“Arab NATO” Gaining Momentum? Washington’s ‘Plan B’ For Countering Russia

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All wars initiated or supported by the US establishment  from the occupation of Iraq in 2003, to the second Israeli war on Lebanon in 2006, and to regime-change efforts in Syria in 2011 and the occupation of a third of Iraq in 2014  have failed in their goal of stoking the fire of sectarian war between Sunni and Shia in the Middle East. The failure of this strategy has pushed the US establishment towards two new options: the first, of using the media to reveal Saudi Arabia’s intention to harm the Iranian economy and assassinate its military commanders. The second is to promote and advertise for an “Arab (Sunni) NATO Army”. The goal is to keep the possibility of sectarian war alive. Continue reading

The IRGC—Terrorism’s Goliath

ISIS has captivated Western attention for so long with its gruesome beheadings, stabbings, vehicular homicides, shootings and bombings in Europe and the United States, the horrific aftermaths deservedly the focus of television news, that virtually forgotten is the world’s biggest terror threat – Iran’s IRGC, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps.

The IRGC, often misidentified in Western press as the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps, Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps dwarfs ISIS by any measure.

ISIS never had more than about 30,000 fighters, equipped mostly with small arms, with very little access to high-tech weaponry.

In contrast, the IRGC has about 125,000 fighters. It is the only terror organization in the world with an army, navy, and special forces.

Continue reading

Revealed: How President Carter supported the Iranian Revolution

From 1941 to 1979, Iran was ruled by Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi, better known as the Shah (meaning “king”). Pahlavi’s modernization and anti-Communist policies won the backing of many Western countries, which saw oil-rich Iran as a valuable ally in a tumultuous region. At the same time, though, his secularism and suppression of political opponents left him strongly disliked domestically.Pahlavi’s regime was ultimately overthrown in the 1979 revolution, led by Ayatollah Sayyid Ruhollah Mūsavi Khomeini. Continue reading

Power Struggle Between Iranian Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Ideological Camp And Rafsanjani’s Pragmatic Camp Intensifies – Part III: Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei Speaks Out Against Pragmatic Camp Leaders Rafsanjani, Rohani

In two speeches in as many weeks – one on March 30, 2016 marking a Shi’ite religious holiday and the other on March 20, marking Norooz, the Persian New Year – Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei focused on attacking his main political rivals – Iranian President Hassan Rohani, and Expediency Council chairman Hashemi Rafsanjani, the leaders of the Iranian pragmatic camp.[1]

Khamenei’s Holiday Address, March 30

In his March 30 address, Khamenei called his old foe Rafsanjani “a traitor” for his March 24 tweet stating that “the world of tomorrow is a world of talks, and not of missiles.” Khamenei said that Iran cannot give up its missile capabilities, and termed this call to do so a plot by the Western enemy, headed by the U.S., which seeks to destroy Iran’s Islamic regime.[2] Khamenei’s statements were along the same lines as his criticism of Rafsanjani prior to the February 26, 2016 Majlis and Assembly of Experts elections, i.e. that Rafsanjani was trying to sell the U.S. to Iran.[3] Continue reading

First Iranian fighter jets over Syria alongside Russian bombers

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A series of videos apparently leaked by the Russian Defense Ministry reveal the presence of Iranian F-14 and MiG -29 fighters in Syrian skies for the first time. They were shown by “The Aviationist,” Italian magazine, escorting heavy Russian bombers, including the Tupolev TU-160, the heaviest, fastest and most destructive bomber ever built, on missions no more than 150 km from Israel’s northern border. Continue reading

And When We Are Faced with a Nuclear Iran?

Iran’s Foreign Minister and chief nuclear negotiator, Javad Zarif (left), is very, very pleased with the recent nuclear deal. Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (right), is not unclenching Iran’s fist in its relations with the West.

