Archive for the ‘Iran – ransom payments’ category

Iranian Group Offers $100,000 to Blow Up New U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

May 14, 2018

By Adam Kredo May 14, 2018

Source Link: Iranian Group Offers $100,000 to Blow Up New U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem

{It was just a matter of time for a threat such as this to surface. – LS}

A hardline Iranian organization is reportedly offering a $100,000 reward to any person who bombs the newly opened U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, according to a translation of Farsi language reports.

A group known as the Iranian Justice Seeker Student Movement is reported to have disseminated posters calling for an attack on the U.S. embassy in Jerusalem, which has been opposed by Palestinian and Iranian officials as an affront to the holy city.

“The Student Justice Movement will support anybody who destroy the illegal American embassy in Jerusalem,” the poster states in Farsi, Arabic, and English, according to an independent translation of the propaganda poster provided to the Free Beacon.

There will be a “$100,000 dollar prize for the person who destroys the illegal American embassy in Jerusalem,” the poster states.

The call for an attack on the new embassy is just the latest escalation by hostile Islamic states and leaders who have lashed out at the United States and President Donald Trump for making good on a campaign promise to relocate the embassy from Tel Aviv to Israel’s declared capital city of Jerusalem.

News of the bomb threat was first reported by the University Student News Network, a regional Farsi-language site that aggregates relevant news briefs.

“The Student Movement for Justice declared, ‘Whoever bombs the embassy’s building will receive a $100,000 award,'” the report states. “It is necessary to mention that the steps by Trump to transfer the US Embassy to Holy Qods [Jerusalem] has led to the anger and hatred of Muslims and liberators throughout the world.'”

Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon adviser and expert on rogue regimes, told the Washington Free Beacon that terrorism of this nature is embedded in the Iranian regime’s hardline stance.

“Unfortunately, terrorism directed toward diplomats and embassies has become a central pillar of the Islamic Republic’s culture,” Rubin said. “Terrorism is lionized in Iranian schools. This bounty is more the rule than the exception. To blame Washington or Jerusalem is to blame the victim and give terrorists a veto over U.S. policy.”

Behnam Ben Taleblu, an research fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, described the poster as repulsive and blamed the Iranian ruling regime for fostering such an attitude.

“This is nothing short of an invitation to a heinous act of an international terror by a student group that looks up to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terror—the Islamic Republic of Iran,” he said.

 

US Moves To Strangle Iranian Efforts To Secure Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars To Fund Its Troubling Military Activities

May 11, 2018


Members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards march during a military parade to commemorate the 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war in Tehran September 22, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo

Ryan Pickrell China/Asia Pacific Reporter 3:01 PM 05/10/2018 Daily Caller

Source: US Moves To Strangle Iranian Efforts To Secure Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars To Fund Its Troubling Military Activities

{It’s no wonder why the Iranian people are going broke. – LS}

The U.S. Department of the Treasury imposed new sanctions on Iran Thursday, just two days after President Donald Trump announced that the U.S. is withdrawing from the Iran deal.

Treasury’s Office of Foreign Assets Control blacklisted nine Iranian entities — six individuals and three firms — involved in an illegal currency-exchange network in the United Arab Emirates. Network exchangers and couriers converted and transferred hundreds of millions of U.S. dollars to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), specifically the Quds Force (IRGC-QF), a recognized supporter of international terrorism, to “fund its malign activities and regional proxy groups,” the department said in a statement. Iran’s Central Bank is said to have been “complicit in the IRGC-QF’s scheme and actively supported this network’s currency conversion and enabled its access to funds that it held in its foreign bank accounts.”

One of the sanctioned entities Jahan Aras Kish, a front company for the IRGC-QF, retrieved oil revenues from the Central Bank of Iran and transferred the money to couriers who exchanged it for U.S. dollars by way of two other now-sanctioned companies, Rashed Exchange and Khedmati & Co. Using forged documents, network operatives were able to operate under the radar in the UAE, distributing funds to Iran’s most radical military units and regional proxies. The sanctioned persons identified by Treasury worked for either the firms or the IRGC-QF directly.

The latest move by Treasury, which was taken in cooperation with the UAE, follows the president’s announcement Tuesday that the U.S. will no longer be party to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

“As I said following the President’s announcement on Tuesday, we are intent on cutting off IRGC revenue streams wherever their source and whatever their destination,” Secretary of the Treasury Steven Mnuchin said Thursday. “Today we are targeting Iranian individuals and front companies engaged in a large-scale currency exchange network that has procured and transferred millions to the IRGC-QF.”

