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  • Masoud Dalvand 7:19 am on August 17, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Before Anyone Further Appeases Iran… 

    The pro-Iran deal camp is recently making much noise about how the Trump administration and critics of the pact, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), are making rightful complaints of the text failing to address Iran’s destructive belligerence in the Middle East. These are valid concerns, considering the fact that even […]

    via Before Anyone Further Appeases Iran… — Iran Commentary

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:43 am on August 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    New sanctions on Iran, now it’s time for a new US policy too 

    Alireza Jafarzadeh Foxnews

    On the second anniversary of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, some argue that the agreement succeeded in slowing Iran’s progress toward a nuclear weapon. However, the restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program are only limited, as is the international inspectors’ access to the country’s illicit facilities.In addition, in areas unrelated to the nuclear agreement,
    the Iranian regime’s behavior has only gotten worse over the past two years. The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), has escalated its nefarious activities in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen, has deliberately sought out close encounters with American warships, and has boasted of new Iranian military equipment.
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     The White House’s efforts to enforce a harder line on Iran policy is well justified and the president’s signing into law of H.R. 3364, which included a title, “Countering Iran’s Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017” is a step in the right direction.
    In June, the National Council of Resistance of Iran revealed details of the escalation of the Iranian missile program, proving the nuclear threat to be real. The opposition coalition identified more than 40 sites for missile development, manufacturing, and testing, all of which were under the control of the IRGC. What’s more, at least one of those sites was known to be collaborating with the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research, known by its Farsi acronym SPND, the institution tasked with weaponization activities related to the Iranian nuclear weapons program. SPND activities have continued since the JDPOA.
    Such revelations clarified what should already be common knowledge: Iran’s nuclear weapons activities have continued. Even worse, myopic focus on the nuclear issues has distracted attention from the Iranian regime’s terrorism sponsorship, regional intervention, and human rights abuses.
    If the IRGC continues to acquire more wealth through its large-scale control of the de-sanctioned Iranian economy, combined with continued lack of access to the nuclear sites of SPND, Iran will undoubtedly deliver a nuclear weapon.
    To its credit, the US. has taken steps toward addressing the underlying problem of the IRGC’s expanding control over Iranian affairs. Soon after taking office, Mr. Trump urged the administration to review designating the IRGC as a terrorist organization. With the new Iran sanctions bill now signed into law, the administration should expand all anti-terror sanctions to the whole of the IRGC, including its affiliate entities and associated financial and economic arms.
    This is a meaningful start to a new Iran policy that is comprehensive in its aims and in its enforcement. Toward that end, the US should work with the UN and EU to evict the IRCG from the combat zones in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. This will help protect the West and its allies, as well as empower the Iranian people, who are seeking regime change and are more than capable of bringing it about on their own.
    Without serious sacrifice, Western powers must do their part. The Iranian regime must be more isolated and financially handicapped by the United States. It must also be subject to pressure not just over its nuclear program but also over a range of current and past crimes, including illicit missile testing, escalating regional and sectarian conflicts in the Middle East, and the 1988 massacre of political prisoners. The United States should subject all major human rights violators of the Iranian regime, including dozens involved in the horrific 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners. Many of the perpetrators of this crime currently hold key positions in the Iranian regime.
    These pressures will make a profound difference in the future of Iran, if coupled with reaching out to the people of Iran and their organized opposition. They will succeed in diminishing the power and influence of the IRGC; bolster the Iranian people and the prospect of the emergence of a truly democratic Iranian government.
    Alireza Jafarzadeh, the deputy director of the Washington office of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, is credited with exposing Iranian nuclear sites in Natanz and Arak in 2002, triggering International Atomic Energy Agency inspections. He is the author of “The Iran Threat” (Palgrave MacMillan: 2008). His email is Jafarzadeh@ncrius.org , and is on twitter @A_Jafarzadeh.
    Originally published in the   foxnews
     
  • Masoud Dalvand 6:11 am on August 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    As North Korea Defies U.S., Iran Sees Opportunity 

    The Media Express

    For those who are following the latest in the U.S.-North Korea saga, it is clear that the U.S. has its attention fully focused on this Korean dictatorship. Reports have also surfaced that North Korea has mastered a key component to making a nuclear missile. President Trump has indicated that the U.S. is ready to counter any aggression on the part of North Korea, but in the meantime, experts warn that eyes should not waver from Iran.

