War Propaganda And US Military Buildup Against Iran

South Front

Tensions continue to grow in the Persian Gulf.

In early May, the US deployed the USS Abraham Lincoln strike group as well as the USS Arlington amphibious transport dock, additional marines, amphibious vehicles, rotary aircraft, Patriot missiles and a bomber strike force to the region claiming that this is a needed measure to deter Iran, which allegedly prepares to attack US troops and infrastructure.

On May 21, Acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan claimed that the US had succeeded in putting the potential of Iranian attacks “on hold.” The declared victory over the mythical “Iranian threats” did not stop the US from a further military buildup.

On May 25, President Donald Trump declared that the US is sending 1,500 troops, 12 fighter jets, manned and unmanned surveillance aircraft, and a number of military engineers to counter Iran.

Trump also approved an $8 billion sale of precision guided missiles and other military support to Saudi Arabia, using a legal loophole. The Trump administration declared an emergency to bypass Congress, citing the need to deter what it called “the malign influence” of Iran.

The forces deployment was accompanied with a new round of fear-mongering propaganda.

On May 24, Adm. Michael Gilday, director of the Joint Staff, issued a statement saying  that “the leadership of Iran at the highest level” ordered a spate of disruptive attacks including those targeting an Aramco Saudi oil pipeline, pumping facilities, the recent sabotage of four tankers near the Strait of Hormuz, as well as a May 19 lone rocket attack on the area near the US embassy in Baghdad. Besides this, he repeated speculations about “credible reports that Iranian proxy groups intend to attack U.S. personnel in the Middle East”. Nonetheless, Adm. Gilday offered nothing that may look like hard proof to confirm these claims.

On May 28, National Security Adviser John Bolton blamed “naval mines almost certainly from Iran” for the incident with oil tankers off the UAE.

On May 30, Saudi Arabia’s King Salman went on an anti-Iran tirade during an emergency meeting of Arab leaders hosted in Mecca. He described the Islamic Republic as the greatest threat to global security for the past four decades, repeated US-Israeli accusations regarding the alleged Iranian missile and nuclear activities and urged the US-led bloc to use “all means to stop the Iranian regime” from its regional “interference”.

Despite the war-like rhetoric of the US and its allies and the recent deployment of additional forces in the region, Washington seems to be not ready for a direct confrontation with Iran right now. The USS Abraham Lincoln strike group remains outside the Persian Gulf, in the Arabian Sea, demonstrating that the Washington establishment respects the Iranian military capabilities and understands that the US Navy might lose face if the carrier were to make an attempt at demonstrating US naval power too close to Iranian shores.

Iran, in its own turn, stressed that it is not going to step back under these kinds of threats. Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said that his country would not be coerced into new negotiations under economic sanctions and threat of military action.

“I favor talks and diplomacy but under current conditions, I do not accept it, as today’s situation is not suitable for talks and our choice is resistance only,” Rouhani said.

In the coming months, the US-Iranian confrontation in the diplomatic, economic and military spheres will continue to develop. Threats and aggressive actions towards Iran will not go without response. Nonetheless, it is unlikely that Teheran would move to instigate a hot conflict by its own accord, if no red lines, such as a direct attack on Iranian vital infrastructure or oil shipping lines, are crossed.

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Resistance report – US threats against Tehran will never break the Islamic Republic

May 18, 2019

By Aram Mirzaei for the Saker blog

Resistance report – US threats against Tehran will never break the Islamic Republic

Tensions are reaching critical levels as Washington continues to threaten Iran while the madmen Bolton and Pompeo are growing bolder by the day. It seems as if the White House fool Trump has given up on foreign policy altogether and allowed Bolton and Pompeo to have free reigns on pushing Washington further into the abyss.

Bolton has reportedly requested 120 000 troops to be sent to the Middle East, about the same number of troops sent for the tragic Iraq war. This would in his mind show the Iranians who’s in charge, I guess. We’re talking about a country with a population of 80 million people, thrice the size of Iraq and a military that has been preparing for a war with the Zionist Empire for decades.

Who does Bolton think he’s scaring? I would say that Tehran’s reaction to these threats are met with a confidence that Washington is merely bluffing the whole thing. Earlier this week, Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ruled out the possibility of war between the United States and Iran, saying that it would not be in Washington’s interest to start such a war.
“The Iranian nation’s definite option will be resistance in the face of the US, and in this confrontation, the US would be forced into a retreat,” Ayatollah Khamenei said. “Neither we nor they, who know war will not be in their interest, are after war.”

