Schizophrenic Erdogan Condemns Himself in a Summit with Putin and Rouhani

Source

July 1, 2020 Arabi Souri

Russian Putin Iranian Rouhani Turkish Erdogan - Video conference on Syria

The joint statement issued after the video conference meeting between the Russian President Mr. Putin, the Iranian President Mr. Rouhani, and the head of the Turkish regime the madman Erodgan today 01 July 2020 stated:


The Presidents:
Rejected all attempts to create new realities on the ground under the pretext of combating terrorism, including illegitimate self-rule initiatives, and expressed their determination to stand against separatist agendas aimed at undermining the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria as well as threatening the national security of neighboring countries.”

Does Erdogan understand that ‘rejecting all attempts to create new realities on the ground’ includes the Turkification of the lands under the Turkish illegal occupation northwest and northeast of Syria?

Did Erdogan read the statement? Does he understand the meaning of ‘standing against separatist agendas aimed to undermine the sovereignty and territorial integrity of Syria’, that it includes illegal incursion into Syria’s territories by his military and his terrorists?

The joint statement adds:

“Expressed their opposition to the illegal seizure and transfer of oil revenues that should belong to the Syrian Arab Republic.”

That this also includes the oil seized and stolen by the Turkish-backed FSA (and all the terrorist organizations under its banner including ISIS and Nusra Front and others)?

“Reaffirmed the determination to continue cooperation in order to ultimately eliminate DAESH/ISIL, Al-Nusra Front and all other individuals, groups, undertakings, and entities associated with Al-Qaeda or DAESH/ISIL, and other terrorist groups, as designated by the UN Security Council, while ensuring the protection of the civilians and civilian infrastructure in accordance with the international humanitarian law.”

All of these entities named in this paragraph are sponsored directly by the Turkish regime, they receive all their logistic support and all the protection they need from Turkey and the al-Qaeda terrorists were even embedded with the Turkish Army TSK in their attacks against the Syrian Arab Army on Syrian soil…!

Erdogan stealing Syrian Wheat - Burning Syrian Wheat Fields
Erdogan stealing Syrian Wheat – Burning Syrian Wheat Fields – Cartoon by @Natali_AlA

The statement adds that The Presidents:

“Reviewed in detail the situation in the Idlib de-escalation area and underscored the necessity to maintain calm on the ground by fully implementing all agreements on Idlib.

Expressed grave concern at the humanitarian situation in Syria and the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Rejected all unilateral sanctions which are in contravention of international law, international humanitarian law, and the UN Charter, particularly in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Emphasized, in this regard, the critical need to ensure rapid, safe and unhindered humanitarian access throughout Syria in order to alleviate the suffering of the Syrian people, and, called upon the international community, particularly the UN and its humanitarian agencies, to increase their assistance to all Syrians without discrimination, politicization, and preconditions.”

A safe and unhindered humanitarian access means not controlled or targeted by al-Qaeda, Nusra Front, Grey Wolves, Muslim Brotherhood fanatics, Turkestan Islamist Party, and all other FSA groups sponsored by Turkey. The UN and its humanitarian agencies do not include as well the Nusra Front’s ‘first responders’ aka the White Helmets.

“Reaffirmed their conviction that there could be no military solution to the Syrian conflict and that it could only be resolved through the Syrian-led and Syrian-owned, UN-facilitated political process in line with the UN Security Council Resolution 2254. Emphasized in this regard the important role of the Constitutional Committee in Geneva, created as a result of the decisive contribution of the Astana guarantors and the implementation of the decisions of the Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi. Welcomed the agreement to hold the third meeting of the Constitutional Committee in August 2020 and reaffirmed the readiness to support its work through continuous interaction with its members and the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy for Syria Geir O. Pedersen, as facilitator, in order to ensure its sustainable and effective work.”

The statement clearly says: ‘Syrian-led and Syrian-owned political process,’ which means without Turkish interference to influence or insert members of the Turkish regime and on its payroll.

“Highlighted the need to facilitate safe and voluntary return of refugees and internally displaced persons (IDPs) to their original places of residence in Syria, ensuring their right to return and right to be supported.”

This literally means not to use the refugees to threaten Europe with, or to push them into despair and have them join Erdogan’s military and terrorist adventures in Libya, Yemen, and Qatar, and elsewhere as well.

“Reaffirmed the necessity to respect universally recognized international legal decisions, including those provisions of the relevant UN resolutions rejecting the occupation of Syrian Golan, first and foremost UN Security Council Resolution 497 and thus condemned the decision of the US Administration on the occupied Syrian Golan, which constitutes a grave violation of international law and threatens regional peace and security. They consider Israeli military attacks in Syria as destabilizing and violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity of this country and intensifying the tension in the region.”

Condemning the US decision on the occupied Syrian Golan means bringing up the topic with both the Israelis and Donald Trump’s regime of war and terror, not to be part of the ‘Greater Israel Project‘ as tasked by George W. Bush and continue to do so many years later until this very day.

And considering Israeli military attacks in Syria as violating the sovereignty and territorial integrity also means not to allow the Israelis safe passage to bomb Syrian facilities in Aleppo from the north!

I’m speechless, the Turkish Madman Erdogan is known to be opportunistic, a backstabber, and a hypocrite, but his ability of acting and appearing like a decent human being is really astonishing, well, unless there are two different Erdogans with totally opposite manners?!

Video report:

Hearing is Not Like Seeing: NATO’s Terrorists Burning Syrian Wheat Crops – Video

Strategic Oil Pipeline Project Launched in Iran

Source

Strategic Oil Pipeline Project Launched in Iran

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Thursday launched a major oil pipeline project which enables the country to export its oil without relying on the Strait of Hormuz.

“What is strategic about this project is that many countries in the region have managed to find a second way so that they can export their oil using other routes whenever the Strait of Hormuz faces danger,” Rouhani said while inaugurating the project.

With the launch of the 1,000-kilometer pipeline from Goreh to Jask, the country’s oil exports will no longer be linked to the Hormuz Strait and will not be stopped even if the international maritime passage was to be closed one day, he added.

The Strait of Hormuz is the world’s most important chokepoint for oil, where almost a fifth of the world’s crude or about 20 million barrels per day [bpd] passes through to markets in Asia, Europe, North America and beyond.

Shipping through the narrow strait, with the lane just three kilometers wide in either direction at its narrowest point, has become fraught since the US began building its military presence in the Persian Gulf.

The pipeline will bring oil from Goreh in Bushehr to Jask, making it strategically important as the country’s second-largest crude oil export terminal.

The Kharg Island terminal deep in the Gulf is currently Iran’s key outlet, accounting for 90 percent of its oil exports. To reach Kharg, tankers must pass the Strait of Hormuz.

Rouhani said that Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei had told him that the project was “the most strategic work” his administration had undertaken.

The new terminal is close to Chabahar which Iran is developing in cooperation with other countries, most notably India.

Chabahar is about to become a key link in the International North South Transport Corridor [INSTC], a multi-modal network of ship, rail and road routes to move freight between India, Iran, Afghanistan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Russia, Central Asia and Europe.

It offers a key trade and transport corridor that presents a cheaper and shorter alternative to the traditional route through the Suez Canal.

The terminal would be connected to Iran’s Caspian Sea port of Neka, enabling Tehran to boost shipments of oil from Caspian producers.

Cuban President: Iranian Tankers Break ‘Criminal’ US Blockade on Venezuela

Cuban President: Iranian Tankers Break ‘Criminal’ US Blockade on Venezuela

By Staff, Agencies

Cuban President Miguel Diaz-Canel said that the Iranian oil tankers’ arrival in Venezuela broke the US “unacceptable and criminal” blockade against the country.

The official Cuban news agency Prensa Latina quoted Diaz-Canel as making the remarks on Monday.

Earlier, Venezuelan President Nicolás Maduro thanked Iranian support, stressing that Caracas and Tehran are both after peace, and have right to do free trade.

Iran’s second oil tanker, Forest, arrived in Venezuela amid the US threats.

Forest entered the Exclusive Economic Zone [EEZ] of Venezuela early Sunday, met by the country’s navy.

It follows the first of five Iranian vessels carrying an estimated total of 1.53 barrels of gasoline between them, Sputnik reported.

The first vessel, ‘Fortune’, successfully reached Venezuela the day before and was escorted into the port by the Bolivarian Navy.

Three more oil tankers are expected to arrive in Venezuela from Iran. The five vessels are carrying an estimated 1.53 million barrels of gasoline between them.

Iran has warned of repercussions from the potential interception of Iranian tankers by the US.

On Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said the country is always entitled to defend its sovereignty and territorial integrity, and warned that if his country’s oil tankers in the Caribbean or anywhere in the world get into trouble by the Americans, Tehran will definitely retaliate.

Rouhani to US: Our Waterway Is Not ‘New York or Washington’ Gulf

Rouhani to US: Our Waterway Is Not ‘New York or Washington’ Gulf

By Staff, Agencies

In light of Washington’s incessant acts of military adventurism in the Gulf region, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has once again reminded the United States to whom the waterway truly belongs.

“The Americans should know that this waterway is called ‘the Persian Gulf.’ It is not called ‘the New York Gulf’ or ‘the Washington Gulf,’” Rouhani told a cabinet session in Tehran on Wednesday, in remarks on the occasion of the National Persian Gulf Day.

“They should understand the circumstances [surrounding the body of water] by taking into consideration both its name and the nation that has preserved it for thousands of years, and, therefore, stop hatching plots against the Iranian nation every day,” Rouhani stated.

The Americans, he added, can clearly witness how the Iranian nation has been and continues to be successful in all areas, including providing security for the maritime area.

The Iranian Armed Forces, including the naval forces serving either the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC] or the Army, as well as the forces enlisted with Iran’s Law Enforcement Force and volunteer Basij force have invariably guaranteed the security of the waterways and its coastline, Rouhani explained.

Earlier, US President Donald Trump alleged in a recent tweet that he had ordered the US Navy to “shoot down and destroy” Iranian gunboats that “harass” American ships, following a recent confrontation between US warships and Iranian military boats in the waters.

The IRGC denounced the American vessels for their “unprofessional and perilous” behavior in the waterway, and said they had “caused trouble” for one of the elite force’s logistics ships that was on a routine patrol.

إيران تنصح الأميركيّين بالتفكير بتداعيات أيّ عمليات استفزازيّة.. وترامب يحذّر! روحانيّ: أميركا أضاعت فرصة رفع العقوبات عن إيران

البناء

قال الرئيس الإيراني حسن روحاني أمس، إن «الولايات المتحدة أضاعت فرصة تاريخية لرفع العقوبات عن بلاده أثناء أزمة تفشي فيروس كورونا»، لكنه، أكد أن «العقوبات لم تعرقل مكافحة طهران للعدوى».

