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  • Masoud Dalvand 10:57 pm on June 14, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Will Iran’s Rouhani Use Syria to Bargain? 

    Iran Commentary

    After establishing the Iran nuclear deal as his first-term legacy, the question now is what new initiative will Iranian President Hassan Rouhani embark on during his second term? Should the international community have any expectations of Rouhani? And if Rouhani has the will to bring about any change in, for example, Syria, a big if, will it be for the better good of the Syrian people and the region? Or will he be merely looking to promote Tehran’s interests at the expense of others.

    Iran’s policies in the region are considered by many to be based on double standards. How does Iran legitimize its interference in Syria, Iraq, Yemen and elsewhere in the region while millions have been left killed, injured and displaced as the entire Middle East remains in turmoil?

    Iran claims to seek peace, stability and cooperation in the region through negotiations with neighboring countries. Yet the status quo has changed…

    View original post 629 more words

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:36 am on June 7, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Will Iran’s Hassan Rouhani negotiate on Syria? 

    After establishing the Iran nuclear deal as his first-term legacy, the question now is what new initiative will Iranian President Hassan Rouhani embark on his second term? Should there be any expectation from the international community in Rouhani’s second term as this regime’s president? And if Rouhani has the will to bring about any change in for example Syria, a big if, will it be for the better good of the Syrian people and the region? Or merely seeking Iran’s interests?

    Iran’s policies in the region have been considered by many to be based on double standards. How does Iran legitimize its interference in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, and across the region while millions have been killed, injured and displaced as the entire region remains in turmoil?

    Iran claims to seek peace, stability, and cooperation in the Middle East through negotiations with neighboring countries. Yet the status quo has changed significantly for Rouhani’s second term. Donald Trump is now the U.S. President, bringing an end to Obama’s appeasement policy and calling on all countries to isolate Iran.

    Many of Iran’s regional neighbors view the regime as an ally of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad, who has massacred tens of thousands of his own people.

    Iran, however, continues its support for Assad, arguing international law considers Assad as the president of a legal government in Syria. Does being a legal government legitimize such measures against its own constituents?

    Tehran is validating its support for the Syrian regime based on a request placed by Assad and claiming 60% of the country’s lands are in the hands of ISIS and al-Qaeda. And the mullahs’ regime refuses to accept the existence of a Syrian opposition that enjoys international legitimacy and support.

    While the international community accepts the fact that ISIS and other terrorists must be destroyed in Syria, this does not provide the grounds for Assad, with Iran’s support, to massacre innocent civilians. Former United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon accused Assad of committing war crimes and using starvation as a tool in this regard.

    UN special rapporteurs and envoys have levelled very concerning allegations against the Assad regime, and for Iran to continue its support for Assad is very troubling, to say the least. The UN Special Envoy to Syria, Staffan da Mistura, has also cited Iran providing $6 billion a year to Assad, considered a conservative figure by many.

    Iran accuses other countries of recruiting terrorists from across the globe to fight against Assad and places the blame of enormous civilian losses on their part. And yet one cannot neglect the fact that Iran is providing arms, ammunition and tens of thousands of militias to prop up the Assad regime and killing tens of thousands of civilians, as reported by Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch.

    Iran accuses other countries of interfering in Syria and Bahrain, for example, and yet refuses to accept its role in the Levant as such meddling by an outside party.

    Iran is proposing talks with the three other regional powers, including Egypt, Saudi Arabia and Turkey to hold talks aimed at:

    • preserving the unity of Syria,
    • establishing a power sharing government, yet failing to determine the highly sensitive subject of the fate of Assad as president of Syria,
    • holding UN-supervised president elections.

    The sensitive question is will Hassan Rouhani pressure Assad to accept such terms.

    Although it is crucial to understand why Tehran’s regime is deeply interested in Syria. The Levant, under the rule of Assad, provides a land bridge to the Lebanese Hizb’allah, and thus the Mediterranean, for Iran, allowing this regime to spread its influence from its soil all across the region. In the case Iran loses its foothold in Syria, considering it its 35th province, it will be the beginning of the end of Tehran’s regional hegemony.

    Such an outcome would rebound all of Iran’s dilemmas inwards and provide the grounds for social unrests to overcome the mullahs’ regime. As a result, the very nature of Iran’s ruling apparatus prevents the rendering of any meaningful change in its regional policy.

    “Take into notice any change in behavior is no different from the change in the entire establishment,” said Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei recently.

    via  Will Iran’s Hassan Rouhani negotiate on Syria? — Iran Commentary

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:24 am on June 6, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    ANALYSIS: Prelude to a showdown between the US and Iran? 

    ANALYSIS

    Special to Al Arabiya English Tuesday, 6 June 2017
    With the United States boosting “combat power” in southern Syria and bolstering measures with the Kurds in the north in preparation for a major assault on the self-proclaimed ISIS capital of Raqqa, word is in the air about a confrontation in the making between the US and Iran in the Middle East, with Syria acting as a launch site.
    Does this piece intend to promote war against Iran? Absolutely not. While some do argue this would play into the Iranian regime’s hands and provide pretext for the clerics to rally fighters to take on the “World Arrogance” or “Great Satan,” as Tehran describes Washington, there is no basis to go that far.
    Most importantly is the sheer fact that the regime lacks such a social base. Recall how former Tehran mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf said this regime represents four percent of Iran’s society. And yet the increase in US military presence in the Middle East should be considered a welcome measure, certainly so after the Obama administration disastrously created a dangerous void by prematurely pulling out US troops from Iraq in late 2011.

