Why Trump now wants talks with Iran

June 05, 2019

Why Trump now wants talks with Iran

By Pepe Escobar – posted with permission

 

If Tehran blocks the Strait of Hormuz it could send the price of oil soaring and cause a global recession

Iranian soldiers take part in National Persian Gulf Day in the Strait of Hormuz on April 30, 2019. There is concern about a blockade of the Strait and the disastrous impact that could have on the price of oil and world financial markets. Photo: AFP / Atta Kenare

Unlike Deep Purple’s legendary ‘Smoke on the Water’ – “We all came out to Montreux, on the Lake Geneva shoreline”, the 67th Bilderberg group meetings produced no fire and no smoke at the luxurious Fairmont Le Montreux Palace Hotel.

The 130 elite guests had a jolly good – and theoretically quiet – time at the self-billed “informal discussion forum concerning major issues”. As usual, at least two-thirds were European decision-makers, with the rest coming from North America.

The fact that a few major players in this Atlanticist Valhalla are closely associated with or directly interfering with the Bank for International Settlements (BIS) in Basel – the central bank of central banks – is of course just a minor detail.

The major issue discussed this year was “A Stable Strategic Order”, a lofty endeavor that can be interpreted either as the making of a New World Order or just a benign effort by selfless elites to guide mankind to enlightenment.

Other items of discussion were way more pragmatic – from “The Future of Capitalism”, to “Russia”, “China”, “Weaponizing Social Media”, “Brexit”, “What’s Next for Europe”, “Ethics of Artificial Intelligence” and last but not least, “Climate Change”.

Disciples of Antisthenes would argue that these items constitute precisely the nuts and bolts of the New World Order.

The chairman of Bilderberg’s steering committee, since 2012, is Henri de Castries, former CEO of AXA and the director of the Institut Montaigne, a top French think tank.

One of the key guests this year was Clement Beaune, the European and G20 counselor to French President Emmanuel Macron.

Bilderberg prides itself for enforcing the Chatham House Rule, according to which participants are free to use all the precious information they wish because those who attend these meetings are bound to not disclose the source of any sensitive information or what exactly was said.

That helps ensure Bilderberg’s legendary secrecy – the reason for myriad conspiracy theories. But that does not mean that the odd secret may not be revealed.

The Castries/Beaune axis provides us with the first open secret of 2019. It was Castries at the Institut Montaigne who “invented” Macron – that perfect lab experiment of a mergers and acquisitions banker serving the establishment by posing as a progressive.

A Bilderberg source discreetly let it be known that the result of the recent European parliamentary elections was interpreted as a victory. After all, the final choice was between a neoliberal/Green alliance and Right populism; nothing to do with progressive values.

The Greens who won in Europe – contrary to the US Greens – are all humanitarian imperialists, to quote the splendid neologism coined by Belgian physicist Jean Bricmont. And they all pray on the politically correct altar. What matters, from Bilderberg’s perspective, is that the European Parliament will continue to be run by a pseudo-Left that keeps defending the destruction of the nation-state.

Just like Castries and his pupil Macron.

The derivatives clock is ticking

Image: Wikipedia

The great Bilderberg secret of 2019 had to do with why, suddenly, the Trump administration has decided that it wants to talk to Iran “with no preconditions”.

It all has to do with the Strait of Hormuz. Blocking the Strait could cut off oil and gas from Iraq, Kuwait, Bahrain, Qatar and Iran – 20% of the world’s oil. There has been some debate on whether this could occur – whether the US Fifth Fleet, which is stationed nearby, could stop Tehran doing this and if Iran, which has anti-ship missiles on its territory along the northern border of the Persian Gulf, would go that far.

An American source said a series of studies hit President Trump’s desk and caused panic in Washington. These showed that in the case of the Strait of Hormuz being shut down, whatever the reason, Iran has the power to hammer the world financial system, by causing global trade in derivatives to be blown apart.

The Bank for International Settlements said last year that the “notional amount outstanding for derivatives contracts” was $542 trillion, although the gross market value was put at just $12.7 trillion. Others suggest it is $1.2 quadrillion or more.

