Posted tagged ‘Putting on the Squeeze’

BREAKING: Iran Begs for Meeting with President Trump

August 1, 2018

By Kevin Jackson – July 31, 2018 The Black Sphere

Source Link: BREAKING: Iran Begs for Meeting with President Trump

{Keep squeezing them until they pop. – LS}

Iran is in turmoil, and it’s due to the policies of President Donald Trump.

As one of my contacts reported,

The cities of Tehran, Shahr-e Rey, Tabriz, Qeshm, Karaj and others are witnessing store-owners closing their shops from early Monday morning, reports from sources inside the country indicate.

This new strike follows a recent nosedive of Iran’s currency, the rial, reaching 115,000 rials to the U.S. dollar. On Sunday night, a number of bazaar merchants issued statements calling on their colleagues to stage a new round of strikes. People on social media are welcoming these measures, emphasizing the status quo is no longer acceptable.

I mentioned not long ago that Iran’s currency is taking a beating. I actually saw a report that the rial was not at 115,000 to one U.S. but actually was at 230,000 to the U.S. dollar.

Simply put: President Trump has the rogue nation right where he wants them. So why not meet with Iran to teach them the art of the deal, as President Trump suggests he will do.

President Trump declared Monday that he is willing to meet Iranian President Hassan Rouhani anytime and without preconditions, saying that he believes it is always better to meet with adversaries.

“No preconditions,” Trump said of a meeting with Iranian leaders. “If they want to meet, I’ll meet. Anytime they want.”

Trump was responding to a question at a joint news conference at the White House with Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte.

Last week, tension between the United States and Iran escalated after Trump appeared to threaten military action against Iran in a tweet and Iranian officials vowed to resist any attempt to destabilize their country.

As we’ve learned with Trump, America has nothing to lose in these negotiations and everything to gain.

How pathetic is that, that America has been taken advantage of in every aspect of foreign policy. I put the blame on the previous administration, as Obama had ample opportunity to set a different course for American foreign policy and he punted the football.

Thankfully, Trump recognized the abject ignorance displayed by Obama and righted the ship. And Trump is straightening out Iran without firing a bullet.

If anybody believes the Iranian currency has devalued by 75 percent by accident, you don’t know how things work. While Donald Trump couldn’t take the blood money Obama gave Iran back, he could do something almost as good–make sure the money had no value.

So now the billions Iran received from Obama have been rendered down to millions. And given all the country’s internal woes, they will be forced to re-evaluate the amount of money the can continue to pour into Syria and elsewhere.

Meanwhile organizations like the NCRI and MEK continue to create chaos internally. Look at the trucker’s strike:

July 25, 2018 – The new round of the truck drivers’ strike entered its third consecutive day on Wednesday.

To this day a total of 85 cities in 25 provinces have joined this strike.

Truck drivers in various parts of Tehran and the cities of Isfahan, Najaf Abad, Karaj, Bandar Abbas, Saveh, Khaf, Zanjan, Semnan, Shahroud, Shiraz, Farrokhshah, Kermanshah, Kerman, Zahedan, Malayer, Khorramshahr, Khorramabad, Bojnurd, Yazd, Port Khomeini, Shahr-e Kord, Khur Mousa, Abdulkhan and dozens of other cities have truck drivers on strike.

Authorities in Kermanshah were pressuring truck drivers to end their strike, only to face stiff resistance by their part. Intelligence agents and police officers in this city began taking stripping license plates off parked trucks in order to force the drivers to end their strike. The family members of the truck drivers began protesting these illegal measures.

In Mashhad, the loading terminal station was completely empty and no truck was at the scene to deliver any goods.

Truck drivers in Isfahan were seen protesting those drivers breaking their ranks, demanding they continue their strike.

This new round of the truckers’ strike began on Monday in many cities and towns across the country. Many provinces, including Tehran, East Azarbaijan, Kurdistan, Isfahan, Fars, Semnan, Qazvin, Kerman, Kermanshah, Lorestan, Central (Tehran), Khorasan Razavi, Chahar-Mahal & Bakhtiari, Khuzestan, and Hormozgan were scenes of such strikes.

Two months ago the truckers strike lasted around two weeks, engulfing all 31 provinces of Iran. The drivers were refusing any loads and protesting their poor living conditions, low wages, high logistical costs, and vehicle leases

And what of this message from Iran’s supreme leader, threatening dissidents:

Soleimani on Thursday expressed his fear of the PMOI’s role and the President elect of the Iranian Resistance, and described US policy toward Iran as being reliant only on the PMOI and Maryam Rajavi. With this, Soleimani expressed his fear of the rising credibility of the Resistance inside and outside Iran, as well as the regime’s fear of increasing international pressure and isolation.

