Archive for the ‘Iranian media’ category

Iranian Website Specializing In Syrian War Reports: Gas Attack Intended To Save Iranian/Syrian Frontline In Khan Sheikhoun Region From Breakdown

April 13, 2017

Iranian Website Specializing In Syrian War Reports: Gas Attack Intended To Save Iranian/Syrian Frontline In Khan Sheikhoun Region From Breakdown, MEMRI, April 13, 2017

Introduction

The April 4 Sarin gas attack on Khan Sheikhoun, just one day after the U.S. administration changed its position vis-à-vis Syrian President Al-Assad, declaring that his removal from power was no longer a priority, raised questions regarding the underlying motive for the attack. Indeed, the initial Russian claim that the attack had been fabricated by opponents of the Syrian regime was based on its being so clearly against Syrian interests.

While it is now largely accepted that the Syrian regime carried out the attack, the motivation underlying it remains enigmatic, giving rise to conspiracy theories.

 

Iranian Website Specializing In Syrian War Reports Provides The Explanation: To Prevent Breakdown Of Iranian/Syrian Frontline

On April 7, 2017, WarReports, an Iranian research group dedicated to monitoring and covering Iran’s role in the war in Syria and Iraq,[1] published a report on its Facebook page, explaining why the Syrian regime had carried out the gas attack.[2] It claimed that the attack had been “in support of the Iranian-affiliated ground forces, Hizbullah, and the Syrian army, all of which were stationed several kilometers behind the frontline.” According to the report, in the past three weeks there had been 21 casualties from among the IRGC forces and the Fatimiyun Afghani Shi’ite militia located in Hama.[3] The report included a map of the region, showing the retreat southward of the Iranian-backed forces from the Khan Sheikhoun region, a retreat that threatened to turn into a complete breakdown of the front. The attack, therefore, was intended to curb the rebel thrust in Khan Sheikhoun, thus preventing this breakdown.

The report further stated that hitting the civilian population in the rebel-held areas was a known tactic of the Syrian regime, intended to crush the fighting spirit of the forces and to stop their operations. This was the case in the August 2013 gas attack on Ghouta, Damascus, and the October 2015 cluster-bomb attack on the civilization population of eastern Aleppo.

It should be noted that in a recent White House intelligence briefing, officials gave the same rationale for the Syrian regime attack, without providing further details: “They were losing in a particularly important area. That’s what drove [the attack].”[4]

 

Map legend:

Red areas:              territory held by Iranian/Syrian-regime forces

Green areas:          territory held by the Jabhat Fath Al-Sham (formerly JNS) armed rebels

Red circle:              Khan Sheikhoun

Red arrows:           distance from Khan Sheikhoun to the Iranian-backed forces

Black dotted line: opposition frontline prior to March 21 operations and Iranian forces retreat

Red dotted line:     current opposition frontline following the Iranian forces retreat

________________________

[1] https://warreports.org/about-us/; Twitter: @warreports. Facebook: Persian.war.news.

[2] https://www.facebook.com/persian.war.news/posts/1905690939688134.

[3] The website provided a link to the image of one of the IRGC members killed there. https://goo.gl/iunWwn

[4] http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2017/apr/11/white-house-offers-more-proof-syrian-gas-attack-ci/.

More Missiles Ready to Hit Saudi Capital: Yemen’s Army Spokesman

March 20, 2017

More Missiles Ready to Hit Saudi Capital: Yemen’s Army Spokesman, Tasnim New Agency, March 20, 2017

(There were reports at Fars News Agency and other Iranian or Iranian -linked media of a successful missile attack on Riyadh on February 5th. However, according to the March 20th Tasnim article, “The Yemeni official said it was the first such attack by the Yemeni forces on the Saudi capital.” A search at the Saudi media outlet Al-Arabiya produced nothing about either the February 5th or the more recent attack. Are such reports reliable?– DM)

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Yemen’s Army Spokesman Sharaf Luqman confirmed the firing of a Scud-type ballistic missile at a Saudi air base in Riyadh, saying that more missiles are ready to confront the invading regime.

“We have managed to boost our missile production capabilities and our missiles can now reach the Saudi capital,” Luqman told Lebanon’s al-Mayadeen news network on Sunday.

His remarks came after Yemeni forces on Saturday night fired a long-range ballistic missile at King Salman Air Base in the Saudi capital Riyadh, inflicting major material losses on the kingdom. The Scud-type Borkan-2 (Volcano-2) ballistic missile hit its target.

