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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

    Source: First New Iran Regime Sanctions Since Nuclear Deal Passed

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 10:29 am on July 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Today’s sanctions has to be complimented by blacklisting IRGC 

    Shahin Gobadi, a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee of the National Council of Resistance of Iran comments on the designation of 18 entities and individuals affiliated with the Iranian regime for their role in exporting terrorism and in the drive to proliferate ballistic missiles and underscores that todays’ measure has to be complimented by designating the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist entity.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 9:44 am on July 19, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Blacklisting of Iran’s Terrorists Long Overdue 

    by Heshmat Alavi

    US President Donald Trump sent a very strong message in his ordering of a volley of cruise missiles targeting an airbase of Bashar Assad’s military in Syria. While there are many parties involved in the Levant mayhem, the main target of this message was the regime in Iran, as it has been Assad’s most crucial ally during the past six years of war.

    Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has been stationed in Syria from early on, buttressing Assad’s regime years before Russia began its campaign of supporting the regime in Damascus.

    Parallel to its meddling throughout the Middle East and even beyond, the IRGC has also spearheaded the mullahs’ deadly crackdown of the Iranian people in their endless pursuit of freedom, democracy and due civil liberties.

    The IRGC began its foreign meddling from the very early days of the mullahs’ rule in Iran. Seeds were planted in Lebanon by grouping a variety of Shiite terrorist groups under one leadership, known as the Lebanese Hezbollah. The IRGC was, and is today, behind financing, training, arming and directing all Hezbollah activities.

    In October 1983, a Hezbollah suicide bomber guided a heavy truck into a US Marine barracks in Beirut and staged a massive blast that took the lives of 241 American servicemen. In response, the Reagan administration in 1984 designated Iran as a state sponsor of terrorism. This classification stands ground as we speak.

    The Quds Force, known as the spear of the IRGC’s international efforts, was also blacklisted in 2007 by the Bush White House. The Quds Force played a major role in launching proxy groups in Iraq targeting American and other coalition forces.

    Today, Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani has become a critical figure for the Iranian regime, resembling the face of Iran’s reach abroad. He is known to lead Iran’s efforts in Iraq and Syria, especially, in a campaign aimed at fortifying Tehran’s interests. The Quds Force is specifically fueling sectarian mentalities, pinning Shiites against Sunnis and launching the most horrific massacres amongst peoples who were living in peace alongside each other for centuries.

    Iran’s terrorism reach expanded far beyond the Middle East, including the September 1992 Mykonos restaurant assassination of dissidents in Berlin and the 1994 AMIA Jewish center bombing in Buenos Aires that killed 85 people.

    Domestically, the IRGC is also the main entity enforcing the mullahs’ crackdown on a restive society, described as a powder keg, demanding true freedoms, civil liberties and to live under an actual democracy.

    July 8th marked the passage of 18 years from the 1999 student uprising in Iran that rocked the very pillars of the mullahs’ rule. Orders were issued to the IRGC paramilitary Bassij thugs to pour into the streets and attack the protesting college students. Many were killed, thousands injured, scores more arrested and tortured in prisons. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, then secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council, personally ordered the crackdown.

    Today, the same oppressive machine is behind a massive execution spree across the country. Rouhani’s first term as president was riddled with over 3,000 executions. 238 executions have been registered in the first six months of 2017. This period has witnessed 12 public executions, including seven women and three individuals arrested as juveniles at the time of their alleged crimes.

    129 of these executions have been based on drug charges and it is worth noting that 5,000 inmates are currently on death row under similar circumstances. These executions are in violation of the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

    In the second half of 2017, we will most likely and unfortunately witness a more horrendous wave of executions. The first five days of July already bore witness to 22 executions, two being in public.

    The IRGC’s role in domestic crackdown dates back to the very early days of the mullahs’ foundation. The most horrific episode can be described as the summer 1988 massacre of over 30,000 political prisoners. Victims consisted mostly of members and supporters of Iranian opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK).

    To this end it is high time for US, European Union, United Nations and all Middle East and Islamic countries to designate the IRGC based on its true characteristic: a terrorist organization.

