Archive for the ‘Iranian Threats’ category

Top Iranian cleric threatens Tehran will target Israel if US attacks

August 22, 2018

‘Any aggression against Iran will inflict costs not only on America, but also on Zionist regime,’ Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warns


In this January 5, 2018 photo, Iranian senior cleric Ahmad Khatami delivers his sermon during Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

By Michael Bachner and TOI staff August 22, 2018 Times of Israel

Source Link: Top Iranian cleric threatens Tehran will target Israel if US attacks

{Now that’s some real sound military strategy…when attacked, retaliate against your attacker’s ally. Sounds a bit suicidal, but then Tehran seems to prefer the hostage approach. Remember how that worked out for Saddam? – LS}

A senior Iranian cleric on Wednesday warned that Tehran would target Israel if the United States harmed the Islamic Republic, continuing an escalating war of words over sanctions reimposed by Washington.

“The costs of a possible US war on Iran will be definitely heavy for Americans, and any aggression against Iran will inflict costs not only on America, but also on its ally, the Zionist regime,” Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said, according to the Iranian Tasnim news agency.

In June, the deputy commander of Iran’s hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps boasted that Iranian-backed forces in Syria and Lebanon were awaiting orders to eradicate the “evil regime” of Israel.

“We are creating might in Lebanon because we want to fight our enemy from there with all our strength,” he stated. “Hezbollah today has tremendous might on the ground that can on its own break the Zionist regime. The Zionist regime has no strategic-defensive depth.”

In the speech for the anti-Israel al-Quds Day, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Hossein Salami said that “the life of the Zionist regime was never in danger as it is now.”

The US has sold hundreds of billions of dollars of weapons to Iran’s regional rivals and has demanded that Tehran curb its ballistic missile program. It is in the process of reimposing crippling sanctions in a bid to force it to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear pact.

In May, the US announced it was abandoning the 2015 Iran nuclear deal and reimposing nuclear-related sanctions, threatening global companies with heavy penalties if they continue to operate in Iran.

In a bid to salvage the accord, the EU and European parties to the deal — Britain, France, and Germany — presented a series of economic “guarantees” to Iran last month, but they were deemed “insufficient” by Tehran.

Khatami also dismissed US President Donald Trump’s proposal to hold talks with Tehran, claiming his administration wasn’t open to concessions.

“Americans say you should accept what we say in the talks,” he charged, according to comments carried by Iran’s Mizan news agency and translated by Reuters. “So this is not negotiation, but dictatorship. The Islamic Republic and the Iranian nation would stand up against dictatorship.”

Trump has offered talks on a “more comprehensive deal” but Iran has balked at negotiating under the pressure of sanctions and has instead leaned on its increasingly close ties with fellow US sanctions targets Turkey and Russia.

The sanctions that went into effect earlier in August target US dollar financial transactions, Iran’s automotive sector, and the purchase of commercial planes and metals, including gold. Even stronger sanctions targeting Iran’s oil sector and central bank are to be reimposed in early November.

AFP and Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

Top Iranian general: Forces in Syria ‘awaiting orders’ to destroy Israel

July 9, 2018

Hossein Salami says Tehran also ‘creating might in Lebanon to fight our enemy from there with all our strength’ and eradicate ‘evil Zionist regime’

By Times Of Israel staff July 9, 2018

Source Link: Top Iranian general: Forces in Syria ‘awaiting orders’ to destroy Israel

{Somehow, I think Israel has already considered that possibility. – LS}

In a recent speech, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) boasted that the “Islamic army in Syria” in the Golan Heights was awaiting orders to eradicate the “evil regime” of Israel.

He also said the Tehran-backed Hezbollah terror group had 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel.

IRGC Deputy Commander Hossein Salami (YouTube screen capture)

In a recent speech, the deputy commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) boasted that the “Islamic army in Syria” in the Golan Heights was awaiting orders to eradicate the “evil regime” of Israel.

He also said the Tehran-backed Hezbollah terror group had 100,000 missiles aimed at Israel.

“We are creating might in Lebanon because we want to fight our enemy from there with all our strength,” he stated. “Hezbollah today has tremendous might on the ground that can on its own break the Zionist regime. The Zionist regime has no strategic-defensive depth.”

