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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Tue Jan 09, 2018 5:45 pm

Lobbyist Says Israel Should Create A 'False Flag' To Start A War With Iran
Geoffrey Ingersoll and Michael B Kelley
Sep. 26, 2012, 9:43 PM 26,521

Israel is conducting massive "snap-training" exercises.

The U.S. is doing unprecedented naval mine clearing evolutions.

Iran is launching anti-ship missiles and submarines.

Now is the time that a small provocation could lead to a full-blown war.

And Patrick Clawson, Director of Research at Washington Institute Of Near East Policy (WINEP), has suggested that someone should fabricate that small provocation.


Speaking at the WINEP policy forum luncheon on "How to Build US-Israeli Coordination on Preventing an Iranian Nuclear Breakout," Clawson (ironically) said that "if, in fact, the Iranians aren't going to compromise, it would be best if someone else started the war."

Before that Clawson listed all the conflicts in which the U.S. didn't become involved until they were attacked, emphasizing that a false flag was needed each time for conflict to be initiated.

Here's more from Clawson:

One can combine other means of pressure with sanctions. I mentioned that explosion on August 17th. We could step up the pressure. I mean look people, Iranian submarines periodically go down, some day one of them might not come up, who would know why? We can do a variety of things if we wish to increase the pressure... We are in the game of using covert means against the Iranians. We could get nastier.

WINEP is a "key organization in the Israel lobby" that was founded in 1985 by leading members of the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) to "provide a seemingly 'objective' research organization to provide consistently 'pro-Israel' analysis and commentary," according to Harvard professor of International Affairs Steven M. Walt (h/t Firedoglake).

Former AIPAC staffer MJ Rosenberg was reportedly in the room when WINEP was founded and described the organization as "an AIPAC controlled think-tank that would disseminate the AIPAC line but in a way that would disguise its connections." ... lag-2012-9
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Fri Jan 19, 2018 2:39 pm

Trump’s State Department spent over $1m in Iran to exploit unrest
Documents reveal ‘regime change’ aspirations pursued under cover of ‘democracy promotion’ programs
by Nafeez Ahmed

Source: Origins (Ohio State University and Miami University, History Departments)
Published as part of the launch of the new beta platform for INSURGE intelligence, a crowdfunded journalism platform for people and planet
This story was commissioned in partnership with Le Muslim Post
At the end of 2017, a dozen cities across Iran, including the capital Tehran, were rocked by spontaneous protests which continued into the New Year. The protests drew attention to the country’s deteriorating economic conditions, along with the regime’s abysmal human rights record.

They also paved the way for President Donald Trump’s announcement on January 12th that this would be a “last chance” for waiving US nuclear sanctions under the Iran nuclear deal for a further 60 days, after which the US would withdraw if its “disastrous flaws” cannot be fixed.

A range of recent official documents, from Congressional research to US foreign aid funding reports, throw new light on the Trump administration’s approach. The documents reveal the US government’s continued interest in triggering major political change in Iran to pull the country into the orbit of American interests. This includes the possibility of exploiting political unrest and other crises — including a worsening water crisis — to turn popular opinion against the regime.

Iran’s unrest has mostly been driven by a convergence of domestic ecological, energy and economic crises. The State Department has sought to exploit these crises to undermine the legitimacy of the regime, by funding opposition groups as well as anti-regime broadcasting to the tune of tens of millions of dollars a year.

One State Department funding document, for instance, refers to a project to use Iran’s growing water crisis to drum up public anger against regime “mismanagement”. To date, US government records show that the Trump administration has spent over $1 million, at least, since 2016, on financing anti-regime activism within Iran.

The policy is not new, though. Altogether, since 2006, successive US administrations have invested tens of millions of dollars a year on ‘democracy promotion’ efforts in Iran, serving as cover for longstanding ‘regime change’ aspirations.

Much of the media programming funded by the State Department has focused on glorifying the reign of the Shah of Iran, the brutal US-UK backed dictator who was deposed by the 1979 revolution. The propaganda appears to have worked, with many participants in the latest protests calling for the Shah’s exiled son, Reza Pahlavi, to return to power in Iran.

AXIOM: New US government documents reveal that the Trump administration is intensifying efforts to undermine the Iranian regime, through a combination of diplomatic pressure, military encroachment, and continuing financing of domestic opposition groups.
Militarization of the Iran strategy
Two Congressional documents published early last year, and one released just a month before the protests, throw light on the Trump administration’s policy of escalation in Iran. The documents are research reports published by the Congressional Research Service written by Kenneth Katzman, a former CIA analyst specialising in Iran, Iraq and the Gulf states.

One document, ‘Iran’s Foreign and Defense Policies’ dated February 6, 2017, describes how the administration’s announcement placing Iran “officially on notice” could signal that “the new Administration might change US rules of engagement to include the use of deadly force in future incidents.”

The government’s decision to “at least maintain, if not increase, defense ties to the GCC [Gulf Cooperation Council] states” are also “pivotal to US efforts to counter Iran”:

“The Trump Administration… has returned to earlier characterizations of Iran as an adversary whose malign activities and ballistic missile tests must be met with US responses.”
The document warns that escalating indirect US pressure on Iran could lead to the pre-emptive collapse of the nuclear agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): “… military action to counter Iran’s support for the Houthis, or against Iranian ships in the Gulf — could lead to a pattern of escalation that causes a collapse of the JCPOA.”

The document also highlights the potential for an escalation of military activity to counter Iran led by the Gulf regimes:

“Factors that could force a shift in Iran’s foreign policy could include the expansion or institutionalization of a Saudi-led coalition of Arab Sunni states that might succeed in defeating movements and governments backed by Iran.”
A further Congressional document authored by Katzman titled ‘Iran: Politics, Human Rights, and US Policy’, dated February 17, 2017, provides further detail on the Trump administration’s attempts to escalate pressure on Iran.

Under the heading ‘military options’, the document notes that like Obama, President Trump has kept “potential military action against Iran” on the table, but has moved considerably closer to this option:

“The Trump Administration has not stated a position on whether it would seek to change Iran’s regime, but its characterization of Iran as a US adversary could suggest that the Administration might support efforts to oust the Iranian regime should opportunities to do so present themselves.”
INSIGHT: The Trump administration’s Iran policy shift reveals an increasing willingness to support Iran regime change efforts, depending on whether the geopolitical, economic and domestic opportunities to do so materialize.
Sanitizing direct regime change with indirect ‘democracy promotion’
The report goes on to point out that while the US government has not yet pursued outright regime change, pressure to incite internal policy changes from the Iranian government is being exerted through ‘democracy promotion’ programs:

“In the absence of all-out US pursuit of regime change, successive Administrations and Congress have promoted political evolution in Iran through ‘democracy promotion’ and sanctions on Iranian human rights abuses.”
Under Congressional legislation, “Iran democracy promotion” funds have been “obligated through DRL [Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Affairs] and the Bureau of Near Eastern Affairs in partnership with USAID. Some of the funds have also been used for cultural exchanges, public diplomacy, and broadcasting to Iran.”

AXIOM: State Department ‘democracy promotion’ programs have been actively pursued to undermine the domestic legitimacy of the Iranian regime.
Bankrolling anti-regime propaganda
The US government’s ‘democracy promotion’ projects in Iran have focused heavily on influence through information, according to the Congressional documents.