“Countries around the world must be vigilant against Iran’s efforts to exploit their financial institutions to exchange currency and fund the nefarious actors of the IRGC-QF and the world’s largest state sponsor of terror,” the secretary added.

The IRGC-QF has been blacklisted since October 25, 2007, and the broader IRGC has been designated since October 13, 2017. Later this year, the U.S. will, as a result of the president’s decision to withdraw from the Iran deal, re-impose sanctions on the Government of Iran.

 

Iran ordered to pay billions to families of victims of 9/11 terror attacks

May 2, 2018

The ruling will probably turn out to be largely symbolic, as Iran is very unlikely to ever pay the damages.

By Juliane Helmhold May 2, 2018 12:13 Jerusalem Post

Source Link: Iran ordered to pay billions to families of victims of 9/11 terror attacks

{Obama the Bastard could have settled some of these claims with all the cash he sent to the Mullahs, but I guess doing the right thing was just not part of his forte. – LS}

By court order, Iran is to pay billions of dollars to the families of the September 11 terror attacks, The Hill reported on Tuesday evening.

US District Judge George Daniels ruled that the Islamic Republic and other institutions must pay $12.5 million per spouse, $8.5 million per parent, $8.5 million per child and $4.25 million per sibling killed in the incident, according to the report.

The lawsuit was first filed in 2004 and was joined by families of the over 1,000 victims of the attack. It accused Iran, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps and the Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran for aiding the 2001 hijackers although the 9/11 Commission never found direct evidence for Iran’s involvement.

The lawsuit was only able to proceed in 2016, when Congress passed the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act, permitting the families of the victims to sue state actors for the terror attacks. Then-President Barack Obama had vetoed the law, arguing it could set a dangerous precedent but Congress overrode that veto.

According to the report, the ruling will probably turn out to be largely symbolic, as Iran is very unlikely to ever pay the damages, which in total amount to 6 billion dollars. There would be no feasible way to force the Islamic Republic, which never even responded to the lawsuit, to make the payment.

However, the lawsuit sets a significant precedent which could be used to hold Saudi Arabia responsible for the 9/11 attacks. The Saudi government has previously denied providing aid to the hijackers, many of whom were Saudi nationals, and last month Riyadh filed a bid to toss the lawsuit. This bid, however, was rejected by Judge Daniels, leading to the successful ruling against Iran.

Tom Fitton discussing Comey Lawlessness, Smoking Gun Clinton Email, & New JW Lawsuits

June 9, 2017

Tom Fitton discussing Comey Lawlessness, Smoking Gun Clinton Email, & New JW Lawsuits, Judicial Watch via YouTube, June 9, 2017

 

Time to Call Iran’s Revolutionary Guards What They Are: Terrorists

March 10, 2017

Time to Call Iran’s Revolutionary Guards What They Are: Terrorists, American ThinkerReza Shafiee, March 10, 2017

What is missing in all the talks and arguments made in Washington as to what is an effective remedy to counter the mullahs in Iran is the role of Iranian people. Iran is boiling with popular discontent, now. According to Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari, the Iranian regime’s chief of police: “On average 20 to 30 protest gatherings take place around the country by citizens who have lost their life savings to the banks,” These citizens are mainly retired with very limited savings and were scammed out of their lifetime savings by various government-owned financial institutions.  Such protests are but a drop in the ocean when we add the teachers, nurses, factory workers, and an army of college graduates with no prospects of finding decent jobs to the discontent. This amounts to tens of thousands of people, in large numbers of gatherings each year. According to a BBC report, more than 11 million or Iran’s 83 million people are unemployed in the country.

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Ever since signs emerged that Trump administration is considering a long-overdue classification of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organization, the ruling mullahs have gone to work. They put into place a well-known strategy of intimidation and deception aboard, coupled with an absolute iron fist at home. They do this because they know the value of controlling a terrorist organization. The problem is in the harm it means for everyone else.

In the past, the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khomeini, would brandish the former by reminding Western governments that if they chose to cross Tehran then they must be prepared to pay dearly. But that was decades ago. One fact is undisputable now: The Iranian regime has long passed its prime revolutionary and glory days when Khomeini rode in on the tides of millions who were sadly unaware of what was to come. In those days, people tasted a short-lived period of high expectations, at the time wildly called “spring of freedom.”

