Iranian official discusses Qassem Soleimani’s last hours

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By News Desk -2020-07-14

TEHRAN, IRAN – SEPTEMBER 18 : Iranian Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani attends Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s (not seen) meeting with the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in Tehran, Iran on September 18, 2016. (Photo by Pool / Press Office of Iranian Supreme Leader/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:45 P.M.) – The Secretary of the Expediency Council for Diagnosing the System of Interest in Iran, Mohsen Rezai, said on Monday that the ‘method’ of the late leader of the Quds Force, Major General, Qassem Soleimani, “can help in establishing a new world order.”

In his speech at the second step of the revolution, Rezai considered, “The approach of the martyr Soleimani is a creator of man, a practitioner of jihad, and seeks to work with divine responsibility and the production of thought and strategy,” according to the official Fars News Agency.

He stressed the need for the “guardian’s rule in determining responsibility and how to work with it to be at the forefront of things,” adding that “we must know what our responsibility is when ISIS takes the residents of a village as hostages and places the knife on the necks of innocent people.”

The Secretary of the Expediency Council stated the necessity of “enjoying the collective mind in the path of fulfilling responsibility”, saying: “We have been searching for long hours to reach the collective mind regarding Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and all wars. In fact, the martyr Qassem Soleimani was working until the last hours of his life according to the collective mind to know the duty and how to do it better. ”

Rezai added that “today a person needs a new system and that the approach of the Imam, the leader of the revolution, and the martyr Soleimani bear good teachings to build this system,” saying: “The method of the martyr Soleimani can help to establish a new world order because it is a symbol of thought and good word.”

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If Soleimani Assassination Happened To the West, It Would Declare War – UN Official

By Staff, Agencies

If Soleimani Assassination Happened To the West, It Would Declare War - UN Official

The United Nations special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions, Agnes Callamard, who has raised a firestorm by condemning the assassination of Iranian Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, has once again denounced the United States’ sheer disregard for international law.

“It is just violation of every single principle not only governing international law, but governing international relations,” Callamard told Beirut-based al-Mayadeen TV network in remarks aired on Sunday.

General Soleimani, the former commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC] Quds Force, was assassinated in a US airstrike at Baghdad airport on January 3, along with Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the second-in-command of Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units [PMU], and their companions.

Both commanders were extremely popular for their key role in eliminating the US-sponsored Daesh [the Arabic acronym for terrorist ‘ISIS/ISIL’ group in the region], particularly in Iraq and Syria.

On Thursday, Callamard provided the UN Human Rights Council with a report on the atrocity, which underlined the “unlawful” nature of the operation because the US had failed to provide evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike.

In her interview, Callamard repeated that the US has “failed to demonstrate how the strike could match and meet the requirement under the definition ‘self-defense.’”

“I should add that what they have done is part of an evolution that has been worrying me and many others for a number of years now,” she added.

The UN official explained how the US has falsely tried to rationalize such acts of aggression.

In response to the assassination, the IRGC fired volleys of ballistic missiles at a US air base in Iraq on January 8. Iran has also issued an arrest warrant and asked Interpol for help in detaining US President Donald Trump, who ordered the assassination, and several other US military and political leaders behind the strike.

Had an official “from a so-called ‘democratic’ Western country” been targeted in such a manner, that country would have considered the attack “as an act of aggression and as declaration of war,” Callamard emphasized.

She reminded how the aftermath of the strike featured a flurry of diplomatic efforts at avoiding the exacerbation of the already dire situation brought about by the assassination, “because everyone understood that we were on the brink of something extremely serious”.

The UN rapporteur finally issued a warning to the US and other countries, urging them not to repeat such acts of aggression.

“I’m hoping that the international community and the United States will understand that we avoided the abyss after that strike,” she said. “Let’s make that the one and only moment, where such a step would have been taken.”

Callamard’s stance has enraged the United States, with State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus calling her report “tendentious and tedious.”

Ortagus on Wednesday accused her of “a special kind of intellectual dishonesty” for condemning the United States, claiming that Washington’s assassination of Gen. Soleimani was an act of “self-defense”.

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Washington feared an Iranian attack in the US after Soleimani’s assassination: magazine

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By News Desk -2020-07-10

In its report, the publication noted that Iranian-backed forces have not killed anyone on American soil since 1980, to the point that U.S. officials have come to believe that the Iranian leadership will not give orders to attack any American territory, unless it faces an existential threat.

The leaked report on the Joint Intelligence Center in California revealed that “many of the security and intelligence officials in Washington considered Soleimani’s assassination on January 2 to cross the red lines of Iran and a kind of existential threat to its influence in the Middle East and the world in general.

The report stated: “Historically, Tehran and its allies have carried out their reprisals against American interests mostly located outside American territory, but the specific operation that targeted the assassination of Soleimani and the position of the target person in the pyramid of power in Iran, prompted these American officials to warn that Tehran might resort to this.”

“We do not know of any specific and credible threat to the homeland by Hezbollah or parties linked to Iran, but Hezbollah or Iran could conduct operations in the United States against targets similar to those attacked in other places in the west. ”

The Ministry of Homeland Security issued another leaflet warning of Iranian-backed terrorism in response to the assassination of Soleimani, but this bulletin ended in March and was not updated.

Iran’s first response to the Soleimani assassination was carried out against the U.S. forces in Iraq on the evening of January 8th by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

Though Iran has warned that their retaliation for the assassination of Soleimani has not ended, it appears, as of now, that they are concentrated on expelling the U.S. forces from Iraq and Syria.

’Powerful Bomb’ Planted by ‘Israel’ behind Natanz Station Explosion – Report

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’Powerful Bomb’ Planted by ‘Israel’ behind Natanz Station Explosion - Report

By Staff, Agencies

‘Israel’ is responsible for the explosion that took place at Iran’s Natanz nuclear site on July 2nd, by means of a “powerful bomb”, The New York Times [NYT] reported, citing an unnamed source described as a Middle East intelligence official.

According to the NYT source, the incident is not connected with other explosions that took place in Iran earlier, in particular a blast near Tehran’s Parchin military complex, which some reports have suggested is a missile production facility.

Relatively, former US national security adviser John Bolton questioned whether the recent explosions could have been connected and represented “a precursor of a larger attack”.

The NYT also cited a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps [IRGC], who confirmed the explosive at the Natanz site, adding that investigators “have considered the possibility” that “a cruise missile or a drone” was used to attack Natanz, but saw a bomb scenario as more likely.

“The episode will probably accelerate plans to move more of Iran’s most sensitive facilities underground”, the IRGC member reportedly said.

The damage caused by the incident was described by Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, Behrouz Kamalvandi, as “significant”, noting that it could slow the development of cutting-edge uranium enriching centrifuges.

The cause of the incident has not yet been officially confirmed, but some reports suggest that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council [SNSC] has determined the reason behind the episode, and the facts will be announced “at a proper time”.

Iran also announced plans to replace the damaged Natanz site with a larger building with more advanced equipment.

Responding to unconfirmed media reports that suggest Tel Aviv’s involvement, Zionist war minister Benny Gantz stated that “not every incident that transpires in Iran necessarily has something to do with us”, however he repeated that “nuclear Iran is a threat to the world and the region”.

Iran has consistently stated that it does not aim to develop a nuclear weapon, outlining that the goals of the country’s nuclear program are exclusively peaceful.

Iran Issues Arrest Warrant for Trump Over Assassinating Martyr Soleimani

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Iran Issues Arrest Warrant for Trump Over Assassinating Martyr Soleimani

By Staff, Agencies

Iran issued an arrest warrant and asked the Interpol for help in detaining US President Donald Trump and dozens of others involved in carrying out the drone strike that assassinated the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC] Quds Force Commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani while on an official visit to the Iraqi capital city of Baghdad.

Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on Monday that Trump, along with more than 30 others Iran accuses of involvement in the January 3 attack that killed General Soleimani, face “murder and terrorism charges”, the semi-official ISNA news agency reported.

Alqasimehr did not identify anyone else sought other than Trump, but stressed Iran would continue to pursue his prosecution even after his presidency ends.

The Interpol, based in Lyon, France, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Alqasimehr was also quoted as saying that Iran had requested a “red notice” be put out for Trump and the others, the highest-level notice issued by Interpol, requesting that seeks the location and arrest of the individual named.

Under a red notice, local authorities make the arrests on behalf of the country that requested it. The notices cannot force countries to arrest or extradite suspects, but can put government leaders on the spot and limit suspects’ travel.

