Imam Khamenei’s Advisor: US Attack on Iran Could Trigger ‘Full-Fledged’ Regional War

Imam Khamenei’s Advisor: US Attack on Iran Could Trigger ‘Full-Fledged’ Regional War

By Staff, Agencies

A military advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei warns that an act of military aggression by the US against Iran that could lead to an even limited conflict is likely to set off a full-scale war that would afflict other parts of the region too.

The remarks were made by Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, defense minister during Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s previous tenure and former commander of the Air Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps [IRGC]. He made the comments to the Associated Press on Wednesday that the news agency published a day later.

“A limited, tactical conflict can turn into a full-fledged war,” Dehqan said.

He, however, not only clearly distanced Iran from any intention to trigger such a conflict, but also cautioned strongly about such confrontation’s repercussions for the region and, by extension, the world.

“We don’t welcome a crisis. We don’t welcome war. We are not after starting a war,” he said.

“Definitely, the United States, the region, and the world cannot stand such a comprehensive crisis,” the military expert noted.

He, accordingly, warned against any American military escalation in President Donald Trump’s final weeks in office.

Dehqan, meanwhile, addressed the likelihood of fresh negotiations with the US and the quality that such talks could partake of.

He reminded that the US’ atrocities under Trump had made it extremely difficult for Iran to accept its return to the negotiation table. Among the rest, he referred to the US’ assassination of Iran’s senior anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani on Trump’s direct order near Baghdad airport in January.

He called the IRGC’s retaliatory missile strikes against US bases in Iraq that came almost immediately after the assassination a mere “initial slap,” and asserted that the Islamic Republic continued to seek the expulsion of all American forces from the region as revenge for the barbaric assassination.

“We do not seek a situation in which [the other party] buys time to weaken our nation,” he also said – apparently signaling that Tehran would not tolerate any American trickery in the event of any fresh talks – and said, “We are not after negotiations for the sake of negotiations either.”

Further, the advisor reiterated the country’s principled stance that its missile power is non-negotiable due to its forming part of Iran’s “deterrent” might.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will not negotiate its defensive power … with anybody under any circumstances,” Dehqan said. “Missiles are a symbol of the massive potential that is possessed by our experts, young people, and industrial centers.”

The official also warned about the “Israeli” entity’s regional expansionist ambitions that saw the regime normalizing its relations with the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, and Sudan earlier in the year. Dehqan warned that the ambitious march was a “strategic mistake” that could put Tel Aviv in a parlous state.

“It is opening an extensive front,” he said. “Just imagine every ‘Israeli’ in any military base can be a target for groups who are opposed to ‘Israel’”.

Separately, the official said the United Nations nuclear agency could keep monitoring Iran’s nuclear activities as long as no inspector is a “spy.” He was seemingly referring to a case of apparent attempted sabotage last year that came amid the US and the “Israeli” entity’s escalated attempts at demonizing Iran’s nuclear energy program.

Last November, Iran revealed that a detector for explosive nitrates had gone off at the country’s Natanz uranium enrichment plant when an inspector with the watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency, attempted to enter the facility on October 28.

Kazem Gharibabadi, Iran’s envoy to the agency, noted back then that the woman “sneaked out” to the bathroom while officials looked for a female employee to search her.

After her return, he added, the alarms did not go off again, but authorities found contamination in the bathroom and later on her empty handbag during a house search.

Trump’s 1st win gutted Iran’s moderates – will 2nd win push a military man into office?

Source

November 01, 2020

Trump’s 1st win gutted Iran’s moderates – will 2nd win push a military man into office?

By: Habib A. Abdolhossein for the Saker Blog

Habib is the editor-in-chief at PressTV, Iran’s English-language media organisation. He is an Iranian media expert and holds an M.A. in Media management from the University of Tehran.

With less than two days to the US election many Iranians are eagerly following the news, as they expect the outcome to impact their own futures.

The ultimate fate of the fragile 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, and the future of ties between Tehran and Washington truly hinge on the outcome of the November 3 vote.

US President Donald Trump left the nuclear agreement in tatters by abandoning it in May 2018. He imposed the “strongest sanctions ever” against Iran as part his “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at forcing Iran to make compromises on crucial issues, including its nuclear activities and its highly-touted missile program.

The feeling in Tehran is that Tump’s re-election would mean the continuation of the “maximum pressure” campaign. In fact, the incumbent says if he wins the vote Iran will be forced to seek a deal “within the first month” of his second term. But as his hands are still wet with the blood of Iran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, he is not the desirable option for Iran to resume talks with.

