Archive for the ‘Iran – American relations’ category

World War 3: Iran threatens to send TERRORISTS to USA as it warns ALL OUT WAR is imminent

July 26, 2018

A SENIOR Iranian military commander has warned Iran is prepared launch a war and wage a campaign of terror against the United States as he hit back after incendiary tweets posted by US President Donald Trump earlier in the week.


Major-General Qassem Soleimani has said Iran was a (Image: GETTY)

By Ciaran McGrath via Express
PUBLISHED: 10:38, Thu, Jul 26, 2018 | UPDATED: 15:19, Thu, Jul 26, 2018

Source Link:
World War 3: Iran threatens to send TERRORISTS to USA as it warns ALL OUT WAR is imminent

{If war breaks out, defeat is not an option for the USA. If Iran screws with the flow of oil, you can bet they will get their mother of all wars. – LS}

And Major-General Qassem Soleimani has claimed that if the US starts a war, “Iran will finish it”.

Mr Soleimani, who heads up the Quds Force of Iran’s powerful Revolutionary Guards Corps, was reported by various Iranian news agencies as having made his comments during a speech in the city of Hamedan.

He said: “As a soldier, it is my duty to respond to Trump’s threats. If he wants to use the language of threat, he should talk to me, not to president Hassan Rouhani.

“What could you have done against Iran in the past 20 years that you haven’t done already? At the end, the victory belonged to the Iranian nation.

“You know that this war will destroy all that you possess. You will start this war but we will be the ones to impose its end. Therefore you have to be careful about insulting the Iranian people and the president of our Republic.”

And in an apparent reference to acts of terror, he added: “You know our power in the region and our capabilities in asymmetric war. We will act and we will work.”

“You know that this war will destroy all that you possess. You will start this war but we will be the ones to impose its end.

“Therefore you have to be careful about insulting the Iran people and the president of our Republic.

“Trump should know that we are nation of martyrdom and that we await him.”

He also said that the Red Sea was not secure while US troops were deployed in the area.

Saudi Arabia said on Thursday it was temporarily halting all oil shipments through the strategic Red Sea shipping lane of Bab al-Mandeb after an attack on two oil tankers by Yemen’s Iran-aligned Houthi movement.

Yemen, where a US-backed, Saudi-led coalition has been battling the Houthis for three years, lies beside the southern mouth of the Red Sea, one of the most important trade routes in the world for oil tankers.

The state-run Mehr News Agency also quoted him as saying: “Ask your then commander about whom he sent to me to beg for coverage for the American troops against the attacks of Iraq’s Mujahideen Army until they could leave the country.

“On what background are you exactly basing your threats?”

“There is no need for Iran’s Armed Forces to get involved. I myself and the IRGC’s Quds Force are enough to face you as an adversary.”

And in a further cryptic threat, he added: “Mr Gambler Trump! I’m telling you that we are close to you exactly where you wouldn’t think that we are.”

Mr Trump’s fiery tweet was prompted by a speech delivered by Mr Rouhani at the weekend, during which he warned the US “not the pull the tiger’s tail” and said a confict between the two nations would be “the mother of all wars”.

In turn, Mr Rouhani may have been irked by US secretary of state Mike Pompeo’s characterisation of his regime as a “mafia” state, as well as the US’s withdrawal from the JPCA nuclear agreement and reimposition of sanctions on the Islamic republic.

Mr Pompeo has also encouraged dissenters within Iran, possibly in the hope of encouraging further demonstrations – SOAS professor Arshin Adib-Moghaddam yesterday told Express.co.uk this would backfire by encouraging Iranians to get behind their leadership.

In a statement read in English after a cabinet meeting yesterday, Mr Rouhani said it was not worth responding directly to Mr Trump’s comments.

He added: “The Iranian nation’s steadfastness, unity, integrity and disregarding of their threats and plots and choosing the path of resisting and attempting to foil the enemies’ plots are the most powerful response to the cheap remarks of US rulers.”

Perhaps surprisingly, Mr Trump’s opening tweet of the day did not address the situation, but rather levelled criticism at Twitter for something completely unrelated.

He posted: “Twitter “SHADOW BANNING” prominent Republicans. Not good. We will look into this discriminatory and illegal practice at once! Many complaints.”

Pompeo Vows to ‘Crush’ Iran’s Terror & Nuke Programs

May 22, 2018

by John Rossomando May 21, 2018 The Investigative Project on Terrorism

Source Link: Pompeo Vows to ‘Crush’ Iran’s Terror & Nuke Programs

Bonus Link: U.S. Iran Strategy Announced By Sec State Pompeo

{If I lived in Iran, I’d be stocking up on food, water, and other necessities right about now. – LS}

New sanctions are around the corner that could help “crush” Iran’s ability to fund terrorism and its nuclear program, Secretary of State Mike Pompeoannounced Monday in a speech at The Heritage Foundation. Pompeo promised the “strongest sanctions in history.” He listed12 demands that Iran would need to fulfill to have the sanctions lifted. These demands include an end to Iran’s support for terror; carte blanche inspection of Iranian nuclear sites by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA); and ending ballistic missile proliferation.

“We will track down Iranian operatives and their Hizballah proxies operating around the world and we will crush them,” Pompeo said. “Iran will never again have carte blanche to dominate the Middle East.”