After receiving a request, Interpol meets by committee and discusses whether or not to share the information with its member states. Interpol has no requirement for making any of the notices public, though some do get published on its website.

It is unlikely the Interpol would grant Iran’s request as its guideline for notices forbids it from “undertaking any intervention or activities of a political” nature.

The US killed General Soleimani along with the Iraqi paramilitary group Hashd al-Shaabi second-in-command Hajj Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis and their companions in the January attack near Baghdad International Airport.

Trump confessed at the time of crime that the airstrike was carried out upon his direct order.

Why Iran won’t be broken

June 26, 2020

Why Iran won’t be broken

Submitted by Pepe Escobar – source Asia Times

So what’s goin’ on in Iran? How did the Islamic Republic really respond to Covid-19? How is it coping with Washington’s relentless “maximum pressure”?

These questions were the subject of a long phone call I placed to Prof. Mohammad Marandi of the University of Tehran – one of Iran’s premier, globally recognized analysts.

As Marandi explains, “Iran after the revolution was all about social justice. It set up a very elaborate health care network, similar to Cuba’s, but with more funding. A large hospital network. When the coronavirus hit, the US was even preventing Iran to get test kits. Yet the system – not the private sector – managed. There was no full shutdown. Everything was under control. The numbers – even contested by the West – they do hold. Iran is now producing everything it needs, tests, face masks. None of the hospitals are full.”

Expanding Marandi’s observations, Tehran-based journalist Alireza Hashemi notes, “Iran’s wide primary healthcare system, comprising public clinics, health houses and health centers is available in thousands of cities and villages”, and that enabled the government to “easily offer basic services”.

As Hashemi details, “the Health Ministry established a Covid-19 call center and also distributed protective equipment supplied by relief providers. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei ordered the armed forces to help – with the government deploying 300,000 soldiers and volunteers to disinfect streets and public places, distribute sanitizers and masks and conduct tests.”

It was the Iranian military that established production lines for producing face masks and other equipment. According to Hashemi, “some NGOs partnered with Tehran’s chamber of commerce to create a campaign called Nafas (“breath”) to supply medical goods and provide clinical services. Iran’s Farabourse, an over-the-counter stock market in Tehran, established a crowd funding campaign to purchase medical devices and products to help health workers. Hundreds of volunteer groups – called “jihadi” – started producing personal protective equipment that had been in short supply in seminaries, mosques and hussainiyas and even natural fruit juices for health workers.”

This sense of social solidarity is extremely powerful in Shi’ite culture. Hashemi notes that “the government loosened health-related restrictions over a month ago and we have been experiencing a small slice of normality in recent weeks.” Yet the fight is not over. As in the West, there are fears of a covid-19 second wave.

Marandi stresses the economy, predictably, was hurt: “But because of the sanctions, most of the hurt had already happened. The economy is now running without oil revenue. In Tehran, you don’t even notice it. It’s nothing compared to Saudi Arabia, Iraq, Turkey or the UAE. Workers from Pakistan and India are leaving the Persian Gulf in droves. Dubai is dead. So, in comparison, Iran did better in dealing with the virus. Moreover, harvests last year and this year have been positive. We are more self-reliant.”

Hashemi adds a very important factor: “The Covid-19 crisis was so massive that people themselves have pitched in with effort, revealing new levels of solidarity. Individuals, civil society groups and others have set up a range of initiatives seeking to help the government and health workers on the front line of countering the pandemic.”

What a relentless Western disinformation campaign always ignores is how Iran after the revolution is used to extremely critical situations, starting with the eight-year-long Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. Marandi and Hashemi are adamant: for older Iranians, the current economic crisis pales in comparison with what they had to put up with throughout the 1980s.

Made in Iran soars

Marandi’s analysis ties up the economic data. In early June, Mohammad Bagher Nobakht – responsible for planning Iran’s state budgets – told the Majlis (Parliament) that the new normal was “to sideline oil in the economy and run the country’s programs without oil.”

Nobakht stuck to the numbers. Iran had earned just $8.9 billion from the sale of oil and related products in 2019-20, down from a peak of $119 billion less than a decade ago.

The whole Iranian economy is in transition. What’s particularly interesting is the boom in manufacturing – with companies focusing way beyond Iran’s large domestic market towards exports. They are turning the massive devaluation of the rial to their advantage.

In 2019-20, Iran’s non-oil exports reached $41.3 billion. That exceeded oil exports for the first time in Iran’s post-revolutionary history. And roughly half of these non-oil exports were manufactured goods. Team Trump’s “maximum pressure” via sanctions may have led to total non-oil exports going down – but only by 7%. The total remains near historic highs.

According to Purchasing Managers’ Index (PMI) data published by the Iran Chamber of Commerce, private sector manufacturers were seriously back in business already in the first month following the relaxation of the partial lockdown.

The fact is Iranian consumer goods and industrial products – everything from cookies to stainless steel – are exported by small and medium enterprises to the wider Middle East and also to Central Asia, China and Russia. The myth of Iranian “isolation” is, well, a myth.

Some new manufacturing clusters bode well for the future. Take titanium – essential for myriad applications in military, aerospace, marine industries and industrial processes. The Qara-Aghaj  mine in Urmia, the provincial capital of West Azarbaijan, which is part of Iran’s mineral belt, including the country’s largest gold reserves, has tremendous potential.

Iran features in the Top 15 of mineral-rich countries. In January, after getting the technology for deep-level mining, Tehran launched a pilot project for extraction of rare earth minerals.

Still, Washington pressure remains as relentless as the Terminator.

In January, the White House issued yet another executive order targeting the “construction, mining, manufacturing, or textiles sectors of the Iranian economy.” So Team Trump is targeting exactly the booming private sector – which means, in practice, countless Iranian blue-collar workers and their families. This has nothing to do with forcing the Rouhani administration to say, “I can’t breathe”.

The Venezuelan front

Apart from a few scuffles between the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) and the Health Ministry about China’s response to Covid-19, the Iran-China “comprehensive strategic partnership” (CSP) remains on track.

The next big test is actually in September. That’s when Team Trump wants to extend the UN arms embargo on Iran. Add to it the threat to trigger the snapback mechanism inbuilt in UNSC resolution 2231 – if other Security Council members refuse to support Washington and let the embargo expire for good in October.

China’s mission at the UN has stressed the obvious. The Trump administration unilaterally abandoned the JCPOA. Then it reimposed unilateral sanctions. Thus it has no right to extend the arms embargo or go for the snapback mechanism against Iran.

China, Russia and Iran are the three key nodes of Eurasia integration. Politically and diplomatically, their key decisions tend to be taken in concert. So it’s no wonder that was reiterated last week in Moscow at the meeting of Foreign Ministers Sergey Lavrov and Javad Zarif – who get along famously.

Lavrov said, “We will be doing everything so that no one can destroy these agreements. Washington has no right to punish Iran.”

Zarif for his part described the whole juncture as “very dangerous”.

Additional conversations with Iranian analysts reveal how they interpret the regional geopolitical chessboard, calibrating the importance of the axis of resistance (Tehran, Baghdad, Damascus, Hezbollah) in comparison with two other fronts: the US and its “stooges” (the House of Saud, UAE, Egypt), the master – Israel – and also Turkey and Qatar, which, like Iran, but unlike the “stooges”, favor political Islam (but of the Sunni variety, that is, the Moslem Brotherhood).

One of these analysts, pen name Blake Archer Williams, significantly remarks, “the main reason Russia holds back from helping Iran (mutual trade is almost at zero) is that it fears Iran. If Trump does not have a Reagan moment and does not prevail on Iran, and the US is in any event driven out of the Middle East by the continuing process of Iran’s weapons parity and its ability to project power in its own pond, then all of the oil of the Middle East, from the UAE, Qatar, Kuwait and Bahrain, to Iraq, of course, and not least to the oilfields in Saudi Arabia’s Qatif region (where all the oil is and is 100% Shi’ite), will come under the umbrella of the axis of resistance.”

Still, Russia-China continue to back Iran on all fronts, for instance rebuking the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for giving in to US “bullying” – as the IAEA’s board last week passed a resolution submitted by France, Britain and Germany criticizing Iran for the first time since 2012.

Another key foreign policy front is Venezuela. Tehran’s soft power, in quite a spectacular manner keenly observed all across the Global South, de facto ridiculed Washington’s sanctions/blockade in its own Monroe Doctrine “backyard”, when five Iranian tankers loaded with gasoline successfully crossed the Atlantic and were received by a Venezuelan military escort of jets, helicopters, and naval patrols.

