Archive for October 2, 2019

Top Iranian general claims Tehran ‘defeated’ US before the world

October 2, 2019

Source: Top Iranian general claims Tehran ‘defeated’ US before the world | The Times of Israel

IRGC’s Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani also says the Guards have ‘paved the way’ to defeat the Islamic Republic’s regional enemies

Iranian Revolutionary Guards' Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.(YouTube screenshot)

Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.(YouTube screenshot)

A top general in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps on Tuesday claimed the country had “defeated” the US military before the world, the Tasnim news agency reported.

Qassem Soleimani, head of the IRGC’s Quds Force, may have been referring to Tehran’s downing of an American drone in June, an event for which US President Donald Trump approved a retaliatory strike, before calling it off at the last minute.

Soleimani, speaking at conference of IRGC commanders, also said the Guards had “paved the way” to defeat the nation’s enemies in the region.

Tensions have risen in the Persian Gulf since May last year when Trump unilaterally abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran and began reimposing crippling sanctions in a campaign of “maximum pressure.” Iran has responded in recent months by reducing its own commitments under the deal and the US deployed military assets to the region.

Things escalated further after last month’s attacks on Saudi oil facilities that halved the kingdom’s oil output.

Yemen’s Houthi rebels have claimed responsibility for the strikes but the US says it has concluded the attacks involved cruise missiles from Iran and amounted to “an act of war.”

Saudi Arabia, which has been bogged down in a five-year war across its southern border in Yemen, has said Iran “unquestionably sponsored” the attacks.

Smoke billows from an Aramco oil facility in Abqaiq about 60km (37 miles) southwest of Dhahran in Saudi Arabia’s eastern province on September 14, 2019. (AFP)

Iran has denied responsibility for the September 14 drone and cruise missile attack.

IRGC commander Major General Hossein Salami has said any country that attacks Iran will become the “main battlefield” in the ensuing conflict.

On Sunday the New Yorker reported that French President Emmanuel Macron was close to brokering a phone call between Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines on the UN General assembly last week, but the effort fell apart because of the Iranian leader’s lack of trust in the US president.

 

Report: Trump, Rouhani agreed to a French detente plan before Iran leader bolted 

October 2, 2019

Source: Report: Trump, Rouhani agreed to a French detente plan before Iran leader bolted | The Times of Israel

Paris officials say proposal would have seen Washington roll back all re-imposed sanctions and Tehran recommit to 2015 accord

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speak after a meeting at the United Nations headquarters on September 23, 2019, in New York. (LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP)

French President Emmanuel Macron (L) and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speak after a meeting at the United Nations headquarters on September 23, 2019, in New York. (LUDOVIC MARIN / AFP)
iUS President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani agreed to a four-point plan drafted by French President Emmanuel Macron that would have seen the two leaders meet and declare a resumption of negotiations, according to a Tuesday report in Politico.

However, the diplomatic effort by the French president failed when Rouhani backed out, over what other reports characterized as his deep mistrust of the US administration.

French officials told the website that Macron convinced Trump and Rouhani to meet on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly last week under the framework of his document. This called for the US to roll back all re-imposed sanctions, while Tehran was obligated to adhere to the nuclear agreement, refrain from “any aggression” in the region and agree to resume long-term talks about its nuclear programs.

Politico said the meeting did not go ahead because Rouhani insisted that Trump first publicly declare an end to the sanctions he re-imposed after withdrawing the US last year from the 2015 nuclear deal.

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

President Donald Trump delivers remarks to the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly, Tuesday, Sept. 24, 2019, in New York. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Tuesday’s report followed a New Yorker report on Sunday that Macron was close to brokering a phone call between Trump and Rouhani last week, but the French president’s secretive effort fell apart because of the Iranian leader’s lack of trust in the US president.

Trump was waiting on the line, but Rouhani left him hanging, The New York Times elaborated Monday. “President Trump waited on the other end.” All Rouhani had to do “was come out of his hotel suite and walk into a secure room where Mr. Trump’s voice would be piped in via speaker. But he refused to do so, and therefore “Mr. Macron left empty-handed and Mr. Trump was left hanging.”

Officials said Macron had arranged for technicians to install a secure line in Rouhani’s New York hotel suite for a three-way conference call Tuesday evening, but when the French president arrived at the suite and proposed the call, Rouhani refused to participate.