On May 8, President Trump announced the end of U.S. participation in the Iran deal,formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). European governments, however, say they plan to remain in the agreement.

Pompeo slammed the Obama administration, which negotiated and pushed for the deal, for failing to listen to critics who argued that releasing approximately $100 billion in frozen assets to Iran would increase its ability to support terrorism.

“Remember, Iran advanced its march across the Middle East during the JCPOA,” Pompeo said. Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force chief “Qasem Soleimani has been playing with house money that has become blood money. Wealth created by the West has fueled his campaigns.”

Iran used the released money from the JCPOA to fund the IRGC, the Taliban, Hizballah, Hamas and the Houthis in Yemen, Pompeo said. Iranian backed militias under Soleimani’s leadership control a wide swath of territory between the Iran-Iraq borders all the way to the Mediterranean. Israel recently launched retaliatory strikes on Iranian targets in Syria after Iranian rockets landed in the Golan Heights.

Al-Qaida leaders also continue to be harbored in Iran.

Not surprisingly, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani rejected Pompeo’s demands, saying Iran will “continue our path with the support of our nation.”

Last week, the Trump administration sanctioned the IRGC Quds Force and imposed sanctions on the head of Iran’s central bank, which Pompeo said funded Hizballah and other terrorist organizations.

“The Iranian economy is already in free fall. That has to put a crimp in the regime’s capacity to fund surrogates. If the administration follows through there certainly won’t be more money to spread around,” James Carafano, vice president and director of the Center for Foreign Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT).

U.K.-based exiled Iranian dissident and author Babak Taghvaee criticized Pompeo’s speech on Twitter for not including human rights as a condition for lifting sanctions.

“Iranians could have helped #US to not only achieve these twelve objectives rather more,” Taghvaee told the IPT.

Other Iranians responded by creating #ThankYouPompeo and #IranRegimeChange hashtags on Twitter.

Trump: Iran messed with Obama, they don’t mess with me

April 26, 2018

By Eric Sumner April 26, 2018 Jerusalem Post

Source Link: Trump: Iran messed with Obama, they don’t mess with me

{Direct and to the point, that’s Trump.   Furthermore, following through on threats to sink US ships would be a huge (yuge) mistake as well as restarting the nuclear program (which probably never stopped anyway).  Kind of makes you wonder what they fear will be revealed by a new agreement full of inspection requirments that’s worth starting a war.   One day we may see Iran begging for an agreement.  We shall see.  – LS}

US President Donald Trump boasted that his administration has kept Iran in check where former president Barack Obama had failed to do so in a special interview with Fox & Friends Thursday

“They used to scream ‘death to America,'” Trump said. “They don’t scream it anymore. They screamed it with him [Obama], but not with me.”

Earlier Thursday, Iran’s supreme leader called on Muslim nations to unite against the United States, saying Tehran would never yield to “bullying.”

“The Iranian nation has successfully resisted bullying attempts by America and other arrogant powers and we will continue to resist… All Muslim nations should stand united against America and other enemies,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said.

Iran’s top authority criticized Trump for saying on Tuesday some countries in the Middle East “wouldn’t last a week” without US protection.

“Such remarks are a humiliation for Muslims … Unfortunately there is war in our region between Muslim countries. The backward governments of some Muslim countries are fighting with other countries,” Khamenei said.

Shiite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia have long been locked in a proxy war, competing for regional supremacy from Iraq to Syria and Lebanon to Yemen.

President Trump’s Fox & Friends appearance piled on more to the saber-rattling between Middle Eastern powers in recent weeks. Earlier this month, senior Iranian cleric Ali Shirazi threatened to destroy Tel Aviv and Haifa if Israel takes any “stupid measures,” and Israeli Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman shot back on Thursday.

“If Iran strikes Tel Aviv, Israel will hit Tehran and destroy any Iranian military site in Syria that threatens Israel,” Liberman told London-based Saudi newspaper Elaph on Thursday.

Meanwhile, a top advisor to Khameni announced Thursday that the Islamic Republic will not accept any change to the Iran nuclear deal, as Western signatories of the accord prepare a package that seeks to persuade Trump to save the agreement.

“Any change or amendment to the current deal will not be accepted by Iran… If Trump exits the deal, Iran will surely pull out of it.. Iran will not accept a nuclear deal with no benefits for us,” Ali Akbar Velayati said.

 

Iranian president to Trump: Stay in nuke deal or face ‘severe consequences’

April 24, 2018


“If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences,” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday. “Iran is prepared for all possible situations.” | Iranian Presidency Office via AP

By LOUIS NELSON 04/24/2018 07:14 AM EDT Politico

Source Link: Iranian president to Trump: Stay in nuke deal or face ‘severe consequences’

{Here we go again. More threats from Iran. You’d think they were speaking from a position of strength but their economy is failing, their people are suffering, and their currency is being devalued daily. Any more resistance by the Mullahs will result in tighter sanctions and an eventual collapse. With Trump, economic power backed up by the world’s largest military is a huge bargaining chip. I wouldn’t want to call his bluff if I were them. He just might not be bluffing as many others have found out. – LS}

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned Tuesday of “severe consequences” for the U.S. should it withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, a step President Donald Trump has indicated he will take if certain changes to the agreement are not made.