That was in fact a test run. The Oil Ministry in Tehran is already planning a round two of deliveries to Caracas, sending two or three cargos full of gasoline a month. That will also help Iran to offload its huge domestically produced fuel.

The historic initial shipment was characterized by both sides as part of a scientific and industrial cooperation, side by side with a “solidarity action”.

And then, this past week, I finally confirmed it. The order came directly from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. In his own words: “The blockade must be broken”. The rest is – Global South – history in the making.

IRGC Unveils Ground Force’s New Homegrown Military Gear

By Staff, Agencies

IRGC Unveils Ground Force’s New Homegrown Military Gear

The Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC] unveiled four new homegrown military products, including a reconnaissance drone with a service ceiling of 12,000 feet.

In a ceremony held on Saturday, IRGC Chief Commander Major General Hossein Salami unveiled the new homegrown products manufactured by the Research and Self-Sufficiency Jihad Organization of the IRGC Ground Force.

One of the items was BTR-50 personnel carrier, a modified version of Makran personnel carrier, which enjoys an improved body and a new turret.

The vehicles’ turret is equipped with a fire-control system, thermal night-vision cameras, and a laser distant measurement system that can hit surface and aerial targets.

The personnel carrier’s turret also has a 30 mm caliber automatic cannon and a 7.62 mm caliber machine gun, controlled by a gunner inside the vehicle.

Another product unveiled by the IRGC was Me’raj-1 drone.

The reconnaissance UAV has a service ceiling of 12,000 feet and a maximum speed of 140 km/h.  Weighing 35 kilograms, the aircraft has a flight endurance of 10.5 hours and can carry a payload of 5 kg. With a wingspan of 3.6 meters, Me’raj-1 has a range of 1,000 kilometers and a data link system with a range of up to 150 km.

The IRGC chief also unveiled So’ban-1 machine gun, a modified version of Russian-made RPD machine gun.

Another major achievement of the IRGC unveiled this morning was a ground-penetrating radar system used for detection of landmines and roadside bombs.

Mounted on a vehicle travelling at a speed of 10 km/h, the radar system can detect explosives hidden in the ground at a depth of up to 30 cm at a distance of 30 meters.

Iranian military experts and technicians have in recent years made great headways in manufacturing a broad range of indigenous equipment, making the armed forces self-sufficient in the arms sphere.

In February 2018, Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei called for efforts to maintain and boost Iran’s defense capabilities, hitting back at the enemies for disputing the country’s missile program.

Iran releases video of IRGC missile downing expensive US drone

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By News Desk -2020-06-23

BEIRUT, LEBANON (8:00 P.M.) – Over the weekend, Iran released a video showing the moment an Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) missile brought down a U.S. spy drone over the Strait of Hormuz.

According to official state media, the IRGC’s Khordad-3 air defense system successfully brought down the U.S. RQ-4A Global Hawk drone while it was flying over Iranian airspace.

The incident nearly resulted in a U.S. retaliatory attack, as American President Donald Trump contemplated green lighting military strikes against Tehran.

In the video released over the weekend, Iran shows how the Khordad-3 managed to bring down the U.S. drone last year.

The video clip gives new details about the downing of the U.S. drone, which is valued at $220 million.

IRGC commander says Iran will ‘surprise’ enemies with new long-range missile system

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By News Desk -2020-06-20

In front of the portraits of supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, right, and late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, left, Iran’s Sejjil, a surface-to-surface, a two-stage, solid-fuel ballistic missile is displayed by the Revolutionary Guard during a military parade marking the 36th anniversary of Iraq’s 1980 invasion of Iran, in front of the shrine of late revolutionary founder Ayatollah Khomeini, just outside Tehran, Iran, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

BEIRUT, LEBANON (2:30 P.M.) – The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of Iran said that it will “surprise the enemy soon with a new long-range air defense.”

The commander of the air defense forces of the IRGC, Brigadier General Reza Shebaan, in an interview with the state-owned Fars News Agency, said:

“In the levels of air defense, we have national systems that have passed very successful tests.”

This came during a response to a question about the recently published photos of the marine version of the Khorad-3 missile system , adding: “Even today we were able to cross from this stage and that there are other things in this system that will be gradually unveiled.”

Shebaan stressed that “the development of systems, including the Khorad-3 missiles, are constantly taking place in accordance with the requirements and the needs developed,” pointing out that “the version that we receive today from the missile system is practically different from the first version of this system.”

He added that “all stages of design, manufacture and production of existing weapons and systems such as Khordad-3 and Tabas radars are taking place in the Air Defense Group of the Judicial Force and the Self-Sufficiency Organization,” pointing out that the ‘Air Defense of the Armed Forces of the Revolutionary Guard operates within the framework of the comprehensive defense network Air Force in the country and is carrying out various missions in the areas of detection, monitoring and confrontation. “

CIA Spy Who Gathered Intel on Martyr Soleimani’s Whereabouts Sentenced to Death

CIA Spy Who Gathered Intel on Martyr Soleimani’s Whereabouts Sentenced to Death

By Staff, Agencies

An Iranian national has been sentenced to death for spying for America’s Central Intelligence Agency [CIA] and ‘Israeli’ spying agency, the Mossad on the whereabouts of Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, who was assassinated by the US in Baghdad early this year, Iran’s Judiciary spokesman said.

Speaking at a press conference on Tuesday, Gholam Hossein Esmaeili said the convict, Mahmoud Mousavi Majd, had connections with the CIA and the Mossad.

In exchange for receiving dollars, the spy gathered intelligence for the CIA and Mossad on the Iranian security sphere and Armed Forces, including on the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC] Quds Forces and on the whereabouts of Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, the spokesman said.

The Revolution’s Court has sentenced the spy to death, and the ruling has been upheld by another court, he said, adding that the convict will soon be executed.

Lt. General Soleimani, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, who was the deputy head of Iraq’s Hashd al-Sha’abi [PMU], and a number of their entourage were killed in a strike by American drones near Baghdad International Airport on January 3.

The White House and the Pentagon claimed responsibility for the assassination of General Soleimani in Iraq, saying the attack was carried out at the direction of US President Donald Trump.

In the early hours of January 8, the IRGC targeted the US airbase of Ain al-Assad in retaliation for the US move.

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Sayyed Nasrallah to Martyr Suleimani: We Will Pray in Al-Quds, We are Preparing for That Day!

May 20, 2020

Marwa Haidar

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah described former Head of Al-Quds Force in Iran’s IRGC Qassem Suleimani as the ‘great martyr of Al-Quds’, promising him to fulfill his dream of liberating Al-Quds and Palestine.

Sayyed Nasrallah Al-Quds Day

In a united address by leaders of Resistance movements on the occasion of Al-Quds Day, Sayyed Nasrallah told martyr Suleimani that the Resistance is preparing to pray in Al-Quds.

“This year, we miss martyr Hajj Qassem Suleimani. Hajj Qassem had worked throughout the day and the night to strengthen the Resistance and to liberate Al-Quds.”

“We promise him and all the other martyrs that the day when Al-Quds will be liberated is coming,” Sayyed Nasrallah said in the address which carried Hebrew subtitles in a clear message to the Israeli enemy.

Talking about the occasion, Sayyed Nasrallah said that Imam Ruhollah Khomeini declared Al-Quds Day as an annual occasion on the last Friday of Ramadan Holy month in a bid to voice Iran’s firm and decisive commitment to Palestine and Al-Quds.

“Today we are so close to liberate Al-Quds thanks to faith, steadfastness, patience and sincerity of Axis of Resistance’s powers.”

His eminence stressed that those who are seeking to normalize ties with the Zionist entity don’t represent the real image of the Muslim and Arab Ummah.

Sayyed Nasrallah noted that the Zionist officials are concerned over the military buildup of Resistance factions across Arab and Muslim countries.

“Zionist officials are scared of victories achieved by Axis of Resistance and astonished by defeat of the United States and its allies.”

The Hezbollah S.G. noted that Al-Quds Day coincides this year with the 20th anniversary of Resistance and Liberation Day (which falls on May 20), reiterating Hezbollah’s firm commitment to support the Palestinian cause.

“We in Hezbollah, pledge to stand by the oppressed people of Palestine.”

Source: Al-Manar English Website

US aware Iran will respond ‘very strongly’ if Venezuela-bound ships attacked: Analyst

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)

Source

Sunday, 17 May 2020 5:03 PM

The United States is aware of Iran’s military might and knows from the recent experience of the Islamic Republic’s retaliatory strikes in the wake of the assassination of anti-terror commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani that Tehran will defend itself “very strongly” if Washington dared to attack its fuel-carrying vessels en route to Venezuela, says an American analyst.

