Iran Will Respond in Kind to Any Measure Against Its National Security

July 18, 2022 

By Staff, Agencies

A senior Iranian diplomat said the Islamic Republic will respond in kind to any measure against its national security from any neighboring country, in a veiled reference to the countries that have normalized their relations with the ‘Israeli’ occupation regime.

“Targeting our security from neighboring countries will be met with a response to those countries and a direct response to ‘Israel’,” Kamal Kharrazi, the head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations, warned in an interview with Al Jazeera news network published on Sunday.

Tehran has emphasized that it pursues a policy of improving relations with neighboring countries, while at the same time making it clear that the countries, which are normalizing their relations with ‘Israel’ and allowing the occupying regime to establish a foothold in the region, are betraying the Palestinian cause and bringing instability to the region.

Kharrazi, however, said ‘Israel’ is in a phase of weakness and US President Joe Biden’s support for the regime would fail to bring it back to the fore.

Kharrazi said Iran has carried out extensive military drills to demonstrate its capability to hit targets deep inside the ‘Israeli’ occupation entity in the event “Iran’s vital and sensitive facilities are targeted.”

During the interview, Kharrazi, an ex-foreign minister, also said Tehran calls for launching regional talks to be attended by important countries such as Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar, and other states.

He noted that Qatar has made important proposals on holding dialog among regional countries and that Tehran has expressed its full readiness in this regard.

The sole solution to regional crises, according to the senior diplomat, is the formation of a regional dialog forum in order to find settlements to political and security disputes among regional countries.

Kharrazi also welcomed recent remarks by Saudi officials about extending a hand of friendship to Iran, saying Tehran is ready to enter into dialog with Riyadh in order to restore bilateral relations to normalcy.

he also rejected allegations that Iran has intentions to make nuclear weapons, saying this is while the Islamic Republic possesses the technical capabilities, such as increasing the level of uranium enrichment from 20 percent to 60 percent.

The diplomat dismissed any possibility of talks about “our missile program and our regional policies,” saying any negotiation on the two subjects would mean submission to the enemy.

Regarding the indirect negotiations with the United States to revive the 2015 Iran deal, he said it is difficult to conduct a direct dialog with Washington in light of a thick wall of mistrust due to hostile US policies toward the Islamic Republic.

He added that there are no guarantees that the US would continue to honor the Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], if the deal is restored, and “this prevents any possible agreement.”

Iran and the US concluded two days of indirect talks, mediated by the European Union, in the Qatari capital of Doha late last month in an attempt to break the stalemate in reviving the JCPOA.

At the end of the talks, Iran and the EU, which plays a mediatory role, said they would keep in touch “about the continuation of the route and the next stage of the talks.”

The talks in Doha followed seven rounds of inconclusive negotiations in the Austrian capital of Vienna, as the US insisted on refusing to undo its so-called maximum pressure policy against Tehran.

China Reaffirms Refusal to Comply with US Sanctions on Iran

July 8, 2022

China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Zhao Lijian expressed on Thursday during a press conference his comments regarding the imposed US sanctions on a network of Chinese, Emirati, and other companies that are accused of helping to deliver and sell Iranian petroleum and petrochemical products to East Asia.

He said, “China has always been firmly opposed to illegal and unjustifiable unilateral sanctions and so-called long-arm jurisdiction by the US. We urge the US side to abandon the wrong practice of resorting to sanctions at every turn and contribute positively to negotiations on resuming compliance with the JCPOA.”

He added that “the international community, including China, has conducted normal cooperation with Iran within the framework of international law. This is reasonable and lawful without harm done to any third party, and deserves to be respected and protected.”

The reinstatement of US sanctions after Donald Trump’s 2018 withdrawal from the Vienna Nuclear Agreement plunged Iran into a very difficult economic situation (9.5% drop in GDP in 2019) and prompted it to get closer to China. Spectacularly, bilateral trade increased from $4 billion in 2003 to $51.8 billion in 2014, making Beijing Tehran’s leading economic partner (25% of total trade in 2019-2020).

This privileged relationship resulted in the signing, in March 2021, of a trade agreement of 400 billion dollars for a period of 25 years between the two countries, the strategic “Lion-Dragon deal.” This alliance was also militarily expressed through the sale of arms, as well as joint naval maneuvers alongside Russia. This new Sino-Iranian proximity is reshuffling the cards in the Middle East. It also weighs on Chinese relations with “Israel” with whom Beijing had heated its exchanges in recent years.

Source: Iranian media (edited by Al-Manar English Website)

Talks on Iran’s Nuclear Program to begin on Tuesday in Qatar – Reports

27 Jun 2022

Source: Agencies

By Al Mayadeen English 

Iran’s Foreign Ministry revealed that JCPOA talks would resume on Tuesday in Doha, Qatar.

Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program to lift US sanctions will begin on Tuesday in Qatar.

Negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program will begin on Tuesday in Qatar, according to the IRNA news agency, citing an Iranian Foreign Ministry source.
 
“Negotiations on Iran’s nuclear program to lift US sanctions will begin on Tuesday in Qatar,” the source told IRNA.

Since 2018, when then-US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from it and began reimposing harsh economic sanctions on Iran, the nuclear deal has been hanging by a thread.

Although US President Joe Biden’s administration has sought to return to the agreement, saying it is the best way forward with the Islamic republic, it has expressed growing pessimism in recent weeks.

The talks, according to Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh, will take place “in an Arabian Gulf country in the coming days, later this week” and will focus on the lifting of US sanctions.

Separately, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported, citing an unnamed foreign ministry source, that Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator Ali Bagheri would visit Qatar on Tuesday for “negotiations on lifting sanctions,” and that the US-Iran indirect talks would take place there.

A State Department spokesperson in Washington confirmed that the talks would take place this week in the Gulf.

“We are prepared to immediately conclude and implement the deal we negotiated in Vienna for mutual return to full implementation of the JCPOA,” he said, referring to the deal’s formal name, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action.

Khatibzadeh voiced hope for “positive results” from the talks.

Exclusive: Qatar may host indirect talks between Washington and Iran

Seyed Mohammad Marandi, A media advisor to the Iranian nuclear team, said earlier to Al Mayadeen on Monday, that Qatar will host indirect talks between Iran and the United States regarding reviving the 2015 nuclear agreement.

Speaking with Al Mayadeen, Marandi stated that Qatar is one of the options offered to host indirect negotiations between Iran and the US.

During EU Foreign Policy Chief Josep Borrell’s visit to Iran, Tehran and Brussels are discussing the location for the coming JCPOA talks.

According to reports, Borrell had stated that Vienna would not host the next talks. “Talks between Iran, the United States, and European Union will not take place in Vienna because talks will not happen in US+P4+1 format,” Borrell said.

He explained that the negotiations will be held in the coming days and that they will be similar to the indirect negotiations between Iran and the US in Vienna.

Iran After Strong, Sustainable Deal in JCPOA Talks: Shamkhani

June, 26, 2022

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani reaffirmed Tehran’s push for a strong, sustainable and reliable agreement in the talks for saving the 2015 nuclear deal and lifting the anti-Iranian sanctions.

In a meeting with the European Union foreign policy chief, Josep Borrell, held in Tehran on Saturday, Shamkhani slammed Europe’s inaction and the US’s lack of commitment to its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

“Iran’s remedial measures in the nuclear sector are merely a legal and rational reaction to US unilateralism and Europe’s inaction and will continue as long as the West’s illegal practices persist,” he stated.

Shamkhani noted that the illegal withdrawal of the US from the HCPOA has caused the Iranian nation to lose trust in the West and Washington.

“We have fulfilled all our commitments under the JCPOA and have never left the negotiating table and we are still looking for a strong, lasting and reliable agreement,” the top security official said.

Shamkhani emphasized that the removal of illegal sanctions and full and lasting realization of the economic benefits of the JCPOA are Iran’s main objectives in engaging in the talks with the P4+1 group of countries.

“Iran does not favor an agreement that fails to meet the two above-mentioned principles in providing a reliable guarantee from the US and Europe,” he said.

He emphasized that the participants in the Vienna talks failed to reach a final agreement on the JCPOA revival because of the US’ contradictory behavior and its sticking to threats and sanctions.

“The language of force cannot be used in addressing a country that has overcome the most difficult conditions of sanctions with vigorous resistance and the sympathy and support of its people,” the SNSC secretary said, Press TV reported.

The senior EU diplomat, for his part, said the possible JCPOA revival under the current global circumstances can be regarded as a very important security achievement in the international system.

Borrell criticized Trump for pulling the United States out of the multilateral agreement and said all the parties to the JCPOA must look ahead to the future to reach a good final deal.

Pointing to his talks with US officials before traveling to Tehran, he added that the administration of Joe Biden is keen to reach an agreement on the JCPOA revival.

Negotiations have been held in the Austrian capital of Vienna since April last year to restore the JCPOA, which was ditched by former US president Donald Trump in May 2018.

In quitting the agreement, Trump unleashed what he called the “maximum pressure” campaign to bring Iran to its knees. Tehran maintains that the policy has failed dismally. The Biden administration agrees, yet it has not taken any tangible steps to deliver on its promise of repealing the policy.

Related Articles

Israel Murders Iranians While Biden Kills the Iran Deal

June 23, 2022

By Connor Freeman | The Libertarian Institute |

In a clear message to Tehran, an American B-52 flew over the Persian Gulf as soon as Joe Biden entered the White House. Biden promised to return the U.S. to the Iran nuclear deal. But indirect talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which began last April, have stalled for three months without a resolution in sight. Counting on the reliable support of Biden and bipartisan Iran hawks in Congress, the nuclear-armed Israeli apartheid regime intends to kill the deal entirely.

Tehran, a decades-long signatory of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, is neither seeking nor has ever sought nuclear weapons. But the Islamic Republic, once Tel Aviv’s “best friend,” serves as Israel’s favorite boogeyman, superficially justifying billions of dollars in American military aid each year. The JCPOA threatens the racket.

Formally known for years as “Israel’s man in Washington,” President Biden is essentially pursuing ultra-Zionist Donald Trump’s foreign policy regarding Iran and supporting, tacitly or otherwise, Tel Aviv’s relentless attacks against Iran and its allies. Biden is continuously imposing yet more sanctions, increasing the “Maximum Pressure” on the economically crippled Iranian people.