“I am telling those in the White House that if they do not live up to their commitments … the Iranian government will firmly react,” Rouhani said in a speech, according to a Reuters report.

The Iranian president’s warning coincides with the visit of French President Emmanuel Macron to Washington, where he is expected to urge Trump to keep the U.S. in the deal, which was negotiated under former President Barack Obama and agreed to by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, plus Germany and Iran.

Complaints about the Iran deal were among Trump’s most frequent talking points on the 2016 campaign trail, including a pledge to pull the U.S. from it. The president has yet to follow through on that promise, opting instead to continue extending the deal while demanding that it be altered to address other behavior by the Iranian government, including its funding of groups deemed by the U.S. to be terrorist organizations, that currently falls outside the scope of the nuclear deal.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter that his nation’s compliance with the deal was “either all or nothing,” indicating that Iran would not remain party to the deal if the U.S. withdraws, even if the other nations do not. Rouhani, delivering a speech in the city of Tabriz, said Iran is prepared for whatever move Trump makes.

“If anyone betrays the deal, they should know that they would face severe consequences,” the Iranian president said. “Iran is prepared for all possible situations.”

 

Iran Has Sleeper Cells in the U.S.—And the Media is Fast Asleep

April 21, 2018

Snapshots Blog April 20, 2018

Source Link:
Iran Has Sleeper Cells in the U.S.—And the Media is Fast Asleep

{Information is the best defense. – LS}

The Islamic Republic of Iran has proxies serving as “sleeper cells” in the U.S., according to sworn congressional testimony. Yet, U.S. news outlets have largely neglected the story.

Several “intelligence officials and former White House officials confirmed to Congress” on April 17, 2018, that “Iranian agents tied to the terror group Hezbollah have already been discovered in the United States,” according to a Washington Free Beacon article by reporter Adam Kredo (“Iranian-Backed ‘Sleeper Cell’ Militants Hibernating in U.S., Positioned for Attack,” April 17, 2018). The officials told members of Congress that it would be “relatively easy” for Iran to use its proxies to carry out attacks in the U.S.

Hezbollah is a Lebanese-based, Iranian-backed, U.S.-designated terrorist group. Hezbollah calls for Israel’s destruction and has murdered hundreds of Americans, as CAMERA detailed in its 2016 backgrounder on the organization.

Michael Pregent, an adjunct fellow at the Hudson Institute, a Washington D.C.-based think tank, and a former intelligence adviser to U.S. Army Gen. David Petraeus, told the U.S. Congress that Hezbollah was “as good or better at explosive devices than ISIS,” “better at assassinations and developing assassination cells” and “better at targeting.” Indeed, as CAMERA has noted, former U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Richard Armitage referred to Hezbollah as the “A team” of terror groups.

Although the majority of analysts testified that Iranian proxies like Hezbollah pose a threat to the U.S. homeland, many news outlets failed to report their testimony. A Lexis-Nexis search showed that The Washington Post, The Baltimore Sun, USA Today, among others, did not report the analyst’s remarks. By contrast, The Washington Free Beacon provided a detailed report.

The failure of journalists to cover the story is striking considering the levity of the testimony. Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies and author of The Pasdaran: Inside Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, testified:

“A survey of cases prosecuted against Hezbollah operatives in the past two decades shows that the terror group remains a threat to the security of the U.S. homeland and the integrity of its financial system. Iran and Hezbollah sought to carry out high casualty attacks against U.S. targets multiple times. Additionally, they built networks they used to procure weapons, sell drugs, and conduct illicit financial activities inside the United States.”

Ottolenghi noted that U.S. law enforcement arrested two Hezbollah operatives, Samer El Debek and Ali Mohammad Kourani, indicting them in May 2017 for “casing targets for possible future terror attacks.” Both were members of Hezbollah’s External Security Organization (ESO), also known as the Islamic Jihad Organization (IJO) or External Security Apparatus (ESA). ESO is tasked with carrying out terrorist attacks and other operations, such as money laundering and drug smuggling, throughout the world.

The two Hezbollah operatives—both naturalized U.S. citizens—underwent military training in Lebanon and procured explosives, as well as night-vision goggles and drone technology. Ottolenghi testified that El Debek scoped out potential targets, including New York’s John F. Kennedy and La Guardia International Airports and the U.S. Armed Forces Career Center in Queens, New York. In 2007, Iranian proxies planned to blow up the fuel tanks at JFK airport, but were thwarted by authorities.

Nader Uskowi, a former policy adviser to the U.S. Central Command, told Congress that Iran is believed to have an auxiliary fighting force of around 200,000 militants spread across the Middle East—many of them battle hardened from fighting in the Syrian Civil War. “It doesn’t take many of them to penetrate this country and be a major threat,” Uskowi said. “They can pose a major threat to our homeland.”

Such a threat warrants coverage from news providers; not silence.

How Mattis softened on Iran — for now

January 17, 2018

His position on Iran may not last much longer. But for now, it’s a striking change.