Joe Biden’s victory, on the other hand, is expected to genuinely shift US policy on Iran. In an opinion article published by CNN, Biden said if elected president he would, “offer Tehran a credible path back to diplomacy”.

Biden’s presidency could be a game-changer for Iran’s reformists and moderate politicians who are vying for a political comeback by championing enhanced relations with the West.

“If Biden becomes U.S. president and rejoins the JCPOA, Iran will get a major achievement… But if Trump is re-elected, he will continue his maximum pressure against Iran and will pose new challenges for the Iranian economy,” confirms Dr. Ahmad Naghibzadeh, Tehran University professor and a member of Executives of Construction Party, a reformist party in Iran.

Reformists, who are already under fire for their support for President Hassan Rouhani’s administration, thus consider pursuing diplomacy with Biden as a more feasible way to promote their agenda.

“The new government should take advantage of the opportunities made after the U.S. elections to normalize ties with the world and tackle the sanctions…. Reformists view power as a tool for entering into negotiations with the world,” says Seyed Hossein Marashi, spokesman of the pro-reform Kargozaran Sazandegi Party.

However, the obvious reality is that such an attitude barely strikes a chord with the general public in Iran – geopolitical concerns have been put on the back burner after years of being a regularly-discussed topic. A majority of Iranians are instead obsessed with economy, which is cracking under sanctions and the Covid-19 pandemic outbreak.

Vote of no-confidence for Reformists

Back in 2013, Rouhani swept to a landslide, first-round victory as a centrist with a campaign of “prudence and hope”. Rouhani promised to rescue the economy by ending Iran’s international isolation. Seven years on, with the economy reeling from re-imposed US sanctions, those hopes have clearly been dashed. Many of his supporters are disappointed and even outraged with Rouhani’s “empty” promises of change.

Rouhani’s victories in the 2013 and 2017 presidential elections actually had less to do with his own popularity than with a tacit alliance with the reformists. Support from key reformist figures, including ex-President Mohammad Khatami, who had pinned hopes onto Rouhani’s pro-reform pledges, played a key role.

Many voters see too big a gap between Rouhani’s campaign rhetoric and the reality of his governance. Furthermore, his performance has also inflicted a heavy toll on the popularity of moderates who threw their weight behind him.

“Rouhani was not a reformist but the reformists put their social capital on sale by supporting him…” says former MP Nasser Qavami, who believes reformists have already lost the game by supporting a non-reformist.

Reformists and other moderates now have almost no selling point to entice even their own disillusioned supporters to vote. They can no longer hope to defeat the conservatives who have already conquered parliament.

The 2020 parliamentary elections were a litmus test for moderates: With the lowest turnout since the 1979 Islamic Revolution (admittedly affected by the pandemic), reformists didn’t just lose the vote but were annihilated: they dropped from a plurality of 121 seats to just 20 seats.

Trump or Biden? Yes, it does it make a difference for Iran

Whether the incumbent Donald Trump is re-elected or his Democratic rival Joe Biden wins the White House cannot help but decisively impact Iran’s immediate foreign policy strategy because, from the point of view of moderates, the two candidates have genuinely different approaches to Iran. This runs counter to the conservatives’ view, which is that an anti-Iran policy is the only policy possible from Washington no matter who is elected.

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a key political analyst and a professor at Tehran University, believes Iran will be in a better position if Trump wins the U.S. election.

“An internationally isolated US under Trump will have little chance of gaining any serious accomplishment against Iran. But if Biden wins, he will act better in forging consensus against Iran,” Marandi asserts.

Despite his bellicose rhetoric, Trump has indicated that he doesn’t want a war with Iran, and he has employed military intervention far less than his recent predecessors. However, there is no guarantee he will follow this same strategy in his second term, worrying many.

“Since he doesn’t need voters’ support in his second term, the possibility of military confrontation with Iran increases,” suggests Afshar Soleimani, an Iranian political analyst.

With that in mind, a Trump victory may cause Iran to ultimately lean towards a more aggressive approach: ditching the landmark nuclear deal and boosting the controversial missile program. Much to the chagrin of the US, Iran is now allowed to export arms after a 13-year old ban was just lifted under the JCPOA. Houthis in Yemen and Lebanon’s Hezbollah top the list of allies whom Iran may supply with weapons.

The best option to enforce this type of a change to foreign policy could be a president who has served in the military.

Military-turned president in the making?

This should be viewed as a major strategic shift as the Islamic Republic has always had a civilian president.

“This position should be run by a strategic individual who has a better military and security expertise to take on a pivotal role in the strategic management of the country,” says Hossein Allahkaram, a conservative pundit and former IRGC officer.

