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  • Masoud Dalvand 9:32 pm on August 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    #No2Rouhani: Mogherini’s Visit to #Iran, Will Only Encourage the Mullahs to Continue Their Repressive Actions 

    iranarabspring

    MEP: Mogherini’s Visit to Iran, Will Only Encourage the Mullahs to Continue Their Repressive Actions

    August 2, 2017. The office of Mr. Gérard Deprez MEP and Chair of the ‘Friends of a Free Iran’ in European Parliament issued the following press release today.

    Iran: Report by Amnesty International and EU’s policy

    Presentation111Following the publication of a 94-page report by Amnesty International on 2 August 2017, “Caught in a web of repression: Iran’s human rights defenders under attack”, the Friends of a Free Iran in the European Parliament once again call on the EU and European governments to conditions their relationships with Iran to a halt to executions and a clear progress on human rights and women rights.

    “The Iranian authorities have waged a ‘vicious’ crackdown…

    View original post 765 more words

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:05 pm on July 28, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Two years into JCPOA, Iran needs regime change 

    By Shahriar Kia

    ​July 14 marked the second anniversary of the nuclear deal signed between Iran and the P5+1 in Vienna back in 2015.

    This pact was reached fundamentally by sanctions against Tehran due to continuous revelations made by the Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), being the first to blow the whistle on Tehran’s nuclear weapons ambitions.

    The possibility was at hand to completely uproot Iran’s nuclear bomb-making facilities.  The West’s appeasement policy in the face of Tehran and unnecessary concessions provided to the mullahs, parallel to the windfall of billions gifted to Iran as sanctions were lifted, only fueled the flames of war in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.  Despite all the concessions provided, Iran has been anything but contained.

    Iranian supreme leader Ali Khamenei personally sought to reach a nuclear agreement to prevent the toppling of his regime.  For four years, he personally supervised the nuclear talks, even prior to the tenure of Iranian president Hassan Rouhani.

    “In 2012 the country faced an oil-for-food program, similar to the measures that destroyed the state of Iraq and caused the fall of Saddam Hussein’s rule in a matter of days. Our regional rivals and enemies were hoping the head of the snake be chopped off soon,” according to the July 16 edition of the Iran Daily.

    The international community expected the JCPOA to launch the mullahs’ behavioral shift and containment.  The West, however, failed to understand that, as Khamenei recently described, “any change in behavior means regime change.”  Iran neither could nor had the will to respond positively to the international community’s request for change.

     

    Originally published at:  Two years into JCPOA, Iran needs regime change

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:51 am on July 27, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    New US Sanctions Blacklist Iran’s IRGC 

    WASHINGTON, DC — APRIL 05: Rep. Elliot Engel (D-NY) speaks during a news conference discussing new legislation on U.S. policy toward Russia April 5, 2017 on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. U.S. Also pictured is Rep. Eric Swalwell (D-CA). (Photo by Zach Gibson/Getty Images)

    By Heshmat Alavi

    The U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill Tuesday placing new sanctions on Iran, North Korea and Russia. This follows a similar version adopted overwhelmingly by the Senate in a 98–2 vote last month.

    The House resolution, however, faced a more peculiar road even riddled with obstacles. Fortunately, the overwhelming 419 to three vote in favor of this bill, the bipartisan Countering Adversarial Nations Through Sanctions Act (H.R.3364) has made it veto proof. Despite the fact of alterations made in the initial text, all glitches have been set aside to gain White House consent.

    “The Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), not just the IRGC Quds Force, is responsible for implementing Iran’s international program of destabilizing activities, support for acts of international terrorism and ballistic missiles,” the House Resolution text reads in part.

    This development is a devastating blow to Tehran and a major success for the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI).

    https://twitter.com/Maryam_Rajavi/status/890533063599509504

    Calls for regime change in Iran and support for the NCRI have been gaining unprecedented weight in Washington, leaving Iran’s mullahs utterly terrified.

    Iran has been found “threatening U.S. national security and undermining global stability with a range of aggressive acts” through ballistic missile tests, supporting terrorist organizations and meddling in the internal affairs of other states. The House bill is calling for political and economic measures to place Iran before accountability.

    This resolution can fundamentally be considered the blacklisting of Iran’s IRGC as the criteria imposes mirroring restrictions, and at times goes even further.