وأثار وزير الخارجية الأميركي مايك بومبيو أول أمس، احتمال أن تدرس واشنطن تخفيف العقوبات المفروضة على طهران وبلدان أخرى للمساعدة في مكافحة فيروس كورونا، لكنه لم يعطِ أي مؤشر ملموس على كونها تخطط لذلك.

وقال روحاني في اجتماع مع الحكومة بثّه التلفزيون «أضاعت الولايات المتحدة أفضل فرصة لرفع العقوبات، كانت فرصة كبيرة لكي يعتذر الأميركيون… وليرفعوا العقوبات الظالمة الجائرة عن إيران».

وتسبب فيروس كورونا في وفاة 3036 شخصاً وإصابة 47593 في إيران مما يعني أنها البلد الأكثر تضرراً في الشرق الأوسط وهو ما دفع الصين والأمم المتحدة لحث الولايات المتحدة على تخفيف العقوبات.

وقال روحاني «كان يمكن للأميركيين استغلال هذه الفرصة وإبلاغ الشعب الإيراني أنهم ليسوا ضده. عداؤهم (للإيرانيين) واضح».

وزاد الخلاف بين طهران وواشنطن منذ 2018 بعدما سحب الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب بلده من الاتفاق النووي الذي أبرمته طهران مع ست قوى عالمية في 2015 وأعاد فرض عقوبات كبلت الاقتصاد الإيراني.

وعرضت واشنطن تقديم مساعدات إنسانية لطهران، لكن الزعيم الأعلى الإيراني آية الله علي خامنئي رفض هذا العرض.

وعلى الرغم من أن السلطات الإيرانية ذكرت أن العقوبات الأميركية عرقلت جهودها لاحتواء تفشي الفيروس فإن روحاني قال «العقوبات لم تعرقل جهودنا لمكافحة تفشي فيروس كورونا».

وأضاف «لدينا اكتفاء ذاتي تقريباً في إنتاج كافة المعدّات الضرورية لمكافحة كورونا. كنا أكثر نجاحاً بكثير من العديد من البلدان في مكافحة هذا المرض».

وأرسلت بلدان عدة منها الإمارات والصين وبريطانيا وفرنسا وقطر وتركيا شحنات من الإمدادات الطبية إلى إيران تشمل قفازات وكمامات طبية.

وقالت ألمانيا أول أمس، إنها «قامت مع فرنسا وبريطانيا بإرسال إمدادات طبية إلى إيران في أول معاملات بموجب آلية تجارية تأسست لمقايضة السلع الإنسانية والغذائية بعد انسحاب واشنطن من الاتفاق النووي».

من جهة أخرى، حذر الرئيس الأميركي دونالد ترامب أمس، إيران و»وكلاءها» من «الهجوم على القوات أو الأصول الأميركية في العراق»، مشيراً إلى «احتمال شن هجوم خاطف لكنه لم يقدّم تفاصيل».

وكتب ترامب على تويتر «استناداً إلى قناعة ومعلومات، تخطط إيران أو وكلاؤها لهجوم خاطف على القوات الأميركية أو الأصول الأميركية في العراق. في الحقيقة ستدفع إيران ثمناً باهظاً للغاية إذا حدث هذا».

بدوره، دعا يحيى رحيم صفوي المستشار العسكري للمرشد الإيراني علي خامنئي الولايات المتحدة إلى «التفكير بعواقب أي عمليات استفزازية قبل تنفيذها في العراق».

وقال صفوي: «على الولايات المتحدة أن تتقبّل تواجدها غير القانوني في العراق واحتلالها أراضيه، ودفاع العراق عن نفسه أمام المغامرات الأميركية لا يمكن تجنبه».

وأضاف: «انتهاك السيادة العراقية لن يكون لصالح الجيش الأميركي والإدارة الأميركية ولا يمكن للمنطقة تحمل أزمة جديدة».

وشدد صفوي، على «ضرورة أن تفكر الإدارة الأميركية ملياً بـالنتائج قبل اتخاذ أي قرار مستفز في العراق».

وقال: «يمكن تفسير التحركات العسكرية في القواعد الأميركية على أنها إعادة تنظيم للصفوف والتقليل من أي خسائر، لكننا لا نستبعد أن تقوم بإثارة التوتر نظراً لاستمرار تمركزها الاحتلالي في العراق».

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

March 23, 2020

ROUHANI

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Related News

Source: Iranian Agencies

Turkish drone strikes kill over two dozen Syrian soldiers in Idlib: Monitor

Sunday, 01 March 2020 2:51 AM  [ Last Update: Thursday, 01 March 2012 2:57 AM ]

A picture taken during a guided tour organised by the Syrian army shows government orces in the area of al-Lirmoun, north of Aleppo, on February 17, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

Turkish drone strikes have reportedly killed 26 Syrian soldiers in northwestern Syria, in an apparent response to the deaths of 33 Turkish soldiers who were killed on Thursday during a Syrian army offensive against terrorists in Idlib.

“Twenty-six members of the Syrian army were killed when Turkish drones targeted positions of the Syrian government forces in the Idlib and Aleppo countryside,” the London-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights (SOHR) said on Saturday.

The apparent retaliation came after 33 Turkish soldiers were killed in an airstrike by Syrian forces on Thursday. A 34th soldier later died from his injuries.

Earlier on Saturday, Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan had threatened reprisals for the killing of dozens of Turkish troops in Syria on Thursday.

With diplomacy sponsored by Ankara and Moscow to ease tensions in tatters, Turkey has come closer than ever to confrontation with Russia on the battlefield in Syria.

Ankara urges Moscow to step aside

The Turkish president says he has asked President Vladimir Putin for Russia to stand aside in Syria and let Turkey fight Syrian forces alone.

Speaking in Istanbul, Erdogan said he had told Putin in a phone call to stand aside and let Turkey “do what is necessary” with the Syrian government. He said Turkey did not intend to leave Syria right now.Russia cites Syria agreement but Erdogan sounds belligerentRussia says it has agreed with Turkey to ease tensions in Syria

Meanwhile, the Syrian government forces, backed by Russian air power, have kept up air strikes in Idlib, attacking the strategic city of Saraqeb which sits on an important road connecting Damascus and Aleppo, the Syrian Observatory war monitor reported.

The Syrian army’s air strikes are part of a major offensive to cleanse the province, part of the last remaining territory held by Turkey-backed terrorists.

Macron calls for ceasefire, urges Turkey to stop flow of migrants

French President Emmanuel Macron urged his Russian and Turkish counterparts on Saturday to halt hostilities in Syria and agree to a lasting ceasefire, his office said.

Macron told the Russian and Turkish leaders in separate phone calls that he was “deeply concerned about the unfolding humanitarian catastrophe” caused by the Syrian offensive in the province of Idlib.

“The President of the Republic stressed that an immediate cease to hostilities was needed and called on Russia and Turkey to establish a durable and verifiable ceasefire as they committed to France and Germany at the four-way summit in Istanbul in the autumn 2018,” his office said in a statement.

Macron also expressed solidarity with Turkey over the recent deaths of its soldiers in Syria, and urged Turkey to cooperate with the European Union on migrant flows.

The remarks came after Erdogan threatened to let thousands of refugees cross into Europe.

Around 13,000 migrants have gathered along the Turkish-Greek border, the International Organization for Migration (IOM) said as several thousand migrants were in skirmishes with Greek police firing tear gas across the frontier.

“What did we do yesterday? We opened the doors,” Erdogan said in Istanbul.

“We will not close those doors…. Why? Because the European Union should keep its promises.”

He was referring to a 2016 deal with the European Union to stop refugee flows in exchange for billions of euros in aid. Turkey already hosts 3.6 million Syrian refugees.


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

www.presstv.ir

www.presstv.co.uk

www.presstv.tv

Iran Developing Coronavirus Drug, Health Ministry Vows Surprising Response

By Staff, Agencies

An Iranian medical official stated that the development of a drug and vaccine for the treatment of the novel coronavirus is underway in the country, as Iran’s Health Ministry vowed that the country’s response to the epidemic will surprise the world.

Alireza Jalali, the head of Baqiyatallah University of Medical Sciences, said the “scientific committees of Baqiyatallah University have been activated since last week in order to develop a definitive drug for the novel coronavirus.”

“During the past week, three new projects were launched for production of vaccine and definitive drug for coronavirus. We expect the projects to yield serious results,” he noted.

The first project, Jalali added, is aimed at producing a genetics-based drug for the new coronavirus, Covid-19. The Health Ministry and the research department of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps [IRGC] are working on this project, which is expected to yield results in three to six months.

The second project, development of vaccine, will successfully finish in three to five months, and the third project will focus on development of a herbal medicine for Covid-19 patients, he added.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour announced on Friday that coronavirus testing kits developed by Iranian experts at the Defense Ministry will receive final approvals in coming days, and will be mass-produced and supplied to laboratories across the country.

Earlier, Iran’s Health Minister Saeid Namaki vowed that the country would surprise the world with its dealing with the coronavirus that has claimed more than two dozen lives since its breakout in the country last week.

Related News

Iran Votes: Rouhani Urges Attending February 11 Rallies As another Strike on Enemies

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described the presence of the people on the stage of the country’s upcoming elections as a key to victory, saying “the key to resolving our society’s problems and resisting hostilities is unity and trust and confidence between the establishment and the people.”

Speaking on Wednesday at a cabinet session, Rouhani said, “Today, we need to stand together on February 11 more than ever and tell our enemies that we have stood by our revolution for 41 years and that we will be in the path of the revolution, Imam [Khomeini] and Iranian Leader until the end of our life.”

We are glad that our great nation is preparing again for the great, glorious celebration of the victory of the Islamic Revolution, which will be celebrated after 41 years of effort, self-sacrifice, and devotion that this nation had made for the aspirations of the Revolution.

The climax of our Islamic Movement was since the beginning of the year 1962 when our dear people stepped on the stage, Rouhani added.

He further stressed that any day that people came to the stage, that day was the climax of the Revolution and weakening dictatorship and defeating the ill willing against the Iranian people.

People’s presence is a big social capital, Rouhani stated. “That is, the day when the people took to the streets with the 100% trust they had on the leaders of the Islamic Movement and especially our dear Imam [Khomeini] and stood up to the then regime that was armed to the teeth and achieved victory, Imam relied on people.

He did not let any division happen between people and the armed forces of that regime, but with the attraction he had, he attracted all of the other side’s forces and –except a few specific ones- he forgave them.

If it were not for Imam Khomeini’s moderation and attraction, radical groups and hardliners would have torn the country and people apart, Rouhani stressed.

Iran keeps openly blaming itself, yet there is a Ukraine Air cover-up?

Source

Monday, 13 January 2020 3:40 PM  [ Last Update: Monday, 13 January 2020 4:16 PM ]

Iranian mourners gather around a vehicle carrying the coffin of slain top general Qasem Soleimani during the final stage of funeral processions, in his hometown Kerman on January 7, 2020. (Photo by AFP)

By Ramin Mazaheri

Many people have been quite shocked by Iran’s response to the tragic, mistaken downing of a Ukraine International Airlines flight.