Ayatollah Khamenei further explained that the confrontation between the two sides is “a clash of wills,” asserting that Iran would be the ultimate victor of this battle. It is an interesting way of seeing this situation, as Khamenei correctly asserts that this is truly about willpower. Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign, beginning last year with Washington’s withdrawal from the JCPOA, is aimed at bringing the Islamic Republic to its knees, getting Tehran to return to the negotiation table. Trump has made it no secret that he wishes to renegotiate the nuclear deal to include Iran’s ballistic missiles program. He and many other Zionists, including the Zionist chieftain in Tel Aviv criticized the JCPOA on the basis that Iran’s ballistic missiles were still deemed a threat to “global peace”. Why? Because they know fully well that these missiles can reach Tel Aviv at any time, and there’s not a damn thing that the so called “Iron dome” could do to stop them. Since Trump is a political illiterate and can’t distinguish between an Arab and an Iranian or a Turk, he believes that sanctions and threats will make Iranian politicians run to the negotiation table, as he so boldly himself claimed, he’s “waiting by the phone for Tehran to call”.

Bolton on the other hand, having been in the game for many years, knows that Iran won’t budge. He has seen Tehran withstand all kinds of attacks and threats before, he knows that Iran fully relies on its resistance economy, and he is very much aware that internal regime change won’t happen as the Islamic Republic enjoys a broad support inside Iran. Instead, he sees his chance to finally start a war with the Islamic Republic and ultimately hoping to destroy the threat posed to his masters in Tel Aviv. Bolton is counting on Trump’s weak ego, that instead of backing down, he will double down and start a war to save face.

It seems that much of the IRGC and conservative political leadership in Tehran are viewing the situations the same way as the Supreme Leader is, they simply don’t believe that Washington is willing to go to war as Washington is fully aware that the Islamic Republic is capable of causing a lot of damage on not only US forces, but the entire region. Only yesterday, the deputy head of the IRGC said with confidence that “even our short-range missiles can easily reach U.S warships in the Persian Gulf”. On the other hand, the same deputy head of the IRGC took a shot at President Rouhani’s allies who have been calling for a “pragmatic approach” to meet these threats, ”the Western-leaning tendencies of this country raises a war versus talks dilemma, and is trying to impose new nuclear deals on the country”. It is no secret that the failure of the JCPOA and the growing threats coming from Washington have weakened the Rouhani government and given the so called “hardliners” the upper hand as the “pragmatic approach” by the “Reformists” have proven to show Iran as weak in face of Zionist animosity. As many Iranians are feeling betrayed by Washington and the Rouhani government’s promises of eased sanctions, “hardliners” are feeling more emboldened to pressure the President to completely abandon the deal, this seems to have at least in part, affected the government’s recent decision to suspend the implementation of some parts of the JCPOA.

So what are the “hardliners” hoping for instead? As I mentioned before, they don’t believe that Washington actually wants war, not only do they understand that Washington knows the costs of such a war and is not willing to take it, but they are also aware of Trump’s hopes for a renegotiation of the deal. Trump’s recent denial of the proposed plan of sending 120 000 troops to the Middle East, and the recent reports that Trump has apparently said that he does not want a war has boosted the “hardliners” confidence that there might indeed be a wedge between Trump and Bolton. Rumour have reached Tehran that Trump has grown tired with Bolton’s insane approach. Yes, it is risky to rely on the unpredictable nature of the White House fool, but with Trump crippling the Iranian economy, Tehran faces growing domestic pressure, with the risk of a larger internal conflict erupting, so countering these US threats with threats of their own, seems to be the best way to get Trump to back off, as he did with North Korea. With any luck, Trump gets tired of Bolton’s hawkish approach and fires him, and if not, the Islamic Republic is and has been ready for decades for a US attack on Iran. Washington’s threats will never get the Islamic Republic to back down on its independence and self-respect.

Iran Squeezed Between Imperial Psychos and European Cowards

By Pepe Escobar – with permission and cross posted with Consortium News

What Putin and Pompeo did not talk about

The Trump administration unilaterally cheated on the 2015 multinational, UN-endorsed JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal. It has imposed an illegal, worldwide financial and energy blockade on all forms of trade with Iran — from oil and gas to exports of iron, steel, aluminum and copper. For all practical purposes, and in any geopolitical scenario, this is a declaration of war.