 

An Iranian Navy warship is seen in the Strait of Hormuz on April 30, amid talk that Tehran may block the Strait if relations with the US plunge further. Photo: AFP / Atta Kenare

Tehran has not voiced this “nuclear option” openly. And yet General Qasem Soleimani, head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force and a Pentagon bête noire, evoked it in internal Iranian discussions. The information was duly circulated to France, Britain and Germany, the EU-3 members of the Iran nuclear deal (or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action), also causing a panic.

Oil derivative specialists know well that if the flow of energy in the Gulf is blocked it could lead to the price of oil reaching $200 a barrel, or much higher over an extended period. Crashing the derivatives market would create an unprecedented global depression. Trump’s former Goldman Sachs Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin should know as much.

And Trump himself seems to have given the game away. He’s now on the record essentially saying that Iran has no strategic value to the US. According to the American source: “He really wants a face-saving way to get out of the problem his advisers Bolton and Pompeo got him into. Washington now needs a face-saving way out. Iran is not asking for meetings. The US is.”

And that brings us to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s long, non-scheduled stop in Switzerland, on the Bilderberg’s fringes, just because he’s a “big cheese and chocolate fan”, in his own words.

Yet any well-informed cuckoo clock would register he badly needed to assuage the fears of the trans-Atlantic elites, apart from his behind-closed-doors meetings with the Swiss, who are representing Iran in communications with Washington. After weeks of ominous threats to Iran, the US said “no preconditions” would be set on talks with Tehran, and this was issued from Swiss soil.

China draws its lines in the sand

Bilderberg could not escape discussing China. Geo-poetic justice rules that virtually at the same time, China was delivering a powerful message – to East and West – at the Shangri-La Dialogue in Singapore.

The Shangri-La dialogue is Asia’s top annual security forum, and unlike Bilderberg, held like clockwork at the same hotel in Singapore’s Orchard Road. As much as Bilderberg, Shangri-La discusses “relevant security issues”.

A case can be made that Bilderberg frames the discussions as in the recent cover story of a French weekly, owned by a Macron-friendly oligarch, titled “When Europe Ruled the World”. Shangri-La instead discusses the near future – when China may be actually ruling the world.

Beijing sent a top-of-the-line delegation to this year’s forum, led by Defense Minister General Wei Fenghe. And on Sunday, General Wei laid down China’s unmistakable red lines; a stern warning to “external forces” dreaming of independence for Taiwan, and the “legitimate right” for Beijing to expand man-made islands in the South China Sea.

By then everyone had forgotten what Acting US Secretary of Defense Patrick Shanahan had said the day before, accusing Huawei to be too close to Beijing and posing a security risk to the “international community”.

General Wei also found time to rip Shanahan to shreds. “Huawei is a private company, not a military company… Just because the head of Huawei used to serve in the army, does not mean his company is a part of the military. That doesn’t make sense.”

Shangri-La is at least transparent. As for Bilderberg, there won’t be any leaks on what the Masters of the Universe told Western elites about the profitability of pursuing the war on terror; the drive toward total digitalization of cash; total rule of genetically modified organisms; and how climate change will be weaponized.

At least the Pentagon has made no secret, even before Shangri-La, that Russia and China must be contained at all costs – and the European vassals must toe the line.

Henry Kissinger was a 2019 Bilderberg participant. Rumors that he spent all his time breathlessly plugging his “reverse Nixon” – seduce Russia to contain China – may be vastly overstated.

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The Guardian: Soleimani Tells Iraqi Groups to Prepare for War

By Staff, The Guardian

The Guardian British daily revealed on Friday that Iran’s head of Al-Quds Forces has recently met Iraqi Popular Mobilization forces in Baghdad and told them to “prepare for proxy war”.

Two senior intelligence sources told the Guardian that Qassem Soleimani met the Iraqi leaders three weeks ago, amid a heightened state of tension in the region.

This comes as the UK raised its threat levels for British troops in Iraq on Thursday.