    The Iranian regime could benefit greatly from the North Korean advances, simply because of their economic relationship, which has allowed Iran to give the North Koreans much needed cash in exchange for their military knowledge and expertise.

    If North Korea gets away with building a nuclear weapon, in spite of the protests of the U.S. and the international community, then Iran will try to do the same.

    “It’s a human and emotional response…

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  • Masoud Dalvand 6:28 pm on August 8, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    ANALYSIS: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and regional domination 

    Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Speaker Ali Larijani, and Iranian President Hasan Rouhani during Rouhani’s swearing in ceremony in Tehran on August 3, 2017. (AFP)

    Besides their policing duties within Iran’s borders, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) was put in charge of the country’s clandestine nuclear program in the 1980s, taking full charge of the regime’s quest for nuclear weapons. With its hard-line commanders determined to lead the most powerful army in the Middle East, it needed sophisticated weapon systems to achieve this, and nuclear weapons soon became an obsession.

    The full achievements made in the construction of these devices, will never be allowed to come to light, until those weapons are ready to be unveiled to the world; although, throughout the years, much intelligence has come to light to show the IRGC are well on course to achieving their goal.

    With nationalistic fervour having always been at the forefront of the Guards revolutionary goals, they would never give up the quest for such a weapon. They feel that by possessing such an arsenal of weapons, they could steer Iran toward full control of the Middle East, as well as a handy tool for warding off an attack from the US or Israel, who would fear the catastrophic retaliation from Iran over such an attack.

    With the Guards in total control of the procurement of weapons of mass destruction, they have supervised the construction of a vast network of underground facilities across Iran. The Iranian regime has claimed for decades that their nuclear program will be used to produce isotopes for medical purposes, and not to pursue a bomb. But with a vast amount of intelligence to prove otherwise, with all evidence pointing to a nuclear weapons program, it has to be assumed that Iranian boffins have been working on such weapons since the early days of Khomeini setting up the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    Substantial documentation

    There is substantial documentation to show that the Iranian regime has been for many years seeking equipment and expertise with which to build a nuclear device. Over the years, vast amounts of intelligence have come from many sources when it comes to Iran’s nuclear program.

    In 2005, it came to light through the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), how Iran was in possession of quantities of polonium-210 and beryllium, plus the know-how to make a “neutron generator” that is needed to trigger a fission chain reaction, all key elements that are essential in the construction of a nuclear weapon.

    With so much secrecy behind its nuclear program, plus the fact that underground nuclear facilities have been uncovered by the Iranian opposition group the MEK, and indisputable evidence that the Iranians have been building nuclear capable missiles, which they have been testing in recent months, this all seems to point toward the regime seeking a full nuclear capability for its military forces, and they could reach their goal in the very near future.

    The deal

    Hassan Rouhani
    #NO2Rouhani 

    So as far as International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) policing its nuclear program as part of the Iran Deal is concerned, with the Iranian regime refusing the IAEA full access to secret bunkers such as Parchin, and its nuclear program just stalled and not dismantled, the agreement isn’t worth the paper it is printed on.

    At the time of the Iran Deal, it was strongly believed that Iran’s nuclear weapon was close to completion, with already an arsenal of missiles capable of carrying them stored in underground bunkers ready to launch, many aimed at the Gulf states, and American military facilities in the area.

    But such were the derisory sanctions placed against the regime by the West, headed by the Obama administration; Iran’s nuclear program has in effect only been suspended, which makes it possible for its boffins to restart it at any time. So, with Iran having received continued assistance from North Korea, a country that already has a functional nuclear device, as well as the capability to fit one to a missile, the scenario of full cooperation becomes ever scarier.

    Defense systems

    Also, through the millions of dollars handed back to Iran, the regime has strengthened both its internal defenses through the application of new air defense systems, as well as updating arms and equipment for its armed forces, making it a much bigger threat to its neighbors than ever before. As well as this, the amount of money it has had returned through the Iran Deal, has helped tremendously in bankrolling its military campaigns in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.

    So, by participating in this new game of diplomacy, which it has been playing very well, Iran’s clerical leadership is planning to be in the nuclear deceit game for the long haul. If they can keep the West playing along with them, the mullahs will be able to build up Iran’s inner security, and with its new strengthened military, it will have the ability to repel both internal dissent, and any outside invader, showing its neighbours that it is a country to be both feared and reckoned with.

