednesday morning. The homegrown satellite was launched with a three-stage satellite carrier, dubbed Qassed [messenger], from a launch pad in Dasht-e Kavir, a large desert in central Iran.

The satellite has been placed into an orbit 425 kilometers above the Earth.

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كواليس وأسرار إطلاق القمر الصناعيّ العسكريّ الإيرانيّ

باريس – نضال حمادة

في عملية استعراض مفاجئة وسريعة لقدراتها التقنية والعلمية نجحت إيران بإطلاق القمر الصناعي المخصّص للأعمال التجسّسية «نور» الى الفضاء، وتمكّنت من وضعه في المدار حول الأرض بصورة مفاجئة، ودون أن تتمكن وحدة المراقبة الفضائية الأميركية والأقمار الصناعية الأميركية والأوروبية من رصد عمليات التحضير لإطلاق القمر الصناعي، كما لم تتمكن المنظومة التجسّسية الأميركية من الاطلاع على تحركات إيران بهذا الصدد، وتفاجأت وحدة المراقبة الفضائية الأميركية بدخول قمر صناعي للأغراض التجسسّية المجال الفضائي للأرض وأنّ مصدر إطلاق هذا القمر إيران، وفور انتشار خبر إطلاق إيران لصاروخ باليستي يحمل قمراً صناعياً بدأت وسائل الإعلام الأميركية والإسرائيلية الحديث عن فشل وضع القمر الصناعي في مداره حول الأرض، قبل أن تعلن شركات المراقبة الخاصة أنها التقطت إشارات هذا القمر على الترددات المحددة له.

ومن ثم حسمت وحدة المراقبة الفضائية الأميركية الجدل وأعلنت نجاح ايران بإطلاق قمرها التجسّسي الصناعي الأول ووضعه في مداره حول الأرض، وأكدت أنه وفقاً للمسار الذي وضع فيه القمر وطريقة دورانه المنحنية بين قطبي الأرض فهو قمر صناعي للأغراض التجسسية.

في المعلومات التي حصلت عليها جريدة البناء فقد تمّت عملية وضع القمر الصناعي نور على الصاروخ الذي حمله الى الفضاء بشكل سري وسريع وبمدة لم تتجاوز الساعتين، بحيث لم تتمكن أجهزة الرصد الدولية والشركات الخاصة التي تمسح الفضاء الأرضي على مدار الساعة من معرفة شيء عن عملية الإطلاق إلا بعدما أصبح القمر الصناعي التجسسي الإيراني «نور» في مداره حول الأرض. وفي المعلومات أن عملية إطلاق الصاروخ الذي حمل القمر الصناعي نور لم تتمّ من ايّ من مراكز إطلاق الصواريخ الإيرانية المعروفة بل تمت عملية الإطلاق من على متن منصة متحركة وتمت عملية حشو الصاروخ بالشحنة الدافعة قبل ساعتين من عملية الإطلاق التي تكللت بالنجاح. وأعلنت مراصد فضائية خاصة ومواقع للرصد الفضائي أنها رصدت القمر الصناعي الإيراني نور واحد وهو يحلق فوق إيران وفوق الولايات المتحدة وفوق دول أخرى منها باكستان، كما اعلنت أنها التقطت اشارات القمر الصناعي الإيراني فوق بحر العرب وفوق المحيط الهندي، كما أفادت المعلومات أن أولى إشارات القمر الإيراني تم التقاطها حوالي الساعة 15 بالتوقيت الدولي أي بعد 11 ساعة من عملية الإطلاق. وهذا ما يجعل عملية التتبع والرصد الأميركي متأخرة وعليها أن تبدأ من نقطة الصفر. وهذا بحد ذاته عمل مهني قام به علماء الفضاء الإيرانيّون..

US Navy Has Authorities to Translate Trump’s Warning to Iran Into Lethal Action – Pentagon

Two Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGCN) vessels, some of several to maneuver in what the U.S. Navy says are unsafe and unprofessional actions against U.S. Military ships by crossing the ships’ bows and sterns at close range is seen next to the guided-missile destroyer USS Paul Hamilton in the Gulf April 15, 2020
Ayatollah Khamenei praises IRGC’s performance

Sputnik

22.04.2020

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – US Navy commanders have all the necessary authorities to translate President Donald Trump’s warning to Iran into lethal action, Defense Department officials said during a press briefing on Wednesday.

“Every capability that we deploy, every ship that deploys in harm’s way has an inherent right to self-defence. What that means is if we see a hostile act, a hostile intent, we have the right to respond up to including lethal force,” Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff John Hyten told reporters. “But nobody should doubt that the commanders have the authority right now to respond to any hostile act or hostile intent.”

Hyten praised Trump’s message to Iran, saying, “That’s perfect. We know how to translate that into the rules of engagement.”

However, Hyten refused to elaborate on the rules of engagement and said they mean that a commander cannot let an enemy vessel “get in a position where it can threaten your ship.”

Deputy Defence Secretary David Norquist agreed that Trump issued an important warning to Iran.

“What he was emphasizing is that all of our ships retain the right of self-defence,” Norquist said.

The apparent warning comes one week after Iranian fast boats harassed US Navy ships in the Persian Gulf.

Earlier in the day, Trump said via Twitter that he has directed the US Navy to attack and destroy any Iranian gunboats that approach and intimidate US warships at sea.

100 days later: Who won the war?

Source

April 12, 2020 – 8:50

The assassination of General Qassem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, which was carried out 100 days ago in a terrorist attack in Baghdad’s international airport, may be considered the biggest miscalculation and security mistake by the United States ever. 

However, the assassination was said to be a unilateral and personal decision by Trump and some other officials in the White House and the Pentagon, which revealed Trump and his inner circle’s misunderstanding of the regional events. 

Trump made the decision to achieve his desired results. In a rush caused by confusion, the U.S president sought results that he had imagined could be achieved by the assassination of Gen. Soleimani. 

One of the important driving factors in Trump’s decision-making process and his insane political approach was to achieve his electoral interests. It was assumed that the assassination could affect the 2020 election in his favor. Also, by martyring Gen. Soleimani the White House had the illusion that it can bring the political situation in Iraq under its control, an issue which was defined by Trump’s domestic goals.   

Of course, the pressure applied by the Zionist regime and its interests played an important role in U.S. decisions. Tel Aviv, meanwhile, was under domestic pressure and failing to form a cabinet. It also was being threatened by the Lebanese Hezbollah and resistance groups in Palestine.  

It was believed that the main reason for failures of the U.S. and Israel in the region was Iran, particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force whose commander enjoyed a charismatic personality. 

Numerous political and field achievements and the success of the axis of resistance in Palestine, Lebanon, Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, as well as the repeated failures of Saudi Arabia, as an Israeli-American stooge, are the main reasons that led Trump to make such a decision. 

Trump was trying to change the situation in Iran, which had been put under maximum political and economic pressure, in U.S. favor by assassinating commander Soleimani.  Buy looking at the events that followed the assassination and the regional developments, one can see Trump’s miscalculations and wrong decision. 

The assassination of the Quds Force commander was opposed by many Americans. The opposition emerged even at the political level and worldwide, as many believed Gen. Soleimani was an important figure in the fight against terrorism and ISIS. They viewed his assassination in contrast to the U.S. anti-terrorism claims. 