There are mounting speculations that former defense minister and IRGC commander General Hossein Dehqan may run for president in the 2021 election. A senior military advisor to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, Dehqan has already served in the defense ministry in the Khatami and Rouhani administrations. He also headed the key Foundation of Martyrs and Veterans Affairs during Ahmadinejad’s first term.

But the vital question is whether Iranian society is ready to accept a military commander as president?

“This depends on the national strategy. A military president is not likely to win a landslide victory,” says reformist analyst Mohammad Sadeq Javadi Hessari. “This could be an option by conservatives to take advantage when low voter turnout is expected,” he crucially emphasizes.

Iranians have already indicated that they have great reverence for their military commanders – millions turned out in nationwide funerals and commemorations after Soleimani was killed.

For many Iranians Trump’s re-election means more tensions with the US are certain. With low voter turnout expected, a soldier-turned president could be an option unless Washington’s “maximum pressure” stops before Iran’s June 18th presidential vote.

Such a choice could even work with Biden as president: It could pressure the White House to not set impossible preconditions for returning to the JCPOA, or not attempt to keep the sanctions in place as leverage.

What’s certain is that the new US president will have little chance to negotiate a new deal with outgoing Iranian president Rouhani, whose term ends in almost eight months.

Iranians will certainly be more demanding should they enter any talks with US again. They have lost their top general Soleimani and incurred serious damages under Trump-era sanctions. They expect US compensation to be offered just to resume talks.

Opening the window of diplomacy seems to be more conceivable with Biden than Trump. The victor would be wise to remember that resistance is expected to remain an option for Iran – as usual – regardless of who is finally elected in the United States.

Iran Preparing to Unveil New Chopper, Drone and Missile-Laden Warship Capable of Reaching US Coast

13:26 GMT 10.10.2020

In this Feb. 21, 2010 photo, two clerics stand at left as Iran's Jamaran guided-missile destroyer and navy members prepare for an exercise in the Persian Gulf, along the coast of Iran.

by Ilya Tsukanov

The Islamic Republic Navy’s fleet of surface warships includes vessels ranging from small patrol boats and corvettes to Moudge-class frigates. Over the last decade, Iranian ships have made port visits to countries ranging from Syria and South Africa to China. But Tehran has yet to make good on plans to send its ships to the Western Hemisphere.

Iran is preparing to unveil a new warship capable of circumnavigating the globe three times over without refueling, enabling it to reach any point on the planet and giving Tehran a tit-for-tat capability to respond to the deployment of US warships off Iran’s coast.

Speaking to Iranian media on Saturday, Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Hossein Khanzadi revealed that the auxiliary ship, named the ‘Persian Gulf’, will be equipped with a range of weapons systems, including missiles, drones and helicopters.

The ship is expected to be formally unveiled sometime between November 21 and December 20.

According to Khanzadi, the Persian Gulf’s deployment will help ensure “defence and security stability” in the region and beyond.

The commander did not provide any more details about the Persian Gulf’s characteristics or capabilities. Last month however, he announced that the Navy would soon unveil a 231-meter-long dock ship capable of carrying up to seven choppers, as well as drones, missiles and electronic warfare equipment. It’s not clear whether the ‘Persian Gulf’ and this new dock ship are one and the same vessel.

Iran will mark Navy Day on November 28. This year, the force is expected to take delivery of several new warships, including the Dena Moudge-class frigate, the Saba minesweeper and a new class of missile boats.

Khanzadi did not specify where his force’s new ultra-long range vessel might be deployed. In recent years, Iranian warships have made port visits throughout the Middle East, East Asia and the east coast of Africa, and have taken part in anti-piracy patrols in the Gulf of Aden against Somali pirates. However, despite repeated talk of plans to sail ships further west into the Atlantic Ocean and the Western Hemisphere, Tehran has yet to do so.

Guided-missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence (DDG 110)

© WIKIPEDIA / U.S. NAVY

US Sails Warship Off Venezuela’s Coastal Waters Citing Treaty Washington Itself Hasn’t Ratified

This spring, Iran did send civilian tanker ships filled with fuel, food and supplies to sanctions-starved Venezuela, with the latest flotilla arriving in the Latin American country in late September.

Tehran has also repeatedly urged the US to stop deploying its warships in the Persian Gulf and the Middle East generally, proposing that regional powers take care of the region’s security instead. In 2019, at the UN, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani proposed the creation of a ‘Coalition of Hope’ including all nations which border on the Persian Gulf.