At the same time, hostage-taking by IRGC’s protégés, such as nascent Lebanese Hezbollah, of foreign nationals, preferably Americans, was routine. The ayatollahs were behind it even though it often took place in Lebanon. After each kidnapping, IRGC’s proteges then engaged hostages’ governments in a lengthy and humiliating process of hostage negotiations and sometimes hostage swaps in the 1980s.

Today the IRGC has made it much more convenient to reach the same ends by taking the hostages among dual citizens who take the risk of traveling to Iran. Case in point was hostages released just after Iranian regime struck the nuclear deal with the U.S. and five other world powers. IRGC’s deputy chief, Brigadier General Hossein Nejat, in a speech in Bushehr (south of Iran), said: “The Iranian-American journalist of the Washington Post, Jason Rezaian, who had formed an espionage network was identified and arrested by the IRGC.”

Hossein Nejat stated: “The former Secretary of State, John Kerry with his intelligence forces urged the Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif to release Jason Rezaian. Consequently, the U.S. government in return paid 1 billion and 400 million dollars ransom to Iran for the release of Jason Rezaian.”

Other IRGC officials, on different occasions after the hostages were released, have bragged that the Obama administration released Iranian prisoners in the United States and on top of that paid a hefty sum as ransom money.

In past few weeks, despite attempts by regime officials, such as Zarif, to keep a low profile while anxiously monitoring Donald Trump’s every move, IRGC is actively scheming. It raised the prize on Salman Rushdie’s head, showcased and glorified old terrorists such as Anis-Alnaghash on state-run television and openly threatened the U.S.

CNC News revealed on Feb. 28 that an IRGC strategist, Hassan Abbasi renewed threats that the force has planned to unleash terror cells on U.S. soil. He has elaborated plans to sabotage nuclear plants in the United States among other things. Ironically, at the same time, IRGC has claimed that it is fighting terrorism in neighboring countries.

Javad Zarif has recently said: “the world at large agrees that the IRGC has extended the utmost support for neighboring countries in their fight against terrorism.”

Zarif seemingly refers to IRGC’s destructive and brutal role in Syria and is trying to sell it as constrictive. According to IRGC’s own figures, more than 1,000 members of its rank and file have been killed in cities around the war-torn country.  Many were veteran IRGC officers. The Iranian regime claims that it has only an advisory role in Syria, however it has recruited and dispatched thousands of Afghani and Pakistani nationals to Syrian fronts. Not one has fought ISIS.

On March 2, Brigadier General Ismail Ghaani, who is deputy Quds Force commander, speaking in the northeastern city of Mashhad, told a group from the Fatemiyoun Division, an offshoot of the force fighting in Syria: “Fatemiyoun proved that it is a capable force ready to operate not only in Syria but anywhere else on the planet when Islam requires it.” Fatemiyoun was formed of Afghani recruits, along with its sibling organization Zenabiyoun Division of Pakistanis.

The Iranian regime today makes it no secret that it is heavily involved in Syria and Iraq. It sugarcoats its involvement with the illusion that IRGC and its armed wing, the Quds Force, are fighting ISIS. But it’s not true. After almost six years of involvement in the bloody civil war in Syria, it is out in the open that the regime has no quarrel with ISIS. Former Secretary of State John Kerry said in an interview with Fox News: “Assad facilitated the release of 1,500 prisoners, parallel to 1,000 by Maliki in Iraq, leading to the foundation of ISIS.”  Former U.S. ambassador to Iraq, James Jeffrey, said that Americans knew what Prime Minister Maliki was up to, but chose not to take any action.

It is also a hard fact that Maliki was in every way a puppet of the Iranian regime. He was trained by the IRGC and fought alongside its forces during the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war.

What is missing in all the talks and arguments made in Washington as to what is an effective remedy to counter the mullahs in Iran is the role of Iranian people. Iran is boiling with popular discontent, now. According to Brigadier General Hossein Ashtari, the Iranian regime’s chief of police: “On average 20 to 30 protest gatherings take place around the country by citizens who have lost their life savings to the banks,” These citizens are mainly retired with very limited savings and were scammed out of their lifetime savings by various government-owned financial institutions.  Such protests are but a drop in the ocean when we add the teachers, nurses, factory workers, and an army of college graduates with no prospects of finding decent jobs to the discontent. This amounts to tens of thousands of people, in large numbers of gatherings each year. According to a BBC report, more than 11 million or Iran’s 83 million people are unemployed in the country.