According to polls, Trump’s popularity and a chance of winning the next election have even declined, a matter that he did not expect. Many Americans are well aware that Trump is, in fact, a tool for implementing the “madman theory”. He has the mission to use American citizens as a means to meet the goal of 3 percent of the American Jewish community, which is political and economic exploitation. 

Trump may never have predicted that large crowds in Iran, Iraq, Syria, and the countries classified as members of the axis of resistance would attend the funeral processions for commander Soleimani. The funeral, which was attended by millions of people, was actually an anti-U.S. referendum that showed how popular the discourse of the resistance movement is. In fact, the Americans realized that “Martyr Soleimani” is more alive and more dangerous for the enemy than “Qassem Soleimani”. 

Evaluations showed that most of those who paid homage to Qassem Soleimani before his martyrdom and looked at him as a hero and legendary commander in the fight against terrorism, now consider him not as a person but a school. 

But another issue that the Americans sought to achieve by assassination was to reduce the sphere of the influence of the Iranian Islamic resistance movement in Palestine and Iraq. The Americans assumed by conducting the terrorist attack, they would be able to reduce Iran’s influence in the region and have more chance to carry out their plans in Iraq. Therefore, a little while after the assassination, reducing the Iranian influence in the region becomes a hot button subject for Western media outlets. 

This was another huge miscalculation by the Americans. They did not know that in addition to his commanding and charismatic personality, what made Haj Qassem Soleimani a great figure, was his quest for a discourse that is being led by Ayatollah Khamenei. It is a discourse that contains theory and worldview of martyrdom. 
Although the martyrdom of Commander Soleimani was a great blow to Iran and the axis of resistance, it did not mean that Iran would remain inactive from now on.  Tehran immediately appointed Gen. Esmail Qaani as commander of the IRGC Quds Force. The U.S. has been worried about the new commander since the outset of his appointment and even spoke of his assassination. 

Of course, after a short period of time, the axis of resistance made more achievements, especially in Syria. All these factors show that today all the countries member to the axis of resistance are more determined to achieve their goals with respect to martyr Soleimani, who has now become a school.

US Taking Iranian Scientists Hostage: Zarif

Source

March 28, 2020

ZARRIF

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called on Washington to release innocent Iranian scientists jailed in horrific US facilities amid the pandemic of the new coronavirus.
“US has taken several Iranian scientists hostage—without charge or on spurious sanctions charges—& not releasing them; even when its OWN courts reject the absurd charges,” Zarif said in a post on his Twitter account on Friday.

Amid the pandemic, the US administration has even refused medical furlough for innocent Iranians jailed in horrific facilities, he added, Press TV reported.

He also attached to his tweet an image of an interview published by the British daily Guardian quoting an Iranian scientist detained by the US Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) as saying that the ICE’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak may kill him along with many other inmates.

The daily Guardian published an interview with Iranian materials science and engineering professor Sirous Asghari on Friday detailing the “inhumane” jail conditions at his ICE facility.

Asghari, which is being detained indefinitely by ICE despite being exonerated in a US sanctions trial last November, said that little is being done to protect inmates from the outbreak in his “filthy and overcrowded” detention center.

The United States has a long history of harassing Iranian and Iranian-Americans in the US, many of whom have been academics charged with violating US sanctions against Iran.

US President Donald Trump reinstated Washington’s sanctions on Iran in May 2018 after he unilaterally left the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Iran and major world powers.

The sanctions also target much-need humanitarian aid from reaching the country despite an International Court of Justice ruling banning aid-related sanctions in 2018.

The Iranian foreign minister on Wednesday blasted US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for keeping up a “third-rate propaganda” barrage against Tehran even at a time when the world is busy fighting a deadly coronavirus pandemic.

“Even a pandemic won’t stop @SecPompeo from spouting 3rd-rate propaganda,” Zarif tweeted after the top US diplomat claimed that the government of Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani was “mishandling” the outbreak of the highly-contagious virus called COVID-19.

Source: Mehr News Agency

Related

هل يرتكب ترامب حماقة شنّ غارات على إيران بعد أن قهره القائد “كوفيد التاسع عشر”…!؟

محمد صادق الحسيني

حملة صحافية أميركية معادية لإيران على قاعدة اختفاء شخص أميركي منذ سنوات…!

هل ستكون هذه القضية الشمّاعة التي ينوي ترامب ورهطه استخدامها ضدّ إيران لشنّ هجمات ضدّها؟ يتساءل مراقبون ومطلعون على خفايا الحرب السرية الأميركية ضدّ إيران، والذين يذهب بعضهم الى الاعتقاد بأنّ المناورات الأخيرة الأميركية الإماراتية والشائعات حول احتمال قيام واشنطن بتوجيه ضربات أميركية انتقامية ضدّ مراكز استراتيجية معينة في إيران تترافق مع تدبير انقلاب ضدّ العملية السياسية العراقية برمّتها قد تكونان في السياق نفسه!

الأمر يصعب تصديقه من حيث موازين القوى التي لا تسمح لترامب المنكسر المهزوم ذلك، لكن الطبيعة العدوانية والمقامرة للنظام الأميركي لا سيما في عهد ترامب قد تجعل ذلك احتمالاً وارداً!

فما هي طبيعة هذه الحملة اليكم التفاصيل:

1

ـ عندما تقوم مجلة “ذي ناشيونال انتِرِست” (The National Interest) الأميركيّة بنشر مقال مطوّل ومفصّل جداً، يوم 26/3/2020 بقلم الكاتب الأميركي ماتيو بيتي (Mathew Petti)، حول عميل سابق متقاعد لـ “أف بي أي” (FBI) الأميركي، اختفى بتاريخ 9/3/2007 أثناء وجوده في جزيرة كيش الإيرانية، فلا بدّ أن تكون هناك دوافع جدية لهذا الاهتمام المتجدّد بهذا الشخص، الذي يدعى روبرت ليفينسون (Robert Levinson).

2

ـ وعندما يصرّح وزير الخارجية الاميركي، مايك بومبيو، بتاريخ 10/3/2020، تعليقاً على الدعوات، التي تكرّرت من جانب جهات دولية، لرفع الحصار عن إيران، لمساعدتها او تمكينها من مواجهة وباء كورونا، بالقول: إنّ على كلّ دولة تريد تقديم مساعدة إنسانية لإيران أن تطالب النظام بالمعاملة بالمثل، ايّ تقديم لفتات إنسانية مقابلة كالإفراج عن العديد من المواطنين الأميركيين المحتجزين هناك دون وجه حق.

3

ـ انضمام مستشار الأمن القومي للرئيس الأميركي، روبيرت أوبراين (Robert O’Brien) للجوقة، التي تعزف على وتر المفقود ليفينسون، يوم 26/3/2020 وإدلائه بتصريح يقول فيه إنّ ليفينسون ربما يكون قد مات منذ زمن بعيد، لهو مؤشر إضافي على أنّ هذا الاهتمام المفاجئ بموضوع هذا العميل السري، له أسباب تتخطى المجال الإنساني المحصّن بشكل كبير.