Furthermore, he said “We are closer to you than what you think, remember that the Quds Force and I, and not the entirety of our armed forces are your opponent. You know how powerful Iran is in unconventional wars.”

“There is not a single night that we go to bed without thinking of your destruction,” he added.

Clearly the Iranian leadership worries about what might happen next.

From this vantage point, it’s evident that things have changed in Iran. The idea of President Trump even tangentially mentioning that he will meet with Iran, signals to me that he has received back-channel communications requesting as much.

North Korea Begins Dismantling Key Facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station

July 24, 2018

BY: 38 NORTH JULY 23, 2018 SATELLITE IMAGERY, WMD

Source Link: North Korea Begins Dismantling Key Facilities at the Sohae Satellite Launching Station

{Was calling out Kim Jong Un an attempt by DJT to move the topic of the day off Russia? I think not. Watch for similarities with Iran in the near future. Watch for more forceful engagement with Russia as well. – LS}

A 38 North exclusive with analysis by Joseph S. Bermudez Jr.

In an important first step towards fulfilling a commitment made by Kim Jong Un at the June 12 Singapore Summit, new commercial satellite imagery of the Sohae Satellite Launching Station (North Korea’s main satellite launch facility since 2012) indicates that the North has begun dismantling key facilities. Most notably, these include the rail-mounted processing building—where space launch vehicles are assembled before moving them to the launch pad—and the nearby rocket engine test stand used to develop liquid-fuel engines for ballistic missiles and space launch vehicles. Since these facilities are believed to have played an important role in the development of technologies for the North’s intercontinental ballistic missile program, these efforts represent a significant confidence building measure on the part of North Korea.

Dismantlement at the Launch Pad

Commercial satellite imagery of the launch pad from July 20 shows that the rail-mounted processing/transfer structure has been moved to the middle of the pad, exposing the underground rail transfer point—one of the few times it has been seen in this location. The roof and supporting structure have been partially removed and numerous vehicles are present—including a large construction crane. An image from two days later shows the continued presence of the crane and vehicles. Considerable progress has been made in dismantling the rail-mounted processing/transfer structure. One corner has been completely dismantled and the parts can be seen lying on the ground. In both images the two fuel/oxidizer bunkers, main processing building and gantry tower remain untouched.

Figure 1. By July 20, dismantlement had begun of the rail-mounted transfer structure on the Sohae launch pad.

Image © 2018 DigitalGlobe, Inc. All rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contactthirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Figure 2. Closeup of the partially dismantled structure.

Image © 2018 DigitalGlobe, Inc. All rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contactthirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Figure 3. By July 22, significant progress had been made in dismantling the rail-mounted transfer structure on the Sohae launch pad.

Pleaides © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Figure 4. Closeup of the partially dismantled structure.

Pleaides © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Work at the Vertical Engine Test Stand

Imagery of the vertical engine test stand from July 20 shows the presence of a crane and a number of vehicles. The rail-mounted environmental shelter—which hadn’t been moved since December 2017—has been razed and removed, the older fuel/oxidizer bunkers are in the process of being razed, and portions of the test stand’s upper steel framework have been dismantled and its paneling removed.

Two days later fewer vehicles are present and the test stand superstructure has been completely dismantled, leaving only the base, which is also in the process of being removed. No additional progress is noted on the demolition of the older fuel/oxidizer bunkers. In both images, the two newer fuel/oxidizer bunkers and vehicle garage remain untouched, as does the concrete foundation of the test stand. Given the state of activity, work is likely to have begun sometime within the past two weeks.

Figure 5. Environmental shelter removed and other dismantlement activities underway at the engine test stand by July 20.

Image © 2018 DigitalGlobe, Inc. All rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contactthirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Figure 6. Closeup of the engine test stand activities underway.

Image © 2018 DigitalGlobe, Inc. All rights reserved. For media licensing options, please contactthirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Figure 7. Test stand superstructure completed dismantled by July 22.

Pleaides © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Figure 8. Closeup of the engine test stand activities underway.

Pleaides © CNES 2018, Distribution Airbus DS. For media options, please contact thirtyeightnorth@gmail.com.

Iran Hints at Nuclear Cooperation with U.S.

July 17, 2018


Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with lawmakers in Tehran. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

OAN Newsroom
UPDATED 12:55 PM PT — Tues. July 17, 2018 One America News Network

Source Link: Iran Hints at Nuclear Cooperation with U.S.

{Iran’s armor is starting to crack? – LS}

The Ayatollah regime in Iran is signaling that it is open for nuclear cooperation with the United States.

