Iran poised to resume enrichment at deep Fordow facility

 

After Iran warned it will leave the nuclear accord unless benefits are forthcoming, an atomic energy official in Tehran said that uranium enrichment would resume at Fordow – if that happens. Continue reading

In Open Dissent

BERLIN (Own report) – The G7 summit in La Malbaie, Canada, ended in open dissent on Saturday without a joint final declaration. After the G7 state and government leaders had already agreed on a joint statement, US President Donald Trump withdrew his endorsement. The document is still supported by the other six G7 states and is occasionally referred to as the “G6” declaration, to point out the deep rift in the traditional West. Whereas German business circles still call for making concessions in the trade conflict with Washington, Foreign Minister Heiko Maas is considering new cooperation frameworks with states “beyond classical alliances, such as NATO.” This however would be in contrast to the agreement reached at the G7 summit on a mechanism aimed at a common response to cyber attacks and attacks such as the nerve agent poisoning in Salisbury. According to scholars of the German Bundestag, Moscow’s alleged responsibility has still not been proven.

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As G7 feuds, Xi and Putin play up their own club

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The leaders of China and Russia Sunday praised the expansion of their regional security bloc at a summit which put on a show of unity in stark contrast to the acrimonious G7 meeting.

President Xi Jinping gave the leaders of Pakistan and India a “special welcome” to their first summit of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), in the eastern Chinese city of Qingdao, since their countries joined the group last year. Continue reading

Obama-era license aimed to let Iran convert money in dollars

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FILE – In this April 16, 2018, file photo, Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, speaks during a news conference in Cincinnati. The Obama administration secretly sought to give Iran brief access to the U.S. financial system by sidestepping sanctions kept in place after the 2015 nuclear deal, despite repeatedly telling Congress and the public it had no plans to do so. That’s according to an investigation by Senate Republicans released June 6. “The Obama Administration misled the American people and Congress because they were desperate to get a deal with Iran,” said Portman, the subcommittee’s chairman. (AP Photo/John Minchillo, file)

 

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Obama administration secretly sought to give Iran access — albeit briefly — to the U.S. financial system by sidestepping sanctions kept in place after the 2015 nuclear deal, despite repeatedly telling Congress and the public it had no plans to do so.

An investigation by Senate Republicans released Wednesday sheds light on the delicate balance the Obama administration sought to strike after the deal, as it worked to ensure Iran received its promised benefits without playing into the hands of the deal’s opponents. Amid a tense political climate, Iran hawks in the U.S., Israel and elsewhere argued that the United States was giving far too much to Tehran and that the windfall would be used to fund extremism and other troubling Iranian activity.

The report by the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations revealed that under President Barack Obama, the Treasury Department issued a license in February 2016, never previously disclosed, that would have allowed Iran to convert $5.7 billion it held at a bank in Oman from Omani rials into euros by exchanging them first into U.S. dollars. If the Omani bank had allowed the exchange without such a license, it would have violated sanctions that bar Iran from transactions that touch the U.S. financial system. Continue reading

Iran tells UN it will hike uranium enrichment capacity, possibly from Wednesday

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Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi, who is also a member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, speaks with journalists upon his arrival to Mehrabad Airport in Tehran, Iran, July 15, 2015 (AP/Ebrahim Noroozi)

 

Tehran’s atomic agency chief says new center for producing centrifuges is about to open at Natanz, insists it doesn’t violate nuke deal

Iran has notified the International Atomic Energy Agency that it has launched a plan to increase its uranium enrichment capacity, nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi said Tuesday. Continue reading

If Iran resumes enrichment, the US and Israel poised to attack its facilities

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Ayatollah Ali Khamenei: If Europe fails to back Iran against the US, Tehran will resume uranium enrichment. He is asking for trouble. Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei tried Wednesday, May 23, to counter Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s ultimatum with one of his own for the European powers, the UK, France and Germany, which are trying to save the 2015 nuclear deal after the US walkout. The dictates he put before them included: European banks must safeguard trade with Iran and stop seeking new negotiations on Iran’s ballistic missile program and regional Middle East activities to gratify the US president. The Europeans must further guarantee Iran’s oil sales and compensate Tehran for losses incurred from US sanctions. If Europe fails to meet Khamenei’s demands, Iran will go back to enriching uranium, effectively turning its back on the 2015 nuclear deal, he warned. Continue reading

In Face of a Global Trade War

BERLIN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – The EU announced its first defensive measures against US plans to penalize European companies’ business engagements with Iran, by reactivating the 1996 “Blocking Statute.” That law prohibits companies from terminating their business engagements with Iran, to avoid severe penalties in the United States. Some companies from Germany and other EU countries have already announced that they will cancel their contracts with Tehran to avoid endangering their business ventures in the US. German companies, involved in profitable ventures with Russia, could be facing a similar situation. Washington threatens to demand that businesses from Germany and the EU comply also with the April 6 sanctions announced by US President Donald Trump, against some Russian oligarchs and their companies. According to government advisors, German Russia-oriented businesses are “virtually panicking” because of the escalation of a global trade war.

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Tehran Friday Sermon – Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami Warns: We Will Turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to Rubble

 

In a Tehran Friday sermon, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a member of the Iranian Assembly of Experts, said that Iran was “strengthening its missile power on a daily basis” and that “If Israel makes a mistake, we will turn Tel Aviv and Haifa to rubble.” In the May 11 sermon, Khatami addressed U.S. President Trump, saying that the people are “more unified and stronger than ever” in their cry of “Death to America!” He said that the pro-Trump camp in the region, including Israel, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, the UAE, and the GCC, would become “America’s cannon-fodder” and that “just as America plundered your resources, it will plunder your souls.” The sermon was broadcast by Iran’s Channel 1.