When it comes to Iran, the decision-makers in Washington have two options: One is to follow the status quo and tolerate a regime which is the number one state sponsor of terrorism in the world, a stirrer of sectarian violence in the region, and engaged in two wars in Iraq and Syria. It’s a nation that secretly supplies weapons to Yemen’s Houthis which has also cost American servicemen’s lives. If the Trump administration chooses this option, it will make the same mistakes the Obama administration made.

The other, and better, option is to stand with Iranian people and their resistance, to let them shape their own future. All they asked of U.S. in 2009 was for the U.S. to stand with them. At the time, they chanted: “Obama are you with us or with them.” They clearly hoped the U.S. would not placate mullahs with concessions, nor turn a blind eye to regime’s terrorism.

One such good signal in the right direction would be to designate IRGC as a terrorist organization.  In light of all it has done and its growing strength, in designating the IRGC as a terrorist group, we are doing ourselves a favor.

Reza Shafiee is a member of Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) 

Obama Gave Iran Money that Belonged to Iran’s Terror Victims

November 3, 2016

Obama Gave Iran Money that Belonged to Iran’s Terror Victims, Counter Jihad, November 2, 2016

iranmoney

Once again, it seems as if neither the law nor the American interest are of great concern to this administration.  When Iran is involved, at least, both the law and our national interests are always set aside.

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Here at CounterJihad, we have covered the transfer by the Obama administration of $1.7 billion in giant pallets of cash to the terrorist elements within Iran’s government.  None of the administration’s stories justifying this transfer of wealth to the main state sponsor of terrorism have made sense.  It was not necessary to transfer the money in cash, for example.  The transfer really was a hostage ransom payment, in spite of their denials, to take a second example.

Today, we learned that another aspect of their justification was flawed.  The Obama administration has claimed that the money transferred to Iran belonged to Iran anyway, as a kind of refund for weapons sales that did not happen.  This was always a highly questionable claim, as the government that paid us the money was not the same government that now rules over Iran.  It is unclear why the Iranian revolutionary government would be entitled to moneys advanced by the Shah of Iran.  This makes no more sense than if a homeowner had overpaid property taxes, and the government responded by sending the overpaid money not to him but to the squatters who had forcibly occupied his home over his protest.  Of course, the Shah was no longer in a position to receive a refund, so it wasn’t clear that the money should go to anyone.

What we have learned most recently, however, is that the money did have a proper owner:  victims of Iran’s support of terror.

Alisa Flatow, a twenty-year-old Brandeis University honors student spending her junior year abroad in Israel, boarded a bus in Jerusalem bound for a popular resort area in Gaza. It was the height of the “peace process,” celebrated the year before with Nobel Peace prizes. As the bus entered Gaza, a van filled with explosives slammed into it. Eight people, including Alisa, were killed, and more than 40 others were injured. The attack was carried out by a faction of Islamic Jihad controlled, financed, and directed by the highest levels of Iran’s government….  A federal district court issued a 35-page opinion, Flatow v. Islamic Republic of Iran (1998), awarding a total of $20 million in compensatory damages as well as punitive damages, with both types of damages specifically authorized by the U.S. Congress….

In all, sixteen cases were decided against Iran by courts in the United States between 1998 and 2004, with awards of compensatory damages totaling some $400 million and punitive damages totaling $3.5 billion.

Of course, the problem faced by each victorious plaintiff was collecting the judgment. Stephen Flatow, after unsuccessfully seeking to have the damages paid out of various Iranian assets held in the United States, learned of the $400 million in the FMS fund. The Clinton administration had supported the legislation that allowed suits such as Flatow’s, but then strenuously opposed any effort to have the judgments satisfied from that fund.

In other words, the money was spoken for before the Obama administration elected to transfer it to the IRGC.  It belonged, by the authorization of Congress and the decision of Federal courts, to victims of terrorism sponsored by the Iranian government.  Iran owes them all that money, and a great deal more.

The Obama administration has not rethought its position on sending Iran more and more money, whatever the law may say.  The State Department been busy recently trying to drum up investment for Iran instead.  Secretary of State John F. Kerry has been telling unlikely stories about the sanctions still in place on Iran in order to try to convince bankers to send Iran even more cash.  On this question, it should be noted by anyone thinking of investing, the State Department and the Treasury are very much at odds.

Once again, it seems as if neither the law nor the American interest are of great concern to this administration.  When Iran is involved, at least, both the law and our national interests are always set aside.