Projects include “Iran-specific US broadcasting services such as “Radio Farda (‘tomorrow,’ in Farsi) [which] began under Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL), in partnership with the Voice of America (VOA), in 2002.”

Based in Prague, Radio Farda broadcasts 24 hours a day and has 59 full time employees. Its budget is approximately $11 million per year. The document denies that any US government assistance has been provided to Iranian exile-run stations.

VOA briefings confirm that its separate Persian Service, previously called Persian News Network (PNN) costs “about $20 million per year”. The service consists of Internet, an hour of radio a day, and six hours of television rebroadcast throughout the day.

In August 2014, VOA officials told the Congressional Research Service that a greater effort was made to reach “young, educated, anti-regime Iranians who are looking for signs of US official support.” VOA Persian is now viewed weekly by nearly one-in-four adults in Iran.

AXIOM: The US government is currently spending at least $33 million a year on soft propaganda through Radio Farda and the VOA’s Persian Service to undermine Iran from within.
Looking forward to an ‘uprising’
The document further confirms that US State Department ‘democracy promotion’ programs in Iran have been escalating since 2006, including an effort to increase “the presence of Persian-speaking US diplomats in US diplomatic missions around Iran,” partly to “facilitate Iranians [to] participate in US democracy-promotion programs.”

Earlier that year, the State Department established its Office of Iranian Affairs, to channel funds to groups that could aid opposition factions within Iran. The Office, according to the new Congressional document “is reportedly engaged in contacts with US-based exile groups.”

A third Congressional document by Katzman, published in November 2017, observes that “Domestic Iranian factors could cause Iran’s foreign policy to shift.” Among these factors, the report says that:

“An uprising in Iran or other event that changes the regime could precipitate policy changes that either favor or are adverse to US interests. The unexpected departure from the scene of the Supreme Leader could change Iran’s foreign policy sharply, depending on the views of his successor.”
The National Endowment for Democracy
In addition to the tens of millions of dollars a year supporting information influence operations through some of these various media and broadcasting efforts, US government funding documents provide further information on funding for ‘democracy promotion’ efforts in recent years.

USAID and State Department records reveal that the Trump administration provided at least $1,146,196 to various opposition NGOs in Iran, from 2016 through some of 2017.

The funds were provided by the State Department through the National Endowment for Democracy (NED). Full data for the year 2017 is not yet available.

For context, this is considerably more than what Russian-linked actors reportedly paid Twitter, Facebook and Google combined to influence the American elections (a maximum total of around $447,100).

The NED is a non-profit organization funded by US Congress via the State Department, founded in 1983 originally to support anti-Soviet foreign political movements.

Declassified documents released by the Reagan Presidential Library confirm that then CIA director William Casey played a lead role in the NED’s establishment, seeing it as a way to provide legitimate cover to fund groups that would undermine or overthrow foreign governments inimical to US interests.

As of January 2017, the NED has been chaired by Dr Judy Shelton, who served on Trump’s economic advisory team during the 2016 presidential campaign.

For the vast majority of the projects funded in Iran, the recipient NGOs supported have not been disclosed.

The Trump administration ‘democracy promotion’ funding continues a seamless policy pursued by successive Democrat and Republican administrations. The Obama administration spent a total of $1,802,537 from 2014 to 2015.

AXIOM: From 2014 to 2017, the Obama and Trump administration spent a total of nearly $3 million (precisely, $2,948,733) through the State Department to fund opposition activists in Iran promoting a vision of ‘democracy’ aligned with US strategic interests.
Exploiting citizen discontent
NED records describing these projects show that State Department funding has gone to projects working with a range of Iranian groups on the ground.

One describes its mission being to “engage members of the Iranian intelligentsia in public deliberation on the social, economic, and political prospects of a democratic Iran”.

Another refers to the instrumentalization of human rights activism to “enhance communication and information access for Iranian activists.”

One project aims to develop and consolidate a network of “democratically minded jurists in Iran.”

A further project says its objective is “to galvanize citizens to press for greater transparency and accountability,” and yet another explains that the Iran-based grant recipient “will build the capacity of Iranian citizens to conduct community-level political process monitoring through a focused training program.”

INSIGHT: The consistent pattern with all State Department-funded ‘democracy promotion’ projects in Iran is that they target genuine issues facing Iranian citizens, but exploit them to undermine the legitimacy of the regime.
One NED project funded by the State Department in 2016, for instance, seeks to exploit Iran’s escalating water crisis to ramp up hostility toward the government. According to the NED, the project’s goal is:

“To mobilize public participation in initiatives aimed at ending widespread water mismanagement by national and local authorities. Project activities will raise civil society and public awareness of the role that authorities’ mismanagement of water has played in Iran’s current drought conditions, endeavoring to elevate the issue for debate in the public political sphere.”
The US foreign policy establishment has closely watched the impact of Iran’s water crisis over the last few years. A recent Scientific American piece, for instance, reports the observations of senior US policy wonks from the Atlantic Council and Brookings Institution, which have significant influence on high-level US foreign policy discourse.

The analysts told Scientific American that while the immediate factors behind the protests were low wages, growing mistrust of political leaders, and the collapse of financial institutions (much of which has been amplified by ongoing US-backed sanctions), underlying drivers include the impact of climate change.

Iran has experienced a cycle of intensifying extreme droughts since the 1990s, driven largely by climate change, but exacerbated by official water mismanagement. This has impacted crop production, affecting the lives of rural farmers and worsening already high unemployment rates for young people, even as the state has responded by slashing subsidies in response to mounting economic woes.

Drought conditions are expected to worsen under business-as-usual climate projections.

Meanwhile, under Iran’s new budget fuel prices are pitched to rise by 50 per cent, welfare payments to 30 million Iranians will be cut, while sponsorship of religious and clerical institutions will increase. Climate change, in other words, is amplifying an already unsustainable economic path.

INSIGHT: The role of State Department funding in successfully exploiting Iran’s various domestic crises — from environmental and economic challenges, to systematic human rights abuses — should not be overplayed. Even according to Iran’s intelligence minister, “It cannot be said the entire situation was guided by foreigners.”
Having acknowledged that, however, these Congressional and State Department records do provide clear evidence of ongoing US efforts to exploit domestic grievances in Iran to undermine the regime from within.

Using human rights to promote monarchy
While the US government routinely uses Iran’s abysmal human rights record as a core justification for its anti-regime efforts, its alliance with similarly abusive Gulf regimes like Saudi Arabia — in the name of isolating and weakening the Iranian regime — discredits the idea that US policy is genuinely motivated by humanitarian or democratic considerations.

Longstanding US interests in Iran are candidly described in a 1977 research memorandum published by the US Army War College’s Strategic Studies Institute, authored by then SSI analyst and Iran specialist, Dr. Robert Ghobad Irani.