Stephen Lendman, an author and political commentator in Chicago, made the remarks in a phone interview with Press TV on Sunday, while commenting on reports suggesting that Iran is shipping tons of gasoline to Venezuela in defiance of US sanctions on both countries.

Unconfirmed reports and tanker monitoring groups said at least five Iranian-flagged tankers are transporting fuel to Venezuela through the Atlantic Ocean despite US sanctions targeting both Tehran and Caracas.

Iran has intentionally hoisted its own flag over the huge tankers and is shipping large consignments of gasoline to Venezuela even though the US could try to intercept the shipments and seize the tankers.

The US Navy is said to have deployed its USS Detroit (LCS-7), USS Lassen (DDG-82), USS Preble (DDG-88), and USS Farragut (DDG-99) to the Caribbean along with its patrol aircraft Boeing P8-Poseidon for possible encounter with the Iranian vessels.

This comes as Iran has the upper hand thanks to its missile power, which was showed off to the US when retaliatory missile attacks by Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) in January pounded the Ain al-Assad Airbase in Iraq, which accommodated American troops.

Following is the full transcription of Lendman’s interview with Press TV website:

Reportedly Iran is shipping gasoline to Venezuela. Venezuela’s oil industry and refining capacity has been greatly eroded because of US sanctions that have deprived the country of needed revenues.Same thingis happening in Iran, of course, and to other nations that the US has waged sanctions war on.

Iran and Venezuela have cooperative relations. Both countries have cooperative relations with many other countries. The US is the belligerent, not Iran, not Venezuela. Those countries threaten nobody. They are at war with nobody. Their economic ties are perfectly legal. The US sanctions are perfectly illegal. There was nothing legal about US sanctions unilaterally imposed on any country. I’ve said this many times and written it. The only authority to impose sanctions on any nations comes from the Security Council, not from any one nation against another, and they are no exception to that law.

So US sanctions are illegal. Economic relations between Iran and Venezuela are entirely legal. They can ship anything; either country can ship any products to the other country. They could do the same thing to any other countries. This is what international commerce is all about, perfectly legal and acceptable. What will the US do? Well, nobody can predict exactly what it might do.

The last time the US acted with hostility against Iran by assassinating General Soleimani in January, Iran responded very harshly to the US. The US knows that Iran is not a weak power. It can defend itself. If attacked, it certainly could defend itself very strongly. If the vessel was seized, well maybe Iran will seize the US vessel. So, Iran can certainly respond and it will respond to any illegal actions the US takes against its vessel so on the high seas or any other illegal actions that cause harm to the country. The US is aware of that.

Will it interdict the Iranian vessels? Apparently five of them are on the way to Venezuela with gasoline, maybe more to come after this. Iran has sent technicians to Venezuela to help restore its refining capacity. China has done the same thing. Technicians for both countries are working in Venezuela, helping to restore the refineries and this will happen; they’re trading with Venezuela. I don’t think the US would dare attack China but you never know, because there are lunatics in Washington and the actions of lunatics can never be predicted.

But one thing that people with the least or a little sanity want you to know that if the US conducts a hostile act against Iran, Iran will respond appropriately in kind. And it will happen, probably pretty quickly. My guess is the ships will arrive at the destination but I certainly can’t say that with assuredness, because again, nobody could predict what the US is doing. And what it’s doing already? Waging wars against multiple countries, hot wars, and by other means sanctions, state terrorism, things like this.

A nation that acts this way against other nations might end up doing anything either willfully or by accident, so nobody knows. But I wrote about the shipment of gasoline for Miranda, Venezuela. I’ll follow this issue. If there are any developments I write more about it. I hope the vessels will arrive without incident and more to follow, and maybe over time, a little bit of normality will come to both countries because hopefully, the world community at one point will no longer put up with US aggression. That’s the only way to solve this problem.


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Sayyed And Hajj: The Ones Who Left And The Ones Who Will Follow

Sayyed And Hajj: The Ones Who Left And The Ones Who Will Follow

By Wassim al-Hajj – Damascus

Location: The southern suburbs of the Lebanese capital Beirut

Time: Early 1998

The commander of the Quds Force in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps, Colonel Qassem Soleimani, who recently assumed his position, visits the military headquarters of Lebanon’s Hezbollah movement. He embraces each of its officers – some have since been martyred, and others are still fighting on the frontlines. It is a very warm embrace between Soleimani and his comrades in arms. The great jihadi leader, martyr Mustafa “Zulfiqar” Badreddine, rushes to embrace the man. Soleimani responds with a warmer hug.

The video clip reflects an exceptional relationship between two revolutionaries, whose joint struggle transcended the borders of Lebanon and occupied Palestine. Syria, from north to south, passing through its desert and levant, is the scene of qualitative achievements and successive victories. It is hard to deny this. But to distort this conception, the Saudi media machine created rumors and lies about the tense relationship between the two martyrs. It held Soleimani responsible for the assassination of Badreddine and accused him of masterminding it.

How can men embracing gunpowder and fire every day – with one foot on the brink of death – possess all this passion? A mujahid recalls the two great martyrs. Those who look closely at their videos during operations to secure Damascus at the “Triangle of Death” (the southern countryside of Damascus-Daraa- Quneitra) in the winter of 2015 feel the warmth of their embrace and realize the scope of the relationship that was greatly distorted. The faces, known in the Western media as a threat to global security, display feelings that are difficult to decipher or put in a single sentence. But in a single moment they mobilize multiple phases of love, determination, and valor.

Comrades close to the martyrs report how Sayyed prepared to meet Hajj Bozork (the great hajj in Farsi). He liked calling him that. He rushed to receive him at the gate with a smile that seldomly appeared on his face. A strong hug. An extended meeting and insistence of fruits being cut and placed before the dear guest, despite his refusal and coyness.

People close to them also recount novels of passion during the battles. One of its chapters involves martyr Ali Fayad aka Alaa Bosnia. In the battles of Sahel Al-Ghab, in the north of the country, he carried out a tight ambush – an art he excelled in. He recorded it and quickly sent it to Sayyed. His voice could be heard in the recording.

Someone asked him: “Is x person there, behind the lines?”

He tries to hide it and eventually says “yes”.

The mediator insists on letting Sayyed know that Alaa sent x person to the ambush. For his part, Sayyed insisted that the video reach Hajj Bozork, saying, “He will be very happy with what Alaa did. Send the video and tell him what happened … Tell him that there are lovers among us who are racing to offer sacrifices for the sake of this nation’s pride.”

Another person who attended one of the last meetings recounted that Sayyed whispered to Hajj Qassem when he was bidding him farewell. “Send my regards to the Leader (the leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Grand Ayatollah His Eminence Sayyid Ali Khamenei) … Tell him your son Mustafa sends his regards and is telling you that the load on Hajj Qassem is great, so pray for him.”

As for the last meeting, at the Damascus airport the night Sayyed was assassinated (May 2016), the farewell lasted for about a quarter of an hour. They were supposed to go out together and meet later that same night. Sayyed insisted on staying for a while, and Hajj insisted on staying with him.

“It is not polite of me to leave and you are still here,” Hajj said. Sayyed insisted that Hajj leave. He returned less than an hour later as the sound of the explosion that killed Sayyed roared. That day, Hajj Qassem cried a lot – not for missing the “sword of the resistance”, but for missing the moment and an opportunity to reach the “goal”.

On that morning, he said, “Sayyed Mustafa’s name was written on that projectile for him to go alone, and God chose for him the best conclusion.”

Those who look at the faces of these two men, see the dark nightmare they represent to their enemies. Those who look carefully at the stillness of their eyes and the estrangement of their spirits which is apparent on their faces when they stand on the berms, realize very well that this axis has enough love to stock up on for the major battles.

S. Nasrallah Says Syria Emerged Victorious in Universal War, Warns ‘Israel’ against Any Folly

Sayyed Nasrallah Mustafa Badreddine martyrdom anniversary
http://program.almanar.com.lb/episode/110834
Click the link or the picture

S. Nasrallah Says Syria Emerged Victorious in Universal War, Warns ‘Israel’ against Any Folly

Marwa Haidar

Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah on Wednesday responded to all those who cast doubt about the outcome of the Syrian War by stressing that Damascus has emerged victorious in the universal war which was waged by hegemonic powers against it.

In a televised address on the fourth martyrdom anniversary of senior commander Mustafa Badreddine (Zoulfikar), Sayyed Nasrallah warned Israeli officials and commanders against committing any folly in Syria that could lead to the explosion of the region.