In the speech for the anti-Israel al-Quds Day in June, translated by the Middle East Media Research Institute (MEMRI), Hossein Salami said that the dangers Israel faces today are greater than at any time in history.

“Today an international Islamic army has been formed in Syria, and the voices of the Muslims are heard near the Golan,” he said. “Orders are awaited, so that… the eradication of the evil regime [Israel] will land and the life of this regime will be ended for good. The life of the Zionist regime was never in danger as it is now.”

Salami stressed that “the Zionist regime constitutes a threat… to the entire Islamic world. That is the philosophy of the establishment of this regime.”

He praised Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who led the 1979 Iranian revolution, for making the destruction of Israel a goal of the regime.

Khomeini “spread the rationale of eradicating Israel as a new notion in the world’s political discourse,” Salami said. “Since then, the Zionist regime is fearful, delusional, and worried.”

Israel has for years warned of Iran’s ongoing attempts to entrench itself in Syria, and has been waging a quiet campaign to prevent Tehran from establishing a new front on its border. That campaign came into the light and shifted into more open conflict in February, when an Iranian drone carrying explosives briefly entered Israeli airspace, before it was shot down. In response Israel launched a counterattack on an air base in Syria, hitting the mobile command center from which the drone had been piloted and killing at least seven members of the IRGC.

Tehran vowed revenge after the T-4 army base strike. On May 10, the IRGC’s al-Quds Force launched 32 rockets at Israel’s forward defensive line on the Golan Heights border. Four of them were shot down; the rest fell short of Israeli territory.

In response, over the next two hours, Israeli jets fired dozens of missiles at Iranian targets in Syria and destroyed a number of Syrian air defense systems. The operation was widely seen as a success in Israel.

But Salami boasted of Iran’s success in launching the rockets, claiming the barrage silenced Israel.

“When the Zionists bombed the T-4 base in Syria and killed some young men, they thought that they would get no reaction. They thought that America’s and England’s support could frighten the resistance front. They thought that no one would respond,” Salami said. “But the response came in the Golan, and dozens of missiles were fired, along with the message ‘If you respond, we will flatten the heart of Tel Aviv into dust.’ They were silent, and did nothing further.”

Iran has been accused by Israel, the Trump administration, Saudi Arabia and other Middle East countries of supporting terrorism and instability in the region.

Salami blamed Israel for all the Middle East’s troubles.

“All the problems of the Islamic world stem from the existence of the false, counterfeit, historically rootless, and identity-less regime named Israel,” he said.

On Sunday Syrian air defenses were activated near the T-4 air base, in response to an airstrike on the facility, which Syrian state media attributed to the Israeli military, although as a rule, the Israeli military does not comment on its operations abroad.

Iran Lashes Out at ‘Cowboy’ Trump After U.N. Speech

September 20, 2017

Iran Lashes Out at ‘Cowboy’ Trump After U.N. Speech, Washington Free Beacon, , September 20, 2017

President of Iran Hassan Rouhani / Getty Images

Senior Iranian leaders verbally attacked President Donald Trump late Tuesday and early Wednesday following his first United Nations address, in which the U.S. president harshly criticized Iran for its support of global terror operations, according to regional reports.

Iranian political and military leaders, including the country’s president, mocked Trump for his criticism of the Islamic Republic and threatened military repercussions if the United States decides to leave the landmark nuclear agreement, which Trump hinted could be a possibility on Wednesday.

In brief remarks to reporters following a meeting with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas, Trump said, “I have decided” on whether to designate Iran in violation of the nuclear deal, a move that would set the wheels in motion for the United States to leave the agreement and reimpose tough sanctions on Tehran.

When pressed on the issue, Trump smiled and said, “I’ll let you know what the decision is.”

Iranian leaders have vowed a harsh response should the United States move to leave the deal, and have hinted at more aggressive military moves against American interests in the region. Iran will seek to boost its military capabilities and directly confront the United States, according to these Iranian military and political leaders.

“We won’t chicken out for cowboy-like acts of Trump,” Brig. Gen. Seyyed Massoud Jazayeri, deputy chief of staff of Iran’s armed forces, was quoted as saying on Tuesday in reaction to Trump’s U.N. speech, which singled out Iran and its nuclear program as a chief global threat.