The Yemeni official said it was the first such attack by the Yemeni forces on the Saudi capital.

Luqman further said that more missiles are ready to be launched against the positions of the Saudi regime, stressing that the new missiles will change the equation of the kingdom’s war on the impoverished Arab country.

The missile attacks are in response to the aggression launched by Saudi Arabia and some of its Arab allies in March 2015.

The Saudi-led coalition has been launching deadly airstrikes against the Houthi Ansarullah movement for two years in an attempt to restore power to the fugitive former President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi, a close ally of Riyadh.

Some 11,000 Yemenis, including thousands of women and children, have lost their lives in the deadly military campaign.

In trouble, Iran tries to discredit the MEK – dissidents

February 7, 2017

In trouble, Iran tries to discredit the MEK – dissidents, Iran Focus, February 6, 2017

mek-rally-750

London, 7 Feb – As President Donald Trump’s new US administration steps up pressure on Iran over its belligerent activities, Iranian opponents are arguing that Tehran is now targeting its main organised opposition movement, the People’s Mojahedin Organisation of Iran (PMOI or MEK), with disinformation in order to discredit its role as a potential alternative to the theocratic regime.

The MEK, established over 51 years ago, as an opposition movement to the Shah’s regime, soon fell out with the clerical government that took over with the 1979 revolution. Since 1981, the MEK has been considered as the ruling theocracy’s main nemesis. The MEK is also the leading force in the main opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

Following the publication of articles by the Iranian ‘lobby’ targeting the MEK with ‘misinformation’, Farzin Hashemi, a Member of the NCRI Foreign Affairs Committee, wrote on Monday:

“Over the past week, once again policy on Iran was widely discussed in the media. Simultaneously, in recent weeks there has been more growing call for a new approach toward Iranian opposition, the MEK. The announcement by the US National Security Advisor that ‘Iran is officially on notice’ drew much attention. This position was followed by more Tweets from President Trump and a new round of sanctions, raising the prospect of a change of policy in the US approach towards Iran”.

Hashemi pointed out that both the NCRI and the MEK support sanctions against Iranian officials over their role in ballistic missile proliferation, a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231:

“As far as the Iranian Resistance, and its components including the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (MEK/PMOI), is concerned imposing sanctions against a number of individuals and companies affiliated to the clerical regime for their role in missile proliferation is a positive step in confronting the illegitimate and terrorist dictatorship whose record includes 120,000 political executions”.

Last week the Trump administration sanctioned 25 Iranian officials and entities for a recent ballistic missile test launch by Tehran. Hashemi argued, however, that in order to deal with the threats emanating from Tehran – which it described as the Godfather of state-sponsored terrorism – the world community ought to impose comprehensive sanctions on Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the Ministry of Intelligence, and “other entities involved in suppression of the Iranian people and export of terrorism”.

“The IRGC and its affiliated militias and their commanders must be expelled from the countries of the region, in particular from Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. Otherwise, the region would not witness peace and tranquillity”.

“The prospect of a shift of US policy, has already shaken not only the Iranian regime and its lobbies but also apologists and advocates of the old and failed policy of appeasement. In order to maintain the ‘golden era,’ a term used by the mullahs’ officials internally and sometimes publicly to describe the last few years of US policy on Iran, they have resorted to a two-pronged strategy”, Hashemi argued.

Through their “propaganda in the media”, under various covers, they are trying to create an “echo chamber” with which any suggestion of the need for a firm policy on Iran and its rogue behaviour, both at home and abroad, is described as “war mongering”, he said. “They are desperately trying to intimidate those calling for a change of policy to side with the people of Iran, through such false labels”.

“Simultaneously, they are engaged in a massive disinformation campaign to discredit the democratic opposition, the MEK and the coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), led by its President-elect Maryam Rajavi. By spreading fake news about the MEK/PMOI, originated from the Ministry of Intelligence of the mullahs’ regime and the intelligence section of the IRGC, their objective is to convey this false message that there is no viable opposition and the world must accept and deal with the religious dictatorship ruling Iran. Thus, the core of the issue is not their debunked allegations but their hidden agenda to maintain the policy of appeasement”.

“So, the choice is simply to opt between supporting the central banker of international terrorism with the record of having executed 120,000 dissidents for political reasons –ironically, the majority of them members and sympathizers of the PMOI/MEK – or to side with the Iranian people in their quest for a free and democratic Iran in which there would be no more executions, no more gender discrimination, no more supporting terrorist groups and destabilizing the entire region and no more nuclear weapons program”.