    The IRGC will be placed on the list of Specially Designated Global Terrorists following these procedures becoming law and US President Donald Trump taking the engagements necessary. The following is a list of the actions stated in this House resolution:

    • All assets and property in the US belonging to IRGC-linked individuals and entities will be frozen.
    • No American individual or entity has the right to establish financial, business, services or other affiliations with any individuals directly or indirectly associated to the IRGC.
    • No American individual or entity has the right to violate these sanctions through intermediaries or bypassing these procedures.
    • All individuals and entities having any relations with the IRGC must be sanctioned. Considering the fact that the IRGC officially enjoy a variety of connections and associations, this will effectively be paralyzing for Iran. One such example is the IRGC Khatam al-Anbiya group that is currently cooperating with more than 2,500 economic firms. All these companies will be sanctioned, rendering any relations with them illegal.
    • As these measures place the IRGC under secondary banking sanctions, practically no financial institution will be permitted to provide direct and/or indirect banking services to IRGC-linked individuals and entities. No foreign bank will cooperate with any Iranian entity that is in any way related to the IRGC and/or its affiliated entities.

    These sweeping arrangements follow the NCRI’s annual convention held on July 1st in Paris this year with senior American figures such as former New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich calling for even more drastic moves against Iran.

    “It is long past time to declare the IRGC a terrorist organization. They on their hands the blood of so many of your people, and they have on their hands the blood of my people, too, whom they helped to kill in Iraq. We should declare them a terrorist organization so we can cut them off support around the world,” Giuliani said in his speech at the NCRI event.

    Through Iran’s perspective, these new methods are the “mother of all sanctions,” as described by Hossein Shariatmadari, editor-in-chief of Keyhan daily, considered the mouthpiece of Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. This sheds light on the significant political impact of these sanctions for Tehran.

    These new sanctions come at a time when the Trump administration is blueprinting its comprehensive Iran policy, with Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Secretary of Defense James Mattis both mentioning regime change in recent remarks.

    These actions are the building blocks for the next vital steps necessary for Washington and the international community:

    • Officially designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization,
    • Standing alongside the Iranian people and their organized opposition, represented by the NCRI, to realize regime change in Tehran.

    Originally published at http://www.forbes.com on July 26, 2017.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 6:32 am on July 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    First New Iran Regime Sanctions Since Nuclear Deal Passed 

    The bill also sanctions anyone associated with(IRGC) or anyone whom the US determines is complicit in Iranian human rights violations

    IRAN, 25 July 2017The bill also sanctions anyone associated with Iran regime’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC)

    To impose additional sanctions on Iran’s defense sector, The House voted 419-3 (25 July 2017) moving the bill forward to be approved by President Trump.

    While there are some slight modifications to the bill’s sanctions on Russia, the language on Iran is undistinguishable to the version the Senate passed 98-2 in June. Like its Senate counterpart, the House bill would block the assets of any individual who works with Iran on its ballistic missile program or sells it arms.

    The bill also sanctions anyone associated with Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) or anyone whom the US determines is complicit in Iranian human rights violations. Anyone sanctioned under the act may be removed after a five-year review.

    Although the Senate had already voted in favor of the sanctions package on June 15 by 98-2, the House has tacked an additional set of provisions sanctioning North Korea onto the bill, forcing the upper chamber to vote once more. The House has already passed the North Korea sanctions separately by a vote of 419-1, but the Senate has not yet taken it up.

    Senate Foreign Relations Chairman Bob Corker, R-Tenn., negotiated with the House over the weekend alongside the committee’s ranking member, Senator Ben Cardin, D-Md., to reach consensus.

    Corker stated: while the Senate is close to approving the House package, the addition of the North Korea sanctions could cause further delays before the long-awaited sanctions finally make their way to the White House.

    “We’re about there,” Corker told reporters. “It depends on a couple of things we’re looking at on the North Korea piece, so it’s not fully worked out. … We’re talking through some procedural issues right now, but we had a very good weekend and are very, very close to having it fully resolved.”

    Nonetheless, Senate Democrats are eager to vote on the sanctions and deliver it to the president before the August recess.

    “It is critical that the Senate act promptly on that legislation,” said Schumer. “I will work with the majority leader to ensure its swift passage so that we can get it to the president’s desk before we leave for the recess.”

    The White House is supportive of taking a harder line against Iran but had initially opposed the bill as it would require Congress to approve any removal of sanctions on Russia. However, the White House changed its tune over the weekend with press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders saying, “The administration is supportive of being tough on Russia, particularly in putting these sanctions in place.”

    And while president Trump has twice certified that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA, most recently last week, he only did so after a lengthy internal debate inside the administration.

    Foreign Policy reported last week that Trump has asked his aides to make a credible case for declining to recertify that Iran is in compliance with the JCPOA. The administration must certify Iran’s compliance with the JCPOA every 90 days

    Source: First New Iran Regime Sanctions Since Nuclear Deal Passed

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 9:40 pm on July 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Has The Iran Nuclear Deal Changed Anything After Two Years? 