The rial has hit all-time lows. With a population of 82 million, almost half of all Iranians live below the poverty line, and inflation is somewhere between 40-50%.

America’s self-styled sanctions artists delight in seeing the results of their economic war on Iran: excess deathssevere medical shortagesprohibitively high prices for staple goodsplummeting incomesand social unrest over food costs.

This year, Tel Aviv has been bombing Syria, Tehran’s ally, at the usual weekly rate. A recent strike, coming from the illegally occupied Golan Heights, attacked Damascus International Airport. The airstrike targeted the facility’s only working runway Israel had not yet destroyed, rendering the airport temporarily inoperable.

Shortly afterwards, The Wall Street Journal put out a story confirming that Tel Aviv coordinates with the Pentagon on many of its strikes in Syria.

The Israelis just wrapped up month-long war drills, the largest held in decades, aimed squarely at Tehran. Exercises over the Mediterranean Sea, with over 100 aircraft and navy submarines, spanned 10,000 kilometers and were designed to simulate repeated airstrikes on Iran and their civilian nuclear facilities.

Early reports were that the U.S. Air Force would participate, providing refueling planes, but this reportedly did not come to pass. Although General Michael Kurilla, the new head of U.S. Central Command (CENTCOM), observed some of these Chariots of Fire exercises.

On May 22, 2022, the Israelis carried out a high profile assassination of a senior colonel in the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Col. Hassan Sayyad Khodaei. Shortly afterwards, citing an unnamed intelligence official, The New York Times reported Tel Aviv had informed Washington that it was responsible. Israel’s attacks seem to be primarily focused on the Iranians’ drone program, namely killing people who work on drone technology and attacking related sites.

As Dave DeCamp, Antiwar.com news editor, reported,

Israel was immediately suspected of the assassination since it has a history of carrying out targeted killings and other attacks inside Iran. Israel rarely officially acknowledges such operations, and it’s typical that its responsibility is revealed by leaks to the media, often by Israeli officials.

Israeli officials claimed to the Times that Khodaei was in charge of a secret covert IRGC group known as Unit 840, which Iran denies exists. The Israelis claim Khodaei was involved in plots to kill and kidnap Israeli civilians and officials around the world, but there’s no evidence Tehran was planning to target Israelis abroad.

Two people affiliated with the IRGC told the Times that Khodaei was a logistics officer who played a key role in transporting drone and missile technology to Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon and advised militias in Syria. Iran has said Khodaei was involved in the fight against ISIS in Iraq and Syria.

Israel is suspected to have subsequently poisoned and murdered two Iranian scientists including Ayoub Entezari, an aerospace engineer, who reportedly worked on missile and drone projects, and Kamran Aghamolaei, a geologist.

Last month, a few dozen miles south of Tehran, quadcopter suicide drones attacked the Parchin military complex. The drones hit a building being used for drone development and killed a young engineer. In February, Israel used six quadcopter drones in a strike targeting another Iranian drone facility in Kermanshah which did significant damage. In Tabriz, there were reports of another Israeli attack on a drone factory, as many as three people may have been killed. This month, two additional IRGC members also working in the aerospace industry died during mysterious accidents in Iran. Both deaths were declared “martyrdoms.”

In the midst of these soaring tensions, Robert Malley, Biden’s Iran envoy, is telling Congress “all options are on the table.”

The U.S. Senate overwhelmingly voted to pass a non-binding resolution which insists they would never support a restoration of the JCPOA if the IRGC were removed from the Foreign Terrorist Organization (FTO) blacklist. The FTO designation is ostensibly one of the final sticking points preventing the deal’s straightforward revival. Congress has been sending messages, loud and clear, to Tehran and Biden that the deal has virtually no support.

Meanwhile, Secretary of State Antony Blinken is peddling baseless stories about Tehran attempting to assassinate his predecessor Mike Pompeo. Pompeo enthusiastically supported Trump’s Maximum Pressure campaign as well as the drone strike murder of top Iranian General Qasem Soleimani, leader of the IRGC Quds Force. Though these claims of Pompeo’s life being endangered remain unproven, U.S. taxpayers pay millions per month for a security detail to put his and Blinken’s mind at ease.

Much like Tel Aviv’s unproven accusations that the IRGC is out to kidnap and murder Israelis, especially in Istanbul for some reason, this obviously plays well with the overall anti-JCPOA campaign.

The IRGC is the only state military organization on the terrorism blacklist. Considering the myriad preexisting sanctions on the unit, it is a superfluous insult. In 2019, Trump implemented this policy at the behest of Israeli-partisan hawks like Mark Dubowitz at the Foundation For Defense of Democracies, a notoriously anti-Iran think tank. This is one of the largest bricks in the so called “sanctions wall” precluding any of Trump’s successors from ever returning to the deal for fear of the built-in political toxicity. It is enough to keep Biden and the cowardly Democrats from backing what is ultimately Barack Obama’s deal in favor of a neoconservative-style Iran policy.

As May began, Israel started making these claims about a global Iranian plot to kill Israelis. At that time, the JCPOA negotiations were seemingly stalled irrevocably because of the IRGC-FTO issue. But then the Vienna talks’ broker, European Union nuclear negotiator Enrique Mora, traveled to Tehran. He took meetings with Iran’s lead negotiator Ali Bagheri Kani as a last ditch effort to break the deadlock. Mora was sent by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell. As a result of the American led sanctions blitz on Russia, Europeans are in desperate need of another crude supplier as Borrell has noted. The same week, the emir of Qatar, Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani, also made a trip to Tehran and pushed for progress during meetings with President Ebrahim Raisi as well as Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. On May 13th, Borrell announced Mora’s mission went “better than expected,” Vienna talks had been unblocked, and a final deal was within reach.

Days later, coinciding with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz’s visit to Washington, and his meetings with National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan and Pentagon chief Lloyd Austin, Khodaei was murdered in the drive-by shooting. Israel’s assassination campaign had commenced.

Two days after the Khodaei killing, Politico reported that the final decision to keep the IRGC on the FTO list was made. On Twitter, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett thanked Biden for the “principled decision and for being a true friend of the State of Israel.”

Following Trump, Biden’s administration is also continuing to seize tankers, stealing Iranian oil and pirating it for profit. Ironically, after Russian President Vladimir Putin invaded Ukraine, there was some talk from Biden officials about making a deal with the Islamic Republic to put Iran’s abundant oil back on the market to reduce global energy prices. But this was apparently never taken seriously.

Biden instead prefers to kowtow to the genocidal Saudi regime which along with Abu Dhabi and Washington have starved to death and bombed over 400,000 Yemenis, including more than 263,000 children.

Those deaths mean little to the Abraham Accords caucus. This bipartisan coalition in Congress is working to ensure Washington arms these tyrants further while the Pentagon assists them in joining forces, as well as integrating missile defenses with Tel Aviv eyeing Tehran. As Biden heads to the Middle East, there is even talk of the U.S. offering security guarantees to the United Arab Emirates.

For almost a year, the Israelis have been pushing an anti-Iran, NATO-style, U.S. led alliance in the Middle East. In recent weeks, Gantz has openly promoted this strategy which Bennett is said to have suggested to Biden during a White House meeting last year.

As Iran is encircled militarily and strangled economically, the American Empire is refusing to allow them any breathing room. Each day the U.S. forgoes lifting sanctions and restoring the deal the likelihood of a hot war increases.

Given the size of Iran, its population, its geostrategic location, substantial ballistic missile deterrent, its Axis of Resistance partners, and the wide variety of U.S. military targets in the region, a war with Tehran would likely dwarf the catastrophic damage, scope, and deaths of America’s other Middle East wars.

If the JCPOA fails, the hawks armed to the teeth surrounding Iran may try to goad Tehran into leaving the NPT. Whether this happens ultimately or not, Israel may use the coming breakdown in diplomacy to justify instigating its long desired war. Rightfully, the Iranians will see such an Israeli attack as an American declaration of war.

This week, Tehran has formally dropped their demand for removing the IRGC from the FTO list. Washington has not yet responded. Contrary to the corporate press narrative, the ball is now firmly in Washington’s court.

Iran called Biden’s bluff. It is imperative that the American people now assert our support for terminating the unjustified and brutal Maximum Pressure campaign as well as denounce Israel’s murderous aggressions.

The Iranian people deserve to live and trade in peace.

Envoy: IAEA Report Fails to Reflect Iran’s Vast COOP with UN Nuke Agency

May 31, 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Iran’s permanent representative to the Vienna-based International Organizations says a latest report by the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] on the country’s stockpile of enriched uranium is one-sided and fails to reflect Iran’s extensive cooperation with the UN nuclear watchdog.

Mohammad Reza Ghaebi made the comment on Monday after the IAEA claimed that it estimated Iran’s stockpile of enriched uranium had grown to more than 18 times the limit laid down in the 2015 deal between Tehran and world powers.

The limit in the 2015 Iran deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [JCPOA], was set at 300 kg [660 pounds] of a specific compound, the equivalent of 202.8 kg of uranium.

The report by Rafael Grossi, the director-general of the UN nuclear agency, also claimed that Iran was continuing its enrichment of uranium to levels higher than the 3.67 percent limit in the landmark accord.

“The IAEA Director-General’s report does not reflect Iran’s extensive cooperation with the IAEA,” Ghaebi said. “The report concludes exactly what the Director-General presented to the European Parliament before the third round of technical talks, even before the end of the steps set out in the joint statement.”

Iran’s permanent representative to the Vienna-based International Organizations said the report, by putting aside the detailed, reasoned and technical arguments put forward by the Iranian side and unfairly calling them invalid, continues to rely on the agency’s predetermined assumptions and presents its one-sided conclusion accordingly.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran considers this approach unconstructive and destructive to the close relations and ongoing cooperation between Iran and the IAEA,” Ghaebi noted. “And believes that the IAEA should realize the ruinous consequences of publishing such one-sided reports, which could provide the necessary excuse for opponents of Iran-IAEA relations as well as the sworn critics of the revival of the JCPOA.”

