لماذا لا تملك واشنطن خياراً غير العودة للاتفاق النوويّ؟ Why does Washington have no choice but to return to the nuclear deal?

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

مفاوضات فيينا تنتهي بنجاح.. واتفاق على استكمال المباحثات

لماذا لا تملك واشنطن خياراً غير العودة للاتفاق النوويّ؟

ناصر قنديل

يتزامن في 22 أيار المقبل الموعد المعلن من إيران للانتقال الى مرحلة تخصيب لليورانيوم على درجة 40%، مع مرور ثلاثة شهور على دخول الرئيس الأميركي جو بايدن الى البيت الأبيض، والزمن القياسي بالنسبة لمهمة بحجم الملف النووي الإيراني، من موقع إدارة أميركية تدخل للتوّ الى موقع القرار وتمسك بعشرات الملفات الدولية والداخلية الضاغطة والملحّة، وهذا يعني أن انعقاد اجتماع فيينا الذي يجري تحت عنوان وضع خريطة طريق لعودة واشنطن وطهران الى التزاماتهما بموجب الاتفاق النووي، تعبير عن سرعة استثنائية بمفهوم العلاقات الدولية، مع التزام مبدئي من الطرفين الأميركي والإيراني بالاستعداد للعودة الى التزاماتهما، وخلافهما حول كيفية هذه العودة، كما قال المبعوث الأميركي الخاص للملف النووي، روبرت مالي، مع اعترافه بأن مناقشة القضايا الخلافية من خارج الاتفاق كقضية الصواريخ البالستية الإيرانية والنزاعات الإقليمية، يجب أن تنتظر لما بعد العودة الى الاتفاق الأصلي. وهذا الاعتراف الأميركي يزيل أول عقبة من طريق العودة للاتفاق.

الواضح أن النقاش الدائر في فيينا لا يتصل بمبدأ العودة الأميركية عن العقوبات، ولا بمبدأ العودة الإيرانية عن تخفيض الالتزامات بموجبات الاتفاق، فمن الزاوية القانونية المبدئية يشكل الاتفاق مقايضة بين التزامين، أميركي برفع العقوبات، وإيراني بقبول ضوابط للملف النووي، ونحن اليوم أمام إعلان متبادل لترجمة هذا الاستعداد، تراجعت لأجله واشنطن عن دعوات سابقة للرئيس بايدن وفريقه تشترط للعودة إلى الاتفاق ورفع العقوبات باتفاق آخر، يضمن مزيداً من الضوابط التقنية، ويمتد لزمن أطول، ويطال تفاهمات أشمل نحو ملف الصواريخ البالستية الإيرانية وملفات النزاع الإقليمي، وهذا أكبر تحول يفتح الباب للعودة إلى الاتفاق النووي، لأن ما تبقى يقوم على قاعدة سياسية تتصل برغبة وقدرة الفريقين الأميركي والإيراني بتسهيل المهمة على الشريك الآخر في الاتفاق. فواشنطن تطلب من طهران، كما قال مالي، مساعدتها على تسويق العودة للاتفاق أمام الداخل الأميركي، بينما تتمسك طهران بمعادلة قانونيّة قوامها، أن طهران خفضت التزاماتها رداً على الانسحاب الأميركي من الاتفاق، ولم تنسحب من الاتفاق، بل أبقت بنداً من بنوده يجيز هذا التخفيض مقابل إخلال الأطراف الأخرى بموجباتها، ولذلك تتشدد طهران باعتبار العودة الأميركية إلى الاتفاق، وترجمتها بإلغاء كل العقوبات التي صدرت بناء على الانسحاب الأميركي، لتتم مطالبة إيران من قلب الاتفاق ووفقاً لبنوده بالعودة الى موجباتها.

في فيينا تشكلت لجان من المشاركين الدوليين مع كل من الفريقين الأميركي والإيراني نسختان من لجنتين، واحدة للالتزامات الإيرانية وواحدة للالتزامات الأميركية، لإنتاج تصوّر تفاوضيّ مع الوفد الإيراني في ملفي العودة للالتزامات والتراجع عن العقوبات، ومثله تصور تفاوضي مع الوفد الأميركي المقيم خارج قاعة الاجتماعات لملفي العودة عن العقوبات والعودة للالتزامات، والبدء بمحاولة تقريب التصورين سعياً لمنطقة وسط، والمقصود بالمنطقة الوسط هو تحديداً، ما هو حجم العقوبات الذي يمكن التفاهم مع واشنطن على رفعها قبل العودة الإيرانية إلى التزاماتها، مقابل ضمانة المشاركين الدوليين بأن إيران ستعود، وتقبله إيران للبدء بالخطوة الأولى في العودة إلى التزاماتها، وما هي المدة التي تطلبها واشنطن وتقبلها إيران لاستكمال إنهاء العقوبات، قبل أن تُقدم إيران على الخطوة الأخيرة في العودة إلى التزاماتها.

الطريق الذي فتح في فيينا محكوم أميركياً باللاعودة، وباب النهاية الوحيد له هو العودة إلى الاتفاق بأقل المخاطر والخسائر الممكنة، وفقاً لمعادلة قالها كل من وزير الخارجية الأميركية توني بلينكن ومستشار الأمن القومي جايك سوليفان، ومضمونها السباق مع الزمن للعودة إلى الاتفاق قبل أن تمتلك إيران المقدرات اللازمة لإنتاج أول سلاح نوويّ، طالما هي خارج الاتفاق، والموعد الأميركيّ المرتقب لذلك هو نهاية شهر أيار.

فيديوات متعلقة


Why does Washington have no choice but to return to the nuclear deal?

Nasser Kandil

– Next May 22 coincides with the announced date of Iran to move to a stage of uranium enrichment at a level of 40%, with the passage of three months after the entry of US President Joe Biden to the White House, to hold dozens of international and internal files that are pressing and urgent, and this means that the Vienna meeting that is taking place under The title of laying out a road map for the return of Washington and Tehran to their obligations under the nuclear agreement is an expression of exceptional speed in the international relations, with an initial commitment on the American and Iranian parties to prepare for a return to their commitments, and their disagreement over how to do this return, as said by the US special envoy for the nuclear file, Robert Malley, admitting that outside the agreement such as Iran’s ballistic missile issue and regional conflicts, discussing issues outside the agreement, such as the Iranian ballistic missile issue and regional disputes, must wait until after the return to the original agreement. This American admission removes the first obstacle to returning to the agreement.

– It is clear that the debate in Vienna is not related to the principle of U.S. return from sanctions, nor to the principle of Iran’s return from reducing obligations under the agreement, from the initial legal point of view the agreement constitutes a trade-off between two commitments, the U.S. lifting of sanctions, and Iran accepting controls on the nuclear file, and today we are facing a mutual declaration to translate this readiness, for which Washington has retracted earlier calls for President  Biden and his team to return to the agreement and the lifting of sanctions with another agreement, guaranteeing more technical controls, extending longer, and extending broader understandings toward the Iranian ballistic missile file and regional conflict files, the biggest shift opens the door to a return to the nuclear agreement, because what remains is based on a political base related to the desire and ability of the U.S. and Iranian teams to facilitate the task over the other partner in the agreement. Washington is asking Tehran, Mali said, to help it market the return to the agreement in front of the U.S. interior, while Tehran adheres to a legal equation, that Tehran has reduced its obligations in response to the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, and has not withdrawn from the agreement, but has kept one of its provisions authorizing this reduction in exchange for other parties violating its terms.  Tehran therefore tightens its consideration of the U.S. return to the agreement, translated into the abolition of all sanctions issued based on the U.S. withdrawal, so that Iran is asked to reverse the agreement and in accordance with its terms to return to its obligations.

– In Vienna, committees of international participants were formed with both the U.S. and Iranian teams, two versions of two committees, one for Iranian commitments and one for U.S. commitments, to produce a negotiated vision with the Iranian delegation in the return of commitments and the lifting of sanctions, as well as a negotiated vision with the U.S. delegation residing outside the meeting room to lift sanctions and return to commitments, and to begin trying to bring the two scenarios closer together in an effort to find a settlement. What is meant by the settlement is specifically, what is the size of the sanctions that can be agreed upon with Washington to lift them before Iran returns to its commitments, in exchange for the international participants ’guarantee that Iran will return, and Iran accepts it to start the first step in returning to its commitments, and what is the period that Washington demands and Iran accepts to complete End the sanctions, before Iran takes the final step in returning to its commitments

– The road opened in Vienna is doomed to  return, and the only end door to it is to return to the agreement with the least possible risks and losses, according to an equation said by U.S. Secretary of State Tony Blinken and National Security Adviser  Jake Sullivan, and its content is the race against time to return to the agreement before Iran has the capabilities to produce the first nuclear weapon, as long as it is outside the agreement, and the expected U.S. date is the end of May.

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Kylie Moore-Gilbert Received ‘Israeli’ Training for Spying in Iran

Kylie Moore-Gilbert Received ‘Israeli’ Training for Spying in Iran

By Staff, Agencies

Political commentator Professor Tim Anderson shed light on the case of Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Australian-British citizen who served a prison sentence over espionage charges in Iran, highlighting US media’s dishonesty in intentional concealing of the truth about Tehran’s assertion that the academic lecturer had passed a special training course under the Zionist regime’s direct supervision for her spying mission in the country.

Dr. Anderson, the director of the Center for Counter Hegemonic Studies [CCHS] in Australia, said in an article published on the center’s website on Friday that the American news mogul Rupert Murdoch’s media outlet had spread misinformation over the convicted ‘Israeli’ spy, Gilbert, who returned home to Australia from an Iranian jail late last year.