    July 14th marks two years of a controversial nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), brokered between the international community, represented by the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council – China, France, Russia, United Kingdom and United States – and Germany, with Iran.

    Where are we now? Has Iran changed for the better? Or has Tehran taken advantage of the Obama administration’s concessions to further advance their domestic crackdown, foreign meddling and nuclear/ballistic missile programs?

    We are now at a crucial juncture. The Trump administration is currently weighing all options, including regime change, in their evaluation of a comprehensive Iran policy. As wars in various countries and appeasement with Iran have all proved disastrous, regime change by supporting the Iranian people and their organized opposition is the best viable option.

    The pro-deal camp described Iranian President Hassan Rouhani as a “reformist” and decided to neglect the massive wave of executions launched during his first tenure. The Iran nuclear deal gave a green light to Tehran, leading to over 3,000 executions during Rouhani’s first term as president.

    Despite all the naive expectations in Rouhani’s second term, there are reports of increasing executions. This month alone 57 prisoners have been sent to the gallows.

    View image on Twitter

    The regime in Iran is fearing a repeat of widespread protests mirroring those seen rocking its very pillars back in 2009. In response, Iranian regime security forces are seen raiding homes of a long slate of political and human rights activists in Iran, most specifically those supporting the main opposition group, People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

    This YouTube video shows a brave Iranian activists declaring “My Vote is Regime Change” on May 19th when the regime held its elections.

    Rest assured Iran will ramp up its domestic crackdown as rifts in its senior hierarchy continue to deepen. To add insult to Iran’s injury, US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson mentioned his support for regime change through backing domestic opposition at a June 14th congressional hearing.

    Looking abroad, Iran took advantage of the nuclear deal to first convince Russia to launch its Syria campaign in September 2015 and provide the air support needed to help prop up the Bashar Assad dictatorship. Prolonged death and destruction resulted as Syria is bearing nearly half a million dead and over 12 million internally and externally displaced.

    Iraq has also seen the wrath of Iran’s foreign intervention. Under the pretext of the fight against ISIS and the US-led coalition providing air coverage, Tehran’s proxies are literally changing the social fabric of Iraq’s Sunni provinces.

    ISIS may have been defeated in Iraq, but the battle to establish stability and true Iraqi sovereignty has only just begun. Iran’s influence runs deep in this country despite the US spending $3 trillion of its resources, and thanks to Obama’s premature troop departure handing over Baghdad to Tehran in a silver plate.

    Yemen and Iran’s support for the Houthi proxies is no better story. As Obama focused solely on preserving his legacy-defining nuclear deal with Iran, the mullahs continued to support the Houthis financially, logistically and with crucial arms supplies. The country will not see peace unless a strong will is adopted to end Tehran’s deadly involvement.

    Iran’s mullahs have also been fast advancing their ballistic missile program, all in defiance of UN Security Council resolutions. Knowing the Obama administration would fail in taking any punishing actions, Tehran carried out numerous test launches after the Iran nuclear deal signing and continued to do so after Obama left office.

    The Trump administration has slapped three rounds of sanctions against Iran. In one instance Tehran cancelled plans for one missile test launch. The mullahs need these test launches to maintain face and curb many internal issues amongst its already dwindling social base.

    Moreover, Tehran’s ballistic missiles have become a leverage to threaten the Middle East. As North Korea continues its ballistic missile advances, a possible trade between Pyongyang and Tehran could be devastating for future regional stability and possibly even world peace.

    “And it’s clear that the regime’s behavior is only getting worse. Their continued violations of the agreement; their work with North Korea on nuclear weapons and ballistic missiles only continues to grow… North Korea is already perilously close to the point where they can miniaturize a nuclear weapon, put it on an intercontinental ballistic missile and hit targets in the United States. And the day after North Korea has that capability, the regime in Tehran will have it as well simply by signing a check,” said John Bolton, former US ambassador to the UN at a recent Iranian opposition rally in Paris.

    Reports also indicate Iran is continuing to focus activities with the objective of obtaining nuclear weapons.

    In a recent publication the state of Hamburg in Germany reports “there is no evidence of a complete about-face in Iran’s atomic polices in 2016” [after the Islamic Republic signed the JCPOA deal with Western powers in 2015, aimed at restricting Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief]. Iran sought missile carrier technology necessary for its rocket program.”

    For the road ahead, the Trump administration should adopt a firm policy of first inflicting the true nature of strict measures implemented in the JCPOA, especially the tough inspections of all facilities and holding Tehran in violation without any reservation.

    GOP Senators have made a call on President Trump to find Iran in non-compliance with the nuclear accord. Tehran has enjoyed far too much time to cheat its way around the deal and Washington should bring an end to this.