Iran’s President Rouhani said, “I will never apologize for Iran – I don’t care what the facts are.” Tehran plans to never apologize, admit wrongdoing nor to accept responsibility.

All of the Iranian soldiers involved were awarded Combat Action Ribbons, the air-warfare coordinator received a Commendation Medal and the commanding officer was awarded the Legion of Merit for “exceptionally meritorious conduct.”

No one in the Iranian armed forces will ever be punished.

Many believe Iran shot down the plane purposely in order to instigate war.

No intention to cover up cause of Ukrainian plane crash: Shamkhani
The secretary of Iran

Obviously, all four of these paragraphs are totally false… but only when applied to Iran and not the US. The shocking belligerence, shamelessness and inhumanity I just recounted was the very real response from Washington after they shot down civilian Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, killing 290 people. Anyone who has been following the recent tragic events is aware that Iran’s official response has been the complete opposite of how Washington handled a very similar tragedy.

But firstly: I find it incredible that some accuse Iran of a cover-up?

While, of course, the Western Mainstream Media will commit any lying exaggeration to further their billionaire masters’ instructions to topple Iran’s popular revolution, I lay the blame primarily at the unreasonable demands modern society puts on government servants via the 24/7 news cycle.

Iran admitted it was their missile which felled the airplane just three days afterwards, and – crucially – in conjunction with prepared apologies, self-recriminations and promises of punishing the negligent and/or fatally erroneous.

Iran’s reaction to Trump’s tweet: Don’t dishonor our language Iran has called President Donald Trump

However, three days was too long for some. I really wonder at the naiveté of such, often well-meaning, people.

Is no delay acceptable? No verifications needed at all?

In such a situation doesn’t everyone know there is a protocol to be followed? We are talking about the armed forces – does not everyone understand (as every nation has an army) that they have a chain of command, rules and a bureaucratic hierarchy which must be followed? The more important something is – especially for a horrific admission such as this – the longer the verification process necessarily takes. If the soldier who had pressed the “fire” button had rushed out of the base and declared to all who would listen, “It was my fault!”, he would be treated as a dangerous madman in any nation. However, it is as if some people expected this type of an instantaneous confirmation in the Ukraine Airlines tragedy?

I suggest such impatience – from those who want to get it “now” instead of getting it “right” – has been fostered by a 24/7 news cycle which does not want to hear about the need for interviewing those involved, testing and calibrating equipment, reviewing all the data, etc. Three days… well, I just find it hard to believe that anyone would find that unacceptable? Some people – due to their quite understandable grief over this tragedy – are being unreasonable, but many Western media and politicians do not have such sincere motivations for such a complaint.

A verification process like I have described would have been an acceptable delay – at least to me – under normal circumstances. Here, of course, the Western Mainstream Media is doing all they can to sweep under the rug the fact that Iran was in a state of high military alert provoked entirely by the recent assassination of Iran’s top general, a top Iraqi general and retaliatory missile strikes which had been fired by Iran just hours before the plane’s downing.

Iran’s retaliation for the appalling assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani was nowhere near as severe as US aggression merited. Washington tapped CNN to produce a propaganda report entirely designed to give the impression that the missile attack was not significant, but the point was not proportional revenge: the Leader of the Iranian Islamic Revolution Seyyed Ali Khamenei said it was merely to give a “slap in the face”. Therefore, nobody can say that Iran overreacted. However, the assassination proves to many in Iran that Washington is hell-bent on fomenting war with Iran. “High alert” is no exaggeration of the tensions at the time of the take-off of the Ukrainian airliner.

US troops knew Al-Asad air base would be attacked and sheltered in bunkers, exclusive tour reveals United States troops at the Al-Asad air base in Iraq were aware that an Iranian attack was imminent, allowing them to take shelter two-and-a-half-hours before missiles struck on Wednesday, CNN has been told during an exclusive tour of the devastated site.

Therefore, it is incredible that Iran is somehow being portrayed as being wholly responsible for the tragedy of the Ukraine plane downing? The bulk of the condemnation for the tragedy must obviously be aimed at Washington for creating this atmosphere which produced the tragedy, if anyone truly cares about justice.

Unfortunately, I am reminded of the old saying: “Everybody talks about peace, nobody talks about justice.” The incident is being used as the latest plank in the 40-year Iranophobia campaign, sadly.

Is the alleged ‘cover-up’ occurring in between the public lamentations and self-criticisms?

Soleimani’s assassination may trigger end of US military presence in Iraq: Paper General Soleimani’s assassination may trigger the ultimate objective of ending the US military presence in Iraq, a British paper says.

 The Ukrainian airliner downing shattered the peace of many families, but what we can say with total certainty today is that nobody in Iran wanted the destruction of a civilian airliner.

It was US President George Bush who famously refused to apologize, not Rouhani, but there are too many obviously sincere apologies from every level of Iran’s government. What cover-up? The commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards testified to Parliament, “I swear to almighty God that I wished I were in that plane and had crashed with them….” Two days earlier the chief aerospace commander told a press conference, “I wish I was dead and such an incident hadn’t happened….”

Where is the defiance, deflection and distraction of this alleged “cover-up”?

Trump warns US has 52 Iranian targets to hit if Iran launches attacks Trump posts tweets warning that US would respond to Iranian retaliation for general’s assassination.

There is obviously – at all levels of the Iranian government and military – sadness, regret and complete acceptance of responsibility. I feel sorry for those Iranian soldiers involved because they express such feelings of culpability – if you feel sorry for George Bush, or the soldiers he decorated, I don’t know what basis you have for such feelings because they were never uttered?

The 1988 IranAir flight was downed in the final month of the Iran-Iraq War. The US shot down the Iranian plane as an expression of their frustration that their proxy war with their ally-dictator-mass murderer Saddam Hussein had failed. It was a message that Washington would still act with murderous impunity, and that their war was not finished – they have stayed true to this murderous posture all these decades hence. Compare that with the situation in 2020.

Despite the illegal, inhuman slaying of Soleimani Iran is not about to be baited into war, which was Washington’s true intention. Tehran is not going to put all of Iran – and the region – at risk over the decision of an idiot/assassin, who is trying to distract from his impeachment trial (as well as from the indictment trial of his ally in Tel Aviv) and who may be back on reality television in 11 months.

Zarif: Iran missile strikes legitimate self-defense against US terrorism Foreign Minister Zarif says Iran’s retaliatory missile attack on American bases in Iraq was an act of “legitimate self-defense” against “legitimate targets” in response to US terrorist act.

The Ukraine Airlines flight was – unlike for Washington in 1988 – undoubtedly not a provocation, nor an incitement to continued conflict, assassination and war.

This is the reality which the West cannot see, as they are blinded by Islamophobia and Iranophobia: the Iranian government showed the humane response which one would expect of a truly progressive government, which they are. They did not respond with belligerence, defiance and a Washington-style cover-up. But the Iranian government gets no credit in the West ever – it’s their editorial policy.

Frankly, while this is obviously a tragedy, I want more information as to how it happened: I find it extremely coincidental that the plane came from Ukraine, which has undoubtedly been the site of (yet another) far-right coup/civil war supported by Washington. I am not disparaging all Ukraine, of course, but it’s fair to assume that the Pentagon has unlimited access to Ukrainian planes as well as a history of using cyber warfare and sabotage against Iran.

And we know they have already shot down civilian airliners in Iran with zero expressions of regret.

Try as they might, this tragedy cannot overshadow the Soleimani assassinations

The assassination of Soleimani and the tragedy of Ukraine Airlines must not be mixed: the former is an illegal, inhuman slaying of an anti-terror hero which must remain in the spotlight until Washington – the boasting perpetrator! – conforms with international justice; the latter is a tragedy, and Iran has made it crystal-clear that they will work openly with countries like Ukraine, France and Canada to find the root cause.

No one in Iran is pleased, openly or secretly, about the Ukraine Airlines tragedy, but the boasting murderers in Washington are no doubt glad the spotlight is now off their actions. Their assassination laid bare their aggression to Iran and their view that Iraq is a powerless US colony.

That is injustice on a grand scale, and it cannot stand.

Nasrallah says Iran missile strikes showed all US bases in West Asia within range“Look at the faces of the US leaders… Do they look like victorious faces?” Nasrallah asked.

There were protests in Iran after the Ukraine Airlines downing, and it is natural: many students were aboard the airplane, therefore many Iranian students had personal connections with the departed. This is why students led protests.

However, as is the case so often in Iran, counter-revolutionary groups stepped in to dangerously hijack the protests. That is proven by the video circulating of a “protester” dressed like Black Bloc member stomping on and pulling down a picture of Soleimani, a man who just days earlier had inspired millions to publicly attend his funeral.

The orders-of-magnitude support in Iran for the government as opposed to those who want to topple is revealed by the orders-of-magnitude larger turnout for Soleimani compared with the initially sincere, student-led grief protests. This is a simple, factual reality, but – as is the case with every protest in Iran – the Western MSM tries to pervert everything in Iran to topple the popular democratic revolution of 1979.

Of course, they are in overdrive now because they are being told to distract from the Soleimani slaying. That must not last.

Sadness in the world and Iran over the Ukraine Airlines tragedy will continue, especially for the bereaved families.

But if we are judging by responses to accidentally shooting down civilian airliners, one would think people would be clamoring for the fall of the American system and not the Iranian one?

Ayatollah Khamenei: Iran’s retaliation against US only ‘a slap’ Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said Iran’s early morning retaliation against US assassination of Gen. Qassem Soleimani was just “a slap”.

Finally, I’d like to point out that due to Western sanctions airplane tragedies in Iran are woefully common. If the West really wants to make Iranian air travel more safe they could – as any humane person would – allow the sale of replacement parts for these machines which carry so many lives between their wings.

Another way the West could avoid such tragedies? End the hot, cold and assassinating war against Iran.

Iran has accepted responsibility for the mistake – assuming further investigations do not reveal new facts – but the West needs to accept overall responsibility for the Ukraine Airlines tragedy as they fabricated such a dangerous, anti-democratic, inhumane climate of war.

(Ramin Mazaheri is the chief correspondent in Paris for Press TV and has lived in France since 2009. He has been a daily newspaper reporter in the US, and has reported from Iran, Cuba, Egypt, Tunisia, South Korea and elsewhere. He is the author of the books ‘I’ll Ruin Everything You Are: Ending Western Propaganda on Red China’ and the upcoming ‘Socialism’s Ignored Success: Iranian Islamic Socialism.’)

(The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of Press TV.)

What Really Happened in Iran? Wave of Protests in 100 Cities

A fuel tax hike set the country ablaze and triggered a social backlash

Global Research, December 09, 2019

On November 15, a wave of protests engulfed over 100 Iranian cities as the government resorted to an extremely unpopular measure: a fuel tax hike of as much as 300%, without a semblance of a PR campaign to explain the reasons.