His eminence addressed the Israeli people, saying that Zionist officials are lying on them and creating fake goals and fake victories in Syria.

Meanwhile, the Hezbollah S.G. warned some Lebanese sides against betting on the ‘regime topple’ in Syria, calling for restoring ties between Lebanon and Syria as a key step to solve major problems in Lebanon including the economic ones.

Sayyed Nasrallah dismissed reports on an alleged conflict between Iran and Russia over Syria, noting that such reports are part of psychological warfare following the defeat of the scheme launched by the US and other hegemonic powers.

About the Occasion

Sayyed Nasrallah started his speech by offering condolences over the martyrdom of Imam Ali (a.s.) in Laylat Al-Qadr.

He said that the first Imam for Shiites is the first Muslim figure who stood against the Kharijites, noting that the Takfiri ideology which Hezbollah and its allies have been facing in the last years is an extension to Kharijites’ doctrine.

His eminence also saluted the nurses on their day, praising them for being in the front line of the battle against coronavirus.

Shifting to the occasion of the speech, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the leadership in Hezbollah is keen to commemorate the martyrdom anniversaries of its commanders and fighters who scarified themselves for the path of Resistance.

Sayyed Nasrallah then talked about the characteristics of the Martyr Badreddine and narrated his experience with him during the Israel aggression on Lebanon in 1996 and during the Syrian war which was erupted in March 2011.

“Martyr Mustafa Badreddine had high morals and powerful spirit which we really need in order to overcome all kinds of challenges. He was courageous and confident commander who inspired all fighters whom he led.”

“Commander Badreddine was the head of Hezbollah’s central command during April War in 1996. His leadership of the battle led to the victory in that year, ahead of the victory during the liberation of south Lebanon in 2000.”

The War in Syria

Sayyed Nasrallah then elaborated on the Syrian war and Hezbollah’s involvement in it.

In this context, he stressed that the reason behind the war in Syria was neither related to the regime in Damascus nor to the person of President Bashar Al-Assad, but rather it was because Syria was out of the US control.

“Syria which refused to surrender to the US was in the heart of the Middle East’s equations.”

Talking about Hezbollah’s participation in the Syrian War, Sayyed Nasrallah noted that the leadership in Hezbollah knew that such step would have negative repercussions.

“However, the extent of threats posed by such scheme against Syria and Palestine prompted us to go there.”

He said that Martyr Badreddine had fought the Takfiri militants in Syria alongside commander of Iran’s Quds Force General Qassem Suleimani, who was martyred earlier this year in a US drone strike on Baghdad airport.

“Martyr Badreddine was leading the battles in Syria shoulder to shoulder alongside Martyr General Qassem Suleimani. Martyr Badreddine was certain of victory despite the Syrian military losses at the first stage of the war.”

Meanwhile, Sayyed Nasrallah responded to all those who cast doubt on the outcome of the Syrian War by saying: “Syria emerged victorious at the end of a universal war. It has survived a scheme which aimed at dividing it. Of course there still are some regions like Idlib that are not liberated but in all Syria has triumphed.”

His eminence noted that Syria has been subjected to different forms of pressure by hegemonic powers in order to secure by political means achievements that could not be reached by military means.

“Hegemonic powers continue to exert political pressure, psychological war and impose sanctions on Syria following the military victory.”

No Conflict between Iran, Russia

Sayyed Nasrallah on the other hand, put reports on alleged conflict between Iran and Russia over Syria in the context of continuous Psychological war against Syria.

“Iran is not engaged in an influence war with any side, neither with Russia, nor with any other country. Its goal is to prevent Syria’s fall in hands of US and Zionist entity.”

His eminence underlined that Iran doesn’t interfere in the internal affairs of Syria, noting that Tehran is keen to preserve Syria’s independence, integrity and sovereignty.

Meanwhile, he noted that it is normal that Iran and Russia have different assessments to the situation in Syria.

‘Idiot’ Israeli DM Making Fake Victories

Talking about the latest remarks by Israeli officials on Syria, Sayyed Nasrallah stressed that the Zionist entity is alarmed about Syria because Israeli officials believe that Syria poses a threat to the Zionist entity.

“Israeli defense minister is lying on his people and the world. He is talking about fake victories in Syria.”

“The Israelis lose the war in Syria, and they have been targeting all what is related to missiles manufacturing in Syria, because they believe that missile pose high risk to Israel.”

“The Israelis believe that Syria poses risk to them and they are concerned over the presence of Iran and Resistance movements there,” his eminence added.

Sayyed Nasrallah described Israeli defense minister as ‘idiot’ over remarks he made about alleged Iranian withdrawal from Syria by the end of 2020.

“‘Israel’ set fake goal for Syria since there have been no Iranian troops in Syria but rather there have been military advisers who train forces and coordinate Tehran’s support to Damascus.”

His eminence stressed, meanwhile, that the decision to reduce number of Hezbollah fighters was coordinated with the Syrian Army and was following the military achievement, not military losses as alleged by the Zionist officials.

Lebanon-Syria Ties

The Hezbollah S.G. stressed the importance of restoring ties between Lebanon and Syria, calling on some sides in Lebanon to stop betting on toppling the Syrian regime or making some changes in this regard.

“The financial and economic situation is the number one concern for the Lebanese people, and restoring ties with Syria is the only way to solve major problems including the economic ones.”

“Smuggling between Lebanon and Syria is one of the major problems that can’t be solved without coordination with the Syrian state.”

Commenting on some calls for deploying UN forces along the Lebanese-Syrian border, Sayyed Nasrallah denounced such calls, stressing that this is one of the major goals of July War in 2006, “and we totally refuse such move.”

At the end of his speech, Sayyed Nasrallah urged the people in Lebanon to strictly abide by measures aimed at battling coronavirus.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

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AEROSPACE FORCE OF IRANIAN ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARD CORPS

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The Aerospace Forces of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is established on the basis and uniting of the air, missile and space components of the organization. It is tasked with launching missile attacks on ground, air and naval forces of the enemy as well as their military and economic facilities. The IRGC Aerospace Force also provides a close air support and lift capabilities for ground and naval units and operates an inventory of short and medium range ballistic missiles.

The number of personnel in the Aerospace Force is estimated at 15,000-20,000. The current commander is Brigadier General Amir-Ali Hajizadeh. He has been occupying the post since October 2009.

Similarly, to the Iranian approach towards the Navy, the Iranian Air Force and the IRGC Aerospace Force are separate branches of the military. However, both of them share the facilities throughout the country.

According to the US Defense Intelligence Agency, the Aerospace Force maintains a fleet that includes Su-22 Fitters, EMB-312 Tucanos, Y-12s, Dassault Falcon 20s, MFI-17s, IL-76s, and An-74s. In 2014, Iran supplied Iraq with most of the Su-25 Frogfoot and it only maintains just a few of the Russian combat aircraft.

Warplanes of the IRGC Aerospace Force are significantly dated and suffer from the lack of spare parts for a proper maintenance. An strong sanction pressure and the constant lack of resources forced the IRGC Aerospace Force to use an asymmetric approach.

The IRGC operates various unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV), which it uses to conduct intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance missions, as well as strike missions. UAVs are Iran’s most rapidly advancing air capability. Although most Iranian military services employ UAVs, the IRGCAF is the primary operator of their growing fleet.

Iran regularly conducts Intelligence, Surveillance, Reconnaissance (ISR) flights along its border and littoral, including the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz. The IRGCAF has also deployed various armed and unarmed UAVs to Syria and Iraq for ISR and strike missions to support counter-ISIS operations and the Syrian government. In 2018, Iran for the first time employed UAVs to conduct long-range, cross-border strike operations, using armed UAVs in concert with ballistic missiles as part of an attack against ISIS in eastern Syria.

