Understanding The New Iran Sanctions

By Heshmat Alavi

By Heshmat Alavi   

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Source: Understanding The New Iran Sanctions

How Is Iran’s Hassan Rouhani A Moderate?

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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…

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First North Korea, now Iran? Mullahs DEFY Trump with massive military expansion

First North Korea, now Iran

The Iranian regime Defense Minister has unveiled plans to bolster the country’s arsenal of weapons, as the country wades into the growing international tensions.

EXPRESS, Apr 16, 2017 – Just as North Korea launched a failed missile test in defiance of the US, the Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani shut down warnings from the Trump administration.
President Rouhani, who declared that he will be running for re-election, said the regime doesn’t need ‘foreign permission’ to develop weapons.
Iran’s Armed Forces will look to expand their arsenal of missiles and fighters, as President Rouhani unveiled his country’s latest military machinery.
Iran’s Defence Minister General Hossein Dehqan echoed these plans, claiming the latest weapons were ‘a prelude to the production of heavy aircraft’.
Among the latest weaponry on show, the Defence Minister boasted of Iran’s new tactical drone, an anti-ship cruise missile and an air-to-air missile.
The country’s military recently announced the nation has achieved unprecedented self-sufficiency in producing weaponry.
After years of global isolation, General Dehqan said the Islamic Republic had developed the ‘might and know-how’ to develop advanced fighters, tanks, radars and air defence systems.
The Iranian leader emphasized that the military arsenal was solely for ‘defensive’ purposes.
But this runs counter to the belief among British and US intelligence that Iran is heavily involved in the Syrian Civil War.
President Rouhani told the crowd: ‘We have repeatedly declared that strengthening the defensive prowess of Iran’s Armed Forces is only aimed at defending the country and will never be used against another country.
But, the Iranian president noted ‘intervention and the cancerous tumor of Israel’ as a source of concern and insecurity in the Middle East.
The Iranian chief stressed the importance of remaining vigilant and boosting armed resistance.
With an election in May, President Rouhani has sought to defend himself from criticism that he appeased the West with the nuclear deal.
President Donald Trump tweeted that Iran was ‘playing with fire’ after a controversial ballistic missile test in January.

Source: First North Korea, now Iran? Mullahs DEFY Trump with massive military expansion

Iran’s Military Drills: The Same Old Saber-Rattling

While mainstream media may provide wide coverage of Iran’s recent military drills on the ground and at sea, including a variety of missile test launches, they represent nothing new. A new administration taking the helm in Washington has engendered widespread reactions from inside the mullahs’ apparatus on how to respond. Senior Iranian regime officials have been discussing recent developments and rest assured they are weighing a variety of different scenarios on how to respond with the least possible collateral damage.

One scenario currently being evaluated is a possible foreign military attack against Iran, and the solution provided is similar to the policy Iran adopted regarding its nuclear program: giving in to negotiations with the international community and providing concessions in order to maintain their face while taking advantage of possible loopholes, to thus defuse or neutralize any military assault. The recent visit to Kuwait and Oman by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is evaluated in such a perspective.

A second scenario, pursued by the so-called “hardliners” in Iran and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), is focused on the argument that the new U.S. administration, despite all its aggressive posture, is unable to launch a new military offensive due to the lack of appetite in the American society and the White House’s adherence to the U.S. bipartisan structure and strategy.

What is clear in Tehran’s decisions and policymaking is the current pursuit of saber-rattling by means of recent missile test launches and military drills scheduled for a variety of military forces, especially the IRGC.

Through missile tests and a colorful array of military maneuvers that merely showcases a force barely able to meet any true challenge against its Middle East rivals, Iran is desperately seeking to keep face, domestically speaking.

It is quite obvious to any realistic military analyst that if the United States and its Arab allies sought to respond to Iran’s unconventional methods, they would hardly have any tough planning to think about. However, the intention of this piece is far from advocating another unnecessary war in the Middle East. The only difference is that Iran continuously presses the pedal on propaganda warfare, and unfortunately enjoys the support of a conglomerate of pro-appeasement advocates in the West, which also must come to an end.

Such chest thumping by Iran was also seen during the George W. Bush administration, especially following the Afghanistan and Iraq wars, where Iran desperately sought to prevent a similar fate. To sum it up, Tehran resorts to saber-rattling in an attempt to quell any possible Washington military option, and to lift the spirits of a dwindling social base suffering from serious loss in numbers.

In this regard, IRGC Ground Forces commander Brigadier General Mohammad Pakpour — before becoming famous for his ‘slap in the face’ remarks — had announced the ground drills staged from February 20th to the 22nd involving an initial phase of missile tests in Iran’s central desert lands, resembling a defensive scenario in the face of threats posed by foreign forces.

The second phase consisted of the IRGC special forces, known as the Saberin Unit, troops of the 5th Nasr Division and paramilitary Basij conscripts. The later forces were preparing for missions to quell popular protests, the prospect that Tehran fears the most.

As mentioned already, Iran’s military drills are focused only on creating a military boogieman out of nothing in comparison to the conventional forces of other states, focusing on keeping rivals and international correspondents at a certain distance.

However, these preposterous and truly ridiculous measures — such as speedboats firing rockets and sinking a mock U.S. aircraft carrier — no longer has anyone buying this story. U.S. Vice President Mike Pence recently issued a staunch reminder to Tehran:

“Iran would do well to look at the calendar and realize there’s a new president in the Oval Office. And Iran would do well not to test the resolve of this new president.”

Yet more important is Tehran’s desperate attempt to keep a straight face after the end of Obama’s presidency when it enjoyed too many concessions. Iran even boasts of using precision accurate rockets, that are in fact nothing but a remodeled version of the Russian 122mm Katyusha rocket (a WW II design) with a range of no more than 75 kilometers. Iran has even claimed of testing “anti-helicopter mines,” which deserves only ridicule in today’s world of advanced warfare.