In a separate report also issued on Monday, the IAEA claimed it still had questions which were “not clarified” regarding previous undeclared nuclear material at three Iranian sites.

The report said Iran has offered the explanation of an “act of sabotage by a third party to contaminate” the sites, but added no proof had been provided to corroborate this.

Pointing to the IAEA’s second report, Ghaebi said the entire peaceful nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic have been carried out within the framework of the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT], and in accordance with the legal compensatory measures in the law adopted by the Iranian Parliament following the suspension of Iran’s nuclear obligations due to non-fulfillment of obligations by other parties.

“Therefore, the Agency will not gain access to the memory information of its deployed cameras and other information in this regard until an agreement is reached for the revival of the JCPOA,” Ghaebi underlined.

The senior diplomat said the Islamic Republic has repeatedly warned the IAEA’s officials of the need to refrain from disclosing detailed information on the country’s nuclear activities based on the importance of the principle of confidentiality with regard to the IAEA regulations, but the issue has not received serious attention from the Agency.

The Monday reports come as talks in the Austrian capital of Vienna to revive the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers remain deadlocked after stalling in March.

Russia’s lead negotiator to the Vienna talks Mikhail Ulyanov reacted to the leakage of the UN agency’s reports to the mass media, and said the move would lead to a lot of speculations before and during the meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors next week.

“As always, the IAEA Director General’s reports on Iran were immediately leaked to mass media today. We can expect a lot of speculations in the days to come and heated debates in the IAEA Board of Governors next week,” Ulyanov wrote in a tweet.

Several rounds of negotiations between Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Germany, China and Russia – have been held in the Austrian capital since April 2021 to bring Washington back into the deal. The talks, however, exclude American diplomats due to their country’s withdrawal.

Talks have been on hold since March as the US insists on its refusal to undo its past wrongs, including removing Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards [IRG] from its foreign terrorist organization list.

Iran maintains that IRG’s designation in 2019 was part of former president Donald Trump administration’s so-called maximum pressure campaign against Iran, and therefore, it has to be reversed unconditionally.

The Joe Biden administration disagrees, even though it has admitted on countless occasions that Trump’s maximum pressure policy has been a disastrous failure. It has retained the IRG’s designation and the economic sanctions as leverage in the talks.

WHY Sanctions have FAILED against RUSSIA – Inside Russia Report

May 21, 2022

A lovely conversation detailing how the ordinary Russian adapted to sanctions.

China to receive two million barrels of Iranian oil, despite US sanctions

Iran has been cooperating with China, Russia, Venezuela, and Cuba in order to bypass the effects of US economic sanctions

May 19 2022

(Photo credit: Press TV)

ByNews Desk

China is scheduled to receive around two million barrels of Iranian crude oil this week that it will pump into an oil terminal in the Zhanjiang city of Guangdong province, southwest of the country.

The oil will be discharged by the Diona crude oil carrier owned by the National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC), according to Vortexa Analytics, an agency that specializes in tanker tracking.

“This would be the third Iranian oil cargo destined for government stockpile following two similar-sized shipments in December and January,” the agency reported.

Despite ongoing economic sanctions imposed on Iran by the US, China has been purchasing large amounts of Iranian oil over the past two years.

Iran plays a crucial role in the Belt and Road Initiative, a mega-infrastructure and economic initiative launched by Beijing to link the economies of Europe, Asia, and Africa, with an eye on expanding to Latin America.

Over recent years, Iran has played an instrumental role in cooperating with other countries to overcome the effects of punitive US sanctions.

On 3 May, Iranian Oil Minister Javad Owji met with Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro in Caracas to discuss energy relations and ways to overcome the repercussions of US sanctions unilaterally imposed on the two countries.

Venezuela and Iran have recently stepped up energy cooperation to overcome sanctions, with Venezuela importing condensate and thinners from Iran.

Back in January, an Iranian supertanker started discharging about two million barrels of Iranian condensate at the main port of Venezuela’s state-run oil company, as part of a bilateral deal that defies the US sanctions imposed on both nations.

On 17 May, UN Special Rapporteur Alena Douhan said the US must lift economic sanctions on Iran due to the harmful impact they have on the Iranian people.

“I call on the United States to abandon unilateral sanctions,” the UN special rapporteur told a press conference in Tehran.

Douhan went further, saying that the application of “extra-territorial sanctions on Iranian companies or companies working with Iran or paying Iran in dollars is illegal under international law.”

The UN official said she would address her concerns over the legality of US sanctions in her final report, to be published at a later date.

UN rapporteur: Human Rights in Iran Severely Affected by US Sanctions

May 19, 2022

A top UN human rights official has slammed the United States for its brutal sanctions regime against the Islamic Republic of Iran, asserting that harsh economic sanctions have had a damaging impact on human rights in the country.

Alena Douhan, the United Nations Special Rapporteur on the Negative Impact of Unilateral Coercive Measures on the Enjoyment of Human Rights, who is on an official visit to Iran these days, convened a press conference in Tehran on Wednesday afternoon.

Speaking to reporters, Douhan noted that decades of sanctions have wholly affected Iranian people’s lives and have particularly hit the low-income section of the society.

While presenting her assessment of the unilateral coercive measures (UCM) against Iran, the UN official who works under a mandate from the United Nations Human Rights Council, called on Washington to abandon its hard-nosed policy of maximum pressure against Iran and other countries.

Douhan, who arrived in Tehran earlier this month, said she had met with many civil society members, representatives of financial centers, diplomatic community during her visit.

She said she will address her concerns about the legality of US sanctions in her final report, which will be released at a later date.

Douhan’s mission from May 7 to 18 is the first to Iran by a UN special rapporteur.

Before embarking on the trip, the UN official said she hoped to “gather first-hand information on the impact of unilateral coercive measures on the full realization of all human rights” in Iran.

“My visit will aim at covering all walks of life and sectors affected by such measures,” she noted, dismissing speculation in the Western media that she was heading to Iran with a specific agenda.

She told reporters on Wednesday that the US has since the 1970s imposed crippling economic and trade sanctions on Iran and significantly expanded them since the early 2000s.

In May 2018, the former US President Donald Trump, after unilaterally withdrawing his country from the 2015 nuclear deal, reinstated harsh economic sanctions on Iran and slapped new ones in an unprecedented move that was widely decried.

Under the 2015 agreement, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), international sanctions on the Islamic Republic were eased in exchange for Tehran putting limitations on certain aspects of its nuclear activities.

Trump’s sanctions deprived the Islamic Republic of economic dividends under the accord as it barred countries and international firms from working with Iran.

The mercurial real estate tycoon-turned-president’s successor, Joe Biden, who was vice president when the JCPOA was inked in 2015, promised to return his country to the deal. But his administration has failed to honor the commitment, following Trump’s legacy.

According to the UN special rapporteur, the US continues to illegally ban trade and investment in Iran, forcing foreign companies to leave the country for the fear of sanctions.

Douhan’s landmark visit to Iran came amid the stalemate over the nuclear deal, with the US showing reluctance to respond to Iran’s proposals.

Decrying the US decision to abandon the nuclear deal and continue with its sanctions regime, she said the deal was endorsed by UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

“Applying extraterritorial sanctions on Iranian companies or companies working with Iran … is illegal under international law,” she asserted.

Commenting on Iran’s frozen assets abroad, the UN official said the assets estimated to be around $120 billion need to be unblocked.

“I urge the states that have frozen the assets of Iranian Central Bank to immediately unfreeze Iran’s funds based on international law.”

Douhan began her 11-day visit to Iran on May 7, a day before the fourth anniversary of the US illegal withdrawal from the JCPOA.

Last week, Iran’s top human rights official Kazem Gharibabadi said Douhan’s visit was only aimed at gathering information on the impact of sanctions to hold countries (US) to account.

“Nations hit by sanctions should use all available resources to hold the countries calling for and enforcing unilateral sanctions liable,” Gharibabadi said.

His comments came in response to reports in Western media accusing Iran of exploiting the visit to avoid accountability and “deflect attention” from its alleged human rights violations.

In her Wednesday press conference, Douhan also welcomed Iran’s efforts to support Afghan refugees, displaced by the 20-year US war, despite reeling under sanctions.

“I call on the sanctioning states, particularly the US, to abandon the unilateral sanctions,” she stated.

She also referred to stalled negotiations in Vienna to bring the US back to the JCPOA, urging the JCPOA signatories and the US to resume the negotiations.”

Iran and the P4+1 group of countries – Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia – have held several rounds of sanctions in the Austrian capital since April 2021 to revive the JCPOA.

Iran says its primary goal at the talks is to have the illegal US sanctions removed.

Source: Iranian media (edited by Al-Manar English Website)

Iran to Boost Gas Production in South Pars Phase 11

 May 6, 2022

An official with the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) revealed that Phase 11 of the South Pars Gas Field is expected to generate 14 million cubic meters of gas per day by the end of current Persian calendar year (March 20, 2023).

According to IRNA, Karim Zobeidi, NIOC’s director of corporate planning, said one of the Oil Ministry’s top priorities is ensuring adequate gas supply throughout the cold season.

“Increasing production from the joint oil fields in the West Karun region is a priority for the administration,” Zobeidi said, adding that by the end of the current Iranian calendar year, production from the first phase of the South Azadegan oil field should also reach 220,000 barrels per day.

“This year, the final three refinery trains in Phase 14 of South Pars will be commissioned,” he stated.

According to the official, South Pars phases 22 to 24 would also be fully operational.

Iran had previously awarded the development of the phase 11 project to a consortium comprising France’s Total, China National Petroleum Corporation (CNPC), and Petropars which is a subsidiary of the NIOC, however Total and CNPCI pulled out of the project in 2019 due to the US sanctions.

Currently, Petropars is developing the phase 11 project after its partners left the contract.

The drilling operation for the first well of mentioned phase was officially started in December 2020. In the early production stage, the output of this phase will reach 500 million cubic feet (equivalent to 14 million cubic meters) per day.

Back in January, the managing director of Petropars Company had announced the implementation of two new contracts as of December 22, 2021, to accelerate the development of the mentioned phase.

According to Hamid-Reza Masoudi, the mentioned deals were concerned with the construction of an off-shore pipeline as well as the installation of the phase’s SDP11B platform.