While Soleimani has met regularly with leaders of Iraq’s Shia groups over the past five years, the nature and tone of this gathering was different. “It wasn’t quite a call to arms, but it wasn’t far off,” one source said.

Meanwhile, a US decision was taken to evacuate non-essential diplomatic staff from the US embassy in Baghdad and Erbil.

One senior figure who learned about the meeting had since met with western officials to express concerns.

The British foreign secretary, Jeremy Hunt, appeared to align the UK on Thursday with US claims that Tehran’s threat posture had changed. “We share the same assessment of the heightened threat posed by Iran,” he said on Twitter. “As always we work closely with the USA.”

Earlier this week, a British general challenged the Trump administration’s claims that an imminent threat had emerged from Iran, creating a rare public schism between the two countries whose alliance has at times been tested by the erratic nature of Trump’s regional policy.

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Gen. Suleimani: Iran Won’t Give in to US Pressure

April 29, 2019

Source

Commander of Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps’ (IRGC) elite Quds force, Major General Qassem Suleimani

IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem SUleimani said that the United States aims to draw Iran to the negotiation table with increased economic pressure, but the Iranian nation will not give in.

He made the remarks Monday on the second day of the nationwide conference of Iranian Police commanders and managers in Tehran, Mehr news agency reported.

“The enemy wants to draw us to the negotiating table by imposing economic pressure. This kind of negotiation is just as good as giving in, but our people are vigilant and smart and believe that negotiating with the enemy in the current situation is a clear act of surrendering. We certainly will not bow to this ignominy,” he said

“Today, the US and its allies resort to relying on illegitimate governments in the region,” he said, adding that Iran’s military has “reached maturity.”

“The more the enemies threaten Iran, the more costs they will have to pay,” Gen. Suleimani highlighted.

Source: Iranian media

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An Iranian April Surprise?

ELIJAH J. MAGNIER: “IRAN UPSTAGES THE US IN IRAQ”

South Front

Written by Elijah J. Magnier – @ejmalrai; Originally appeared at his blog

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is visiting Iraq for three days, leading a large political and business delegation to deepen the relationship between the two countries. Rouhani met with the Iraqi President, Prime Minister, and Speaker of Parliament. The Iranian President visited Karbalaa this afternoon, is spending the night in Najaf and will be visiting on Wednesday the highest religious authority (Marjaiya) in the city the Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali al-Sistani, Sayyed Mohamad Saeed al-Hakeem, Sheikh Ishaq al-Fayyad and Sheikh Bashir al-Najafi. Rouhani’s public visit contrasts starkly with Trump’s recent covert visit to Iraq. Moreover, the projected economic and commercial cooperation between Iraq and Iran will not only mitigate US unilateral sanctions but will likely contribute to their failure. The bottom line question now arises: will Trump accept his loss to Iran or will he choose to lose Iraq as well by imposing sanctions on Mesopotamia?

Elijah J. Magnier: "Iran upstages the US in Iraq"

During the last week of 2018, President Trump’s plane turned off its lights to land safely in the US part of Ayn al-Assad base in Anbar province. Trump’s visit was kept secret and the Iraqi Prime Minister was informed on the same morning. Trump refused to land on the Iraqi side of the same base (Iraq and the US share the same military base with US forces holding full sovereignty over their area). For this reason, Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, the Speaker Mohamad al-Halbousi and the President Barham Saleh refused to meet Trump, who stuck to his schedule and landed at night.

Trump concluded his visit in three hours and left under darkness of the night. He is reported to have murmured that it was not right that, for security reasons, the US president was forced to visit in secrecy in the middle of the night a country where the US has invested hundreds of billions of dollars in its stability.

On the other hand, Rouhani informed the Iraqi presidency of his visit a week in advance; the visit was publicly announced at the same time. Iraqi officials coordinated the schedule of the Iranian President’s trip with their Iranian counterparts. Rouhani is due to remain in Iraq for three days to conclude important economic-commercial deals, raising the level of commerce between the two countries to 20 billion dollars.