    Iran’s destructive policies

    Iran usurped the opportunity and opened the gates of hell into Mesopotamia. The destructive policies Tehran dictated to Baghdad under former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki paved the path for the rise of ISIS in 2014 to storm the country’s north and central lands.
    It has taken three dreadful years and a volume of human and financial resources to push the terror group out of Iraq, leaving large swathes of the country devastated and more importantly, Iran enjoying unprecedented and highly sensitive influence across the spectrum in Iraq through its conglomerate of militias.
    The international coalition, led by the US, has provided air support for the Hashid al-Sha’bi in its advances against ISIS. The correct/incorrect nature of such a policy, however, is the topic of another debate.

    Importance of the Levant

    On Syria, there is no doubt in the importance of the Levant for Iran. Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has, time and again, highlighted the imperative of Iran confronting its enemies in Syria far from its own borders.
    “Had the ill-wishers and plotters not been prevented from their evil deeds in Syria we would have to prevent them in the Iranian provinces of Tehran, Fars, Khorasan and Isfahan, so it is better we do it there,” he said recently. “The door for martyrdom, which was closed by the end of the war with Iraq, is now open in Syria.”
    So if no war with Iran is in suggestion here, what foreign policy advice can be provided to the West, and especially Washington?
    Constant is the fact that non-military options are always preferred and have proven their effectiveness. Iran is undeniably a rogue and authoritarian regime determined to gain and impose an illegitimate dominance across the region, meddle in other nations’ domestic affairs, export terrorism/extremism/Islamic fundamentalism, and kill civilians and military personnel of all adversaries, including the United States, Saudi Arabia and all their regional allies.
    Rajavi has provided the initial building blocks of how to tackle the Iranian regime dilemma. (AP)

    Against all parties

    Confronting Iran by military force is considered illogical by politicians from both sides of the aisle in Washington, and their counterparts across Europe and the Middle East. Iran’s policies in the Middle East have been against the interests of all parties, with the exception of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and its slate of proxy forces behind the rampage we are witnessing today.
    The question is how to confront Iran correctly. Those in control are taking advantage and misrepresenting Islam for their interests and their sponsored atrocities are against the teaching of all holy books, including the Torat, Bible and Quran.
    Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran is a strong coalition providing a platform on how to take on the Iranian regime in the most effective of manners.
    NCRI President Maryam Rajavi, herself a Muslim woman representing a tolerant vision of Islam in far contrast to the mullahs’ atrocities, held a gathering on Sunday in Paris marking the holy month of Ramadan.

    Rajavi’s call

    Encouraging “Interfaith Solidarity Against Extremism,” Rajavi provided the initial building blocks of how to tackle the Iranian regime dilemma. “I would like to propose a three-pronged initiative on behalf of the Iranian people and Resistance. And I urge all the states and countries in the region to support it.
    First, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is the main operative advancing all the regime’s policies in the region, must be officially recognized and declared a terrorist entity. The presence of this force and its proxy militias in Middle East countries must not be tolerated and they must be evicted all together from countries in the region.
    “Second, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) must expel the Iranian regime and grant Iran’s seat in this organization to the Iranian people’s Resistance.
    “Third, they should recognize the Iranian people’s struggle to bring down the clerical regime and establish freedom and democracy.”

    Source: ANALYSIS: Prelude to a showdown between the US and Iran?

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 10:52 pm on June 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Innocent Syrian Children 

    Innocent Syrian Children. For what sin?

    If a person dies with seeing the scenes of distress, right!

    Save Syria

    Save Syrian Children

    Assad Must Go! Iran Out of Syria!

     

     

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 10:52 am on June 4, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Maryam Rajavi addresses the “Interfaith Solidarity Against Extremism” gathering 

    10-Maryam-Rajavi-addresses-the-Interfaith-Solidarity-Against-Extremism-gathering

    Maryam Rajavi and a number of prominent personalities from Arab countries and the Muslim community in France took part in a gathering in Auvers-sur-Oise on the occasion of the Holy month of Ramadan. The meeting was entitled, “Interfaith Solidarity Against Extremism.”
    The participants initially visited a photo exhibition entitled, “Carnage and massacre, from Iran to Syria.” Photos of the resistance’s martyrs in Iran and Syria as well as images from popular demonstrations in Syria against the Assad regime were on display.Maryam Rajavi addresses the “Interfaith Solidarity Against Extremism” gathering

    In her remarks to this gathering, Maryam Rajavi said:

    Distinguished guests,
    Dear sisters and brothers who have joined the Iftar reception of the Iranian Resistance from Palestine, Syria, Bahrain, Yemen, and other countries,
    The sisters and brothers who are attending this ceremony from different parts of France,
    Happy Ramadan!
    I congratulate the advent of this month to my fellow compatriots in Iran, the brother nations neighboring Iran and the people of the region, also to the Muslims in France and all over the world.
    The tenth of Ramadan is the anniversary of the passing away of Hazrat Khadijah al-Kubra (a), the honorable wife of the Prophet, the first believer in Islam and the great supporter of the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Prophet described her as a “God-given gift and blessing.”
    Our endless salutes and respects to her who set an immortal example for emancipated and free women of all ages. She is the ideological mother of all believers and vanguards who have followed the Prophet’s path. This is why her name and memory inspire solidarity among all Muslims regardless of their sect or creed.
    As it has been stated in the Quran, Ramadan is the month of Taqwa or piety.