    Then no sooner is its economy booming, with its armed forces the most sophisticated in the Middle East, and its air defences second to none, the regime will finish building its long sought after nuclear weapon. Having reached the stage where it feels no outside force can stop it, the true belligerence of its leadership will take over, and their long sought after nuke will be revealed to the world.

    But at least, now that Donald Trump is in charge of the White House, fresh sanctions have been put in place; but only time will tell how far the new president will go in confronting Iran, and in what form this confrontation will take.

    Source Al Arabiya English: ANALYSIS: Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and regional domination

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 6:49 am on July 18, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    ANALYSIS: How to protect Iraq from Iranian influence 

    Iranian President Hassan Rouhani with Iraq’s Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in Tehran on June 20 2017. (AFP)

    By Heshmat Alavi

    With the recapturing of Mosul, the rein of ISIS in northern Iraq is coming to an end. This, however, can lead to the reemergence of a far more dangerous threat for the future of this fledgling democracy.

    Iran and its destructive meddling Mesopotamia has devastated this entire nation, leaving at least tens of thousands killed, scores more wounded, injured and displaced.

    Tehran has continuously targeted the Sunni community in Iraq and taken advantage of the war against ISIS to change the very fabric of this minority. Sunni provinces have been the target of this wrath especially after Nouri al-Maliki, described by many as Iran’s puppet in Iraq, reached the premiership in 2006.

    Dark history

    Ever since 2003, with a surge beginning under al-Maliki’s watch, Iran has flooded its western border neighbor with financial, logistical and manpower resources, spearheaded by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

    The track record of Iran-backed proxy groups and death squads in Iraq is nothing short of deadly and atrocious. One group alone, Asai’b Ahl al-Haq, claims to have launched over 6,000 attacks targeting US soldiers from 2006 onward.

    Amnesty International has also filed a disturbing report over Iran-backed militias being supplied US arms by the Iraqi government, only to carry out war crimes targeting the Sunni community.

    War against ISIS

    The defeat of ISIS must not be considered the end of the nightmare. Far from it. General Stephen Townsend, commander of the coalition forces against ISIS, recently emphasized the importance of all Iraqi parties reaching a political consensus in the post-ISIS stage.

    To emphasize his point, Townsend touched on the sensitive topic of Iraqi Sunnis feeling unrepresented in Baghdad.

    Former US defense secretary Ashton Carter, who supervised the anti-ISIS effort from early 2015 to January of this year, underscored “chaos and extremism” will follow if the “political and economic campaigns that must follow” fail to render the results needed for Iraq future’s.

    The hidden occupation

    On a side-note, the internal sectarian drives in Iraq are not be considered the result of an especially bloody history. Iraq’s conglomerate of communities experienced peaceful coexistence for over a millennium.

    As Iran began its hidden occupation from 2003 onward, one campaign pillar focused on instigating sectarian strife with the objective of expanding its influence through Shiite communities in strategic areas across the country. Such policies have been carried out vividly in all Sunni provinces recaptured from ISIS control.

    There is no need to divide Iraq into federalized states, as this would deepen the rifts amongst a nation that needs to begin rebuilding the bridges and bonds destroyed.

    Members of Popular Mobilization hold portraits of Ayatollah Khomeini (C), Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (L) and Iraq’s top Shi’ite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani during a parade marking the annual al-Quds Day in Baghdad on June 23, 2017. (Reuters)

    Independent figure

    Despite all the flaws in the campaign against ISIS, Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi has the potential to be pulled out of Iran’s influence and act as an independent figure. This is especially true as he has stood in the face of Iran’s pressures, while there remains far more necessary cleansing of the mullahs’ influence in Iraq.

    Following the historic Riyadh summit earlier this year, it is time for the Trump administration, allied with the Arab World, to take serious action curbing Iran’s influence in Iraq.

    All al-Abadi government officials must prove their allegiance to the Iraqi people and not the Iranian regime. The Iraqi judiciary is also heavily under Tehran’s influence, seen specifically when the country’s supreme court last October blocking al-Abadi’s reform package aiming to “decrease the political space — and platform — for sectarian saboteurs and political spoilers like Maliki,” as explained in The Hill.