Iranian dissidents have also taken to social media, such as Twitter and Facebook, to denounce Tehran’s ‘media propaganda ploy’ against the MEK.

On 9 January this year, 23 US prominent dignitaries, many of them with years of public service, urged the Trump administration “to adopt and pursue an Iran policy that recognizes the interests and inalienable rights of the Iranian people, and not just the clerical regime ruling over them.”

Highlighting the failure of the past policy that the nuclear deal might lead to a change of behavior from Tehran, the signatories stressed that the regime’s aggressive policy is part of their efforts on “preserving the vulnerable system of dictatorship”.

They also called for the voice of the Iranian people to be listened to through the NCRI and the MEK.

The former US officials also spoke out against Iran’s misinformation campaign against the MEK.

Pointing out that some “media and policy community continue to recycle defamatory allegations from decades past,” they wrote “We now know that these designations of the resistance as a terrorist group by Western governments were not made in response to confirmed terrorism; all were diplomatic gestures taken at the request of Tehran. Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security has for many years impaired the exiled opposition by covertly spreading false and distorted claims through third parties in the West. Other governments like Germany and the Netherlands closely monitor Iran’s influence operations on their soil; a thorough counter‐intelligence investigation by the US is clearly needed and long overdue”.

They concluded by recommending to Trump: “With a more enlightened grasp of the Iranian regime’s priorities and vulnerabilities, your Administration will be equipped to exert leverage enabling the US to oppose Tehran’s repression and adventurism while standing for the fundamental values both our peoples share”.

Hashemi added: “While, Tehran’s lobby and advocates of appeasement will desperately continue to allocate all their resource to discredit the resistance, and in particular the MEK (PMOI) and to preserve the failed old policy, their time is over”.

 

More about the People’s Mojahdin Organization of Iran (PMOI/ MEK) —– Source

The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (Also known as MEK, or Mujahedin-e-Khalq / Mujahedeen-e-Khalq), was founded on September 6, 1965, by Mohammad Hanifnejad, Saeed Mohsen, and Ali-Asghar Badizadgan. All engineers, they had earlier been members of the Freedom Movement (also known as the Liberation Movement), created by Medhi Bazargan in May 1961.1

The MEK’s quest culminated in a true interpretation of Islam, which is inherently tolerant and democratic, and fully compatible with the values of modern-day civilization. It took six years for the MEK to formulate its view of Islam and develop a strategy to replace Iran’s dictatorial monarchy with a democratic government.

MEK’s interpretation of Islam

The theocratic mullah regime in Iran believe interpreting Islam is their exclusive domain. The MEK reject this view and the cleric’s reactionary vision of Islam. The MEK’s comprehensive interpretation of Islam proved to be more persuasive and appealing to the Iranian youth.
MEK’s founders and new members studied the various schools of thought, the Iranian history and those of other countries, enabling them to analyze other philosophies and ideologies with considerable knowledge and to present their own ideology, based on Islam, as the answer to Iran’s problems.

MEK’s leadership’s arrest during the 70s.

The Shah’s notorious secret police, SAVAK, arrested all MEK leaders and most of its member’s in1971. On May 1972, the founders of the MEK, Mohammad Hanifnejad , Saeed Mohsen and Ali Asghar Badizadegan, along with two members of the MEK leadership, Mahmoud Askarizadeh and Rasoul Meshkinfam, were put before death squads and were executed after long months of imprisonment and torture. They were the true vanguards, who stood against the dictatorial regime of Shah. However, they are also recognized for their opposition to what is today known as Islamic fundamentalism.

The death sentence of Massoud Rajavi, a member of MEK’s central committee, was commuted to life imprisonment as a result of an international campaign by his Geneva based brother, Dr. Kazem Rajavi (assassinated in April 1990 in Geneva by mullahs’ agents) and the personal intervention of the French President Georges Pompidou and Francois Mitterrand. He was the only survivor of the MEK original leadership.
Massoud Rajavi’s critical role in characterizing religious extremism

From 1975 to 1979, while incarcerated in different prisons, Massoud Rajavi led the MEK’s struggle while constantly under torture for his leading position.