Elijah J. Magnier: "Iran upstages the US in Iraq"

The conclusion:

  1. Iran has prevailed over the US because the Iraqi officials have rejected any unilateral sanctions on Iran, insisting on commercial exchange, including energy supply and selling.
  2. Major General Qassem Soleimani achieved Iran’s goal of developing a friendly relationship with Iraq, where officials are ready to suspend relations with the US if Trump insists on imposing sanctions on any country dealing with Tehran. This achievement (and others) earned Soleimani Iran’s most prestigious medal of honour, “the order of Zulfiqar” awarded by Sayed Ali Khamenei. Foreign Minister Jawad Zarif was the first to congratulate Soleimani, describing him as “the man who made the Middle East a safer place”. It is Soleimani’s second medal; the first was “the order of Fath” received in 1989 from the same Khamenei.
  3. Iran will sell electricity to Iraq and will use dollars and the local currency in its exchange. The Islamic Republic has found new ways to counter the US sanctions by building industry infrastructure and railways, and by establishing large commercial exchanges with Iraq. This will bring more dollars to Iran and will, simultaneously, help the country rely less on US dollars by doing business in the local currency.

Trump’s foreign policy and sanctions around the world are forcing countries to find alternatives to the US monetary system and trade. Although so far with little impact, Europe is introducing a special purpose vehicle (SPV) to support trade with Iran as an alternative to the US Swift global financial messaging service. China, Russia, India and many other countries dealing with Iran have agreed to carry on their exchanges mainly but not exclusively in local currency to bypass US sanctions.

Iraq today is divided between a large faction of politicians calling for the total withdrawal of US forces from the country, and another which wants to maintain a reduced US force in charge of training and intelligence exchange. Both factions want to see most US forces leave the country, and can likely reach an agreement on accepting a small specialised force on the ground. The Iraqi government would like to strike a balance and maintain both a fair relationship with the US and excellent ties with Iran.

Trump has two choices. He could choose to cut his relationship with Iraq, which would amount to shooting himself in the foot. The presence of US forces in Iraq is essential to US objectives and hegemony in the Middle East. Moreover, it is unclear for how long US forces will be able to occupy Syria. The alternative would be for Trump to accept the fact that his sanctions against Iran will fail as Iranian-Iraqi energy and commercial deals develop. In this case, the US President would be accepting the failure of his sanctions and his plan to change the Iranian regime “in a few months”.

Whatever he decides, Trump has lost: the US establishment failed in its attempt to damage Iran and either change its ruling system or bring the country to its knees. All Trump has accomplished is to put stress on the Iranian economy, bringing hardship to the population while forcing local officials to find new solutions, with the help of Iraq’s new leadership. The US failure to impose its proxies as rulers of Iraq helped Soleimani win his medal of honour.

Proof-read byC.B.

صراع الجنرالات في تل أبيب في زمن النصر الاستراتيجي للمقاومة…!

مارس 16, 2019

محمد صادق الحسيني

تقطع المصادر المطلعة على أجواء غرف عمليات محور المقاومة من طهران إلى غزة بأنّ الصاروخين اللذين حطا رحالهما في تل أبيب ليسا من عمل المقاومة في شيء…!

نفس المصادر تشتبه بقوة بأنّ سيناريو ما كان يحضّر لتفجير الأوضاع على الجبهة الجنوبية لفلسطين المحتلة بهدف وضع فصائل المقاومة هناك بين المطرقة والسندان لاستفزازها بهدف جعلها مادة انتخابية لخدمة أحزاب الكيان الصهيوني…!

وفي هذا السياق فقد أفاد مصدر أمني أوروبي غربي مخضرم، تعليقاً على موضوع إطلاق الصواريخ على تل أبيب، بما يلي:

1 ـ انّ عملية إطلاق الصاروخين على تل أبيب، مساء الخميس 14/3/2019 كانت عملية منسّقة بين جهات مخابراتية فلسطينية وجهات معينة في الأجهزة الأمنية والعسكرية «الإسرائيلية».

2 ـ تمّ تنفيذ العملية من خلال بضع أفراد فلسطينيين من قطاع غزه، مقابل المال، حيث كلفت العملية حوالي ثلاثة ملايين دولار.