    Steps ahead

    Iraq now lays in devastation and the road ahead will be difficult. This country needs the correct support from its well-meaning neighbors – not the regime in Iran – and the international community to once again stand on its own and play its expected part in today’s world.

    This is a breakdown of the utmost necessary measures:

    1) Stanching Iran’s influence, especially at senior levels in Baghdad and the security apparatus, and supporting al-Abadi distance from Iran
    2) Confront Iran’s meddling by preventing al-Maliki from regaining the premier seat, and dismantling the Popular Mobilization Units and all death squads, parallel to blacklisting Iran’s IRGC
    3) Supporting the Sunni community in all Iraqi hierarchy and security forces, and establishing an equal method of governance across the country.

    In a recent speech, Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi highlighted how Iran has for 38 years been at war with Iraq and other nations in the region and beyond.

    She underscored, “…the ultimate solution to the crisis in the region and to confronting groups like ISIS lies in the overthrow of the Iranian regime by the Iranian people and it’s Resistance.” That seems to be the only way to protect Iraq from Iran.

    Source: ANALYSIS: How to protect Iraq from Iranian influence

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 10:33 am on July 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    France and US must unite in standing up to Iran 

    Trump Macron

    27144-0yujr3cgczk-plfyx  By Giulio Terzi

    France shares a dubious distinction with my own home country of Italy. Both were among the first to send business delegations and enter into new trade agreements with the Islamic Republic of Iran following the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, or Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) — what President Donald Trump is famous for describing as “the worst deal ever negotiated.”

    In a joint press conference with his French counterpart, President Emmanuel Macron, in Paris on Thursday, President Trump said, “Today we face new threats from rogue regimes like North Korea, Iran and Syria, and the governments that finance and support them.”

    It is yet unclear what exactly the two presidents may have discussed when it comes to Iran, but one can hope they will present a united front standing against the regime going forward.

    High on the list of measures to halt Iran’s destructive behavior is an idea already floated by President Trump in his first weeks in office — designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps as a foreign terrorist organization and cutting off its access to American dollars.

    Macron, like Trump, took over for a predecessor who played a role in the nuclear negotiations and the associated, conciliatory policies toward the Islamic Republic.

    The question is whether France will continue to look the other way on Iranian misbehavior while pushing French business toward the unstable Iranian market? Or will President Macron reintroduce the extensive demands and high level of scrutiny that had guided French negotiations before the JCPOA was implemented?

    The French government has a particular responsibility to address the issues of Iranian misbehavior that have been shunted to the side.

    The French energy company Total SA announced this month that it would be helping Iran to develop a prominent off-shore gas field. This announcement was eagerly embraced by the mullahs in Tehran, who suggested that it would lead the way to more Western investments in the Islamic Republic, even if Iran continues to push the boundaries of the JCPOA while taking no steps to diminish the threat of terrorist-linked money laundering. In fact, Tehran seems committed to taking full advantage of the new conditions created by the nuclear deal, but without changing a single thing about its malign influence on the region or the world.

    France, of course, had a prominent hand in creating those new conditions, as one of the six parties that helped negotiate the JCPOA opposite Iran. To its credit, the French negotiating team developed a solid reputation for putting the highest demands upon the Islamic Republic. Nevertheless, the world ended up with a rather tepid deal, which offered Iran tens of billions of dollars’ worth of sanctions relief in exchange for fairly modest and completely reversible restrictions on the Iranian nuclear program. Meanwhile, peripheral issues remained entirely ignored, such as Iran’s ballistic missile development and contact with terrorist organizations and rogue states.

    Interestingly, President Macron’s meeting with President Trump takes place almost exactly two years after the nuclear negotiations were concluded. And if Iran was a major topic of discussion, this meeting has the potential to be very significant.

    The fact is that the nuclear deal only addressed one issue having to do with the Islamic Republic. The globally significant issues coming out of that country are manifold, and some of them have the potential for much more immediate and broad-ranging impact.

    Whereas the nuclear deal succeeds in pushing the threat of an Iranian nuclear weapon several years into the future, there are other things that could be done right now to quickly halt Iran’s destructive behavior.

    High on the list of such measures is an idea that was already floated by President Trump in his first weeks in office, when he suggested designating the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a foreign terrorist organization and cutting off its access to American dollars to the greatest extent possible.