Late last month, after the US parked a carrier strike group in the Persian Gulf, Rouhani accused US forces in the Middle East of undermining regional stability and security, and called on all nations in the region where American troops are based to make a concerted effort to expel them.

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تقليص أجنحة الإمارات يجمع إيران وتركيا

تقليص أجنحة الإمارات يجمع إيران وتركيا - ميدل ايست نيوز بالعربي

عباس بوصفوان

الخميس 17 أيلول 2020

أتقنت الإمارات، على نحو لم يحدث من قبل، تجميع خصوم أشدّاء ضدها، يملكون مشروعاً وطنياً يرتكز على القومية، والإسلام، والتاريخ المديد المتعدد الطبقات، وسردية دستورية تستند إلى بُعدَي الجمهورية (البعد الشعبي والانتخابات، على علاتها) والدين في شكله الشيعي أو السني، وعقيدة سياسية ذات قوام ناعم قابلة للنمذجة والتصدير والجذب، وموقعاً استراتيجياً، وغنى ثقافياً، وعدداً سكانياً ضخماً، وقوة اقتصادية ذاتية، وعتاداً عسكرياً يحسب له ألف حساب، وحلفاء عقائديين، وحضوراً عالمياً… وكذا تحديات جمّة تجعل من الإمارات الصغيرة غير قادرة على إزعاج النّمرين الآسيويين الصاعدين.

أهداف طهران وتركيا

يبدو أن ما يشغل طهران وأنقرة، بعد التطبيع الإماراتي مع الاحتلال الإسرائيلي، ليس الدخول مع الإمارة الصغيرة الطموحة في حرب ساخنة، فذاك ما تكرهه إيران، التي تجيد القيادة من الخلف. وهو أمر تعلّمته تركيا، في ما يبدو، في تدخلها المثير للجدل في ليبيا، لكن «المتوازن» إن صح القول مقارنة بتدخلها الفج والقبيح والدموي في سوريا.
الأرجح أن الدولتين المسلمتين الكبيرتين، ستضعان الخطط الساعية إلى تقليص أجنحة الإمارات، بما يعيد الدولة الخليجية الفتية الغنية إلى ما كانت عليه تقليدياً، من سوق تجارية كبرى، لا خصماً سياسياً متقدماً، ولا موطئ قدم للمخابرات المعادية، ولا منصّة لإطلاق النار، ولا مقراً لتغذية النزاعات الإقليمية، ولا بؤرة للتناحر الإقليمي والدولي، وإن احتفظت لنفسها بموقع المنبر الإعلامي المعادي فذاك من الأمور المتفهمة. ولا شك في أن هذا الموضوع كان في صلب النقاش الإيراني التركي في الاجتماع الذي التأم افتراضياً قبل أيام، ودعا فيه الرئيس روحاني نظيره التركي إردوغان إلى موقف مشترك من التطبيع الإماراتي.

التطبيع إيرانياً وتركياً

تستثمر كل من إيران وتركيا الكثير في القضية الفلسطينية، بعدما أدركت أنقرة أن نفوذ طهران عميق بين فصائل المقاومة، في وقت يظهر فيه الخطاب السعودي – الإماراتي رغبة متزايدة في إسدال الستار على قضية العرب الأولى. بيد أنه يجدر أن نلحظ فارقاً نوعياً بين مقاربة طهران مقارنة بأنقرة في موضوع إسرائيل، ووجودها في المنطقة، وتالياً إرساء علاقات دبلوماسية معها، وخصوصاً في الوقت الراهن، حيث يتنافس محور تركيا – قطر – «الإخوان» من جهة، مع محور السعوديين والإماراتيين والمصريين من جهة أخرى، على كسب ود أميركا، الحاضن الرئيسي للاحتلال. يفرض ذلك على تركيا، التي تملك علاقة دبلوماسية قديمة مع تل أبيب، وقطر التي سبق لها أن استقبلت مكتباً إسرائيلياً في قلب الدوحة، أن لا يظهرا رفضاً مبدئياً لوجود الكيان الإسرائيلي والتطبيع معه.