    Targeting the core entity responsible for these measures is key. Iran’s Revolutionary Guard is involved in domestic crackdown, foreign meddling and the mullahs’ nuclear weapons and ballistic missile programs. To this end, designating this entity as a foreign terrorist organization is long overdue.

    Finally, the Trump administration should lead the international community to first bring an end to the highly flawed appeasement policy with Iran. This will lead to the world standing alongside the Iranian people and their organized opposition movement, symbolized in the National Council of Resistance of Iran, in bringing about true change in order to establish freedom, democracy and a non-nuclear Iran peacefully coexisting with all its neighboring countries.

     

    via Has The Iran Nuclear Deal Changed Anything After Two Years? — Iran Commentary

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 9:17 pm on July 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    OPINION | Trump must withdraw from Iran nuclear deal – now 

    BY JOHN R. BOLTON

    For the second time during the Trump administration, the State Department has reportedly decided to certify that Iran is complying with its 2015 nuclear deal with the Security Council’s five permanent members and Germany, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (“JCPOA”).

    If true, it will be the administration’s second unforced error regarding the JCPOA. Over the past two years, considerable information detailing Tehran’s violations of the deal have become public, including: exceeding limits on uranium enrichment and production of heavy water; illicit efforts at international procurement of dual-use nuclear and missile technology; and obstructing international inspection efforts (which were insufficient to begin with).

    Since international verification is fatally inadequate, and our own intelligence far from perfect, these violations undoubtedly only scratch the surface of the ayatollahs’ inexhaustible mendaciousness.

    Certification is an unforced error because the applicable statute (the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, or “INARA”) requires neither certifying Iranian compliance nor certifying Iranian noncompliance. Paula DeSutter and I previously explained that INARA requires merely that the Secretary of State (to whom President Obama delegated the task) “determine…whether [he] is able to certify” compliance (emphasis added). The secretary can satisfy the statute simply by “determining” that he is not prepared for now to certify compliance and that U.S. policy is under review.

    This is a policy of true neutrality while the review continues. Certifying compliance is far from neutral. Indeed, it risks damaging American credibility should a decision subsequently be made to abrogate the deal.

    Beyond the procedural question, however, is the importance of swiftly resolving the underlying policy gridlock. President Trump has repeatedly made clear his view that the Iran deal was a diplomatic debacle. It is not renegotiable, as some argue, because there is no chance that Iran, designated by Ronald Reagan as a state sponsor of terrorism in January 1984, will agree to any serious changes. Why should it? President Obama gave them unimaginably favorable terms, and there is no reason to think China and Russia will do us any favors revising them.

    Accordingly, withdrawing from the JCPOA as soon as possible should be the highest priority. The administration should stop reviewing and start deciding. Even assuming, contrary to fact, that Iran is complying with the JCPOA, it remains palpably harmful to American national interests. It should not have taken six months to reach this conclusion. Well before Jan. 20, we saw 18 months of Iranian noncompliance and other hostile behavior as evidence. The Trump transition team should have identified abrogating the deal as one of the incoming administration’s highest policy priorities.

    Within the Trump administration, JCPOA supporters contend that rejecting the deal would harm the United States by calling into question our commitment to international agreements generally. There is ominous talk of America “not living up to its word.”

    This is nonsense. The president’s primary obligation is to keep American citizens safe from foreign threats. Should President George W. Bush have kept the United States in the 1972 Anti-Ballistic Missile Treaty, rather than withdraw to allow the creation of a limited national missile-defense shield to protect against rogue-state nuclear attacks? Was Washington’s “commitment” to the ABM Treaty more important than protecting innocent civilians from nuclear attacks by the ayatollahs or North Korea’s Kim family dictatorship?

    Similarly, President Bush directed that we unsign the treaty creating the International Criminal Court because we had no intention of ever becoming a party. Was he also wrong to extricate American service members and intelligence personnel — not to mention ordinary citizens — from the risk of arbitrary, unjustified and politically motivated ICC detention and prosecution?

    Of course, the answer is “no.” The president would be derelict in his duty if he failed to put the interests of U.S. citizens first, rather than worrying about “the international community” developing a case of the vapors. The Trump administration itself has already shown the courage of its convictions by withdrawing from the Paris climate accords. Compared to that, abrogating the JCPOA is a one-inch putt.

    We must also urgently reassess the available intelligence on issues like joint Iranian-North Korea nuclear and ballistic-missile programs, free from the Obama administration’s political biases. Cooperation between Tehran and Pyongyang is deep and long-standing. North Korea’s July 4 ICBM launch should cause greater interest in the implications for Iran.