“In terms of population, resources, land, and power potential, Iran and Saudi Arabia remain the two principal centers of power in the Persian Gulf area, with Iran clearly being in the leading position. The principal significance of Iran and Saudi Arabia lies in their huge oil reserves and tremendous oil production. The Gulf area contains approximately 70 percent of the known oil reserves of the Western World and presently produces about 30 percent of the Western World’s annual oil supply. The main producers are Iran and Saudi Arabia.”
The memorandum goes on to highlight the need for the US to support a specific brand of pro-Western leadership:

“Ideally, both the United States and the USSR must improve their understanding of the rapid and complex changes that are taking place in the Gulf area. They should mutually agree to encourage moderate, pragmatic, and farsighted leaders in the area.”
The memorandum celebrated the overthrow of the democratically-elected prime minister, Mohammed Mossadegh, lamenting that his government oversaw “the nationalization of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company”; and welcomed the “return to power” of the previously deposed monarch, the Shah — which was, we now know, covertly orchestrated by a coup backed by MI6 and the CIA.

According to Amnesty International in 1975, the Shah’s Iran retained “the highest rate of death penalties in the world, no valid system of civilian courts and a history of torture which is beyond belief.” This was not considered a problem for US strategy.

“Tehran and Riyadh, assisted by the West, will play decisive roles in maintaining a promonarchial balance of power in the Gulf region,” the US Army SSI paper said. “As long as these two major regional powers remain moderate, pro-Western, and anti-Communist, the balance of power in the Gulf area will also remain favorable to the West.”

This US vision was dramatically overturned two years later under the 1979 revolution.

A Pentagon study released in late 2017, unveiled by INSURGE, similarly conceded that the real reason for US hostility to “revolutionary forces” such as Iran or North Korea has little to do with any threat to the West, but more that they are “neither the products of, nor are they satisfied with, the contemporary order.” The key problem is that they are blocking US expansionism:

“At a minimum, they intend to destroy the reach of the US-led order into what they perceive to be their legitimate sphere of influence. They are also resolved to replace that order locally with a new rule set dictated by them.”
But the leaning toward undemocratic solutions has not waned. In early 2017, the son of the late Shah, Reza Pahlavi, was broadcast into Iran via the US government-funded VOA and Radio Farda, advocating the idea of “peaceful regime change,” through protest and civil disobedience.

Such pro-Shah Western broadcasting offers few if any criticisms of the repressions and inequality of the era, instead romanticizing it as a glorious past.

Pahlavi had previously written formally to Trump to congratulate him on winning the 2016 elections.

In the recent demonstrations, many protestors across Iran chanted pro-Shah slogans calling for the re-instatement of monarchical rule, such as “Reza Shah, rest in peace”, “What a mistake we made by taking part in the revolution” and “Bring back the Shah”.

INSIGHT: US ‘democracy promotion’ activities in Iran have pro-Shah leanings which have resulted in many Iranian protestors calling for a return of the monarchy. This suggests that US propaganda has had a degree of success in influencing the sentiments of a significant proportion of protestors.
The way forward
The Trump administration has adopted an approach to Iran which appears designed to justify a more militarized strategy, aimed at weakening — and ultimately toppling — the incumbent regime. Generating a justification to torpedo the Iran nuclear deal seems to be a core component of this strategy.

This approach, however, only aggravates tensions, encouraging Iran to crackdown brutally on domestic democracy activists and opposition groups on the pretext that they are funded by the United States. It also threatens to destabilize an already volatile region, and take us steps closer to a nuclear confrontation.

The US government still does not appear to have learned its lesson that democracy cannot be imposed from outside.

ACTION: The US sanctions and their counterproductive impact on Iran’s economy could be acknowledged and reviewed. This could further accompany a full House or Senate inquiry into the full dimensions of the US strategy toward Iran since the 1979 revolution to identify how the policy has worsened the situation.
In the absence of a significant US change of course, other countries can — with a view to safeguard against a rapid deterioration of international security — move to leverage their relationships with the US.

ACTION: US allies and partners in Europe and beyond could exert diplomatic and economic pressure on the US to pull back from its efforts to scupper the Iran nuclear deal, an arrangement which at least demonstrates the non-emergence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program.
Iran, equally, has failed to grasp that its increasingly draconian efforts to crackdown on public opinion and legitimate anti-regime sentiment at home only fuels this dissent.

ACTION: Iran could review and roll back its domestic police state apparatus, address its appalling human rights record, and begin to restore accountability in the way it treats its citizens. By pro-actively attempting to salvage its claim to be a ‘republic’, the government could open the way for a more active and open engagement between opposition groups and the political establishment.
On the other hand, Iran has failed to understand and manage the impact of a convergence domestic economic, energy and environmental crises.

ACTION: The Iranian authorities could commission the UN, or another agency, to conduct a wide-scale independent review of how ongoing mismanagement has exacerbated the country’s water crisis, which on a business-as-usual trajectory, will lead to intensifying national crisis in coming years. The resulting recommendations could lead to a comprehensive re-organization of the country’s agricultural and industrial enterprises to create more sustainable water policies, as well as more effective climate mitigation and adaptation efforts.
Iran’s democratic civil society movement should, in turn, be mindful of how legitimate opposition to the regime’s authoritarian tendencies is being actively exploited by foreign forces, whose self-serving geopolitical goals could destabilize the entire Middle East.

The irony of course is that, with the US government pursuing its anti-Iran agenda in alliance with some of the region’s most undemocratic human rights abusers, the Trumpian and Iranian regimes seem more similar everyday.

Dr. Nafeez Ahmed is the founding editor of INSURGE intelligence. Nafeez is a 16-year investigative journalist, formerly of The Guardian where he reported on the geopolitics of social, economic and environmental crises. Nafeez reports on ‘global system change’ for VICE’s Motherboard, and on regional geopolitics for Middle East Eye. He has bylines in The Independent on Sunday, The Independent, The Scotsman, Sydney Morning Herald, The Age, Foreign Policy, The Atlantic, Quartz, New York Observer, The New Statesman, Prospect, Le Monde diplomatique, among other places. He has twice won the Project Censored Award for his investigative reporting; twice been featured in the Evening Standard’s top 1,000 list of most influential Londoners; and won the Naples Prize, Italy’s most prestigious literary award created by the President of the Republic. Nafeez is also a widely-published and cited interdisciplinary academic specializing in complex systems analysis. ... 878ec7fa2a

The 'Trump' in the title is a symptom of 'leftishism'. Couda and wouda been any US prez. It is true that the Donald does seem to have a particular hard on for Iran but I attribute this to an Archie Bunkerish conception of the universe derived from TV news. He's still pissed about the Embassy in '79, not geopolitical machinations which are beyond his rentier mentality.
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Tue May 22, 2018 1:01 pm

Ultimatum and response
May 22nd, 2:57 am


The US-issued ultimatum to Iran initially did not look like something that may not be something that is accepted, but at least considered seriously.
The requirements to stop enriching plutonium altogether, the complete closure of all nuclear-related facilities, the closure of the program for the development of ICBMs and medium-range missiles, the cessation of support for Shiite organizations in the Middle East (Husit in Yemen, Hashd Sha'bi in Iraq, Hezbollah in Syria and Lebanon), complete exit from Syria, etc. etc. in fact, they demanded from Iran to abandon the subject foreign policy for the sake of "friendly relations" with the US and the lifting of sanctions, which are imposed upon a click against all in a row. Something reminded of the introduction of sanctions against Russia and their preservation "until Russia changes its foreign policy." The result should be assumed to be identical, but it is unlikely that Washington seriously hoped that by putting forward such conditions, they will achieve the military-political capitulation of Iran. Rather, on the contrary,