يحرص المحور التركي على تمييز مساره عن المحور السعودي


يحرص المحور التركي على إبراز معارضته للتطبيع استناداً إلى رفض إسرائيل الإقرار بالحقوق الفلسطينية، كما يحرص على تمييز مساره عن المحور السعودي، المتحالف هو الآخر مع واشنطن. تظهر قناة «الجزيرة»، «توازناً» لافتاً بين مختلف الآراء، فلا تعطي وقتاً أوسع للأصوات المعبرة عن موقف مبدئي للاحتلال، بل تمنح متسعاً عريضاً للمثقفين العرب «المعتدلين»، الداعين إلى تسوية مع إسرائيل تفضي إلى التطبيع، وأولئك الذين يبررون العلاقة معها، حتى من دون تسوية.
السعوديون يسعون، من جهتهم، إلى القول بأنهم أقرب إلى أميركا، بيد أن القطري والتركي نجحا في السنوات الماضية في شد عصب العلاقة مع واشنطن، وحتى واشنطن ترامب، الأقرب إلى السعودي. من ناحيتها، تعتقد إيران وحلفاوها أن المنطقة لن تبلغ مستوى الاستقلال الحقيقي إلا بإخراج القوات الأميركية، التي تتحالف معها تركيا وقطر. أمّا إسرائيل، فهي إيرانياً قاعدة أميركية متقدمة، وجب اجتثاثها، ولمّا كان من الصعب أن تقوم إيران مباشرة بذلك، فإنها تحتضن ما بات يعرف بحركات المقاومة، التي تهدد الكيان وتحشره في الزاوية.

ما الذي أجّج الخلافات؟

ما يجعل الأتراك والإيرانيين يرفعون الصوت عالياً تجاه أبو ظبي، هو مضيّ الأخيرة في رفع عقيرتها إلى درجة إرسال طائرات للمشاركة في مناورات يونانية، موجهة ضد تركيا، والمضيّ – بالمقابل – في إرساء علاقة متينة مع تل أبيب، موجهة ضد طهران. اعتاد الطرفان التركي والإماراتي أن يتصادما في ليبيا وسوريا ومصر، لكن الإمارات تمضي بعيداً حين تنقل الصراع إلى حدود أنقرة، كما على حدود قطر. وطالما اصطدم الإماراتي والإيراني في اليمن ولبنان والعراق والبحرين، لكن إدخال أبو ظبي إسرائيل على خط المواجهة يفرض على طهران تعاملاً مختلفاً.
سمعنا تنديداً من إردوغان وروحاني بالإماراتيين، والتقديرات المرجحة أن أبو ظبي ستضطر، على الأرجح، ولو في هذه الفترة التجريبية، إلى دعوة إسرائيل وأميركا إلى أن لا تحوّلا المدينة التجارية إلى منصة عسكرية موجّهة نحو إيران، بيد أن ذلك لن يطمئن طهران إلا بعد أن تتحول الفرضية إلى واقع، وإلا باتت «المدينة التي من زجاج» هدفاً إيرانياً مشروعاً.
ولا ننسى أن الحصار ضدّ قطر وإيران وتركيا يجمعها ضد الإمارات، التي يعني تحجيمها تحجيم الرياض.

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Iran’s response to any move by Mossad in region will include UAE, says aide to parliament speaker

Source

September 7, 2020 – 21:50

TEHRAN – In a clear warning to the United Arab Emirates, Hussein Amir-Abdollahian, the special aide to the speaker of the Iranian Parliament on international affairs, said Iran’s response to any provocative move by the Israeli intelligence services would include the UAE.

“Since the UAE disclosed the normalization of its relations with the fake regime of Israel, Iran’s response to any overt or covert move by Israel’s Mossad spy agency or their agents in the Islamic Republic or the region will not be directed at the Zionist entity only, but the UAE will also be part of the response,” Amir-Abdollahian told al-Alam news network.

The special aide was referring to a recent U.S.-brokered normalization deal between the UAE and Israel, which was announced on August 13 during a ceremony at the White House attended by senior U.S. officials including President Donald Trump.

Under the deal, officially known as the Abraham Accords, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed Bin Zayed “agreed to the full normalization of relations between Israel and the United Arab Emirates,” according to a joint statement issued by the U.S., Israel and the UAE.

The two leaders have also “committed to the exchange of embassies and ambassadors, and to begin cooperation in a broad range of fields including education, healthcare, trade, and security,” the White House said in a statement on August 13.

Amir-Abdollahian said the UAE has not only endangered its security by cooperating with Israel, but it also has put the security of the whole region in danger, including the security of both energy supply routes and the Islamic Republic of Iran.

“Netanyahu has treated the leaders of the Emirates so derogatorily that he felt the entire Emirates was like a Zionist settlement that he was going to unveil. This is a humiliation that was brought about by Mohammad bin Zayed to the people of the Emirates and the people of the entire region. We strongly deplore this. And we really hope that the sages of the Emirates change tack,” Amir-Abdollahian said.
 