Iranians, after all, have reflexively condemned subsidy removals for years now – especially related to cheap gasoline. If you are unemployed or underemployed in Iran, especially in big cities and towns, Plan A is always to pursue a second career as a taxi driver.

Protests started as overwhelmingly peaceful. But in some cases, especially in Tehran, Shiraz, Sirjan and Shahriar, a suburb of Tehran, they quickly degenerated into weaponized riots – complete with vandalizing public property, attacks on the police and torching of at least 700 bank outlets. Much like the confrontations in Hong Kong since June.

President Rouhani, aware of the social backlash, tactfully insisted that unarmed and innocent civilians arrested during the protests should be released. There are no conclusive figures, but Iranian diplomats admit, off the record, that as many as 7,000 people may have been arrested. Tehran’s judiciary system denies it.

According to Iran’s Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, as many as 200,000 people took part in the protests nationwide. According to the Intelligence Ministry, 79 people were arrested in connection with the riots only in Khuzestan province – including three teams, supported by “a Persian Gulf state,” which supposedly coordinated attacks on government centers and security/police forces.

The Intelligence Ministry said it had arrested eight “CIA operatives,” accused of being instrumental in inciting the riots.

Now compare it with the official position by the IRGC. The chief commander of the IRGC, Major General Hossein Salami, stressed riots were conducted by “thugs” linked to the US-supported Mujahedin-e Khalq (MKO), which has less than zero support inside Iran, and with added interference by the US, Israel and Saudi Arabia.

Salami also framed the riots as directly linked to “psychological pressure” from the Trump administration’s relentless “maximum pressure” campaign against Tehran. He directly connected the protests degenerating into riots in Iran with foreign interference in protests in Lebanon and Iraq.

Elijah Magnier has shown how Moqtada al-Sadr denied responsibility for the burning down of the Iranian consulate in Najaf – which was set on fire three times in November during protests in southern Iraq.

Tehran, via government spokesman Ali Rabiei, is adamant:

“According to our information, the attack on the consulate was not perpetrated by the Iraqi people, it was an organized attack.”

Predictably, the American narrative framed Lebanon and Iraq – where protests were overwhelmingly against local government corruption and incompetence, high unemployment, and abysmal living standards – as a region-wide insurgency against Iranian power.

Soleimani for President?

Analyst Sharmine Narwani, based on the latest serious polls in Iran, completely debunked the American narrative.

It’s a complex picture. Fifty-five percent of Iranians do blame government corruption and mismanagement for the dire state of the economy, while 38% blame the illegal US sanctions. At the same time, 70% of Iranians favor national self-sufficiency – which is what Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei has been emphasizing – instead of more foreign trade.

On sanctions, no less than 83% agree they exerted a serious impact on their lives. Mostly because of sanctions, according to World Bank figures, Iranian GDP per capita has shrunk to roughly $6,000.

The bad news for the Rouhani administration is that 58% of Iranians blame his team for corruption and mismanagement – and they are essentially correct. Team Rouhani’s promises of a better life after the JCPOA obviously did not materialize. In the short term, the political winners are bound to be the principlists – which insist there’s no possible entente cordiale with Washington at any level.

The polls also reveal, significantly, massive popular support for Tehran’s foreign and military policy – especially on Syria and Iraq. The most popular leaders in Iran are legendary Quds Force commander Gen. Soleimani (a whopping 82%), followed by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif (67%) and the head of the Judiciary Ebrahim Raisi (64%).

The key takeaway is that at least half and on some issues two-thirds of Iran’s popular opinion essentially support the government in Tehran – not as much economically but certainly in political terms. As Narwani summarizes it, “so far Iranians have chosen security and stability over upheaval every time.”

‘Counter-pressure’

What’s certain is that Tehran won’t deviate from a strategy that may be defined as  “maximum counter-pressure” – on multiple fronts. Iranian banks have been cut off from SWIFT by the US since 2018. So efforts are intensifying to link Iran’s SEPAM system with the Russian SPFS and the Chinese CIPS – alternative interbank paying systems.

Tehran continues to sell oil – as Persian Gulf traders have repeatedly confirmed to me since last summer. Digital tracking agency Tankertrackers.com concurs. The top two destinations are China and Syria. Volumes hover around 700,000 barrels a day. Beijing has solemnly ignored every sanction threat from Washington regarding oil trading with Iran.

Khamenei, earlier this month, was adamant:

“The US policy of maximum pressure has failed. The Americans presumed that they can force Iran to make concessions and bring it to its knees by focusing on maximum pressure, especially in the area of economy, but they have troubled themselves.”

In fact “maximum counter-pressure” is reaching a whole new level.

Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi confirmed that Iran will hold joint naval drills with Russia and China in the Indian Ocean in late December.

That came out of quite a significant meeting in Tehran, between Khanzadi and the deputy chief of the Chinese Joint Staff Department, Major General Shao Yuanming.

So welcome to Maritime Security Belt. In effect from December 27th. Smack on the Indian Ocean – the alleged privileged territory of Washington’s Indo-Pacific policy. And uniting the three key nodes of Eurasia integration: Russia, China and Iran.

Khanzadi said that, “strategic goals have been defined at the level administrations, and at the level of armed forces, issues have been defined in the form of joint efforts.” General Yuanming praised Iran’s Navy as “an international and strategic force.”

But geopolitically, this packs a way more significant game-changing punch. Russia may have conducted naval joint drills with Iran on the Caspian Sea. But a complex drill, including China, in the Indian Ocean, is a whole new ball game.

Yuanming put it in a way that every student of Mahan, Spykman and Brzezinski easily understands: “Seas, which are used as a platform for conducting global commerce, cannot be exclusively beneficial to certain powers.”  So start paying attention to Russia, China and Iran being quite active not only across the Heartland but also across the Rimland.

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This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorld

Bloomberg: Gulf States Are Backpedaling on Iran

Bloomberg: Gulf States Are Backpedaling on Iran

Source

By Staff, Bloomberg

An expanded soccer tournament, a direct flight, clandestine meetings and a pledge to release prisoners of war; diplomacy is breaking out as Gulf Arab nations back away from a Donald Trump-inspired confrontation with Iran. And the signs are everywhere.

Last week, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Bahrain played their first games of the 2019 Arabian Gulf Cup in Qatar after a last-minute decision to take part.

Meanwhile, Oman is quietly hosting high-level meetings, and even Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has hinted at direct channels with the UAE.

Spooked by the prospect of a catastrophic war with Iran and its allies across the region, Gulf monarchies are in the midst of a strategic rethink. The UAE, whose economic model relies in large part on its international links, quickly realized it had most to lose from a military escalation. It had pulled out most of its troops from Yemen by the end of a turbulent summer that saw oil tankers targeted and a US drone downed in the Gulf without significant American response.

While the humanitarian catastrophe unleashed by the war on Yemen trained an unwelcome spotlight on Saudi Arabia, it took a brazen strike on Saudi oil installations – which knocked out half the country’s crude production – to ram home the risks and prove that Trump was not about to ride to his allies’ rescue.

“The attacks shattered any illusion of this magical US security umbrella,” said David Roberts, an assistant professor at King’s College London who studies the Gulf. “It burst the bubble and showed that Iran had the willingness to both do something astonishing like the attack on Aramco facilities and the capability to carry it out.”

In the meantime, the Trump administration withdrew last year from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], known commonly as the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and re-imposed sanctions that have crippled its oil exports.

Rolling back Iran’s power remains a priority for the Gulf Arab leadership. There’s an increasing recognition, however, that no one stands to gain from a military escalation in the world’s top oil-exporting region.

In search of a breakthrough, Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, shuttled between Tehran and Riyadh in October. He met Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei and Iranian President Sheikh Hassan Rouhani, as well as Saudi Arabia’s King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman [MBS], describing talks as “encouraging.”

As they explore ways forward, Gulf States are moving at different speeds.

The UAE broke with the US and Saudi Arabia by not naming Iran as the culprit behind attacks in May and June on oil tankers as they sailed toward the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s foremost oil shipping chokepoint.

It sent coast guard officials to Iran for the first time in six years and Rouhani hinted at other meetings with senior UAE officials. “We’re moving toward improved relations,” he said Oct. 14. Saudi Arabia is catching up.

However, where the US holds back, others are crowding in. Russian President Vladimir Putin has forged a partnership with Iran, created an oil alliance with Saudi Arabia and built ties with Egypt’s Abdel-Fattah El-Sisi, who was warned by the US last month against plans to purchase Russian jets.

Putin traveled to Saudi Arabia and the UAE in October after visits by the Saudi king and the UAE’s de-facto leader Mohammad bin Zayed to Moscow. The two Gulf countries and Russia have signed deals valued at billions of dollars.

For Iran’s Rouhani, the case for regional engagement is obvious.

“Don’t you know that Iran is going to stay here and we will remain neighbors throughout history?” he has said, referring to Iran’s Arab neighbors. “Trump will only be around for a few years and will go back to whatever it was he was doing.”

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Iran’s ‘only crime is we decided not to fold’

Foreign Minister Zarif sketches Iran-US relations for diplomats, former presidents and analysts

Global Research, November 26, 2019

Just in time to shine a light on what’s behind the latest sanctions from Washington, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in a speech at the annual Astana Club meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan delivered a searing account of Iran-US relations to a select audience of high-ranking diplomats, former Presidents and analysts.

Zarif was the main speaker in a panel titled “The New Concept of Nuclear Disarmament.” Keeping to a frantic schedule, he rushed in and out of the round table to squeeze in a private conversation with Kazakh First President Nursultan Nazarbayev.

During the panel, moderator Jonathan Granoff, President of the Global Security Institute, managed to keep a Pentagon analyst’s questioning of Zafir from turning into a shouting match.

Previously, I had extensively discussed with Syed Rasoul Mousavi, minister for West Asia at the Iran Foreign Ministry, myriad details on Iran’s stance everywhere from the Persian Gulf to Afghanistan. I was at the James Bond-ish round table of the Astana Club, as I moderated two other panels, one on multipolar Eurasia and the post-INF environment and another on Central Asia (the subject of further columns).

Zarif’s intervention was extremely forceful. He stressed how Iran “complied with every agreement and it got nothing;” how “our people believe we have not gained from being part of” the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action; how inflation is out of control; how the value of the rial dropped 70% “because of ‘coercive measures’ – not sanctions because they are illegal.”

He spoke without notes, exhibiting absolute mastery of the inextricable swamp that is US-Iran relations. It turned out, in the end, to be a bombshell. Here are highlights.

Zarif’s story began back during 1968 negotiations of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty,  with the stance of the “Non-Aligned Movement to accept its provisions only if at a later date” – which happened to be 2020 – “there would be nuclear disarmament.” Out of 180 non-aligned countries, “90 countries co-sponsored the indefinite extension of the NPT.”