Successive U.S. governments have ripped international law to shreds; ditching the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action is only the latest instance. It doesn’t matter that Tehran has fulfilled all its commitments to the deal — according to UN inspectors. Once the leadership in Tehran concluded that the U.S. sanctions tsunami is fiercer than ever, it decided to begin partially withdrawing from the deal.

President Hassan Rouhani was adamant: Iran has not left the JCPOA — yet. Tehran’s measures are legal under the framework of articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA — and European officials were informed in advance. But it’s clear the EU3 (Germany, France, Britain), who have always insisted on their vocal support for the JCPOA, must work seriously to alleviate the U.S.-provoked economic disaster to Iran if Tehran has any incentive to continue to abide by the agreement.

Protests in front of former U.S. embassy in Tehran after U.S. decision to withdraw from JCPOA, May 8, 2018. (Hossein Mersadi via Wikimedia Commons)

Russia and China — the pillars of Eurasia integration, to which Iran adheres — support Tehran’s position. This was discussed extensively in Moscow by Sergey Lavrov and Iran’s Javad Zarif, perhaps the world’s top two foreign ministers.

At the same time, it’s politically naïve to believe the Europeans will suddenly grow a backbone.

The comfortable assumption in Berlin, Paris and London was that Tehran could not afford to leave the JCPOA even if it was not receiving any of the economic rewards promised in 2015. Yet now the EU3 are facing the hour of truth.

It’s hard to expect anything meaningful coming from an enfeebled Chancellor Angela Merkel, with Berlin already targeted by Washington’s trade ire; a Brexit-paralyzed Britain; and a massively unpopular President Emmanuel Macron in France already threatening to impose his own sanctions if Tehran does not agree to limit its ballistic missile program. Tehran will never allow inspections over its thriving missile industry – and this was never part of the JCPOA to begin with.

As it stands, the EU3 are not buying Iranian oil. They are meekly abiding by the U.S. banking and oil/gas sanctions — which are now extended to manufacturing sectors — and doing nothing to protect Iran from its nasty effects. The implementation of INSTEX, the SWIFT alternative for trade with Iran, is languishing. Besides expressing lame “regrets” about the U.S. sanctions, the EU3 are de facto playing the game on the side of U.S., Israel, Saudi Arabia and the Emirates; and by extension against Russia, China and Iran.

Rise of the Imperial Psychos

As Tehran de facto kicked the ball to the European court, both EU3 options are dire. To meaningfully defend the JCPOA will invite a ballistic reaction from the Trump administration. To behave like poodles — the most probable course of action — means emboldening even more the psychopaths doubling as imperial functionaries bent on a hot war against Iran at all costs; Koch brothers Big Oil asset and enraptured evangelist, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and paid Mujahideen-e Khalq asset and notorious intel manipulator, National Security Advisor John Bolton.

The Pompeo-Bolton gangster maneuver is hardly Bismarck’s Realpolitik. It consists of relentlessly pushing Tehran to make a mistake, any mistake, in terms of “violating” its obligations under the JCPOA, so that this may be sold to gullible American public opinion as the proverbial “threat” to the “rules-based order” doubling as a casus belli.

There’s one thing the no-holds-barred U.S. economic war against Iran has managed to achieve: internal unity in the Islamic Republic. Team Rouhani’s initial aim for the JCPOA was to open up to Western trade (trade with Asia was always on) and somewhat curtail the power of the IRGC, or Revolutionary Guards, which control vast sectors of the Iranian economy.

Washington’s economic war proved instead the IRGC was right all along, echoing the finely-tuned geopolitical sentiment of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, who always emphasized the Americans cannot be trusted, ever.

And as much as Washington has branded the IRGC a “terrorist organization,” Tehran replied in kind, branding CENTCOM the same.

Independent Persian Gulf oil traders dismiss the notion that the kleptocrat House of Saud — de facto run by Jared “of Arabia” Kushner’s Whatsapp pal Mohammed bin Salman (MbS), the Saudi  crown prince – holds up to 2.5 million barrels of oil a day in spare capacity capable of replacing Iran’s 2 million barrels of exports (out of 3.45 million of total daily production). The House of Saud seems more interested in hiking oil prices for Asian customers.

London protests at Saudi bombing of Yemen. March 2018. (Alisdare Hickson via Flickr)

Faulty Blockade

Washington’s energy trade blockade of Iran is bound to fail.