4

ـ أما ما يعزز هذا الافتراض، بأنّ البيت الأبيض ووزارة الخارجية الأميركية يستخدمان هذه الورقة لشنّ حملة منسّقة ضدّ إيران، بهدف التمهيد لاتخاذ إجراءات معينة ضدّها، غير العقوبات الاقتصادية، نقول إنّ ما يعزز هذا الافتراض هو اهتمام الرئيس الأميركي شخصياً بهذا الموضوع، وتأييده تصريحات أوبراين، حول احتمال وفاة هذا العميل الأميركي المفقود، وذلك في تغريدة لترامب نشرت مساء الأربعاء 25/3/2020. وكذلك اهتمام بومبيو شخصياً بالموضوع وتصريحه المُشار إليه أعلاه بهذا الشأن. وهو ما يعطي الأمر دفعاً كبيراً ويعمل على تحويله الى قضية دولية، خاصة إذا ما أضاف المرء الى ذلك طرح الولايات المتحدة ادّعاء احتجاز إيران لخمسة مواطنين أميركيين (أربعة منهم من أصل إيراني) وربط ضرورة إطلاق سراحهم بانتشار كورونا في إيران.

5

ـ كما يجب التذكير بعودة مسؤول في الخارجية الأميركية، قبل أيّام، للادّعاء بأنّ إيران كانت قد وعدت الولايات المتحدة بالتعاون معها، للكشف عن مصير روبرت ليفينسون في وقت سابق، الأمر الذي نفاه الناطق السابق باسم الخارجية الإيرانية، بهرام قاسمي، بتاريخ 10/3/2018، وهو ما يدلّ على انّ الإدارة الأميركية تتحرّك بناءً على مخطط لاستثمار هذا الموضوع، ضدّ إيران، في أمر أكبر بكثير من القضايا الإنسانية او حتى الدعاية الإعلامية المضادة لإيران.

6

ـ وهنا لا بدّ من التأكيد على أنّ الإدارة الأميركية لا تملك أيّ معلومات دقيقة، حول مصير هذا الشخص، وذلك لأنها (الإدارة) قد أبلغت صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز”، بتاريخ 25/3/2020، انّ استنتاجاتها تشير الى أنّ ليفينسون قد توفي قبل بعض الوقت (دون تحديد تاريخ معيّن). ايّ انّ الإدارة قد خلقت قضية، من خلال استنتاجاتها، المستندة الى طيف من المعلومات، بما في ذلك معلومات إيرانية تمّ اعتراضها من قبل وسائل الاعتراض (التجسّس) الأميركية.

بينما تؤكد وكالة “أسوشيتدبرس” الأميركية، حسب ما نقلته عنها مجلة “ذي انتريست” الأميركية، يوم الخميس 26/3/2020، بأنّ مصدر المعلومات، حول وفاة هذا الشخص، هو وزارة الخارجية الإيرانية…! الإدارة الأميركية تتقن الكذب، لكن على المعنيين الإيرانيين إجراء تحقيق جدي لديهم للتأكد من وجود عميل آخر يكون هو مَن سرّب من داخل إيران للإدارة الأميركية خبر وفاة ليفينسون بغضّ النظر عن صحة المعلومات من عدمها.

7

ـ وفِي كلّ الأحوال فإنّ صحيفة “نيويورك تايمز” ووكالة أنباء “أسوشيتدبرس” تؤكدان أن الإدارة الأميركية قد أبلغت، قبل أسابيع، عائلة ليفينسون بوفاته في السجون الإيرانية. في الوقت الذي يؤكد فيه الناطق أو ناطق باسم الخارجية الأميركية، مورغانتو أورتاغوس (Morgan Ortagus)، تعليقاً على إعطاء الحكومة الأميركية إجازة من السجن، من ضمن 70 ألف سجين إيراني، لضابط سابق في سلاح البحرية الأميركية، يدعى ميخائيل وايت (Michael White)، قال اورتاغوس، بتاريخ 19/3/2020، انّ الولايات المتحدة تدعو إيران للإفراج الفوري عن جميع المواطنين الأميركيين المحتجزين في إيران وتدعوها أيضاً للوفاء بوعدها في التعاون، مع واشنطن، للكشف عن مصير ليفينسون.

لكن يبقى السؤال:

8

ـ من هو روبرت ليفينسون؟

إنه ضابط سابق /متقاعد/ في مكتب التحقيقات الفدرالي الأميركي (FBI)، تمّ تجنيده من قبل مجموعة من المحللين، في وكالة الاستخبارات المركزية الأميركية، وفي كسر لقوانين هذه الوكالة، التي تمنع ذلك، حسب ما أوردته وكالة “أسوشيتدبرس” الأميركية، (تمنع قيام المحللين بتجنيد أشخاص من خارج الوكالة وتكليفهم بمهمات تجسّس)، وتمّ تكليفه بالسفر الى جزيرة كيش وجمع معلومات حول إيران لصالح الولايات المتحدة.

وعندما اختفى من الجزيرة بتاريخ 9/3/2007 رفضت وكالة المخابرات المركزية التطرق الى اختفائه وافتراض علاقة لها بالموضوع ولمدة أشهر عديدة. لكن الأمور تغيّرت عندما اكتشف الكونغرس الأميركي هذا الموضوع، حيث انفجرت إحدى أكبر فضائح المخابرات المركزية الأميركية، وذلك لأنّ الوكالة قد طردت ثلاثة محللين وعاقبت سبعة آخرين بعقوبات إدارية. كما دفعت لعائلة ليفينسون مبلغ مليونين ونصف مليون دولار مقابل ان لا تقوم العائلة بمقاضاة “سي أي آي”.

علماً انّ الرواية الرسمية الأميركية حول كلّ هذه القضية بقيت ثابتة ولم تتغيّر، رغم معرفة البيت الأبيض والخارجية الأميركية ومكتب التحقيقات الفيدرالي (FBI)، بعلاقات ليفينسون مع “سي أي آي”. تلك الرواية التي تقول إنّ هذا الشخص هو مواطن عادي سافر في رحلة عمل الى جزيرة كيش الإيرانية واختفى هناك!

إصرار ترامب على العودة الطبيعية للعمل الحكومي والمجتمعي في الولايات المتحدة الأميركية والسيطرة على وباء كورونا في أواسط نيسان/ أبريل كحدّ أقصى دفع بأصحاب الخيال الى الاعتقاد بانّ ترامب يحضر لضربات متتالية لإيران في الأسبوع الأول من نيسان/ أبريل، وذلك على غرار ضربة الـ “تي فور” في سورية، ليخرج من بعدها بطلاً قومياً بعد فشله في الحرب على كورونا او ما بات يسمّى بـ “القائد كوفيد التاسع عشر”…!

ولكن اذا ما فعلها ترامب فعلاً فيكون قد ارتكب غلطة العمر..

لأنّ من يبدأ الضربة الأولى في مثل موازين القوى الراهنة قد تكون هي ضربته الأخيرة والتي تخرجه من المسرح السياسي الى الأبد!

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله.

Iran president: US Offer of Coronavirus Aid ‘biggest lie in History’

March 23, 2020

ROUHANI

President Hassan Rouhani says the US offer to help Iran in its fight against the coronavirus is one of the biggest lies in history where American sanctions are hindering Tehran’s access to medical supplies.