The IRGCAF operates the following drones:

  • The HESA Ababil: a single-engine multirole tactical unmanned aerial vehicle manufactured by Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA).The Ababil comes in two main lines, the Ababil-2 and the Ababil-3, of which the former has a number of variants. It is considered a long-range, low-technology drone.
  • The Qods Mohajer: a single-engine tactical unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) built by the Qods Aviation Industry Company in four main variants from the 1980s to the present day. The Mohajer family is primarily used for reconnaissance, and is among the most mature and well-known Iranian UAVs.
  • The HESA Karrar: a jet-powered target drone. The Karrar uses a rocket assist system to take off and is recovered by parachute. It is also claimed to be capable of air launch. The Karrar can carry one 500lb Mk 82 general-purpose bomb, with claimed precision guidance, on its centerline hardpoint. Alternatively, it can carry two Nasr-1 anti-ship missiles, two Kowsar anti-ship missiles, or two 250-pound Mk 81 general-purpose bombs on the underwing stations, or (since 2019) a Balaban satellite-guided glide bomb.
  • The Shahed 129: it is capable of combat and reconnaissance missions and has an endurance of 24 hours; it is similar in size, shape and role to the American MQ-1 Predator and is widely considered the most capable drone in Iranian service. Originally, the Shahed 129 carried Sadid-1 anti-tank guided missiles, also known as Sadid-361 or Fat’h 362 missiles. Later, this was replaced by the Sadid-345 precision-guided munition.
  • The Qods Yasir: a light tactical surveillance and reconnaissance UAV. The Yasir has swept back wings and a large payload bubble under its nose. Unlike the Scaneagle, it has an inverted V-tail and a twin-boom empennage. The Yasir has a single, unidentified, two-bladed propeller engine. It resembles the US Boeing Insitu ScanEagle suspiciously much.
  • The Saegheh-2: a turbofan/piston-powered flying wing unmanned combat aerial vehicle. Also known as the Shahed 191, it carries two Sadid-1 missiles internally and lands on retractable landing skids. It has reportedly been used in combat in Syria.

Another pillar of the IRGC Aerospace Force’s power is short and medium-range ballistic missiles. As of January 2020, Iran possessed an array of them.

The liquid-propellant Shahab 3 is the main-stay of Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile force. Iran has modified the Shahab 3, which is based on the North Korean No Dong, to extend its range and effectiveness, with the longest-range variant being able to reach targets at a distance of about 2,000 kilometers.

The Emad 1 variant of the Shahab 3 has the same range with near-precision accuracy. Later variants, such as the Emad 2, were expected to have greater range.

Iran’s liquid-propellant short-range ballistic missiles — the Shahab 1Shahab 2, and Qiam-1—are based on Scud technology. The Qiam-1 has a range of at least 750 kilometers, and variants of the system have been used as part of Iranian strikes on ISIS in Syria.

Iran’s solid-propellant close- and short-range ballistic missiles primarily consist of the many variants of the Fateh-110 family of missiles. Most of these systems have ranges up to about 300 kilometers, but Iran has unveiled a variant called the Fateh-313 with a 500-kilometer range. Iran has also advertised several variants of these missiles configured with different terminal seeker technologies, including electro-optical and antiradiation homing, which makes them capable of targeting ships. These systems—which include the Khalij Fars, Hormuz 1, and Hormuz 2—reportedly have ranges of about 300 kilometers.

In September 2016, Iran unveiled the new Zolfaghar short-range ballistic missile, a solid-propellant system with a 700-kilometer range. Iran used these missiles in its 2017 and 2018 strikes against ISIS in Syria.

A part of the arsenal is land-attack cruise missiles (LACMs). In 2012, Iran announced the development of its first LACM, called Meshkat. In 2015, Iran displayed what it called the Soumar LACM, a ground-launched system that appears to be based on the Russian air-launched AS-15. Iran claims the Soumar has a 2,000-kilometer range. LACMs can provide Iran with a precision-strike capability up to medium-range ballistic missiles’ ranges that could further complicate missile defenses.

The space technologies development is one more priority of the IRGC Aerospace Force.

Since 2008, Iran has launched multi-stage space launch vehicles (SLVs) that could also aid Iran’s development of longer-range ballistic missiles because SLVs use inherently similar technologies. Iran has conducted multiple launches of the two-stage, liquid-propellant Safir SLV, a mix of successes and failures. It has also launched the larger two-stage, liquid-propellant Simorgh SLV, which is designed to carry satellites higher into orbit and could also serve as a test bed for developing ICBM technologies. The Simorgh could be capable of ICBM ranges if configured as a ballistic missile, according to the US.

On April 22nd, 2020, Iran successfully launched its first ever military satellite with a new Qased space launch vehicle. The Qased is a three-stage rocket, using a Ghadr liquid-fuelled missile as its first stage, a solid propellant Salman motor as its second stage, and an unknown small kick motor as its third stage. There is little novelty in the choice of a Ghadr as the Qased’s first stage: an improved version of the Shahab 3, the liquid-fuel Ghadr is a standard workhorse of the Iranian missile force and has already served as the basis for the Safir rocket in the past. G_8 (A) – Done.

The successes of the Iranian space program is especially valuable because the country has been for a long time existing in the state of the besieged fortress, and suffering from the sanction pressure and technological blockade. The space program successes in such conditions inspire respect. Even North Korea, which has been successfully developing its ballistic program, has an easier access to technologies than Iran. The North’s public and non-public cooperation with China is an example.

The United States argues that the Iranian space program is just a cover-up for the development of medium- and long-range ballistic missiles. It’s an open secret that any state that develops a space program will use the obtained engineer and scientific gap to increase its national defense capability. In own time this was done by the United States, the USSR, China, France and other powers.

The Iranian space program has own features that differ it from others. As in the case of the IRGC Navy and the usage of swarms of drones, the Iranian space program focused on the most cost-effective approaches. This lead to the practical minimization of the employed technologies and the usage the most sophisticated (among accessible) informational models of the management of systems.

It may sound strange but it is possible that Tehran will, in some kind, follow the path of SpaceX copying some of its approaches. SpaceX as a formally commercial structure seeks to minimize its spending and maximize the revenue focusing on reusable technologies and building a network of micro satellites.

Iran also works to minimize its spending and maximize the results, but with even with higher motivation. In its case, the failure of the space program is the matter of the national interests and even the survival of the state. The prospect directions of the development of the Iranian space program is the creation of a large-scale distributed multistatic radar antenna array or global electronic-warfare system based on micro satellites, the creation of own geo-positioning system, or event the deployment of suicide micro satellites.

Another format of the Iranian space program progress is the low-cost asymmetric approach, like the one employed by the Soviet Union when it was forced to compete with the huge-funded space program of the United States. An incredible thing is a usage of a bucket with bolts as an ultimate weapon to damage any sophisticated and costly space system. Additionally, the modern level of technology does not require pricey space systems to deploy on the orbit a strike suicide satellite equipped with a dirty bomb.

The Iranian space program is shaped by two factors – the country’s reasonable desire for the peaceful space exploration and the need to guarantee own interests amid the further militarization of space by the United States, Israel and other countries.

US Preparing Ground in Iraq for ‘Deal of Century’

US Preparing Ground in Iraq for ‘Deal of Century’

By Staff, Tasnim

Iraqi resistance movement Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq warned that the US is paving the way for the implementation of the so-called ‘deal of the century’ in certain parts of Iraq, where it plots to settle displaced Palestinians.

In an interview with Tasnim News Agency, Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq Spokesman Mahmoud al-Rabiee said the movement has irrefutable evidence that the American forces are in cahoots with terrorists in Iraq.

“The US is trying to turn certain parts of Iraq into gateways for implementing the deal of the century and the western al-Anbar ploy. According to this plan, the Palestinians mentioned in the deal of century will be relocated to the western regions of al-Anbar province.”

Pointing to the active presence of American forces in western al-Anbar and in areas near al-Tanf border crossing between Iraq and Syria, Rabiee said the US is also trying to transfer terrorists from Syria into Iraq.

The Americans are attempting to take control of those regions to make them safe for the implementation of the deal of the century, the spokesman added, deploring certain Iraqi parties for cooperating with the US to fulfill their personal interests.

Rabiee further emphasized that the US must respect the Iraqi Parliament’s decision to ratify a bill on the expulsion of foreign forces from his country. “They [the Americans] may delay withdrawing from Iraq and want to settle in areas that are a little far from the reach of the resistance forces, but it does not mean that resistance does not have access to them, and, if necessary, we will once again begin armed resistance.”

In early January, Iraq’s parliament passed a resolution telling the government to end the presence of foreign troops in Iraq and ensure they do not use its land, air, and waters for any reason.

The move came after the assassination of IRGC Quds Force Commander Lt. General Qassem Soleimani, the deputy head of Hashd al-Shaabi Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, and a number of their comrades in a US airstrike in Baghdad.

The strike was carried out by American drones near Baghdad International Airport in the early hours of January 3.