South Pars is the world’s largest gas field, covering an area of 3,700 square kilometers of Iran’s territorial waters.

The giant field is estimated to contain a significant amount of natural gas, accounting for about eight percent of the world’s reserves, and approximately 18 billion barrels of condensate. The field is divided into 24 standard phases.

Source: Iranian media (edited by Al-Manar English Website)

Day 50 of the SMO – are things becoming clear(er)?

April 15, 2022

Source

So now we are 50 days into this Special Military Operation (SMO) and right in between the end of the first phase and the beginning of the second one.  So I want to begin by list a few things which were unclear/ambiguous/misunderstood and which now are becoming clear(er):

  • There is this saying “no plan survives the first contact with the enemy” which I would even expand to “no plan survives the first contact with reality”.  Why?  The first one is obvious, the enemy will try to foil your plans, but the second one is less known: in war there is always a large element of chaos simply because your entire country and your military are in one mode up until the initiation of combat operations and because they have to very quickly switch over a completely new reality.  The point is therefore not to stick to plan A at any cost, but neither is it to ditch it all and reinvent the wheel.  What is needed is a quick response time to identify the problems and fix them.  I would say that with this in mind, the Russian military did a very good job by quickly transforming a integrated Ukrainian military capable of strategic operations into a broken up entity with its various parts isolated and unable to support each other.  What is my evidence for that?  There has not been a single Ukrainian counter-attack higher than on a subunit (battalion, company) level.  Considering that the Ukrainians have the double advantage of being on the defense and having a larger force, this is truly a remarkable achievement.  Add to this the money, weapons and intelligence support from the US/NATO and it is nothing short of a triumph.
  • The clueless RT still has this on its webpage even though the Moskva sank 24 hours ago!At the same time, Russia as a whole, and especially the military, did an absolutely awful job talking to the public, both in Russia and in the West.  See a typical example of the image on the right.  The only mistake the US PYSOPs made was that they really “overdid it”, which profoundly angered and alienated the Russian public which went from “what is going on?” to “we are in a fight for our very survival” very quickly and most Russians are now in what I would refer to a “WWII” mode: total warfare until total victory.  In the West, however, the US PSYOPs truly triumphed and totally defeated the Russian counter-propaganda efforts which, the truth be told, were primitive, clumsy, slow and even self-defeating at times.  Does that matter?  Yes, very.  Why?
  • Because most people in Zone A sincerely and truly believe that “Russia is losing the war”.  Now these are the same folks who until February of 2021 were all virologists/epidemiologists/microbiologists/etc. and who in a remarkable feat, became overnight military experts and now are sincerely advising the Russians on how to wage a war.  The fact that no “real” war has even begun does not elicit any second thoughts or doubts in these “experts in everything” folks who simply don’t believe that some matters require years of training to achieve the expertise needed to understand even the basics.  And no, as Andrei Martyanov always points out, a BA in communications or a law degree do not make you into a military expert overnight (by the way, I notice a very large “overlap” between the COVID death cult members and the armchair generals).
  • Objectively, there is also a double language and culture barrier at work here.  Very few folks in Zone A are fluent, or even conversant, in Russian and even fewer understand the Russian mindset.  So if all the English speaking media (including putatively pro-Russian ones – more about those later) says someting it makes no sense to expect most English speakers to find the correct Russian language Telegram channels to get the other side of the information.  As for RT and Sputnik, in their naive and clumsy efforts to appear “objective” they just reinforce the western propaganda narratives.
  • Then there is an interesting phenomenon which became very apparent over the past 50 days: there are quite a few websites and blogs who PRETEND to be pro-Russian but, in reality, that support is conditional on Russia supporting their agenda and if Russians do things differently those putatively pro-Russian outlets quickly take up the exact same talking points as the US PSYOPs.  There are also a number of PRETEND “liberal” or “Leftist” or “Anti-Imperialist” websites which were ALWAYS CIA-operated but which, over the years, acquired some (totally undeserved) credibility and which have now suddenly “flipped”.  Pro-Nazi “liberals”, got to love that…

The result of all this?  FUD: fear, uncertainty and doubts of course.

Even worse are the implications of this FUD on many levels:

  • It gives the folks in the West a sense of impunity and it almost totally conceals the magnitude of the dangers the Empire of Hate and Lies is facing today: from real food shortages, to an economic collapse, and even to a continental war in Europe.  After all, if the Russians are losing, then “we” must be winning, so all is well.  Not very bright, but oh so human…
  • It angers and frustrates the Russian soldiers actually doing the fighting who are living in fear not a a heroic Ukrainian counter-offensive, but what the Russian government (at all levels and in all branches) will screw up next.  Want an example?  Sure!  How about this: until senior LDNR official began to openly complain the Russian customs the latter did not allow non-governmental humanitarian convoys to cross into the Ukraine.  This was was solved, now the next one is this: how to organize pensions for the families of Russian volunteers who fight in the Ukraine?
  • It greatly encourages the Ukrainians to fight this war down to the last Ukrainian and a total destruction of the Ukrainian civil infrastructure.  Yes, the united West wants to genocide Russians by means of genociding Ukrainians.  It cannot get any more openly satanic than that!

Having said all of the above, we now need to step back and only make some very basic predictions:

  • What began as the “special military operation” is now turning into a total war of the united West against Russia and that means that the goal for the West is not peace, its victory and a Russian defeat.  My personal conclusion is that the West will only stop doubling down of the US homeland itself is threatened by Russian conventional and nuclear strategic deterrence capabilities.
  • The Russians are slowly but surely coming to the realization that in spite of all the concessions and retreats made by Russia since 2013 the Empire of Hate and Lies will not stop by itself, it will have to be stopped, by Russia.  Again.  As the VDV motto says “nobody but us”.
  • The Ukrainians have no agency, and neither do the Eurolemmings.  In fact, the USA is using both the Ukronazis and their EU serfs as cannon fodder because their calculation is that if Russia wins, then the Eurolemmings will become not only become terrified and even more subservient, but also that the EU will burn itself down removing a competitor.  I remind you that the USA’s wealth is based on how much the USA profited from both WWI and WWII.  So why not with WWIII as long as it remains within the confines of the European theater of operations?  And that will be doubly true if Russia loses.

My first conclusion here is that a direct military conflict involving NATO and Russia is now likely.

That, by itself, is simply horrible, but here is the simple truth: if the Anglos, yet again, want to burn down the European continent there might not be anything Russia could do to prevent that.  And forget about the suicidal Eurolemmings.  Russia can win that war, and she will, but yet again at a huge cost.

And that is exactly what the Anglos want.

So is there a silver lining here or is it all doom and gloom?

In fact, there is: the reactions of the Russian public to the rather ambiguous and sometimes outright weird stuff members of the Russian government, at different levels, have been doing and saying.  Like that terrible Medinski presser which totally freaked out most Russians.  Or the rumor that Abramovich (!) is negotiating between Moscow and Kiev.  Oh I know, that is just another rumor, but considering the DISMAL job of Russian information operations that rumor, and hundreds more, are making the public weary and angry.

And the general public itself, rather than any government officials, started to react to this kind of dangerous FUD by something we could think of as a grassroots counter-propaganda campaign.  For example, while the letters Z and V have been banned in the Ukraine (and in Latvia, Moldova, Greece and even in some German states) they are literally all over the Runet and you could say that Z and V have now become part of the Russian alphabet and that they are now often used to replace the traditional Cyrillic Z (З) and V (В).

And now Slovakia is declaring that the Nazis in Kiev are “fighting for the future of Europe“.

Basically, the EU politicians have now de facto rehabilitated the Third Reich.  At least now it is official.

Heck, since that war began, even Uber-Atlantic-Integrationist Medvedev has turned into a patriotic hardliner!

So maybe it will be the “Russian street” which will teach the so-called “specialists” how informational warfare is done?  I sure hope so!

The other major power from Zone B, China, immediately understood what this was all about: “West’s ban of ‘Z’ symbol a manifestation of its Russophobia“.

Yup, the letter Z is now serving a somewhat similar function to the Star of David in Nazi Germany.

Then there are the many iterations of the following slogans “our cause is just“, “the enemy will be defeated” and “we will go to the end!” which are also all over the Runet.  Note that all of these slogans are strongly associated with WWII in the Russian mind.

And then there is this: the, shall we call them “poor communication skills”, of the Kremlin have resulted in a real shitstorm of angry protests and freakouts so the Kremlin had to tone it down by a lot.  Yes, Putin PERSONALLY is very popular and trusted (over 80%), but not the government or, even less so, mid-level or local government officials.  It would not take much (another major SNAFU for example) to trigger angry protests.

But if anybody is to be truly credited with reassuring the Russian public that no “negotiators” will backstab the Russian military should go to the “Biden” Administration which “convinced” Zelenski to stop any and all negotiations and to restate the Ukronazis most extreme demands (including the LDNR and Crimea).  Now that truly made negotiations not only pointless, but pretty much impossible.

Thank you “Biden”!

I also want to use this opportunity publicly express my deepest gratitude to Josip Borrell, the Eurolemming’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, for declaring “this war must be won on the battlefield“!  When EU *diplomats* use that kind of language, it has a quasi-miraculous effect on the wannabe “peace camp” in Russia.  Even RT (!) seems to have smelled the coffee and now we can find an article entitled “It appears that the West doesn’t want peace in Ukraine“.  No kidding, geniuses!

As I have mentioned it in the past, I am personally very much in favor of negotiations and even talking to the enemy during a war, but that should be done very discreetly, very carefully and with the clear “message”  to the general public if these negotiations, or leaks about them, are made public.  If you cannot negotiate without freaking out your own people, then don’t try, you will do more for peace by shutting up and staying at home.  If instead of using the insect-like Medinski (he reminds of Blinken, same “I am a loser” look) Putin had sent Ramzan Kadyrov the perception about “negotiations” in Russia would probably be very different today.

So what is up next?

  • A major battle around the Donbass cauldron
  • NATO convoys moving into the Ukraine
  • The collapse of the “the Russians are losing” narrative replaced by
  • A Russian “atrocity” of some type
  • The western media will begin to “discover sins” amongst those they lionized until now (see image)
  • The full dimension of the economic crisis resulting from the collapse of the international economic system will become much more apparent, especially in the EU.