China will continue to buy its 650,000 barrels a day – and may even buy more. Multiple Chinese companies trade technology and industrial services for Iranian oil.

Pakistan, Iraq and Turkey — all bordering Iran — will continue to buy Iranian high-quality light crude by every method of payment (including gold) and transportation available, formal or informal. Baghdad’s trade relationship with Tehran will continue to thrive.

As economic suffocation won’t suffice, Plan B is — what else — the threat of a hot war.

It’s by now established that the info, in fact rumors, about alleged Iranian maneuvers to attack U.S. interests in the Gulf was relayed to Bolton by the Mossad, at the White House, with Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben Shabbat personally briefing Bolton.

Everyone is aware of the corollary: a “reposition of assets” (in Pentagonese) — from the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group deployment to four B-52 bombers landing in Al Udeid Air base in Qatar, all part of a “warning” to Iran.

A pre-war roaring crescendo now engulfs the Lebanese front as well as the Iranian front.

Reasons for Psychotic Rage

Iran’s GDP is similar to Thailand’s, and its military budget is similar to Singapore’s. Bullying Iran is a geopolitical and geo-economic absurdity. Iran may be an emerging Global South actor — it could easily be a member of the G20 — but can never be construed as a “threat” to the U.S.

Yet Iran provokes psychopathic imperial functionaries to a paroxysm of rage for three serious reasons. Neocons never mind that trying to destroy Iraq cost over $6 trillion — and it was a major war crime, a political disaster, and an economic abyss all rolled into one. Trying to destroy Iran will cost untold trillions more.

The most glaring reason for the irrational hatred is the fact the Islamic Republic is one of the very few nations on the planet consistently defying the hegemon — for four decades now.

The second reason is that Iran, just like Venezuela — and this is a combined war front — have committed the supreme anathema; trading on energy bypassing the petrodollar, the foundation stone of U.S. hegemony.

The third (invisible) reason is that to attack Iran is to disable emerging Eurasia integration, just like using NSA spying to ultimately put Brazil in the bag was an attack on Latin American integration.

The non-stop hysteria over whether President Donald Trump is being maneuvered into war on Iran by his pet psychopaths – well, he actually directed Iran to “Call me” — eludes the Big Picture. As shown before, a possible shut down of the Strait of Hormuz, whatever the reasons, would be like a major meteor impact on the global economy. And that would inevitably translate as no Trump reelection in 2020.

The Strait of Hormuz would never need to be blocked if all the oil Iran is able to export is bought by China, other Asian clients and even Russia — which could relabel it. But Tehran wouldn’t blink on blocking Hormuz if faced with total economic strangulation.

According to a dissident U.S. intel expert, “the United States is at a clear disadvantage in that if the Strait of Hormuz is shut the U.S. collapses. But if the U.S. can divert Russia from defending Iran, then Iran can be attacked and Russia will have accomplished nothing, as the neocons do not want detente with Russia and China. Trump does want detente but the Deep State does not intend to permit it.”

Assuming this scenario is correct, the usual suspects in the United States government are trying to divert Putin from the Strait of Hormuz question while keeping Trump weakened, as the neocons proceed 24/7 on the business of strangling Iran. It’s hard to see Putin falling for this not exactly elaborate trap.

Not Bluffing

So what happens next? Professor Mohammad Marandi at the Faculty of World Studies of the University of Tehran offers quite a sobering perspective: “After 60 days Iran will push things even further. I don’t think the Iranians are bluffing. They will also be pushing back at the Saudis and the Emiratis by different means.”

Marandi, ominously, sees “further escalation” ahead:

“Iranians have been preparing for war with the Unites States ever since the Iraq invasion in 2003. After what they’ve seen in Libya, in Syria, Yemen, Venezuela, they know that the Americans and Europeans are utterly brutal. The whole shore of the Persian Gulf on the Iranian side and the Gulf of Oman is full of tunnels and underground high-tech missiles. The Persian Gulf is full of ships equipped with highly developed sea-to-sea missiles. If there is real war, all the oil and gas facilities in the region will be destroyed, all the tankers will be destroyed.”

And if that show comes to pass, Marandi regards the Strait of Hormuz as the “sideshow”:

“The Americans will be driven out of Iraq. Iraq exports 4 million barrels of oil a day; that would probably come to an end, through strikes and other means. It would be catastrophic for the Americans. It would be catastrophic for the world – and for Iran as well. But the Americans would simply not win.”