Rouhani on Monday noted that Washington’s “unjust, illegal and terrorist” sanctions against Iran as well as other countries’ submission to the US pressure over fear of punishment “have created many problems for our country”.

Iran is battling the coronavirus under the harshest sanctions which the US imposed after leaving a UN-backed nuclear deal between Tehran and major world powers in 2018.

After leaving the landmark nuclear deal, Washington began forcing its European allies and other countries to toe its sanctions line.

As a result, Britain, France, and Germany have stopped their transactions with the Islamic Republic in breach of the nuclear deal which requires the signatories to protect Iran from the sanctions.

Rouhani said American leaders are lying when they claim that they want to help Iran, adding all they need to do is to lift sanctions. “Then we can deal with the coronavirus outbreak,” he added.

US officials have refused to lift draconian sanctions which are hampering Iran’s efforts to contain the coronavirus. They have instead claimed readiness to aid Iranians, with President Donald Trump saying “all they have to do is ask”.

Rouhani said the US president “is like someone who has blocked the path to a well and not allowing anybody to approach the clean water of the well … and in return compliments a glass of muddy water and says, ‘I have come to help and I know you are thirsty’.”

The Iranian president blamed the US for the shortage of some essential medicines and making life difficult for Iranians.

“We don’t need the US’ glass of muddy water,” he said, adding the Americans had better remove the barriers.

“They would rather go away and remove the barriers and do not harm nations and companies, buyers and importers and exporters. Our nation and our businessmen, doctors and scientists themselves know well what to do,” Rouhani said.

Rouhani stressed that the Iranian nation will stand on its own feet.

In late January, the United States and Switzerland announced the launch of a channel to ship food and medicine to Iran from the Scandinavian country.

Washington alleges that it has exempted foodstuffs and medicine from its anti-Iran sanctions, something that Tehran rejects as a “brazen” lie as the bans have deterred several foreign banks from doing any business with Tehran.

Iran has written to the United Nations and all international organizations, urging the removal of the draconian measures that have come in the way of the country’s fight against the virus.

Iranian Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Monday that the number of coronavirus deaths had increased to 1,812 and the total infections to 23,049 during the past 24 hours.

“There have been 127 new deaths and 1,411 new infections since Sunday,” he said.

Jahanpour further put the number of patients who have recovered from the viral disease at 8,376.

Related News

Source: Iranian Agencies

Iran can disable U.S. RQ-4 drone from remote distance: commander

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh

February 7, 2020 – 11:52

TEHRAN – The commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Aerospace Force announced on Thursday that his country enjoys the technology to turn the U.S. modern large-size U.S. RQ-4 drone inefficient even while the aircraft is flying thousands of kilometers away from Iran’s borders.

Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh made the announcement in an interview with the national TV.

On June, 20 2019, the IRGC shot down the U.S. RQ-4 Global Hawk surveillance drone near the Kouh-e Mobarak region in the central district of Jask County after it violated the Iranian airspace.

The RQ-4 Global Hawk unmanned aircraft system (UAS) can fly at high altitudes for more than 30 hours, gathering near-real-time, high-resolution imagery of large areas of land in all types of weather.

In his Thursday remarks, Hajizadeh added that new parts of the downed U.S. drone have been recently discovered in depth of Iran’s southern waters.

“We have accessed to the RQ-4 drone’s secret codes… We can make the drone inefficient from several thousands of kilometers distance,” the commander explained.

According to the IRGC June statement, the Global Hawk had flown from one of the American bases in the southern parts of the Persian Gulf region at 00:14 a.m. local time, with its identification transponders off in breach of all international aviation rules.

It said the drone had stealthily continued on the route from the Strait of Hormuz towards Iran’s port city of Chabahar.

While returning towards west of the Strait of Hormuz, the drone violated Iran’s territorial airspace and began gathering intelligence and spying, the statement said.

The drone was targeted and shot down by the IRGC at 04: 05 a.m. local time, it added.

The drone was shot by the homegrown air defense missile system called “Khordad-3rd”.

An informed IRGC source in Hormozgan province said at the time that the drone had been targeted near the Kouh-e Mobarak region and fell down in the area of Ras al-Shir in Iran’s territorial waters.

He said the downing came after repeated violations of Iran’s airspace by U.S. reconnaissance drones in the Persian Gulf region.

Wreckage of U.S. drone exhibited

For the first time, the IRGC Aerospace Force on Thursday put on display the full wreckage of the American spy drone. The wreckage was broadcast on national TV.

A small part of the drone’s wreckage had been put on display a day after the downing.

New information about attack on U.S. airbase will be released soon

Hajizadeh also said the Aerospace Force will soon release details about Iran’s missile attack on the U.S. airbase in western Iraq in response to the assassination of the IRGC Quds Force Commander General Qassem Soleimani.

In Iran’s missile attack on the Ain al-Assad airbase on January 8, U.S. President Donald Trump claimed that “no Americans were harmed”. However, the Pentagon gradually released reports that certain American service members had suffered traumatic brain injuries (TBI).

“There is a possibility that until sometime later they would announce that some American military forces have ‘died from mild brain injuries,” Hajizadeh said sarcastically.

USA Today reported on Feb. 6 that as it turned out, despite troops huddling in bomb shelters, dozens suffered brain injuries from the explosions when a payload of nearly a ton slammed into their base.

Frank Larkin, a former SEAL and retired sergeant-at-arms for the U.S. Senate, wrote in a letter that Trump’s comment “was a hard hit to the gut”.

According to USA Today, Larkin wasn’t alone in his disappointment. Veterans groups, led by the 1.6 million member Veterans of Foreign Wars, demanded a presidential apology.

Military Times reported on Wednesday that a 2011 Defense Department policy change regarding mild traumatic brain injury may mean nearly 60 U.S. service members are eligible for the Purple Heart following the Jan. 8 Iran ballistic missile attack.

Jonathan Hoffman, the chief Pentagon spokesman, did not confirm to reporters Monday if Purple Hearts would be awarded for troops injured in the Iran strike.

Hoffman said the awarding of the Purple Heart was a question for each of the individual services of the “affected members” to answer due to “standards that they all have with regard to” TBI. Hoffman said he had not received an updated timeline on how that process was playing out.

As of Jan. 30, 64 service members have been diagnosed with mild TBI stemming from the Iranian attack, according to the Pentagon.

Hoffman told reporters Monday that about 60 percent of those service members have returned to duty.

Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters recently that he had personally explained to the president the implications of the diagnosis.

“I’ve had the chance to speak with the president. He is very concerned about the health and welfare of all of our service members — particularly those who were involved in the operations in Iraq,” Esper said.

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لماذا إيران معادلة ضروريّة في الشرق الأوسط؟

د.وفيق إبراهيم

تتضاعف الأسباب التي تجعل من إيران جزءاً أساسياً من معادلة الدفاع عن الشرق الأوسط. وتؤكد على دورها المحوري والمركزي فيه.

هذا استنتاج واقعيّ بعد زمن عاصف تجتازه الجمهورية الإسلامية في إيران منذ انتصار ثورتها في 1979، متواصلاً حتى الآن على شكل صراع إيرانيّ مع كل من الأميركيين والإسرائيليين في سورية والعراق ولبنان، والخليج وسط حصار أميركي مضروب عليها، اقتصادياً وسياسياً، تنتابه اعتداءات عسكرية أميركية وإسرائيلية ومحاولات خنق باستعمال النفوذ الأميركي العالمي لمنع معظم الدول من إقامة علاقات اقتصادية معها، وكل أنواع العلاقات.