Defense Secretary James Mattis hasn’t been a dove. But he has sought to minimize the chances of a bigger confrontation with Iranian forces and their proxies in the region. | Alex Brandon/AP Photo

By WESLEY MORGAN 01/16/2018 05:00 AM EST

Source: How Mattis softened on Iran – Politio

{I seriously doubt General Mattis has changed his attitude towards Iran. What’s changed is the administration’s approach, his job title, and his boss. You can bet he’s had it up to here with Iran, but I believe he will defer to a different, yet aggressive approach in dealing with Iran and it’s spreading influence in the Mideast. This is pretty much par for Politico. – LS}

As former President Barack Obama’s top commander in the Middle East, then-Gen. James Mattis pushed for military strikes to punish Iran for arming anti-American militias in Iraq.

But as President Donald Trump’s defense secretary, Mattis has softened his stance and emerged as one of the administration’s chief voices of moderation toward Tehran.

Mattis’ position may not last much longer, however, as the U.S. war against the Islamic State transitions into a struggle for territory and influence between America’s allies and Iran’s. But for now, it’s a striking change for the former military commander who repeatedly clashed with the Obama administration’s diplomatic approach — and who once described the top three threats in the Middle East as “Iran, Iran and Iran.”

In the past year, Mattis has openly contradicted Trump by testifying that Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran “is something that the president should consider staying with.” (Trump declined once again to scrap the agreement Friday despite repeated pledges to do so.) And with U.S. troops and their Iranian counterparts often in close quarters in Iraq and Syria, Mattis has so far declined to take a confrontational approach to limiting or rolling back the influence of Tehran and its proxies.

The shift has surprised some insiders.

“For those who were looking for Qasem Soleimani to drop dead the first year of Secretary Mattis’ tenure, that hasn’t happened, obviously,” said one senior administration official, referring to an Iranian general accused of interfering with American interests in the Middle East.

One reason for Mattis’ new stance: As the Pentagon’s civilian leader, he must balance a much larger menu of global challenges than when he led the U.S. military’s Central Command between 2010 and 2013, according to current and former administration officials with experience on Iran policy who know Mattis well.

Another factor is the change in presidents: Instead of working for a commander in chief he viewed as weak on Iran, he now works for one who at times appears to be picking a fight.

“He has to be very sensitive to where the president is,” said James Jeffrey, who was Obama’s ambassador to Iraq when Mattis headed Central Command. “With Obama, he had a president who was very reticent to challenge Iran militarily … so he was forward-leaning, and that probably hurt his relationship with Obama.”

Now, Jeffrey said, Mattis is “dealing with a president who is both extremely aggressive on Iran and very volatile. So he has to be the cautioner, the balance of reason, the ‘look before you leap’ guy. You see him doing this with North Korea, and you see him doing it with Iran.”

Mattis’ office did not respond to a request for an interview.

Trump’s rhetoric about Iran has been aggressive, especially when it comes to the nuclear deal. As a candidate, Trump railed against what he called the “worst deal ever,” and as president he called it “one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into,” even as he has repeatedly punted on killing it.

Last fall, the administration imposed new sanctions on Iran’s ballistic missile program, and Trump has hailed the popular protests against the Iranian regime — promising that the protesters would “see great support from the United States at the appropriate time.”

Mattis hasn’t been a dove, either. He has called Iran “the world’s largest state sponsor of terror” and last year authorized a rare strike on Iran’s ally, the Bashar Assad regime in Syria, for its use of chemical weapons against civilians. And he has overseen the shoot-down of Iranian drones when they strayed too close to U.S. forces.

But he has also sought to minimize the chances of a bigger confrontation with Iranian forces and their proxies in the region.

One area where that has been on display is the battle against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria. Among analysts who say that the war has widened Iran’s influence in the two countries, a common fear is the establishment of a “land bridge,” or uninterrupted ground resupply route, from Iran through Iraq into regime-controlled territory in Syria.

After U.S.-backed militias liberated the Syrian city of Raqqa last fall, Iranian-backed forces made a dash for the Iraq-Syria border that some saw as the final step in building the land bridge. Iran hawks had criticized the Pentagon for closing one of its two remote border outposts ahead of that move, saying that keeping it open might have prevented the land bridge from coming to fruition.

But at a recent news conference, Mattis downplayed that fear. “I don’t think there’s a land bridge right now,” he told reporters, saying Iranian-backed forces don’t have the kind of unfettered access across the border that the phrase suggests.

As the war against the Islamic State winds down this year, however, and the Pentagon settles on a new role for U.S. troops in Iraq and, especially, Syria, Mattis may approve tougher pushback against Iranian interference, the current and former officials said.

That means he would revert to his old hawkishness if he thinks the situation warrants it.

Mattis also remains concerned about Iranian land access to Syria, despite his public denial, according to the senior administration official.

“He has given direction to CENTCOM to make sure that we are postured to disrupt that,” without being “alarmist about what the Iranians are trying to do,” the official said. He added, “As we transition away from ‘defeat ISIS,’ our military posture will stay there. … Countering Iranian influence is very much part of that calculus.”

Andrew Exum, who oversaw Middle East issues as a Pentagon official under Obama, agreed that Mattis’ restrained approach on Iran during his first year at the Pentagon might give way to a more aggressive one in year two.