The media outlet claimed that Gilbert had been held in a “hellhole” in Iran for no reason at all.

The British-Australian academic was freed from Tehran’s Evin prison in November after serving about two years of her 10-year jail term.

Iranian media reported that Gilbert had passed a two-year special training course in the ‘Israeli’-occupied territories for her spying mission and she had become fluent in Persian during the course and got prepared to perform espionage activities inside Iran.

Anderson said he had provided Murdoch journalist Stephen Rice with evidence that Gilbert had engaged in ‘Israeli’ “leadership training” for her spying mission in Iran through a fellowship offer in the Ein Prat ‘Israeli’ leadership academy at the Alon Shvut settlement, one of many illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Anderson added that Gilbert had received a scholarship for the course from Tikvah Fund, an institution committed to supporting the intellectual, religious, and political leaders of the Jewish people.

As cited by the CCHS’s website, Anderson said, “Stephen Rice was either too lazy or too dishonest” to look at the links he had sent him, and that Rice had mentioned in one ‘Israeli’ article that the linked article said nothing about “leadership” or “training” and those words were an “invention” by Anderson.

“Murdoch’s Megaphone @riceyontheroad was either too lazy or dishonest to recognize ‘Israeli’ sources backing Iran’s assertion that @KMooreGilbert took ‘Israeli’ leadership training in a militarized colony at the heart of Palestine’s occupied West Bank,” Anderson also said in a tweet.

Anderson also underlined that Rice pretended Gilbert’s ‘Israeli’ “leadership training” did not exist and he misled his readers.

“This willful ignorance and distortion of facts allows the Murdoch stable to keep representing the US backed regional wars in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen as humanitarian exercises,” he noted.

Gilbert traveled to different Iranian cities as part of her mission and gathered information.

Unaware that she was being watched by Iranian intelligence forces, the woman went to religious and tourist places in order to make her sojourn in Iran look normal.

She later tried to get in touch with some figures and targets to obtain economic and military information about Iran as well as the anti-‘Israel’ resistance front, but she was arrested in September 2018.

Following legal and judicial proceedings, the spy was sentenced to 10 years in prison for acting against Iran’s national security through her intelligence cooperation with the ‘Israeli’ regime.

Australian-British received Israeli training for spying in Iran, analyst affirms

Saturday, 03 April 2021 10:33 AM  [ Last Update: Saturday, 03 April 2021 10:43 AM ]

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)

Kylie Moore-Gilbert, a British-Australian woman who served a jail sentence in Iran for espionage

A political commentator has shed light on the case of Kylie Moore-Gilbert, an Australian-British citizen who served a prison sentence over espionage charges in Iran, highlighting US media’s dishonesty in intentional concealing of the truth about Tehran’s assertion that the academic lecturer had passed a special training course under Israel’s direct supervision for her spying mission in the country.

Tim Anderson, the director of the Center for Counter Hegemonic Studies (CCHS) in Australia, said in an article published on the center’s website on Friday that the American news mogul Rupert Murdoch’s media outlet had spread misinformation over the convicted Israeli spy, Gilbert, who returned home to Australia from an Iranian jail late last year.

The media outlet claimed that Gilbert had been held in a “hellhole” in Iran for no reason at all.

Canberra: British-Australian serving time in Iran for spying is well

Canberra: British-Australian serving time in Iran for spying is well

Canberra says its envoy to Iran has visited a British-Australian woman serving time in Iran for espionage and found her well, contrary to media claims about the inmate’s health condition.

The British-Australian academic was freed from Tehran’s Evin prison in November after serving about two years of her 10-year jail term.

Iranian media reported that Gilbert had passed a two-year special training course in Israeli occupied territories for her spying mission and she had became fluent in Persian during the course and got prepared to perform espionage activities inside Iran.

Anderson said he had provided Murdoch journalist Stephen Rice with evidence that Gilbert had engaged in Israeli “leadership training” for her spying mission in Iran through a fellowship offer in the Ein Prat Israeli leadership academy at the Alon Shvut settlement, one of many illegal settlements in the occupied West Bank.

Anderson added that Gilbert had received a scholarship for the course from Tikvah Fund, an institution committed to supporting the intellectual, religious, and political leaders of the Jewish people.

As cited by the CCHS’s website, Anderson said, “Stephen Rice was either too lazy or too dishonest” to look at the links he had sent him, and that Rice had mentioned in one Israeli article that the linked article said nothing about “leadership” or “training” and those words were an “invention” by Anderson.

“Murdoch’s Megaphone @riceyontheroad was either too lazy or dishonest to recognize Israeli sources backing Iran’s assertion that @KMooreGilbert took Israeli leadership training in a militarized colony at the heart of Palestine’s occupied West Bank,” Anderson also said in a tweet.

#Murdoch‘s Megaphone @riceyontheroad was either too lazy or dishonest to recognise #Israeli sources backing #Iran‘s assertion that @KMooreGilbert took Israeli leadership training in a militarised colony at the heart of #Palestine‘s occupied West Bank. https://t.co/zcjnIOcyuR https://t.co/Esl4OBhyLt pic.twitter.com/gCGpBAVZol— tim anderson (@timand2037) April 3, 2021

Anderson also underlined that Rice pretended Gilbert’s Israeli “leadership training” did not exist and he misled his readers.

“This willful ignorance and distortion of facts allows the Murdoch stable to keep representing the US backed regional wars in Palestine, Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Lebanon, Syria and Yemen as humanitarian exercises,” he noted.

Gilbert traveled to different Iranian cities as part of her mission and gathered information.

Unaware that she was being watched by Iranian intelligence forces, the woman went to religious and tourist places in order to make her sojourn in Iran look normal.

Video: Iran swaps Israel’s spy for three nationals jailed abroadIran releases an Australian-British citizen, who was serving a prison sentence for spying for Israel, in exchange for three Iranians detained abroad on false charges.

She later tried to get in touch with some figures and targets to obtain economic and military information about Iran as well as the anti-Israel resistance front, but she was arrested in September 2018.

Following legal and judicial proceedings, the spy was sentenced to 10 years in prison for acting against Iran’s national security through her intelligence cooperation with the Israeli regime.


Press TV’s website can also be accessed at the following alternate addresses:

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Iran: IRIB’s full documentary on Kylie Moore Gilbert (in Farsi, partial English translation below)

Rough translation of the first part of the Farsi narration:

“About two years ago Kylie Moore Gilbert, who is an Australian-British citizen, under the cover of research about Iran and Islam, came to Iran. She was born in 1987 in Australia in a Christian family but afterward converted to Judaism.

When she was 25 she got a boyfriend and this person helped her become a member of Mossad.

On the recommendation of Mossad she started her study in Asia and the Middle East. During the course she studied the Arabic, Hebrew and Japanese languages.

After that she married the man Ruslan Hodorov, who was also a member of Mossad.

On her first mission she went to Syria. After that mission she started to work on the Iranian nuclear program. As part of that mission she was obliged to collect information about the ways Iran bypassed sanctions and found the connections and ways of communication of the Resistance Axis members.

To do so Mossad drew up a program for her. After a two year course she was appointed as an inspector, so that when some Iranians went to Israel, she was the person in charge of inspecting and investigating them.

After all these events, when Mossad became sure that she was capable of working on Iran, they embedded her as an academic researcher and created her cover as the study of Iranian ethics and religion.

They sent her to a University in Qom. Under this pretext she was able to travel to Iran twice. On the first trip she was learning about Iranian ritual and traditions, and on the second, during Muharram, the time people are mourning for Imam Hussein, she came to collect information.

At first she did not try to link with political figures, but after a while changed her route and tried that. However Iranian intelligence, from her first visit, knew that she was a spy. Two years ago they arrested her and pressed charges. She was sentenced to ten years in jail. After two years the Islamic Republic of Iran decided to release her [in exchange for other prisoners] and send her home.”

Official: Biden Must Learn From History, Drop Language of Force against Iran

Official: Biden Must Learn From History, Drop Language of Force against Iran

By Staff, Agencies

An Iranian official says the Islamic Republic will never engage in any negotiations with the United States under pressure and threats, warning new American President Joe Biden against making the same mistakes that his predecessors made in their treatment of the Iranian nation.

In a tweet on Friday, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, who advises the Iranian Parliament’s speaker on international affairs, said “Biden must learn lessons from history” and avoid going down the same path of confrontation taken by previous US administrations vis-à-vis Iran.

“The great and mighty nation of Iran should be addressed with the power of logic rather than the logic of brute force,” wrote the official. “Without any doubt, no negotiations will be held with the United States under pressure and threats.”

Amir-Abdollahian once again reaffirmed Iran’s position and ruled out any negotiations with the United States on the nuclear deal.

“The United States should first focus on negotiations with its own nations, which has become bipolar,” referring to the political chaos that broke out in America following the disputed 2020 presidential election.

“The sanctions against the Islamic Republic of Iran are taking their last breaths,” he added.

The comments come amid a diplomatic spat over the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement, whose fate has been shrouded in doubt since Washington’s unilateral pullout in May 2018.

Following its exit, the US under then president Donald Trump re-imposed the tough economic sanctions on Iran that were lifted by the UN-endorsed agreement in an abortive attempt to force Iran back to the negotiating table so Washington can get more concessions from Tehran and secure a “better deal.”

Under Trump, tensions between Iran and the US reached a new high as the hawkish president unleashed a so-called maximum pressure campaign against the Islamic Republic with the aim of paralyzing its economy and international dealings.

Washington also successfully pressured its European allies in the deal – France, Germany and Britain – (to evade their own contractual commitments to Tehran, mainly neutralizing the US economic sanctions).