ابتدأ هذا الصراع الإيراني ـ الأميركي بعد نجاح الإمام الخميني بإسقاط شاه إيران رأس المعادلة الأميركية في الشرق الأوسط وشرطي الخليج في 1979 .

لقد كان واضحاً أن برنامج عمل هذه الثورة يستهدف النفوذ الأميركي في إيران على قاعدة إسلامية، وبما ان الإسلام دين أممي، فكان طبيعياً ان ينتقل صدى النجاح الإيراني الى الإقليم العربي المجاور وآسيا الوسطى..

وهذه معاقل أميركية اساسية خصوصاً في انحائها التركية والإسرائيلية والمصرية والسعودية ـ الخليجية، وهي كبرى المعاقل في المنطقة.

هناك نقطتان اضافيتان تجب الإشارة اليهما، وهما تزامن الثورة الإيرانية، مع استسلام السادات الرئيس المصري السابق لـ”إسرائيل” في اتفاقية كمب ـ دايفيد 1979، وما أدت إليه من انسحاب مصر من الصراع العربي ـ الإسرائيلي وتحوّلها حليفاً كاملاً لـ”إسرائيل” وآلية أميركية.

أما النقطة الثانية فهي تراجع أهمية الاتحاد السوفياتي بسبب خسارة حرب افغانستان وإصابته بإرهاق بنيوي في حروب الايديولوجيا والتسلح بمواجهة الأميركيين والأوروبيين، ما جعل إيران وحيدة في صراعها مع الأميركيين واعوانهم الشرق الأوسطيين، هؤلاء الذين استعملوا ضدها كل قواهم لإسقاط دولتها، من تحشيد طائفي ومذهبي الى تمويل وتدريب لبعض المجموعات الإيرانية الداخلية وصولاً إلى شنّ حرب عليها بلبوس عراقي من صدام حسين مدعوم أميركياً وخليجياً وأوروبياً وإسرائيلياً، كان المطلوب استئصال إيران الإسلامية للاستفراد بعملية تفتيت الشرق الأوسط على نحو يبقى فيه تحت النفوذ الأميركي ـ الغربي قروناً طويلة.

إن انهيار الاتحاد السوفياتي في 1989 وتفرّغ الصين لتطوير امبراطوريتها الاقتصادية جعلا الأميركيين يستعجلون في عملية الأطباق على الشرق الاوسط، مدمّرين العراق منذ تسعينيات القرن الماضي الى أن احتلوه في 2003 بعد سيطرتهم على افغانستان في 2001، فركبوا على عجل مشروع الشرق الأوسط الجديد الذي يهدف إلى إعادة تقسيم دوله إلى كانتونات مذهبية وعرقية تسحب حيويتها ومصادر قواها.

لتنفيذ الخطة، استعمل الأميركيون طريقة الاحتلال المباشر والتدخلات العسكرية ومئات آلاف الإرهابيين، مكلفين بإدارتهم وتأمين ما يحتاجون اليه من سلاح وتدريب واعمال لوجيستية، كلاً من قطر والسعودية وتركيا والإمارات باعتراف وزير قطر السابق حمد بن تميم.

هنا، كانت إيران بمفردها بالمرصاد وسط غياب روسي، وصل إلى حدود التواطؤ في مرحلة الرئيس الروسي السابق يلتسين، فعملت على رعاية حزب الله تسليحاً وتدريباً وتمويلاً وربما أكثر، حتى نجح في تحرير جنوب لبنان رادعاً “إسرائيل” في أكثر من مرحلة.

كما جابهت الثورة الإيرانية المشروع الأميركي في سورية والعراق بدعم مفتوح للدولة السورية والحشد الشعبي في العراق اللذين انتصرا على المنظمات الإرهابية المحشدة لمئات ألاف العناصر.

هؤلاء استعملوا الحدود التركية والأردنية لاحتلال ثلاثة أرباع سورية والعراق، ولولا التحالف الذي جمع حزب الله والحشد الشعبي العراقي والدولة السورية مع إيران، لكان معظم الشرق الاوسط تحت سيطرة داعش والنصرة. هناك ثلاث نقاط اضافية أسهمت بنيوياً في حماية الشرق الاوسط وأولها الدعم الإيراني للقضية الفلسطينية في الداخل المحتل وبين اللاجئين الفلسطينيين في الدول المحيطة.

ها هو قائد منظمة حماس إسماعيل هنية يعترف بأن دعم إيران لمنظمته في غزة أدّى إلى صمود القطاع ومنع انهيار القضية، خصوصاً بعد انهيار سلطة محمود عباس في الضفة الغربية المحتلة، وتخليها عن تحرير فلسطين مقابل كانتون صغير.

أما الثانية فهي اليمن الذي تسانده إيران تسليحاً وتدريباً وتمويلاً في وجه حرب مستمرّة تشنها عليه السعودية والإمارات والاخوان المسلمون بتأييد أميركي ـ غربي إسرائيلي تركي منذ خمس سنوات متواصلة ومستمرة.

هذا اليمن اليوم يسجل النصر تلو الآخر ساحقاً القوات المهاجمة المغطاة بمقاتلات أميركية وإسرائيلية، بما يؤكد هزيمة المشروع الأميركي في اليمن والعراق.

أما النقطة الثالثة فهي في آسيا الوسطى حيث حاول الأميركيون استخدامها للنيل من إيران، فعلى جبهة البلوتش تلك الأقلية الموجودة على الحدود الباكستانية الإيرانية، فقد تمكّن الإيرانيون من إجهاض الاستعمال الأميركي ـ الخليجي لأدوار تخريبية لها داخل إيران بالصدام المباشر معها أو بالتنسيق مع باكستان.

كما أجهضت إيران المشروع السعودي ـ الإماراتي بتحريض طالبان الأفغانية عليها، وتمكنت من بناء خطوط اتصال وتأثير على القيادة الأفغانية، حتى أصبح لطهران نفوذ في باكستان أقوى من الاحتلال الأميركي فيها.

وهو نفوذ يجمع بين علاقات مع قيادات في الدولة الأفغانية ومنظمة طالبان والهزارة الأفغان المقيمين غرب حدودها.

بذلك تكون إيران قد تمكنت من تأمين حدودها مع العراق وتركيا وباكستان وأفغانستان بشكل كامل، ونجحت في دعم الخط اللبناني السوري العراقي اليمني، ما أدّى إلى فشل المشروع الأميركي بشرق أوسط كبير يواليها لقرون مقبلة.

ألا تكفي هذه الأدوار لاعتبار إيران قوة شرق أوسطية أولى، مقابل تراجع وظائف “إسرائيل” ومصر وتركيا والسعودية؟

لذلك فإن تطور الدور الإيراني أنما يتأسس على حساب تراجع النفوذ الأميركي عبر انحسار ادوار وكلائها وحروبها المباشرة.

وهذا يفسر اسباب الجنون الأميركي الذي يريد تفجير الدولية الإيرانية بأي وسيلة ممكنة.