What about the Black Sea Fleet – can it operate without its flagship?

As I mentioned yesterday, I am not a navy person and neither do I know what plans the Russian General Staff had for the BSF.  But I can say this: Slava-class guided missile cruisers were designed in the 70s as aircraft carrier destroyers.  For this purpose they were equipped with very powerful missiles, superb (by 1970s standards!) S-300F,  OSA-MA SAMs, 6 AK-630 point air defenses and a lot of (old) electronics.  Since there are not aircraft carriers in the Black Sea, I suppose that the Moskva main role was as a command ship (its main canons don’t provide the range needed to support amphibious assault operations) and also as a relatively powerful mobile, floating, radar.  The Moskva was hit by something about 50km south of Snake Island which means that she was also probably watching the movement of ships near/from Romania.  Frankly, that is not a task for a guided missile cruiser.

[Sidebar: as to what actually caused the explosion, my personal best guess is a Ukrainian mine detached by the recent storm and drifting southwards which the Russians failed to detect.  That would explain the hull breach which later resulted in the Moskva taking in water and sinking while in tow.  I still don’t buy the “Ukrainian 2 “Neptunes” version at all, if only because the Moskva had very solid air defenses while bad weather makes minesweeping very hard.  But we will probably never find out for sure, unless the members of the crew reveal what really happened]

Considering that the Ukraine has NO navy at all, I don’t see how the loss of the Moskva would hamper or significantly complicate any BSF operations (navy folks, please correct me here if I missed something!).

The Moskva also had an important role in the eastern Mediterranean (Syria) and yes, there is probably where she will be missed the most.  I hope that this loss will provide the impetus to massively accelerate the modernization of old Russian (well, Soviet, really) ships and the construction of new ones.

I would even be inclined to think that the deployment of hypersonic ASM has not only made aircraft carriers obsolete (at least against Russia) but, by the same logic, has made old Russian/Soviet “carrier hunter killers” obsolete by implication.  Nowadays, even SMALL missile boats can fire Russian hypersonic missiles thousands of kilometers away, so why bother with really big ships in anti-carrier operations?  Range?  Okay.  Firepower?  Okay.  Bigger and better sensors?  Okay.  But not in the Black Sea.  And not with a minimally modernized 1970 era ship.

Conclusion:

There is no doubt that Russia fought superbly during the SMO and there is no doubt either that the Russian probably calcualted that “just” a SMO would be sufficient to achieve the Russian goals (immediate: protect the LDNR, intermediate: denazify and disarm the Ukraine and long term: change the European and world collective security arrangements) was wrong.  It is now becoming almost certain that a real, much larger, war to crush the Ukrainian military will be needed, and it will have to be fought with much larger forces and means. 

The Empire of Hate and Lies has decided to “go max” and is acting exactly as it would be in preparations for a much larger war in Europe.  For example, with the steady stream of mass expulsions of Russian diplomats there is a very real possibility that Russia and the US/NATO/EU will sever their diplomatic relationships, something traditionally considered as the last step before a declaration of war.

One of the best things the Kremlin could do now is to carefully study how the Iranians since 1979 (!) managed to successfully:

  • Never be drawn into a war they did not want (except the one launched by the West and the USSR following the Islamic Revolution which Iran won, by the way)
  • Deter the Anglo-Zionist from direct attacks on Iran
  • Survive both sanctions and even a blockade
  • Defeat US PSYOPs (remember Neda Agha-Soltan?)
  • Actively assist in the liberation of other countries around the world and, especially, the Middle-East
  • Superbly combine political pragmatism with deep religious piety and idealism
  • Preserve their economy (albeit with major difficulties, but not collapse!)
  • Preserve their Islamic societal and civilizational model
  • Remain truly sovereign
  • Maintain a rock solid morale throughout it all

If Iran could do that, why can’t we?  I have an answer for this question, but I won’t offer it until the end of combat operations.

As I have also mentioned many times, Russia is a project, a ‘moving target’, a society which is recovering from at least 300 years of foreign domination (especially spiritual and political) and a society which is STILL changing, very fast in many aspects.

Yes, Russia has a superb military and immense resources.  But that is not enough.

Some say that the next “New Russia” was “born in the LDNR”, and I hope that they are right, not in the sense that Russia needs to copy all the decisions (often bad ones too!) of the LDNR, but Russia does need to purge herself from those in positions of power who are just stuck in the past or unable to adapt to new realities.

Can Russia denazify the planet?  By herself, no.  At most she can militarily destroy all of Zone A, but only in a mutual suicide act of desperation (the US nuclear triad is still mostly functional, in spite of its problems).  But can Russia and the rest of Zone B denazify the planet?  Absolutely.  Even “just” Russia and China together are more powerful than the rest of the planet combined, add India to this and you have a truly unstoppable force.

The Empire is already dead, but like a stinking unburied corpse, it still have enough “toxicity momentum” to continue to threaten the planet until the USA is both denazified and disarmed.  That will take a lot of time, even with the recent massive acceleration of the pace of events.

So no quick fix, no quick solution, no quick victory (or defeat for that matter).  This is not want Russia wanted, but that is what she got.

May she make the most of it to transform herself into the civilizational realm she was for centuries.  That could be the biggest homage to those fighting for the future of Russia today.

Andrei

PS: I want to remind you all one more time that if the USA and Russia openly and directly clash militarily, I will immediately “freeze” the blog until the situation is resolved in one way or another.  I am a guest, a legal alien (“Green Card”), in the USA and it is not my role to speak if my country of current residence and my country of ethnic origin are at war with each other.

Iran warns of foreign ploy to sow discord with Afghanistan

Amid the release of videos allegedly showing Afghan refugees facing abuse, Iranian officials say that a militant opposition group is behind the disparaging campaign

April 11 2022

(Photo credit: AP)

ByNews Desk

On 10 April, the Iranian embassy in Kabul issued a warning about a “foreign conspiracy” to spoil the relations with neighboring Afghanistan.

The warning comes following the publication of several videos on social media allegedly documenting abuse against Afghan refugees in Iran.

Using the Twitter hashtag #AfghanRefugeesInIran, the videos show refugees allegedly kept in cramped conditions, reportedly facing punishments from security officials, and being subjected to attacks from the general public.

A majority of the videos have yet to be independently verified.

In response to the controversy, the Iranian embassy in Kabul issued a statement denying the allegations of abuse, highlighting that “the information currently circulating is a conspiracy to undermine relations between the two countries.”

“Despite the economic hardship and sanctions, the Islamic Republic of Iran has placed no obstacles in front of Afghan citizens seeking refuge – and continues to receive them today,” the statement went on to say.

It added that the images being published online are staged.

During a meeting between Afghanistan’s Acting Foreign Minister Amir Khan Muttaqi and Iranian Ambassador Bahadur Aminian on 10 April, the Taliban official said that a message should be delivered to Tehran to instruct relevant security authorities to “stop abusing Afghan refugees,” especially in border areas.

In response, Aminian said that, following last week’s deadly stabbing attack at Imam Ali Reza shrine in Mashhad, a number of individuals launched a propaganda campaign to create division between the two countries.

Speaking with TOLOnews a day before, the Iranian diplomat blamed an Iranian militant opposition group for the defamatory campaign.

“We have a group called the People’s Mujahideen Organization of Iran, which has appointed thousands of people just to release clips… they are active in Afghanistan and Iran,” Aminian said.

He also said his government has no intention of mistreating Afghan refugees but always seeks to build trust between the two countries, further adding that Tehran is ready to assist Afghanistan in becoming economically self-sufficient.

“We hope the Afghan issues will be solved, a national reconciliation will be ensured and all tribes will see themselves in the government,” the Iranian ambassador told reporters.

ايران قد ترفع نسبة التخصيب إلى 90%!

الخميس 7 نيسان 2022

 ناصر قنديل

خلال شهرين ماضيين وصلت مفاوضات فيينا حول الاتفاق النووي مع إيران الى نقطة شبه نهائيّة ما قبل التوقيع، وبدا أن الأمور في دائرة تحديد موعد لإقفال هذا الملف، والمعادلة التي تجعل الاتفاق حتمياً تركزت على نقطتين، الأولى أن كل الرهانات على وسائل أخرى غير الاتفاق لمنع تقدّم إيران نووياً نحو عتبة حرجة تتمثل بامتلاك ما يكفي من اليورانيوم المخصب على درجة عالية لإنتاج قنبلة نووية، وصلت الى طريق مسدود. فهذه الطرق رغم فاعليتها في إزعاج إيران بقيت دون القدرة على إعاقة إيران فعلياً عن التقدم الثابت نحو هذه العتبة الحرجة، وفقاً للوثائق الأميركية والإسرائيلية، والثانية أن الزمن يعمل لصالح إيران التي تتقدّم بثبات نحو هذه العتبة، ولا بدّ من دفع ثمن يستطيع إقناعها بالتوقف والعودة إلى التزاماتها بموجب الاتفاق، وهي التزامات تتكفل وفقاً لإجماع الأميركيين على جعل إيران بعيدة مدة سنة على الأقل عن هذه العتبة، من تاريخ خروجها من هذه الالتزامات.

ضبط الأميركيون مواقف حلفائهم، وخصوصاً السعودي والإسرائيلي، لجهة التسليم باستحالة فرض ملفات تفاوضية على إيران، تدمج بالملف النووي، كملف سلاحها الصاروخي أو ملف تحالفاتها في المنطقة مع قوى المقاومة، ويدرك حلفاء واشنطن أن غضبهم لن يقدّم ولن يؤخر، لأنهم لم يستطيعوا تقديم بدائل لواشنطن عن العودة للاتفاق، وقد منحتهم الفرص الكثيرة لإثبات العكس، من حرب اليمن الى اطلاق اليد للعبث الأمني في الداخل الإيراني، إلى الضغط في لبنان، ومعركة بين حربين في سورية، واللعب بالتوازنات السياسية في العراق، فتحققت نتائج تكتيكية على حساب محور المقاومة في بعض الملفات، وأصيبت خطط أخرى بالفشل، لكن الناتج الإجمالي بقي على قاعدة أن محور المقاومة إلى صعود وخصومه إلى تراجع، وأن إيران تثبت صمودها، وتتقدّم في ملفها النووي.

