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

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

Global Research, December 09, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tehran, via government spokesman Ali Rabiei, is adamant:

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

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

Soleimani for President?

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

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

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

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

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

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

‘Counter-pressure’

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

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

Khamenei, earlier this month, was adamant:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

Featured image is from OneWorld

Bloomberg: Gulf States Are Backpedaling on Iran

Bloomberg: Gulf States Are Backpedaling on Iran

Source

By Staff, Bloomberg

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Global Research, November 26, 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Meanwhile,

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

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

All about distrust

Then came Trump’s fateful May 2018 decision:

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

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

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

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

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

Zarif made the prediction that

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

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

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

Time for HOPE

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

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

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

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

Age of hegemony gone

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

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

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

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

Zarif inevitably had to evoke Mike Pompeo:

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

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

Zarif went all in:

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

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

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

This article was originally published on Asia Times.

Pepe Escobar is a frequent contributor to Global Research.

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

Iran revives gasoline rationing scheme, what to expect

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

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

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

Energy subsidies

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

The new scheme

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

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

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

Implementation and outcomes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

EF/MA

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Iran Overcomes the US-led Plot to Destabilize the Country

Iran riots

Iran riots

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Transcript of the English translation of the above report:

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

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

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

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

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

Iran riots a US plot to destabilize the country

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

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

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

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

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

End of the transcript.

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

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

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

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

Press Tv

Monday, 18 November 2019 2:36 PM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press TV

Sun Nov 10, 2019 10:38AM

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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