فهل هذا ممكن؟ لم تتمكن أميركا من تحقيق هذه الأمنية في ال41 سنة الماضية، ما يؤكد أن حلف المقاومة ذاهب نحو المزيد من محاصرة النفوذ الأميركي حتى تحرير كامل الشرق الأوسط لمصلحة شعوبه وتاريخه وحضاراته.

The Mysterious Michael D’Andrea: Was the C.I.A.’s Iran Mission Center Chief Shot Down?

By Philip Giraldi

Source

Bombardier E11A Afghanistan 0ac7f

Last Monday a United States Air Force Bombardier E11A communications and intelligence gathering jet was either shot down or crashed in a remote mountainous region of Afghanistan. Almost immediately a story sourcing Taliban officials ran on Iranian State television claiming that the dead had included Michael D’Andrea, the chief of the Central Intelligence Agency (C.I.A.)’s special Iran task force, which goes by the name Iran Mission Center.

U.S. forces were hampered by weather, Taliban gunfire and terrain from reaching the site of the crash for more than 24 hours, and the lack of any kind of definitive commentary from Washington gave the story legs. Given the news vacuum on the story, the Iranian account was picked up throughout the Middle East, to include photos allegedly taken of the downed plane and of burned corpses. Russian Media also featured the story and it was eventually even reported, though with some editorial skepticism, by the Independent and Daily Mail in the United Kingdom.

The Pentagon eventually issued a brief report that the crash appeared to be accidental, perhaps due to weather, and stated still later that the pilot and co-pilot, both Air Force officers, had been killed. The statement to the media did not explicitly say whether or not there was anyone else on board the plane, which is capable of carrying additional crewmen and passengers. The C.I.A. refused to comment. Fully forty-eight hours after the crash the Pentagon released a second statement confirming that the two crewmen were Lt. Col. Paul K. Voss, 46, of Yigo, Guam; and Capt. Ryan S. Phaneuf, 30, of Hudson, New Hampshire.

The mainstream media in the U.S. dutifully replayed the government version of what had occurred, but that did not stop a wave of speculation regarding a possible cover-up. Some reasoned that the Iranians, who are cooperating with the Taliban against U.S. forces, seemed to be on top of the story first, indicating that they might have known what occurred in real time because they had been in the loop with the Taliban armed unit that may have shot the aircraft down using a Russian produced portable anti-aircraft missile launcher.

Many who were following the story were inclined to believe the account circulated by Iran and other media outlets because the United States has a recent track record of lying about nearly everything, including the “imminent threat” details of its recent assassination of Iranian Major General and Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani. The U.S. also lied when it claimed that there had been no casualties among American forces after Iran struck back against two bases in Iraq and many observers are quick to note that the United States has as its Chief Executive a man who calls journalists the “enemy of the people” and who is constantly claiming that there exists a huge reservoir of “fake news.”

So, another lie by the Pentagon in reporting the possibly successful attempt to kill a senior C.I.A. officer would be expected by nearly everyone, which is not to suggest that the Iranian account was necessarily true or accurate in all details. Iran would have had plenty of motive to create confusion about the United States and what it was doing in Afghanistan, particularly if the implication is that Afghanistan was being used as a launching pad to destabilize or even attack Iran, with which Kabul is not at war.

The White House and Agency have neither confirmed nor denied that the C.I.A. Chief of the Iran Mission Center Michael D’Andrea is still alive. He has in any event an interesting history. He is apparently a near contemporary of mine though I did not know him and do not know if that is his true name. As he is reported to be under cover, the fact that a name has surfaced at all is due to investigative reporting on him in the U.S. media. A former chief of the CI.A.’s Counter Terrorism Center, he was appointed to his current position by then Agency Director Mike Pompeo in June 2017. The New York Times reported that his appearance on the scene would mean a much harder line in opposing Iran on the part of the Trump Administration.

Within the Agency, D’Andrea was reportedly referred to as the Dark Prince or Ayatollah Mike, nicknames he acquired while heading the search for Usama bin Laden and also while directed drone strikes against al-Qaeda targets in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Syria, Yemen and Iraq. As a chain-smoking observant convert to Islam, he is not your conventional Agency officer, many of whom are more comfortable working inside from an Embassy desk rather than from a helicopter. A workaholic who keeps a roll away bed in his office, D’Andrea is, as a result of his abrasive style, reportedly extremely difficult to work with and not terribly popular.

One might also speculate that the claimed killing of D’Andrea is something like a half truth that might be construed as a warning. The C.I.A. officer might still be alive, but it is completely possible that the tale of his death was something of a contrivance to serve as a warning coming from the Iranian government suggesting that if the American government can kill senior Iranian officials, American senior officials might likewise also be targeted.

Even if D’Andrea was not on the plane, he just might come to the conclusion that his movements were being monitored. U.S. bases overseas are full of local employees who are engaged in menial tasks like driving or cleaning and even for perimeter and other basic security. Any number of them might be reporting on the movement of important Americans to the Taliban and other interested parties. D’Andrea and other senior U.S. government officials will inevitably have to think twice and increase their security arrangements when next they venture forth. And even an obstinate White House will perhaps begin to think that killing men like Qassem Soleimani is not a good idea because if we continue to do it to “them,” “they” will turn around and do it to us.

Imam Khomeini had a rather practical turn of mind: Falk

TEHRAN – Forty-one years have passed since Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, upon failure to attract popular support, fled Iran forever

January 17, 2020 – 13:2

Over the past decades, despite being faced with threats, provocations, harsh sanctions, and even a variety of covert interventions, Iran has been more stable than ever- a fact even acknowledged by Professor Richard Falk as the former UN Special Rapporteur.

Falk, who came to Tehran as a member of an American delegation in 1979, has an interesting narrative of Bakhtiar’s desperation on the day of Shah-Escape. 

As Iran marks 41th anniversary of Islamic revolution, we asked Professor Falk to share his experience from this historical trip and the visit he later had with the founder of Islamic republic of Iran Ayatollah Khomeini. 

Richard Anderson Falk is an American professor emeritus of international law at Princeton University. He is the author or co-author of 20 books and the editor or co-editor of another 20 volumes. In 2008, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) appointed Falk to a six-year term as a United Nations special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Palestinian Territories occupied since 1967.   

Following is the full text of the interview:

Q: Before Iran’s Islamic revolution, as a member of an American delegation, you had a visit to Iran. What were the objectives of that trip?

A: I was chair of a small committee in the United States with the name, “Committee for the Defense of Human Rights in Iran,” which sponsored events with Iranian students and some prominent figures. It became active within university settings as the revolutionary movement gathered momentum in 1978.

The Committee had almost no funding, but had dedicated members, and achieved a certain visibility as there was so little attention being given to these historic developments in Iran unfolding as the months passed. The treatment of these issues in the mainstream media was not only mostly very pro-Shah but also quite uninformative, and even uniformed.

It was in this context that I received as chair of the Committee an invitation from Mehdi Bazargan to visit Iran in a delegation of three persons for a period of two weeks. The stated purpose of the visit was to convey to several Americans a better understanding of the revolution underway. I felt that it was important to accept this invitation precisely for the reasons given in the letter of invitation. Our objective, then, was to achieve this better understanding of the revolution movement in Iran, and do our best after returning to share the experience and our impressions as widely as possible, and this is what we did.