– مع بداية حرب أوكرانيا وتحوّلها حرباً روسية أميركية، ظهر التداخل بينها وبين مفاوضات فيينا من زاويتين، روسية وأميركية. الزاوية الروسية ظهرت بشرط موسكو للمضي قدماً بمسار فيينا بتلقيها ضمانات أميركية خطية حول عدم شمول تعاملاتها مع إيران بالعقوبات التي فرضت عليها إثر حرب أوكرانيا، ونجح التفاهم الروسي الإيراني بتفكيك هذه العقبة ومنع الأميركيين من استغلالها لتعطيل المسار. أما الزاوية الأميركية فقد كانت مزدوجة ومتعاكسة، فمن جهة دفعت الحاجة لمواجهة أزمة النفط والغاز الناجمة عن العقوبات على روسيا بالأوساط الأميركية المعنية بمعالجة هذه الأزمة الى الضغط لتسريع التفاهم مع إيران بصفتها منتجاً مهماً يمكن لعودته الى السوق ان تخفف من وطأة الأزمة، ومن جهة مقابلة أظهر التيار المتشدد في الإدارة والكونغرس مخاوفه من أن يكون المشهد الدولي والإقليمي ذاهباً لمواجهة تصطف فيها إيران وروسيا والصين في جبهة واحدة بوجه الغرب بقيادة أميركا، ما يطرح السؤال عن جدوى تزويد إيران بمقدرات مالية سرعان ما سيتم الزج بها في هذه المواجهة، كما تقول تجربة الحرب على سورية، عندما وظفت إيران عائدات الاتفاق النووي عام 2015 للمضي قدماً في الحسم في معركة حلب بالتعاون مع روسيا، التي جاءت الى سورية بالتوافق مع إيران، على أولوية هذه المعركة على مستقبل الاتفاق مع واشنطن.

خلال أسابيع معارك أوكرانيا تراجع العامل النفطي الضاغط، ليس لعدم أهميته، بل لأن أهميته الشديدة أتاحت لإيران العودة الى الأسواق كما كانت قبل الانسحاب الأميركي من الاتفاق النووي والعودة للعقوبات، بمعدل يقارب عتبة الـ 4 ملايين برميل يومياً، ولم تعد العودة للاتفاق النووي شرطاً ضرورياً لانضمام إيران إلى أسواق النفط والغاز، وخلال هذه الأسابيع أعدت مسودة للاتفاق في فيينا، وبقي بند أساسي واحد عالق عنوانه رفع العقوبات عن الحرس الثوري، والضغط السياسي والإعلامي في الداخل الأميركي يرتفع للتشدد في هذا البند الذي بات خطاً أحمر لإيران، بحيث عادت الأصوات المشككة بإمكانية السير نحو العودة للاتفاق.

في إيران هناك أصوات فاعلة ومقررة تقول إن زمن التريث انتهى، وإن مهلة كافية للتفاوض قد منحت، وإن إيران التي تقاتل ضمن جبهة تفكيك الهيمنة الأميركية معنية بالانخراط في هذه الجبهة بقوة، وإن إيران لم تعد تحتاج الاتفاق للعودة إلى أسواق النفط والغاز، ولذلك يجب العودة إلى رفع نسب التخصيب إلى 90%، وإن على واشنطن أن تأكل أصابعها ندماً على الفرصة الضائعة!

فيديوات متعلقة

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الاستراتيجيّة الإيرانيّة بين ذكاء التوقيت وانتقاء الهدف

 الإثنين 14 آذار 2022

 ناصر قنديل

لا تقلّ قيمة التوقيت الذي اختاره الإيرانيون لضربتهم في أربيل عن قيمة اختيار الهدف التابع لقيادة الموساد في كردستان العراق. فمرّة أخرى تظهر القيادة الإيرانية القدرة على تظهير قدرة على الاستجابة الاستراتيجية السريعة للتعامل مع متغيرات متحركة، فتضرب في توقيت شديد الأهمية هدفاً شديد الأهمية أيضاً.

التوقيت هو تقاطع لحظتين غاية في الدقة والحساسية، الأولى هي لحظة الانشغال العالمي عموماً، والغربي خصوصاً، بالحدث الأوكراني، من جهة، وتعمّد الأميركيين خصوصاً والغرب عموماً تحويل الاتفاق النووي الى نقطة تقاطع مع الحرب الأوكرانية، وإدخاله في الجمود، من جهة موازية، والاعتقاد بالقدرة على تحويل ملفات المنطقة وفي طليعتها مصير الاتفاق النووي مع إيران، إلى ملف هامشيّ ووضعه على الرف، وتحويله إلى موضوع للابتزاز، تحت شعار ان الشيء الوحيد الذي قد يمنح الملف النووي أهمية هو مدى استعداد إيران للإسهام عبر رفع العقوبات عنها في محاصرة روسيا والمشاركة بفرض العقوبات عليها. فقالت إيران بلسان وزير خارجيتها إن ما عطل الاتفاق هو تقديم واشنطن طلبات جديدة، وقالت الصواريخ الإيرانية إن إيران لا تخطئ في الاختيار بين موسكو واشنطن، بين حليف استراتيجي وخصم استراتيجي، وتعرف كيف تدير خلافاً تكتيكياً مع الحليف الاستراتيجي حول الضمانات التي طلبتها روسيا، فلا تدع مجالاً للخصم الاستراتيجي ان يحقق أرباحاً من هذا الخلاف. كما تعرف كيف تدير فرضية تفاهم تكيتكيّ مع الخصم الاستراتيجي تمثله فرص التوصل لتفاهم حول الاتفاق النووي مع الغرب، فلا تقع في فخ الاعتقاد أن الخصم الاستراتيجي صار حليفاً. فقالت الصواريخ التي سقطت على موقع قيادة الموساد المحتضن من حماية القنصلية الأميركية، إن العدو عدو والحليف حليف، كما قالت إن التهميش له تبعات، وإن من يريد تفادي جبهات استنزاف عليه أن يعود الى الاتفاق بلا طلبات جديدة.

التوقيت أيضاً هو لحظة ارتباك إسرائيلية فقد بنت “إسرائيل” كل نظريّة المعركة بين حربين، التي تأسست عليها الغارات “الإسرائيلية “ على سورية، والتي تستهدف بصورة خاصة أهدافاً لمحور المقاومة وبالأخص أهدافاً إيرانية، على معادلة الهامش الذي وفرته المقاربة الروسيّة لخريطة الأهداف المشتركة مع سورية وإيران، والتي لا يندرج قتال “إسرائيل” ضمنها من جهة، وعدم رغبة إيران وسورية وقوى المقاومة بتعريض العلاقة بروسيا للإحراج من جهة موازية، وها هي العلاقة الروسية الإسرائيلية على المحك، في ظل السعي الأميركي لمحاصرة روسيا ومعاقبتها، و”إسرائيل” التي تتنعم بفائض أنتجته علاقتها بواشنطن، تتمتع بهامش مناورة وفرته العلاقة بروسيا، واليوم تجد نفسها في مأزق حيث يصعب الجمع بين الاثنتين، فتأتي الصواريخ الإيرانية رداً على استشهاد ضابطين من الحرس الثوري لتقول لـ”إسرائيل”، إن زمن أوّل تحوَّل، وإنه مهما كان خيارها فهي ستدفع الثمن غالياً، فإن رفضت المشاركة بالعقوبات الأميركية وخصوصاً المصرفية، فقدت غطاءها الذي يمنع مهاجمتها، وان انضبطت بالموقف الأميركي فقدت هامش الغارات على سورية، وبدأت تواجه معادلة العين بالعين والسن بالسن والبادئ أظلم.

ذكاء انتقاء الهدف، لا يقلّ أهمية عن ذكاء التوقيت، فالهدف هو مركز قيادة الموساد في كردستان العراق، حيث التغلغل الإسرائيليّ أحد مصادر هشاشة الوضع العراقي، والضربة الإيرانية وضعت التحالف الناشئ بين التيار الصدري والحزب الديمقراطي الكردستاني على المحك في هذا المجال، حيث تملك إيران ما يكفي من الوثائق لجعل الملف قضائياً وقانونياً، وتملك ما يجعل التيار الصدري ورئيس الحكومة مصطفى الكاظمي عاجزَيْن عن التغاضي، ووضع الملف على الطاولة من جهة، كما انتقاء الموقع الواقع فيقلب الحماية الأمنية الأميركية الخاصة بالقنصلية، عناصر تمنح العملية أبعاداً إضافية، وتحمل رسائل نوعيّة، لكونها تقول إن لا مكان في العراق للموساد ولا بقاء في العراق للاحتلال الأميركيّ.

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Boomerang Sanctions

March 12, 2022

Source

by Ghassan Kadi,

Do Western sanctions have any chance of achieving their objectives? Perhaps we need to look back at history and see how the earliest recorded sanctions were implemented.

Before the age of electronic transfers and massive international trading and complex technology came into existence, warring factions enforced sanctions on each other by way of imposing sieges, and therefore cutting off food and water supplies to heavily fortified cities. Those cities had to ration out their supplies, and when they ran out, they often capitulated.

Much has changed since, but the only way for any sanction to work now is in the ability to deprive a nation from goods and services that are essential. But this is now easier said than done.

In today’s age of technology and all what comes with it, the world depends on a huge array of manufactured goods for its economy and the services that support that economy to run. Manufactured good are themselves made of parts often made in different countries and assembled together somewhere else. Many, if not most of those goods and parts, are made in China, and this is fact.

How do we know that the manufacturers of American/NATO military hardware do not use parts and components that are made in China and no longer made in the West? They can be as simple as special size or shape screw, but without it, the strategic weapon cannot be assembled. And if one of the suppliers of hardware to the Pentagon suddenly wakes up to the realization that it needs the part that is made in China to put together a strategic defence weapon, what will happen then? Alternative Western productions lines can be put to work, but these things take time, and time is precious commodity in the event of a military blitz.