The Times said Rouhani and his aides were “blindsided by the offer” to talk to Trump, which was presented to them by Macron during on an unannounced visit to their rooms at the Millennium Hilton Hotel. “It was a mission lifted out of a Hollywood thriller,” the paper said.

“We set up the gear with the approval of the Iranians, evidently, because it was happening at their quarters,” a French official told the New Yorker. “The technicians arrived, the Iranians let them set up, they assisted them, there was no problem.”

An oil tanker on fire in the Gulf of Oman, June 13, 2019 near the strategic Strait of Hormuz where two ships were reportedly attacked. (AP Photo/ISNA)

Tensions have risen in the Persian Gulf since May last year when Trump unilaterally abandoned a 2015 nuclear deal between major powers and Iran and began reimposing crippling sanctions in a campaign of “maximum pressure.”

Britain, France and Germany have repeatedly said they are committed to saving the deal that gave Iran relief from sanctions in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program, but their efforts have so far borne little fruit.

Tensions flared again this May when Iran began reducing its own commitments under the deal and the US deployed military assets to the region.

Since then, ships have been attacked, drones downed and oil tankers seized. This month, twin attacks on Saudi oil infrastructure, which knocked out half the kingdom’s production, drew accusations of blame on Iran from Washington and Europe.

Tehran has denied any involvement in the attacks which were claimed by Iran-backed rebels fighting a Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.

On Sunday, the Iranian oil minister ordered his country’s energy sector to be on high alert to the threat of “physical and cyber” attacks, saying precautions were needed due to American sanctions and the “full-scale economic war” that the Islamic Republic accuses the United States of waging against it.

 

Huge Iranian Guards base rising near Baghdad for missile-drone attacks on Israel – DEBKAfile

October 2, 2019

Source: Huge Iranian Guards base rising near Baghdad for missile-drone attacks on Israel – DEBKAfile

Exclusive: The Shaykh Mazhar Air Base 48km southwest of Baghdad is under intense renovation by Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as their primary base for missile and armed drone attacks on Israel, DEBKAfile’s exclusive military and intelligence sources reveal.

The base is 1,200km from northern and central Israel as the crow (or a missile) flies. Iranian Air Force fighter jets are to be brought in to provide Baghdad with air cover against Israel air strikes, such as those recently staged against Iran’s Iraqi arm, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMU), the umbrella of Iraq’s Shiite militias.

Our military sources report that during September, one of those militias, the Imam Ali Battalions, took control of the air base, known also as Suwayrah, for intensive construction work, placing its entire area off-limits to Iraqi military personnel. The conversion is providing fortified hangars alongside the runways to protect planes, drones and ballistic missiles from Israeli air strikes. Tehran has also installed at the air base Bavar-373 air defense missiles, the Iranian version of the Russian S-300s.

The PMU has a fighting strength of some 160,000 men, whose superior weaponry is more advanced than the Iraqi army’s equipment.
Iraq’s prime minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi’s tacit consent to the construction of Iran’s main base of attack against Israel near Baghdad is consistent with his policy of rapprochement with Tehran. On Monday, on his instructions, the Al Qaim border crossing to Syria was reopened for the first time in eight years of warfare, offering Iran free passage for its convoys of missiles and other weapons systems via Iraq to Syria and Lebanon in the guise of commercial freights.

This new Iranian air base in Iraq, which brings its deadly weaponry closer to Israel, and Tehran’s deepening military foothold in that country presents Israel and its military with tough decisions on how far it can afford to expand its attacks on Iranian targets in Iraq. The Israeli air force has so far confined itself to striking imported Iranian ballistic missiles and the Iraqi Shiite militias serving Tehran as active proxies. However, attacking a large Iranian air base under construction deep inside Iraq would start a whole new ball game. This decision is up to Israel’s top policy makers and strategists. But the highest government levels are unfortunately preoccupied at present with the task of forming a new government or, alternatively, getting set for their third election campaign in a year, instead of dealing full time with the expanding peril advancing ever closer from Tehran.

 

Iran-Saudi Arabia: Prospects of an all-out conflagration – Jerusalem Studio 453

October 2, 2019

 

 

Iran-Saudi Arabia: Prospects of an all-out conflagration – Jerusalem Studio 453

October 2, 2019