In this spirit I did my best to find two persons who would benefit from such a visit, possessed an open mind toward the challenge being posed to imperial rule in Iran, and had some access to media and influential audiences back in the United States. My first two choices both agreed to become members of the delegation along with myself. Ramsey Clark was my first choice. He had been prominent in government, having been Attorney General, was part of a well-known political family, and had previously been considered a possible candidate for the American presidency. Besides being extremely intelligence, Ramsey had a high profile that generated great media interest and had a reputation for telling unpleasant and inconvenient truths.

My second choice was Philip Luce, a prominent religious activist who achieved world fame by his public acts of opposition to the Vietnam War. He was a person of the highest integrity, and fearless in searching for the truth in controversial political settings.
The three of us made the trip without deep prior personal associations, but we got along very well throughout our time together in Iran, and subsequently. 

Q: How different was what you witnessed from the US media narratives of the Iranian revolution’s developments?

A: The differences were spectacular. The US media conveyed very little understanding of the character of the movement in Iran, and was perplexed by its strength and outlook. At the time, the Shah’s government was a close ally of the United States in the midst of the Cold War, and Iran’s strategic location with respect to the Soviet Union made it very important to Washington to keep the Shah’s regime in control of the country. As well, the US Government, having played an important role by way of covert intervention in the 1953 coup that restored the Shah to the Peacock Throne, there was a particularly strong commitment made in Washington to doing whatever was necessary to defeat this nonviolent mass movement led by a then still rather obscure religious figure. It was deemed unthinkable within the United States government that such a seemingly primitive movement of the Iranian people could produce the collapse of the Iranian government that had mighty military and police capabilities at its disposal, possessed a political will to use lethal ammunition against unarmed demonstrators, and gained the geopolitical benefits of a ‘special relationship’ with the most powerful state in the world deeply invested in upholding its regional interests. In such a setting the media reflected the propaganda and ideological outlook of the government, and was not a source of independent and objective journalism.

It was in such an atmosphere that we hoped that we could bring some more informed and realistic commentary on the unfolding revolutionary process in Iran, including identifying its special character as neither left nor right, seemingly led by a religious leader who remained virtually unknown in the West. It was even unclear to us at the time of our visit whether Ayatollah Khomeini was the real leader or only a figurehead, a temporary phenomenon. We hoped to provide some insight into such questions, as well as to understand whether the new political realities in Iran would produce confrontation or normalization. Was the United States prepared, as it was not in 1953, to live with the politics of self-determination as it operated in Iran or would it seek once more to intervene on behalf of its geopolitical agenda? 

Indeed, we did have some effect on the quality of Western media coverage of the developments in Iran. Ramsey Clark and myself were invited to do many interviews and asked for to describe our impressions by mainstream TV channels and print outlets. As a result, at least until the hostage crisis, discussion of Iran Politics became more informed and some useful political debate emerged, at least for a while.  

Q: You met the then Prime Minister of Iran Shapour Bakhtiar on the same day when Mohammad Reza Pahlavi left Iran. What was Bakhtiar’s assessment of the developments including Shah’s departure?

A: We had the impression from our meeting that the Prime Minister was uncertain about the situation and his own personal fate. Of course, we met with Mr. Bakhtiar at a tense time, only a very few hours after the Shah was reported as having left the country. Bakhtiar had a reputation. of being hostile to intrusions of religion in the domain of politics, and had a personal identity strongly influenced by French culture along with its very dogmatic version of secularism. When we met, the city of Tehran was in a kind of frenzied mood, with cars blowing their horns in celebration, and posters of Khomeini appearing everywhere. We had trouble maneuvering through the traffic so as to keep our appointment.

We found Mr. Bakhtiar cautious and non-committal, and possibly intimidated, not by us, of course, but by the dozen or so others in the room who were never introduced, and wore the clothes associated with security personnel. We assumed that at least some of these anonymous individuals were from the SAVAK, and maybe explained partly why Bakhtiar seemed so uncomfortable. When we asked his help in arranging a visit to prisoners confined in Evin Prison, he seemed unable to answer until he received guidance from one of these advisers present in the room. After a short, whispered instruction, the Prime Minister told us that a visit could be arranged on the following day to the political prisoners, but that we would not be allowed to enter the part of the prison reserved for common criminals. After being at the prison, we felt that the political prisoners were treated well, seen as possibly of a future ruling elite, while the ordinary criminals held no interest for past or present, and lived in crowded cells often with no windows.

Overall, we were left with not much clarity about how Bakhtiar viewed the future of his caretaker government. We had no real opinion on whether what he was saying to us with the others in the room was what they wanted him to say, or expressed his real views, or maybe reflected some sort of compromise. Would he be soon replaced, and his own role challenged as unlawful, or even criminal? We had the impression of a frightened bureaucrat lacking in leadership potential. Maybe our impressions were distorted by the reality that our visit took place at such a tense and difficult moment, which turned out to be transformative for the country and its people. As a result these impressions of a sad and entrapped individual may leave too negative a picture.  

Q: What was the Central Intelligence Agency’s assessment of the Iranian revolution’s developments? Did CIA have a lucid exact assessment of the revolutionary forces and Iran’s future political system?

A: We had no contact with the CIA, but did meet with the American ambassador to Iran at the time, William Sullivan, who had a counterinsurgency background with a militarist reputation. He gave us a briefing that was much more illuminating as to Iranian developments than was our meeting with the Prime Minister. Sullivan acknowledged that the U.S. was caught off guard by both the character and the strength of the movement, and was struggling to keep up with events. He told us that the Embassy had previously constructed no less than 26 scenarios of political developments that might threaten the Shah’s leadership, but not one was concerned about a threat to the established order mounted by Islamically oriented opposition. The American preoccupation, reflecting Cold War priorities, limited its concerns to containing the Marxist and Soviet-oriented left, and the belief that to the extent there was a political side to Islam it was aligned with the West in its anti-Communist agenda as evident in the setting of the Soviet intervention in Afghanistan. 

Somewhat to our surprise, Sullivan spoke of his acute frustrations in dealing with the Carter presidency, especially with the National Security Advisor, Zbigniew Brzezinski, who he claimed to be unwilling to accept the finality of the Shah’s loss of power or of the outcome of the revolutionary movement. Sullivan advocated coming to terms with the emerging new realities as representing America’s national interests, but he spoke very clearly of the resistance to this view at the White House. Sullivan partly attributed this stubbornness to the influence of the Iranian ambassador on. Brzezinski, a view later supported by State Department officials. 

Q: What were the issues discussed at a meeting you had in Neauphle-le Chateau with the late Islamic Republic’s founder Ayatollah Khomeini and how would you describe his personality?

A: We met for a long time, maybe three hours, and covered many issues. During the conversation, after some rather long introductions on our sides about our experience in. Iran, we listened and responded to concerns expressed by Ayatollah Khomeini. After that we posed a series of questions. I will mention here a few topics discussed that have a lasting interest. 