So as Marandi explains it — and Iranian public opinion now largely agrees — the Islamic Republic has leverage because they know “the Americans can’t afford to go to war. Crazies like Pompeo and Bolton may want it, but many in the establishment don’t.”

Tehran may have developed a modified MAD (Mutually Assured Destruction) framework as leverage, mostly to push Trump ally MbS to cool down. “Assuming,” adds Marandi, “the madmen don’t get the upper hand, and if they do, then it’s war. But for the time being, I thinks that’s highly unlikely.”

Guided-missile destroyer USS Porter transits Strait of Hormuz, May 2012. (U.S. Navy/Alex R. Forster)

All Options on the Table?

In Cold War 2.0 terms, from Central Asia to the Eastern Mediterranean and from the Indian Ocean to the Caspian Sea, Tehran is able to count on quite a set of formal and informal alliances. That not only centers on the Beirut-Damascus-Baghdad-Tehran-Herat axis, but also includes Turkey and Qatar. And most important of all, the top actors on the Eurasian integration chessboard: the Russia and China in strategic partnership.

When Zarif met Lavrov last week in Moscow, they discussed virtually everything: Syria (they negotiate together in the Astana, now Nur-Sultan process), the Caspian, the Caucasus, Central Asia, the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (of which Iran will become a member), the JCPOA and Venezuela.

The Trump administration was dragged kicking and screaming to meet Kim Jong-Un at the same table because of the DPRK’s intercontinental ballistic missile tests. And then Kim ordered extra missile tests because, in his own words, as quoted by KCNA, “genuine peace and security of the country are guaranteed only by the strong physical force capable of defending its sovereignty.”

Global South Watching

The overwhelming majority of Global South nations are watching the U.S. neocon offensive to ultimately strangle “the Iranian people”, aware more than ever that Iran may be bullied to extinction because it does not posses a nuclear deterrent. The IRGC has reached the same conclusion.

That would mean the death of the JCPOA – and the Return of the Living Dead of “all options on the table.”

But then, there’ll be twists and turns in the Art of the (Demented) Deal. So what if, and it’s a major “if”, Donald Trump is being held hostage by his pet psychopaths?

Let The Dealer speak:

“We hope we don’t have to do anything with regard to the use of military force…We can make a deal, a fair deal. … We just don’t want them to have nuclear weapons. Not too much to ask. And we would help put them back into great shape. They’re in bad shape right now. I look forward to the day where we can actually help Iran. We’re not looking to hurt Iran. I want them to be strong and great and have a great economy… We have no secrets. And they can be very, very strong, financially. They have great potential.”

Then again, Ayatollah Khamenei said: the Americans cannot be trusted, ever.

Iran Sets Two-month Deadline for Remaining JCPOA Parties

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s Supreme National Security Council [SNSC] stated on Wednesday that the country is no longer fulfilling some of its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal, and setting a two-month deadline for the remaining parties to fulfill their undertakings.  

From Wednesday on, Iran stops some of its measures taken under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], the statement said.

“At the current stage, we are not committed to complying with restrictions on keeping enriched uranium reserves and heavy water supplies,” the SNSC stated.

The statement also set a 60-day deadline for the remaining parties to the deal to fulfill their obligations, especially in the areas of banking and oil.

The statement came a few days after the US administration renewed five of seven sanctions waivers that allow Russia and the European nations to conduct civilian nuclear cooperation with Iran but revoked the other two as part of its pressure campaign against Tehran.

On Friday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo extended the waivers, which were due to expire Saturday, for 90 days, shorter than the 180 days that had been granted in the past.

The waivers permit work at several Iranian nuclear sites to continue without US penalties. Under the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers, Russia and several European nations help maintain the facilities.

Washington also stopped issuing waivers to buy Iranian crude oil on Thursday.

Before the US moves, Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri, warned against their consequences.

On May 8, 2018, US President Donald Trump pulled his country out of the JCPOA.

Following the US withdrawal, Iran and the remaining parties launched talks to save the accord.

The European Union vowed to counter Trump’s renewed sanctions on Iran, including by means of a new law to shield European companies from punitive measures, but it has so far failed to do anything beyond making statements.

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WILL RUSSIA FIGHT WITH ISRAEL FOR IRAN?

16.04.2019

While some journalists are looking for the causes of the fire of Notre-Dame-de-Paris, while others worry about the fate of Julian Assange issued by the Ecuadorian embassy, another reason for a big war has appeared in the Middle East. From October of this year, Iran will lease a port in Latakia from Syria and build a base for the Navy there. The decision was made during the February meeting of Bashar Assad with Hassan Rouhani in Tehran.