Trump’s “remarks recount how the weak and incapable government of the U.S. has fallen in melancholy after keeping the dream of being the world’s superpower,” Jazayeri was quoted as saying in Iran’s state-controlled media.

Trump’s remarks have spurred Iran to further increase its military capabilities, according to Jazayeri.

“For facing a country whose president overtly and blatantly shouts at the lectern of the U.N. that it would ‘totally destroy’ with its military power, no option is left but to strengthen the defensive infrastructures,” he said.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani offered similar remarks, telling reporters that Iran would “be victorious” in any outcome, even if Trump moves to end the nuclear agreement.

“Iran will be victorious, regardless of what happens” with the nuclear deal, Rouhani said. “If the U.S. backs out of the deal, they will suffer loss and if they remain committed, they will sow benefits. We are ready for any situation and there is no obstacle to our advance toward our objectives.”

Mohammad Ali Jafari, commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, or IRGC, said that Iran is already moving to enhance its military capabilities and face down the United States.

“Time is now ripe for correcting the U.S. miscalculations,” Jafari was quoted as saying after Trump’s speech. “Now that the U.S. has fully displayed its nature, the government should use all its options to defend the Iranian nation’s interests.”

“Taking a decisive position against Trump is just the start and what is strategically important is that the U.S. should witness more painful responses in the actions, behavior, and decisions that Iran will take in the next few months,” he said.

Other senior Iranian leaders, such as Rouhani’s deputy chief of staff, took to Twitter to express anger at Trump and mock his remarks.

“A person who takes the presidential office with deception and undemocratic behavior, will be unable to differentiate between delivering speech in the United Nations from the rough American football.” Hamid Aboutalebi, a senior Rohani aide tweeted.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, the main official who helped cement the nuclear agreement, described Trump’s remarks as “ignorant hate speech” on his Twitter feed.

Bi-Partisan Support for Bill to ‘Hold Iran Accountable’

June 16, 2017

Bi-Partisan Support for Bill to ‘Hold Iran Accountable’, Iran News Update, June 16, 2017

“It’s worth noting that the JCPOA is not unlike the Paris climate accord.

“I don’t think many people in our country or many people in this body realize that it is a non-binding political agreement that was entered into by one man using presidential executive authority and can easily be undone by one man using presidential executive authority.

“In fact, in many ways, it is easier than the Paris accord considering the president doesn’t have to take an action to exit this agreement.

All he has to do is decline to waive sanctions. I think that has been missed.

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

Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Senator Bob Corker (R-Tenn.), spoke before the Senate on Wednesday, in a bill he authored, the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017. The legislation, has 60 bipartisan cosponsors, and is expected to pass the Senate this week. It will expand sanctions against Iranian for ballistic missile development, support for terrorism, transfer of conventional weapons to or from Iran, and human rights violations.

Senator Corker’s speech is reproduced as follows:

“Mr. President,

I rise today to speak about the Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017, which passed the Senate Foreign Relations Committee last month by a vote of 18 to 3.

“I’d like to thank the members of our committee and the co-authors of this bill for working in a constructive, bipartisan fashion to craft this legislation.

“I think it is a good example of how the Senate can still work together to tackle complex and difficult issues.

“I was in the SCIF recently – a place where senators go to read classified information – reviewing intelligence, and it truly is astounding what Iran continues to do around the world.

“For a people that are capable of so much, their foreign policy is shockingly counter to their own interest.

“We see destabilizing act after destabilizing act – from missile launches, to arms transfers, to terrorist training, to illicit financial activities, to targeting Navy ships and detaining American citizens – the list goes on and on.

“And it’s past time for us to take steps to protect the interests of the United States and our allies.

“This bill is the first time Congress has come together since the JCPOA – the Iran nuclear deal – to do just that.

“For far too long, the agreement – which I strongly opposed, as did our ranking member and presiding officer – has dictated U.S. policy throughout the Middle East.

“It’s worth noting that the JCPOA is not unlike the Paris climate accord.

“I don’t think many people in our country or many people in this body realize that it is a non-binding political agreement that was entered into by one man using presidential executive authority and can easily be undone by one man using presidential executive authority.

“In fact, in many ways, it is easier than the Paris accord considering the president doesn’t have to take an action to exit this agreement.

“I don’t think most Americans understand that. He doesn’t have to take action to exit the agreement. All he has to do is decline to waive sanctions. I think that has been missed.