In 2017, Exum said, Mattis was focused on finishing the fight against the Islamic State that he inherited from the Obama administration. This year, though, “the Trump administration is now appropriately moving on to some of the unfinished business we left for them,” including starting to roll back Iranian influence now that ISIS is out of the way.

The fate of postwar Syria may be decided in part by the on-again, off-again U.N.-brokered negotiations known as the “Geneva process.” Those talks are seen as the main hope that the future of the Syrian regime and the rebel groups opposing it can be decided diplomatically.

During a trip to Europe in November, Mattis said publicly for the first time that he supported the Geneva diplomatic process. For Syria watchers, it was the first hint he had given of a potential future U.S. military mission in Syria with broader goals than simply defeating ISIS, the Pentagon’s stated mission in the country.

Jeffrey said Mattis’ remarks suggested he sees a role for U.S. troops in backing the Kurdish and Arab rebels they aided against the Islamic State, and preventing those battlefield allies from being subsumed by the regime and its Iranian patrons. “That’s a way to pressure the Syrians and Iranians and ultimately the Russians to accept a political process that will create something other than the horrors of the Assad regime,” Jeffrey said.

But what form that pressure might take is unclear.

Eric Edelman, who was the Pentagon’s top policy official during the George W. Bush administration, said one way would be to continue using U.S. special operations forces and air power to advise and back up the same Kurdish and Arab militias alongside which they’re already fighting — only now with an aim toward empowering them against attacks from Iranian-backed forces. “You have to have your own forces there behind them so they have leverage in any political negotiation,” he said.

But American troops are in Syria under the legal justification of fighting an offshoot group of Al Qaeda, the group against which the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force is targeted. Military action to take on Iran and its allies in Syria would fall outside that authorization and might require additional permission from Congress.

With thousands of U.S. and coalition troops deployed in Iraq, where they are vulnerable to retaliation by large militias that Iran has advised and armed, the risks of any kind of U.S.-backed military action to roll back Iranian gains in Syria are high, Jeffrey said.

But the alternative won’t be appealing to a defense secretary who still sees Iran as the greatest regional threat, either.

“Imagine if we were pushed out of Iraq and Russia and Iran inherited the victory in Syria. It would be a huge American defeat,” Jeffrey said. “So it’s a fairly precarious position that Mattis is sitting on top of.”

What Is the Right U.S. Policy on Iran?

June 21, 2017

What Is the Right U.S. Policy on Iran? Clarion ProjectShahriar Kia, June 21, 2017

Iranian women protest election irregularities in 2009 (Photo: Getty Images)

Tillerson added. “As you know, we have designated the Quds [Force]. Our policy towards Iran is to push back on this hegemony, contain their ability to develop obviously nuclear weapons, and to work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.”

******************************

United States Secretary of State Rex Tillerson responded to a variety of very serious questions raised by House of Representatives members in a recent hearing focusing on U.S. policy vis-à-vis Iran. Representative Ted Poe (R) from Texas touched on what many believe is the ultimate issue when he said:

“I’d like to know what the policy is of the U.S. toward Iran. Do we support the current regime? Do we support a philosophy of regime change, peaceful regime change? There are Iranians in exile all over the world. Some are here. And then there’s Iranians in Iran who don’t support the totalitarian state. So is the U.S. position to leave things as they are or set up a peaceful, long-term regime change?”

America’s top diplomat, taking into consideration how the Trump administration’s all-out Iran policy remains an issue of evaluation, answered:

“… our Iranian policy is under development.

“We continually review the merits both from the standpoint of diplomatic but also international consequences of designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard in its entirety as a terrorist organization.” 

Tillerson added. “As you know, we have designated the Quds [Force]. Our policy towards Iran is to push back on this hegemony, contain their ability to develop obviously nuclear weapons, and to work toward support of those elements inside of Iran that would lead to a peaceful transition of that government. Those elements are there, certainly as we know.”

Iran is terrified of such a stance and responded immediately. In a tweet, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed that 75 percent of Iran’s population voted in the recent election farce back in May.

Iran’s wrath was not limited to this very issue. Following the twin ISIS attacks targeting Iran’s parliament and the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, leader of the Islamic revolution in Iran, senior regime officials sought to portray their apparatus as a victim of terrorism.

Failing to do so, Iranian regime officials accused the US, Saudi Arabia and the main opposition group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), of this terrorist plot. A few days ago, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei lashed out at the US and accused Washington of bringing ISIS to life.

“Who created ISIS? Was it anyone but the U.S.? … The U.S. claim that they have established a coalition against ISIS is a lie; of course, the U.S. is against an ‘unrestrained ISIS,’ however, if anyone truly seeks to eradicate ISIS, they will have to fight against it,” he said.

Now the question is, what is Iran so concerned about and what is the right policy vis-à-vis Iran?

With Obama leaving the White House, Iran forever lost a major international backer. For eight years, the “golden era” as Iran dubbed the Obama years, any and all activities by the Iranian people and their organized opposition for change in Iran was countered by the domestic crackdowns and international hurdles, specifically by the U.S.

Obama’s neglect of Tehran’s crimes in Syria and Iraq led to the disasters we are witnessing today. Internationally, a major overhaul of U.S. policy in the region and establishing a significant Arab-American alliance in the face of Iran’s meddling has become a major concern for the mullahs.