‘They Accept Us as We Are;’ Christians Join Forces With Muslim Group Hezbollah to Fight ISIS in Lebanon

‘They Accept Us as We Are;’ Christians Join Forces With Muslim Group Hezbollah to Fight ISIS in Lebanon

May 02, 2020

source

‘They Accept Us as We Are;’ Christians Join Forces With Muslim Group Hezbollah to Fight ISIS in Lebanon

By Vincent Funaro, Christian Post Reporter

The Iran-backed Shiite Muslim militant group Hezbollah, classified for many years by U.S. Intelligence as a terrorist organization, is training Christians to fight ISIS in Lebanon and the Middle Eastern believers say their new and unlikely allies “accept us as we are.”

Citing Lebanese sources, Joseph Farah’s G2 Bulletin says Christian villages in the Bekaa Valley area of Lebanon are forming militias to join Hezbollah fighters already engaging ISIS and the al-Qaeda-affiliated Jabhat al-Nursa Front in the Syrian Qalamoun mountains opposite villages in central and eastern Bekaa.

Rifit Nasrallah, a Catholic businessman who is part of the militias fighting ISIS in Ras Baalbek, discussed the alliance with Hezbollah in an International Business Times report last month.

“We’re in a very dangerous situation,” he said. “The only people who are protecting us are the resistance of Hezbollah. The only one standing with the army is Hezbollah. Let’s not hide it anymore.”

Nasrallah said Hezbollah does not expect its allies to convert to Islam or create an allegiance to the group’s ideals.

“They accept us as we are,” he said. “They do not impose on us anything. When there’s an occasion, they come to our children’s birthdays. The people here accept that Hezbollah comes and helps.”

This unlikely alliance between Christians and Hezbollah is a far cry from the adversarial relationship depicted between the two groups in the region.

According to the IB Times report, however, the alliance is one of convenience. Hezbollah is Iran’s strongest proxy in that area of Lebanon and has been a key factor in keeping President Bashar Assad’s regime in power after four years of the Syrian war. Protecting Ras Baalbek is a priority for the group because losing it to ISIS would put the surrounding Shiite towns under direct threat.

As a result, Hezbollah has invested heavily in sustaining the relationship with Christians. The group trained Christians in Syria to fight ISIS alongside them, according to a November report from Lebanese newspaper An-Nahar and even paid wages similar to Hezbollah members for Christians joining their ranks.

“We are not speaking of an assumed threat, we are speaking of a real aggression that exists every hour, every day, every night,” said Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah in a recent speech. He explained that armed groups have launched continuous attacks inside Lebanese territories while also holding dozens of Lebanese soldiers and police officers hostage, “so we need a permanent solution.”

Last fall, The Christian Post reported that GOP 2016 presidential candidate, Sen. Ted Cruz, R-Texas, was booed after he offended some Middle Eastern Christians by declaring at an event in Washington, D.C. that “Christians have no greater ally than Israel.”

Mark Tooley, president of the Institute of Religion and Democracy and an attendee at the evening event, later wrote in a blog entry that he was not surprised by the reaction.‘They Accept Us as We Are;’ Christians Join Forces With Muslim Group Hezbollah to Fight ISIS in Lebanon

“It’s no secret that many Mideast Christians generally aren’t big fans of Israel. I learned this firsthand during the 2006 Israel war on Hezbollah, when my discussion at church with a Lebanese Christian nearly escalated to a shouting match,” wrote Tooley.

“Sometimes American Christians romanticize overseas persecuted Christians into disembodied noble souls unaffected by terrestrial concerns. But they, like everybody else, have histories, loyalties, resentments, grievances, and political calculations.”

The Times of Israel reported in March that Iran and Hezbollah were removed from the list of terror threats against the U.S. as a result of its campaign against ISIS.

“We believe that this results from a combination of diplomatic interests (the United States’ talks with Iran about a nuclear deal) with the idea that Iran could assist in the battle against the Islamic State in Syria and Iraq and maybe even in the battle against jihadist terrorism in other countries,” the Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center said in an analysis of the unclassified version of the Worldwide Threat Assessment of the U.S. Intelligence Communities released in February.

Another American body, the Defense Intelligence Agency, however, said both Iran and Hezbollah were still terrorism threats.

“Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) and Lebanese Hezbollah are instruments of Iran’s foreign policy and its ability to project power in Iraq, Syria, and beyond,” noted the body in their assessment, submitted to the U.S. Senate on Feb. 26.

“Hezbollah continues to support the Syrian regime, pro-regime militants and Iraqi Shiite militants in Syria. Hezbollah trainers and advisors in Iraq assist Iranian and Iraqi Shiite militias fighting Sunni extremists there. Select Iraqi Shiite militant groups also warned of their willingness to fight U.S. forces returning to Iraq,” it noted.Contact: Vincent.funaro@christianpost.com; follow me on Twitter @vinfunaro

GOLAN HEIGHTS ESCALATION AND NEW DRAMA IN IDLIB



https://southfront.org/golan-heights-escalation-and-new-drama-in-idlib/

Early on May 1, several missiles launched from the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights hit positions of the Syrian Army near Tell Ahmar and Quneitra city. The strike reportedly led to no casualties among Syrian personnel, but destroyed several pieces of military equipment.

This was the second Israeli strike on Syria in less than a week. On April 27, Israeli airstrikes hit the countryside of Damascus, including the al-Mazzeh Airport. Pro-Israeli sources claim that underground facilities of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps were the target.

Meanwhile, a new drama is developing in the militant-held part of Greater Idlib. After briefly clashing with the Turkish Army near Nayrab, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham found themselves in the center of a new scandal.

On April 30, the group’s fighters were confronted by supporters of other radical groups in the town of Maaret Elnaasan in western Aleppo. According to pro-opposition sources, the main reason of tensions is the decision of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to open a crossing for commercial purposes to the government-held area. This initiative faced resistance among militant groups directly controlled by Turkey. The Turkish Army even tried to block a road towards Maaret Elnaasan. However, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham militants were able to suppress the protest and the crossing was opened. The further protests that continued on May 1 forced Hayat Tahrir al-Sham to close the crossing.

Earlier in April, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham tried to open a similar commercial crossing near Saraqib, but this attempt was also blocked by Turkish-led forces.

Representatives of Hayat Tahrir al-Sham claim that the opening of such crossings is vital to contain the developing economic crisis in the militant-held area. According to them, a large part of goods produced within the militant-held area, first of all food, is being sold in the government-controlled territory.

Various fees on commercial activities and contraband traffic are among key sources of the Hayat Tahrir al-Sham budget, which has been facing difficulties amid the shirking funding from its foreign sponsors. On the other hand, the ability to fill own budget from independent sources of income allows the terrorist group to remain to a large degree independent from direct Turkish support. Thus, Hayat Tahrir al-Sham is capable of remaining a relatively independent player and the most powerful militant group in the entire Greater Idlib.

At least 4 Syrian soldiers were killed and several others were injured in an ISIS attack on the army convoy near the T3 pumping station in the province of Homs. The terrorists used an improvised explosive device to strike the bus moving within the convoy and then shelled it with machine guns.

The attack likely came in response to the intensified security efforts of the army in the Homs-Deir Ezzor desert. Just recently, government troops eliminated several ISIS militants and captured 2 vehicles belonging to the terrorist group.

إيران: عندما يقودها قائد ودولة ورجال!

د.عدنان منصور

يوم الأربعاء، في 22 نيسان الماضي، أعلن الحرس الثوري الإيراني، عن إطلاق إيران بنجاح لأول قمر صناعي ، يحمل اسم نور، للأغراض العسكرية، الى مدار حول الأرض. يأتي هذا الإنجاز العلمي العسكري، في ظل عقوبات شرسة تفرضها الولايات المتحدة وحلفاؤها، منذ أربعين عاماً وحتى اليوم، قلّما شهد العالم مثيلاً لها، حيث لم توفر واشنطن وسيلة، الا واستخدمتها من اجل ترويض الاسد الإيراني، ومن ثم الانقضاض عليه في عقر داره، للإطاحة بثورته، مثلما حصل مع محمد مصدق عام 1953، لتجعل الثورة الإيرانية عبرة لكل من يريد ان يسلك طريقها ونهجها، ويخرج من بيت الطاعة الاميركي.

