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.

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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

Agreed on Four-Point US/Iran Deal?

By Stephen Lendman

Source

On Tuesday, Politico reported that Trump and Iranian President Rouhani “agreed on a four-point document brokered by Emmanuel Macron in New York last week as a basis for a meeting and relaunching negotiations between the US and Iran” — citing unnamed French officials, adding:

“(D)ays of shuttle diplomacy by Macron on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly” preceded the plan.

Reportedly, Iran agreed to abide by what it’s adhered to since its 1979 revolution, Politico failed to explain, quoting from the text it saw: 

Tehran agreed it “will never acquire a nuclear weapon (and will) fully comply with its nuclear obligations and commitments and will accept a negotiation on a long-term framework for its nuclear activities.”

It will also “refrain from any aggression and will seek genuine peace and respect in the region through negotiations.”

The above has always been Islamic Republic policy throughout its 40-year history. Claims otherwise are fabricated, no credible evidence ever supporting them.

The deal requires the US to “lift all the sanctions re-imposed since 2017…Iran will have full ability to export its oil and freely use its revenues.”

While the document says nothing about Iran’s ballistic program,  Politico quoted an unnamed French official saying “(i)t was clear to all that the negotiation over regional issues would necessarily include their ballistic program” — a nonstarter for Tehran.

Its ruling authorities won’t relinquish or compromise on what would self-inflict weakness, its ballistic and cruise missiles maintained and developed solely for self-defense against genuinely feared US and/or Israeli aggression.

Further, Politico should have highlighted that time and again, Trump and Pompeo stressed that (illegally imposed) US sanctions won’t be lifted. His regime imposed new ones instead, intended to crush Iran’s economy and immiserate its people.

Rouhani and Foreign Minister Zarif stressed that Tehran will continue pulling back from its voluntary JCPOA commitments, as permitted under the deal when other signatories breach it — clearly the case by the US and Europe.

Rouhani refused to meet with Trump on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly because he escalated sanctions war/economic terrorism. 

His actions repeatedly belie his hollow words, why he, his regime, and most others in Washington can never be trusted.

The US history of breaching treaties, bilateral agreements, and other deals shows what Iran is up against.

Years of good faith Tehran talks preceded agreement on the JCPOA, flagrantly breached by Trump months into his first year in office, compounded by all-out economic terrorism.

It’s part of longstanding US policy, seeking to replace all independent governments it doesn’t control with pro-Western puppet regimes.

The US doesn’t negotiate. It makes one-sided demands in return for empty promises, proved time and again – notably with Iran, North Korea, and Russia most recently.

Agreements can’t work unless all sides fulfill their obligations, clearly not how the US operates, notably with hardliners in change, reality under Trump.

The unnamed French official Politico quoted said Rouhani “agreed on the principles of the document, and he thanked the president because there is the explicit mention of the sanctions, (but) he wanted Trump to say before entering the meeting that he was lifting the sanctions.”

Trump publicly rejected the idea, showing his hardline position remains unchanged.

According to Politico, Rouhani reportedly said “France had prepared a plan that could be acceptable, because it was basically based on the demand that Iran must not seek nuclear weapons, which we had already said it wasn’t, requiring the US to lift all its sanctions,” adding: 

“These were the principles that the French had run by the Americans and then by us, so the principles that are being reported in newspapers around the world are right.” 

Politico unfairly criticized Iran, saying its “insistence on the US taking a first step…has consistently been a major hurdle in attempts to broker a resumption of negotiations.”

The broadsheet should have stressed that no one should negotiate with a gun at their head, along with explaining that unilaterally imposed US sanctions on any nation flagrantly violate the UN Charter.

The US, especially the Trump regime, bears full responsibility for hostile relations toward Iran, a nonbelligerent nation threatening no one.

Politico also quoted Macron’s reinvention of reality, claiming Trump can “change things — if he is convinced — very quickly, and he is not administration-driven, he decides alone and quickly,” adding: 

“President Rouhani is someone who needs to line up a whole system before negotiating. It’s almost the opposite.”