In addition, increasing popular dissent and widespread activities by the PMOI/MEK in the past few months have also raised major concerns for the regime.

Khamenei personally intervened last week, first acknowledging the 1988 massacre, defending the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), and those involved in the murder of over 30,000 political prisoners. Most of the victims, all executed in mass groups, were PMOI/MEK members and supporters.

Khamenei’s second concern and that of his entire apparatus is focused on the upcoming Iranian opposition’s annual convention in Paris scheduled for July 1 this year. The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the main entity representing the Iranian opposition, hosts more than 100,000 Iranians from across the globe each year alongside hundreds of prominent dignitaries delivering their support and speeches seeking true change in Iran.

Last year alone, a very prominent delegation of American dignitaries from both sides of the political aisle included former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former U.S. ambassador to the UN John Bolton from the Republicans, former Democratic National Committee chairman Gov. Howard Dean, former U.S. ambassador to the UN Gov. Bill Richardson took part.

This year’s Iranian opposition rally is already brewing major concerns for Tehran as the regime understands the end of the era of appeasement has led to sweeping changes in Western policy regarding the Middle East, and most importantly Iran.

This is exactly why Tehran is going the limits to prevent the shifting of policy towards the Iranian people. Tehran’s lobbies in the U.S. and Europe are placing a comprehensive effort to demonize the images of the PMOI/MEK and the NCRI to prevent any such changes, especially in Washington.

If Iran resorts to ridiculous remarks of accusing the U.S. and Iranian opposition of staging the recent double attacks in Tehran, the correct policy is none other than supporting the Iranian people and their resistance to realize regime change in Tehran.

Congress Seeks Embargo on Iran Airline Linked to Terrorism as Tehran Targets U.S. Forces

June 15, 2017

Congress Seeks Embargo on Iran Airline Linked to Terrorism as Tehran Targets U.S. Forces, Washington Free Beacon, June 15, 2017

An airplane of Mahan Air sits at the tarmac / Getty Images

The legislation would grant the Department of Homeland Security increased power to boost security at U.S. airports that host flights arriving from countries where Mahan operates. It also instructs the Trump administration to prepare reports outlining every airport where a Mahan-operated flight has landed.

At this point, the deal between Boeing and Iran remains on track, though that could change if the Trump administration decides to block licenses that would permit the U.S. company to engage in business with Tehran.

Iran has already threatened to take action against the United States if Congress approves the new package of sanctions. This includes leveling its own sanctions on American entities.

******************************

Congress is seeking new authorities that would enable it to expose and crack down on an Iranian state-controlled commercial airline known for transporting weapons and terrorist fighters to hotspots such as Syria, where Iranian-backed forces have begun launching direct attacks on U.S. forces in the country, according to new legislation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Congressional efforts to expose Iran’s illicit terror networks more forcefully come as U.S. and European air carriers such as Boeing and AirBus move forward with multi-billion dollar deals to provide the Islamic Republic with a fleet of new airplanes, which lawmakers suspect Iran will use to amplify its terror operations.

The new sanction legislation targets Iran’s Mahan Airlines, which operates commercial flights across the globe while transporting militants and weapons to fighters in Syria, Yemen, and other regional hotspots.

Sen. John Cornyn (R., Texas) is spearheading an amendment to a larger Iran sanctions bill that would increase security at U.S. airports and help expose Mahan’s use of commercial flights to ferry weapons abroad, according to a copy of the measure obtained by the Free Beacon.

The legislation would grant the Department of Homeland Security increased power to boost security at U.S. airports that host flights arriving from countries where Mahan operates. It also instructs the Trump administration to prepare reports outlining every airport where a Mahan-operated flight has landed.

Mahan’s “very presence is a security risk to Americans flying in and out of airports where a Mahan aircraft may land,” Cornyn said earlier this week on the Senate floor.

The amendment, if passed, could complicate efforts by Boeing and others to move forward with multi-billion dollar deals with Iran, a portion of which would likely benefit Mahan.

The State and Homeland Security departments declined to comment on the new sanctions when asked by the Free Beacon, citing a policy of not discussing pending legislation.

The renewed focus on Mahan and Iran’s use of commercial airlines to support terror activities comes as the Islamic Republic amps up operations in Syria directly targeting U.S. forces, a new front that has cast a spotlight on the growing proxy war between Iran and the United States in the region.

An Iranian drone recently attacked U.S. forces in Syria, and Hezbollah—an Iranian-backed terror organization—also has taken steps to counter American forces in the region.

A crackdown on Mahan could indicate that Congress is more seriously eyeing ways to thwart Iran’s mainly unchecked terror pipeline in the region.

Iranian officials have separately expressed anger over Congress’s efforts to impose new sanctions, threatening to walk away from the landmark nuclear deal if the United States does not uphold its end of the bargain.

At this point, the deal between Boeing and Iran remains on track, though that could change if the Trump administration decides to block licenses that would permit the U.S. company to engage in business with Tehran.

Iran has already threatened to take action against the United States if Congress approves the new package of sanctions. This includes leveling its own sanctions on American entities.

“Today, 23 American people and firms are in the list of our sanctions as a reciprocal move and we will take such measures in the future too,” Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was quoted as saying this week in comments that also took aim at Trump.