    Much of the current JCPOA debate would be strategically irrelevant if, as seems virtually certain, the ayatollahs can send a wire transfer to Kim Jung-un to purchase whatever capability North Korea develops.

    In years past, appreciation for the Iranian and North Korean threats has invariably been enhanced by greater public awareness of what was at stake. One useful suggestion to that end was made here last week by the Wisconsin Project’s Valerie Lincy. She advocated declassifying the fourth semi-annual report (also required by INARA) specifying incidents of Iranian non-compliance, the first from the Trump administration.

    With appropriate protections for intelligence sources and methods, making this report public would undoubtedly help increase public awareness of Iran’s continuing progress, and thereby inform the broader policy debate.

    In the last six months, Iran has made six more months of progress toward posing a mortal threat to America and its allies, and now totals two years since the JCPOA was agreed. This U.S. approach is both dangerous and unnecessary. Care to bet how close Tehran — and North Korea — now are? Consider the costs of betting wrong.

    John R. Bolton is a former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and a former undersecretary of state for arms control and international security affairs.

    The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the views of The Hill.


    Originally published at thehill.com on July 16, 2017.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 4:44 pm on June 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    ANALYSIS: Iran’s future after new US sanctions 

    The regime in Tehran continues to be in a state of shock after the passage of unprecedented United States Senate sanctions on Thursday targeting Iran’s ballistic missile program, support for terrorism in the Middle East and flagrant human rights violations.

    Many of the new measures imposed on Iran are far more complex than any sanctions even prior to the Iran nuclear deal. There is no need for the Trump administration to tear up the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), as these new sanctions provide the US President vast authority for further punitive action. This new initiative also contains a classified amendment believed to describe Iran as an extremely dangerous state.

    The threats

    Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir highlighted the importance of this threat after a recent meeting with his British counterpart in London.

    “If Iran seeks respect it must bring an end to supporting terrorism, bombing embassies and spreading sectarianism… Iran also supports terrorism, meddles in others’ affairs, fuels sectarianism, and dispatches the Revolutionary Guards in Iraq, Syria and Yemen,” he said.

    Further signs of the mullahs’ devious intentions are seen as Iran is reported to provide cruise missiles to Yemen’s Houthis and resulting in a grave threat to the strategic Bab el-Mandeb waterway, according to the US.

    As Iran also continues its destructive support for Shiite groups in Iraq, Vice President Ayad Allawi voiced concerns over Tehran of fomenting sectarian rifts across the country prior to next year’s parliamentary election.

    And Iran will also continue its efforts in Syria, as many parties are seeking land grabs to ensure their interests in the post-ISIS era. Knowing this, Tehran is seeking leverages in the region to have negotiating ammunition, especially considering the sweeping actions exerted through the new US Senate resolution.

    A handout picture provided by the office of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani shows him delivering a speech during a conference entitled “Implementation of Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) a new chapter in Iran’s economy”, on January 19, 2016, in Tehran. (AFP)

    ‘JCPOA 2, 3 and 4’

    Section 5 of this bill enforces sanctions on the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Any individual providing services to an entity identified in this executive order will result in that individual being placed in the US sanctions list. There is no longer any temporary measures and the individual or entity will be permanently sanctioned.

    All government and non-government branches having any cooperation with the IRGC bear the potential of being blacklisted. Prior to the JCPOA around 600 individuals and entities were blacklisted and the JCPOA delisted around 400. However, with the approval and implementation of this new bill we can forecast a few thousand individuals and entities being blacklisted as a result.

    One sign of Iran’s shock is seen in the fact that the regime’s parliament has postponed its response to the Senate bill after a two-week recess. This is no ordinary sanctions bill against Iran and can be considered a mother initiative paving the path for far reaching sanctions against Tehran that bear no need for legal legislation, as they will become operational through executive orders.

    In the regime’s circles these new sanctions have been described as the end of the JCPOA and the beginning of enormous challenges. Demands by the international community will be increasing and there may be even calls for measures dubbed in Iran as “JCPOA 2, 3 and 4,” covering Iran’s ballistic missile program, meddling and support of terrorism in the region, and their human rights violations dossier.

    Iranian state media outlets have gone as far as describing the new sanctions as “black holes” and the “mother of all sanctions.” The future of Iran’s ballistic missiles are currently considered very dark as these sanctions target all IRGC activities.

    New revelations

    The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance (NCRI) US Office released a statementannouncing their upcoming Tuesday press conference “to reveal information on key centers for production, testing and launching ballistic missiles by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)” and “details (including satellite imagery) on four of the most important missile centers, including one closely linked to Tehran’s nuclear program. In addition, a dozen of hitherto-unknown centers involved in various aspects of production, testing and launching of ballistic missiles will be made public. Information on the role of North Korean experts involved in the construction of these centers will also be discussed.”