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Germany’s Priorities

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BERLIN/TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – In talks with Iranian government officials on Tuesday, the German government will seek a solution in the dispute over the nuclear deal with Tehran. While trying to defend the interests of German industry, it is aiming for an independent Middle East policy. Because of its close alliance with Washington in the power struggle with Moscow and Beijing, this would be very important, as legitimization of Berlin’s claims to playing a leading role in global policy. While commentators are encouraging the government, the minister of the economy and business circles are warning against exacerbating the conflict with Washington. It is very risky for the German elite’s prosperity, because the United States is the largest market for German companies and, by far, their most important investment site. On the other hand, in Iran, the EU countries’ industry risks irrevocably losing out to China, due to the US sanctions.

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How to Become a World Power

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BERLIN/TEHRAN/WASHINGTON (Own report) – Berlin is seeking to use Washington’s withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal to increase its pressure on Tehran. In their joint statement published Wednesday, the governments of Germany, France and the United Kingdom declared their continued commitment to the agreement, while demanding that the Iranian government limit its ballistic missile program and its efforts to obtain influence in the region. The reintroduction of US sanctions offers Berlin a chance to disguise its continued pressure on Tehran as a war preventive measure. At the same time, US sanctions against Iran continue to fuel the power struggle between the EU and the USA. The Airbus Company alone could lose €16 billion in commercial deals due to the sanctions imposed by the US government. Commentators recommend resistance: “You don’t become a world power in a conference room.” At the same time, Israel is exacerbating the escalating tensions with its aggressions against Syria.

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Iran will quit nuclear deal, restart enrichment, ramp up military tension

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Exclusive: Tehran will challenge the US by restarting nuclear fuel enrichment and ramp up its military confrontation with Israel. The Iranian leadership reached these decisions on Thursday, May 10, after Israeli warplanes smashed its military assets in the Damascus area that morning, DEBKAfile’s exclusive intelligence sources report. These steps follow the strategic plans Tehran had drawn up for the eventuality of the US quitting the 2015 nuclear pact. In the coming weeks, therefore, Tehran will choose its moment to abandon the nuclear deal and restart high level uranium enrichment, in the face of President Donald Trump’s warning that this action would meet with “very severe consequences.” In light of Iran’s strategy, the US, after quitting the nuclear deal, Thursday asked the nuclear watchdog IAEA to continue inspections of the Iranian nuclear program. Washington intends to keep independent monitors accessing Iran’s nuclear activities for as long as they are permitted. Continue reading

Constant flow of Iranian missiles replenishes arms destroyed by Israel, including new Fateh 313

 

DEBKAfile’s military sources therefore advise caution in assessing the comment by IDF officers that it will take Iran a long time to recover from Thursday’s raids on their units, missile stores and command centers in Syria. The IDF also reported that Russian commanders in Syria were advised of the coming IDF counter-attack against Iran’s military centers in general terms. Our sources confirm that Iran’s government and military leaders are determined to absorb Israel’s offensive –  and keep going. Therefore, the IDF still has a long haul ahead, running possibly into months, before Israel can be sure that Iran has been stopped in its effort to establish a base in Syria as a platform for aggression. Tehran’s determination to go through with its plan is matched by Israel’s resolve to thwart it. As of now, neither side is willing to break off the confrontation. Continue reading

IDF: Iranian forces fire 20 rockets at Israel; Iron Dome intercepts some

Brace yourselves for the possibility of the next world war.

 

No Israeli injuries reported in attack; sirens blare in Golan Heights; Syrian army post comes under fire in Quneitra as tensions skyrocket on Israel-Syria border

Some 20 rockets were fired at Israeli military bases by Iranian forces in southern Syria just after midnight on Thursday, with some of the incoming missiles being intercepted by the Iron Dome defense system, the army said, amid sky high tensions on the northern border.

There were no reports of Israeli casualties in the attack. An army spokesperson said damage was caused to Israeli military bases, but that it was “limited.” Continue reading

Report: Tehran Aims to Claim Iraq, Syria, Lebanon

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(Photo Credit: Khamenei.ir via Creative Commons 4.0)

 

Effectively, the three nations would join Iran as a “federal Islamic state,” cementing Tehran’s “Shia Crescent” land bridge through the heart of the Middle East. The political coalitions are all backed by militia proxies of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, the report states.

Syria, which has been racked by civil war for nearly eight years, won’t be going to the polls anytime soon but its current government under Bashar al-Assad is closely aligned with Iran politically. That alliance is bolstered by the military presence of Russian military forces and Iranian proxy militias. Continue reading

Israel at UN: Iran has more than 80,000 fighters in Syria

A military base outside Damascus that Israel says is being used by Iran to induct and train Shiite militiamen. (Israeli delegation to the United Nations)

 

Ambassador Danon presents satellite photo of alleged Iranian base near Damascus, indicates Israel would take military action to prevent Tehran from getting nukes

Israel’s ambassador to the United Nations on Thursday presented an aerial photograph of an alleged Iranian base outside Damascus that he said Tehran was using to bring in and train tens of thousands of fighters for the militias it backs in Syria.

“There are over 80,000 extremists from all over the Middle East who are members of Shia militias in Syria under Iranian control,” Danny Danon told the UN Security Council. Continue reading

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