    The IRGC is a proven threat to global security and stages ruthless attacks against Iranians inside the country. As a result, the terrorist designation of this entity is long overdue.


    Originally published at http://www.algemeiner.com on July 14, 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 11:49 am on June 15, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    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?

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 10:56 pm on June 11, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    How Iran’s Mullahs Welcome The ISIS Attack 

    By Heshmat Alavi

    By Heshmat Alavi

    A total of six assailants armed with AK47 rifles and explosive vests launched two simultaneous attacks in Tehran targeting two heavily secured sites in the Iranian capital Wednesday morning. The unexpected twin assault left 17 killed and dozens more wounded in Iran’s parliament and the mausoleum of former Iranian regime leader Ruhollah Khomeini located south of the capital.

    “Islamic State claimed responsibility and released a video purporting to show gunmen inside the parliament building and one body, apparently dead, on the floor,” according to Reuters in a wire from inside Iran.

    The attackers, disguised as women, apparently were able to find their way in the parliament through the main entrance, the semi-official Tasnim news agency cited Deputy Interior Minister Mohammad Hossein Zolfaghari. Four hours into the entire rampage Iranian state media reported the incident over with all six assailants dead.

    Condemnations cross the board

    As ISIS claimed to have staged its first ever attack in Iran, the international community condemned this heinous act of terrorism. Iranian opposition leader Maryam Rajavi, President of the National Council of Resistance of Iran, condemned the loss of innocent lives.

    “ISIS’s conduct clearly benefits the Iranian regime’s Supreme Leader Khamenei, who wholeheartedly welcomes it as an opportunity to overcome his regime’s regional and international impasse and isolation. The founder and the number one state sponsor of terror is thus trying to switch the place of murderer and the victim and portray the central banker of terrorism as a victim,” Rajavi added.

    “To uproot terrorism in the region:

    • The IRGC must be designated as a terrorist entity.
    • The IRGC and paramilitary proxies of the Khamenei caliphate must be removed from Syria, Iraq, and Yemen.
    • The Organization of Islamic Cooperation must expel the mullahs’ regime and recognize the Iranian Resistance for ending religious fascism.”

    Devious past

    However, there are also questions about the suspicious nature of this entire attack, especially considering the heavily fortified status of the two sites. One of the wounded individuals said in an interview people cannot bring even a pen into the parliament without passing through security.

    There are also widespread signs seen in social media users inside Iran expressing uncertainty over ISIS being behind the attack.

    There seems to be a general lack of trust on official sources. This is not without precedent.

    Iran is also known to resort to such brutal tactics to tarnish the image of its opposition. In 1994 a staged bombing of the Imam Reza Shrine in Mashhad, northeast Iran, was staged by Iranian intelligence, leaving 25 dead and more than 300 injured. Iranian authorities immediately claimed of arresting the culprit and he confessed that he was a member of the opposition People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK). The PMOI, however, condemned the attack. Some years later it was publicly acknowledged that the bombing of Imam Reza’s shrine, similar to the murder of three Christian priests, also been blamed on the PMOI/MEK, had been planned and carried out by the Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) to tarnish the image of the group.

    Paving the path

    It is expected that authorities shall certainly use this incident to increase the level domestic suppression.

    Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in his first remarks following the attacks, specifically said, “When the central apparatus has such disorders, then you are weapons free.” Khamenei also used the term “soft war officers,” in a reference to principalists and hardcore elements of the Revolutionary Guards Basij paramilitary units, according to the BBC Farsi.

    Iranian officials will take advantage of such a turn of events to justify their escalating intervention in Iraq, Syria and Yemen and counter growing popular opposition to its meddling in other states, while the country is in deep economic crisis and poverty is widespread. It is also feared that this incident may be used by Tehran to fuel sectarian wars across the region. Iran is known to support the Shiite Hashid al-Sha’bi in Iraq against ISIS and the minority Sunni community; Shiite Houthis to oust the legitimate government of Yemen and threaten its regional archrival Saudi Arabia; and Shiite militias from Lebanon, Iraq, Afghanistan and Pakistan to prop up the Assad regime against Syrian opposition forces and innocent people under the pretext of fighting ISIS.