Iranian officials have also accused the United States under Trump of breaching its end of the nuclear deal, though officials did not outline what the specific violations are.

“Implementation of the nuclear deal undertakings by the U.S. has not been acceptable to Iran so far and the U.S. should comply with its undertakings,” Reza Najafi, Iran’s ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Organization, or IAEA, said this week during a meeting with the group in Vienna.

Iran and Middle East Instability

June 3, 2017

Iran and Middle East Instability, American ThinkerShahriar Kia, June 3, 2017

During President Donald Trump’s trip to the region and beyond Iran was strongly condemned by the American leader and senior Saudi officials for its support for terrorism, destructive role across the Middle East, and meddling in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Tehran is most specifically concerned with world leaders denouncing Iran’s human rights violations and acknowledging how the Iranian people are the main victims of the mullahs’ atrocities.

The Arabs, as the flagbearers of implementing U.S. sanctions, have launched the domino of freezing Iran’s money abroad. Iranian bank accounts in countries such as Turkey, Oman, and the UAE, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, are being blocked one after another. This can be considered the prelude to comprehensive sanctions on Iran’s banking network.

***********************

The end result of Iran’s presidential election has created further rifts and launched a more intense power struggle amongst the regime’s senior ranks. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, fearing a repeat of the 2009 scenario of nationwide uprisings, failed to “engineer” the election results with the aim of unifying his regime apparatus. Khamenei sought to prepare conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi as his heir by first placing him in the presidency, similar to the process he himself went through.

The elections, however, failed to provide such a finale and in fact prompted all candidates to unveil corruption in the most senior ranks. This has prompted the general public to increase their demands. Protests and demonstrations are witnessed these days in more than 30 cities and towns across Iran, with sporadic reports of clashes, following the bankruptcy of two state-run financial firms, Caspian and Arman.

Iran is also facing major foreign dilemmas, with a new international coalition shaping and targeting Tehran’s interests. The Arab-Islamic-American alliance, with the presence of 55 States, and Iran’s absence, delivered a major blow to the mullahs’ objectives in the Middle East.

On the other hand, Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), transferring all its members from Iraq to a number of European countries, has become ever more powerful. Through a vast network of supporters inside Iran, the PMOI/MEK was able to significantly influence the recent elections and place the regime in a quagmire like never before.

A major rally is scheduled for July 1st by supporters of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the political umbrella group of Iranian dissidents, including the PMOI/MEK. Policymakers and influential figures from across the globe will be gathering to provide a concrete plan to evict the mullahs’ presence from the region, how to establish freedom and democracy in Iran, and thus result in peace and stability in the Middle East. Last year more than 100,000 people took part in this convention.

During President Donald Trump’s trip to the region and beyond Iran was strongly condemned by the American leader and senior Saudi officials for its support for terrorism, destructive role across the Middle East, and meddling in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Tehran is most specifically concerned with world leaders denouncing Iran’s human rights violations and acknowledging how the Iranian people are the main victims of the mullahs’ atrocities.

Despite the heavy blows and new sanctions against Tehran, Khamenei has chosen to remain completely silent. This is in complete contrast to the Obama era, where the mullahs’ leader resorted to harsh outbursts in response to even the slightest hint of threats by U.S. officials.

To this end, adopting a strong approach against Tehran has proven to be correct, parallel to the weakness seen in Tehran following the presidential election.

To add insult to injury for Iran, the Trump administration has imposed sanctions on dozens of Iran’s companies, sending a highly important message.

Sanctions have now expanded from ballistic missiles and reached the human rights perspective, and specifically targeting the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) with the objective of designating this entity as a foreign terrorist organization

The IRGC-affiliated Fars news agency described a new U.S. Senate bill as an “effort to bring Europe aboard in nuclear sanctions.”

“Foreign investment in Iran during the past four years has halved during the past four years, lowering from $4.6 billion to $2.05 billion,” according to Naseem Online citing a UN report.

The Arabs, as the flagbearers of implementing U.S. sanctions, have launched the domino of freezing Iran’s money abroad. Iranian bank accounts in countries such as Turkey, Oman, and the UAE, especially in Dubai and Abu Dhabi, are being blocked one after another. This can be considered the prelude to comprehensive sanctions on Iran’s banking network.

Is Rouhani able, or even willing?

Rouhani is neither willing nor able to carry out any measures outside of Khamenei’s framework. The entire apparatus and power structure is controlled by the Supreme Leader. As long as Iran remains under the mullahs’ regime structure, one should set aside all expectations of change emanating from within Iran. A look at Mohammad Khatami’s tenure is president from 1997 to 2005, andRouhani’s first term, are undeniable proof to this reality.

“They want to change our behavior, but changing it means changing our regime,”Khamenei said recently, signaling his red line.

Rouhani defending Iran’s missiles

The regime’s president recently said that Tehran would continue its ballistic missile program.

“… US officials should know whenever we need to technically test a missile, we will do so and will not wait for their permission,” he said in a news conference.
The Iranian regime reported recently the construction of a third underground ballistic missile production factory and will keep developing its missile program.

This came in the same week when Trump in his foreign visit described Iran as a supporter of militia groups and a threat to all Middle East countries.