But here is more. Even if in peacetime an American buys a T-shirt made in America from American grown cotton, the cotton crop is highly likely to have been fertilized with urea imported from China. As a matter of fact, China controls a huge sector of the global fertilizer market, and when one controls food and its production, no other leverage becomes comparable in magnitude. Having control of the food supply is tantamount to the ancient city sieges.

The dependence of the West on China therefore is alarming, and the examples mentioned above, have been selected to demonstrate that Western sanctions against China, if ever implemented, would boomerang and hit the West in the guts.

The whole world and particularly the West are reliant on and addicted to Chinese goods. All the way from T-shirts to iPhones, a huge percentage of global consumable goods are made in China.

China is therefore the ultimate example of where American sanctions would fail abysmally. As a matter of fact, if anything at all, a Chinese export sanction against America would bring the latter to its knees in a few weeks if not less.

What about Russia? Are American sanctions effective against Russia? Thus far, they haven’t been. Time will tell if new ones will, but Russia does not ‘need’ any American imports or franchises. Russia does not need either McDonald’s or Starbucks. It doesn’t need those fast-food chains that litter its streets. Honestly, what a manner to sanction Russia with? What is next, the Disney Channel?

It is America that needs Russian rocket engines and not the other way around. Fancy this, comparing rocket engines to hamburgers.

And with its ties with China, Russia has a huge export market of gas and petroleum crude, all the while Western EU slumps into cold nights or enormous power bills. In the last couple of days alone, the price of gas has nearly doubled.

What is pertinent here is going back to the basics and remembering that any talk of sanctions can only be effective if based on depriving an adversary from what its people 1) need and 2) want. Currently, there is no product, no commodity, no technology, absolutely nothing that is essential for the rest of the world, that the West exclusively produces and the rest of the world cannot.

The current Western sanctions on nations that refuse to follow the directives of the West do not carry any weight at all; or anything that comes close. Non-Western countries can survive without Tesla, Porsche and Ferrari cars. Earth will continue to spin without French perfumes and champaign.

With those facts known though unspoken, the USA continues to impose sanctions on other nations by utilizing the power of the Greenback, ie US Dollar of USD for short.

But this approach is foolish to say the least, and it is bound to backfire.

America is determined to keep the stature of the USD as the single reserve world currency. But to maintain this stature, America must make sure that the rest of the world needs to use the USD and that it has no other alternative. But when successive American administrations impose sanctions on other nations that prevent them from using the USD, they are effectively shooting their last and only remaining asset in the foot.

This is not a complex issue that requires a PhD in macro-economics to understand. It is very simple in fact. You cannot coerce people to do something by way of banning them from doing it. This is a simple logical contradiction that even children can understand.

This oxymoronic comedy of errors appears more ludicrous when we see that the USD is the only asset left that the USA can use to impose sanctions with. Do successive American administrations really believe that sanctioned and potentially sanctionable nations, are going to sit idle and starve themselves to death without taking pre-emptive measures to avert this?

If anything, sanctions over the years have taught even small and developing countries like Cuba, Syria and Iran to be self-reliant and innovative. Those countries have produced whole ‘armies’ of technicians who are able to manufacture spare parts even for old American cars. When you see photos of 1950’s Chevvies in Cuba, rest assured that there are hardly any original made-in-America parts left in them. If an American owns such an antique model and cannot find parts for it in the US, he/she may be able to find them in Cuba.

What makes the situation more farcical is that America knows well that China and Russia are intent to replace the USD as the single global reserve currency with China having a good chance to have it replaced by the Renminbi. It is also no secret that both Russia and China have been buying huge amounts of gold, and this is not to mention that they already have an alternative to the SWIFT system (СПФС or SPFS) of international banking transfers.

Back in the days of city sieges, the Athenians built their infamous horse, the original horse that coined the term ‘Trojan Horse’ and tricked the Trojans to take it into Troy. But in the West right now, there are no such strategists.

The current soaring fuel prices at service stations world-wide are not an outcome of the Russian action in Ukraine. They are the outcome of the sanctions.

These sanctions can only turn back and hurt the hand that created them. They are not arrows aimed at targets. They are boomerangs, but even boomerangs are meant to return to the hand that launched them when they miss the target. But Western sanctions are sharply-pointed boomerangs that can only hit back, and hit with vengeance, and the soaring fuel prices may just be only the beginning.

Biden Administration Restores Sanctions Waiver to Iran, Russia Slams Maximum Pressure Policy

 February 5, 2022

US President Joe Biden’s administration has restored a sanctions waiver that will allow countries to cooperate with Iran on civil nuclear projects, as the Vienna talks are underway on the revival of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

On Friday, a high-ranking US State Department official reported that the US administration made a decision to restore the sanctions waiver, which was rescinded by the administration of former president Donald Trump in May 2020.

The waiver allows Russian, Chinese and European companies to carry out non-proliferation work at Iranian nuclear sites.

It was needed to allow for technical discussions that were key to the negotiations about returning to the deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the State Department official said.

“The technical discussions facilitated by the waiver are necessary in the final weeks of JCPOA talks,” said the official, adding that even if a final deal is not reached, the waiver is important to holding discussions on the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons – of interest to the entire world.

The official stressed that the waiver “is not a concession to Iran,” nor is it “a signal that we are about to reach an understanding on a mutual return to full implementation of the” Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

This is while some believe that the move by the Biden administration is in fact in line with the White House’s “blame game” and cannot have economic positive effects on Iran’s economy, especially that the number of sanctions imposed by Washington against the Islamic Republic passes 1,000.

In reaction to the US move, Mikhail Ulyanov, Russia’s ambassador to International organizations, said that the US maximum pressure policy remains the major factor in the advancement of the Iranian nuclear program.

In a tweet, Ilyanov slammed some interpretations by the Islamic opponents.

Source: Al-Manar English Website

Imam Khamenei Hails Iranian Producers’ Struggle amid Sanctions as One of the Greatest Acts of Worship

Jan 31 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei said the enemies are waging a war against Iran’s economy in order to bring it to collapse and pit the people against the establishment.

“The goal of the enemies in this war has been the collapse of the Iranian economy; that was their intention. Now, the collapse of the economy was, of course, a prelude in order to set the people against the Islamic Republic by destroying the Iranian economy and to carry out their malicious political intentions in this way,” Imam Khamenei said in an address to a group of Iranian producers and entrepreneurs in Tehran on Sunday.

His Eminence hailed Iranian producers, entrepreneurs and workers as “officers” of the battle against the enemies’ economic war.  

“The country’s stronghold of production and economy is alive; thank God, it is standing. The army that stood against the enemy – the officers of this holy defense – were the entrepreneurs and capable economic managers. Its warriors were also workers. The workers were the sincere and earnest warriors of this battle. You and all economic actors share in this honor of preserving the country’s economy,” the Leader said.

Imam Khamenei reiterated his oft-repeated line that officials should not tie the country’s economy to the results of negotiations currently underway in Vienna to remove US sanctions on Iran.

His Eminence described production as struggle in the path of Allah, which is known as the principle of jihad in Islam.

“The resistance of the producers against the attack on the economy and the enemy’s efforts to prevent the sale of oil and gas and cut foreign exchange resources and against its plans to block Iran’s foreign trade is in fact jihad and one of the greatest acts of worship,” Imam Khamenei underscored.

The enemy’s plans to “conquer the production stronghold” of Iran as part of its economic war on the country have failed,” His Eminence added.

“In this onslaught on the country’s economy, there were problems in people’s livelihoods, but the production sector did not come to its knees, and a US State Department spokesman explicitly stated a few days ago that the policy of maximum pressure had led to the tragic defeat of the United States.”

Imam Khamenei was apparently referring to US State Department spokesman Ned Price who said last Tuesday that the “maximum pressure” campaign against Iran, initiated by the Trump administration and maintained by the Biden administration, has been an “abject failure.”

The Leader underscored that Iran’s economy needs a leap in production to overcome problems and remain immune to internal and external shocks.

“A jump in production leads to improved economic indicators such as sustainable employment, export boom, foreign exchange earnings and lower inflation. It leads to national self-confidence that is a guarantor of national dignity and security.”

Ayatollah Khamenei touched on Iran’s great potentials and vast possibilities as acknowledged by domestic and foreign experts, saying “if efficient, hard-working and caring managers use these capacities correctly, the situation will certainly be many times different.”

He said the cause of economic problems in the country is not solely the sanctions, but wrong decisions and dereliction on the part of officials are behind many of the problems.

Imam Khamenei also said he is generally not opposed to the participation of foreign companies in Iranian projects, but believes domestic knowledge-based companies can meet the country’s needs in large industries such as oil.

“Therefore, it should not be assumed that the advancement of technology in various industries depends only on the presence of foreign companies,” he said.

Thousands of small and medium-sized knowledge-based companies have been established in Iran in recent years, but the knowledge-based nature of large industries has been neglected, His Eminence added.

“The ability and knowledge of talented young people should be used in this field, just as whenever young people were trusted and given tasks from developing coronavirus vaccines to precision missiles, they really shone,” Imam Khamenei said.

“Our talented young people have also done outstanding work in the field of nanotechnology, stem cells and biotechnology and shown that ‘Iranian youth can’.”

Hardline US officials removed from Vienna negotiating team: Report

Western media reports allege that divisions have formed within the US team in Vienna over “how firmly to enforce existing sanctions” against Iran

Former State Department Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy Richard Nephew testifies before the Senate Banking Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, Tuesday, June 4, 2019, during a hearing on “confronting threats from China.” (AP Photo/Susan Walsh)

January 25 2022

By News Desk

According to a report published on The Wall Street Journal (WSJ) on 24 January, differences have emerged in the US negotiating team present in Vienna “over how tough to be with [Iran] and when to walk away” from the ongoing sanctions-removal talks.

Citing people familiar with the negotiations, the WSJ claims that Washington’s team in the Austrian capital has become divided over “how firmly to enforce existing sanctions and whether to cut off negotiations.” This division reportedly led to Richard Nephew, the deputy special envoy for Iran, leaving the team.

Nephew is identified as one of the ‘architects’ of the economic sanctions the White House has imposed on Iran since their unilateral withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in 2018.

He has reportedly not been present in Vienna since early December, having advocated “a tougher posture in the current negotiations.”