لقد حوصرت إيران سياسياً، واقتصادياً، وتجارباً، ومالياً، وتكنولوجياً، حيث حظر عليها تصدير النفط واستيراده، والعديد من السلع، والتعامل مع المصارف الإيرانية، او استخدام منظومة السويفت، او تبادل الذهب والمعادن الثمينة معها. كما تم أيضاً فرض عقوبات على وكالة الفضاء الإيرانية، وعلى قادة عسكريين، والعديد من الشخصيات الرسمية وغير الرسمية، وتجميد أموالهم، ومنع تبادل التكنولوجيا، وشراء الاسلحة، وتصدير السجاد الإيراني. بالإضافة الى عقوبات طالت شركات بناء السفن والنقل البحري والتجاري، ما حمل شركات عالمية، على التوقف عن التعامل مع إيران. هكذا تخلت شركة رينو للسيارات عن استثماراتها في السوق الإيرانية، تصنيعاً وبيعاً، بالإضافة الى إلغاء صفقة شراء 100 طائرة ايرباص، و80 طائرة بوينغ، مع ما رافق ذلك من خروج شركة جنرال الكتريك وتوتال وسيمنز وغيرها من السوق الإيرانية… ونتيجة للضغوط الاميركية، تم إلغاء الاستثناءات الممنوحة لثماني دول، والتي كانت تقضي بالسماح لها في شراء النفط الإيراني، مع توقف شركات الأدوية ايضاً، ببيع إيران ما تحتاجه من الادوية.

لقد ظنت الولايات المتحدة، أن فرض حظر تصدير النفط الإيراني الذي يشكل عصب الاقتصاد لإيران، سيجبرها على الخضوع. الا ان سياسة الاقتصاد المقاوم، التي سارت عليها طهران منذ انتصار ثورتها، حملتها على ان تعتمد لأول مرة موازنة مالية، للعام المالي – الذي يبدأ في 21 آذار 2020 وينتهي في 21 آذار 2021, لا تلحظ فيها عائدات النفط. علماً ان رغم العقوبات فإن الديون الخارجية لإيران لا تتجاوز 9 مليارات دولار، بمعزل عن الودائع الإيرانية المجمّدة في الخارج والتي تبلغ عشرات المليارات.

حصار إيران والعقوبات المفروضة عليها، تجري في ظل تجييش إعلامي مغرض ضدها، لا ينفك لحظة عن النيل من ثورتها، والعمل على تشويه الحقيقة، وتحريض الشعب على ثورته، وبث الشائعات والنعرات الطائفية والقومية والعرقية في الداخل الإيراني. لكن رغم كل ذلك، كان للثورة قائدها، ولإيران دولتها، وللجمهورية رجالها، آثروا منذ اليوم الاول للثورة على تسطير تاريخ جديد يليق بشعب إيران، يعتمد اول ما يعتمد، على سواعد وعقول وإيمان وارادة الإيرانيين، وعلى ثروات وطاقات بلدهم، وتحديهم لقوى الهيمنة والاستغلال والتسلط، ومقاومتهم لها.

كانت واشنطن وحلفاؤها، تراهن منذ اليوم الاول، على فشل الثورة وسقوطها في يدها. الا ان الثورة استطاعت ان تثبت للعالم كله عن جدارتها وصمودها، وتحقق قفزات كبيرة وإنجازات باهرة في مختلف الميادين العلمية، والبحثية، والتنموية، والزراعية، والعسكرية، والصناعية، وأن تمتلك التكنولوجيا النووية والفضائية والنانوية والعسكرية. دولة تحت الحصار والعقوبات كانت تثير الدهشة لكل من يتابع الملف الإيراني عن قرب وعن كثب، أكان صديقاً ام عدواً، منصفاً او ظالماً.

على مدار ثماني سنوات، أمضيتها كسفير للبنان في طهران، سنحت لي الفرصة، ان أجوب إيران شرفاً وغرباً ، شمالاً وجنوباً، زائراً لكل محافظاتها ومدنها، مطلعاً على مشاريع وإنجازات لم تتوقف على مدار الساعة، والتي تنقل إيران من مكان الى آخر، وفق خطط ومشاريع مرسومة، تنفذ وتدشن في اوقاتها المحددة، دون تباطؤ او تأخير او تقاعس او اهمال… هي العقوبات – يرددها كل مسؤول في مؤسسة إنتاجية كبيرة او مرفق صناعي – التي جعلتنا نعتمد على الله وعلى أنفسنا في بناء بلدنا، وان لا نكون رهينة في يد قوى الاستكبار والاستغلال. أحد المهندسين، وأثناء زيارتي إحدى الترسانات الصناعية الكبيرة، حدثني قائلاً: عدت الى إيران بعد ان تخصصت في أميركا وأمضيت فيها أكثر من خمسة وعشرين عاماً، لأخدم بلدي، رغم أني أتقاضى راتباً اقل مما كنت اتقاضاه في الولايات المتحدة. هذه هي الروح الوطنية العالية التي جعلت الثورة الإيرانية تستمر وتتعزز بهذا النوع من الرجال، وتقوى بهم، ليكون لإيران مكانتها، وهيبتها في منطقتها والعالم.

هي إيران اليوم، ومع جائحة كورونا، تقف مع شعبها، لتقول للعالم كله، لا سيما للدول التي تفرض عليها العقوبات اللاإنسانية المتعلقة بالمواد الطبية، إنها قامت بجهودها الذاتية، بتدشين أول خط إنتاج لأجهزة فحص المناعة المخبريّة ضد فيروس كورونا، تنتجها شركة «بيشتاز طب زمان» الإيرانية القائمة على المعرفة. جهاز يقيّم مدى ردود فعل مناعة الأفراد ضد الفيروس، والقادر على فحص 96 شخصاً في غضون 75 دقيقة. يأتي هذا، في ظل الحظر الأميركي الطبي على إيران، ومنع تقديم المساعدة لها في احتواء الكورونا، اذ ان ترامب كان يرى بأن الحظر بدأ يعطي ثماره، وأنه لن يغير سياسته في هذا الشأن.

إيران التي صمدت، ونمت، وقاومت الحصار والعقوبات، تثبت كل يوم، وبثقة عالية، أنها قادرة على تجاوز الحصار الطبي الاميركي عليها، وأي حصار آخر. لكن بعد الانتهاء من كورونا، سيتبين للعالم كله، من كان صديقاً فعلياً للشعوب في محنتها، ومن كان عدواً لها في اللحظات الإنسانية الحرجة… حيث كشفت كورونا النقاب عن الوجه القبيح البشع، لكل من أراد بسلوكه القذر، ان يعاقب شعوباً حرة، بجبروته وانحطاط أخلاقه، وانعدام إنسانيته. فمع كل حصار جائر ضد إيران، ينبت إبداع جديد، وما القمر الصناعي وغيره الا الدليل الحي على ذلك…

قبل سنة تقريباً، قال ترامب: انتظرونا أشهراً معدودة، وسوف تشاهدون إيران تختنق من العقوبات الإقتصادية!!!! إلا أن مرشد الثورة وقائدها ردّ عليه قائلاً: هذا المسكين، يمني نفسه ورفاقه بالصبر لأشهر معدودة، ليروا ما سيحدث!!! فتذكرت المثل القائل: يرى الجمل في منامه القطن قمحاً، فيقضمه تارة، ويلتهمه تارة أخرى…

إنها إيران بقائدها ودولتها ورجالها تقول للعالم كله: إني هنا، وأنا بالمرصاد.

*وزير الخارجية الأسبق.

POMPEO DEMANDS COUNTRIES BLOCK AIRSPACE TO IRAN’S ‘TERRORIST AIRLINE’ AFTER VENEZUELA DELIVERIES

Pompeo Demands Countries Block Airspace To Iran's 'Terrorist Airline' After Venezuela Deliveries
Last year Mahan Air officially announced direct flights to Venezuela. Image via AFP

Originally appeared at ZeroHedge

The US is going on the offensive once again against Venezuela, this time attempting to break up growing Iranian cooperation and assistance to Caracas. The two so-called ‘rogue states’ recently targeted for US-imposed regime change are helping each other fight coronavirus as well as Washington-led sanctions. Specifically Tehran has ramped up cargo deliveries related getting Venezuela’s derelict oil refineries fully operational.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in new statements has called on international allies to block airspace specifically for Iran’s Mahan Air, currently under US sanctions, and which has in recent days delivered cargoes of “unknown support” to the Venezuelan governmentaccording to Pompeo’s words.

Mahan Air is considered to have close ties to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), and its deliveries to Caracas are expected to continue.

“This is the same terrorist airline that Iran used to move weapons and fighters around the Middle East,” Pompeo asserted in his Wednesday remarks.

Pompeo demanded the flights “must stop” and called on all countries to halt sanctioned aircraft from flying through their airspace, and to further refuse access to their airports.

Mahan Air first came under sanctions in 2011 as Washington alleged it provided financial and non-financial support to the IRGC.

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