    شَهْرُ رَمَضَانَ الَّذِيَ أُنزِلَ فِيهِ الْقُرْآنُ هُدًى لِّلنَّاسِ وَبَيِّنَاتٍ مِّنَ الْهُدَى وَالْفُرْقَانِ

    Ramadhan is the month in which the Qur’an was sent down, as a guide to mankind, and as clear signs for guidance and judgment between right and wrong.
    To differentiate Islam from perversion and reaction, and differentiate freedom from compulsion.
    To differentiate the rituals of truthfulness, love and compassion and the rituals of Muhammad on the one hand, from deception and demagoguery entwined with merciless hatred and repression as symbolized by Khomeini, on the other.
    Doesn’t Ramadan and fasting reject all forms of falsehood and duplicity? Doesn’t it bear the message of peace and solidarity? Doesn’t it aim to fight poverty and oppression?
    So what does this atrocious ritual have to do with Islam when it is based on lies, flogging of people and enchaining them by poverty and scarcity?
    Ramadan drives people closer, bonding their hearts. Ramadan gives warmth to human community, leads them to unity, and inspires sympathy, consensus and understanding of our shared values.
    With this understanding, we are not to blame if we shed tears for the distress and division of our countries and nations in the Middle East and North Africa, for the blood-drenched Syria, for the occupied Iraq, for Yemen which is engulfed in war, and for the countries beset by terrorism and fundamentalism.
    For this reason, I seek your permission to call on all Muslim nations, and all Sunnis and Shiites to join hands and stand up to those responsible for such a catastrophic situation.
    Our call is to unite in solidarity based on a steel foundation over which the overwhelming majority of Muslims concur. Ideologically, this foundation which derives from the truth of Islam is to deny religious compulsion and compulsory religion.
    Politically, it is to stand up to the religious tyranny ruling Iran, which is the common enemy of all nations in the Middle East and is the epicenter of belligerence and export of fundamentalism to other countries in the region.
    This is the “rope” and the word that can unite us: Rejection of religious compulsion and standing up to the Velayat-e Faqih regime in Iran.
    Of course, we do not intend to overlook the real differences existing among our nations in the region. Despite such differences, however, everyone believes that Islam does not approve of using force to impose an opinion or a religion. Once coercion, compulsion and vengeance are rejected, brotherhood and sisterhood which are the historical and collective conscience of our nations would find the opportunity to spread.
    It is the common belief of our nations in the region that we regard one another as sisters and brothers. We follow the words of God in the Quran that says,

    إِنَّمَا الْمُؤْمِنُونَ إِخْوَة, indeed all believers are brothers.

    Islam in its origin is the standard-bearer of brotherhood in the world.
    Wasn’t it the Prophet who eliminated jealousy and vengeance from the relations among people?
    Didn’t he make kind brothers out of people who thirsted for one another’s blood?
    He brought for people the religion of freedom, compassion and forgiveness, the religion of tolerance and charity, heartfelt affection, the religion of solidarity, brotherhood, and sisterhood. This is just the opposite of sectarianism, bigotry, narrow-mindedness, intolerance and coercion under the pretext of defending Islam.
    And remember with gratitude Allah’s favour on you; for ye were enemies and He joined your hearts in love, so that by His Grace, ye became brethren;
    One of the main tools of religious compulsion and imposition is excommunication. This is a tool for getting rid of the opponents, for monopoly and for imposing despotic rule in an Islamic wrapping. Khomeini initiated the decree for the massacre of political prisoners in 1988 by excommunicating the PMOI.
    Let us remember the words of Prophet Muhammad (S) who said: I have not come to curse, but to promote compassion.
    He said: Everyone’s neighbor is like himself and it is not permissible to mistreat or use foul language against him.
    And let us also remember that he obliged people to live in peaceful coexistence with followers and adherents of other faiths and religions. He also taught believers to cherish their differences as a blessing.
    History attests that he suffered much oppression and mistreatment in his hometown, Mecca. However, he went to Medina with a message of peace and brotherhood and when he returned to Mecca his message was clemency and kindness.
    Islam promotes tolerance towards adherents of other faiths and other fellow human beings. Islam espouses peaceful coexistence among mankind from every race, gender, faith and creed.