    These new sanctions have the IRGC in its crosshairs and seek an end to Iran’s support for the Guards’ regional action and ballistic missiles program. However, the comprehensive nature of this new bill will slowly but surely expand to all organs of the regime in Iran.

    This can be considered the unofficial end of the JCPOA, without the US ever needing to officially tear the accord apart. All previous sanctions are returning, with additions, and yet there is no violation of the Iran nuclear deal whatsoever. The main question here is how will Tehran react?

    The sanctions are returning for one reason and one reason only. The US has come to realize the regime in Iran is in no position to provide any response whatsoever to the new sanctions. To this end, the time has come to in fact levy far more pressure and sanction all branches of the Iranian regime.

    The road ahead

    In the mullahs’ dictionary such setbacks are described as “drinking from the chalice of poison” and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, along with all senior Iranian officials, very well know they must prepare their entire apparatus, ranks and files, for such chalices in the not so distant future.

    These sanctions couldn’t have come at a worse time for Tehran considering the fact that the NCRI is currently preparing for its annual convention scheduled for July 1st in Paris. As Saudi statesman and diplomat Prince Turki bin Faisal Al Saud stood alongside over 100,000 Iranians from all over the globe in last year’s event, this year’s rally will be joined by hundreds of prominent political dignitaries from the US, Europe and the Middle East.

    This will send a strong message to the international community] that Iran enjoys a major alternative seen in a powerfully organized opposition led by NCRI President Maryam Rajavi and her 10-point-plan envisioning a bright future for a free, liberal and tolerant Iran of tomorrow.

    via  ANALYSIS: Iran’s future after new US sanctions — Iran Commentary

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 7:43 pm on June 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , US Senate Resolution   

    Understanding The New Iran Sanctions 

    By Heshmat Alavi

    By Heshmat Alavi   

    Acting as a major wake up call for Iran, the US Senate on Thursday sent a strong message to the mullahs through a bill fit to place new sanctions targeting Tehran’s ballistic missile program, its support for regional and global terrorism and human rights violations.

    Experts have noted the powerful nature of these new measures and analysts close to the Iranian regime have dubbed this measure as the “mother of all sanctions.”

    Foad Izadi, a known Iranian intelligence figure, in a recent interview reflected on the depth of this advantage and described the nuclear sanctions as child’s play in comparison.

    When we place these new sanctions alongside US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s support for regime change in Iran through peaceful steps and Members of Congress calling for blacklisting Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization, we find the mullahs on the receiving end of very commanding signal.

    The 98-2 vote has approved a sleek text that abides by the Iran nuclear deal. These sanctions, technically considered secondary, are in compliance with the nuclear deal due to the very characteristics of Iran’s missile program being excluded from the so-called “landmark” agreement that has failed to provide anything to boast about for the Iranian people. This was yet another concession provided by the Obama administration to Tehran, and the mullahs are seeking to capitalize by operating hand in hand.

    “It truly is astounding what Iran continues to do around the world,” said Sen. Bob Corker, Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. “For a people that are capable of so much, their foreign policy is shockingly counter to their own interest.

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

    The Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017 enjoys an overwhelming focus on sanctioning any foreign individual or entity doing business with a counterpart pre-designated by the US administration in association with Iran’s ballistic missile program. For example, these sanctions can be imposed on any financial institution or foreign company involved in providing key parts or components necessary for Tehran’s controversial missile program.

    Two other such actions by the Treasury Department in February and May were preludes, as the administration officially slapped sanctions against a slate of individuals and entities procuring for Iran’s ballistic missile program. The February sanctions were in response to Iran’s medium-range ballistic missile test in late-January, considered by many as a United Nations Security Council Resolution violation.

    There are also voices heard questioning the effectiveness of this new measure able to add any particular new bite considering the already extensive landscape of US measures. And yet it is also recognized how such an initiative will be sending a very dominant political message to Iran.

    The mullahs in Tehran are also one of, if not the, leading state in human rights violations. While many boasted of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gaining a second term launching a new drive for moderation, there are already increasing reports of dozens of executions ever since the May 19th vote and sweeping crackdown across the country. The recent twin attacks in Tehran on June 7th, which was claimed by ISIS, are also being exploited by the mullahs’ to increase domestic crackdown and foreign meddling.