Correction by Brother roberthstiver,: the above Para should read:  “to evade their own contractual commitments to Tehran that had mainly neutralized the US economic sanctions“.

Following a year of strategic patience, Iran began to retaliate by resorting to its legal rights under Article 36 of the JCPOA and suspending its obligations stipulated in the accord.

Now, Biden – who served as vice president when the Iran deal was inked – has indicated a desire to rejoin the deal, but, in practice, he has so far adhered to his predecessor’s pressure policy, despite criticism of Trump’s decision to pull the US out of the nuclear deal, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA].

Turning a blind eye to the fact that it was the US that first threw the deal in crisis, the Biden administration says Tehran should take the first step towards reviving the deal by resuming its commitments before Washington comes back to compliance.

Iran, however, insists that the ball is in America’s court, and that it will not reverse its countermeasures unless the US lifts all the sanctions it imposed on the Islamic Republic after quitting the deal practically and verifiably.

Amid the spat, the Biden administration offered last month to attend joint talks with Iran and other parties to the deal over the matter. Tehran, however, says no such talks or meetings are needed and Washington can only rejoin the negotiations after meeting Tehran’s condition.

Breaking: Iran stands firm…US must rejoin JCPOA before talks begin

Iran’s military power continues to grow in quantity and quality so it is better able to defend itself

March 8, 2021

No negotiation will take place between Iran, US before sanctions removed: Source tells Press TV

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[ Editor’s Note: Neither Iran nor Biden are under any significant pressure to move first on fixing the JCPOA. Both know that a misstep could torpedo an effective solution, and those involved in ‘blinking first’ would be blamed for the failure.

Both the US and its EU JCPOA partners want to pretend that it is inconsequential that Iran is not reaping any trade benefits from the deal, although Iran gave up most of its nuclear program to come to the JCPO Agreement.

Iran does not want to be put into a position of accepting the breach of the deal as “no big thing,” and hence no compensation would need to be discussed. Iran would then be in a much weaker position for a new deal, with the obvious caveat that it could be broken again, making Iran twice the fool.

Imam Reza Shrine, Mashad, Iran – Jim Dean archives

Iran has nothing to lose by holding firm on the idea that it is owed its benefits from the deal, where the EU has also had a free ride, having offered nothing more than promises.

Iran’s military power continues to grow in quantity and quality, so it is better able to defend itself; and if the Western Powers squeeze it any more, it would probably dial back its nuclear commitments, like they have already started to do.

So Iran’s offer is simple, to “give us our money, remove the sanctions, and we will go back into full compliance again”. Or if the US continues to demand renegotiations, Iran could counter that it would consider that track if control and oversight of Israel’s nuclear program would go on the table at the same time. Israel would refuse, of course.

Frankly, I would have played that card already and watched the hypocritical Western world fake nuclear hypocrites deal with openly protecting Israel’s right to have them… what I call the ‘nuclear supremacist’ position. “We are Jews and we can have or do anything we want or we will call you bad names.”

Biden is not about to go to war over Iran, and Iran knows that. He would look foolish to pick up the Trump sanctions mantle, but it would be awkward for the Republicans to fry him on that.

What Biden does want is to deescalate the Persian Gulf to release US military forces to intimidate China on the sea and Russia in the Arctic. But he can’t do it all at once. Regions much be secured before new battles begun Jim W. Dean ]

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Iran is in no hurry to surrender to Western demands. It is stronger now than ever due to the continued threats.

First published … March 08, 2021

There will be no negotiations between Iran and the United States on any matter before Washington removes illegal sanctions it has unilaterally imposed on Tehran, an informed security source tells Press TV.

The security source, which talked to Press TV on condition of anonymity on Sunday, noted that the Western countries’ interpretation of recent remarks by Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif about a new plan for negotiations with the United States are erroneous and no such plan exists.

“The idea of a step-by-step plan for starting talks between Iran and the United States has been rejected at the highest levels of the Islamic Republic and there will be no contact between Iran and the US before sanctions are removed,” the security official added.

The security source’s remarks came after Rouhani’s Thursday statements in which the Iranian chief executive slammed US for violating the 2015 nuclear deal, adding that Washington should take practical steps to rejoin the deal and lift all sanctions it has re-imposed on Tehran.

Rouhani noted that if the US took steps to that effect, Iran would reciprocate “action with action.”

“The US, as the one who violated the deal, shall lift all sanctions and take practical steps in order to be able to return to the JCPOA,” Rouhani argued, using an acronym to for the landmark nuclear accord signed between Iran and six countries in 2015.

The Iranian foreign minister also said a day later that Tehran would soon present a “constructive concrete plan of action” through proper diplomatic channels.

He made the remark in reaction to earlier statements by an Iranian politician who claimed in an interview that if the West sent “clear signals” to Iran and, for example and announced that the US sanctions would be removed within a year, Tehran would be ready to restart negotiations with Washington.

“As Iran’s FM & chief nuclear negotiator, I will shortly present our constructive concrete plan of action—through proper diplomatic channels,” Zarif tweeted

Iranian polity is vibrant & officials express diverse opinions

But those opinions should NOT be confused with state policy

As Iran’s FM & chief nuclear negotiator, I will shortly present our constructive concrete plan of action—through proper diplomatic channels#CommitActMeet

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) March 5, 2021Some Western circles had mistakenly taken Rouhani’s and Zarif’s remarks as a sign that Iran is ready for renewed talks with the US with European sources saying that Tehran is giving positive signs about opening informal talks about its nuclear program.

Iranian Defence Minister Vows to Level Tel Aviv and Haifa If Israel Makes Wrong Move Against Tehran

Source

Israel’s Defence Minister Benny Gantz earlier revealed that Tel Aviv is drafting new plans to attack Iran’s nuclear infrastructure if it believes that Tehran is building nuclear weapons. Gantz noted that Israel is ready to make the move even without approval from its allies or any other state.

Tehran will level two of Israel’s biggest cities if Tel Aviv tries to attack the Islamic Republic, Iran’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami has warned.

“Sometimes, [Israel] makes big claims against the Islamic Republic of Iran out of desperation to allegedly threaten it, even though [Tel Aviv] knows […] that if it does a damn thing, we will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground”, Amir Hatami stated during a speech on 7 March.

Hatami stressed that Iran today possesses the means to protect the country and its “stability”. He added that Tehran also has “soft power” resources to assure the nation’s security.

Israel Draws Up New Plan for Strikes on Iran’s Nuclear Facilities

The Iranian defence minister delivered his remarks in response to a recent interview by his Israeli counterpart, Benny Gantz, with Fox News in which he revealed that Tel Aviv is updating its plans for a potential strike against the Islamic Republic’s nuclear infrastructure. According to the Israeli defence minister, Tel Aviv will be ready to carry out the updated plan unilaterally and without approval from its allies, if it sees signs of escalating nuclear activities in Iran.

Israel has repeatedly accused Iran of devising plans to build nuclear weapons, continuing to make the allegations even after Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear programme under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear deal, in 2015. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu claimed that his country’s intelligence obtained documents presumably showing that Tehran did not actually limit its nuclear activities and purportedly did not abandon plans to build a nuke.

Third stage of Israeli space launch vehicle Shavit

© CC BY-SA 3.0 / טל ענבר SHAVIT 3RD STAGEIran Asks Why Israel Gets Preferential Treatment With IAEA Despite Its Arsenal of Nukes

Iran has multiple times rejected the said allegations that it is seeking to develop nuclear weapons, insisting on the peaceful nature of its nuclear programme. Senior officials in Tehran stressed that the use of nukes goes against the country’s official religion – Islam.

At the same time, Tehran pointed out the double standards of the international community and global bodies, as all eyes are on the Iranian nuclear programme, while little attention is given to similar activities in Israel. The latter, unlike Iran, has never joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and persistently refused to either confirm or deny allegations of having a nuclear arsenal.

BIOGRAPHYGordon Duff, Senior EditorSenior Editor , VTGordon Duff is a Marine combat veteran of the Vietnam War. He is a disabled veteran and has worked on veterans and POW issues for decades. Gordon is an accredited diplomat and is generally accepted as one of the top global intelligence specialists. He manages the world’s largest private intelligence organization and regularly consults with governments challenged by security issues.

Duff has traveled extensively, is published around the world and is a regular guest on TV and radio in more than “several” countries. He is also a trained chef, wine enthusiast, avid motorcyclist and gunsmith specializing in historical weapons and restoration. Business experience and interests are in energy and defense technology.

Gordon’s Archives – 2008-2014gpduf@aol.com

IRANIAN ROCKETS BECOME EVEN MORE POWERFUL AS ISRAEL LACKS OPTIONS TO CONTAIN TEHRAN INFLUENCE

South Front

Despite Israel’s best efforts, Iran’s influence and presence in the Middle East, and in Syria specifically is spreading.

One could blame that on the Biden administration’s halt in the “maximum pressure” campaign, but that influence was increasing even when Donald Trump sat in the White House.

Currently, Iran is furthering its interests and there is little to truly deter it.

On February 1st, Iran carried out its first successful missile launch since Joe Biden became president.

The missile is the Zuljanah, Iran’s newest domestic built satellite-carrying rocket. It is hailed as Tehran’s “most powerful rocket engine” and it can either carry a 220-kilogram satellite, or up to 10 smaller ones.

The Trump Administration, and also Israel have repeatedly accused Iran of using such tests as a way to develop capability for ballistic missiles with a nuclear warhead.

On the very same day, Iran also notified the US that it couldn’t simply rejoin the Nuclear Deal, that the sanctions had to go.

Currently, the Biden Administration appears to be considering its actions, and is not undertaking any further movements to antagonize Tehran.