Ayatollah Khomeini’s first and understandable concern was whether the US Government would try to repeat the intervention of 1953 or live with the outcome of the revolution. Of course, we were not in a position to give a clear answer. We did think there was less disposition by the US to intervene than 25 years earlier, but we knew of the strategic importance attached to keeping Iran allied to the US in Cold War contexts and of the personal as well as ideological closeness between Carter and the Shah, especially after the Carter family spent New Year’s Eve in Tehran as the Shah’s guest in 1978, and Carter made his famous toast about the Shah being surrounded by the love of his people.

Ayatollah Khomeini was also concerned about whether the military contracts with the United States would be fulfilled now that there would be a change of government in Iran. This line of questioning gave us a sense that Ayatollah Khomeini had a rather practical turn of mind.
At the same time, he volunteered the view that he hoped that soon he would be able to resume his religious life, and explained taking up residence in Qom rather than Tehran seemed consistent with such an intention. Ayatollah Khomeini told us that he has reluctantly entered politics because in his words ‘there was a river of blood between the Shah and the people.’

When we asked for his hopes for the revolutionary government, this religious leader made clear that he viewed the revolution as an Islamic rather than an Iranian occurrence. He stressed this issue, but without any sectarian overtones. He did go on to say that he felt that the basic community for all people in the Islamic world was civilizational and religious, and not national and territorial. Ayatollah Khomeini explained in ways I subsequently heard from others, that territorial sovereign states built around national identity did not form a natural community in the Middle East the way it did in Europe.

Ayatollah Khomeini also made clear to us that he viewed the Saudi monarchy was as decadent and cruel as was the Shah, and deserved to face the same fate. He felt that dynastic rule had no legitimate role in Islamic societies.

We also asked about the fate of Jews and Bahais in the emergent Islamic Republic of Iran, aware of their close working relationships with the Shah’s governing structure. We found the response significant. He expressed the opinion that Judaism was ‘a genuine religion’ and if Jews do not get too involved in support for Israel, they would be fine in Iran. His words on this, as I recall them, were ‘it would be a tragedy for us if they left.’ He viewed Bahais differently because of their worship of a prophet after Mohammad, leading him to adopt the view that Bahais were members of ‘a sect’ and did not belong to ‘a true religion,’ and thus its adherents would not be welcome in the new Iran. Afterwards, I learned that Ayatollah Khomeini intervened to oppose and prevent genocidal moves being advocated in relation to the Bahai minority living in Iran, but I have no confirmation of this. 

Q: What was the last US Ambassador to Iran William Sullivan’s mission? He is known to be an anti-riot man. Did he give any intellectual help to Iran military or SAVAK (the secret police, domestic security and intelligence service in Iran during the reign of the Pahlavi)?

A: Of course, Sullivan never would tell us about his covert activities. He had the reputation of being ‘a counterinsurgency diplomat’ as he had served in Laos as an ambassador during the Vietnam War. It was at a time that the embassy was being used to take part in a Laotian internal war that included directing US bombing strikes against rebel forces.

With this knowledge, I was invited to testify in the U.S. Senate to oppose his confirmation. Unfortunately, my testimony did not prevent him from being confirmed as ambassador to Iran, although several senators at the time indicated to me privately their agreement with my testimony, but were unwilling to reject President Carter’s choice so early in his presidency. When in Iran I urged the meeting, and Ramsey Clark was skeptical at first, saying that he had had an unpleasant encounter with Sullivan some years earlier. I convinced Ramsey that the credibility of our trip would be compromised if we made no effort to get the viewpoint of the American Embassy. We did make an appointment, Sullivan’s first words as we entered were “I know Professor Falk thinks I am a war criminal..” Yet he welcomed us, and talked openly and at length about the situation and his efforts to get Washington to accept what had happened in Iran. In retrospect, I think he hoped we would be a vehicle for making his views more publicly known.

He made the point that there were no social forces ready to fight to keep the Shah in power. The business community, or national private sector, was alienated by the Shah’s reliance on international capital to fulfill his development plans. The armed forces were also not favorable enough to the throne to fight on its behalf, complaining that the Shah’s abiding fear of a coup mounted against him, created distrust of his own military commanders, and led him to frequently shuffle the leadership in the armed forces. This resulted in a low level of loyalty, and helps explain why the military watched the political transformation take place without showing any pronounced willingness to intervene, despite being nudged in an interventionary, especially in the context of a visit by an American NATO general at the height of the revolutionary ferment. The general was widely reported to be exploring whether it was plausible to encourage the Iranian military to defend the established order. 

We also asked about what would happen to the surviving leaders from the Shah’s government who had been accused of crimes against the Iranian people. Ayatollah Khomeini responded by saying that he expected that what he called ‘Nuremberg Trials’ would be held to hold accountable leading figures from the fallen government, and some from bureaucratic backgrounds, including SAVAK officials. We wondered why this plan was not later followed, and why those from the Shah’s regime accused were often executed after summary, secret trials. We knew some of those who had led the revolution had received support from the CIA during their period as students overseas or even when serving as mosque officials, which would be damaging and confusing to make public at a time of such uncertainty. It is important to remember that until the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Western intelligence assumed that the anti-Marxist approach of those of devout Islamic faith would make all religiously oriented personalities strong allies of Western anti-Communism, a view that persisted to some extent until after the Afghanistan resistance to Soviet intervention which was headed by Islamic forces, and was only decisively shattered by the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon in the United States. 

Q: Why did the liberal–Islamist groups fail to secure the support of Ayatollah Khomeini at the end of the day?

A: It is difficult for an outsider like myself to comment on the internal politics in that revolutionary period. The situation in Iran was still fluid, and worries about a counterrevolutionary coup to bring the Shah back to his throne a second time were widespread. Added to this, the change in Iran came so quickly. Several secular personalities of liberal persuasion told us that ‘the revolution happened too quickly. We were not ready.’ 

Ayatollah Khomeini while still in Paris, seemed originally to believe that liberal Islamically oriented bureaucrats would be needed to run the government on a day to day basis. He may have envisioned a governing process relying on technical experts, especially to achieve good economic policies and results that he thought necessary to keep the support of the Iranian masses. Such expectations seem to be not entirely consistent with the vison of Islamic Government set forth in his published lectures, available to us in English, that were written while he was living as an exile in Iraq. His insistent theme in the lecture was that a government consistent with Islamic values could not be reliably established on democratic principles without being subject to unelected religious guidance as the source of highest authority.

We also were aware of several other explanations for this about face on the governing process. Some in Iran believed that Ayatollah Khomeini only discovered his political popularity after he returned to the country, and this made him believe he had a mandate to impose a system of government that reflected his ideas. Others offered the opinion that he became convinced by his entourage of advisors that the revolutionary spirit and agenda was being lost by the liberals, and hence were urging him to take direct and visible charge of the government. And finally, there arose the view that the liberals were given a chance, and their performance disappointed Ayatollah Khomeini, leading him to reenter politics and move to Tehran to lead the country. As far as I know, this story of transition from the Pahlavi Era to the Islamic Republic remains veiled in mystery.  Hopefully, before long the mystery will disappear with the appearance of more authoritative accounts of what transpired after the Ayatollah Khomeini returned to the country.

What we do know is that what was established in this transition period has survived for more than 40 years despite being faced with threats, provocations, harsh sanctions, and even a variety of covert interventions. Arguably, Iran has been as stable as any country in the region, and more stable than most. This is impressive, although it does not overcome some criticisms directed at violations of basic human rights of people in Iran.

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