    • At least 30 inmates in a Southeast Iran prison are on the verge of execution, reports.
    • As the Middle East is engulfed in a rift with many states severing diplomatic ties with Qatar, Iran continues to fuel the dilemma through capitalizing on this sensitive subject.
    • Iran-backed Houthi militias in Yemen recently targeted three Saudi aid trucks delivering relief aid.
    • Iranian boats resorted to new “unsafe and unprofessional” moves in training a laser on a US Marine Corps CH-53E helicopter as three US Naval ships were transiting Strait of Hormuz international waters.

    The world has already experienced how a policy of appeasement and engagement has only emboldened the mullahs to the point of taking advantage of such dismal practices by the international community.

    The Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK) have a history of unveiling Iran’s plots and warning the world about Tehran’s nuclear weapons program, ballistic missile drive, meddling across the Middle East and supporting terrorism, and resorting to unspeakable human rights violations.

    This new round of sanctions will be considered a significant blow to these the Iranian regime’s illicit efforts, especially as experts believe the path is being paved to blacklist Iran’s IRGC. The Guards play a major, if not the leading, role in all the above-stated belligerences, and most concerning today is the foreign meddling that continues to wreak havoc in Iraq, Syria, Yemen and a variety of international waterways that can disrupt billions of dollars of economic transactions.

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    Bipartisan #Senate sanctions bill on #Iran Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps is most effective when coupled with FTO designation of #IRGC

    The new US Senate sanctions are very necessary indeed, as Iran only understands the language of force. This very correct measure should act as the building block and cornerstone of a new foundation of strong action to rein in Iran’s mullahs and finally bring about true and everlasting change and peace.

    Source: Understanding The New Iran Sanctions

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 10:42 pm on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , ,   

    Iran Developing Advanced Nuclear Capabilities, Reducing Time to Weapon 

    Iran-stockpiling-illicit-nuclear-parts-to-shorten-time to weapon

    Iran stockpiling illicit nuclear parts to shorten time to weapon

    Freebeacon, June 5, 2017—  Iran is believed to be developing advanced nuclear-related capabilities that could significantly reduce the time it needs to build a deliverable nuclear weapon, according to statements by Iranian officials that have fueled speculation among White House officials and nuclear experts that the landmark accord has heightened rather than reduced the Islamic Regime’s nuclear threat.
    The head of Iran’s nuclear program recently announced the Islamic Republic could mass produce advanced nuclear centrifuges capable of more quickly enriching uranium, the key component in a nuclear weapon. Work of this nature appears to violate key clauses of the nuclear agreement that prohibits Iran from engaging in such activity for the next decade or so.
    The mass production of this equipment ‘would greatly expand Iran’s ability to sneak-out or breakout to nuclear weapons capability,’ according to nuclear verification experts who disclosed in a recent report that restrictions imposed by the Iran deal are failing to stop the Islamic Republic’s nuclear pursuits.
    The latest report has reignited calls for the Trump administration to increase its enforcement of the nuclear deal and pressure international nuclear inspectors to demand greater access to Iran’s nuclear sites.
    It remains unclear if nuclear inspectors affiliated with the International Atomic Energy Agency, or IAEA, have investigated Iran’s pursuit of advanced centrifuges, according to the report, which explains that greater access to Iran’s sites is needed to verify its compliance with the deal.
    The report comes amid renewed concerns about Iran’s adherence to the nuclear agreement and its increased efforts to construct ballistic missiles, which violate international accords barring such behavior.
    ‘Iran could have already stockpiled many advanced centrifuge components, associated raw materials , and the equipment necessary to operate a large number of advanced centrifuges,’ according to a report by the Institute for Science and International Security. ‘The United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) need to determine the status of Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing capabilities, including the number of key centrifuge parts Iran has made and the amount of centrifuge equipment it has procured.’
    Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, bragged in April that Tehran is prepared to mass-produce advanced centrifuges on ‘short notice.’ Work of this nature would greatly increase the amount of nuclear fissile material produced by Iran, prompting concerns the country could assemble a functional nuclear weapon without being detected.
    The issue is complicated by the lack of access international nuclear inspectors have to Iran’s contested military sites, according to the report.
    Salehi’s declaration highlights the ‘profound weaknesses in the JCPOA which include lack of inspector access, highly incomplete knowledge of Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing capabilities and output, and too few centrifuge components being accounted for and monitored,’ according to the report.
    Iran already has manufactured more centrifuge parts than needed for the amount of nuclear work permitted under the agreement.
    The terms of the agreement permit Iran to operate one advanced IR-8 centrifuge. However, Iran is known to have assembled more than half a dozen such centrifuges.
    Iran also is working to construct IR-6 centrifuges, which also point to an increased focus on the production of enriched nuclear materials.
    ‘These numbers are excessive and inconsistent with the JCPOA,’ according to the report. ‘Moreover, in light of Salehi’s comments, the excessive production of [centrifuge] rotors may be part of a plan to lay the basis for mass production.’
    Iran’s work on ‘any such plan is not included in Iran’s enrichment plan under the JCPOA,’ according to the report.
    Inspectors affiliated with the IAEA should immediately investigate the total number of centrifuge parts in Iran’s possession and determine exactly how many of these parts are currently being manufactured, the report states. The IAEA also should attempt to keep tabs on any clandestine nuclear work Iran may be engaging in.
    Iran may be misleading the world about its centrifuge production and it still has not declared all materials related to this work, as is obligated under the nuclear deal.
    ‘A key question is whether Iran is secretly making centrifuge rotor tubes and bellows at unknown locations, in violation of the JCPOA, and if it takes place, what the probability is that it goes without detection,’ the report concludes.
    Additionally, ‘the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) need to determine the status of Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing capabilities, including the number of key centrifuge parts Iran has made and the amount of centrifuge equipment it has procured,’ the report states.
    ‘They need to ensure that Iran’s centrifuge manufacturing is consistent with the intent of the nuclear deal as well as the deal’s specific limitations on advanced centrifuges,’ according to the report. ‘Moreover, the Iranian statement illuminates significant weaknesses in the Iran deal that need to be fixed.’
    When asked to address the issue, a State Department official told the Washington Free Beacon that Iran’s centrifuge work remains very ‘limited’ under the nuclear agreement.
    ‘Under the JCPOA, consistent with Iran’s enrichment and enrichment and [research and development] plan, Iran can only engage in production of centrifuges, including centrifuge rotors and associated components, to meet the enrichment and R&D requirements of the JCPOA,’ the official said. ‘In other words, Iran’s production of centrifuges and associated components are limited to be consistent with the small scale of R&D that is permissible under the JCPOA.’
    If Iran is in violation of the deal, the United States will take concrete action to address this once the Trump administration finishes its interagency review of the Iran deal.
    ‘The Trump administration has made clear that at least until this review is completed, we will adhere to the JCPOA and will ensure that Iran is held strictly accountable to its requirements,’ the official said.