The Iranian leadership has emphatically refused to comply with such demands by announcing that Iran is not going to leave Syria anywhere, since along with Russia only Iran is legally in Syria - the rest illegally occupy the territory of a sovereign country. Of course, the support of the Husites in Yemen, and Hezbollah in Lebanon (where it strengthened its position in the last election), and the Shiite structures in Iraq (where Suleymani is currently deciding on the convenient configuration of the Shiite coalition consisting of Prime Minister Abadi, the head of Badr, Amiri and preacher Al-Sadr). Concerning nuclear weapons, Iran has already abandoned the bait of Europe, offering it to share costs. In fact, Iran offers Brussels and Berlin a new separate deal, when Europeans for Iran's refusal to develop a nuclear program, will help Iran circumvent US sanctions, which are likely to sabotage other participants in the deal on the Iranian nuclear program. Therefore, threatening to resume the nuclear program, Iran is actually bargaining with Europe over the forthcoming costs. And what is most interesting, Europe is willing to pay. The question is only in the amount of economic compensation. Americans simply send the Iranians in the spirit of Kim Jong-no, pointing out that the times of unconditional American hegemony have passed and the United States can no longer as before to indicate to sovereign countries what to do. The prospects for winning the court from Pompeo are of course zero, but Iran, with its claims to leadership in the Muslim world, a tough antagonism with the United States and Israel will only bring new supporters, especially after the massacres of Palestinians, where, against the backdrop of the muffled moo-cling from Riyadh,

As a result, in recent months, the US has introduced new sanctions packages against China, Russia, the DPRK, Venezuela, and Iran, but all of the above countries have not stopped actions aimed at further destroying the current world order that the US is trying to deter through threats and economic pressure. But what is noteworthy is that the more the US waves a sabotage baton and scares the people around the war, trying to prove that they are still the main predator in the modern international jungle, the more doubts the US right to play this role, which until recently seemed unquestionable. Following the outrage of Israel and Saudi Arabia, the United States is already suffering significant losses associated with the weakening of both its influence in the Middle East and in general, which was clearly manifested in the growing European front.

The main problem of American ultimatums of recent years is that their demands simply ceased to be fulfilled. And when the "world hegemon" threatens, but can not realize its threat, the hesitant draw conclusions and troublemakers becomes more and more. The US is simply put before the fact that their threats are ignored, and an alternative is only a direct war with huge costs, which, moreover, will not solve the global problems of retaining hegemony, since Iran is a secondary issue in this matter. The main opponents are China and Russia, for whom the current situation between the US and Iran and between the United States and Europe has become a real gift, as it revealed significant cracks in the "Euro-Atlantic partnership." Therefore, while maintaining good relations with Russia, China and the EU, will continue to bend its line on the fronts of the hybrid wars going on in the Middle East. Requirements "stop" to put it mildly belatedly for several years.

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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Sat May 26, 2018 11:26 am

Israel should be annihilated: We offered the world a practical guide to achieve that
May 13, 2018 Print


The Zionist regime has set for itself a goal of carrying out blatant violence since the beginning of its illegitimate existence. That regime does not even deny its tendency towards violence! They have made it their goal to maintain a "clenched iron fist": they say this everywhere and always; they are proud of it: this is their policy.
Since the year 1948 -- when this deceitful regime came into so-called "official" existence -- to this day, they have been pursuing aggressive policies... Of course, they [Zionist regime] had committed many atrocities in Palestine before it was "officially" recognized and before the colonialists made its imposition on the world and that region. But during those years, they did whatever they wanted [they had no moral limitations] as a government body and with their political system. They committed any vile act that one could not even imagine a ruling government could do to a people. They have no scruples whatsoever: this is the truth of the Zionist regime.
There is no cure for "Israel's" barbarism except the annihilation of its regime. Annihilating the Zionist regime does not call for massacring the Jewish [or any other religious group] people in the region. The sound statement that our magnanimous Imam (r.a.) made--that Israel should be annihilated--is based around humane principles. We've presented to the world a practical solution for the Zionist regime's annihilation, and no one could critique it reasonably. We announced that a poll or a referendum should be conducted so that the people who live in, come from, and belong to this region can determine who should govern over it: we made it clear that the people should resolve this issue.
This [allowing the people to vote] is what's meant by "annihilating the Zionist regime": this is the solution. This solution is reasonable and favored by today's standards of logic around the world: it is a practical solution. We put forward a proposal to the United Nations and a number of international organizations in charge of such affairs. And this proposal was discussed among them.
There is no cure for the problems that this savage regime--whose policy is to carry on with an iron fist; with cruelty and savagery; that does not care about or denies the killing of people and children, attacking different regions and causing destruction--has created except its destruction and annihilation. If by Allah's favor that day comes, and if it is annihilated, so much the better. But, what is the solution so long as this usurper regime of an illegitimate entity survives? The cure is decisive and militant resistance against it.
Palestinians must demonstrate immense power in the face of Zionists. Not one person should feel that if it had not been for the missiles of Gaza, the Zionist regime would have ceased their incursions. Take note of what Zionists are doing to the West Bank: this is while there are no missiles, weapons, or even guns in the West Bank. The only weapons that the people can arm themselves with are stones! Realize what the Zionist regime has been doing there: whatever it wants. It destroys people's homes, it destroys their farmland, it destroys their lives, and it humiliates and belittles the people. If they want to, the Zionist cut off the water on them and blacks them out by cutting off their source for electricity.
It is not the case that if we do not display power in the face of the Zionists, they will tolerate and show mercy to people and observe their rights, not at all. The only cure that exists before the Zionist regime is annihilated is that the Palestinians must manage to move powerfully.
If they exert power, it is possible that the other side--which is this savage and violent regime--will retreat, as they are looking for a truce with all their might.--This means that they have become desperate. They kill people and their children: they reveal their cruelty in an excessive manner: but they are desperate as well. The Zionist regime is in dire straits, and this is why they seek a truce.
We believe that the West Bank should be armed like Gaza: it is necessary to exert power. Those who are interested in the fate of Palestine should do whatever they can to help: this is what should be done. The people in the West Bank should be armed as well. The only thing that can alleviate the Palestinians' pains is to exert power. Otherwise, if we act tame, subservient, or obedient like, nothing that is to the advantage of the Palestinians will be accomplished; and the violence that this malevolent and savage beast is exercising will not fade.

Jul 23, 2014 ... -practical

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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Sun Jul 01, 2018 4:52 pm

On The Path To Failure - U.S. Attempts Violent "Regime Change" In Iran
In early 2014 we remarked on Color Revolution by Force in Syria and Ukraine:

Accompanying the demonstrations and illegal occupations of government buildings are in both cases brutal, criminal attacks on the police and other government forces. In Syria the violence "muscle" part was done by foreign financed Jihadists while neo-nazi gangs are used in the Ukraine. The demonstrations and the attacks on the state are planned and go together. There is nothing "peaceful" in demonstrations that are only the public-relations cover for attacks on the state. But the foreign politicians and media immediately utter "concerns" and threats over completely normal government responses to them. It is a scam to justify "western" "support" for the demonstrators and to further the violence.
The aim is "regime change" of legitimate governments by small minorities. Should the "regime" resist to that the alternative of destroying the state and the whole society is also wholeheartedly accepted.