Massoud Rajavi stressed the need to continue the struggle against the shah’s dictatorship. At the same time, he characterized religious fanaticism as the primary internal threat to the popular opposition, and warned against the emergence and growth of religious fanaticism and autocracy. He also played a crucial role when some splinter used the vacuum in the MEK leadership who were all executed or imprisoned at the time, to claim a change of ideology and policy. Massoud Rajavi as the MEK leader condemn these individual’s misuse of MEK’s name while continuing to stress the struggle against dictatorship. His efforts while still in prison forced these individuals to no longer operating under the name of MEK and adopting a different name for their group. These positions remained the MEK’s manifesto until the overthrow of the shah’s regime.

Release of Political Prisoners on the last days of the Shah

A month before the 1979 revolution in Iran, the Shah was forced to flee Iran, never to return. All democratic opposition leaders had by then either been executed by the Shah’s SAVAK or imprisoned, and could exert little influence on the trend of events. Khomeini and his network of mullahs across the country, who had by and large been spared the wrath of SAVAK, were the only force that remained unharmed and could take advantage of the political vacuum. In France, Khomeini received maximum exposure to the world media. With the aid of his clerical followers, he hijacked a revolution that began with calls for democracy and freedom and diverted it towards his fundamentalist goals. Through an exceptional combination of historical events, Shiite clerics assumed power in Iran.

Khomeini’s gradual crackdown on MEK in fear of their popular support

In internal discourses, Rajavi the remaining leader of the MEK, argued that Khomeini represented the reactionary sector of society and preached religious fascism. Later, in the early days after the 1979 revolution, the mullahs, specifically Rafsanjani, pointed to these statements in inciting the hezbollahi club-wielders to attack the MEK.

Following the revolution, the MEK became Iran’s largest organized political party. It had hundreds of thousands of members who operated from MEK offices all over the country. MEK publication, ‘Mojahed’ was circulated in 500,000 copies.

Khomeini set up an Assembly of Experts comprised of sixty of his closest mullahs and loyalists to ratify the principle of velayat-e faqih (absolute supremacy of clerical rule) as a pillar of the Constitution. The MEK launched a nationwide campaign in opposition to this move, which enjoyed enormous popular support. Subsequently, the MEK refused to approve the new constitution based on the concept of velayat-e faqih, while stressing its observance of the law of the country to deny the mullahs any excuse for further suppression of MEK supporters who were regularly targeted by the regime’s official and unofficial thugs.

Khomeini sanctioned the occupation of the United States embassy in 1979 in order to create an anti-American frenzy, which facilitated the holding of a referendum to approve his Constitution, which the MEK rejected.

MEK’s endeavors to participate in the political process avoiding an unwanted conflict with government repressive forces
The MEK actively participated in the political process, fielding candidates for the parliamentary and presidential elections. The MEK also entered avidly into the national debate on the structure of the new Islamic regime, though was unsuccessful in seeking an elected constituent assembly to draft a constitution.

The MEK similarly made an attempt at political participation when [then] Massoud Rajavi ran for the presidency in January 1980. MEK’s leader was forced to withdraw when Khomeini ruled that only candidates who had supported the constitution in the December referendum – which the MEK had boycotted- were eligible. Rajavi’s withdrawal statement emphasized the MEK’s efforts to conform to election regulations and reiterated the MEK’s intention to advance its political aims within the new legal system”. (Unclassified report on the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran(PMOI/ MEK) by the Department of State to the United States House of Representatives, December 1984.)

However, the MEK soon found itself in a direct struggle against the forces of the regime’s Supreme leader. The MEK’s differences with Khomeini dated back to the 1970s, and stem from its opposition to what is known today as Islamic extremism. Angry at the position taken by the MEK against his regime and worried about the MEK’s growing popularity, Khomeini ordered a brutal crackdown against the MEK and its supporters. Between 1979 and 1981, some 70 MEK members and sympathizers were killed and several thousand more were imprisoned by the Iranian regime.

June 20, 1981- Khomeini’s order to open fire on peaceful demonstration of half-a-million supporters of MEK

The turning point came on 20th June 1981, when the MEK called a demonstration to protest at the regime’s crackdown, and to call for political freedom which half-a-million supporters participated at. Khomeini ordered the Revolutionary Guards to open fire on the swelling crowd, fearing that without absolute repression the democratic opposition (MEK) would force him to engage in serious reforms – an anathema as far as he was concerned; he ordered the mass and summary executions of those arrested.

Since then, MEK activists have been the prime victims of human rights violations in Iran. Over 120,000 of its members and supporters have been executed by the Iranian regime, 30,000 of which, were executed in a few months in the summer of 1988, on a direct fatwa by Khomeini, which stated any prisoners who remain loyal to the MEK must be executed.