    Source:  Iran Developing Advanced Nuclear Capabilities, Reducing Time to Weapon

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 6:08 pm on May 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , Joseph Lieberman, , VOA   

    Former U.S. Senator Calls Iranian Election Results the Decision of the Regime 

     

    Joseph Lieberman

    The current President of United Against Nuclear Iran, Joseph Lieberman, who also served as a senator and vice presidency candidate, believes that a brief comparison of what is happening in Iranian election with America and France indicates that in Iran election results are a decision that regime will make.

    During an interview with the head of the Voice of America’s Persian service, Lieberman expressed his views on Iran and the current election cycle. He also talked about the impact of the changes in the U.S. and its impact on Iran going forward.

    Lieberman first pointed out that the Iranian election is not similar to the elections that were recently held in France and America. This is because out of over 1,600 candidates, only six were allowed to run as candidates in the election. He noted that Iran’s policies keep power in the hands of the Supreme Leader, versus allowing the Iranian people to take hold of their own fate.

    “Once you look carefully, there is no great difference between these six people. Rouhani wants and tries hard to introduce himself as a moderate, but as you have see during his reign of power in Iran, he was staunch supporter of Assad’s regime in Syria…,” said Lieberman.

    Iran is also involved in other conflicts within the Middle East, but every decision is ultimately being made by Khamenei. Even after the JCPOA, according to Iranian leaders, they have remained hostile to America.

    The JCPOA has also been a failure on both sides. It has not improved relations between America and Iran, plus it has not dramatically impacted the Iranian economy as was hoped for. In the end, the remaining sanctions being imposed by the U.S. have had a cooling effect on foreign investment in Iran, particularly as foreign banks do not wish to cross the U.S.

    “Obama’s biggest miscalculation was that he thought the JCPOA would change our relations with Iran and Iran would become America’s friend or at least would stop supporting terrorism and militancy in the Middle East. However, we did see that even when the negotiations were in progress, Iran’s supreme leader said that this accord wouldn’t change anything. We have seen that things not only haven’t improved, but also have become worse than before. This is shameful,” said Lieberman.

    The changes in administration in the U.S. also has impacted relations with Iran. According to Lieberman, Trump will sign any sanctions proposed by Congress. “I hope Trump continues rigorously to impose sanctions and acts powerfully towards the Iranian government. Give them only things they deserve to have,” said Lieberman.

    In the end, he continues to support the idea of continued pressure on Iran’s regime to keep them from expanding their influence.

    via Former U.S. Senator Calls Iranian Election Results the Decision of the Regime – The Media Express

     
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