3 ـ قام عملاء لأجهزة مخابراتية فلسطينية بشراء الصواريخ من عناصر قريبين من جبهة المقاومة دون علم قياداتهم بالموضوع.

4 ـ الدوله العميقة في «إسرائيل»ـ أيّ الأجهزه الأمنية، على علم بكلّ التفاصيل جميعها… بدءاً بإيصال الأموال، التي استخدمت في ترتيب العملية، الى غزة مروراً بالأشخاص الذين باعوا الصاروخين وصولاً إلى الخلية التي نفذت عملية الإطلاق.

5 ـ كان هدف العملية، حسب من خطط لها، هو إلحاق الأذى الانتخابي بنتن ياهو ولكن الرياح أتت بما لا تشتهي السفنُ.

إذ كان من المفترض، حسب الخطة، أن تسقط الصواريخ في المدينة وتوقع خسائر مادية وبشرية كبيرة مما سيضطر نتن ياهو الى شنّ حرب واسعة على غزة، تلك الحرب التي ستكبّد «إسرائيل» وجيشها خسائر كبيرة دون تحقيق أيّ من الأهداف «الإسرائيلية».

6 ـ لكن سقوط أحد الصاروخين في البحر والآخر في منطقة مفتوحة دون وقوع خسائر قد أدّى إلى فشل الخطة وتحويل النتيجه لصالح نتن ياهو الذي قرّر الردّ بشكل محدود ومدروس ليخدم حملته الانتخابية فقط ودون التورّط في مواجهة واسعة مع قطاع غزه.

وتابع المصدر الأمني… انّ البيان الذي تمّ تداوله باسم «حركة المقاومة العربية لتحرير فلسطين»، هو بيان مفبرك من قبل جهات أمنية «فلسطينية» وبالتنسيق مع جهات أمنية «إسرائيلية»!

في هذه الأثناء فإنه تمّ في الآونة الأخيرة تسجيل حملة في وسائل الإعلام «الإسرائيلي»، خاصة «ديبكا فايل» تركز على موضوع قوات حزب الله على جبهة الجولان بقيادة علي موسى دقدوق… يربط من خلالها «الإسرائيلي» الموضوع بالجنرال سليماني ودور مدّعى لدقدوق في تدريب قوات الخزعلي في العراق، ويشيرون الى احتمال قيام القوات الأميركية في سورية والعراق بعمل استباقي ضدّ قوات حزب الله العراق وعصائب أهل الحق….

حيث يتمّ التركيز على انّ قيادة هذه التنظيمات في أيدي الجنرال سليماني والسيد حسن نصرالله والشيخ قيس الخزعلي…

وتضيف هذه المصادر بأنّ كلّ هذا يحمل رسائل لا يجوز إهمالها أو الاستهانة بها…!

فهذا الهجوم الإعلامي المكثف على حزب الله والمقاومة وحشد المعلومات المتضاربة المليئة بالأفخاخ والتي يروّج لها موقع «ديبكا الإسرائيلي» تعود أسبابها بنظر المراقبين إلى ما يلي:

ـ زيارة بومبيو المقبلة للمنطقة وتحديداً الى لبنان…!

ـ قانون ضمّ الجولان الذي سيناقش في الكونغرس قريباً.

ـ تهديدات نتن ياهو بضرب ناقلات النفط الإيرانية وقيام 11 زورق بمهاجمة ناقلة إيرانية في باب المندب، بتاريخ 7/3/2019، والتي تمّ إنقاذها بواسطة تدخل مغاوير القوة البحرية الإيرانية وتمكّنت من مواصلة سيرها بشكل طبيعي تحمل 150 ألف طن من النفط .

طبعاً الزوارق كانت تحمل قراصنة تقوم بتشغيلهم «إسرائيل» والولايات المتحدة في تلك المنطقة.

هذا يعني ممارسة شكل جديد من أشكال الحرب ضدّ إيران…!