Moving to the state of play now, he mentioned how the United States and France are “relying on nuclear weapons as a means of deterrence, which is disastrous for the entire world.” Iran on the other hand “is a country that believes nuclear weapons should never be owned by any country,” due to “strategic calculations based on our religious beliefs.”

Zarif stressed how “from 2003 to 2012 Iran was under the most severe UN sanctions that have ever be imposed on any country that did not have nuclear weapons. The sanctions that were imposed on Iran from 2009 to 2012 were greater than the sanctions that were imposed on North Korea, which had nuclear weapons.”

Discussing the negotiations for the JCPOA that started in 2012, Zarif noted that Iran had started from the premise that “we should be able to develop as much nuclear energy as we wanted” while the US had started under the premise that Iran should never have any centrifuges.” That was the “zero-enrichment” option.

Zarif, in public, always comes back to the point that “in every zero-sum game everybody loses.” He admits the JCPOA is “a difficult agreement. It’s not a perfect agreement. It has elements I don’t like and it has elements the United Stares does not like.” In the end, “we reached the semblance of a balance.”

Zarif offered a quite enlightening parallel between the NPT and the JCPOA:

“The NPT was based on three pillars: non-proliferation, disarmament and access to nuclear technology for peaceful purposes. Basically the disarmament part of NPT is all but dead, non-proliferation is barely surviving and peaceful use of nuclear energy is under serious threat,” he observed.

Meanwhile,

“JCPOA was based on two pillars: economic normalization of Iran, which is reflected in Security Council resolution 2231, and – at the same time – Iran observing certain limits on nuclear development.”

Crucially, Zarif stressed there is nothing “sunset” about these limits, as Washington argues: “We will be committed to not producing nuclear weapons forever.”

All about distrust

Then came Trump’s fateful May 2018 decision:

“When President Trump decided to withdraw from the JCPOA, we triggered the dispute resolution mechanism.”

Referring to a common narrative that describes him and John Kerry as obsessed with sacrificing everything to get a deal, Zarif said:

“We negotiated this deal based on distrust. That’s why you have a mechanism for disputes.”

Still, “the commitments of the EU and the commitments of the United States are independent. Unfortunately the EU believed they could procrastinate. Now we are at a situation where Iran is receiving no benefit, nobody is implementing their part of the bargain, only Russia and China are fulfilling partially their commitments, because the United States even prevents them from fully fulfilling their commitments. France proposed last year to provide $15 billion to Iran for the oil we could sell from August to December. The United States prevented the European Union even from addressing this.”

The bottom line, then, is that “other members of the JCPOA are in fact not implementing their commitments.” The solution “is very easy. Go back to the non-zero sum. Go back to implementing your commitments. Iran agreed that it would negotiate from Day One.”

Zarif made the prediction that

“if the Europeans still believe that they can take us to the Security Council and snap back resolutions they’re dead wrong. Because that is a remedy if there was a violation of the JCPOA. There was no violation of the JCPOA. We took these actions in response to European and American non-compliance. This is one of the few diplomatic achievements of the last many decades. We simply need to make sure that the two pillars exist: that there is a semblance of balance.”

This led him to a possible ray of light among so much doom and gloom:

“If what was promised to Iran in terms of economic normalization is delivered, even partially, we are prepared to show good faith and come back to the implementation of the JCPOA. If it’s not, then unfortunately we will continue this path, which is a path of zero-sum, a path leading to a loss for everybody, but a path that we have no other choice but to follow.”

Time for HOPE

Zarif identifies three major problems in our current geopolitical madness: a “zero-sum mentality on international relations that doesn’t work anymore;” winning by excluding others (“We need to establish dialogue, we need to establish cooperation”); and “the belief that the more arms we purchase, the more security we can bring to our people.”

He was adamant that there’s a possibility of implementing “a new paradigm of cooperation in our region,” referring to Nazarbayev’s efforts: a real Eurasian model of security. But that, Zarif explained, “requires a neighborhood policy. We need to look at our neighbors as our friends, as our partners, as people without whom we cannot have security. We cannot have security in Iran if Afghanistan is in turmoil. We cannot have security in Iran if Iraq is in turmoil. We cannot have security in Iran if Syria is in turmoil. You cannot have security in Kazakhstan if the Persian Gulf region is in turmoil.”

He noted that, based on just such thinking, “resident Rouhani this year, in the UN General Assembly, offered a new approach to security in the Persian Gulf region, called HOPE, which is the acronym for Hormuz Peace Initiative – or Hormuz Peace Endeavor so we can have the HOPE abbreviation.”

HOPE, explained Zarif, “is based on international law, respect of territorial integrity; based on accepting a series of principles and a series of confidence building measures; and we can build on it as you [addressing Nazarbayev] built on it in Eurasia and Central Asia. We are proud to be a part of the Eurasia Economic Union, we are neighbors in the Caspian, we have concluded last year, with your leadership, the legal convention of the Caspian Sea, these are important development that happened on the northern part of Iran. We need to repeat them in the southern part of Iran, with the same mentality that we can’t exclude our neighbors. We are either doomed or privileged to live together for the rest of our lives. We are bound by geography. We are bound by tradition, culture, religion and history.” To succeed, “we need to change our mindset.”

Age of hegemony gone

It all comes down to the main reason US foreign policy just can’t get enough of Iran demonization. Zarif has no doubts:

“There is still an arms embargo against Iran on the way. But we are capable of shooting down a US drone spying in our territory. We are trying simply to be independent. We never said we will annihilate Israel. Somebody said Israel will be annihilated. We never said we will do it.”

It was, Zarif said, Benjamin Netanyahu who took ownership of that threat, saying,

“I was the only one against the JCPOA.” Netanyahu “managed to destroy the JCPOA. What is the problem? The problem is we decided not to fold. That is our only crime. We had a revolution against a government that was supported by the United States, imposed on our country by the United States, [that] tortured our people with the help of the United States, and never received a single human rights condemnation, and now people are worried why they say ‘Death to America’? We say death to these policies, because they have brought nothing but this farce. What did they bring to us? If somebody came to the United States, removed your president, imposed a dictator who killed your people, wouldn’t you say death to that country?”

Zarif inevitably had to evoke Mike Pompeo:

“Today the Secretary of State of the United States says publicly: ‘If Iran wants to eat, it has to obey the United States.’ This is a war crime. Starvation is a crime against humanity. It’s a newspeak headline. If Iran wants its people to eat, it has to follow what he said. He says, ‘Death to the entire Iranian people.’”

By then the atmosphere across the huge round table was electric. One could hear a pin drop – or, rather, the mini sonic booms coming from high up in the shallow dome via the system devised by star architect Norman Foster, heating the high-performance glass to melt the snow.

Zarif went all in:

“What did we do the United States? What did we do to Israel? Did we make their people starve? Who is making our people starve? Just tell me. Who is violating the nuclear agreement? Because they did not like Obama? Is that a reason to destroy the world, just because you don’t like a president?”

Iran’s only crime, he said, “is that we decided to be our own boss. And that crime – we are proud of it. And we will continue to be. Because we have seven millennia of civilization. We had an empire that ruled the world, and the life of that empire was probably seven times the entire life of the United States. So – with all due respect to the United States empire; I owe my education to the United States – we don’t believe that the United States is an empire that will last. The age of empires is long gone. The age of hegemony is long gone. We now have to live in a world without hegemony. – regional hegemony or global hegemony.”

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Note to readers: please click the share buttons above or below. Forward this article to your email lists. Crosspost on your blog site, internet forums. etc.

This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image: Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, at the annual Astana Club meeting in Nur-Sultan, Kazakhstan last week. Photo: Asia Times / Pepe Escobar

Iran revives gasoline rationing scheme, what to expect

TEHRAN – Four years after President Rouhani decided to put a stop on a fuel rationing plan which was the legacy of President Ahmadinejad’s government, once again on Friday, the government announced a decision on reviving the scheme and also a rise in gasoline prices.

The decision took many by surprise, since in the past few months almost all government authorities claimed that no such decision was on the agenda. The plan however was effective immediately after the announcement, and even the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei backed the government’s decision on the matter.

Many believe that fuel rationing and raising prices would have negative impacts on the prices of other commodity groups and would result in higher inflation rates in long term, energy experts and analysts however, believe that the rationing scheme could act as a “double edged sword”, that is it could be both very beneficial and lead to great outcomes for the environment and economy or have negative results, if not implemented correctly.

Energy subsidies

The issue of allotting subsidies to various energy carriers is not a new phenomenon and such subsidies for long have been used by governments all around the world for pursuing certain political, economic, social, or environmental agendas. In different countries, energy subsidies are provided in different forms and modalities with a direct or indirect outcome on energy production costs and/or final prices.

Iran, as one of the world’s top energy-rich countries, for long has been offering significant amounts of energy subsidies to (according to the government claims) reach three main targets:

1- To support the less privileged population of the society
2- To create and support job opportunities across the county
3- To support domestic production

A look into the country’s economic and social situation reveals that although low fuel prices have served as a political leverage for different governments, but unfortunately none of the above mentioned goals have been completely achieved so far.

Huge energy subsidies in Iran seem to be only encouraging more and more fuel consumption, low-quality car production, and more fuel smuggling to the neighboring countries and also more air pollution.

Regarding the support for the less-privileged classes of the society, a look at the gasoline subsidies which the Iranian government has been offering for all people, can show the extent of this approach’s inefficiency. On one hand, many energy experts and scholars in the country believe that allocating great amounts of subsidies for gasoline is not in fact supporting the poor but it is more lifting the rich.

On the other hand, many environmental experts believe that such subsidies are encouraging people to consume more and to care less about the negative impact that they are leaving on the environment. In a nut shell, cheaper fuel means more careless consumption.

One other argument that is behind the heavy energy subsidies in Iran, is to create new job opportunities and support domestic production. One major example could be the subsidy which is provided for the gas consumed by the industrial units. In this regard, using more and more subsidies has made most industries less competitive and more reliant on outside sources for their inefficiencies.

The new scheme

The government started on Friday rationing of subsidized gasoline and increased fuel prices, announcing that it plans to use all the proceeds of the scheme for directly supporting underprivileged families.

Mohammad Baqer Nobakht, head of the Planning and Budget Organization, said on Thursday that all the revenues from the price hikes would be used to fund additional cash subsidies for 18 million families, or about 60 million people.

Based on the new scheme, the price for a liter of regular gasoline was increased to 15,000 rials (nearly 35 cents at the official rate of 42,000 rials per dollar) from the previous 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each passenger car was set at 60 liters. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

Implementation and outcomes

Although, nowadays allotting high energy subsides is considered a failed strategy all around the world, implementing such scheme requires providing some basic infrastructure.

One of the main reasons that in 2015, the Iranian government decided to end the rationing plan was in fact claims about its ineffectiveness.