This stillness is something Israel is discontent with, as it provides Iran and its proxies to operate rather freely.

Tel Aviv is likely feeling a sense of urgency, as even Hezbollah launched an anti-aircraft missile at its drone. That is a rare occurrence.

The Iron Dome was also recently updated and tested out against advanced drones and smaller missiles. That is something both Iran and its proxies are quite adequate at employing.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) arrested a shepherd who cross from Syria into soil occupied by Israel and was apprehended. Threats are all around, and the paranoia is growing.

The concern and need to dig in and protect its own is also apparent in the Juniper Falcon exercise that began on February 4th. It is a join cooperation between the IDF and US European Command.

The drill focuses on improving cooperation, and improving the joint ability to defend from external threats.

Defending both the Israeli and US interests in the Middle East from external threat may become reality sooner, rather than later.

One of the battlegrounds where the US-Israeli bloc feels itself threatened is Syria. On February 4th, the Syrian Arab Army (SAA) announced that it had secured the Homs-Deir Ezzor highway. The next operation may take place in the Hama-Aleppo-Raqqa triangle.

The SAA, together with Russian aerial support, and likely some Iranian assistance are making progress.

When ISIS activity goes down, as a result of these operations, Israel will potentially need to be more careful in its raids and activities, because its adversaries may have their hands mostly untied.

Any neutral observer would easily notice that, currently, Iran and the Damascus government are achieving success in their endeavors. And that happens in spite of the actions of ISIS, Israel, Turkey and the US.

“Israeli” Mossad Smuggled 1-ton Gun in Pieces to Assassinate Martyr Fakhrizadeh

“Israeli” Mossad Smuggled 1-ton Gun in Pieces to Assassinate Martyr Fakhrizadeh

By Staff- Agencies

A report revealed on Wednesday that “‘Israel’s’ Mossad smuggled a one-ton weapon in pieces into Iran to kill top Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on November 27, 2020.”

Agents deployed to Iran last March, the Jewish Chronicle reported, when the world was preoccupied with the coronavirus pandemic. The assassination team, said to be composed of 20 “Israelis” and Iranian nationals, kept close surveillance on the scientist for eight months before finishing the murder.

“It was the most elegant way to make sure that the target will be hit, and only him,” the source told the paper.

The gun detonated after the attack, which accounted for much of the automated weapon’s weight, reportedly. Additionally, the explosion added to the confusion during the attack, and possibly aided in getting all the team members out safely.

“Israel” acted alone, according to the source, yet did notify the US. He said it was “not to the level of asking for the green light, more like checking the water temperature. Just like they had notified us before killing [Iranian Brigadier-General Qasem] Soleimani.”

Imam Khamenei: Iran will Reverse Nuclear Steps only if US Lifts Sanctions First

Imam Khamenei: Iran will Reverse Nuclear Steps only if US Lifts Sanctions First

By Staff, Agencies

The Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei confirmed that Iran will retrace its nuclear countermeasures once the United States lifts its sanctions in a manner that could be verifiable by Tehran.

“Iran will return to its JCOPA obligations once the US fully lifts its sanctions in action and not in words or on paper, and once the sanction relief is verified by Iran,” Imam Khamenei announced, referring by abbreviation to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the official name of the landmark nuclear agreement that Iran signed with the P5+1 group of states – the US, the UK, France, Russia, and China plus Germany – in Vienna in 2015.

His Eminence made the remarks in Tehran on Sunday during a meeting with commanders, pilots, and staff members of the Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force [IRIAF].

Under his signature “maximum pressure” policy against Iran, former US president Donald Trump withdrew Washington from the JCPOA and restored the economic sanctions that the deal had removed.

In his Sunday’s remarks, the Leader said it was the “definitive and irreversible” policy of the Islamic Republic that the United States ought to first fully eliminate the sanctions before Iran could reverse its retaliatory measures.

Trump’s successor, Joe Biden, has signaled a willingness to rejoin the JCPOA, which was inked when he was vice president. However, his foreign policy team has said Iran should take the first step by coming back into “full compliance” with the deal, a condition Tehran says is unacceptable.

“The Americans and the Europeans have no right to set any conditions [of their own] as they violated their JCPOA commitments,” Imam Khamenei stated, adding that Iran would pay no heed to the “idle talk” of some “undeserving” American and European officials in this regard.

He further added: “They initially put some of the sanctions in abeyance for a brief period, but then re-imposed and even intensified them,” in reference to Washington and its allies’ initial limited compliance with the JCPOA. “Therefore, they have no right to come up with any conditions,” the Leader reiterated.

Imam Khamenei pointed to Washington’s past failures to hurt Iran’s Islamic establishment as one of its numerous miscalculations concerning the country.

The Leader particularly recalled Trump’s national security advisor John Bolton’s failed prediction that Washington would successfully enable a “regime change” in Iran by early 2019.

“One of those very first-class idiots had said two years ago that they would be celebrating the New Year in Tehran in January 2019,” Imam Khamenei noted.

“Now, that person has entered the dustbin of history and his boss [Trump] has been kicked out of the White House in a humiliating manner. By God’s grace, though, the Islamic Republic still stands tall,” the Leader noted.

In parallel, Imam Khamenei named the US support for the riots that broke out in Iran in 2009 as another instance of Washington’s miscalculations in its efforts to bring about the collapse of the Islamic Republic.

Washington’s excessive trust in the Pahlavi regime’s military, the Leader said, was yet another calculation that was proven wrong when the air force personnel turned their backs on the US-backed regime.

His Eminence described the officers deserting the army and joining the masses of revolutionary people as a “miracle-like” development that hugely contributed to the Revolution’s victory.

Meanwhile, Imam Khamenei also pointed to Trump’s chaotic final days in the White House, which culminated in the invasion of the Capitol Hill by his extremist supporters.

The Leader said the incidents were not to be underplayed and judged only in light of the twilight of an American president. Rather, those developments in fact marked “the twilight of America’s reputation, power, and social integrity,” he noted.

He advised the Iranian officials to always beware of the enemy and its error-riddled calculations and “constantly increase the constituents of national power.”

He hailed the recent back-to-back military exercises featuring the Army and Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards [IRG] as attempts by “the children of this country to boost national security,” calling the maneuvers “a cause for pride.”

Imam Khamenei, meanwhile, denounced certain regional states for relying on extra-regional sources for their own security, noting that those very same foreign powers would desert them when their assistance is required.

The Leader cited the likes of Iran’s monarch including Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak or Tunisia’s Zine El Abidine Ben Ali as examples of regional rulers who mistakenly placed their trust in foreign powers.

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On the rockets that deprive Israeli leaders of sleep: Friedman’s letter to his “dear” Biden عن الصواريخ التي تَحرِم قادة إسرائيل من النوم: رسالة فريدمان إلى «عزيزه» بايدن

**English Machine translation Please scroll down for the Arabic original version **

On the rockets that deprive Israeli leaders of sleep: Friedman’s letter to his “dear” Biden

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ِAl-Akhbar

Walid Sharara

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

The message from the American journalist, the Zionist ideologues, Thomas Friedman, deserves to be read closely.

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“Dear Joe, it is no longer a matter of Iranian nuclear”

It is not similar to his articles and books, which are fraught with missionary ideology, which is associated with his personal convictions, which have been lied to by subsequent developments as a whole. He probably wishes to forget his untold narratives of “happy globalisation” and the positive and benefits it will bring to the peoples of all the world, which he has compiled in two books: “Lexus and the Olive Tree”, and “The World Is Flat”. This time, in a remarkable article entitled, “Dear Joe, it is no longer a matter of Iranian nuclear”, he does not speak of his whim. Friedman wanted to address the president-elect, an ardent supporter with close and historical ties to the Democratic Party, on behalf of Israel and its support system in the United States, not just the lobby, commissioned or without them. The article – The message is very clear and candid, reinforcing the conviction that the essence of the strategic battle between the U.S.-Israeli alliance and its allies in the region, and between the axis of resistance, and at the heart of it Iran, is the development of its specific missile capabilities and its allies’ help to do the same. Of course, the attempt to prevent Iran from developing scientifically and technologically, particularly in the nuclear field, and as a result of its independent political choices, is among the central objectives of the hostile alliance, as confirmed by the targeting of its scientists and nuclear facilities, but not the first target on its agenda. Precision missiles, or the “game-changer” as used in dozens of Israeli, U.S. and Western reports, are the number one priority on this scale, and are likely to remain so after Biden enters the White House.

If an Arab writer or expert dares to say that Iran’s missile program deprives Israeli military experts of sleep, it will be judged by the “armies of experts and analysts” Arab “realists” as a “media mouthpiece” of resistance. But they will not dare to treat their friend, and in an earlier era, their reference, Thomas Friedman, in the way he writes that “what some Israeli military experts will admit to you is that Iran’s possession of a nuclear weapon is not what keeps them awake all night, because they don’t think Tehran will use it, because that would be suicide, and Iran’s religious leaders are not suicide bombers. What worries them is Iran’s new weapons, the precision missiles it used against Saudi Arabia, which continue to try to export them to its proxies in Lebanon, Yemen, Syria, and Iraq, posing a deadly threat to Israel, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, and U.S. forces in the region.”

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The Zionist-American theorist does not hesitate to describe the Abqaiq attack, which targeted Saudi oil industries with precision guided missiles and Drones, as he claims, which he accuses Iran of direct responsibility for, of “Pearl Harbor Middle East”, and believes that this region has been reconstituted by Iranian missiles and U.S., Israeli and Gulf responses to it. He concludes that the new U.S. president will face enormous pressure not to return to the nuclear deal as originally drafted, to include the missile program in negotiations with Iran, and to use the “power paper” represented by the harsh sanctions imposed on it to bind it by making concessions about it.