We have since seen similar CIA operations in Venezuela and most recently in Nicaragua. The same concept is used to attack Iran. In December peaceful economic protests were hijacked by violent elements. Last night a similar attempt occurred:

Sayed Mousavi @SayedMousavi7 - 22:17 UTC - 30 Jun 2018

Khoramshar water shortage protest turned violent tonight.
What we know:
- At least 2 protesters shot, possibly by getting close to military zones
- Mobs set 2 museums on fire (reports)
- 1 hour of calm
- No base takeovers (anti-regime journos have claimed)
- Armed bike is suspicious

The scene with the "armed bike" in the video attached to the above tweet can be seen better in another video. It shows two "peaceful protesters" on a motorcycle shooting at police with an automatic gun. The shooter is hit and falls off. Another "peaceful protester" picks up the gun and continues shooting.

via Sayed Mousavi

A year ago the CIA created a new mission center to attack Iran:

The Iran Mission Center will bring together analysts, operations personnel and specialists from across the CIA to bring to bear the range of the agency’s capabilities, including covert action.
To lead the new group, Mr. Pompeo picked a veteran intelligence officer, Michael D’Andrea, who recently oversaw the agency’s program of lethal drone strikes ...
Mr. D’Andrea, a former director of the CIA’s Counterterrorism Center, is known among peers as a demanding but effective manager, and a convert to Islam who works long hours. Some U.S. officials have expressed concern over what they perceive as his aggressive stance toward Iran.
The tool the U.S. is using in Iran are operatives of the Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MEK), a terror cult that has been fighting with Saddam's Iraq against Iran and is despised by the Iranian people. When the U.S. was kicked out of Iraq it transferred the MEK camps from Iraq to Albania where the cult is now training its terrorists.

Yesterday a conference of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), a political umbrella controlled by the MEK, was held in Paris. One of the well paid guest speakers was Donald Trump's lawyer Rudi Giuliani. He acknowledged U.S. involvement in the protests in Iran:

“Those protests [in Iran] are not happening spontaneously. They are happening because of many of our people in Albania and many of our people here and throughout the world.”
The MEK is just a front group, trained by Mossad and financed with U.S. and Saudi money. It is not backed by Iranian people. Only half of the attendees of the conference were Iranians at all:

The other half consisted of an assortment of bored-looking Poles, Czechs, Slovakians, Germans and Syrians who responded to a Facebook campaign promising travel, food and accommodation to Paris for a mere €25.
These "color revolution by force" regime change protests are only one of the tools the U.S. is using to destroy Iran.

Trump wants to end all oil exports from Iran to starve the country of foreign currencies. Iran's biggest customers are Europe, India and China. The big Europe oil companies have already folded under Trump's pressure, India followed and China has still to decide if it wants to take a (costly) stand. Trump is pressing Saudi Arabia to increase its oil supplies to replace the Iranian oil that can no longer reach the world market.

Making Iranians poorer is thought to lead to an uprising and regime change. But it is doubtful that such will work. The identity of the Islamic Republic is quite strong. It is more likely that the Iranian people will pull together and accept the hardship while asymmetric Iranian operations slowly destroy the U.S.'s policies. Saudi oil ports are quite vulnerable targets ...

Within the Trump administration Secretary of State Pompeo and National Security Advisor John Bolton are the biggest proponents of regime change in Tehran:

Bolton views the demonstrations that have broken out in Iran in recent months over the state of the country’s economy as an indication of the regime’s weakness. He has told Trump that increased U.S. pressure could lead to the regime’s collapse.
One person who recently spoke with senior White House officials on the subject summarized Bolton view in the words: “One little kick and they’re done.”

Secretary of Defense Mattis is said to be opposed to regime change in Iran. He fears that such an effort might lead to a larger Middle East war. Trump will likely fire him soon. Sheldon Adelson, the Zionist billionaire who financed Trump's campaign, paid Bolton and supports Netanyahoo, will have Trump ears. He demands regime change in Iran no matter what.

Regime change in Iran is not just a Trump administration project. The support for the MEK nutters is bipartisan. Several Democrats also spoke at the MEK conference in Paris. The neo-conservative lunatics are established in both parties. Here is Obama's ambassador to Russia who tried and failed to implement regime change there:

Michael McFaul @McFaul - 18:21 UTC - 30 Jun 2018
A democratic Iran not only would free Iranians from repressive theocracy but produce closer ties between our two countries; real security, economic, and moral benefits for both Iranians and Americans.

Surely, the U.S. will be welcome in Tehran with candy and flowers (not). Such neo-conservative "moral benefit" nonsense has already led to the disaster of the war on Iraq. Iran is several times larger. It has a quite modern economy, effective proxy forces and very significant allies. Any attempt to defeat it militarily will be a hopeless endeavor.

The U.S. has only weak allies in the Middle East. Should a conflict with Iran become hot it would have its hands full with trying to save them from falling apart.

For now we can expect more protests in Iran that will be hijacked in an attempt to create a "revolution". There will be U.S. directed proxy attacks by Kurdish and Baluchi forces on iran's borders. The economic pressure within Iran will increase further.

But all these efforts are likely to fail. Since its Islamic revolution in 1979 every U.S. attempt to damage Iran or its allies has led to the opposite effect. Every time Iran emerged stronger than before. It is likely that the current attempt will have a similar result.

Posted by b on July 1, 2018 at 12:21 PM | Permalink ... -iran.html
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Mon Aug 27, 2018 8:16 pm

Iran security forces disband terror outfits: Intelligence minister
Mon Aug 27, 2018 03:35PM

A file photo of Iranian security forces

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi says the country's security forces have disbanded two terrorist teams in the western parts of Iran.

Speaking to the IRIB news agency on Monday, Alavi added that the terrorist outfits were affiliated to hostile countries and arrested through intelligence operations.

One of the terrorist teams had 12 members who were identified and arrested by the Iranian forces, he said.

The Iranian minister added that the other armed terrorist group had entered the country to carry out acts of sabotage and terror, but it was disbanded before making any move.

During armed clashes, two members of this terrorist team were killed and two others arrested, the Iranian intelligence minister noted.

Alavi said a considerable amount of weapons, including Kalashnikov rifles, grenades and communication equipment, was confiscated from the terrorists in the operations.

Earlier this month, Iran discovered and seized a considerable amount of semi-heavy weapons and ammunition in the central province of Kerman.

PressTV-Iran seizes huge cache of weapons, ammo in Kerman

Iran says it has discovered and seized a considerable amount of semi-heavy weapons in the central province of Kerman.

Kerman Prosecutor General Dadkhoda Salari said on August 1 that the large arms cache had been smuggled into the country through eastern borders for terrorist attacks.

Over the past years, Iranian security forces and border guards have engaged in clashes with terror groups, many of whom cross the country's borders with Pakistan and Iraq to carry out attacks inside the country.

Iranian security forces in June arrested 27 members of a terrorist group before they could carry out any acts of terror in the country.