“But no matter what the president decides, this bill makes it clear that the Congress intends to remain involved and will hold Iran accountable for their non-nuclear destabilizing activities.

“What the nuclear agreement failed to do was allow us to push back against terrorism, human rights issues, violations of U.N. security council resolutions relative to ballistic missile testing, and to push back against conventional arms purchases, which they are not supposed to be involved in.

“As many of us predicted at the time, Iran’s rogue behavior has only escalated since implementation of the agreement, and this bipartisan bill will give the administration tools for holding Tehran accountable.

“Let me say this. I don’t think there’s anybody in this chamber who doesn’t believe that the Trump administration – I know there’s been a lot of disagreements recently about foreign policy issues in the administration – but I don’t there’s anybody here that believes they are not going to do everything they can to push back against these destabilizing activities.

“And what we’ll be doing today and tomorrow with passage of this legislation is standing hand-in-hand with them as they do that.

“It also sends an important signal that the U.S. will no longer look the other way in the face of continued Iranian aggression.

“I want to recognize the important work of my colleagues in making this legislation possible.

“Senator Menendez has been a champion for holding Iran accountable, in this bill but also in decades of work on this issue. He truly is an asset to the Senate, and I thank him for his commitment to many issues, but especially this one.

“Senators Cotton, Rubio, and Cruz all played an important role in drafting this legislation as well.

“But finally, let me say this. This would not have been possible without the support and tireless effort of the ranking member, Senator Cardin, and his great staff. It has truly been a pleasure for me to work with him on the Russia bill that we will be voting on today at 2:00 p.m. but also on this legislation.

“We come from two very different places, representing two very different states, and yet are joined by the fact that we care deeply about making sure that the foreign policy of this country is in the national interest of our citizens and that we as a Congress and as a United States Senate are doing everything we can to drive positive foreign policy.

“I want to thank him for that and tell him I am really proud of the strong bipartisan momentum behind this legislation, which his leadership has helped make happen, and I look forward to passage of this bill.”

Tillerson and Saudi Foreign Minister hold briefing

May 20, 2017

Tillerson and Saudi Foreign Minister hold briefing, PBS via YouTube, May 20, 2017

 

Prosecutor General Warns against Attempts to Upset Election Security in Iran

May 14, 2017

Prosecutor General Warns against Attempts to Upset Election Security in Iran, Tasnim News Agency, May 14, 2017

(Please see also, How to Secure and Stabilize the Middle East. Are the mad mullahs worried? — DM)

TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iran’s Judiciary has obtained information about hostile schemes to create insecurity as the country is gearing up for presidential election, Prosecutor General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri warned, stressing that any move to disrupt security will receive a harsh response.

Speaking at a press conference on Sunday, Montazeri said reports suggest that “ill-wishers and enemies are seeking to upset security with any means” as election day is nearing.

Giving an assurance that hostile attempts at causing insecurity will get nowhere, the prosecutor general warned that the Iranian Establishment’s response to anyone wanting to upset the security of the country or the election will be severe.

In comments on May 10, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei warned that the enemies’ short-term purpose is to upset Iran’s security and foment chaos.

The Leader also cautioned the six candidates running for presidency against moves or comments that may upset the country’s security and serve the interests of the enemy unintentionally.

“Anybody wanting to take any measure against the country’s security in the election will certainly receive a hard reaction and slap in the face,” Ayatollah Khamenei underlined.

“(The issue of) security is of great significance for the country, for the people, and consequently for me, and security must be fully maintained in the election,” the Leader added.

The 12th presidential election will be held in Iran on May 19.

Six candidates, Hassan Rouhani, Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Eshaq Jahangiri, Ebrahim Raisi, Mostafa Aqa-Mirsalim, and Mostafa Hashemitaba are running in the race.

Forging a new approach to Iran

March 6, 2017

Forging a new approach to Iran, Washington Times, Shahram Ahmadi Nasab Emran, March 5, 2017

iranianoctopusIllustration on the continuing threat of Iran by Alexander Hunter/The Washington Times

By identifying the gross overreach by the Iranian regime and promising a swift, punitive response, the White House’s stance marked the end of a longstanding American policy of naive appeasement. In so doing, the Trump administration has rightly recognized the true source of instability and existential threat the region faces. Now, instead of issuing broad statements, it must act on a smart strategy for dismantling the key pillars of Iran’s international terror network and stunting the regime’s emboldened overreach.