I must say that Iran is already strong in Syria, it has about a dozen strong points and about 12 thousand military. But if he acquires a base on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean, Iran will simply not be stopped. Something like this, these movements are perceived in Israel, where the Islamic Republic is considered the “enemy number one.”

Threat for Russia?

The problem is that the Iranians will build their base in Latakia, 72 kilometers from the Russian Navy base in Tartus and the Hmeimim airbase.

Israel has shown by its behavior many times that it will not tolerate the Iranian presence in Syria. The transfer of the Russian S-300, though it altered the flight routes of the IDF air force, did not stop them. Israel does air strikes, flying from Lebanon and Iraq.

The distance from the place where the Iranian base will be created to the Russian bases is decent, but not safe. If tomorrow Israel starts bombing Latakia, the situation with the IL-20 transporter brought down may be repeated. Even if this does not come to this, then all the same, Israeli military aggression not far from the positions of the VKS will spoil Russian-Israeli relations.

The situation may take even more alarming proportions if the States are involved in the case. After all, Donald Trump, like Benjamin Netanyahu, will not rest until he expels Iran from Syria. So, the expansion of the Iranian military presence will give a new reason for the US to launch a missile strike. The legal ground for the attack is ready – Washington has recently added the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) to the list of terrorist organizations.

Assad chose Iranians Russian?

Another risk for Russia is associated with Bashar Asad. Some experts believe that the Syrian president may withdraw from the influence of Russia by moving closer to Iran. The argument is that in the confrontation with Israel, the Russian S-300 is silent, but the Iranian air defenses will certainly protect Syria from Israeli air raids.

Asad smoothly comes out from under the influence of Moscow, no longer as often as before, he confers with Russian President Vladimir Putin and does not ask for military assistance. This is normal for the Middle East. Many liberal experts believe that the Iranian influence in Syria is dangerous for Moscow and spoils its relations with the “partners” in Tel Aviv. However, the liberals ignore the fact that Russia, unlike Iran, has a wider circle of partners in the region and can communicate directly with both Tehran and its opponents in Tel Aviv and Riyadh. Assad is interested in de-isolation in the Arab world, and Iran cannot provide it – unlike Russia. This feature, along with the superiority of the VKS in the Syrian sky, makes Moscow an indispensable ally of Damascus.

Why Russia should not give up on Iran

The above risks of war may be somewhat exaggerated, but still exist. But do they mean that Russia needs to stop Iran from consolidating on the eastern shore of the Mediterranean? No.

First, by limiting Iran, Russia automatically strengthens the United States and Israel. That is, those who are trying to dismember Syria. Israel captured the Golan Heights in 1967 and is not going to return them. The United States supports the Kurdish militia and with their hands they create an independent Kurdistan beyond the Euphrates. Unlike the Americans and Israelis, Iran, together with Russia, is engaged in restoring the unity of Syria and fighting against terrorists.

Secondly, Iran is a potentially important economic partner of Russia. It is already involved in the North-South project, connecting Moscow through Baku and Tehran with the Indian Ocean. In addition, Iran can give Russia direct access to the Mediterranean Sea. Tehran pulls the railroad to Latakia through Iraq and Syria. To complete this project interrupted by the Syrian war, it is necessary to complete a couple of kilometers of roads in Iraq and 3% of the canvas in Syria. Russia and Iran have maritime traffic across the Caspian Sea. Therefore, nothing prevents Moscow from joining this transport corridor.

The Iranian military base in Lattakia increases the risk of Israeli and US aggression in the region. But quarreling in this situation with Tehran for the sake of the USA and Israel will cost Russia much more.

 

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Imam Khamenei Receives Pakistan’s PM: Terror Groups Seek to ‘Contaminate’ Bilateral Ties

By Staff, Agencies

Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said terrorist groups backed by enemies of Iran and Pakistan seek to cause tension in the two countries’ relations, adding that mutual relations must be bolstered in spite of the enemies’ will.

Imam Khamenei made the remarks in a Monday meeting with the visiting Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan and his accompanying delegation in Tehran.

“Terrorist groups, which sow insecurity along borders, are fed with the enemies’ money and weapons and one of the goals sought through anti-security measures along Iran’s border with Pakistan is to contaminate the two countries’ relations,” Imam Khamenei noted.