Rouhani is an “utterly ruthless operator,” who had presided since 2013 over a collapsing economy and what Amnesty International called “a staggering execution spree,” murdering and imprisoning so many dissidents that Iran has per capita the highest execution rate in the world, according to Christopher Booker in a recent Telegraph article.

Obama’s departure ended the period of appeasement and golden opportunities for Tehran’s mullahs. The road ahead promises to be very difficult, to say the least.

The past four decades have proven that only regime change will bring about what the Iranian people desire and deserve. This is something that is supported by the NCRI and Rajavi’s ten-point plan, calling for a free and democratic Iran where equal opportunities are provided to all citizens regardless of gender, ethnicity, and religion. During the short campaigning season, Iranians manifested their support for Rajavi’s plan by putting up posters reading “Maryam Rajavi is our president.”

 

Hezbollah TV in the Bay Area of San Jose

May 5, 2017

Hezbollah TV in the Bay Area of San Jose, Israel National News, Lee Kaplan, May 5, 2017

After 9/11, Republican Sen. Bob Graham warned that Hezbollah is “believed to have the largest embedded terrorist network inside the U.S.” As potential conflict looms with Iran as it pursues nuclear weapons and intercontinental missiles, the Islamic terrorism-supporting nation is exporting another form of stealth warfare via Hezbollah in America.

Shia Association Bay Area (SABA) in San Jose, California is one such pro-Hezbollah Islamic center that is under the mainstream media’s and public’s radar despite its close ties to Iran. SABA’s leadership works with Shiite imams all over the Bay Area and has under its influence the imam in charge of a satellite television station that reaches around the world.

Al-Manar TV is a terrorism-promoting entity serving to indoctrinate Muslims throughout the world to the course of violent jihad.  Al Manar TV is not allowed to broadcast in the U.S. and many other countries.

But nearby,Dublin, California, hosts Velayat TV USA which plays a big part in pro-Hezbollah actvities in Northern California to promote the goals of the Ayatollahs in Iran.  Velayat TV USA promotes jihad against the Shiites’ perceived enemies, the United States — the Great Satan — and Israel and the Jews, the Little Satan.  In the event of war with Iran, Velayat TV can reach millions of viewers who might be sympathetic to the Mullahs back in Iran.

For now, Velayat TV tries to keep up the appearance of an innocent local TV station for Shiite Muslims who only want to fit in and “dialog” with the non-Muslim community.

Zaheer Hassan, the Imam who runs the station, completed his studies in Pakistan,  then traveled to Qom, Iran, where he earned his black turban.. Qom is where the majority of Islamist mullahs are trained and the breeding ground for the militant Ayatollahs who run the totalitarian pro-terror regime in Iran today.

The regime is known as the Velayat-e Faqih, which translates “as the guardianship of the religious jurist”. The jurists are mullahs in Iran who preach the Shiite prophecy that calls for the downfall of the West and Israel with the coming of the 12th Imam.

Velayat TV USA, like Al-Manar, promotes the teachings of the mullahs in the San Francisco Bay Area and Silicon Valley.  This is done under the supervisory religious leadership of the SABA  Islamic Center in San Jose, California.

Hassan works under guidance from Nabi Raza Mir, the mullah in charge of SABA’s mosque that is the central locus for Shia Islam in the Bay Area and also supports and praises the Ayatollah Khomeini-inspired regime in Iran.

Despite the “interfaith dialog” claims on its website suggesting religious tolerance of non-Muslims, a fatwa (religious edict) can be found further inside the website from current Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei calling for death to Americans and World Jewry. The list of fatwas on the SABA website include an explanation that the term “Death to America” is not just a statement or slogan, but a prayer (as defined by Khamenei).

Mir recently won  a lawsuit with the help of radical lawyers from the National Lawyers Guild.  Former Homeland Security Chief Janet Napolitano, former Attorney General Eric Holder and ex- Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to keep Mir out of the country, after he visited family abroad, due to his ties to Hezbollah terrorists. All three of these government officials could scarcely be accused of Islamophobia given their cooperation and working past with the Muslim Brotherhood and CAIR in Washington.

Apparently, all three government officials felt Mir was enough of a threat to homeland security to keep him out. Hassan also promotes an English version of “interfaith dialogue” on air, speaking of building a bridge between Western and Shiite communities. However, in Farsi, he really calls for a “bridge of fire,” even talking about burning people who do not adhere to the Shiite faith, that could be heard in a video from his television station, but has been recently hidden from the public.

Hassan says in English he has no political agenda. He is a militant Islamist who follows closely the teachings and exhortations of Ali Khamenei and even Holocaust-deniers. At a religious celebration meant to coordinate with the Occupy Wall Street movement in Oakland, California, youth leaders from the SABA Islamic Center appeared wearing paraphernalia of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, the enforcers for the Mullahs back in Iran, as well as their accompanying governmental thug corps, the Basij.

With tools like Velayat TV , Zaheer Hassan and the mullahs back in Iran are able to guarantee a Hezbollah media foothold in the Bay Area that Al-Manar TV could only have once hoped to create throughout the U.S. and Canada.

This puts any threat from Iran on U.S. doorsteps, not just Israel’s..