As long as US economic terrorism continues, along with falsely accusing Iran for things it had nothing to do with, Rouhani/Trump talks will accomplish nothing but further betrayal by the US.

What Politico should have explained, it ignored.

Rouhani tells US to leave region, as neighbors not outsiders can ensure own security

September 25, 2019

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Press TV

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the US has no business and is not welcome in the region and must leave it, stressing that the security of the Persian Gulf can be ensured only by neighbors not outsiders.  

“The security of the region will be provided through the pullout of American military forces and not by their weapons and intervention. The ultimate way to [achieving] peace and security in the Middle East is ‘democracy inside, diplomacy outside’,” Rouhani said in an address to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly on Wednesday.

“Security cannot be bought or provided by foreign governments. Peace, security and independence of our neighbors are that of our own. The US is not our neighbor. It is the Islamic Republic of Iran that is your neighbor … we are neighbors to each other not with the US,” he added.

He lashed out at the US for interfering in the region, which has only fueled insecurity without bringing about peace for regional countries.

“The United States is neither the advocate nor the guardian of any state. No state delegates power of attorney to other states and does not give custodianship to others,” the Iranian president said, adding, “The issues of the region are too big … for the United States to deal with. A country that has failed to resolve the issues of Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, and has been the spearhead of extremism, Talibanism and Daeshism will never be able to resolve more sophisticated issues.”

The Iranian president also warned that the Persian Gulf region is “on the edge of collapse, as a single blunder can fuel a big fire.”

“We do not tolerate provocative intervention of foreigners and shall firmly respond to any sort of act of aggression against our security and territorial integrity,” Rouhani said.

He said that Iran’s security doctrine is that of safeguarding peace and stability in the Persian Gulf and providing security for navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, adding that the safety of this vital energy route can be guaranteed provided that security becomes a common interest of all regional states.

As a steward of maritime security in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, Iran invites all countries that are affected by developments in the strategic region to join its initiative, dubbed Hormuz Peace Endeavor (HOPE), Rouhani said.

He said that the “coalition of hope” aims to promote peace, stability, progress and prosperity of littoral states and help achieve mutual understanding and establish peaceful and friendly relations among them.

“This initiative entails different sectors such as cooperation in providing collective energy security, freedom of navigation and free flow of oil and other [energy] resources from and to the countries off the Strait of Hormuz and beyond that,” Rouhani said.

He said Iran’s proposed coalition of hope is based on commitment to the UN principles and objectives, mutual respect, mutual interests, dialog and understanding, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity, peaceful resolution of conflicts and above all the two fundamental principles of “non-aggression” and “non-interference in the domestic affairs of each other.”

Before leaving for New York on Monday, Rouhani told reporters at Tehran’s Mehrabad Airport that the peace initiative is aimed at establishing long-term peace in the Persian Gulf, which he said is simply not achievable as long as outsiders are present.

According to Rouhani, the initiative will envision the provision of security for the Persian Gulf, the Sea of Oman, and the Strait of Hormuz with cooperation among Iran and other regional countries.

Rouhani’s initiative comes in response to US efforts to build up military presence in the Persian Gulf. The United States began trying to persuade its allies into a maritime coalition purportedly seeking to boost security in the Persian Gulf, after it blamed Tehran for two separate attacks on oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman in May and June, without providing any credible evidence to back up the allegation, which Iran has categorically rejected.

Iran has repeatedly warned that it would react to any attempt to undermine the security of the region or to make it difficult for the country to export its oil.

Last month, Rouhani said measures taken by some extra-regional countries, especially the United States, in the Persian Gulf region only serve to render the region’s problems more complicated and make it appear less secure in the eyes of the world.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York on September 24, 2019. (Photo by president.ir)  

Iran refuses any negotiations under sanctions

Elsewhere in his remarks, Rouhani hit out at the US for inviting Iran to talks while imposing harsh sanctions against the country.

