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.”

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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.