For instance, when first implemented, the plan was supposed to end fuel smuggling and discourage dealers from trafficking fuel to neighboring countries, however in fact no change was made in this regard and up to the current day still thousands of liters of various fuels are being smuggled to other countries due to the price differences and lower value of Iranian currency in comparison to its neighbors.

The previous rises in fuels prices in Iran mostly led to surges in prices of other commodities and services and great levels of inflation since no tangible control was exercised in the market.

Now, on the early days of the implementation of the new scheme, we should wait to see if the government has come up with any solutions for the long-lasting problems in implementing such programs.

As I mentioned before, rationing of fuel could be a very positive step, if implemented correctly, which means if the revenues of the scheme are truly allocated for improving the people’s livelihood, if the rise in fuel prices won’t impact other commodity groups and if the rise in fuel prices doesn’t result in higher inflation rates.

So far, the government is insisting that it has considered all aspects and this time the plan is going to go through without any issues.

Earlier this week, Iranian Industry, Mining and Trade Minister Reza Rahmani said any increase in commodity prices on the pretext of gasoline price hike is illegal.

Stressing the fact that transportation of goods is generally carried out by diesel-powered cars, Rahmani said the increase in gasoline prices doesn’t entail any increase in other commodity prices.

Managing director of National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) also said gasoline consumption in the country is expected to fall up to 10 percent, which is also good news.

On Monday, Deputy Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance of Iran Mohammad-Ali Dehghan Dehnavi said the fuel rationing plan would make the country able to export 3.65 billion liters of gasoline every year and earn about 14 trillion rials (about $3.3 billion) from the exports.

So considering all the above mentioned factors and plausible outcomes, one can clearly see the perks of a “correctly-implemented” scheme and of course the negative impact that it could cause if not properly supervised and monitored. Only “time” will show how the outcomes of the program is going to turn out this time.

EF/MA

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Iran Overcomes the US-led Plot to Destabilize the Country

Iran riots

Iran riots

 

Iran has overcome the US plot to destabilize the country using ‘Peaceful Protests’ as a pretext, these peaceful protests have become a synonym to riots in our region, what was known in the early days as 5th column useful cannon fodders also known now as the 4th generation wars, it only targets countries independent of the US hegemony, and it becomes immediately bloody and violent.

What makes it very obvious in the latest developments in Lebanon, Iraq, and Iran at the same time is the timing of it upon two major steps by the Iraqi government to defy the US policies by

  • 1) Opening the Bu Kamal border crossing with Syria which would connect Iran to the Mediterranean through Iraq and Syria, and also connect to Lebanon which would help the economies of all these countries, this would also stretch the Chinese reach to the Mediterranean as well. Remarkably, the oldest civilizations in the world blocked by the newest countries and satellite regimes: the USA, Saudi, and Israel!
  • 2) The Iraqi Prime Minister visited China and signed a number of economic contracts worth over 200 billion US dollars. Suddenly, the US and Saudi moved their agents on the ground to protest against the same corruption that was sponsored by the US and Saudi in Iraq, Lebanon, and Iran.

This also comes as the Syrian Arab Army started its military operation on a small scale to clean the last al-Qaeda stronghold in Idlib province and liberate 3 million Syrians from the control of this human garbage.

The Iranian protests immediately turned violent leaving dozens killed and massive losses in public and private properties destroyed in a number of cities ignited by a government decision to help the poor segments of the society by increasing the fuel price and using the increase in direct payments to these segments, but the plot was already in place.

The following report by Melhem Rayya, Iran’s office manager for the Lebanese Al Mayadeen news channel gives a balanced outlook on the events and the Iranian government’s response to the riots:

The video is also available on BitChute: https://www.bitchute.com/video/hNdIAISN1HxH/

Transcript of the English translation of the above report:

Let everyone know, friends and enemies that we have forced our enemies to retreat in the military war and in the political and security wars, we have forced enemies to retreat in all areas, and, with God’s blessing, we will make them retreat unequivocally in the arena of economic warfare as well.

It was not a popular act but a wish, this is how the Iranian leader points to the riots that accompanied the protests over the price of gasoline in Iran days ago.

A position that bears responsibility for what happened to external hands is clearly reflected in President Rouhani’s words, he declared victory over what some here call sedition in Iranian society and seeks to destabilize Iran.

The numbers of rioters are small and they are organized, armed and programmed on plans prepared by retard states in the region, the Zionist entity (Israel), and America. The people have triumphed over enemy schemes aimed at striking the country’s security.

Calm returns to areas and cities where protests and riots have occurred started after the supreme leader stressed the importance of the decision to raise the price of gasoline economically, and when the president clarified that this decision was the only possible option to support the middle and poor segments, and after the distribution of the proceeds of the increase in gasoline to citizens.

Iran riots a US plot to destabilize the country

Attacks on public and private property also provoked opposition in many areas of Iran, denouncing the riots and supporting the authorities.

The rioters are few who were fooled and are not ordinary citizens because the objection has its legal methods until the voice arrives, but what happened is planned in advance.

Their riots were not right, the real objection must be legal and everyone must cooperate to build the nation.

Iranian newspapers pointed to the role of citizens in putting out the flames of sedition that the US administration tried to ignite, taking advantage of the difficult economic conditions experienced by the citizen here because of the US sanctions imposed on him, which officials here assert that they are able to overcome successfully despite the difficulties and obstacles.

From protests against the hike on gasoline price turned into riots turned into plans to target security in multiple areas, thus, the crisis in Iran rolled within days in the midst of a volatile regional atmosphere that many see as an American attempt to pressure Iran after the failure of the options of war and sanctions.

End of the transcript.

The Iranian government has revealed today it foiled a sabotage attempt against the largest gas facility in the country. The plot is ongoing and targeting the countries that continue to resist the US hegemonic policies in our region.

Within the same context, we see the insisting of the protests in both Lebanon and Iraq to disturb and harm the economic cycle in their countries, and the Israeli – Turkish – US alliance in increasing the military and terror efforts against Syria trying to disperse the Syrian Arab Army’s efforts among large fronts in the 3 corners of the country.

Israel bombing Syria

Israel Bombs Damascus Vicinity Killing 2 Civilians Injuring Others

At 1:20 am Wednesday 20 November 2019 Damascus local time Israeli warplanes targeted the vicinity of Damascus from both over the occupied Golan and from over Lebanese town of Marj Oyoun. Desperate war criminal and … Continue readingIsrael Bombs Damascus Vicinity Killing 2 Civilians Injuring Others

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Rioting, insecurity will be dealt with decisively: Iran’s IRGC

Image result for Rioting, insecurity will be dealt with decisively: Iran's IRGC

Press Tv

Monday, 18 November 2019 2:36 PM

Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has issued a statement on the recent riots in some cities, which followed peaceful protests over government’s decision to raise fuel prices, warning that it will firmly deal with any measure aimed at sowing insecurity in the country.

Commending the insight and smartness of the Iranian people, who draw a clear line between their peaceful protests and acts of rioting, the IRGC’s statement, which was released on Monday, said, “Continuation of any measure, which would foment insecurity, and all actions targeting the calm and tranquility in the society will be dealt with decisively.”

On Friday, Iran began rationing gasoline and substantially increased the price of fuel, saying the revenue would be used to assist the needy.

The National Iranian Oil Products Distribution Company (NIOPDC) said in a statement late Thursday that the price of a liter of regular gasoline had gone up to 15,000 rials (12.7 US cents) from 10,000 rials and the monthly ration for each private automobile was set at 60 liters per month. Additional purchases would cost 30,000 rials per liter.

The decision sparked rallies in a number of Iranian cities, some of which were marred by violence as opportunist elements tried to exploit the situation and ride the wave of peaceful protests against hiking fuel prices.

Consequently, the demonstrations turned violent in some cities, with reports of clashes between security forces and certain elements vandalizing public property.

On Sunday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei backed the recent government decision to ration gasoline and increase its price.

Ayatollah Khamenei said while he is not an expert in the field, he still supports the decision which has been made by the three branches of power — namely, executive, legislative and judicial.

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Noting that the acts of rioting in some Iranian cities were stoked by counterrevolutionary elements, the anti-Iranian Mujahedeen Khalq Organization (MKO) and the remnants of the past monarchical regime of Iran, the IRGC said in its statement that the vigilance of the Iranian people, who distanced themselves from saboteurs, turned the table against those elements and thwarted their plans to spread insecurity across the country.

It hailed the brave and dedicated Iranian people who have always subdued the deceitful enemy through their power and greatness and guaranteed stability and calm in most of the Iranian cities and provinces during the recent days in a way that there was not even one report of insecurity, destruction and plunder of public property in most parts of the country.

The statement also stressed the importance of protecting people’s civil rights and dignity against any violation and preventing increases in prices of other goods and commodities by relevant state bodies while calling on the Iranian people to disregard hostile propaganda of satellite and online networks of the enemy as the best way to put an end to rioting and establish sustainable and inclusive security in all parts of the country.

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that his administration recognizes people’s right to hold protests against a recent government decision to ration gasoline, emphasizing, however, that nobody will be allowed to spread insecurity in the society.

Speaking at a cabinet meeting in Tehran, Rouhani referred to the recent protests in some Iranian cities against the government’s measure, which were at times marred with violence, saying holding protest rallies was a natural right of the people.

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Iran discovers oil field containing 53bn barrels of crude: President Rouhani

Press TV

Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:38AM

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani speaks in the central city of Yaz on November 10, 2019. (Photo by president.ir)

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani speaks in the central city of Yaz on November 10, 2019. (Photo by president.ir)

President Hassan Rouhani says Iran has discovered a new oil field containing 53 billion barrels of crude in southwestern Khuzestan Province. 

Rouhani told a large crowd of people in the central city of Yazd on Sunday that the discovery was made despite US hostilities which have mainly targeted Iran’s oil sector.

“It is a large oil field that extends from Bostan to the vicinity of Omidiyeh spanning an area of 2,400 square kilometers with a depth of 80 meters,” he said.

“Today we are announcing to the US that we are a rich country and despite your enmity and tyrannical sanctions, the Iranian oil industry’s workers and engineers have succeeded to discover this vast oil field,” Rouhani added.

The US has unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against Tehran since unilaterally withdrawing from the 2015 nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Rouhani said, “The first thing I would like to emphasize here is that we have withstood the pressure exerted by foreigners over the past year, during which our people had to go through difficult times.”

It’s been one year-and-a-half since President Donald Trump pulled the United States out of the nuclear deal with Iran and embarked on a policy of “maximum pressure.”

Trump has been piling sanctions and heating up the rhetoric against Tehran, saying he aims to negotiate a better agreement with Iran and his policy will bring the Iranians to the table for that new deal.

However, the maximum pressure policy has not succeeded in bringing Iran to the negotiating table or curbing its regional activities across the Middle East as sought by Washington.