    Whether President Trump broached the subject with Macron remains to be seen, but the French president should certainly take it upon himself to make a commitment to confronting Iran’s sponsorship of global terrorism. The IRGC is the main driving force behind that, and it is also perhaps the source of the most severe crackdowns on Iranian activism and civil society.

    In this sense, an international blacklist of the IRGC could serve not only to shrink Iran’s influence on nearby areas like Syria and Yemen but also to greatly diminish the power of the clerical regime at home, thereby improving the prospects for regime change driven by the overwhelmingly pro-Western and democratic Iranian people.

    The French capital was the site of a major international rally for Iranian regime change just two weeks before Thursday’s meeting with President Trump. The opposition coalition known as the National Council of Resistance of Iran held its annual gathering in Paris on July 1, with attendance from tens of thousands of Iranian expatriates and hundreds of political supporters spanning Europe, the Americas, and much of the world.

    NCRI President Maryam Rajavi used the opportunity to call attention to the thousands of protest actions that had taken place in Iran over the past year in defiance of the omnipresent risk of suppression and torture. The popular demand for regime change that was on display in the 2009 uprising is still bubbling beneath the surface of Iranian society, waiting for the conditions to be right for its reemergence. By blacklisting the IRGC, the international community can help to create those conditions and improve the prospects for an Iranian government based on Mrs. Rajavi’s progressive 10-point plan.

    Western voices should be focused on promoting the kind of future for Iran that will make it both a stable and a moral investment. President Macron and President Trump can take the lead in this, and if their talks in Paris demonstrate progress, other Western leaders will definitely take note, as well as the disenchanted Iranian people.

    Giulio Terzi, former Foreign Minister of Italy, is a member of United Against Nuclear Iran’s Advisory board.


    Originally published at http://www.foxnews.com on July 13, 2017.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:29 pm on July 10, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Iran using US victories over ISIS to control Middle East 

    2

    by Russ Read
    Iran is using the ongoing to offensive against the Islamic State to establish one its top priorities — control over the Middle East from its own borders to the Mediterranean Sea. U.S.-backed forces participating in Operation Inherent Resolve have steadily increased their victories over the Islamic State in the past year, giving Iran an opportunity to create what is known as a “land bridge” to its allies in Syria and Lebanon.
    As U.S. victories increase, so too does Iranian influence.“Advances by Iranian allies and proxies appear intended to help Iran establish a secure land corridor extending from Iran to Lebanon, enabling Iran to better supply its main regional ally, Lebanese Hezbollah, which supports pro-Iranian forces in Syria,” said the Soufan Group, a strategic security intelligence firm, in a brief published Wednesday.
    This land bridge serves a dual purpose: first, it allows Iran to provide Hezbollah with weapons and supplies without risking detection by Israel. Second, it expands Iran’s political influence across the Middle East.
    The invasion of Iraq in 2003 opened up a major opportunity for Iran. Former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein was a sworn Iranian enemy, and with him out of the way, the Islamic Republic could attempt to sow influence over Iraq’s majority Shiite Muslim population. The rise of ISIS was even more favorable to the Iranian cause. Iraq’s decision to incorporate the Iranian-backed Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs) into the Iraqi Security Forces in response to the ISIS juggernaut entrenched Iranian influence in the armed forces.
    Indeed, the Iraqi commander of the PMUs has praised Iran’s role in supporting his forces. Iran has been happy to portray itself as a liberator.
    “We thank (Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah) Seyed Ali Khamenei and (Secretary General of Hezbollah) Sayed Hassan Nasrallah for supporting us in the fight against Daesh,” said Popular Mobilization Committee head Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis on Monday, as reported by Iranian government affiliated Tasnim News.
    The U.S. considers Hezbollah a terrorist organization, and Muhandis was convicted for helping plan the bombings of the U.S. and French embassies in Kuwait in 1983.
    Iran wasted no time sending Qassem Soleimani, the notorious leader of its Quds Force, to Iraq to aid in retaking the country from ISIS. Soleimani has not shied away from Iran’s gains since — in fact, he has publicly acknowledged that Iran’s support for proxy groups from the Palestinian territories to Iraq has increased its regional influence.
    Like ISIS, Iran’s proxies intentional provoking sectarian conflict in order to seize power. As the Soufan Group noted, Iranian and Hezbollah-supported militias in Syria have intentionally pushed against ISIS in Sunni Muslim areas, driving out inhabitants. The PMUs in Iraq have also been a cause for concern. Sunni politicians in Iraq are apprehensive that the PMUs could ignite sectarian conflict in the early days after the end of an operation to retake Mosul, Iraq’s second largest city which has a Sunni majority.
    PMU members had previously been accused of serious human rights abuses in other captured areas across Iraq. As a result, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi claimed the PMUs would not be allowed to enter Mosul. However, PMU leaders pushed to be included in its liberation. Undeterred, their forces have a major presence around the city’s surrounding outskirts.
    The liberation of Mosul on Saturday presents a potential flash point as the common fight against ISIS could be replaced with sectarian conflict. Arab countries across the region have already voiced their concern over Iran’s meddling in the Middle East, and the remnants of Iraq could only exacerbate that problem at a regional level. With a limited footprint in the region, the U.S. ability to prevent such a situation is extremely limited
    originally published in dailycaller
     