    Iran has blamed not only ISIS but also the United Sates and Saudi Arabia for the terror attack in Tehran. This is the Iranian regime in practice preparing the grounds for terrorist attacks across the Middle East against its rivals. However, this is the topic of an entire different discussion in the future.

    Broader threats

    A dangerous outcome of this incident would be the provision of ample opportunity to the Revolutionary Guards and Quds Force to escalate their regional meddling and demand more foothold.

    View image on Twitter

    Rest assured the Iranian regime will seek to capitalize this turn of events to boost the very pillars of its establishment, especially after the crisis-riddled presidential election where Khamenei failed to have his preferred candidate, conservative cleric Ebrahim Raisi, replace the incumbent Hassan Rouhani.

    The mullahs in Tehran will no doubt increase their nationwide crackdown measures through the police and intelligence apparatus, boost their meddling through proxy forces across the region and press the gas pedal on the ballistic missile program.

    A picture taken on June 7, 2017 shows ambulances and police arriving at the scene outside Iranian parliament in the capital Tehran during an attack on the complex. Gunmen and suicide bombers carried out coordinated attacks on Iran’s parliament and the tomb of revolutionary founder Ruhollah Khomeini on June 7, 2017, state media reported, killing at least three people. / AFP PHOTO / ATTA KENARE (Photo credit should read ATTA KENARE/AFP/Getty Images)

    Source: How Iran’s Mullahs Welcome The ISIS Attack

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 4:03 pm on May 29, 2017 Permalink | Reply
    Tags: , , IRGC, Terrorist activities   

    The IRGC finances these terrorist activities through its business activities 

     

    The IRGC is dedicated to protecting the Islamic Revolution, not the state of Iran. As guardians of the Islamic Revolution, it supports terrorist activities by the Quds Force and its other military divisions. The IRGC finances these terrorist activities through its business activities, making the overall organization simply the paymaster for terrorist activities by its constituent elements. Efforts to shut off the flow of funds by using U.S. Treasury sanctions against different controlled or directed business entities become a never-ending attempt to keep track of firms that shut down and reopen under a new name, adding difficulties to blocking the flow of funds to them.

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 3:35 pm on May 26, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Iran has built third underground ballistic missile factory 

    Iran has built third underground ballistic missile factory

    Ankara, Reuters, 25 May 2017 – Iran has built a third underground ballistic missile production factory and will keep developing its missile programme, the semi-official Fars news agency quoted a senior commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard as saying.
    In this photo obtained from ISNA, a surface-to-air missile is fired by Irans army, during a maneuver, in an undisclosed location in Iran, Tuesday, Nov. 13, 2012. (File photo)
    The development is likely to fuel tensions with the United States in a week when President Donald Trump, on his first foreign trip, has called Iran a sponsor of militant groups and a threat to countries across the Middle East.
    “Iran’s third underground factory has been built by the Guards in recent years … We will continue to further develop our missile capabilities forcefully,” Fars quoted Amirali Hajizadeh, head of the Guard’s airspace division, as saying.
    Since taking office in January, Trump has imposed new sanctions on Iran in response to its recent missile launches, putting Tehran “on notice”.
    Iran has reacted defiantly. President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday: “Iran does not need the permission of the United States to conduct missile tests”.
    Iran’s Sunni Muslim Gulf neighbours and its arch-enemy Israel have expressed concerns over Tehran’s ballistic missile programme, seeing it as a threat to regional security.
    In 2015, Iranian state TV aired footage of underground tunnels with ready-to-fire missiles on the back of trucks, saying the facility was one of hundreds of underground missile bases around the country.
    “It is natural that our enemies America and the Zionist regime (Israel) are angry with our missile programme because they want Iran to be in a weak position,” Hajizadeh said.
    Most nuclear-related sanctions on Iran were lifted last year after Tehran fulfilled commitments under a 2015 deal with major powers to scale back its nuclear programme – an agreement that Trump has frequently criticised as being too soft on Tehran. But Iran remains subject to a UN arms embargo and other restrictions.
    Two months after implementation of the deal, the Guards test-fired two ballistic missiles that it said were designed to be able to hit Israel.
    Iran says its missile programe is not in defiance with a UN resolution that calls on it to refrain from work on ballistic missiles designed to deliver nuclear weapons for up to eight years.
    “Along with improving our defence capabilities, we will continue our missile tests and missile production. The next missile to be produced is a surface-to-surface missile,” said Hajizadeh, without elaborating.
    In retaliation for the new US sanctions over its ballistic missile programme, Iran this month added nine American individuals and companies to its own list of 15 US companies for alleged human rights violations and cooperation with Israel.