The missile program was not put under the microscope at the time of the signing of the nuclear agreement.


Perhaps it should be remembered that Iran’s missile program was not put under the microscope at the time of the signing of the nuclear deal with Iran.

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To appreciate the position that the Obama administration used when it agreed to the original version of this agreement, it was assumed that Iran was suffering because of what looked like the international embargo that was being imposed around it at the time, that it was draining in Syria and Iraq, and that these conditions provided an opportunity to come to terms with it, and that it is not at its peak. However, the major changes that took place in the Syrian arena after the Russian intervention in September 2015, three months after the signing of the agreement, and the subsequent transfer of qualitative military and missile capabilities to Syria, and the Israeli and American attention to the accelerated development of the missile program in Iran, may be one of the most prominent factors explaining the slow lifting of sanctions stipulated in the agreement, and preventing western companies and institutions from opening up to this country and investing in it, because of warnings and pressure from the United States and sometimes public.

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It was these military, technological and field variables that led Donald Trump and his team to withdraw from the agreement and adopt “extreme pressures” against Tehran, without succeeding in halting the quantitative and qualitative growth of its missile arsenal and its allies. How will Biden and his administration deal with the “stubborn” and different realities that prevailed at the time of the signing of the nuclear deal? What is certain is that Israel’s balanced supporters in this team and beyond and in the various institutions of the U.S. state, i.e. the supporting system, will also stay up all night if they have to, to get the president-elect to be tough on Iran’s missile program, whose continued growth leads to a gradual shift in the balance of power to the detriment of Israel and U.S. hegemony in our region.

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عن الصواريخ التي تَحرِم قادة إسرائيل من النوم: رسالة فريدمان إلى «عزيزه» بايدن

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الأخبار 

وليد شرارة 

الأربعاء 2 كانون الأول 2020

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الرسالة التي وَجّهها الصحافي الأميركي، الصهيوني العقائدي، توماس فريدمان، تستحقّ القراءة بتمعّن. هي لا تشبه مقالاته وكتبه المشحونة بأيديولوجيا تبشيرية، تشي بقناعاته الشخصية، التي كَذّبتها التطوّرات اللاحقة بمجملها. وغالب الظن أنه يتمنّى أن تُنسى سرديّاته المغفلة عن «العولمة السعيدة» وما ستحمله من إيجابيات وفوائد لشعوب العالم قاطبة، والتي جمعها في كتابين: «سيارة ليكسوس وشجرة الزيتون»، و«العالم مسطّح». هذه المرّة، وفي مقال بعنوان لافت، «عزيزي جو، لم يعد الأمر يتعلّق بالنووي الإيراني»، هو لا ينطق عن هواه. أراد فريدمان أن يخاطب الرئيس المنتخَب، وهو من مؤيّديه المتحمّسين ولديه علاقات وثيقة وتاريخية بالحزب الديمقراطي، نيابةً عن إسرائيل والمنظومة الداعمة لها في الولايات المتحدة، وليس مجرّد اللوبي، بتكليف منهما أو من دونه. المقال – الرسالة شديد الوضوح والصراحة، ويعزّز القناعة بأن جوهر المعركة الاستراتيجية الدائرة بين التحالف الأميركي – الإسرائيلي وأذنابه في المنطقة، وبين محور المقاومة، وفي القلب منه إيران، هو تطوير الأخيرة لقدراتها الصاروخية النوعية ومساعدتها حلفاءَها على القيام بالأمر عينه. بطبيعة الحال، فإن محاولة منع إيران من التطوّر علمياً وتكنولوجياً، خاصة في الميدان النووي، ونتيجة لخياراتها السياسية الاستقلالية، هي بين الأهداف المركزية للتحالف المعادي، وهو ما يؤكده استهداف علمائها ومنشآتها النووية، لكنه ليس الهدف الأول المدرَج على جدول أعماله. الصواريخ الدقيقة، أو «العامل المُغيِّر لقواعد اللعبة» حسب التعبير المستخدَم في عشرات التقارير الإسرائيلية والأميركية والغربية، هي الأولوية الأولى على هذا الجدول، ومن المرجّح أن تبقى كذلك بعد دخول بايدن إلى البيت الأبيض.

لو تَجرّأ كاتب أو خبير عربي على القول إن البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني يَحرم الخبراء العسكريين الإسرائيليين من النوم، لانهال عليه التقريظ والتسخيف من قِبَل «جيوش الخبراء والمحلّلين» العرب «الواقعيين»، باعتباره «بوقاً إعلامياً» للممانعة. لكنّ هؤلاء لن يتجرّأوا على معاملة صديقهم، وفي حقبة سابقة مرجعهم، توماس فريدمان، بالطريقة إيّاها عندما يكتب أن «ما سيعترف به أمامكم بعض الخبراء العسكريين الإسرائيليين هو أن امتلاك إيران لسلاح نووي ليس ما يُبقيهم مستيقظين طيلة الليل، لأنهم لا يعتقدون أن طهران ستستخدمه، لأن ذلك سيكون انتحاراً، والزعماء الدينيون في إيران ليسوا انتحاريين. ما يُقلقهم هو أسلحة إيران الجديدة المفضّلة، أي الصواريخ الدقيقة التي استخدمتها ضدّ السعودية، والتي تواصل محاولة تصديرها إلى وكلائها في لبنان واليمن وسوريا والعراق، ما يشكّل تهديداً قاتلاً لإسرائيل والسعودية والإمارات والقوات الأميركية في المنطقة».

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لا يَتردّد المنظّر الصهيوني – الأميركي في وصف هجوم أبقيق، الذي استهدف صناعات النفط السعودية بصواريخ مُوجّهة دقيقة ومسيّرات، وفقاً لزعمه، والذي يتّهم إيران بالمسؤولية المباشرة عنه، بـ«بيرل هاربر الشرق الأوسط»، ويرى أن هذه المنطقة أعيد تشكيلها من خلال الصواريخ الإيرانية والردود الأميركية والإسرائيلية والخليجية عليها. هو يَخلُص إلى أن الرئيس الأميركي الجديد سيواجه ضغوطاً هائلة لعدم العودة إلى الاتفاق النووي بصيغته الأصلية، ولإدراج البرنامج الصاروخي في المفاوضات مع إيران، وتوظيف «ورقة القوة» التي تُمثّلها العقوبات القاسية المفروضة عليها لإلزامها بتقديم تنازلات حوله.

البرنامج الصاروخي لم يكن قد وُضع تحت المجهر إبّان فترة التوقيع على الاتفاق النووي


ربّما ينبغي التذكير بأن البرنامج الصاروخي الإيراني لم يكن قد وُضع تحت المجهر في الفترة التي تمّ التوقيع خلالها على الاتفاق النووي مع إيران.

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تقدير الموقف الذي استندت إليه إدارة باراك أوباما عندما وافقت على الصيغة الأصلية لهذا الاتفاق، كان يَفترض أن إيران تعاني بسبب ما يشبه الحصار الدولي المضروب حولها آنذاك، وأنها تُستنزف في سوريا والعراق، وأن هذه الظروف تُوفّر فرصة سانحة للتفاهم معها، وهي ليست في أوج قوتها. غير أن المتغيّرات الكبرى التي شهدتها الساحة السورية بعد التدخل الروسي في أيلول/ سبتمبر 2015، أي 3 أشهر بعد توقيع الاتفاق، وما تلاها من عملية نقل لقدرات عسكرية وصاروخية نوعية إلى سوريا، والالتفات الإسرائيلي والأميركي إلى تسارع تطوير البرنامج الصاروخي في إيران، قد تكون من أبرز العوامل التي تُفسّر تباطؤ رفع العقوبات التي نصّ عليها الاتفاق، والحؤول دون قيام شركات ومؤسسات غربية وغير غربية بالانفتاح على هذا البلد والاستثمار فيه، بسبب تحذيرات وضغوط أميركية مبطّنة وأحياناً علنية.

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هذه المتغيّرات العسكرية والتكنولوجية والميدانية هي التي حدت بدونالد ترامب وفريقه إلى الانسحاب من الاتفاق واعتماد «الضغوط القصوى» ضدّ طهران، من دون النجاح في وقف النموّ الكمّي والنوعي للترسانة الصاروخية لديها ولدى حلفائها. كيف سيتعامل بايدن وإدارته مع الوقائع «العنيدة» والمغايرة لتلك التي سادت في فترة توقيع الاتفاق النووي؟ المؤكد هو أن أنصار إسرائيل الوازنين في هذا الفريق وخارجه وفي مختلف مؤسسات الدولة الأميركية، أي المنظومة الداعمة لها، سيبقون بدورهم مستيقظين طيلة الليل إن اضطرّوا لذلك، لحمل الرئيس المنتخَب على التشدّد حيال برنامج إيران الصاروخي، الذي يفضي نموّه المستمرّ إلى تحوّل تدريجي في موازين القوى لغير مصلحة إسرائيل والهيمنة الأميركية في منطقتنا.

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Video: Israeli Military Asks $1.2 Billion to Prepare for Strike on Iran

By South Front

Global Research, January 29, 2021

South Front 28 January 2021

All Global Research articles including the E-Book can be read in 27 languages by activating the “Translate Website” drop down menu on the top banner of our home page (Desktop version).

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The Israeli military needs over $1 billion to fund its widely promoted strike on Iran, which Tel Aviv has threatened to carry out if the US should rejoin the nuclear deal. According to Israeli sources, the military would need these additional funds to deal with the challenges that it faces including ‘threats’ from the Iranian-led Axis of Resistance.