    قُلْ يَا أَهْلَ الْكِتَابِ تَعَالَوْاْ إِلَى كَلَمَةٍ سَوَاء بَيْنَنَا وَبَيْنَكُمْ 

    Say: O People of the Book! come to common terms as between us and you
    Accordingly, we argue that the dispute is not between Shiites and Sunnis, not between Christians and Muslims, not between Middle Easterners and westerners. There is not a war among civilizations. The main dispute and confrontation is between despotism and fundamentalism on the one hand, and democracy, freedom and the people who desire freedom and progress, on the other hand.
    Dear friends,
    Rejection of all forms of compulsion in religion also opens the way for the principle of separation of religion and state and leaves no room for tyranny and religious discrimination under the name of God.
    As the Leader of our Resistance movement, Massoud Rajavi, has pointed out, “Islam does not need to prove its legitimacy, including its political legitimacy, through compulsion and coercion… We strongly believe that Islam thrives genuinely only when there is no discrimination, no political privilege and no social compulsion.”
    As it has also been stated in the platform of the National Council of Resistance of Iran: The source of legitimacy for a government in power is the ballot box… No one will enjoy or be deprived of any privilege for belief or disbelief in a religion.
    This will also ensure religious freedom, meaning that both Muslims and followers of other religions are free in their religious activities without experiencing any inequality.
    In a charter written in the 11th month after the Prophet’s migration to Medina, he said, “Jews and Muslims are one people and one nation with the only difference being that Jews follow their religion and Muslims follow their own.”
    What we mean is crossing out despotism under the cover of religion. These words are the essence of a big historical experience, namely the experience of defeating the religious dictatorship in Iran.
    Yes, we can reach agreement and share a common view on a fundamental principle which is woven in all the warp and woof of Islam. And that is the rejection of religious compulsion, and the very principle of “There is no compulsion in religion” or La Ikraha Fed-Din.
    So, in diametric opposition to the Khomeinist motto of “The only party is the party of God” in Iran, and in contrast to their ISIS successors who say, “Divine Sharia cannot be implemented unless by arms,” we say, “No, this is not Islam. Anything done out of compulsion contradicts the spirit of this religion; our religion and our Islam is what the Quran has said, “There is no compulsion in religion.”
    The spirit of Islam abhors all forms of compulsion, coercion and forcible prohibition, ranging from imposing the compulsory veil to the forced observation of fasting and prayers by flogging and terror, to preventing the construction of Sunni mosques, and especially to imposing the rule of a government under the name of God and Islam.
    Therefore, I call on all Muslims to unite in solidarity over this principle, over rejection of compulsory religion and religious compulsion.
    Honorable guests, 
    The incidents of recent years in the Middle East, particularly the slaughter of at least half a million innocent people of Syria with the complicity of the Iranian regime and the Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), have proven the mullahs’ endless hostility to Muslim and Arab nations.
    In the past 38 years in Iran, the ruling mullahs have occasionally made deceptive claims of favoring reform and moderation. What has been permanent, however, the one thing that has not ever changed, is the gross violations of human rights and the brutal suppression of people in the country. On the regional level, the regime has always sought to dominate the region through invasions and promotion of fundamentalism and sectarianism under the name of Islam.
    Two weeks ago, at the Islamic Arab American Summit in Riyadh it was declared that the clerical regime has deprived the region and the world from tranquility and stability and 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 have been the first and longest-suffering victims of the regime.
    Fortunately, the Arab world, the world of Islam and the United States have finally touched on the origin of terrorism, belligerence and fundamentalism in the region, which is the theocratic regime in Iran. This is a stance in the right direction and now it must be able to stop the regime’s belligerence and bloodshed.
    Long years of experience have proven first, that it is vital for the Velayat-e Faqih regime to seek domination and invade other countries, without which they cannot preserve their rule. Therefore, the regime will not give up this behavior voluntarily.
    Second, it has been proven that the regime feels most endangered by the power of the Iranian people and Resistance and views them as a de facto existential threat. Therefore, it tries with all its might to prevent this force from actively coming to the scene.
    The history of the mullahs’ regime also shows their unwavering enmity to the countries in the region.
    Two weeks ago, Rouhani became the regime’s president for a second term. He deceptively claims to be a moderate. However, the regime continued to carry on its policy of aggression and invasions in the region over the four years of Rouhani’s first term, just as it did when Rafsanjani or Khatami were in office with claims of reform and moderation. It would be the same in the next four years, too. This time, the only difference is that the recent sham election has intensified the rift and crisis at the helm of the regime and on the leadership level, further paving the way for the regime’s overthrow.
    Some people are wrongly impressed by the mullahs’ incessant deceptions and think that the clerical regime’s resort to war and carnage in the region stems from their power. Whereas the regime has resorted to a brutal tyranny inside the country and to export of war beyond its borders because it is beset by a nation poised for uprising. By fueling war in the region, the regime seeks to preserve its shaky rule inside the country. If the mullahs were limited to the borders of Iran, they would definitely end up being overthrown.
    The orchestrated election two weeks ago, attested to the fragility and instability of the mullahs’ rule. Fearing a popular uprising, Khamenei suffered a setback and failed to unify his regime while he desperately needed to do so.
    As a result, the election sham which was supposed to tune up the regime, ended up engulfing it in a paralyzing discord.
    In the course of this so-called election, the candidacy of a detested executioner in charge of the 1988 massacre caused a general uproar over the executions of PMOI prisoners, engaged the will of the Iranian people and Resistance as a significant force and led to the regime’s failure. Of course, the regime had deposited millions of fake ballots and inflated the election outcome by several folds as a face-saving measure. Nevertheless, the regime is entirely engulfed in crisis and its overthrow is within reach more than ever before.
    On this basis, I would like to propose a three-pronged initiative on behalf of the Iranian people and Resistance. And I urge all the states and countries in the region to support it.
    First, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which is 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 East countries must not be tolerated and they must be evicted all together from countries in the region.
    Second, the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) must expel the Iranian regime and grant Iran’s seat in this organization to the Iranian people’s Resistance.
    Third, they should recognize the Iranian people’s struggle to bring down the clerical regime and establish freedom and democracy.
    Dear sisters and brothers,
    In these hours before Iftar, let us pray for the victory of this struggle which is the ultimate desire of all nations in the region.
    There is no doubt that the enormous force of solidarity and fortitude among our nations will put an end to the mullahs’ religious dictatorship and realize the victory of the people of Iran as well as of the peoples of the region.
    Hail to you all.
     