 

  • Are we actually being told, then, that the only way to prevent Iran from having nuclear bombs is to let it have them? If not now, in 10-15 years? And with intercontinental ballistic missiles that can reach the U.S.?
  • Even supporters of the deal say that yes, at the ten year mark, Iran will be able to breakout and build a weapon’s worth of nuclear fuel in a year or less — in other words, have nuclear bombs.
  • Iran has never come clean with the IAEA — or anyone else — about its nuclear activities. These were discovered not by IAEA inspectors but by the U.S. and allied law enforcement and intelligence services, as well as by dissident groups within Iran. Are we actually assuming that Iran, under this new deal, will now come clean?
  • Thus under the July deal the U.S. may not (technically) know if Iran, after a breakout, has a nuclear weapon arsenal until Iran either tests a nuclear warhead or explodes it in an American or Israeli city. Then, of course, the discovery will be “too late” to do anything about, especially if the U.S. is helping Iran with technology assistance designed to prevent attacks on Iran’s nuclear sites.
  • Having made so many concessions to a non-nuclear Iran, how tough in the future will we be, faced with a nuclear Iran?

Iran says its nuclear technology program is totally peaceful. In 31 other countries with peaceful nuclear programs, there are 438 nuclear power plants in operation, and in another 16 countries, 67 plants under construction.

Under the terms of the 1969 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, any nation adopting nuclear energy has to comply with International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) rules. Every one of these nearly 50 countries does. Iran does not. Continue reading

Rise of Iran’s warrior class: Succession in the air with reports of Khamenei’s decline

There are new reports of a sharp deterioration in the health of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Hoseini Khamenei [denied as propaganda by the regime].

On March 4, he was reportedly hospitalized in critical condition and has undergone emergency surgery according to sources.

Significantly, the Iranian sources did not mention the success of the operation.

French medical experts were called to Tehran. They reported that Khamenei’s prostate cancer had spread beyond control. On the basis of medical reports, French Intelligence now estimates that the time remaining for Khamenei ranged between imminent death to no more than two years’ life expectancy. Continue reading

The Only Thing Scarier Than Iran’s Nukes

This month, Iran celebrates the 36th anniversary of the return of the Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini from exile in 1979 and the advent of the Islamic Revolution. In speeches, rallies and state-sponsored television shows, Tehran is reaffirming the messages of the heady days of the downfall of the Shah, the supremacy of Shi’a Islam and the destruction of Iran’s enemies, particularly Israel and the United States. The celebration reminds us that Iran is not just a Middle Eastern adversary state with dreams of regional hegemony. It is a revolutionary regime seeking to reshape the map of the region, and the belief system of the world. Continue reading

Iran says it responded to several letters by Obama

TEHRAN, Iran — A top security official in Iran said Wednesday the Islamic Republic has written back in response to letters sent by US President Barack Obama, the first acknowledgement of such correspondence. However, it’s not clear whether Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei wrote the letters himself.

The letter writing is part of a recent thaw in relations between the two countries since the 1979 Islamic Revolution that toppled the US-backed shah and the storming of the US Embassy in Tehran, where 52 Americans were held hostage for more than a year. It also comes as a US-led coalition battles the Islamic State terror group in neighboring Iraq and as Iran and world powers negotiate a permanent deal regarding the country’s contested nuclear program.

“This is not the first time that such a thing has taken place,” said Ali Shamkhani, the secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, during an appearance on state television Wednesday night. “It had previously taken place and necessary response was given to some of them.” Continue reading

Iran pushes for Saudi isolation in the Gulf amid military buildup in Hormuz

Two landmark events in the Persian Gulf this week attested to Tehran’s confidence that it has escaped the threat of a military clash with the US and Israel over its nuclear program – certainly in the Persian Gulf. By the same token, Iran is no longer threatening to block the Straits of Hormuz to Gulf oil exports in reprisal for this attack.

One of those events, as noted by debkafile’s military and Gulf sources, is the rapid détente between Tehran and the United Arab Emirates. Tuesday, Dec. 10, unnamed Gulf officials announced that Iran and the UAE were close to an agreement for the return to the Emirates of three Iranian-occupied islands in the Arabian Gulf.

The other event was the conspicuous absence of Oman’s Sultan Qaboos from Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) summit taking place in Kuwait this week. Continue reading

U.S. to seize Manhattan skyscraper secretly owned by Iran

The U.S. government is set to seize a Manhattan skyscraper that prosecutors say is secretly owned and controlled by the Iranian government.