The interesting fact is that even the IDF Chief of Staff admits that Israel is the initiator of the escalation. However, the Israeli leadership continues to insist that the Iranian threat is growing.

“In general, none of [our enemies] want to initiate anything against us. All of their actions — almost without exception — are retaliatory to our actions, not actions that they’ve initiated. And when they decide to carry out [an attack], they experience difficulties and decide to abandon their ways of acting,” IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said adding that military spending must be increased, despite the coronavirus crisis.

“The missiles don’t get sick, but they can be fired the moment the other side decides that’s what it wants to do,” Kohavi stated referring to the missile arsenal of Hamas, Hezbollah and Iran.

It is interesting to know: Would the new US administration fund Israeli preparations for a strike against Iran beforehand or it would prefer to compensate it after the event.Israeli Officials Consider Attacking Iran, Believing Trump Won’t Oppose It

In any case, as of now there are no conditions to test Israeli readiness to really attack Tehran. Whether the Biden administration will rejoin the nuclear deal is still in question. Iran argues that it would reject any preconditions and the deal could only be considered to be restored after the lifting of all the imposed sanctions.

Meanwhile, the main side suffering are the Gulf allies of the Israeli-US bloc. The new Iranian-backed group, which claimed responsibility for the recent attack on the Saudi capital, issued a threat to the United Arab Emirates. On January 27, the Righteous Promise Brigades released a poster showing a drone attacking Burj Khalifa in the Emirate of Dubai. Rising to 829.8 meters in height, Burj Khalifa is the world’s tallest structure and building.

“The second blow will be on the dens of evil in Dubai, with the help of the Almighty, if the crimes of Bin Salman and Bin Zayed are repeated,” the statement reads. The RPB said its attack on Riyadh was a response to the January 21 bombings in the Iraqi capital. ISIS claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack. However, the Righteous Promise Brigades blamed Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

“The second blow will be on the dens of evil in Dubai, with the help of the Almighty, if the crimes of Bin Salman and Bin Zayed are repeated,” the statement reads. The RPB said its attack on Riyadh was a response to the January 21 bombings in the Iraqi capital. ISIS claimed responsibility for the terrorist attack. However, the Righteous Promise Brigades blamed Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

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Ayatollah Khamenei opened door of dialogue via his letters to Western youth: Lebanese analyst

By Reza Moshfegh

January 20, 2021 – 10:50

TEHRAN – A senior Lebanese political analyst says that the Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Ali Khamenei opened a door for dialogue between the Islamic and Western world via his letters to the youth in Europe and North America.

In a letter dated January 21, 2015, and another on November 29, 2015, Ayatollah Khamenei elaborated on the truth of Islam and malicious attempts by certain Western leaders to distort the image of Islam. 

“The door to dialogue that was opened by Ayatollah Khamenei is a constructive step and we always say the door to dialogue, even if it is half open, is much better than closing it completely,” Amin Hoteit tells the Tehran Times.

“Ayatollah Khamenei knows that the Western media is hiding the facts, and this media is in the hands of the malicious colonial groups that besieges the youth and their minds,” according to the Lebanese university instructor and researcher.

The following is the text of the interview: 

Q:    What are the implications of Ayatollah Khamenei’s letters to young people in the West when he urged them to examine Islam first hand rather than believe prejudiced views?

A: The two letters that the Leader of the Islamic Republic wrote to the youth in Europe and North America were a move in consistence with a sound Islamic principle, which is to show the truth and the Islamic call through dialogue. 

Ayatollah Khamenei knows that the Western media is hiding the facts, and this media is in the hands of the malicious colonial groups that besiege the youth and their minds. 

For this reason, he decided to address the youth, showing them the clear and shining truth, and not leaving them prey to a shameless, lecherous, malicious and unjust media.

Q: Do you think that the circumstances are proper for dialogue with Western youth and coming generations?

A: There is no doubt that when the youth receive this message, they will be in a position of tension between two currents: the false path led by the media and politicians, and the path of truth that these messages represent it.

I think that a large number of Western youths will follow what was mentioned in the message of Imam Khamenei if they use logic and common sense.

Since Ayatollah Khamenei is telling the truth, this message will have a good and effective impact on the hearts of young people, and it will make them more prepared to receive other messages and then confront suppressive governments.

Q:    How would you assess the dominance of the Western media over the thought of the youth and the average citizen in the West?

A: I think that the reason that encouraged Imam Khamenei to write these letters was the fabrication and forgery that we find in the paid media that claim freedom of opinion while in fact, they are confiscating free opinion.

Western outlets claim freedom of expression but they are misrepresenting the truth. Therefore, this move was correct and timely which will lead to important results.

The door to dialogue that was opened by Ayatollah Khamenei is a constructive step and we always say the door to dialogue, even if it is half open, is much better than closing it completely.

That is why I think that although the platform for peaceful dialogue is not available in light of this Western regime’s crimes, restricted dialogue in the existing circumstances is better than a break and turning our back.

Q:    How do you see the position of the resistance in the world in the light of Western media propaganda?

A: Unfortunately, Western thought is mostly a prisoner of the media, so you find those who are not biased for injustice heading towards neutrality and a rare few who openly adhere to the truth, contrary to what the media propagates. 

Today, when you find someone who lights a candle in this dark tunnel in which the West moves, the truth-seekers will receive this light, no matter how weak it is. 

Therefore, I believe that the direct speech from the Leader of the Islamic Republic to the youth can push their thought and logic to search the truth, meanwhile addressing their minds is a very important matter and should be followed up.

The resistance plays a prominent and important role in various fields, but we should be aware that the resistance, with its media, its fields of action, and its scope of works under siege by regional dictatorships and their media.

Therefore, we should not lose any opportunity to gain access to the hearts and minds of the youth in a smooth way despite the obstacles. By dictatorships and their flags.

Q: What is the message of the Islamic Revolution to young generations in the region and the globe?

A: The message of the Islamic revolution to the world and the youth, in particular, is a clear message based on four pillars: first, building a secure society, secondly building a society of cooperation and brotherhood among human beings, thirdly preventing maliciousness and confronting arrogance, injustice, colonialism and domination, and fourthly building our homelands and our countries with cooperation, benevolence and peace, and live a safer world full of peace and prosperity. 

Consequently, the message of the Islamic Revolution is completely opposite to the message of colonialism, which wants hegemony and domination to possess and usurp wealth.
 

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IRG Chief Warns Enemies Against Any Miscalculation

IRG Chief Warns Enemies Against Any Miscalculation

By Staff, Agencies

The Chief Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard [IRG] described military exercises as a reminder that Iran is fully ready to safeguard its interests, warning the adversaries to avoid any miscalculation as Iran’s finger is on the trigger.

Speaking to reporters on Tuesday, Major General Hossein Salami said military drills in Iran demonstrate the country’s deterrent power.

The war games also make it clear to the enemies that they must avoid any miscalculation about Iran’s defense power, Salami added.

The top general also noted that the military drills give the enemies the message that Iran would protect its independence, dignity and identity without any consideration.

“Our fingers are on the trigger on behalf of the great Iranian nation,” he said, underlining that the IRG forces are prepared to deal with the threats along the border, in the heart of homeland, or deep in the faraway territories.

The Iranian Army and the IRG have held several exercises across Iran over the past two weeks.

In a war game on Saturday, the IRG Aerospace Force blasted targets in the northern parts of the Indian Ocean with long-range ballistic missiles from a distance of 1,800 kilometers.

Canada Knew About Plan to Assassinate Iranian Gen. Soleimani Before It Happened

Canada Knew About Plan to Assassinate Iranian Gen. Soleimani Before It Happened

By Staff, The Canada Files

Canada’s former top military commander says that the US gave Canada a heads-up on its plan to kill top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani, according to his interview with the Canadian newspaper Globe and Mail this past week.

General Jonathan Vance recently retired from his position as Canada’s Chief of Defense Staff, but left with some key information about Gen. Soleimani’s assassination.

In his interview, the Globe and Mail reports him saying that the Pentagon alerted Ottawa on its plans to kill Gen. Soleimani so that it could put in “force protection measures” in case of Iranian counterstrikes.

However, right after the assassination, Canada’s National Defense Minister, Harjit Sajjan, said that the US did not provide Canada with the details of its targeted US drone strike that killed Gen. Soleimani in Iraq.

In an interview with CTV’s Power Play host, Even Solomon, in January 2020, Sajjan said they “didn’t have the exact information for the event that took place” but just that the US indicated it would “take action.”

Yves Engler, a Montreal-based political activist who has authored books on Canadian foreign policy, says he thinks that what Canada had said initially was just a “propaganda line” because “they didn’t want to take any responsibility for complicity in what the US did.”

He says that Gen. Vance spoke about it now because he was stepping down and thus being a little bit more honest. Engler, however, isn’t surprised that Canada did in fact know about the assassination as he says that Canada’s military is “totally tied in with the US military presence there.”

“In Iraq, Iraqis view Canadian military and the US military as pretty interchangeable,” he said.

Canadian and American foreign policy have generally also been quite aligned.

According to a report by the Canadian Global Affairs Institute, Canada’s foreign policy “has been shaped by deep integration with, and dependence on, the United States.” The US department of State also states in a bilateral relations fact sheet that both countries are part of a number of the same international organizations, including the UN, NATO, WTO, G7, G20, Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, among others.

In fact, the US and Canada coordinate through the High-Level Policy Review Group, which was launched in 2009 so that both countries could “coordinate actions in response to pressing global issues” and to support each other in “rallying international support for shared goals.”

Engler says he doesn’t think that Canada would want to be directly associated with Gen. Soleimani’s assassination, but believes that Canada has been quite openly aligned with the US government’s campaign to weaken Iran.