Besides Nephew, the WSJ reports that two other members of the US team led by State Department veteran Robert Malley have taken a step back from the talks.

The two unnamed officials reportedly also advocated for a “harder” negotiating stance against Iran.

The report goes on to highlight that these strains have been growing since last summer, with many of them being settled “at the highest levels of the Biden administration.”

Some of these tensions allegedly stemmed from Tehran implementing nuclear counter-measures since 2019, following the US and European breach of their obligations under the JCPOA.

Differences also flared over how “aggressively” to enforce sanctions, especially in regards to China importing Iranian oil.

These revelations came on the same day as Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian announced Tehran’s willingness to possibly hold direct negotiations with the US.

The JCPOA, which provided Iran with sanctions relief in exchange for limiting their nuclear energy program, fell apart in 2018 when then-US president Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the deal and imposed crushing sanctions on Tehran.

Over the past several months, Iran and the P4+1 group of countries (Russia, China, France, and the UK plus Germany) have been taking part in negotiations to remove US sanctions and restore the nuclear deal.

Due to its withdrawal, the US is currently not allowed to directly join the negotiations.

Raisi in Moscow: No Hindrance in Way of Improvement of Iran-Russia Ties

Jan 20 2022

By Staff, Agencies

Sayyed Ebrahim Raisi paid a state visit to Moscow at the invitation of Russia’s Vladimir Putin, in which the Iranian President said there is no hindrance lying in the way of improvement of relations between the Islamic Republic and the Russian Federation.

“We have no limitation for expansion and development of ties with Russia and are after establishment of strategic relations with Moscow,” Raisi said during the meeting on Wednesday.

The Islamic Republic has already signed a strategic partnership treaty with China that has outlined the roadmap for the Sino-Iranian ties for a 20-year-long term. And, right ahead of Raeisi’s visit to the Russian capital, Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said that the new administration in Tehran followed a “new road map” to deepen ties with Moscow, adding that Iran and Russia were determined to update a 20-year cooperation treaty that they signed in 2001.

Adding to his remarks, Raisi said, “Documents of strategic cooperation can outline the horizon of the [countries’] relations over 20 years.” “We are after increasing the volume of commercial ties with Russia and will expend much effort in this area,” he noted.

Additionally, Raisi hailed the countries’ anti-terror efforts in support of Syria as “good [common] experience that can serve as a basis for the [Russo-Iranian] relations.”

The Iranian president, meanwhile, said Tehran was in the midst of efforts aimed at removing the United States’ illegal and unilateral sanctions against the country.

“We have been confronting the US for more than 40 years. We hope that [these efforts] would lead to removal of the sanctions,” he said, adding, however, that “the threat of sanctions cannot come in the way of Iran’s progress.”

Iran is after enhancing its diplomatic ties with its neighbors, including Russia, Raisi said, noting that his visit would feature conclusion of some agreements that would contribute to the development of relations between Tehran and Moscow.

He also communicated Leader of the Islamic Revolution His Eminence Imam Sayyed Ali Khamenei’s regards to the Russian head of state, adding that the Leader “lays emphasis on reinforcement of relations with Russia.”

Putin, for his part, expressed delight to meet his Iranian counterpart, hailing that the two sides have been in constant communication since Raeisi’s inauguration last year.

He acknowledged Tehran and Moscow’s contribution to Syria’s “transition past the terrorist threats.”

The countries’ trade relations followed a “positive trend” last year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, Putin said.

Putin further noted how the countries’ officials have been paying “special attention” to the situation in Afghanistan.

“I am inclined for these important issues to be subjected to consultation and to know about your Excellency’s opinion [in these areas]” he told Raisi, according to Fars news agency.

Putin, meanwhile, communicated his regards to Imam Khamenei, asking Raisi to “Communicate my regards and wishes of good health to Imam Khamenei.”

The UAE’s bitter choices: strikes in its cities or defeat in Yemen

January 19 2022

By Abdel Bari Atwan

There are two main choices for the UAE: escalate dramatically or exit quickly, both with considerable cost to Abu Dhabi

On 17 January, Yemeni resistance movement Ansarallah launched its first-ever retaliatory missile strikes into the UAE’s depth, hitting Abu Dhabi airport and a key petroleum facility. Within hours, the Saudi-led coalition struck Yemen’s capital, Sanaa, killing 23 civilians in the ensuing bombardments. Both sides have threatened to escalate, after seven years of a brutal war.

So, what are the options of the UAE and the Houthis after the recent and sudden military confrontations? Will Abu Dhabi withdraw again – as it claimed to have done in 2019 – or will it continue its expensive proxy war, via its Yemen-based mercenary armies? And how will the Houthis respond to each of these scenarios?

After the unprecedented drones and ballistic missile attack launched by Ansarallah, Yemen’s Houthi-dominated resistance movement, into the UAE’s territorial depth, there are two critical questions that arise. The first is about the real motives behind this new Ansarallah gambit, and the second, about the UAE’s reaction to this attack.

Importantly, will this escalation lead to a change in strategy in the long run: will Abu Dhabi return to this war after a semi-interruption of three years, or will it decide to withdraw completely this time – proxies included – in order to avoid potentially high costs?

The Houthis, who have targeted multiple strategic economic and military sites inside Saudi Arabia with ballistic and winged missiles over the past years, had thus far avoided targeting the UAE in its retaliatory strikes. The Emiratis are the second-lead and key partner in the Arab coalition’s “Decisive Storm” assault launched on Yemen by Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in March 2015, in which he pledged to enter Houthi-controlled Sanaa “as a conqueror.”

When asked about why they neglected to retaliate against the UAE until now, sources close to the Houthis provided several reasons for that decision:

First, Ansarallah was unwilling to open two battle fronts at the same time – with Saudi Arabia and the UAE, both – in addition to their internal battlefronts with the UAE-backed Southern Transitional Council (STC), and the Saudi-backed Islah party and al-Sharia army.

Second, the Houthis had reached an implicit, unwritten agreement with the UAE that can be summed up thus: “We left the south to you, so leave the north to us, and do not interfere in it politically or militarily… and you will be safe.”

Third, the desire of Iran, an Ansarallah ally, to maintain a cautious balance with the UAE – especially with the Emirate of Dubai, a critical commercial gateway for undermining the severity of US sanctions on Iran, estimated to account for more than $14 billion annually in Emirati-Iranian trade.

Fourth, the sudden decision of the UAE in 2019 to withdraw its official troops gradually from Yemen after a sharp increase in soldier losses, estimated at 150 dead and hundreds more wounded.

Among the most prominent of those injured was Zayed bin Hamdan, the son of former foreign minister and governor of the northern region Sheikh Hamdan bin Zayed, and also the son-in-law of the the de facto ruler of the Emirates, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ). Hamdan was paralyzed and is in a wheelchair.

The UAE’s strong return to the Yemeni theater in recent months, via its proxies, especially in the critical battles of Shabwah, Marib and Al-Bayda, has changed Ansarallah’s calculations. The UAE-backed Giant Brigades – headed by General Tariq Afash, nephew of the late Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh – and other southern factions, upended all the equations on the ground when it stymied the advance of Ansarallah forces on these key frontlines.

Because of this Emirati escalation in recent weeks, Ansarallah lost partial control of the oil-rich Shabwah governorate, inflicting huge human losses in its ranks, tipping the scales toward the Saudi-backed Sharia army and easing the siege on them in Marib, which the Saudis were on the verge of losing.

After several days of hesitation, during which consultations took place with allies in Tehran, Beirut, and among Yemeni tribal leaders, Ansarallah decided to send a strong message to the UAE. It did so by bombing the Emirati depth, but in a reduced and deliberate way, to deliver a warning message to Abu Dhabi: “You breached the agreement.. If you go back, we will return, and he who warns have been excused (from explaining further),” say the Houthi sources mentioned above.

The Emirati military response came quickly, less than 24 hours later, with an aerial bombardment of the home of retired General Abdullah Qassem al-Junaid, head of the Yemeni Air College in the heart of Sanaa – where three families resided – killing about 23 civilians and wounding dozens for the first time in years.

There are two options for the UAE after these recent developments.

First, to revive the 2019 ‘truce agreement’ with the Houthis, which would entail ordering UAE proxies to immediately withdraw from the Shabwah, Marib and Al-Bayda fronts and return to their former bases on the western coast, south of Hodeidah and near Bab al-Mandab, as a first step.

Second, to advance its proxies into Ansarallah’s geographic red lines, and throw its full weight back into the Yemeni war  to strengthen the exhausted military position of its Saudi ally. These were decisions implemented by the UAE and Saudi Arabia in an agreement reached during Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman’s (MbS) visit to Abu Dhabi before last December’s Gulf summit.

It is not known which of the two options the Emirati leadership will choose. The first will be difficult as it will require an exit from the Saudi-led war coalition, an increase in tension with Riyadh, and the abandonment of its allies’ military ambitions in southern Yemen – but it will lead to halting any new Houthi attacks in the Emirati depth.

The second option may be vastly more expensive, because the Houthis are likely to continue their bombing of the UAE with more powerful retaliatory strikes targeting the oil and tourism infrastructure, especially the airports and the facilities of the “ADNOC” company, an Emirati version of Saudi Aramco.

Ansarallah’s bombardment of the UAE with missiles and drones, although expected, constituted a dangerous new development. It changed all the rules of engagement and moved the Yemeni war to a new stage where developments are difficult to anticipate.

Israel is about 1,600 kilometers from Sanaa – approximately the same distance between Abu Dhabi and Yemen’s capital city. Tel Aviv’s assistance to the UAE to investigate the Ansarallah strike capabilities comes on the back of increasing Israeli fears that it could be the next destination for Houthi ballistic missiles and armed drones. So, how then could this new element influence the direction of the Arab coalition countries in this war, and the UAE, in particular?

This unprecedented bombing of the Emirati depth will either lead to accelerate the exploration of a solution to end the Yemeni war – or escalate it, expand its circle, and invite other regional parties into it. The new entrants could include the countries and arms of the resistance axis, jihadists from all over the world, Russia, China, and a more active presence by western NATO states – similar to what happened in Syria.

In all cases, the surprises of the new year have already arrived, faster than we could have imagined.

The views expressed in this article do not necessarily reflect those of The Cradle.

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