He also warned Saudi Arabia against cooperation with Israel, saying his warning to the UAE also applies to Saudi Arabia.

The Saudis have committed a “big betrayal” to the cause of Palestine by opening their airspace to an Israeli airline to fly over Saudi Arabia en route to the UAE, Amir-Abdollahian noted, referring to the first direct commercial flight operated by the Israeli airline El Al between Israel and the UAE on August 31.


‘disintegration plot’

The special aide warned that the Israelis sought to normalize relations with Arab countries to gain broad access to Arab and Muslim countries to disintegrate the region’s countries including the UAE itself.
 
The Israelis want to carry out their “big Zionists plot,” which aims to disintegrate the region as soon as possible, said Amir-Abdollahian, adding that Israel plans to partition even a small country like the UAE.

“Saudi Arabia will conclude from its relationship with the Zionist entity that the U.S.-Zionist plots to disintegrate Saudi Arabia will be implemented faster, and there is a similar view about the UAE as well. You might say that the UAE is not a big country, but the Zionists want, through their secret plots, to divide the UAE into seven separate states or regions, and this is what they have sought to achieve in recent years against Iran, Iraq, Syria, and even Egypt and Turkey,” the Iranian official warned.

Iran has strongly criticized the UAE for deciding to sign the normalization deal with Israel to normalize ties with Tel Aviv, calling it a “strategic stupidity” and a “treason” against the Palestinians.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers this ‘shameful’ action of Abu Dhabi in normalizing ties with the fake, anti-human and illegitimate Zionist regime a dangerous action and warns about any interference of the Zionist regime in equations of the Persian Gulf region and announces that the government of the Emirates and other accompanying governments must admit responsibility for consequences of this action,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry said in a statement on August 14.

Iranian high-ranking officials including President Hassan Rouhani has warned the UAE against giving Israel a stronghold on Iran’s doorstep, a move that could further ratchet up tensions between Iran and the UAE.

“They thought that if they approach the Zionist regime, their security and economy would be ensured, while this is wrong and 100% condemned, and it is a clear betrayal to the Palestinian people, the cause of al-Quds and Muslims,” the presidential website quoted President Rouhani as saying, days after the UAE announced the normalization deal with Israel.

“The rulers of the United Arab Emirates should know that they have gone in the wrong direction if they think that they can buy security for themselves by getting closer to the enemies of Islam and Iran,” the president said, warning that “unfortunately, the United Arab Emirates has made a big mistake and we hope it would change its wrong tack. We warn them against giving Israel a foothold in the region, then they will be treated differently.”

In a separate warning to the UAE, Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hussein Bagheri also warned that the UAE would bear the responsibility for any harm to the national interest of Iran. He said that Iran will fundamentally change its approach toward the UAE.

“Definitely, the Iranian nation’s approach towards this neighboring state [the UAE] will change fundamentally, and the Islamic Republic’s Armed Forces will also deal with that country according to different calculations,” the top general warned.

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Analyst expects Hezbollah to play a constructive role in Gov. formation

By Mohammad Mazhari

September 5, 2020 – 23:16

TEHRAN – Ghassan Javad, a Lebanese analyst, expects Hezbollah to contribute constructively information of a new government in Lebanon based on “the resistance’s understanding of the Lebanese reality and necessity of Lebanese consensus.”

On the role of Hezbollah in the next Lebanese government, French President Emmanuel Macron has said that Hezbollah is a political group that has the right to be in power.

Contrary to all comments that say Hezbollah should be eliminated from the Lebanese decision-making process, the French think that the party has a meaningful social base in Lebanon.

The French push for a systematic involvement of Hezbollah in Lebanese institutions, believing that it will be in the interest of the country and other groups.

The Lebanese analyst tells the Tehran Times that Hezbollah will be a participant in the next government and will help prepare the conditions to form a national unity government.

“Of course, Hezbollah will have a constructive role in the process of forming a new government in Lebanon, based on the resistance’s understanding of the Lebanese reality and necessity of Lebanese consensus,” Javad points out.

After naming the Lebanese prime minister on August 31, Macron said in Beirut that the Lebanese political groups had pledged to form a new government headed by Mustafa Adib within 15 days.

He warned about the consequences of a failure by the Lebanese parties to fulfill what they had pledged by the end of October.

Javad underlines that it was clear that there was a great French effort to form a national unity government or national consensus government.

“This government is a salvation government, and its mission is to unify the Lebanese to contain the economic, social, financial, and political crises that we are living in,” Javad remarks.

Macron added in a press conference that he had contacted his Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, and international leaders to discuss ways of helping Lebanon, explaining that he felt these leaders had a will to allow Lebanon to follow its path.