    Video:


    For watching the meeting click below link: 

    LIVE broadcast: Interfaith solidarity against fundamentalism A Ramadan Iftar meeting

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 3:09 pm on June 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , Paris, , Solidarity of Religions Against Extremism,   

    Live Webcast: Meddling of Iran’s regime in the region, Solidarity of Religions against extremism. 

    An important conference on solidarity of religions against extremism.

    Solidarity against extremism Live.JPG

    Paris, Saturday June 3, 2017 at 1930 Paris time.  The conference is about meddling of Iran regime in the Middle East and against extremism. “Solidarity of Religions Against Extremism.”, “United against extremism on the Ramadan.”.

    Below is the live webcast of this session:

    Live Webcast of the Conference

    Also this link of broadcast of the conference:

    Live Broadcast of the Conference

     

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 11:22 am on May 30, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    How Is Iran’s Hassan Rouhani A Moderate? 

    No2Rouhani-21

    Liked by 1 person

    Iran Commentary

    Following the May 19th presidential “election” in Iran and the incumbent Hassan Rouhani reaching a second term, there was an outpouring of Western mainstream media describing him as a moderate again.

    As described by the National Review, Iran’s sham election was nothing but “a ridiculous farce. In reality, an anti-American jihadist beat a slightly-worse anti-American jihadist.”

    Rouhani was the first Iranian regime official in the early days after the mullahs’ hijacking of the 1979 revolution who openly called for public executions.

    He Is #Rouhani is he a #MODERATE?!!!
    watch & share 2 others know him#humanrights#executions#humanity#UK#Terrorism#IranElections2017pic.twitter.com/R5mjOgwCdB

    — Shawn HarrisⓂ️ (@HarrisShawn5) May 23, 2017

    During Rouhani’s first tenure (owing it to the ultraconservative Guardian Council, a 12-cleric body appointed directly and indirectly by Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, that vets candidates of all elections in Iran), the regime in Iran:

    • sent over 3,000 to…

    View original post 881 more words

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:10 pm on May 5, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Why Boeing and Airbus deals with Iran shouldn’t fly 

    Iran-foreign-policy-is-built-on-meddling-in-...