“We cannot believe [the sincerity of] an invitation to negotiation by those who [claim to] have applied the harshest sanctions of history against the dignity and livelihood of our nation,: Rouhani said, adding that astonishingly “[committing] crimes and [imposing] pressure on the lives of 83 million Iranians, especially women and children, are welcomed by and have become a source of pride for American government officials … The Iranian nation will never ever forget and forgive these crimes and criminals.”

He said that Iran will not accept to sit at the negotiating table with the US while it was under sanctions.

“On behalf of my nation and country, I would like to announce that our response to any negotiation under sanctions is ‘no’. The government and people of Iran have remained steadfast in the face of the harshest sanctions in the past one and a half years, and will never negotiate with an enemy that seeks to force Iran to surrender through using the weapons of poverty, pressure and sanction,” Rouhani said.

He echoed remarks by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, saying the only way for talks to begin is for the US to return to its commitments, stressing, “Stop the sanctions so that a way opens for [the start of] negotiations.”

The Iranian chief executive also criticized the European signatories to the 2015 Iran deal for just playing lip service to the implementation of the agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and failing to carry out effective measures.

“It has now become clear to all that the United States turns its back on its commitments and Europe is incapable of fulfilling its commitments,” he said.

In response to the US move to leave the JCPOA and its reimposition of sanctions, Tehran has so far rowed back on its nuclear commitments three times in compliance with articles 26 and 36 of the JCPOA, but stressed that its retaliatory measures will be reversible as soon as European signatories to the accord finds practical ways to shield the mutual trade from the US sanctions.

Iran says that if it does not receive economic benefits from the JCPOA by November it will further reduce its commitments.

Tensions have been running high between Iran and the United States since May 2018, when US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from the nuclear deal, and unleashed the “toughest ever” sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Trump is a stern critic of the deal, which was clinched in 2015 by Iran and six world powers, including the United States, France, Britain, China, Russia, and Germany. Under the agreement, nuclear-related sanctions put in place against Iran were lifted in exchange for curbs on Tehran’s nuclear program.

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Yemenis Humiliated the US in the Ansarullah Aramco Operation – Rouhani

Yemenis Humiliated the US in the Ansarullah Aramco Operation - Rouhani

By Staff, Agencies

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that the Ansarullah revolutionaries were able to hit Saudi Arabia’s oil facilities due to the ineffectiveness of US anti-missile systems that were used by the kingdom.

Last week, media reports said that the US had redeployed the USS Nitze destroyer to the northeast coast of Saudi Arabia in a bid to “plug the gap” in Saudi Arabia’s air defenses that was allegedly used in the 14 September operation that targeted its oil facilities.

“In fact, the Yemenis have humiliated the United States,” Rouhani said in a comment posted on his official website, adding that in this case it is difficult to deny the weakness of the US radar and defense systems that drones and missiles could overcome.

Last week, the Yemeni Ansarullah revolutionary movement warned Saudi Arabia of new, more damaging attacks on the country’s vital facilities if Riyadh continues military action against Yemen.

On 14 September, Saudi Aramco had to close two of its oil facilities after they were hit by drones and then caught fire. The incident led to a cut in oil production totaling 5.7 million barrels per day — about half of Saudi Arabia’s daily oil output.

Following the operation, a number of countries, including Saudi Arabia itself, the US, the UK and Germany blamed the attack on Iran.

Iran denied all accusation, pointing out that the Yemeni Ansarullah movement has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Russia Helping Iran Circumvent Illegal US Sanctions

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by Stephen Lendman (stephenlendman.org – Home – Stephen Lendman)

Unilaterally imposed US sanctions against other nations have no legal validity. They’re used against governments unwilling to subordinate their sovereign rights to its interests.

Washington uses them as weapons of war by other means against nations on its target list for regime change.

In 1996, the Vienna-based International Progress Organization called sanctions “an illegitimate form of collective punishment of the weakest and poorest members of society, the infants, the children, the chronically ill, and the elderly.”

When unilaterally imposed, they violate Chapter VII of the UN Charter, authorizing the Security Council alone to intervene against member states to restore peace, stability and security.