“In fact maximum pressure seems to have backfired and pushed Iran across the edge,” British daily The Independent wrote on Saturday.

According to the paper, “economically, Iran has been able to draw on some of its financial reserves to cushion off the impact of American sanctions.”

Politically, Iran has been able to utilize the theme of nationalism and historic grievances about big power bullying and fend off any unrest, it said.

On Sunday, President Rouhani called on Iranians not to let “America’s wishes rise from the larynx of a few people, even though they are very limited in number.”

He said the Iranian people’s “resilience and unity and their ceaseless efforts have brought us to the point where the United States, in my opinion, has become disappointed.”

From an international perspective, The Independent says, the world is more sympathetic to Iran’s position in the nuclear dispute than the United States, because Iran stayed strictly committed to the nuclear deal for one year, after the US left the deal and violated its terms.

“There is also not much admiration for Mr Trump on the international stage – except among right wing authoritarian and neo-fascist groups – and that also helps Iran,” it added.

The Trump administration’s policy on Iran, the paper said, has isolated the United States and diminished its leverage to enforce the JCPOA, if not open the door to its complete destruction.

“At the moment, President Trump and his administration are running out of options on Iran. There is not much left to sanction in Iran, and short of military conflict, there is not a lot more pressure that can be applied,” it added.

Meanwhile, statistics show Iran’s economic situation is improving and inflation has been contained, President Rouhani said.

Iran is a founding member of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries and sits on what were already the world’s fourth-biggest oil reserves and second-largest gas reserves.

The new find would add around 34 percent to Iran’s current proven reserves, estimated by the Oil & Gas Journal at 158 billion barrels of crude oil and representing almost 10 percent of the world’s crude reserves.

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Trump and Tehran Shake Up the Middle East الانسحاب الأميركي من سورية والهجوم على أرامكو.. ترامب وطهران يهزّان المنطقة

Smoke rising from the Abqaiq oil processing plant in Saudi Arabia after it was attacked in September.

Smoke rising from the Abqaiq oil processing plant in Saudi Arabia after it was attacked in September.CreditCreditPlanet Labs Inc., via Associated Press

Iran’s airstrike on Saudi oil sites exposed vulnerabilities around the region.

By 

Opinion Columnist

 

I’m sure I’m not the only one who finds it bizarre that the Republican leadership is (rightly) going nuts over President Trump’s betrayal of the Kurds in Syria while it’s ignoring his betrayal of the U.S. Constitution at home. If only Lindsey Graham & Co. were as eager to defend our democracy as they are the Kurds. But I digress.

If you think Trump’s withdrawal of U.S. troops from Syria will make the Middle East more explosive, you’re correct. But there’s far more going on. Those troops were also interrupting Iran’s efforts to build a land bridge from Tehran to Beirut to tighten a noose around Israel — and their removal could help bring the Iran-Israel shadow war out into the open. This is the really big story in the Middle East today.

Here’s the background: In the early hours of Sept. 14, the Iranian Air Force launched roughly 20 drones and cruise missiles at one of Saudi Arabia’s most important oil fields and processing facilities. The drones and cruise missiles flew so low and with such stealth that neither their takeoff nor their impending attack was detected in time by Saudi or U.S. radar. The pro-Iranian Houthi militia in Yemen claimed responsibility for the raid. That was as believable as saying that Santa Claus did it.

Some Israeli strategists argue that this surprise attack was the Middle East’s “Pearl Harbor.” An exaggeration? Maybe not.

“Recalculating, recalculating, recalculating.”

Every country is now recalculating its security strategy, starting with Israel. Consider how Uzi Even, one of the founding scientists of Israel’s Dimona nuclear reactor, assessed the Iranian strike.

“A total of 20 cruise missiles and drones were used in the attack,” Even wrote in Haaretz on Sunday. “Drone wreckage discovered in Saudi Arabia shows that the Iranians are manufacturing and operating drones so advanced (with jet engines and significant stealth capabilities) that they do not lag behind Israeli capabilities in this field. Seventeen targets incurred a direct hit in this concentrated bombardment. Considering the 20 projectiles whose debris was found at the attack site, that’s an 85-percent success rate, which indicates the very high capability and reliability of the technology that was used.”

Photos of the aftermath, Even added,

“show the precision that was achieved in the attack. Each one of the spherical gas tankers in the picture was hit in the center. The pictures also show that the strike precision was one meter. … The Iranians, or their proxies, showed that they can hit specific targets with great precision and from a distance of hundreds of kilometers. We have to accept the fact that we are now vulnerable to such a strike.”

Even’s conclusion: Operations at Israel’s “Dimona nuclear reactor should be halted. It has now been shown to be vulnerable, and the harm it could cause would likely exceed its benefits.”

Not a bad day’s work for Iran — and Israel wasn’t even the target. Now let’s look at the Arabs. The Saudis and the United Arab Emirates got a double shock from the Iranian attack. It simultaneously exposed Iran’s precision and Donald Trump’s isolationism.

It had to have been quite the cold shower for the Saudis to call Washington to discuss what the U.S. planned as a strategic response only to discover that our president was busy looking for the cellphone number of Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, to see if he could cut the same deal with him that he did with North Korea’s dictator, Kim Jong-un: Give me a photo-op handshake, and we can do business.

Translated into Arabic, Trump was saying to the Gulf Arabs: “I forgot to tell you. I’m only interested in selling you our weapons — not using them in your defense. But don’t forget to stay in my hotel when you’re next in D.C.! Operators are standing by.”

The Saudis and the U.A.E. got the message. They, too, got busy looking for the Iranian leader’s cellphone number — and the number of the pro-Iranian emir of Qatar, too. Time to get right with all the neighbors.

This, in turn, has fractured the tacit U.S.-Sunni Arab-Israel anti-Iran coalition and left Israel feeling more alone than ever to deal with Iran — and its proxies in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq.

Because Prime Minister Bibi Netanyahu of Israel also got a double dose of Trump reality. After Netanyahu did poorly in the recent Israeli election, Bibi learned how much Trump doesn’t like losers. When asked about Bibi after the Israeli election, Trump said coolly that he hadn’t spoken to him — “our relationship is with Israel.”

President Trump has cooled on Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu since the Israeli election. CreditRonen Zvulun/Reuters

Translated into Hebrew, Trump was saying: “Bibi? Bibi? I once knew a guy who owned a deli at Lexington and 55th named Bibi.”أكتوبر 11, 2019

And then, after the Iranian attack on Saudi Arabia, Trump declared that when it comes to a war with Iran, “we’d certainly like to avoid it.” Again, translated into Hebrew:

“America is happy to keep oil sanctions on Iran, but it is not going to partner with Israel and the Sunni Arabs to create regime change there or militarily destroy Iran’s capabilities.”

Bibi had completely misread Trump’s mind-set, which was: “We’re awash in oil and gas. We’re not fighting anyone’s wars in the Middle East.” The Iranians don’t even have an embassy in Washington. But they read Trump perfectly.

Recalculating, recalculating, recalculating.

The Gulf Arabs can and will find a way to buy off the Iranians. Israel can’t. Israel has a real Iran problem. Beware.

Iran’s is an awful regime. The ruling clerics have deprived at least two generations of young Iranians the freedom and tools to realize their full potential — one reason that a brain drain and drug addiction are rampant among Iranian youth.

While Iran’s people “aspire to be like South Korea — and they have the talent to be that — Iran’s hard-line leadership prefers to rule like North Korea,” observed Karim Sadjadpour, Middle East expert at the Carnegie Endowment.

So Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries need constant conflict with America and Israel to justify their ruthless internal repression. But Iran is heir to a great civilization. Even with its brain drain, it’s still got lots of real scientific talent.

توماس فريدمان

أنا متأكد من أنني لست الشخص الوحيد الذي يجد أنه من الغريب أن القيادة الجمهورية تتجاهل خيانة الرئيس ترامب للأكراد في سورية، رغم كونها محقة في ذلك التجاهل، لكنها تتجاهل خيانته للدستور الأميركي في الداخل بغير حق، ويا حبذا لو كان ليندسي جراهام وشركاه فقط متحمّسين للدفاع عن ديمقراطيتنا مثل دفاعهم عن الأكراد.

لكن تعالوا لندقق.

إذا كنت تعتقد أن سحب ترامب للقوات الأميركية من سورية سيجعل الشرق الأوسط أكثر تفجراً، فأنت على حق، لكن هناك الكثير مما يحدث. فهذه القوات كانت تحاول عرقلة جهود إيران لبناء جسر بري من طهران إلى بيروت يهدف لتشديد الخناق حول إسرائيل ، وسحبها يمكن أن يساعد في تسريع إطلاق حرب الظل بين إيران و إسرائيل . وهذه هي القصة الكبيرة حقاً في الشرق الأوسط اليوم.

إليكم الخلفية: في الساعات الأولى من يوم 14 سبتمبر، أطلق سلاح الجو الإيراني حوالي 20 طائرة وصواريخ كروز على واحد من أهم حقول النفط ومنشآت المعالجة في المملكة العربية السعودية، طارت الطائرات بدون طيار وصواريخ كروز منخفضة للغاية وبطريقة الأشباح لدرجة أنه لم يتم اكتشاف إقلاعها أو هجومها الوشيك في الوقت المناسب من قبل الرادار السعودي أو الأميركي. أعلنت ميليشيا الحوثي الموالية لإيران في اليمن مسؤوليتها عن الغارة. كان ذلك معقولاً مثل قول إن بابا نويل فعل ذلك أيضاً، لكن التفصيل هنا حول من فعلها لم يعد مهماً.

يجادل بعض الاستراتيجيين الإسرائيليين أن هذا الهجوم المفاجئ كان «ميناء بيرل هاربر» في الشرق الأوسط، وهو الهجوم الياباني الذي صدم أميركا وفاجأها ودخلت الحرب العالمية الثانية بعده، ربما نعم وربما لا.

أي شخص في إيران توصل إلى فكرة هذه الضربة الجوية الجريئة حصل على التهنئة والترقية، إذ لا يمكن تخيّل القيام بالعمل بشكل أفضل، لأن الصوت الذي تسمعه يصدر من كل عاصمة عربية و إسرائيل هو الصوت نفسه الذي تسمعه من مساعد القيادة الآلي عندما تنحرف سيارتك فجأة عن المسار المحدد:

إعادة الحساب، إعادة الحساب، إعادة الحساب.»

تقوم كل دولة الآن بإعادة حساب استراتيجيتها الأمنية، بدءاً بـ إسرائيل . تأمل كيف قام عوزي إيفين، أحد العلماء المؤسسين لمفاعل ديمونا النووي الإسرائيلي، بتقييم الضربة الإيرانية داعياً إلى الإسراع بإقفال المفاعل بعدما صارت فوائده أقلّ من درجة المخاطر التي يجلبها.