Congress: Attorney General Lynch ‘Pleads Fifth’ on Secret Iran ‘Ransom’ Payments

October 28, 2016

Congress: Attorney General Lynch ‘Pleads Fifth’ on Secret Iran ‘Ransom’ Payments, Washington Free Beacon, October 28, 2016

US attorney general, Loretta E. Lynch attends a conference on organised crime in Rome, Thursday, Oct. 20, 2016. (AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia)

US attorney general, Loretta E. Lynch, AP Photo/Gregorio Borgia

Attorney General Loretta Lynch is declining to comply with an investigation by leading members of Congress about the Obama administration’s secret efforts to send Iran $1.7 billion in cash earlier this year, prompting accusations that Lynch has “pleaded the Fifth” Amendment to avoid incriminating herself over these payments, according to lawmakers and communications exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Rep. Mike Pompeo (R., Kan.) initially presented Lynch in October with a series of questions about how the cash payment to Iran was approved and delivered.

In an Oct. 24 response, Assistant Attorney General Peter Kadzik responded on Lynch’s behalf, refusing to answer the questions and informing the lawmakers that they are barred from publicly disclosing any details about the cash payment, which was bound up in a ransom deal aimed at freeing several American hostages from Iran.

The response from the attorney general’s office is “unacceptable” and provides evidence that Lynch has chosen to “essentially plead the fifth and refuse to respond to inquiries regarding [her] role in providing cash to the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism,” Rubio and Pompeo wrote on Friday in a follow-up letter to Lynch, according to a copy obtained by the Free Beacon.

The inquiry launched by the lawmakers is just one of several concurrent ongoing congressional probes aimed at unearthing a full accounting of the administration’s secret negotiations with Iran.

“It is frankly unacceptable that your department refuses to answer straightforward questions from the people’s elected representatives in Congress about an important national security issue,” the lawmakers wrote. “Your staff failed to address any of our questions, and instead provided a copy of public testimony and a lecture about the sensitivity of information associated with this issue.”

“As the United States’ chief law enforcement officer, it is outrageous that you would essentially plead the fifth and refuse to respond to inquiries,” they stated. “The actions of your department come at time when Iran continues to hold Americans hostage and unjustly sentence them to prison.”

The lawmakers included a copy of their previous 13 questions and are requesting that Lynch provide answers by Nov. 4.

When asked about Lynch’s efforts to avoid answering questions about the cash payment, Pompeo told the Free Beacon that the Obama administration has blocked Congress at every turn as lawmakers attempt to investigate the payments to Iran.

“Who knew that simple questions regarding Attorney General Lynch’s approval of billions of dollars in payments to Iran could be so controversial that she would refuse to answer them?” Pompeo said. “This has become the Obama administration’s coping mechanism for anything related to the Islamic Republic of Iran—hide information, obfuscate details, and deny answers to Congress and the American people.”

“They know this isn’t a sustainable strategy, however, and I trust they will start to take their professional, and moral, obligations seriously,” the lawmaker added.

In the Oct. 24 letter to Rubio and Pompeo, Assistant Attorney General Kadzik warned the lawmakers against disclosing to the public any information about the cash payment.

Details about the deal are unclassified, but are being kept under lock and key in a secure facility on Capitol Hill, the Free Beacon first disclosed. Lawmakers and staffers who have clearance to view the documents are forced to relinquish their cellular devices and are barred from taking any notes about what they see.

“Please note that these documents contain sensitive information that is not appropriate for public release,” Kadzik wrote to the lawmakers. “Disclosure of this information beyond members of the House and Senate and staff who are able to view them could adversely affect the diplomatic relations of the United States, including with key allies, as well as the State Department’s ability to defend [legal] claims against the United States [by Iran] that are still being litigated at the Hague Tribunal.”

“The public release of any portion of these documents, or the information contained therein, is not authorized by the transmittal of these documents or by this communication,” Kadzik wrote.

Congressional sources have told the Free Beacon that this is another part of the effort to hide details about these secret negotiations with Iran from the American public.

One senior congressional source familiar with both the secret documents and the inquiry into them told the Free Beacon that the details of the negotiations are so damning that the administration’s best strategy is to ignore lawmakers’ requests for more information.

“Every Obama administration official and department involved in the Iran Deal appear to be running for cover,” the source said. “Like we feared, the [Iran deal] is turning out to be a disaster and Iran is emboldened in its aggression. Evidently Attorney General Lynch and the Department of Justice have decided ‘refusal to cooperate’ is their best strategy. But this is dangerous and ultimately won’t protect them from anything.”

Update: The headline has been updated to more accurately characterize the story.