His Eminence further emphasized that good relations between Tehran and Islamabad are beneficial to both sides, “but these relations have serious enemies, which despite their will, cooperation and contacts [between Iran and Pakistan] must be strengthening in various sectors.”

Explaining about the historical backdrop of the two countries’ relations, Imam Khamenei noted that the Indian subcontinent reached the acme of its progress and dignity under the rule of Muslims.

“The biggest blow dealt to this important region by the British colonialists was to annihilate the prominent Islamic civilization that existed there,” Imam Khamenei stated.

During the meeting, which was attended by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Khan explained about his negotiations in Tehran, saying, “Many problems were solved through these negotiations and Pakistani ministers held good talks with their Iranian counterparts.”

The Pakistani PM stated that there are certain hands at work to prevent Tehran and Islamabad from getting close, adding, “We try to make relations between the two countries stronger than before and we will maintain continuous contacts with the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

Confirming Imam Khamenei’s remarks on India, Khan said the British colonialists plundered all the wealth of India, destroyed its education system and made India the crown jewel of their colonial rule.

Earlier in the day, Khan held talks and attended a joint press conference with the Iranian President.

Speaking after talks with Khan, Rouhani announced that Iran and Pakistan agreed to form a joint force to eliminate terrorist groups.

Rouhani: Iran, Pakistan to Form Joint Anti-Terror Force

By Staff, Press TV

Iran and Pakistan have agreed to form a joint force to eliminate terrorist groups as Prime Minister Imran Khan began his first visit to Tehran with a pledge not to join any coalition against the Islamic Republic. 

Rouhani announced the agreement on Monday after talks with Prime Minister Khan whose first visit to Tehran is hoped to start a new chapter in historic relations between the neighbors.

“We agreed to step up security cooperation between the two countries and their respective border security and intelligence forces while also forming a joint rapid reaction force on the shared borders to fight terrorism,” Rouhani said after a closed-door meeting with Khan.

The sensitive issue of border security was expected to dominate the conversation between Iranian and Pakistani officials.

Ahead of Khan’s visit, families of several Iranian border guards killed by terror groups wrote to the Pakistani leader and asked him to take swift action against groups freely crossing into Iran from Pakistan.

Iran had in the past urged Pakistan to address the issue, even offering to launch a joint military and intelligence operation to locate and eliminate terrorists in Pakistani territories.

In their latest attack, Pakistan-based terrorists martyred over 40 members of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps [IRGC] by ramming an explosive-laden car to their bus in southeastern Iran in February.

“Unfortunately, over the past few months we had witnessed some tensions caused by some terrorists who acted savagely,” Rouhani said at a joint news conference in PM Khan on Monday.

“We are glad that the Pakistani side now recognizes groups with such inhumane conduct as terrorist and treats them as such.”

Rouhani said his meeting with Prime Minister Khan marked a new milestone in mutual ties, adding Iran and Pakistan would continue to maintain their close ties despite outside pressures.

“Both sides agree that no third country whatsoever can affect the friendly and brotherly ties that exist between Iran and Pakistan,” he said, adding that Khan had officially invited him for a visit to Islamabad.

According to Rouhani, they also agreed on the need for both sides to expand joint efforts to bring peace to Afghanistan.

Other security issues discussed in the meeting included US President Donald Trump’s recent designation of the IRGC as a terrorist organization and his recognition of Syria’s occupied Golan Heights as “sraeli” territory, Rouhani noted.

Addressing reports about Saudi and US pressure on Islamabad to join an Arab-“Israeli” front against Iran in the region, Rouhani said PM Khan assured him that Pakistan “has never joined and will never join any coalition.”

Rouhani said Iran was ready to supply oil and gas to Pakistan and increase electricity exports to the country by ten-fold the current level.

He also said Tehran was interested in expanding trade between Iran’s Chabahar and Pakistan’s Gawader ports by connecting them with a railway.

The president noted that Iran, Turkey and Pakistan as co-founders of the Economic Cooperation Organization [ECO] could increase economic cooperation by connecting their railway systems. This, he said, would open a corridor from Europe to China.

Earlier in the day, Rouhani extended a formal welcome to Khan, whose historic visit to Tehran has been viewed as a major step towards opening a new era in relations between the two neighbors.

Khan and his high-profile delegation touched down in Tehran on Sunday night after a brief stop in the northeastern city of Mashhad, where the premier paid a visit to the holy shrine of Imam Reza (AS).