In fact, Macron’s domain of activities has been very wide, starting from Iran, which was flexible in response to efforts to form a new government, and Hezbollah, which responded positively to what the French president has proposed and its willingness to cooperate based on a set of considerations.

On the other hand, some Lebanese observers believe that the French try to exploit the shock caused by the Beirut blast and take the initiative when the Americans are busy with their elections.

Javad confirms that there was a French pressure on the Lebanese factions to form a government of national unity, or at the very least, a government supported by a vast majority of political groups.

 According to Lebanese media outlets, there was a meeting between the Lebanese political blocs to reach a consensus about the next prime minister, and this matter was evident

during the visit of the French leader to Lebanon.

“In his meetings with the Lebanese politicians and officials, Macron insisted on French interests and concerns in Lebanon, pointing to French-Iranian and French-American convergence there,” the Lebanese analyst says.

Javad notes that “apparently there is no objection by the United States and regional countries to the French role on the basis of consensus at this difficult historical phase.”

Responding to a question about the possibility of a fundamental change in Lebanon’s political structure, the Lebanese analyst believes that “we need a completely new political structure, but there will be a transitional phase and preparation for the parliamentary elections.”

 “Afterwards, it is possible to talk about a move towards a new political system and a new political formula. Currently, we are in a transitional phase, and of course, Lebanon needs an internal and external consensus in order to move towards political stability,” according to Javad.

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Velayati: “Israel’s” Disintegration to Speed Up after Normalization

Velayati: “Israel’s” Disintegration to Speed Up after Normalization

By Staff, Agencies

A senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said normalization between “Israel” and the United Arab Emirates serves to further galvanize the regional peoples against the occupying regime, thus bringing its ultimate disintegration closer.

Ali Akbar Velayati, who advises the Leader on foreign policy matters, made the remarks in a statement on Saturday in his capacity as secretary general of the World Assembly of Islamic Awakening. The body was formed after the 2010 protests that sprung in Tunisia before spreading throughout much of the Arab world, toppling several tyrannical rulers.

The United Arab Emirates and the “Israeli” entity announced a deal enabling eventual full normalization of their relations on Thursday. It was met with uniform condemnation of all Palestinian factions, who called it a stab in the back of the Palestinians and sheer betrayal of their cause.

Velayati called the agreement “ignominious and reprehensible.” The deal would only result in Abu Dhabi’s isolation, alienation from the rest of the international Muslim nation, and engender such level of Islamic awakening among the regional peoples that “will precipitate the Zionist regime’s disintegration,” he added.

Velayati stated that historically, since the “occupation” of Palestinian and other Arab territories by the “Israeli” entity, all of Tel Aviv’s victories were owed to a “lack of alignment and necessary cooperation within the Arab world” as well as to “some Arab states’ clandestine collaboration with the global arrogant powers and the Zionist lobby”. He added that the situation was balanced following Iran’s Islamic Revolution in 1979.

The official said that the removal of the country’s US-backed and “Israel”-allied former regime of Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi “invited a new phase in the developments that concerned Palestine, and the course of the [regional] resistance tipped the balance of power in favor of the oppressed people of Palestine”.

Velayati said that the entity’s biggest ally, the US, suffered a “terrible defeat” after its failure to adopt the so-called “Deal of the Century”, which would have granted the entity another large part of Palestinian lands on the occupied West Bank, suggested by Trump earlier this year. He also argued that the Trump administration failed to “break down the axis of resistance in Iran, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen”.

The advisor called on Muslim nations across the world to “openly condemn” the UAE-“Israel” deal and to “spare no effort until the final victory of the Palestinian cause, i.e. disintegration and fall of the usurping Zionist government.”

On Saturday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani fiercely denounced the UAE-“Israeli” normalization attempt as a “huge mistake” and a betrayal of the Muslim and Arab world, arguing that the move was made primarily to support Trump’s November re-election bid.

“They [the UAE] have committed a huge mistake, a treacherous act. We hope they will realise this and abandon this wrong path,” Rouhani said in a televised speech on Saturday. “Why then did it happen now? If it weren’t a wrong deal, why was it then announced in a third country, in America? So a gentleman in Washington wins votes, you betray your country, your people, Muslims and the Arab world?”