Having been denied its fundamental rights and having come under extensive attack at the time that millions of its members, supporters and sympathizers had no protection against the brutal onslaught of the Iranian regime, the MEK had no choice but to resist against the mullahs’ reign of terror.

“Towards the end of 1981, many of the members of the MEK and supporters went into exile. Their principal refuge was in France. But in 1986, after negotiations between the French and the Iranian authorities, the French government effectively treated them as undesirable aliens, and the leadership of the MEK with several thousand followers relocated to Iraq.” (Judgment of the Proscribed Organizations Appeal Commission, November 30, 2007.)

MEK Today

The MEK today is the oldest and largest anti-fundamentalist Muslim group in the Middle East. It has been active for more than a half century, battling two dictatorships and a wide range of issues. The MEK supports:

• Universal suffrage as the sole criterion for legitimacy
• Pluralistic system of governance
• Respect for individual freedoms
• Ban on the death penalty
• Separation of religion and state
• Full gender equality
• Equal participation of women in political leadership. MEK is actually led by its central committee consist of 1000 women.
• Modern judicial system that emphasizes the principle of innocence, a right to a defense, and due process
• Free markets
• Relations with all countries in the world
• Commitment to a non-nuclear Iran

The MEK remains a strong and cohesive organization, with a broad reach both worldwide and deep within Iran. MEK is the leading voice for democracy in Iran, supported by its interpretation of Islam that discredits the fundamentalist mullahs’ regime.

Iran: Anti-American Propaganda

September 1, 2016

Iran: Anti-American Propaganda, MEMRI-TV via YouTube

(H/t LS for the video link. — DM)

Ayatollah shoots down Putin’s high-flying Tupolev

August 22, 2016

Ayatollah shoots down Putin’s high-flying Tupolev, DEBKAfile, August 22, 2016

(Please see also, Iran unveils its own version of S-300 air defense system. — DM)

putin-iran

Monday, Aug. 22, just a week after the Russian defense ministry proudly released images of the first Russian bombardments in Syria to be launched from Nojeh airbase, which Tehran had granted Moscow near the Iranian town of Hamedan, the Iranian defense ministry snatched the concession back in a public rebuff for Moscow.

The Russians had presented its Iranian acquisition as the twin of the air base granted by Syria at Kmeimim near Latakia.

However, the Iranian defense ministry spokesman Bahram Ghasemi announced baldly on Monday that the Russian mission “is finished for now.” He added that the Russian air strikes in Syria were “temporary, based on a Russian request;” they were carried out with “mutual understanding and with Iran’s permission” and that the Russian mission “is finished, for now.”

Iranian sources claimed that this stinging slap to the Kremlin was prompted by mounting Iranian popular and parliamentary criticism, on the grounds that permission to a foreign power to use an Iranian base for the first time since World War II violated Article 146 of the Islamic Republic’s constitution.

Attempts by Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani and other regime officials to explain that the Russians had not been given an air base in Iran, only permission to use it to support the war Bashar Assad was waging against terrorists, an interest shared by Iran, fell on deaf ears.

A public outcry on this scale against any steps taken the ayatollahs’ regime is unusual enough to warrant exploration to uncover the hand behind it and its motives. This is all the more pressing in view of the stunning impact of the abrupt Iranian curtailment of the Russian air base venture after no more than three sorties were waged against Syrian targets: Stopped in its tracks for now – even before takeoff – is Vladimir Putin’s effort to promote his grand plan for a new and powerful Russian-Iranian-Turkish-Iraqi-Syrian pact.

The only figure in Tehran capable of raising such a public firestorm with the clout for thwarting the Russian president is supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, DEBKAfile’s Iranian sources report.

In handling the air base issue, Putin made the same mistake as US President Barack Obama. Both assumed that getting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s cooperation and sensitive diplomatic prodding would eventually win the supreme leader over.

Rouhani had hoped that by extending permission to Iran’s friend Putin for the use of the Nojeh base for air strikes against Syria, he would recover some of the standing he forfeited in Tehran by signing off on the international nuclear accord in 2015.

RussiaStopFlying480

He took a chance when, on Aug. 16, he summoned the national supreme military council and, without prior consultation with Khamenei, announced the decision to make the Nojeh air base available to the Russian air force. This was a serious miscalculation.

The supreme leader was further incensed by the exclusive report published by DEBKA file that day that Russian air freighters were on their way to the Hamedan base with advanced S-300 and S-400 air defense missiles for guarding the site and the Tupolev-22M3 bombers and Sukhoi-34 fighter bombers deployed there.