PressTV-Iran security forces arrest 27 terrorists

Iranian security forces arrest 27 members of a terrorists group before they could carry out any acts of terror.
According to a statement by Iran’s Intelligence Ministry, Iranian security forces managed to identify and arrest the terrorists, who were planning to create insecurity and carry out acts of terror in the capital, Tehran, and some other cities during the holy month of Ramadan (May 17-June 14) and the International Quds Day, which was observed on June 8.

Iran’s security forces also disbanded in January a local of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) terrorist group, which had carried out acts of sabotage during protests in some Iranian cities over rising prices and economic problems.

PressTV-MKO cell busted in western Iran

Iran’s security forces disband a local cell of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization terrorist group in the western city of Borujerd.
According to Lorestan province’s intelligence office, the MKO-affiliated terrorists were identified and arrested in the city of Borujerd.

The Iranian intelligence minister said in January that the country's security forces will soon give a "crushing response" to terrorists and groups hostile to the Islamic Republic operating in the region. ... moud-Alavi
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Sat Sep 22, 2018 12:55 pm

The attack happens during a military parade in Ahvaz
By FRN Editorial Board Last updated Sep 22, 2018

Is the US-Israel backed MEK terrorist group responsible for this act? We’ll follow this story with more reportage. – FRN


Ten people were killed and at least 20 others injured in a terrorist attack on a military parade in Iran’s southern city of Ahvaz on Saturday, a provincial governor said.

Gunmen opened fire on people from behind a viewing stand at Qods Boulevard of Ahvaz during the morning parade held to mark the former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein’s invasion of Iran in the 1980s.

“Individuals disguised in the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps and Basij uniforms fired at officials and people from behind the stand, leaving a number of innocent people including women and children martyred or injured,” Governor of Khuzestan Province Gholamreza Shariati said.

“So far, the martyrdom of 10 people has been verified in this subversive and blind attack,” Deputy Governor of Khuzestan Province Ali Hossein Hosseinzadeh told the official IRNA news agency.

More than 20 people were injured in the incident, and it is possible that the number of the martyrs will rise due to the severity of injuries,” he added.

The attackers began firing at spectators from a park as the parade got underway, trying to force their way into the stand but were confronted by security forces.

“Despite the intensity of the attack on the stand of the officials, none of them was hurt thanks to the rapid reaction of the security forces, Shariati said.

The terrorist team behind the attack was dismantled, he said, adding the situation is now under the control of security forces and police and calm has returned to the region.

“According to preliminary reports, four attackers were involved, two of whom were killed and two arrested, one of them injured,” Shariati said. ... ew-article

Who is the terrorists now?
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Thu Sep 27, 2018 11:34 am

Iran (Islamic Republic of)
H.E. Mr. Hassan Rouhani, President
25 September 2018


Iran (République islamique d')
H.E. Mr.Hassan Rouhani
UN Photo/ Download

Statement Summary:
HASSAN ROUHANI, President of Iran, said the world is suffering from recklessness and some States’ disregard for international values and institutions. The idea that peace and security can be secured at the cost of denying it to others is an illusion that should be cast away. “Confronting multilateralism is not a sign of strength; rather, it is a symptom of weakness of intellect,” he stated, adding that those who seek dominance and hegemony are enemies of peace.

The current administration of the United States seems determined to render all international institutions ineffectual, he said. Pointing out that that country’s withdrawal from the nuclear accord contravened international law, he emphasized that any further talks should take place within the framework and in continuation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and Security Council resolution 2231 (2015). “It is ironic that the [United States] Government does not even conceal its plan for overthrowing the same Government it invites to talks,” he added.

Reaffirming his respect for the non‑proliferation treaty and the long negotiations with the permanent five members of the Security Council plus Germany, known as the P5+1, that led to the Plan of Action, he said he was pleased that the international community did not acquiesce to the United States’ unilateral and illegal withdrawal from the accord. He recalled that the Plan of Action was unanimously approved by the Security Council, and that all countries and international and regional organizations were called upon to support its implementation.

Underscoring that Iran has thus far complied with all its commitments according to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), he criticized the United States for resorting to a flimsy excuse to justify its withdrawal from the accord and pressuring other countries to violate it. He deplored that the United States threatens countries and international organizations with punishment if they comply with Security Council resolution 2231 (2015). He expressed appreciation for the efforts of the international community, the European Union, Russian Federation and China in supporting the implementation of the Plan of Action.

“Unlawful unilateral sanctions in themselves constitute a form of ‘economic terrorism’,” he underscored. The policy of engagement and cooperation with Iran has produced a positive outcome, he added, drawing attention to Iran’s cooperation with other countries in the fight against terrorism. While acknowledging that, at the end of the day, there is no other way than dialogue, he expressed objection to the United States’ bullying and stressed that no State or nation can be brought to the negotiation table by force. International security should not be a toy used in United States domestic politics, and dialogue can restart if “threats and unjust sanctions that negate the principle of ethics and international law” are ended, he said.

Recalling that Iran has been a victim of terrorism in the past and again recently, he expressed commitment to the fight against the scourge no matter who the victims are. He warned against any foreign intervention in Syria and Yemen, and emphasized that the crisis in these countries can only be resolved through internal dialogue. The most pressing question in the Middle East remains the situation in Palestine, he stated, adding that “the passage of time cannot and must not justify occupation”. Citing “the recent enactment of the racist Jewish State law” as a manifestation of apartheid, he said Israel presents the most daunting threat to global peace.

He described Iran as a “meticulous guardian for a world free from violence” and called on those present to “quit imposing sanctions and end extremism”. “The world will not have a better friend than Iran if peace is what you seek,” he concluded.

English(and other) audio of full speech at link
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Fri Oct 19, 2018 2:27 pm

Dynamics Behind Formation of the New Iraqi Government May Weaken US Influence in the Region
Posted by INTERNATIONALIST 360° on OCTOBER 18, 2018
Elijah J. Magnier | @ejmalrai


Forming an Iraqi Government: Secret Talks Between the UN and Hezbollah, an Exchange of Messages in Mesopotamia, and More
Secret talks between the UN and Hezbollah, threats by the US establishment against Iraqi leaders and Hezbollah, exchanges of messages between Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and the US representative, and a constant tug of war… All this and more has been registered – according to sources close to Soleimani – during the last four months in Iraq between Iran and the US, Hezbollah and the US, and US and Iraqi leaders, as part of the struggle to secure the next four years of leadership in Mesopotamia with its inevitable challenges. These challenges are related to who will govern the country, how Iraq will behave in relation to the US, and whether the US unilateral embargo on Iran will be respected.

Iraq is a substantial source of income for Iran and is essential to its foreign exchange, especially when Iran is under US sanctions. However, when President Donald Trump revoked the nuclear deal and imposed sanctions on Iran, the decision was not as hard on Iran as the previous sanctions imposed by the UN for decades, due to the refusal of many countries to follow the US against Iran. The US regime believed – and perhaps still does – that Iran would back down in the face of these newly imposed sanctions. This naïve view was transmitted to Iraqi leaders. A few of them were convinced that US global hegemony would grow significantly and that Iran was defeated.

In response to this, Iranian General Qassem Soleimani teamed up with Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah’s representative in Iraq, Sheikh Mohammad Kawtharani. This is not the first time the two men have been directly involved in the formation of an Iraqi government. The Iraqis often find it difficult to communicate with Iranian envoys but are more at ease with Hezbollah, even if Iran’s leverage is more substantial. It is a question of culture and style of communication. In Iraq, as in Lebanon, factional differences have obstructed compromise and prevented the formation of a national governments. External regional and international powers play essential roles in both countries and thus limit their sovereignty.