وكتبت صحيفة «هآرتس» يوم الأحد: «تم استخدام ما مجموعه 20 صاروخًا وطائرة بدون طيار في الهجوم». و»حطام الطائرة بدون طيار المكتشفة في المملكة العربية السعودية يُظهر أن الإيرانيين يصنعون ويديرون طائرات بدون طيار متطوّرة للغاية مع محركات نفاثة وقدرات تسلل وتشويش راداريّ كبيرة لدرجة أنهم لا يتخلفون عن القدرات الإسرائيلية في هذا المجال، سبعة عشر هدفًا تلقت ضربة مباشرة في هذا القصف المركز، بالنظر إلى المقذوفات العشرين التي تم العثور على حطامها في موقع الهجوم، فإن ذلك يمثل نسبة نجاح تبلغ 85 بالمئة، مما يشير إلى القدرة العالية والموثوقية العالية للتكنولوجيا التي تم استخدامها. «

نشر في نيويورك تايمز يوم 10-10-2019.

Syria Condemns Turkish Aggressive and Expansionist Policies in Syria

09 October 2019 15:08

DAMASCUS, (ST)-The Syrian Arab Republic condemns in the strongest terms the Turkish regime’s aggressive intentions, reckless remarks and military buildup at the Syrian borders, stressing that this behavior flagrantly violates the international law and the Security Council resolutions which all call for respecting Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, an official source at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Expatriates said on Wednesday.

Erdogan’s regime’s aggressive behavior proves the Turkish expansionist aspirations in the Syrian territories and it can’t be justified under any pretext, added the source, affirming Syria’s determination to confront the Turkish aggression by all possible legitimate means.

The source pointed out that the Turkish regime’s claims about borders’ security are belied by this regime’s disregarding of Adana Agreement which guarantees the security of the borders between the two countries if Erdogan’s government abides by its items.

The source went on to say that Syria holds some Kurdish groups responsible for what is going on because of their complete subordination to the American policies and schemes, pointing out that Syria has repeatedly warned the Kurds of the danger of these schemes and against being tools to serve the American plans against their country.

Syria reiterates that its sovereignty and territorial integrity are a red line and reaffirms its determination to confront the Turkish aggression by all possible legitimate means, according to the source.

“Syria is ready to embrace all its misled citizens if they reconsider and correct their actions aiming to preserve the country’s safety and unity,” the source stresses.

The source concluded by saying that Syria reminds that if Erdogan insists on carrying on his aggression, he will place himself on an equal footing with the terrorist gangs and he will completely lose his position as a guarantor of Astana process on finding settlement in Syria.

Hamda Mustafa

Turkish regime army kills and wounds dozens of civilians in its attack on the northeast of Syria

09 October 2019 21:28

The Turkish regime army has launched intensive strikes on Raes al-Ayin city in the northwestern countryside of Hasaka province and on several towns in the province’ countryside as well as on Tal Abyad area in the northern countryside of Raqqa.

The attack targeted silos and infrastructures in the city of Raes al-Ayin and the sites of the ‘Syrian Democratic Forces’ militia in the north of Raqqa and in the countryside of Hasaka.

At least 2 civilians were martyred in Tal Zyab town and 4 children were wounded in Raes al-Ayin countryside to the west of Hasaka in the Turkish attack.

In addition, 3 children plus a woman were martyred when a shell fired by the Turkish regime army hit a house in Bashiryah neighborhood in Qameshli city.

14 other civilians were wounded during the Turkish attack on residential areas in the same city.

The Turkish regime army also killed 8 civilian and wounded 20 others in its attacks on Raes al-Ayin city.

Thus, the current number of casualties reached up to 14 martyrs and 38 wounded people.

In another development, the SDF militia set some oil wells in the northern countryside of Hasaka on fire and burned wheels in most neighborhoods of Raes al-Ayin city. It, in addition, burned documents inside its headquarter in the city.

The Turkish regime army stopped its bombing alongside the borderline and started to remove cement blocks in order to pave the way for a potential ground invasion.

There was also an exchange of artillery fire between the Turkish regime army and the SDF militia at an area located between Raes al-Ayin in the northern countryside of Hasaka nd Tal Abyad area in the northern countryside of Raqqa

Basma Qaddour

International Reactions to Turkish Aggression on the Syrian Territories

09 October 2019

CAPITALS, (ST)- The Turkish regime on Wednesday launched a military operation in the north of Syria alleging that it is “protecting its border security against the Kurdish militias”.

This aggressive move has provoked strong international condemnation mainly from the European countries.

The European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker urged Turkey to stop its military operation in Syria, according to Reuters.

The agency reported that Juncker called on Turkey and other influential parties to “show restraint”,  quoting him as saying “if the plan involves the creation of a so-called safe zone, don’t expect the EU to pay for any of it”.

The French Secretary of State for European Union Affairs Amelie de Montchalin announced that France, Britain and Germany have called on the Security Council to convene in order to discuss the Turkish aggression in the north of Syria. According to Montchalin, the three countries were finalizing a joint statement condemning the Turkish military operation.

Later, western diplomats announced that the Security Council will hold a closed session on Thursday to discuss the Turkish aggression on the Syrian territories.

Also, Danish Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod tweeted: “Deeply concerned about Turkish military operation in Syria. In my view, this is a regrettable and wrong decision, which can have serious consequences for civilians and the fight against ISIL (Islamic State). Turkey must show restraint.”

Reacting to the Turkish aggression, the Dutch Foreign Ministry summoned the Turkish ambassador in Amsterdam to protest against the new dangerous development. It called on the Turkish regime not to continue this operation.

On his part, NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said he hoped Turkey’s operation in Syria would be “measured and proportionate.”

Aggression will Strengthen Daesh and aggravate tension in the region

The Syrian news Agency (SANA) said that  the German Foreign Minister Heiko Mass strongly condemned the Turkish aggression on the Syrian territory, warning that this aggression will aggravate tension in the region and strengthen Daesh terrorist organization. He urged Turkey to end the operation.

Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte stressed that the Turkish aggression on the Syrian territories will further destabilize the region and cause harm to civilians.

Russian President Vladimir Putin during a phone conversation with his Turkish counterpart Recepe Tayyib Erdogan reiterated the need to respect Syria’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and called on Turkey not to undermine or endanger the efforts aiming at solving the crisis in Syria, SANA said.

The agency also reported that the Egyptian Foreign Ministry affirmed Egypt’s strong condemnation of the Turkish aggression and called for maintaining Syria’s sovereignty, national unity and territorial integrity.

Rouhani Advises the Kurdish groups in Syria to join forces with the Syrian Army

Meanwhile in Tehran,  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that the Syrian military is the only power that can ensure security along the country’s northern borders with Turkey.

In a statement on Wednesday, Rouhani said  that all sides involved need to help set the stage for conditions that would allow the Syrian army’s presence in the region.

He added that security in the border region also required the withdrawal of American forces from the territory.

Rouhani further advised Kurdish forces in Syria to join forces with the Syrian military, stressing that “Syria is their rightful homeland”, according to Press TV.

The Turkish government has played a major role in supporting various terrorist groups fighting the Syrian government.

In the meantime, western diplomats announced that the Security Council will hold a closed session on Thursday to discuss the Turkish aggression on the Syrian territories.

Hamda Mustafa

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The Woman Who Raised Heroes

The Woman Who Raised Heroes

Hussein Samawarchi

This is, by far, one of the most eventful weeks for the media this year. The ongoing discussions of the speeches made at the United Nations shook the world of news analysts with praise for leaders like Presidents Hasan Rouhani [Iran] and Michel Aoun [Lebanon], and, mockery for substandard performers like [“Israeli” Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu and [US President Donald] Trump. There was also the mystery roaming around the Khashoggi affair which has had everyone making speculations as to how much will Erdogan take for hushing up the matter. Mohammed bin Salman had his pilot terrorists target a hospital in Yemen and then families running away from his bombs. And, news of the execution of unarmed Palestinian protestors by Zionist forces made the headlines as well.

All of the above plus coverage of Hurricane Michael could not divert attention from two women who also made the news. They are both best known for their positions on heritage and the oppressed of the world. One defended her heritage with everything dear to her heart and the other did everything she could to deny her own. One gave her three sons and a grandson to the cause of the oppressed while the other strives to have the children and grandchildren of the oppressed massacred.

The first is Aminah Salameh who is better known as Hajjeh EUm Imad Mughniyeh; she is identified as The Mother of Martyrs. A title well deserved because of the number of times she had to attend the funerals of her beloved children who achieved martyrdom in the course of defending their homeland against the invading Zionist terrorists and their Takfiri partners who attempted to break down the last Arab country standing against imperialism.

Hajjeh Um Imad waged war against evil by educating her sons about the necessity of loving their country as much as she loved them; and, a mother’s love is so immense that the greatest poets have not, yet, been able to describe it in words. That is how much her children loved their country.
She also raised them to be proud of their identity and to defend it vigorously; the identity that derives its roots from the teachings of Imam Hussein (AS) – protecting justice and defending those who are oppressed even when the enemy is superior in numbers and arms.

But that is not the only reason why she gained the title The Mother of Martyrs. People bestowed this honor on her for the role she had in motivating others. She never allowed the loss of her beloved children to break her down. That is because she did not see it as a loss. Every time the flag of her country soared higher into the sky because of the martyrdom of one of her sons, her pride grew.

In a culture where the woman is regarded as a leader, Hajjeh Em Imad carried the banner of our Lady Zeinab (AS) with all that it signifies, from strength to sacrifice to victory.

The other woman who made the news during the same time is Nimrata Randhawa, US Ambassador to the United Nations. People may know her better as Nikki Haley.  She announced her resignation this week.

Independent news outlets are still trying to pinpoint the real reason for the decision, but talk of a corruption scandal has begun circulating. Other analysts speak of a higher role being assigned to her in the Zionist deep state that comes as a token of appreciation for her shameless public support of killing Arabs where possible. She would be prepared to win the US presidential elections of 2024 and the American public would be prepared for “Israel’s” flag to fly over the White House instead of the Star-Spangled Banner.

A lot of women choose to keep their maiden names after marriage, but Nimrata did not only drop it, she dropped the first name her parents gave her as well. She changed it to Nikki in an attempt to delete everything that links her to her real heritage. How can a person who denies her own identity be expected to uphold the identity of her country? Perhaps, that is why she is dubbed “Israel’s” Ambassador to the UN instead of the ambassador of the country paying her salary.

The two women are, indeed, at opposite ends of the ethical spectrum.

As much as it saddens the heart to see Hajjeh Um Imad leave us, something very comforting could not escape the eye when watching the coverage of her farewell proceedings. The sheer number of women, young and old, participating and paying tribute to The Mother of Martyrs can only assure us that her legacy of raising patriotic heroes will go on.

She is now with Jihad, Fouad, Imad, and young Jihad, telling them how proud she is of them and ensuring them that with so many mothers raising children like she has, victory is certain for the oppressed.

Source: Al-Ahed News

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