He also says that Canada should have done better since they had advanced knowledge of the assassination.

“If they cared about international law, they would have publicly released information and warned Iranians and said that we don’t want to participate in crazy games of assassinating top officials of other countries,” he said.

Instead, foreign affairs minister, Francois-Phillippe Champagne, released a statement emphasizing the safety of Canadian troops in the region, calling for de-escalation and stating that Canada had been concerned about Gen. Soleimani’s Quds Force, whose “aggressive actions have had a destabilizing effect in the region and beyond.”

In a 2018 Parliamentary meeting, Gen. Vance, however, admitted that the “the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces] and Shia militia forces did help with the destruction of Daesh [Arabic Acronym for ‘ISIS’ / ‘ISIL’].”

Iran’s Parliament speaker, Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, delivered a speech on May 31, 2020 saying that Gen. Soleimani’s assassination is what poses a major threat to international peace and security now.

“When Iran does something that is questionable there is usually a pretty aggressive denunciation from the Canadian government, but in this case [of the assassination], it was either total silence or close to silence,” said Engler, commenting about Canada’s “modest” statement post-assassination.

Gen. Soleimani was the commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps’ [IRGC] Quds Force. He and his companions, including top Iraqi official Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, were assassinated in a US drone strike, under the order of US President Donald Trump, when Gen. Soleimani was on an official visit to the Iraqi capital.

Iran shot a barrage of missiles on US military bases in Iraq on Jan. 8, 2020 as a form of revenge for assassinating their top Iranian general.

According to Airforce Technology, the Ain al-Asad air force base was the largest coalition base in western Iraq. The Pentagon announced that over 100 American soldiers suffered traumatic brain injuries as a result of the missile strike at the base.

Canada suspended its military mission in Iraq and moved its troops to Kuwait as a protection measure at the time. Canada’s NATO mission in Iraq provides training for Iraqi forces “to help build more effective and sustainable Iraqi defense and security institutions.”

But Engler believes otherwise.

“Since the US occupation, there have been huge amounts of resources put into trying to build up an Iraqi military force that will advance US interests in Iraq and in the region more generally.” he said. “That’s the objective of training militaries everywhere. Canada and the US don’t train other countries’ militaries just out of the goodness of their heart, [they do it] because it’s useful to have armed men…that are aligned with you in different ways.”

Iranian Nuclear Weapons. Is Israel Too Scared To Strike?

The key standoff in the Middle East, that between Israel and Iran, has been steadily ramping up.

Over the last two months Israel and its allies, primarily the US and Saudi Arabia, have done quite a bit to antagonize Iran and attempt and impair it from achieving its ambitions.

Iran’s response is coming, and the aim is an asymmetric counter attack that would heavily hamper Israel’s interests.

Tehran’s response will likely be two-pronged:

On the one hand through its proxies and allies – namely the Houthis in Yemen who are pushing back Saudi Arabia and inflicting heavy losses on it. Iran recently sent advanced suicide drones to Yemen, so Riyadh appears to be in for a surprise.

Separately, it’s operating through its allies in Iraq and Syria, as reports of US convoys suffering explosions are becoming a rather regular occurrence.

On the other, Iran’s nuclear program appears to be developing steadily, and the Wall Street Journal even stoke the oven by claiming that Tehran was nearing production of a “key material for nuclear warheads”.

There’s been no confirmation to that, but it also works to Iran’s benefit and will be used as a mechanism to check if Israel is willing to attack its nuclear program, once again, after allegedly killing Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Tehran is working to produce its enriched uranium, which it maintains is for peaceful purposes, and uses this as a lever to pressure the United States and force Israel’s hand. Most recently, Iran said that Washington’s return to the Nuclear Deal, as incoming President Joe Biden has signaled, was simply “extortion” if its not accompanied by a lifting of sanctions.

As such, Iran says that not only must Washington want to return, but it also needs to do something to make up for their past failures – namely, lift the sanctions the Trump Administration imposed.

Israel, feeling the urgency of its situation, warned that if the US were to return to the Nuclear Deal, it would feel forced and strike the facilities being used in Iran’s nuclear program, in order to hamper any progress, it may be having towards an alleged weapon. If this really happens, this will easily lead to a large-scale regional war.

Currently, Israel and the US have largely played their hands – attacks on various proxy positions, as well as various threats and military deployments.

For Iran, the field is wide open and its Tehran’s turn to make its move and it is likely to be an asymmetric action, not focused in a single point of tension, but rather on several.

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Israel & United States Unite Efforts In Large-Scale Strikes On Iranian Infrastructure In Syria

South Front

The first two weeks of 2021 have, so far, been marked by an incredible increase in Israeli activity in the skies over Syria.

The most intense strike took place on January 13 morning hitting multiple Syrian and Iranian-affiliated targets in the province of Deir Ezzor, including the underground base of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Corps near al-Bukamal.

The pro-opposition Syrian Observatory for Human Rights reported that Israeli strikes have killed 57 and wounded another 37. Pro-government sources confirmed only 5 casualties.

The airstrikes were so numerous that even Abu Yatem al-Katrani – the commander of the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) 4th Brigade was killed in an airstrike.

The Israeli operations were carried out with the assistance of the United States – it provided intelligence and Israeli struck on them. Former CIA Director, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo was reportedly discussing the airstrikes with Yossi Cohen, chief of Israel’s spy agency Mossad.

The US support of Tel Aviv’s aerial raids is a clear message to Iran, and is a very open support to Israel’s undeclared war against Iran, which it has been waging in Syria since hostilities began.

All of the airstrikes in the first two weeks of 2021 are the most significant by Israel, and over all, since the beginning of the war in Syria. They were so significant, that Damascus even accused Tel Aviv of carrying out the strikes in very open support of ISIS militants which the Syrian Arab Army is hunting.

Meanwhile, there appears to be a sense of urgency, or a sense of danger in the air, as the United States reinforced its troop positions in the Omar oil fields with artillery pieces and other equipment.

The US troops, together with their local proxies also hold frequent drills in the area, to keep ready, for some future unknown escalation.

Prior to New Year’s Eve, Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated, in what Tehran claimed to be an elaborate Israeli operation.

Additionally, since around the same time, a farewell strike on Iran has been expected from US President Donald Trump, and the general chaos in the US ahead of Joe Biden stepping into office has been used by Israel as a chance to inflict as much damage as possible on Tehran and its allies.

Russia, at the same time, appears to also be preparing for an escalation of some sort, by building up its forces and is lying in wait.

Israel appears dead set on continuing its crusade against Iran and its allies in Syria. An urgency is felt, since Biden is unlikely to support Tel Aviv as much as Trump did, and every possible chance should be used. This is all in spite of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu removed the photo of Donald Trump from his Twitter, but all is fair in love and war.

Finally, both the American and Russian forces appear to be biding their time, waiting for an escalation that, with tensions at the breaking point appears closer than ever.

The year began with terrorist attacks in Syria, increased Israeli strikes, Iran threatening against any aggression against it, and the two most significant players in the face of Moscow and Washington are expecting an escalation, and no amount of preparation would be enough for the incoming storm.

US nuclear submarine comes in close contact with Iranian anti-submarine chopper: video

Iran ends massive war games in Strait of Hormuz, issues stern warning to enemies: photos

BY NEWS DESK 2021-01-14

BEIRUT, LEBANON (6:00 P.M.) – A U.S. nuclear submarine was spotted making close contact with an Iranian military chopper this week, in a new escalation in the Persian Gulf region.

In a video released by the Iranian media and shared on social media, the U.S. nuclear submarine can be seen making close contact with the Iranian anti-submarine helicopter, the SH-3D, in the Persian Gulf waters.

The video, which is shared below, was allegedly take on Thursday, January 14th, in the Persian Gulf; however, the U.S. and Iranian forces have yet to comment on this close approach.

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Economic war on Lebanon, into 2021: Dr Marwa Osman

Dr Marwa Osman’s Press TV program, 13 January 2021

Iran Won’t Allow Enemies to Flex Muscles: Commander

January 13, 2021

Iranian Army Chief Maj. Gen. Mohammad Baqeri

Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri said on Wednesday that the armed and navy forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran will not allow enemies to flex muscles against Iran.

Speaking during the ceremony of the annexation of the “Zereh” (meaning ‘Armor’ in Farsi) missile launcher and helicopter carrier dubbed “Makran”, Major General Baqeri said that today’s sea arena is unique and incredibly valuable for the whole world and for the Iranians.

God Almighty has granted this great nation the blessing of having beaches and proper access to the open seas, and we have to properly utilize this God-given gift to expand the divine power of Islam as necessary and to defend the interests of our country beyond the borders and to defend Iran’s maritime borders, which include valuable fossil energy resources and our maritime trade routes, to be properly defended, supported and secured, he noted.

He added that this God-given gift can lead to tremendous development and progress of the country at the regional and global levels.

The geo-strategic advantage of these valuable beaches and open seas can bring maritime and defense authority to our beloved country, he noted.

He underscored that the armed forces, especially the Army’s Strategic Navy, along with their valuable defense missions, have stepped in and moved alongside their valuable defense missions by deploying on the coasts of Makran as a pioneer in the development of these deprived areas and have begun to take valuable measures, and we hope that the government and other important parts of the country will continue to develop and see advanced beaches and areas in this region.

Pointing out that the Strategic Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran has accomplished its defense missions with full strength and authority through all its time in charge, Major General Baqeri stated that from the beginning of the Iraqi-imposed war against Iran, the Strategic Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran began its powerful move by destroying the Baathist regime’s navy that day and played a pivotal role in preserving and liberating Khorramshahr, and then took an essential role in escorting the country’s commercial convoys, and after the holy defense, it performed missions to protect the borders of the Islamic homeland.