The US establishment has managed to influence prominent people within the Iraqi leadership, among these Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim and Haidar Abadi, the ex-prime minister. Abadi was surrounded by people who listened to the US and believed US hegemony would soon bring the fall of Iran, as it had been believed that Syrian president Bashar al-Assad’s government would fall in three months, six months or at most a year. Yet al-Assad remains in power: the regime change warmongers failed disastrously in reaching their objective even after seven years of war inflicted on Syria.

These same people pushed Abadi to announce that he would abide by US unilateral sanctions against Iran, thinking this would boost his chances for a second term. Abadi was ill-advised, yet he accepted this advice. That was his biggest mistake and the first nail in his political coffin. The US envoy to Iraq did everything in his power to promote Abadi but failed. According to top decision-makers in Baghdad, the US envoy actually warned Iraq against talking with Hezbollah’s representative, considered a “terrorist individual”. Faleh al-Fayyad, the head of National Security and commander of al-Hashd al-Sha’bi met with Ambassador Brett McGurk and informed him that “the US list of terrorists applies outside Iraq and certainly not against an Iraqi citizen (Sheikh Kawtharani holds dual citizenship)”. According to the sources, the US envoy responded that he is not acting against anyone, that he is not trying to stab Iran or Iraq in the back and that he would like to send a message to Qassem Soleimani that the US is not trying to twist Iran’s arm in Iraq.

A UN representative in Iraq met with the Hezbollah envoy to ease the already tense situation. Kawtharani told him: “our candidate is Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes. If the US wants to impose a candidate, let us see who will manage to reach power”.A meeting between a UN representative and a Hezbollah representative amounts to recognition of Hezbollah’s role in Iraq and is an indication of US’s desperation. The US was afraid of seeing an Iraqi leader in power with strong animosity to the US.

However, Iran and the US are not the only players: Turkey wanted Usama al-Nujeifi as Speaker instead of Mohammad al-Halbusi. That required a trip by Khamis Khanjar to Turkey to meet president Recep Tayyip Erdogan and inform him about Nujeifi’s alliance with the US and Saudi Arabia. This is when the Turkish President accepted Halbusi and dropped Nujeifi.

There is no doubt that Iraq is in the eye of the storm: the interests of Iran, Turkey and the US all bear on the election and selection of Iraqi leaders. US objectives were clear: Abadi was their perfect candidate. The ex-prime minister did everything in his power to serve the US policy in Iraq and Syria. He is the one who prevented Hashd al-Shaabi from liberating Deir-ezzour/al-Qaem, in response to US demands. This was necessary for the US to buy enough time for the Kurds to reach Deir-ezzour and the east of the Euphrates. Therefore, Abadi stopped the Hashd support to Syria, allowing the US to occupy north-east Syria.

Abadi stood harshly against Soleimani on more than four occasions and ordered inspection of his luggage when he landed in Baghdad, an Iraqi insult meant to “pull Soleimani’s ears”. Abadi kept Soleimani waiting outside his office on many occasions and sought to remove Abu Mahdi al-Muhandes from his position. Also, when the ex-prime minister visited the Hashd al-Shaabi HQ, he questioned display of the portraits of the Grand Ayatollah Sistani, Imad Mughnniyeh and others, pretending to not know who they were. That was how he imposed his authority, an authority he never really enjoyed. “This arrogance and aggressive attitude led to the loss of his second mandate and will likely keep any Da’wa party member out of power unless serious reform is undertaken in the future”, said the source. ... C543&ssl=1

Iran’s role in the Iraqi election


Iran was determined, months before the elections, to promote Haidar Abadi. In fact, Qassem Soleimani tried to impose Abadi days before the elections when he met with the prime minister and Hadi al-Ameri in order to create an alliance. Al-Ameri, who managed to gather 48 seats in the parliament (Abadi was left with 12 only), refused Soleimani’s wishes. It was not smart of Soleimani to put all his eggs in Abadi’s basket before the election: once the results were clear, however, it was a different matter and an alliance would be possible depending on political negotiation and concessions.

Abadi adopted a hostile position toward Iran, convinced that the “Iranian regime would fall”. Soleimani then dropped his support for Abadi and went to Adel Abdel Mahdi as his first choice and Faleh al-Fayyad as a second choice (still a possibility in case Adel doesn’t manage to form a government). Abadi was supported by the US and Saudi Arabia, invalidating his candidacy from the Iranian point of view

Turkey, an important player throughout the Middle East with two consulates in Basra and Mosul and troops in the north of Iraq, wanted Usama al-Nujeifi as a speaker–and Iran didn’t want to oppose President Erdogan. The Iran-Turkey alliance is important but, at the same time, Turkey needed to know that its candidate was also supported by the US and Saudi Arabia. This is why Khamis Khanjar – a pro Qatar and pro Turkey businessman – was such an important player. Saleh al-Mutlaq didn’t go along with the Iranian alliance this time (unlike with the previous government) and Khanjar became the man to replace Mutlaq as leader of the Sunni in Iraq. It was also convenient for Iran to see Mutlaq join the opposing camp since he was representing himself and no longer sitting at the head of 20 MPs as in the previous government. Therefore, Iran finds itself free from any commitment to Mutlaq who would request a vice prime ministership position in order to leave the US-Saudi camp.

When President Erdogan was convinced that Usama al-Nujeifi was no longer in his camp, he agreed on Halbusi who visited him after the election to thank him for his support. He managed to get Erdogan’s approval to release more water to Iraq through the Tigris river to ease its shortages, particularly in Basra.

Iran was content with the election of Halbusi and moved on to the election of the new president. Soleimani faced a real dilemma here: his choice was Barham Saleh, who promised to stand by Iran as Mam Jalal (Talibani) had done. Still, it would not have been wise to upset Masood Barzani and leave him in the US’s arms. The vindictive Kurdish leader is still upset by the loss of Kirkuk and the failure of the referendum. Soleimani didn’t want to appear to be the one putting a final bullet in Barzani’s head andthe one who was rejecting his candidate, Fuad Hussein.

The day of the election, Fuad Hussein and Barham Saleh stood facing the other in the parliament. Soleimani remained on the sidelines and members of the parliament voted without pressure. Following the first round, Barham Saleh managed to get 112 votes out of the necessary 220. This is when phone calls reached many MPs asking them to turn against Saleh and support Fuad Hussein. Soleimani sent a message to Barham Saleh asking him to close his mobile phone to avoid any outside pressure to pull out and parliamentary members belonging to al Bina’ were asked to support Saleh, who won a second term.

The last position, and the most important one, was the prime ministership. Adel Abdel Mahdi was rejected by Nuri al-Maliki right up to the hour of his election. It required a lot of pressure and effort from Soleimani and Kawtharani to convince al-Maliki that the al-Da’wa party had lost this position (which it held since 2006) and that it was time to move on with a person accepted by the Marjaiya and by most political parties. With al-Maliki’s agreement, the road was clear for Adel.