    Iran foreign policy is built on meddling in the affairs of other countries

    Aiding and abetting terrorists is bad business

    The Colorado Statesman, May 5, 2017 – Sometimes international law is ambiguous. Sometimes not. When it comes to murdering civilians and using chemical weapons to get the job done, there are no grey areas, no fuzzy lines, no mitigating circumstances. Such practices are clearly and specifically prohibited under what’s called “the law of war.” That makes Bashar al-Assad, Syria’s dynastic dictator, a war criminal. And it makes Iran his chief accomplice.
    As far back as 2005, Jane’s Defense Weekly reported that Iran’s rulers were actively helping Mr. Assad launch an “innovative chemical warfare program” — providing technology to build equipment that would produce “hundreds of tons of precursors for VX, sarin nerve agents and mustard blister agent.”
    When it comes to the Islamic Republic, President Trump and his advisors are under no illusions. “Everywhere you look, if there’s trouble in the region, you find Iran,” Secretary of Defense James Mattis said last Wednesday during a visit to Saudi Arabia.
    “Iran is the world’s leading state-sponsor of terrorism,” Secretary of State Rex Tillerson reaffirmed the same day. The clerical regime, he added, “is responsible for intensifying multiple conflicts and undermining U.S. interests in countries such as Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and Lebanon and continuing to support attacks against Israel. An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea and take the world along with it.”
    So what’s the Trump administration’s strategy for checking Iran? That’s still a work in progress. But some measures can and should be taken immediately. In particular, unlike his predecessor, President Trump should refrain from facilitating Iran’s support for terrorism and war crimes.
    For example: During the final months of the Obama administration, the U.S. Treasury Department issued a license for Boeing to sell 100 new planes to Iran Air, “The Airline of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Treasury also issued licenses to Airbus for a similarly sized deal. Iranian officials claim these aircraft will be used for civilian purposes only.
    The evidence suggests they’re lying. Emanuele Ottolenghi, my colleague at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, has been painstakingly tracking Iran Air flights between Tehran and Damascus. There have been 768 since Jan. 16, 2016, the day that President Obama’s nuclear deal with Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was implemented. Of those, 129 were on Iran Air.
    Dr. Ottolenghi believes few, if any, are ferrying tourists keen on sightseeing, shopping and fine dining. He believes they are supplying military equipment and fighters in support of Mr. Assad’s forces and those of Hezbollah, Iran’s Lebanon-based proxy militia which has been deployed to help defend Mr. Assad’s regime.
    It’s worth recalling that, in 2011, Treasury “designated” Iran Air for providing material support and services to Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps which had itself been designated for proliferating weapons of mass destruction. Treasury particularly noted that Iran Air had been transporting “missile or rocket components to Syria.”
    Then, suddenly, just over a year ago, Iran Air’s designation was removed. Administration spokesmen declined to explain why except to say they were acting “pursuant” to the JCPOA. An educated guess: President Obama had added a sweetener — one of many — to a deal he saw as essential to his legacy.
    Decades of sanctions against Iran’s civil aviation sector were lifted as well. In congressional testimony earlier this month, Dr. Ottolenghi said that from Iran’s perspective, the timing could not have been better: This was the point at which the aviation sector “became vital to Tehran’s war efforts in the Syrian theater.”
    Dr. Ottolenghi is recommending that the Trump administration, at the least, now “suspend licensing for aircraft deals while it conducts a thorough review of their role in the airlifts to Syria.”
    The U.S. intelligence community has the means to determine what’s moving between Iran and Syria. If these flights are, in fact, military rather than commercial and civilian, Dr. Ottolenghi would urge the administration to sanction — or rather re-sanction — Iran’s entire aviation sector. Because these would be non-nuclear sanctions, doing so would not violate the JCPOA. Airbus’s license can and should be suspended as well because its planes contain key parts made in the USA.
    The same week Mr. Assad used chemical weapons to slaughter more than 70 people in northwestern Syria, yet another Iranian airline, Aseman, signed yet another deal to purchase Boeing planes. Aseman’s CEO, Hossein Alaei, spent most of his life in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps and its Ministry of Defense, a branch of Iran’s government also designated for proliferating weapons of mass destruction and their delivery system. President Trump should instruct Treasury not to grant a license to Aseman either.
    Executives, stockholders and lobbyists for Boeing and Airbus will not be pleased by what I’ve written above. But they should ask themselves: Do they really want history to record that they helped Iran Air enable Mr. Assad’s mass murder of innocent men, women and children?
    Under the JCPOA, Iran’s rulers agreed to delay — not end — a nuclear weapons program whose existence they do not acknowledge. In exchange, they’ve received billions of dollars as well as permission to join the nuclear weapons club a few years down the road. What if, at that point, they’re still the world’s leading sponsors of terrorism, vowing genocide against Israel and “Death to America!”? Under the deal Mr. Obama concluded, that won’t matter.
    When it comes to the threats President Obama left for his successor, none is more daunting than that posed by Tehran. In principle, President Trump should be encouraging Boeing and other American companies to make a buck abroad. But as a matter of principle, President Trump should not allow Boeing nor any other American companies to be in the business of aiding and abetting terrorists and war criminals.

    Clifford D. May is president of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) columnist for the Washington Times and member of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom (USCIRF), an independent bipartisan federal body reporting to the president, secretary of state, and Congress. May’s columns regularly appear in The Colorado Statesman.

    Source: Why Boeing and Airbus deals with Iran shouldn’t fly

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:43 pm on May 1, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , ,   

    Middle East proxies’ ration of Iranian economy 

     by Mohammad Amin 

    There is a fundamental question about Iran’s economic status quo: More than one year after the lifting of international sanctions, why is the economy riddled with crises and even deteriorated in various regards?

    In response to this question, Iranian affairs analysts cite various elements, including poor infrastructure, widespread corruption, political instability, numerous risks facing investments, and unfounded laws. But there are also factors created by the foreign policy choices of Iran’s theocratic government.

    In this regard, one must undoubtedly take into consideration the heavy cost of Iran supporting terrorist proxy groups scattered across the Middle East. Iran’s fiscal budget bill (from March 2017 to March 2018) has allocated over 859 trillion rials (equal to $24.5 billion) for military and security affairs. This is 23 percent of the country’s general budget.

    However, there is no mention of any proxy groups in the numbers and charts.

    Iran Hezbollah

    The main percentage of these groups’ costs are paid through the revenues of the “Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam” – Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Cooperative, the Imam Khomeini Relief Foundation, the IRGC Basij Cooperative and a percentage of the government’s budget.

    Although no official information has been published on these proxy groups’ expenses, a list of their names is proof itself of the heavy burden they place on Iran’s economy.