Its members alone may impose sanctions on member states, their entities or individuals — not heads of state, legislatures or courts of any nation.

Along with wars of aggression, color revolutions, and old-fashioned coups, use of sanctions is a favorite US tactic against targeted nations — notably used against Cuba (since 1962), Iran (since 1979), Syria (since 1979), the Russian Federation (since 2014), North Korea, and China, among other countries.

They’re imposed by the US based on Big Lies and deception, the Trump regime using them more aggressively against Venezuela, North Korea, and Iran than its predecessors — aiming to crush their economies and immiserate their people into submission.

What hasn’t worked before is highly unlikely to be achieved ahead. Failure hasn’t deterred the Trump regime from continuing to use weaponized sanctions as a hammer against the rule of law, peace, equity and justice.

Throughout its history, the Islamic Republic has found ways to circumvent illegal US sanctions, including by working cooperatively with private entities and friendly nations like Russia, China, and Turkey.

Last year it was reported that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani struck an agreement with Vladimir Putin and Turkey’s Erdogan aimed at circumventing US sanctions, perhaps with China as well at the time.

Last fall, Rouhani said “(w)e will continue by all means to both produce and export” oil. It’s “in the frontline of confrontation and resistance,” adding:

“It is not strange that countries that are sanctioned find ways to dodge the sanctions.”

“The Americans should know that a country which is sanctioned would still be able to find solutions to move forward.” 

“They cannot do this because various mechanisms have been discovered to maintain Iran’s oil exports.”

Iran has been circumventing US sanctions for decades. Responding to Trump’s sanctions war, a statement in May said its oil sales will continue regardless of US tactics to block them.

On Friday, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said “Iran should have the opportunity to carry out oil exports at least approximately on a scale comparable to the period until May of last year” — when Trump pulled out of the JCPOA nuclear deal, breaching a Security Council adopted international agreement, making it binding international law.

If Brussels fails to launch its so-called Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges (INSTEX) to maintain normal economic, financial, and trade relations with Iran, Russia will help Tehran maintain its exports and circumvent US-imposed restrictions on its financial transactions — bypassing the dollar.

European officials pledged to maintain normal economic, financial, and trade relations with Iran but failed to back promises with positive actions. Russia and China consider the Islamic Republic to be a strategic partner. 

According to TankerTrackers.com, when Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was in Beijing last month for talks on “regional and international issues,” the Chinese oil tanker Pacific Bravo headed “eastward, having loaded approximately 2 million barrels of Iranian oil from the Soroosh and Kharg terminals in the Persian Gulf over the past few days,” adding:

The tanker “report(ed) its destination as Indonesia, but (it) was recently acquired by Bank of Kunlun, a financial institution that is owned by the Chinese state oil company CNPC.” 

“TankerTrackers.com believes China is the ultimate destination for the oil on board.” 

The Chinese-owned tanker was the first to load Iranian crude after the Trump regime ended waivers on the purchase of Iranian oil to designated countries.

Weeks earlier, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said his government “resolutely opposes” unilateral sanctions on Iran.

China and other countries continue normal relations with Tehran. Russian efforts to further help its ruling authorities sell crude and related products, along with conducting financial transactions by circumventing the dollar, are important ways to counter illegal US sanctions.

Imposing them failed to achieve US objectives for decades. What hasn’t worked before is unlikely to be successful ahead.

The Trump regime failed to halt construction of Russia’s Nord Stream II gas pipeline to deliver 55 billion cubic meters of low-cost natural gas to European markets when completed in late 2019 or early 2020 — at the expense of much more costly and less accessible US liquified natural gas (LNG).

Its aim to bring Iranian oil exports to zero and halt its international financial transactions failed so far and is unlikely to work ahead.

VISIT MY NEW WEB SITE: stephenlendman.org (Home – Stephen Lendman). Contact at lendmanstephen@sbcglobal.net.

 

My newest book as editor and contributor is titled “Flashpoint in Ukraine: How the US Drive for Hegemony Risks WW III.”

www.claritypress.com/LendmanIII.html

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