Khamenei interpreted this to mean that the Russians were already acting to commandeer the airspace over the base deep inside Iran.

Not content with the brush-off administered to Moscow by his spokesman, Iran’s Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan chided Moscow crudely for “showing off” over the air base in an “ungentlemanly manner” and a “betrayal of trust.”

He said: “We have not given any military base to the Russians and they are not here to stay.”

Realizing he was in hot water, the Iranian president tried to save face.

He arranged to be photographed for state media over the weekend, alongside the Bavar-373 missile defense system, declaring that having developed this system at home, Tehran can defend itself without recourse to the Russian high-altitude, long-range S-300s, because the Bavar-373 was just as good.

DEBKAfile’s military sources refute this claim. Indeed, the system on display which is based on Chinese technology is not operational.

However, the display did not save either Rouhani or Putin from Khamenei’s ire. Nojeh was shut down, a message the Iranian defense ministry spokesman underlined when he said Monday: Russia “has no base in Iran.”

Iranian Ayatollah Shirazi: America Is No Longer What It Used to Be; Iran Has Global Final Say

May 23, 2016

Iranian Ayatollah Shirazi: America Is No Longer What It Used to Be; Iran Has Global Final Say, MEMRI-TV via YouTube, May 23, 2016

(You should probably turn the audio off; someone in the background is attempting, poorly, a simultaneous translation. — DM)

The blurb beneath the video states,

Qom-Based Iranian Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi said in an interview with Lebanese channel Mayadeen TV that the U.S. and Britain are no longer what they used to be and that “Iran now has the final say in the progress of events in the world.” In light of the progress of Iranian ideology, Ayatollah Shirazi said, it is “somewhat realistic” to say that “one of these days we shall hear the azan call to prayer in America.” Ayatollah Shirazi accused the U.S. of trying to ignite a sectarian war in the region as an alternative to the lifted sanctions. The interview aired on May 19.

IRGC Aerospace And Missile Force Commander: The Americans Are Telling Us ‘Don’t Talk About Missile Affairs, And If You Conduct A Test… Don’t Mention It’

May 16, 2016

IRGC Aerospace And Missile Force Commander: The Americans Are Telling Us ‘Don’t Talk About Missile Affairs, And If You Conduct A Test… Don’t Mention It’, MEMRI, May 15, 2016

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, commander of the Aerospace and Missile Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said at a conference of religious students in Qom on May 14, 2016:

28028Hajidazeh. Source: Farsnews.com.

“The arrogance [i.e. the U.S.] is trying to create [among us] the belief that Iran is at a crossroads, and that it has no choice but to compromise with America or be eternally subjected to American pressure and the problems that stem from that… At the same time, within Iran the belief has taken root that it is not possible to solve [Iran’s] problems without America…

“If we stand fast against this move by the Americans, who have stolen the funds of the [Iranian] nation, they will abandon this habit [of thievery]. But if we compromise with them, the[ir] thievery will end up [taking] $40-$50 billion of Iran’s assets and its blocked funds. The Americans understand only the language of force; they do not understand the language of reason. They cannot be trusted. We must face them down firmly, and we must act. If we do not, we will witness daily their exaggerated and evil demands.

“At this time, the Americans are telling [us]: ‘Don’t talk about missile affairs, and if you conduct a test or maneuver, don’t mention it.’ If we agree to this, they will advance another step, and say: ‘Don’t conduct [a missile test] at this time, and also don’t do it in the Persian Gulf region.’ After that, they will tell us: ‘Why do you need your missiles to have a range of 2,000km [anyway?]?’

“After that, they will tell [us]: ‘Next, we will check whether your missiles can really carry nuclear weapons. Bring us the details [of the missiles].’ After that, they will say: ‘We need to set up cameras.’ And, finally, they will say: ‘Either saw [the missiles up into pieces] or, like [Libyan dictator Mu’ammar] Gadhafi, load them onto a ship and hand [them] over to us.’

“They are clearly deluding themselves. Nothing like this will ever happen.”[1]

 

Endnote:

 

[1] Tasnimnews.com, Iran, May 14, 2015.

Cleric Highlights US Enmity towards Islam, Iran

May 13, 2016

Cleric Highlights US Enmity towards Islam, Iran, Tasnim News Agency, May 13, 2016

(Wouldn’t that be grand! — DM)

Iranian cleric

TEHRAN (Tasnim) A top Iranian cleric emphasized that the US remains to be the archenemy of Islam, Iran and Shiism.