فهل تتجه المنطقة إلى تصعيد تحت السيطرة الهدف منه إنقاذ نتن ياهو من السقوط نحو الهاوية..!؟

ام انّ ثمة جهات دولية وأميركية عليا باتت مقتنعة بأنّ ايام نتن ياهو باتت معدودة وينبغي التخلص منه ومن عصابته الحاكمة لصالح عصابات جنرلات أبيض- أزرق لتبدأ دورة جديدة من العنف والنهب الصهيوني الاحتلالي لفلسطيننا الحبيبة تحت عنوان جديد…!؟

في كلّ الاحوال شعبنا الفلسطيني ومن ورائه محور المقاومة سيكونان بالمرصاد لمثل هذه الألاعيب ولن يسمحا لصواريخ انتخابية مشبوهة ان تكون هي من تحدّد ساعة المواجهة مع عدوهما التاريخي والوجودي..!

لن نكون أول من يشعل الحرب ولكن لن نسمح للعدو ايضاً أن يدحرجنا الى حيث يريد وفي اللحظة التي يريد..!

ولسنا طعماً انتخابياً لأيّ زمرة من زمر حربه القذرة..!

واليد العليا ستظلّ لنا لا سيما ونحن في زمن الهجوم الاستراتيجي والاحتفال بالنصر بعد النصر.

بعدنا طيبين قولوا الله…

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Leader awards General Soleimani with Iran’s highest military order

qaUndated photo of Iran's Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (left) with IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.
Undated photo of Iran’s Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei (left) with IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.

Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has awarded Iran’s highest military order, the Order of Zulfaqar, to IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.

General Soleimani is the first Iranian military official to receive the order after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

After the Order of Zulfaqar, the Order of Conquest is the highest military order, which General Soleimani has already received three times.

The top general leads the elite Quds Force of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps, and is widely known as one of the most influential military commanders in the world.

The Washington-based magazine Foreign Policy recently put the name of General Soleimani on top of its 2019 list of Global Thinkers in the defense and security field, followed by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

A short write-up on the senior Iranian commander described him as the “public face of Iran’s response to US President Donald Trump’s threats.”

General Soleimani made headlines last July, when he delivered a blistering response to an all-caps tweet addressed to President Hassan Rouhani, in which Trump had issued a military threat against the Islamic Republic.

The IRGC commander is widely seen as a strategist and adviser in the counter-terrorism operations against Takfiri terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

The powerful general leads Iranian military advisers backing the national armies of Syria and Iraq in their fight against terrorism.

General Soleimani was present on the ground to supervise the decisive stages of Iran-backed operations against Daesh, which lost in late 2017 all the territories it had seized in Iraq and Syria.

He declared the end of Daesh’s territorial rule in a letter addressed to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in November 2017. Ayatollah Khamenei had earlier described him as a “living martyr”.

Leader Awards General Suleimani Iran’s Highest Military Order

Source

March 11, 2019

Iran's Quds Force Chief, Major General Qassem Suleimani

Leader of the Islamic Revolution in Iran, Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei awarded Iran’s highest military order, the Order of Zulfaqar, to Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Major General Qassem Suleimani.

General Suleimani is the first Iranian military official to receive the order after the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Tasnim news agency reported.

After the Order of Zulfaqar, the Order of Conquest is the highest military order, which General Suleimani has already received three times.

The top general leads the elite Quds Force of the IRGC, and is widely known as one of the most influential military commanders in the world.

The Washington-based magazine Foreign Policy recently put the name of General Suleimani on top of its 2019 list of Global Thinkers in the defense and security field, followed by German Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen.

A short write-up on the senior Iranian commander described him as the “public face of Iran’s response to US President Donald Trump’s threats.”

General Suleimani made headlines last July, when he delivered a blistering response to an all-caps tweet addressed to President Hassan Rouhani, in which Trump had issued a military threat against the Islamic Republic.

The IRGC commander is widely seen as a strategist and adviser in the counter-terrorism operations against Takfiri terrorists in Syria and Iraq.

The powerful general leads Iranian military advisers backing the national armies of Syria and Iraq in their fight against terrorism.

Source: Iranian media

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