The 36-story tower is located on Fifth Avenue in the heart of New York City, adjacent to Rockefeller Center, and is home to a number of corporate tenants. Preet Bharara, the U.S. attorney in Manhattan, said Tuesday that the seizure and sale of the property would be the government’s largest-ever terrorism-related forfeiture.

A federal judge authorized the seizure in a ruling this week, finding that the building’s owners had violated federal money laundering laws and sanctions against Iran. Continue reading

Iran’s Srebrenica: How Ayatollah Khomeini sanctioned the deaths of 20,000 ‘enemies of the state’

The horrors visited on tens of thousands of Iranians in the years after the Islamic revolution were spelled out as the Iran Tribunal published its final judgment. Described as “a great achievement… a miracle,” by one of the survivors, the Tribunal found that during the 1980s the Islamic Republic was guilty of the murder of between 15,000 and 20,000 political prisoners.

Inspired by the Russell Tribunal set up by Bertrand Russell and Jean-Paul Sartre to investigate American war crimes during the Vietnam war, the Tribunal, sitting in The Hague, set about documenting and publishing the crimes against humanity committed by the Islamic regime that have been referred to as Iran’s Srebrenica after the massacre by Ratko Mladic’s Bosnian Serb forces on Muslims during the Balkan wars. British QC Sir Geoffrey Nice, a member of the Tribunal’s Steering Committee, told The Independent: “There are a number of such tribunals around the world, but what is particularly striking about this one is that it was started and seen to fruition not by lawyers but by the Iranian diaspora itself, by people who had themselves been tortured.” Continue reading

Khamenei Preparing for a Deal?

There are unmistakable signs coming out of Iran that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Khamenei is laying the groundwork for a possible deal with the United States. This shift began in February, when Khamenei reaffirmedhis opposition to nuclear weapons on both religious and strategic grounds. The following month, Khamenei praisedPresident Barack Obama’s “good and wise statement” at AIPAC that time for diplomacy still existed, conveniently ignoring that the U.S. leader had also indicated his willingness to undertake military action if necessary. As negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 got underway, Khamenei’s appointees in the clergyjudiciary, and media all sounded a note of optimism. It’s now being reported that Iran is willing to limit the scope of its uranium enrichment.

Most have speculated that Khamenei’s sudden willingness to compromise is the result of his desire to avoid the looming sanctions against Iran’s oil exports. Although there may be some truth to this, at least as important is surely Khamenei’s recent consolidation of power at home. By purging his political competitors, the Supreme Leader has eliminated a significant source of his past opposition to a deal – his fear that his internal opponents would most benefit from it.

The aging Khamenei is also likely thinking of his legacy. Whereas Imam Khomeini is revered for toppling the Shah, creating the Islamic Republic system, and repelling Saddam Hussein’s invasion in 1980, Khamenei’s tenure as Supreme Leader has been rather forgettable. While curbing some of the excesses of the Khomeini era, social and political rights remain restricted, the economy underperforms, and Iran is viewed with suspicion if not hostility abroad. As it stands today, Khamenei’s tenure as Supreme Leader is easily forgotten. By achieving a rapprochement with the United States, Khamenei would ensure himself an eternal spot in Iranian history.

Full article: Khamenei Preparing for a Deal? (The Diplomat)

Iran And India: A Tangled Web Of Oil And Geopolitics

India and Iran have had a long relationship stretching back to ancient times. Iranian (or Persian) influence has produced a deep imprint upon Indian art, poetry, architecture and literature. With periodic invasions, military adventures and constant cross-migrations between the two empires, the people of Iran and northern India share many cultural and ethnic characteristics.

In the 21st century, the relations between these two great nations must be framed along the lines of geo-politics and oil, rather than art and culture.

Although India was greatly worried by the 1979 revolution in Iran that toppled the Shah and established an Islamic state, New Delhi and Teheran have generally enjoyed good relations. That tie became stronger with India’s insatiable appetite for energy in tandem with western sanctions that have pressured Iran to find customers for its crucial oil exports.

Indeed, India -which criticized the sanctions by the U.S., United Nations and European Union – recently became Iran’s top oil buyer.

Full article: Iran And India: A Tangled Web Of Oil And Geopolitics (International Business Times)