Over the last decade, the Navy has carried out significant missions with authority in remote seas against piracy and terrorist moves of enemies, he said.

Following deploying on the shores of the Sea of Oman, it could permanently deploy its fleet in the Indian Ocean, the Red Sea, and distant seas, he further noted.

Referring to the escort of a large number tankers and commercial vessels of the Islamic Republic of Iran by the Army-Navy, he stated that if the world’s naval forces are proud of their steel and fire, Iran’s Navy, in addition to those features, has faith in the divine power that is the backing of manpower to overcome all threats.

Touching on the recently unveiled helicopter carrier “Makran” and a missile-launching warship “Zereh” in Iran, Makran will be a worthwhile naval vessel base for further development of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support and operational activities in the remote seas.

The construction of such valuable warships proves that the country’s defense industry has successfully passed the enemy’s sanctions and has built the most efficient weapons and equipment by Iranian manpower and domestic facilities, he underscored.

He called the unique unity of the armed forces another valuable point.

Stating that the armed forces are united today, he said that the army and the IRGC are two powerful arms of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the defense industry, as their powerful backing, performs their defense missions with full power and complete synergy, so that the enemies have no power to flex muscles in the waters and regions under the rule of the Islamic Republic of Iran.

He highlighted that, If today “we see that the tanker and commercial vessels of the Islamic Republic of Iran, despite all the threats to the shores of the Caribbean Sea in Venezuela, are moving safely and peacefully under the proud flag of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the reason is Iranian brave military forces authority” and power of deterring.

“If we witnessed the unveiling of the IRGC Navy’s underground missile town in the past week, this week we will also see the annexation of two valuable vessels of the Strategic Navy of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and every week and every month we see the increase in the defense power of Iranians and we are proud of it.”

Referring to the recent movements of US forces in the region, Major General Baqeri stated that Iran’s enemies have taken actions against Iranians by flying their long-range aircraft in the region and displaying seemingly powerful shows of force to threaten and display power, but they should know that the powerful armed forces of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the naval forces will not allow them any show of force.

He further noted that the enemy knows well that their power is fragile, and what is seen in their country these days is the beginning of the decline of American power as a criminal regime that has displayed state terrorism in various dimensions.

Stressing that the Islamic Republic of Iran will support all its interests more powerfully as before, he emphasized that Iran will put the Red Sea, which has faced some limited aggression on the Islamic Republic’s merchant vessels in recent times, back in its naval patrol area and will maintain the full security of its vessels and fleet of tankers and commercials in the Red Sea as well.

SourceIRNA

IRANIAN REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS REVEALED UNDERGROUND MISSILE BASE NEAR PERSIAN GULF (VIDEO)

South Front

08.01.2021 

On January 8, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) unveiled an underground missile base located on the Persian Gulf coast, in the province of Hormozgan.

IRGC Commander-in-Chief Major General Hossein Salami and the guards’ Navy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri attended the unveiling ceremony.

A video of the new base shows dozens of Iranian-made anti-ship cruise missiles, including the Nasir and the Noor, as well as several missile launchers. Some of the launchers had been disguised as civilian trucks. The base was apparently built to store anti-ship weapons for the IRGC Navy.

In a speech, Maj. Gen. Salami said Iran’s logic in “defending the territorial integrity, the independence of the country, and the achievements of the Islamic Revolution is strengthening.”

“What you see today is one of several IRGC Naval Strategic Missile facilities,” the IRGC Commander-in-Chief said.

Salami added that Iran’s long-range missiles have a pinpoint precision with a high destructive power and they are capable of resisting electronic warfare.

In the last few years, Iran boosted its military capabilities in the face of political, economic and military pressure from the US. Washington’s pressure is meant to force Tehran to give up its nuclear program, missile capabilities and regional influence.

Earlier this week, the Iranian military held a joint large-scale drone drill, which was seen as a message to the US and its allies in the Middle East, especially Israel.

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Iran Asks the Interpol to Arrest Trump and his Partners for Killing Soleimani

ARABI SOURI 

Trump war crime killing Iran IRGC Qasem Soleimani and Abu Mahdi Mohandis in Iraq

Iran submitted documents to the Interpol needed to arrest the outgoing US President Donald Trump for his extrajudicial crime in killing the Iranian General Qassim Soleimani last year.

A spokesman for the Iranian Judicial Authority revealed that the authority sent to the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) based in Lyon, France to issue a ‘Red Notice’ locate and provisionally arrest the US president along with all the individuals who helped him commit the assassination of Lieutenant General Qassim Solemani on the 3rd of January 2020 near Baghdad International Airport.

The move might be symbolic as even the former presidents of the USA continue to enjoy the protection of their country’s security apparatuses, especially the so-called ‘Secret Service’, which was enacted by no other than the Nobel Peace Laureate Barack Obama in 2012 who wanted to protect his friend and former war criminal George W. Bush and himself in the future for life on the account of the US taxpayers and the US personnel.

Interpol may act to fill Iran’s request for a ‘Red Notice,’ which in turn would require individual countries’ to issue warrants for his arrest. Upon issuance, Trump’s movement around the world would be limited in countries that still respect international law.

If, on the other hand, the Interpol chooses to ignore the Iranian request despite the overwhelming evidence, this would limit cooperation by Iran with the international police.

Iranian Minister for Security Mahmoud Alawi stated today that the documents in the crime of assassinating the ‘Martyr General Qassim Soleimani are one thousand pages.’

The Iranian security minister added: ‘The Islamic Republic of Iran will not give up the blood of the martyr Qassem Soleimani. Of course, a small slap was dealt with the enemies at Ain al-Asad, but the main slap and harsh revenge remained.’

Mr. Alawi’s was referring to the Iranian bombing of the US military base in Ain al-Asad in western Iraq on 8 January 2020 in retaliation for the US killing of General Soleimani, the bombing caused considerable casualties among the US troops positioned in the base despite the denials from the regime of Donald Trump, later they started revealing that dozens of their soldiers suffered from brain injuries and severe headaches from the incoming precision Iranian missiles!

The Iranian minister said that his country ‘will avenge the killing of its top general especially that the enemy has declared their responsibility for this terrorist act’.

United Nations Special Rapporteur on Extrajudicial Killing and Arbitrary Execution Mrs. Agnes Callamard rightfully stated the US assassinations of the Iranian General Soleimani and the Iraqi top commander Al Muhandis are war crimes.

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Iran Uses Its Grip On Strait Of Hormuz To Fight Back US-imposed Sanctions

South Front

Iran has found an original way of dealing with sanctions and limitations imposed on it by the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign launched by the Trump administration.

On January 4, the Navy of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained a South Korea-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz over an alleged environmental pollution issue. The chemical tanker HANKUK CHEMI was inbound to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. Ahead of the incident, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations naval authority reported that an “interaction” between Iranian authorities and a merchant vessel in the Strait of Hormuz led the ship to alter its course and proceed into Iranian waters.

Following the incident, the South Korean Defense Ministry said that it will send its anti-piracy Cheonghae unit, normally based in the Gulf of Aden, along with helicopters to the Persian Gulf. The 302-strong Cheonghae unit operates a 4,500-ton destroyer, a Lynx anti-submarine helicopter and three speed boats.

The deployment of this unit is a rather a symbolic move than a practical step that should allow to protect South Korea-flagged ships in the region as Iranian forces have an overwhelming dominance there and using its conventional and asymmetric capabilities can even challenge the US military in the event of a limited military confrontation there.

Two days before the seizure of the tanker, Iran said a South Korean diplomat was due to travel to the country to negotiate over billions of dollars in its assets now frozen in Seoul. The total amount of Iranian money blocked in South Korea is up to $8.5 billion and Tehran declared its readiness to barter its money for deliveries of a variety of goods and commodities, including raw materials, medicine, petrochemicals, auto parts, home appliances.

Apparently, Iran thinks that South Korea needs some additional motivation to go contrary to the will of its Big Brother and accept the Iranian proposal.

Another important diplomatic achievement was made by Qatar, which is known as not only a Turkish ally, but also the Gulf monarchy that has constructive relations with Iran. On January 4, Saudi Arabia lifted the 4-year air, sea and land blockade that it together with the UAE, Kuwait, Egypt and Bahrain imposed on Qatar. In June 2017, the blockading countries accused Qatar, among other things, of supporting terrorism and of being too close to Iran. They severed economic and diplomatic ties with Doha and imposed a land, sea and air blockade on it. Qatar rejected all the allegations and refused to comply with a long list of demands announced by the blockading countries. So, now the anti-Qatari coalition is in retreat. The main factors that contributed to this scenario are the following:

a deep crisis faced by Saudi Arabia due to the failed intervention in Yemen and its oil war adventure;
the UAE-Saudi tensions that reached a new level due to the declining power of the Saudi Kingdom;
the growth of the influence of Iran and its popularity among the population of the Middle East due to the public rapprochement of the Gulf monarchies with Israel; the stern stance of Qatar itself that used the blockade to develop alternative alliances and strengthen relations with Turkey, Iran and even Russia to contain the pressure it faced.

The Israeli-aligned Gulf monarchies will likely try to use the lifting of the blockade to convince Doha to officially join the US-led pro-Israeli coalition. However, even if Qatar does this under the pressure of the United States and with hopes of restoring economic relations with its neighbors, this does not mean that Doha would change its de-facto regional strategy as the previous years already demonstrated that the national-oriented approach is much more useful in times of crises than empty hopes on large revenues from Israeli love.

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