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

Even as the Trump administration seeks to designate the Revolutionary Guard as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, Iran continues its blatant defiance of international norms. Promising “roaring missiles” if threatened, Tehran has test fired several ballistic weapons capable of delivering nuclear material in just the past month. A fundamentally weak regime with dated military capabilities, Iran is attempting to call the United States’ bluff, perhaps to gain leverage in any subsequent re-evaluations of the nuclear deal Tehran struck with the Obama administration. Several blistering statements from the White House backed by a round of sanctions presage the administration’s muscular new approach. But if it hopes to secure the region, it must systematically target the core destabilizing activities of the regime.

In a steady stream of denunciations, the White House pledged tougher U.S. action if the mullahs continue to violate international norms through illicit missile tests, making clear that the Obama era of appeasement is over. “Instead of being thankful to the United States for these agreements, Iran is now feeling emboldened,” an official White House statement read. “We are officially putting Iran on notice.” While many Iranian officials dismissed President Trump’s tough talk on the nuclear deal as empty campaign rhetoric, the president’s appointment of fellow anti-regime hardliner Gen. James Mattis demonstrates his intention to deliver.

Perhaps more importantly, the White House has also challenged the regime’s extended proxy offensives against U.S. allies and friends in the neighborhood. Such actions “underscore what should have been clear to the international community all along about Iran’s destabilizing behavior across the Middle East,” the White House statement continued. Contrary to President Obama’s Middle East policy of abandoning friends and allies and trying to make friends with the adversaries, the Trump administration will fully support its friends. Specifically, this stance challenges Iran’s practice of hiding behind Hezbollah and Houthis militants as it funds and trains them.

Holding a vastly dated arsenal of weapons, Iran is no match for U.S. firepower, leaving only backchannel mercenaries to promote regional dominance. The White House acknowledged this dynamic, specifically characterizing the affront against Saudi forces as being “conducted by Iran-supported Houthi militants.” This link was never recognized by the Obama administration. Such oversight left Iran free to grow and strengthen its hand in these groups, which terrorize the region and undermine our partners. If the Trump administration will craft a strategy for stunting Iran’s proxy network, particularly by cutting funding and armament flows, the region would be far safer and more stable.

Noting Mr. Trump’s concerns about the nuclear deal being “weak and ineffective”, the Trump administration addressed a third key issue in the U.S.-Iranian relationship. Rapidly losing money and influence, the nuclear deal allowed the regime to avoid military confrontation over its development program for which it was grossly unprepared. And despite the intention of weakening the regime and strengthening the Iranian people, rushed U.S. concessions granted the regime an eleventh-hour trickle of lifeblood, both financially and symbolically. By rolling sanctions back, destabilizing behavior was ostensibly met with an influx of funds. As such, the deal signaled that military action against Iran was highly improbable, thus essentially greenlighting the illicit activity that effected warnings and sanctions from the White House over the past month. And despite official remarks by Iranian officials denouncing these statements as naive and weak, the regime would be in dire straits if America turns off the faucet opened by the nuclear deal.

Finally, the administration’s condemnation for Iran’s broader support for terrorism demonstrated clear perspective on the direct threat it poses to international security. In addition to supporting Hezbollah, Iran is currently involved in a life-and-death battle in Syria that includes continuous weapon and militant transfer from Iran to Syria. President Bashar Assad’s downfall in Syria would destroy the linchpin of Iran’s terror apparatus.

Further, any sustainable resolution calls for the withdrawal of all foreign forces from Syria, culling both activity in the country and a pipeline to Hezbollah via the porous borders between Syria and Libya. As Iran finds itself backed into a corner by its regional export of terror, Mr. Trump and his team have many cards to play.

By identifying the gross overreach by the Iranian regime and promising a swift, punitive response, the White House’s stance marked the end of a longstanding American policy of naive appeasement. In so doing, the Trump administration has rightly recognized the true source of instability and existential threat the region faces. Now, instead of issuing broad statements, it must act on a smart strategy for dismantling the key pillars of Iran’s international terror network and stunting the regime’s emboldened overreach.