“The US is the toughest enemy of Islam and Muslims, and provides financial and military support for those following that path (countering Islam),” Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani said in an address to a gathering of worshippers in Tehran on Friday.

An obvious sign of US hostility towards Muslims is Washington’s full support for Israel, the cleric explained.

Highlighting Washington’s opposition to “an Islamic Iran”, Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani said the US seeks to foment Islamophobia and Iranophobia by attributing acts of terrorism to Islam.

“The US is arrogant and bully, (because) it allows itself to have nuclear weapons, but forbids the other countries to possess even conventional defensive weapons,” the cleric noted.

In comments earlier this month, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei also slammed the US government for its continued hostilities toward Muslims and the Islamic Republic of Iran, saying that Washington is seeking to tarnish the image of Islam, and spread Iranophobia and Shiaphobia.

“Today, Islamophobia, Iranophobia and Shiaphobia, are among the definite policies of the US and its puppet regimes,” the Leader said, adding, “Today, corrupt (terrorist) groups that are committing heinous crimes in the name of Islam are supported by Western powers.”

Imam Khamenei also described the vigilance of Muslim nations, Iranians in particular, against the hegemonic powers’ corrupt acts as the main reason behind such hostilities, saying this is the reason why Iran is threatened to be boycotted when it opposes the US policies in the Middle East.

Iran Continues Needling U.S. Over Navy Boat Seizure

April 8, 2016

Iran Continues Needling U.S. Over Navy Boat Seizure, Front Page Magazine, Ari Lieberman, April 8, 2016

ws_1

Pentagon remains mute.

On January 12, at approximately 9:23 a.m., a pair American navy riverine command boats or RCBs, set sail south from Kuwait to Bahrain, headquarters of the U.S. 5th Fleet. At 2:10 p.m., the navy received a report that the RCBs had been intercepted by the Iranians. At 2:45 p.m., the military reported that all communication with the RCB flotilla was severed. At 6:15 p.m., the U.S. Navy cruiser USS Anzio received a communication from the Iranians that the sailors were being detained. Coincidentally, their detention coincided with Obama’s scheduled State of the Union Address, which predictably, made absolutely no mention of the event.

The Pentagon claimed that the RCBs strayed into Iranian territorial waters as a result of a “navigation error” and thereafter, one of the RCBs experienced engine trouble. They were then greeted by a pair of Iranian speed boats. Photos and video of the incident released by the Iranians show that the Iranian boats were armed with nothing more than forward mounted Russian 14.5mm DShK machine guns of Korean War vintage.

At gunpoint, the Iranians transferred the boats and their crew to Farsi Island where they maintain a military base. The boats and crew members were released some 16 hours later during which time, the Iranians thoroughly inspected the RCBs. Two satellite phone sim cards were stolen by the Iranians and the Pentagon has not divulged what, if any, information they contained. The groveling John Kerry thanked his Iranian counterpart profusely for releasing the illegally detained sailors.

Aside from these bare facts, the Pentagon has not released any new information concerning the embarrassing incident, a humiliation unparalleled in modern U. S. naval history. As I previously noted, several troubling questions still remain unanswered.

First, how did an experienced naval crew, equipped with sophisticated navigational equipment and traveling a well-charted, straight forward path, encounter a “navigational error” that led them into the territorial waters of an extremely hostile entity? In the absence of additional information, the Pentagon’s explanation makes absolutely no sense.

There has been speculation that the Iranians employed a device that spoofed or tricked the RCB’s on-board GPS devices with fake signals, leading the sailors into believing that they were on a correct course when they had in fact, substantially deviated. If the Iranians had in fact employed such a device, it would not have been the first time. In 2011, they reportedly misdirected a U.S. drone operating in Afghanistan by hacking into its GPS. The drone and all of its technology fell into Iranian hands relatively intact. The Pentagon has not issued any comment on this theory and notably, has not issued any denial of this troublesome scenario.

Second, and even more troubling, is how did 10 American sailors surrender their heavily armed and armored RCBs to a vastly inferior Iranian force without firing a single shot? Why weren’t readily available military assets immediately deployed and dispatched after the military was notified of the hostile encounter? Who gave the commander the order to surrender and was the decision to surrender influenced by political considerations, notably Obama’s State of the Union Address?