  • 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 9:04 am on June 16, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Rajavi Proposes Three-Prong Initiative for Addressing Iran 

    The National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) President-elect Maryam Rajavi recently spoke at a gathering entitled “Interfaith Solidarity Against Extremism”. The meeting included a number of prominent personalities from Arab countries and the Muslim community in France and was held on June 3, during the holy month of Ramadan.

    She praised the initiatives taken by the various Arab and Muslim nations at their summit in Riyadh, where they declared the clerical regime has deprived the region and world of tranquility and stability, and that its activities in the Middle East and throughout the world are destructive. The Saudi and U.S. leaders also reiterated that the people of Iran are the first and longest-suffering victims of that regime.

    “Over the past 38 years in Iran, the ruling mullahs have occasionally made deceptive claims of favoring reform and moderation. What has been permanent and not ever changed, however, is the gross violations of human rights and brutal suppression. On the regional level, the regime has always sought to dominate through invasions and promotion of fundamentalism and sectarianism under the name of Islam,” said Rajavi during her remarks.

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    Additionally, she noted that the regime has remained in power due to its determination to dominate and invade other countries, which is a behavior that Rajavi doesn’t see the regime giving up easily. Rajavi noted that the regime uses conflicts outside of its borders to suppress an uprising within the borders of Iran.

    As a result, Rajavi proposed a three-pronged initiative on behalf of the Iranian people and the Resistance.

    Firstly, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), the main operative advancing all the clerical regime’s policies in the region, must be officially recognized and declared as a terrorist entity. The presence of this criminal force and its proxy militias in Middle Eastern countries must not be tolerated and they must be evicted all together from those countries,” said Rajavi.

    She also encouraged the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) to expel Iran and grant its seat to the Iranian Resistance. Finally, Rajavi noted that the international community needs to recognize the struggle of the Iranian people to overthrow the regime, calling for the Resistance to be acknowledged as the force attempting to establish freedom and democracy in Iran.

    Throughout her remarks, Rajavi also pointed out that terrorism and fundamentalism are contrary to the Islamic religion, which is based on brotherhood and tolerance. The gathering also included a photo exhibition dedicated to the martyrs of the Iranian and Syrian resistance.

    via  Rajavi Proposes Three-Prong Initiative for Addressing Iran — The Media Express

     
    • Ishbel 10:11 am on June 16, 2017 Permalink

      Saudi has worse human rights violations against women than Iran and USA have invaded more countries than USA – so will they be classified as terrorise state?
      The future of Iran for Iranians does not belong to Saudi and USA who want to control Iran for their own needs. This propoganda rubbish and support of Saudi & USA takes away any true progress for Iranian people. I salute the middle finger to whoever wrote this article.

      Like

    • Masoud Dalvand 10:31 am on June 16, 2017 Permalink

      I am an Iranian, so I work on situation of human rights in the Iran under religious dictatorship, also you don’t know Iran regime, I was lost some my family members by this brutal regime just for their political ideas, and Iranian people for 38 years paid their blood and life because brutal suppression by Mullahs, yes you must know this regime, they are Godfather of terrorism in the Middle East and all world.

      Like

  • Masoud Dalvand 11:49 am on June 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , ,   

    Yemen: A new Mideast flash point? 