    IRAQ

    • Badr Organization
    • Al-Nojaba Movement
    • Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq
    • Kata’ib Hezbollah
    • Kata’ib Imam al-Ali
    • Sarya Al Khorasani
    • Kata’ib Seyed al-Shohada
    • Liwa Abu Fadl
    • Liwa’a Zulfiqar
    • Harakat al-Abdal

    The list also includes a number of smaller groups. The number of such Iran-linked Shiite groups in Iraq are in the dozens, and nearly all are members of the Popular Mobilization (PMF), or what is commonly known as the Hashd al-Shaabi.

    hashd.jpg

    YEMEN

    The Ansarollah, or the Houthis, were established in 1997 under orders from Iran based on the Lebanese Hezbollah example and structure.

    LEBANON

    The Lebanese Hezbollah has a long and well-known history of being founded by Iran and advancing Tehran’s policy in the region, while conducting terrorist attacks across the globe.

    BAHRAIN

    • Tayyar al-Amal al-Esmali
    • February 14th Coalition, consisting also of a number of other groups

    THE GULF

    The Gulf Hezbollah was established in 1984 under the supervision of IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Mostafa Najjar (Iran’s former defense and interior minister from 2005 to 2013). Its range of activities covered countries south of Iran and the Persian Gulf.

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    PALESTINE

    • Islamic Jihad Movement
    • Saberin Movement, consisting of Shiite Palestinians and established in April 2014 with a logo very similar to that of the IRGC.

    EGYPT

    The Islamic Revolutionary Guards of Egypt was established in December 2012.

    “If we ever need arms or money for our struggle, we will follow Hassan Nasrallah’s example in Lebanon,” said Mohamed al-Khedhri, the group’s secretary general.

    KUWAIT

    The Kuwait Hezbollah

    Kuwait authorities last year deported 11 Lebanese and three Iraqi nationals for links with Hezbollah, according to the Gulf Times.

    AFGHANISTAN

    The Fatemioun Brigade is one of the most important entities providing new Afghan recruits for the IRGC’s war in Syria.

    13940718000412_PhotoI

    PAKISTAN

    The Zeinabioun Brigade, in addition to its fundamentalist activities in Pakistan, dispatches a significant number of its members to Syria in its support for IRGC combat missions.

    Cost Estimate

    Iran deliberately provides no report on the abovementioned groups’ expenses as part of its economy. Estimates provided by Western sources reflect only a small percentage of these expenses. For example, a July 2015 Congressional Research Service report estimates the expenses of these groups, and Iran’s financial support for the Bashar Assad regime, at $3.6 to $16 billion, of which $300 million is allocated to proxy militia groups. However, their expenses cannot be so low when the afore-mentioned groups are involved in a series of widespread foreign wars on Iran’s behalf.

    1. About Iraq, the Iranian regime pays members of its proxy group through monthly salaries, revealed a decade ago by the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI). This movement presented a list of 31,690 Iraqi elements of the IRGC, all receiving salaries from Iran.
    2. Iran is providing the financial and arms resources for over 80,000 PMF members in Iraq, according to an October 2016 Agence France Presse wire.
    3. Providing the funds for IRGC-affiliated militias in Iraq takes place through technical and construction support or charities.

    Rostam Ghasemi

    “To this day Iran has provided $5bn in technical and engineering support to Iraq,” said Rostam Ghasemi, former head of the IRGC’s “Khatam al-Anbia” base and once Iran’s minister of oil.

    Entities, such as the Iran-Iraq Comprehensive Cooperation Department and the Iran-Iraq Economic Development Department established subsequently from 2005 onward, are facilitating Tehran’s efforts to fund the proxy groups.

    1. In Yemen, Iran is providing for all the Houthis’ expenses and arms. The Houthi missile unit now enjoys ballistic missiles and weapons-carrying drones, all provided by Iran.
    2. Four Iranian vessels carrying weapons for Yemen were confiscated in the span of the last 18 months, according to Vice Admiral Kevin M. Donegan, Commander of the U.S. Naval Central Command in his remarks with reporters. (AFP, 27 October 2016)

    Five arms consignments sent by Iran have been confiscated by Australian, French and American naval forces, according to a report presented by special experts of a U.N. working group (established based on UN Security Council Resolution 2140). Two commercial ships carrying Iranian weapons were confiscated by Saudi Arabian forces. (Asharq al-Awsat, 31 January 2017)

    Hassan Nasrollah Khamenei

    1. The Lebanese Hezbollah, according to its current secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah, receives all its funds and arms from Iran.

    “The Islamic government in Iran has relieved us of any need of money in the world,” Nasrallah said in a public speech delivered in 2012. (Al-Alam, Iran’s official Arab-language TV station, 7 February 2012)

    1. On 8 October 2013, Le Figaro cited Lebanese sources estimating Iran has provided Hezbollah $30 billion dollars over the past 30 years.