تركيا تقدّم عرضاً لروسيا وإيران

ناصر قنديل

بعد اجتماعات القمّة الافتراضية التي ضمّت الرؤساء الروسي فلاديمير بوتين والإيراني الشيخ حسن روحاني والتركي رجب أردوغان، سادت أجواء إيجابية حول إمكانية تغيير في السلوك التركي في شمال غرب سورية ومحوره حسم مصير الجماعات المسلّحة هناك. وربط الكثيرون بين هذه التوقعات والاهتمام التركيّ بالمواجهة في ليبيا بعد الموقف المصري واحتمالات تطوره باتجاه تدخل عسكري، سيجعل من الصعب مواجهته من دون الخروج التركي من سورية، سواء للحاجة لدعم روسي إيراني أوسع سياسياً يستدعي خطوة بحجم الانسحاب من سورية، أو نظراً للحاجات الميدانية التي ستفرضها المواجهة وما تتطلّبه من نقل كل القوات الموجودة في سورية إلى ليبيا، لكن بعض التحليلات تحدثت عن شيء أكبر ومضمونه عرض تركيّ قدّمه الرئيس أردوغان لكل من روسيا وإيران.

يرتكز العرض التركي على قاعدتين، الأولى الإقرار التركيّ بصراع مفتوح على زعامة سنّة العالم الإسلامي مع السعودية وطلب الدعم الروسي الإيراني لتركيا على قاعدة كشف قدّمه أردوغان عن فشل رهانات موسكو وطهران على مساعي التقرّب من الرياض التي تناصبهما العداء وتنفذ سياسات أميركيّة صرفة، بخلاف تركيا التي تراعي المصالح الروسية والإيرانية ولو ترتّبت عليها مسافة واسعة عن السياسات الأميركية وتحمّل تبعات ذلك، الثاني الاستعداد لرسم مسافة تركية أوسع من العلاقة بالأميركيين تراعي حدود طلبات روسية وإيرانية مثل عدم ربط البقاء في سورية بالبقاء الأميركي، وبالتوازي الاستعداد لمسافة موازية من العلاقة مع كيان الاحتلال في ضوء صفقة القرن ونيات ضمّ الضفة الغربية، والتعاون مع إيران بمساعدة قطر لدعم حركة حماس وتعزيز صمود قطاع غزة أمام الضغوط “الإسرائيليّة”.

المقابل الذي يطلبه الأتراك وفقاً لعرض أردوغان، هو إضافة للتعاون التركيّ السوريّ الروسي الإيراني لإنهاء دويلة الجماعات الكرديّة المسلحة في شرق سورية، فتح الساحات التي تملك روسيا وإيران قدرة التأثير فيها أمام تنمية نفوذ تركيّ في البيئة السنيّة التي تسيطر عليها السعودية، خصوصاً أن تنظيم الأخوان المسلمين موجود بصيغ مختلفة في هذه البيئات، من لبنان إلى العراق وليبيا وسواها، ويتضمّن العرض استعداد أردوغان لضمان عدم تخطّي هذه الجماعات لسقوف يتفق عليها حسب خصوصيّة كل ساحة. وتقول التحليلات إن الرئيس الروسي الذي وعد بالسعي لترتيب لقاءات سوريّة تركيّة بدعم إيراني، أبدى حذراً مشتركاً مع الرئيس الإيرانيّ من اعتبار فتح الباب لدور الأخوان المسلمين في سورية ممكناً في ظل موقف حاسم لسورية من هذا الطرح، بالإضافة لحذر الرئيس بوتين من التورّط في صراع مصريّ تركيّ ترغب موسكو بلعب دور الوسيط وليس الطرف فيه.

المشكلة وفقاً للتحليلات المذكورة، أن السياسات السعوديّة وبنسبة معينة المواقف المصرية، خير نصير لعرض أردوغان. فالسعودية تنضبط بمواقف أميركية و”إسرائيلية” عدائية نسبياً لروسيا ولإيران أكثر، وتقدّم جغرافيتها ونفطها وإعلامها كأدوات لهذه السياسات، ومصر تورطت بخط لنقل الغاز بالتعاون مع كيان الاحتلال نحو أوروبا لمنافسة الغاز الروسي، بينما تشارك تركيا روسيا خطها الأوروبيّ، ونجم عن تدخلها في ليبيا عرقلة الخط المصري – “الإسرائيلي”. وتقول هذه التحليلات إن العقبات التي تعترض طريق الطرح التركي ربما تنخفض أهميتها إذا ارتفع منسوب التصعيد في المنطقة، وتورّطت السعودية في سياسات العداء والتجاهل أكثر وأكثر، خصوصاً أن العروض التركية تتضمن توظيف قدرات قطر المالية للمساهمة في حل بعض الأزمات المالية في لبنان والعراق وفلسطين وسورية.

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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