Officials at the Iranian nuclear agency said, Tehran could be more transparent in its nuclear endeavors to alleviate some of America’s concerns. However, the Ayatollah regime said the U.S. must stop what it calls “hostile” policies toward Iran.

This comes as the Treasury Department is set to slap two rounds of sanctions on the Islamic republic, while the country is mired in a wave of domestic civil unrest.

Ayatollah regime officials urged for better relations between the U.S. and Iran.

“America is a country that has good technology, if it had good leaders too, it would be able to work very well with Iran and other countries, in a way that both parties could benefit,” said Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Agency. “There is ground for nuclear cooperation if a political situation is ready, but that’s highly unlikely — first they need to stop being selfish.”

Israeli intelligence recently exposed — what it says– is a military component of Iran’s nuclear program.

Some say Tehran could be seeking better relations with the U.S. for the purposes of regime protection.

 

Pompeo to Iran: Get ready for “strongest sanctions in history”

May 21, 2018

Ed Morrissey May 21, 2018 Hot Air

Source Link: Pompeo to Iran: Get ready for strongest sanctions in history

{I suggest the Mullahs pay attention. – LS}

Mike Pompeo offered both a clenched fist and an open hand to Iran in his first major policy speech. At the Heritage Foundation this morning, the new Secretary of State pledged never to “repeat the mistakes of past administrations” and rejected entirely the effort to “renegotiate the JCPOA,” the executive agreement created by the Obama administration. Instead, Pompeo offered to open full diplomatic and economic ties with Tehran, but only if they comply with twelve “basic requirements” for non-proliferation and the end of state-sponsored terrorism:

Otherwise, Iran will face a much tougher sanctions regime — and presumably, so would anyone else doing business with them:

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is threatening to place “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran if its government doesn’t change course.

Pompeo on Monday called for a new nuclear agreement with Iran following President Donald Trump’s withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal. He says the Trump administration prefers for it to be a treaty that is ratified by Congress.

Pompeo is laying out an onerous list of 12 “basic requirements” demands on Iran that he says should be included. He says Iran must “stop enrichment” of uranium and never preprocess plutonium. Iran must also allow nuclear “unqualified access to all sites throughout the country.”

Pompeo says Iran must also “release all U.S. citizens,” end support for Houthi rebels in Yemen, “withdraw all forces” from Syria and stop threatening Israel.

Iran’s not likely to agree to any of this, of course, especially about Israel. The mullahcracy in Tehran has its mission to destroy Israel and to spread its Shi’a Islam to dominate the region. Its ultimate goal is control over Mecca and Medina, which makes Saudi Arabia a higher priority than even Israel or propping up Bashar al-Assad in Syria, at least for Assad’s sake. Their encirclement strategy around Riyadh is too important to worry about diplomatic and economic engagement with “the Great Satan,” even if it was nice for a while not to have economic obstruction from the US.

The real target for this speech wasn’t Tehran, though. It was the capitals of Europe, especially Berlin, Paris, and London. Pompeo intended to lay out the case that the Obama administration and the P5+1 group essentially funded Iran’s aggression in the region over the last few years with the execrable JCPOA, and that they are responsible now for cutting off that flow of funds in order to slow Tehran’s encirclement strategy:

Mike Pompeo, the US secretary of state, is expected to call on European countries to help ramp up economic pressure on Iran as he outlines America’s ‘Plan B’ to the nuclear deal.

Delivering his first major foreign policy speech since taking the job, Mr Pompeo will double down on the United States’ decision to quit the agreement earlier this month.

He is expected to frame the 2015 deal as allowing Iran to increase its malign influence across the Middle East on the back of funding from renewed trade with the West.

Mr Pompeo is also expected to urge other nations to join America in reimposing economic sanctions on the regime in a bid to bring it back to the negotiating table.

Pompeo wants to underscore just how serious the Trump administration is about putting the shackles back on the Iranian regime. The existing, re-imposed sanctions will already put European businesses at risk for sustaining major economic damage if they continue to work with Iran. Pompeo made it clear in his speech today that the US does not intend to find ways to avoid that damage. The “strongest sanctions in history” only work as long as the US enforces them strongly enough to make them work as deterrents. The best way for Europe to avoid getting hurt in that exchange is to join up with the US in imposing them.

This won’t prompt any immediate change from either Iran or our allies. It’s a marker laid down by Pompeo and Donald Trump, not yet an action in itself. Our allies will try to work Pompeo and Trump to mitigate those consequences, and perhaps Trump will be willing to negotiate around the edges. But Pompeo’s making it clear that the US plans to take a very hard line on Iran, and not just in nuclear-weapons proliferation.