    Saudi army tanks are seen deployed near the Saudi-Yemeni border,
    Saudi army tanks are seen deployed near the Saudi-Yemeni border,

    By Heshmat Alavi


    American Thinker, June 14,  2017
     – With the new U.S. administration blueprinting its Iran policy after escalating developments in Syria and the recent attacks in Tehran, one major battleground between the two arch-rivals is set to be Yemen.  Sitting at the opening of a major waterway through which a significant amount of the world’s seabound oil flows, this country of 27 million has been war-torn and desperately grappling with a famine currently risking the lives of 7 million people.
    All the while, Iran and its offspring terror organization, the Lebanese Hezb’allah, are escalating their meddling in a war that has already left more than 10,000 killed and literally leveled the country’s already poor infrastructure.
    And while the United Nations has issued pleas for support to boost the efforts of humanitarian aid organizations, signs show that Iran and its Houthi proxies are ignoring these calls.  The larger picture of the Middle East power struggle is casting a long shadow over this entire nation.  It is, however, worth noting that the Saudi-led coalition welcomed a U.N. proposal to hand the port city of Hodeidah, currently the country’s lifeline, to a neutral third party to supervise the urgent flow of humanitarian aid into Yemen.
    The Iran-backed Ansar Allah militia group, aka the Houthis, will most likely turn down the proposals.  Such a handover would render the loss of their last remaining port in Yemen, choking the flow of Iran-supplied arms and ammunition.  It is a known fact that Iran’s involvement in Yemen is in line with its broader strategy of encircling the entire Arabian peninsula and upping pressure on its regional arch-rival, Saudi Arabia.
    Iran seeks the destabilization of the Gulf States and to ultimately obtain the capability of replacing these governments with rulers loyal to the Islamic Republic’s doctrine.  Iraq is a vivid example of how Iran usurped the opportunity of the 2003 invasion to cast its shadow over this nation, especially during the eight years of former prime minister Nouri al-Maliki and eight years of Obama’s Chamberlain-style appeasement.
    This is the very philosophy behind establishing and procuring terror cells with the objective of purging government officials and staging attacks targeting the infrastructure of various states, including Bahrain, Kuwait, and the UAE.  Bahrain, particularly, in March busted a terrorist cell linked to Hezb’allah and Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).
    It is a known fact that the IRGC and Hezb’allah are present in Yemen, with their troops and foot soldiers fighting alongside Houthis, parallel to providing much needed training and advice to these forces.
    The number of Hezb’allah fighters being captured is on the rise, with such statistics in the first three months of 2017 matching the entire course of 2016.  The death toll of Hezb’allah and IRGC forces also escalated in the first quarter of 2017.
    More Iranian equipment across scattered front lines in Yemen is being discovered by advancing Yemeni and Saudi forces.  Further concerning is the fact that Iranian weapons convoys and shipments, consisting of drones and high-tech missiles, have been intercepted on the Yemen-Oman border.
    Maritime traffic snaking the Yemeni coast lengthwise has experienced a dangerous rise in attacks staged by the Iranian IRGC and Hezb’allah.  Advisers to these two sources are busily training Houthis how to develop sophisticated drone boats packed with explosives and how to lay mines in Yemen’s Red and Arabian Sea waters.
    Recent reports in the media shed light on the Houthis launching their first such attack, targeting an oil tanker in the southern Bab el-Mandeb Strait.  Assailants of unknown identity fired rocket-propelled grenades – a favorite tactic of insurgents – at the 70,362-ton M.T. Muskie, sailing under the Marshall Islands flag, using the strategic waterway heading into the Red Sea entrance, according to Reuters.
    Involvement in the attack was denied by the Houthis, despite a history of evidence showing these Iran-supplemented proxies staging attacks on various navy vessels using the narrow water passage.  The Houthis are also known to have direct interest in disturbing the flow of Bab el-Mandeb’s maritime traffic to provide Tehran unprecedented influence over the Red Sea and up north to the Suez Canal .
    As tensions continue to escalate in this vital corner of the globe, it becomes imperative for the international community, and especially U.S. allies in the region, to take urgent action against Iran’s meddling, with the aim of curbing its dangerous influence and establishing peace and tranquility in the Middle East.

    Heshmat Alavi is a political and rights activist.  His writing focuses on Iran, including human rights violations, social crackdown, the regime’s support for terrorism and meddling in foreign countries, and the controversial nuclear program.  He tweets at @HeshmatAlavi and blogs at IranCommentary.

    Source:  Yemen: A new Mideast flash point?

     
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