The Grand Ayatollah Sistani sent a message to Moqtada al-Sadr, through his son Sayyed Mohammad Reza, asking the sadrist leader to allow Adel to form his government. “I hear you and I shall obey” replied Moqtada.

At the end of the day, Moqtada dropped Abadi and closed his ears to Sayyed Ammar al-Hakim who promoted a US ally, the head of the Iraqi Intelligence Service, as prime minister. Moqtada is angry with Iran but not to the point of serving Iran’s enemies. He took a step backwards and dropped Abadi.

Top US officials in Iraq denied having exerted any pressure or making any direct or indirect threats to ensure the success of their favourite candidate Haidar Abadi. No list which was promoted by the US found its way to the prime ministership. The Americans claim they had supported Halbousi, Saleh and Abdel Mahdi. At the end of the day, if indeed both the US and Iran have reached the same conclusion, perhaps prosperity and progress await Mesopotamia. ... he-region/
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Re: Iran

Post by blindpig » Thu Dec 06, 2018 1:49 pm

Asia buoys Iran as US sanctions hit
Barbara Slavin December 4, 2018

Iran is still selling considerable quantities of oil to China, Japan, India and South Korea thanks to US waivers and other mechanisms to circumvent sanctions.

US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal is reinforcing a trend that was already underway as doubts mounted about the Donald Trump administration’s commitment to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA): Iran is looking east for its economic survival.

Under waivers announced by the Trump administration in November, eight countries are permitted to continue to import oil and condensates from Iran until March without falling afoul of US sanctions. Five of the eight are in Asia and of them, China is the biggest.

During a previous bout of sanctions in the lead-up to the JCPOA, China eclipsed the European Union as Iran’s major trading partner. It has vowed since Trump became president to continue this relationship with Iran for both economic and geopolitical reasons.

According to S&P Global Platts, China bought nearly 600,000 barrels per day of Iranian oil in October and may have purchased 650,000 barrels a day in November — considerably above its waiver quota of 360,000 barrels a day. Much of the crude went to refineries in Liaoning province that had not previously refined Iranian oil but where the National Iranian Oil Company has acquired storage capacity.

China is expected to pay for the oil with goods, services and investment. A bank that had previously been set up to facilitate China-Iran trade, Kunlun bank, is no longer doing so.

“Iran is not a key issue between China and the US, but the US tried to make Iran a key issue between China and the US,” Wu Bingbing, the director of the Institute of Arab-Islamic Culture at Beijing University, told Al-Monitor in an email. “The US claims that Iran is a significant threat to US national interest, and asks China to reduce its economic cooperation with Iran. China insists that Sino-Iran economic relationship is a normal bilateral economic cooperation.”

However, given the context of the ongoing trade war between China and the United States, Wu added; “I think China would try to have a balance between China-Iran relations and China-US relations. … The waiver is a temporary solution, and a wait-and-see position is realistic to see what will happen when the 180-day term expires.”

India, Japan and South Korea also received waivers from the Trump administration. Sara Vakhshouri, an expert on Iran’s oil industry and president of SVB Energy International, estimates that India will buy an average of nearly 300,000 barrels a day — only a slight reduction from the pre-sanctions period — while Japan will import 130,000-150,000 barrels and South Korea 180,000 barrels.

Taiwan was also granted a waiver but decided not to use it. Vakshouri told Al-Monitor that the island nation “was not a regular costumer and its imports are very insignificant.” Taiwan buys most of its oil from Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Mikkal Herberg, research director for Asian Energy Security at the National Bureau of Asian Research, agreed with Vakhshouri that the small quantity of oil imported from Iran was easy for Taiwan to replace. He told Al-Monitor in an email that Taiwanese imports of Iranian oil averaged only about 16,000 barrels a day from January to September this year. He added that it was “mostly bought on the spot market, not with more traditional longer 'term contracts.'” Taiwan’s Formosa Plastics has turned to Iraq to make up for the shortfall, benefiting from improved loading facilities and “more stable policies” in Baghdad, he said.

However, banking was also a factor. Herberg said that Taiwan had been using SWIFT, the Brussels-based financial messaging service, for payment and noted that the United States has “demanded that SWIFT disconnect most all of Iranian banks. So for Formosa Plastics it isn't worth the time and effort to set up a separate new payment arrangement with Iran.”

A Taiwanese refiner told Reuters that the absence of a payment mechanism was the main reason for the decision. In addition, Taiwan, which fears absorption by China, may be more sensitive to Washington’s political demands than other Asian countries.

South Korea and Japan also value security ties with the United States but have bigger economies and long-standing economic relationships with Iran. Herberg noted that for bigger buyers of Iranian oil, “It’s more worth the effort of making new payment arrangements for the six-month waiver period.”

Iran announced Dec. 1 that a means had been found for it to be paid for its oil exports to South Korea by trading oil for South Korean goods. Hossein Tanhayi, head of the Iran-South Korea chamber of commerce, told the Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency that a “joint fund” might also be set up linking the two countries’ central banks.

The US decision to quit the JCPOA in opposition to virtually the rest of the world has led to a variety of jury-rigged solutions for conducting trade with Iran that circumvent banks and the US-dominated international financial system.

France and Germany are believed close to creating a so-called Special Payment Vehicle (SPV) that will be used to balance imports to and exports from Iran without any money changing hands. European sources have told Al-Monitor that the SPV will be announced in January. It is likely that it will be used initially to facilitate trade in food and medicine and consumer goods to avoid attracting unwanted scrutiny from the US Treasury Department.

The Europeans have indicated that other countries may be welcome to join the SPV or that there may be multiple SPVs for different types of trade.

Iran has already worked out arrangements to do business with Turkey, India and Russia in local currencies, which translates to barter. This is the main way Iran survived sanctions in the past.

There are also new opportunities presented by shifting dynamics within the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. The announcement by Qatar that it is leaving the oil cartel Jan.1 and focusing instead on natural gas could lead to more cooperation with fellow gas producers Russia and Iran.

Russia, which has managed to retain good relations with all parties in the Middle East and is under US sanctions for its intervention in Ukraine, has already announced that it will help market Iranian oil. And Iran itself has found some success selling oil to a private exchange in Tehran that then sells the crude to the highest available bidders.

To get around sanctions, Iran is using its own tankers and insurance as well as a variety of other coping mechanisms.

Still, Iran’s exports will still be cut by at least a million barrels a day from pre-sanctions levels. Vakhshouri estimates that Iran’s exports will average 1.1 million-1.3 million barrels a day for the duration of sanctions. Iran’s budget for the next year beginning March 21 assumes exports of 1.5 million barrels a day.

Brian Hook, the US special representative for Iran, predicted Dec. 3 that the United States would be able to force deeper cuts to Iran’s exports in 2019 when “we expect a much better-supplied oil market, and that will put us in a much better position to accelerate the path to zero.”

However, China and other Asian countries are likely to demand continued waivers. Wu told an event at the Atlantic Council earlier this year, “Iran is an important partner for us in the region.” Wu said China — unlike the United States, which has strongly sided with Saudi Arabia, the United Emirates and Israel in regional disputes — would not “take sides with anyone in the region.”

Correction: Dec. 5, 2018. This article has been updated to reflect that India is expected to import 300,000 barrels of Iranian oil a day. ... japan.html
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