While the Pentagon continues to remain mute on these and other crucial issues surrounding the seizure of the RCBs, the Iranians have been extremely talkative, missing no opportunity to humiliate the “Great Satan.”  The list of outrages includes the following:

  • The sailors were forced to kneel at gunpoint with their hands interlocked behind their heads. The display was videotaped.
  • The commander was forced to apologize and acknowledge his “navigational error” and the graciousness of his Iranian captors on Iranian TV.
  • The Iranians reenacted the surrender spectacle during one of their annual “Death to America” demonstrations.
  • The sailors were subjected to rather intense interrogation.
  • Iranian TV aired footage purporting to show an American sailor crying.
  • A female sailor endured further humiliation and was forced into Sharia compliance by being made to wear a head covering.
  • Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, publicly issued the Iranians responsible for capturing the RCB sailors with “medals of conquest.”
  • Approximately two weeks after the sailors were freed; Iran released footage of one its drones shadowing the U.S. aircraft carrier Harry S. Truman. The drone incident occurred on the very day the sailors were captured. A U.S. Navy spokesman called the flyover “abnormal and unprofessional.”
  • As noted, two satellite phone sim cards, likely containing classified information, were stolen by the Iranians.
  • In mid-March, naval commander Gen. Ali Razmjou of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards announced that Iran had retrieved thousands of pages of information from laptops, GPS devices and maps used by U.S. Navy sailors.

It is likely that we have not heard the last from the Iranians on this humiliating saga. In fact, Razmjou said that the IRG will publish a book about the incident. The Iranian bombast stands in marked contrast to the Pentagon’s demurred, almost docile stance. The reasons for the Pentagon’s silence are not hard to fathom. Something happened in the Arabian Gulf on January 12 that if revealed, would likely cause considerable embarrassment to the Obama administration.

In mid-February, Sen. John McCain threatened to subpoena the sailors if the Pentagon was not more forthcoming about the details surrounding the incident. He correctly noted that it did not take that long to debrief the sailors, accused the administration of “dragging [its] feet” and gave the administration a deadline of March 1 to present more information. That deadline has come and gone but the public still remains in the dark thanks to the Obama administration’s attempts to obfuscate.

In the meantime, Iran continues to test ballistic missiles in defiance of UNSC resolution 2231 and flush with $150 billion, continues to operate as a malignant regional influence by providing sophisticated weapons to Hezbollah, the Houthi rebels and other assorted terrorist organizations. More ominously, Iran and its proxy Hezbollah have constructed a ballistic missile base in Syria near the Israeli border, greatly magnifying an already explosive situation.

Obama will ignore these and other Iranian transgressions because he recognizes that the JCPOA, his crowning foreign policy achievement, is on thin ice. For the very same reason, he will continue to order the Pentagon to obfuscate and remain silent on the circumstances surrounding the seizure of U.S. personnel in the Arabian Gulf because it will likely embarrass the administration and add to further congressional calls to toughen sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

“Extensive Information” Obtained from US Sailors Captured by IRGC

February 1, 2016

“Extensive Information” Obtained from US Sailors Captured by IRGC, Tasnim News Agency, February 1, 2016

Iranian admiral

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi said the forces extracted a lot of information from the confiscated cell phones and laptops of the US sailors recently captured by Iran after intrusion into the country’s territorial waters.

“We have extracted extensive information from their (American sailors’) laptops and cell phones,” Admiral Fadavi said in a parliamentary session in Tehran on Monday.

The IRGC commander went on to say that the information can be made public if a decision is made to that effect.

Admiral Fadavi also noted that the IRGC has filmed the capture of the US sailors for several hours, the release of which would bring humiliation to the United States.

If US officials say they are angry with and frustrated by the footage released, they would be 100 times more embarrassed if the IRGC releases other films of the capture, the Iranian commander said.

Iran does not seek to humiliate any nation, he said, but stressed that if they want to humiliate Iran, the IRGC would publish the footage and make them even more embarrassed and humiliated.

US Defense Secretary Ashton Carter had earlier said he was “very, very angry” when he saw footage of 10 US Navy sailors detained by Iranian authorities broadcast by Iranian television news.

The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy on January 12 captured the US Navy sailors inside Iran’s territorial waters in the Persian Gulf, but released them the next day following an apology and after technical and operational investigations indicated that the intrusion into Iranian territorial waters was “unintentional”.

Yesterday, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei awarded the ‘Medal of Fath (Conquest)’ to Admiral Fadavi and four other IRGC commanders who made the “courageous and timely” move in the recent capture of American boats and sailors near Iran’s Farsi Island.