     

    Source: Iran has built third underground ballistic missile factory

     
  • Masoud Dalvand 6:18 pm on May 3, 2017 Permalink | Reply
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    Iran: IRGC Terrorist Designation Key to a Peaceful Middle East 

    April 22nd was the anniversary of the creation of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). The IRGC is now 38 years old. According to General Mohammad Bagheri, chairman of Iran’s armed forces command, “the IRGC acted as the ‘security shield’ of the Iranian nation and all the Muslim people through their presence in Syria and Iraq…The country would have been lost if not for the IRGC.”

    The IRGC, according to its statute, “is an entity under the supreme command of the leader”, and “political and ideologically following the velayat-e faqih (mullahs’ rule)”. The Iranian Resistance has emphasized over and over how the IRGC is used to impose their military crackdown and oppression of the Iranian people.

    Part of the organization’s actions include exporting fundamentalism, terrorism, and warmongering, and this in itself is bent on the universal doctrine of the mullahs’ rule. “The IRGC is the element that should rally the people under the flag of Islam,” said Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani in his remarks on April 30th.

    The IRGC restructured itself to enable confronting of popular protests, establishing an independent command structure for each province that is able to quell public uprisings. In addition, the Basij work with the IRGC, utilizing their spy networks within the universities, schools, administrative offices, factories, and neighborhoods to identify and arrest dissidents.

    This organization has expanded outside of Iran, playing a leading role in fueling, expanding and continuing a number of other major wars in the region, including the current wars in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Lebanon. The IRGC has become tool that the mullahs use to meddle in other countries, while claiming to want to play a peaceful role in the region. Some of the regional countries that Iran is currently meddling in with fundamentalism and terrorism including Turkey, the UAE, Kuwait, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Egypt, Jordan, Palestine, and Afghanistan. The list of countries within the region not dealing with Iranian spies and militia groups is virtually non-existent.

    There is a militia with Iran’s backing through the IRGC in a number of Middle Eastern countries. Even the Iranian regimes in various countries are staffed by the IRGC and used to pursue the IRGC’s agenda. The IRGC has not limited its terrorist activities to just the Middle East, but has expanded to Latin America and other international targets. The IRGC has built up contacts with the major global terrorist organization. In fact, after living in Iran for years, the commanders of many terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria are being returned by the Quds Force (part of the IRGC) to Iraq and Syria, especially during the last decade.

    In flagrant violation of the UN Security Council resolutions, the IRGC continues to illegally export arms to regional countries. According to a report issued by former UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon in January, the IRGC is sending arms to Yemen on a wide scale. The IRGC also produced huge numbers of roadside bombs, used to attack coalition forces in Iraq.

    To pay for all of these activities, the IRGC is now in control of Iran’s main economic branches in different fields, thus funneling billions of dollars to its efforts annually. This doesn’t include the funds it receives directly from the Iranian government as part of its annual budget.

    The U.S. government has considered labeling the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization, something that Iran argues would sour relations between the two countries. Yet, if the IRGC is not designated as such, it will simply be allowed to continue collecting funds to pay for its terrorism, both within Iran and outside of it.

    via  Iran: IRGC Terrorist Designation Key to a Peaceful Middle East — The Media Express

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

    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

     
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