Rouhani led the welcome ceremony for Khan at the at Sa’adabad Complex, which was also attended by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, Minister of Road and Industry Mohammad Eslami and a few other high-ranking members of the cabinet.

Khan is expected to meet later with Leader of Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei.

 

Iran Remains Afloat: Sanctions will only Make Iran Stronger

Nour Rida-Iran

Since August 2018, US President Donald Trump has been vowing that the ‘harshest’ sanctions to be imposed on Iran will cripple its economy, reiterating that the target is not its people but rather bringing ‘change’ in the attitude of the Iranian government. More than 80 million ordinary citizens have been feeling the pinch as the rial tumbled and keeps fluctuating. Food prices, house rents, car prices soared all of a sudden and vital imported medicines and medical equipment began to run out.

Following the first round of sanctions imposed in August 2018, another round was imposed two months later in November. Recently too, the IRGC was also listed on the terror list and the American regime vowed to impose more sanctions. The US media hype makes the sanctions sound big, but what many people do not know is that many of the sanctions are not new and had already been in effect.

When Trump announced the US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal in May 2018, he had the nerve to say he was doing it for the Iranian people. US secretary of state Mike Pompeo also defended the re-imposition of sanctions on Iran, saying the new tough controls on oil, shipping and banking are not intended to harm the people.

All the assertions that renewed sanctions will not hurt ordinary Iranians are questioned. The sanctions have a direct impact on their daily lives. Medical groups have warned that the penalties will lead to severe shortages of essential medicines, endangering thousands of lives.

A medic at Shariati hospital, one of Tehran University hospitals told alahed news that “sanctions cause trouble in hospitals and in the health sector, with lack of instruments and some medicines.”

Dr. Vahid said that these sanctions lead to the death of some patients who cannot access treatment due to lack of essential medicines.

University students of higher education are also sarcastically affected by Trump’s policies that do not aim at targeting the people.

The faculty of Literature and Human Sciences at the prestigious Tehran University was coordinating with Arizona University to have a live-stream of the Second North American Conference in Iranian Linguistics (NACIL2), which took place April 19-21, 2019. Registration doors were open for academics and students in Iran to be part of scientific research and discussion.

A few days later following registration, the registrants received an email saying that the live-streaming on campus was canceled due to sanctions.

Simin Karimi, professor in the department of Linguistics at Arizona University wrote on her social media outlet “The cancelation of the live-streaming hit me greatly. I locked myself in my office for hours, crying like a baby, feeling totally hopeless and helpless. Why? It was so important for me to connect to our fellow linguists in Iran, to make it possible for the young generation of the Iranian linguists to be able to present their work, get feedback, hear about the research of their fellow linguists around the world, and benefit from this highly academic interaction. I thought this was a victory of technology beating politics”

She went on to say “This poster was circulated through the emails of participants with the words “cancelled” and “sanctions” on them, informing the participants of the cancellation of the live-streaming and asking them to provide their bank account numbers so that they get a refund for their registration fees.”

So the “devastating” impact of sanctions amounts to “collective punishment” of Iranian citizens for choosing to be different. However, what Trump and his friends at the White House do not understand is that Iran is a country of vast resources. Even when sanctions brought a drastic decline in exports — as was the case in the years leading up to the nuclear deal — the country managed to remain afloat. There’s little indication that things will be different this time.

Also, depriving Iranians from attending online conferences will not prevent them from carrying on with their scientific research. A Master’s student at the Tehran University who had registered to attend the conference said it was sad news that such is the case and that the live-streaming was canceled. Preferring to speak anonymously, he said that “In 2010 alone, reports said that scientific output has grown 11 times faster in Iran than the world average, which means it was faster than any other country. These sanctions cannot stop us from doing things and cannot break our will. Trump will have to understand this: sanctions, difficulties, and hardships will only make us stronger.”

Of course, these are only two simple examples of how Trump and his administrarion have been trying to crush the Iranian people. Oh and of course there is no media coverage of these stories or other stories, it is just not in the favor of Washington to have them covered by the media. Inside Iran, Trump has succeeded in making people hate him more and more for his viciousness. On the international arena, Trump also caused himself enough trouble that he is not the elephant in the room anymore.

President Rouhani said that his country would “proudly break” the re-imposed sanctions and that Iran was engaged in “an economic war” with the United States.

Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammed Javad Zarif said the sanctions reinforced what he called the growing isolation of the United States.

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