    An analysis of various report delivers the following conclusion:

    Iran’s financial support for various proxy groups
    Groups Annual financial support estimate
    Dozens of Shiite groups in Iraq $1.5 -$3 billion
    Houthis in Yemen $1.5 -$2.5 billion
    Lebanese Hezbollah $1 -$1.5 billion
    Afghan Fatemioun $150 million
    Pakistani Zeinabioun $100 million
    Militias spread in Gulf countries $300 -$500 million
    IRGC militias in other countries $100 -$300 million
    TOTAL $4.65 -$7.8 billion

    This short study provides a perspective into the effort the Iranian regime expends to wreak havoc and advocate Islamic fundamentalism across the Middle East through a wide spectrum of proxy groups. And the Iranian people are feeling the damage directly, as such funds, parallel to the billions poured by the mullahs into their nuclear program, ballistic missile ambitions, and domestic crackdown machine, have left the majority of the country living in deep poverty.

    If the West seeks to support the Iranian people, the first necessary measure is to designate the IRGC as a terrorist organization to severely limit Iran’s malignant activities.

    Ehsan AminolRoaya 2Mohammad Amin (@EconomieIran) is a senior research fellow for the Paris-based Fondation d’Etudes pour le Moyen-Orient (FEMO) or Foundation for the Study of the Middle East. He has written several books and essays about the ruling theocracy, the transformation of Iran’s political economy under the presidency of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the rise of Islamic fundamentalism in the Middle East.

    Feature Foto: Credit by Safin Hamed 

    Source: Middle East proxies’ ration of Iranian economy

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 8:14 pm on April 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , , , , , , , ,   

    President Trump should blacklist Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to reduce the risk of war 

    President Trump should blacklist Iran's Revolutionary Guard to

    by Alireza Jafarzadeh

    In late March, multiple reports indicated that the Iranian regime was escalating its intrusion into Yemen, where Iran-backed Shiite rebels control the capital and much of the north and west of the country. Tehran has consistently denied its role, but there is a history of Iranian enhancement of the capabilities of the Houthi, whose exploits include missile attacks deep into Saudi Arabia and attempted strikes on U.S. Navy vessels.

    It is crucial that President Trump break this cycle of violence. The simplest and most immediate way of doing so is by undermining the wealth and power of the IRGC — something that truly should have been done long ago.

    The National Council of Resistance of Iran issued a report in February detailing the growth of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ training program for foreign-based terrorists and paramilitary fighters. Many new arrivals in Yemen are Afghanis who served under IRGC command in Syria.

    The sharing of personnel between Syria and Yemen confirms that the sectarian tensions on display in those conflicts are symptoms of a region-wide crisis that is being exacerbated by Iran. They serve as glaring examples of how meddling spearheaded by the Iranian regime is turning national conflicts into proxy wars which directly challenge Western interests in the region.

    A recent report by the Critical Threats Project sheds new light on the Iranian role in the intrusion into Yemen, identifying drone technology and other Iranian weapons allowing the Yemeni rebels to extend their reach. That report also highlighted a surge in foreign fighters, suggesting that Iran might be applying tactics like those used in the Syrian Civil War.

    The IRGC continues to flaunt its presence in regional conflicts to overstate its supremacy. This goes hand-in-hand with IRGC fast-attack vessels ignoring all attempts at radio contact and all warnings to harass U.S. Navy ships. Several close encounters have been reported since the new administration took office.

    It is clear that the escalation in Yemen is just the beginning. The IRGC will continue its overreach until directly confronted, or until it achieves the regional dominance it clearly seeks.

    The dangerous IRGC antics have reportedly more than doubled since the conclusion of nuclear negotiations in July 2015. Incidents in the final months of the Obama administration necessitated warning shots from the American ships, to which IRGC and other Iranian officials responded with boasts that the Islamic Republic is prepared to take on the U.S. military before it backs down from its interventions in the broader Middle East.

    The administration is already reviewing the possible designation of the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, which would effectively blacklist the group from international markets and greatly reduce the risk of Western capital making its way into the hands of terrorists. The strategy has received considerable support from Congress, with the Senate Foreign Relations Committee working on a sanctions bill that would similarly apply terrorism-related sanctions to the entirety of the IRGC.

    There has also been some push-back, mostly from lobbyists affiliated with the Iranian regime, arguing that designating the IRGC would increase the risk of war between Iran and the U.S.

    Actually, the opposite is true. The IRGC is pushing vigorously to draw the U.S. into proxy wars throughout the Middle East, none of which shows signs of reaching a peaceful conclusion as long as the IRGC remains involved. In contrast, since Trump put Tehran “on notice” following its January 29 ballistic missile test, the regime has shown willingness to cancel additional tests for fear of serious consequences.

    The IRGC has no interest in prudent cost-benefit analysis. As long as it is operating freely, unconstrained by economic sanctions, it will continue to antagonize all of its adversaries. To avoid war, the United States needs to show strength and decisiveness. Backing down will only embolden the IRGC and increase the risk of war.

    The only hope for a peaceful resolution to any of the regional crises is to confront the IRGC by political and economic means. The measures are already on the table. It remains to be seen whether the Trump Administration will step up and subject the IRGC to the blacklist it so richly deserves.

    A_Jafarzadeh 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 isJafarzadeh@ncrius.org“>Jafarzadeh@ncrius.org.

    Source: President Trump should blacklist Iran’s Revolutionary Guard to reduce the risk of war

     
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