To respond best to Iran’s measures is to target the mullahs’ Achilles Heel. The mullahs rely on the IRGC for their domestic crackdown, foreign warmongering, and their ongoing nuclear/ballistic missile drive. To this end, blacklisting the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization — under discussion as we speak in the White House and Congress — would be the silver bullet against the regime ruling Iran.

This is the right next step in a roadmap to bring an end to 38 years of misery both for the Iranian people and nations across the Middle East.

Source: Iran’s Military Drills:Tthe Same Old Saber-Rattling

Missile Launches And Storm Damages Show Failure Of Obama’s Iran Deal

by-hassan-mahmoudi

Despite access to new cash in the wake of President Obama’s Iran Deal, the mullahs aren’t using it to aid Iran’s storm-ravaged provinces. They’re busy shelling out for missiles.

In recent weeks, disastrous flash floods, avalanches, and dust storms have gripped the country’s south, including the provinces of Fars, Bushehr and 11 others.

The catastrophes coincided with Iran’s Revolutionary Guard (IRGC) launching sophisticated missiles during a three-day military exercise which began on Monday, Feb. 21, in Iran’s central desert. This missile launch was the fifth of its kind, and conducted in defiance of the United Nations resolution. The launches also came a day after it was revealed that U.S. senators were planning to introduce legislation imposing additional economic sanctions on Iran, proving that the mullahs could care less about the effects of their behavior. Sen. Lindsey Graham, a member of the Senate Armed Services Committee, spoke of these plans during a panel discussion at the Munich Security Conference, according to Reuters. “I think it is now time for the Congress to take Iran on directly in terms of what they’ve done outside the nuclear program,”.Graham said.

The events reveal that the Iranian regime, despite having access to a vast new cash stream as a result of President Obama’s Iran Deal, nevertheless continues to prioritize illegal military activity over serving the needs of its people.  Its refusal to render aid to its stricken provinces after devastating storms shows in stark terms how the Deal has been an unmitigated failure.

The natural disasters in the south are no ordinary storm aftermath. Heavy flooding has cut electricity supplies and water to thousands of people, destroying streets and houses. It has also ravaged roads, opened sinkholes, and collapsed bridges. Some 10,000 people have been left homeless.

“The torrential rain caused flooding across the south, from Khuzestan province on the Iraqi border, to Sistan-Baluchistan province on the border with Pakistan.  Thousands fled villages downstream from dams, fearing collapses like (that) in Jiroft in the north, where at least five people (were) killed in avalanches over the past two weeks as up to two meters (more than six feet) of snow fell in the Zagros and Alborz mountains,” one news agency reported.

The flood has damaged more than 1,000 residential units, with 250 structures sustaining major damage. Residents have been severely exposed to contaminated water.  The earthen dam of Bardsir collapsed and water ran into villages downstream.  Despite a decade-long oil earnings bonanza, these disasters show that the government has neither constructed nor maintained necessary building infrastructure, which are in poor condition.  Nor has civil defense been up to snuff: Flood advisories, watches, and patrol groups have not been present at the scene, either.  The River Engineering and Flood Control Bureau held glossy meetings for public relations purposes, but did nothing of practical value to either prevent the disaster or render assistance afterward.

What’s more, they have done all they can to keep citizens in the dark about it.  The government has broadcast plenty of news about the regime’s defiant missile launch, but either reduced or blacked out local news describing the extent of the storm damage, and in some cases censored news.  A favored technique the regime has been to reduce Internet speeds to ensure that public exposure to the news is limited, and cannot spread. Iranian residents in the heavily damaged areas have since told the opposition press that they feel ignored by the authorities, with a dreadful sense that theirs is a government that does not care what happens to them or their flooded province.

And make no mistake, this is is an area that has suffered horrifically from natural disasters since the advent of the mullahs.  These floods came just a year after a similar torrent in the same area left 280 people dead and caused millions of dollars in damage, with no precautionary plan in place.  To view this from the eyes of the survivors still awaiting help, a look at the recent history they are aware of is important:

From January 5, 1987 through July 22, 2001, floods in different parts of Iran killed 1120 people, destroyed 10,000 homes, 10,000 miles of roads, 1,300 bridges and ruined 2,470 acres of agricultural land, at a cost of $1.7 billion in damage.

The UN Development Program (UNDP) office in Tehran has warned officials, repeatedly, that floods will continue to wreak havoc in the country, unless effective preparedness and preventive measures are undertaken soon.  But no such measures have been taken by the government.  The fate of the provinces will be little different from that of Tehran’s iconic 17-story Plasco tower, which collapsed into rubble last Jan. 19 as a deadly fire consumed it.

According to an Iranian opposition (PMOI/MEK) report, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani, have neglected the poor economic conditions and quality of life of the people, yet they have poured billions of dollars into three wars in Syria, Iraq, and Yemen and now are steering billions more from in newly-released assets from President Obama’s Iran Deal into new military spending for missiles, rockets, ammunition and bombs. They also are using it in a massive exercise and drill now by the IRGC which pursues state-sponsored terrorism.

The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) offered enormous benefits for Iran’s economy and, as a result, provided substantial additional resources to the government of Iran.  Now the question is, what did Tehran do with the money?  Did they use it for protection from floods?  They didn’t.

It demonstrates conclusively that the plunder of Iran’s wealth by the mullahs, who claim to be Muslim leaders, and who have hijacked the Iranian Revolution three decades ago have left almost nothing for the Iranian people.  The tiny rich section of Tehran, which consists of mullahs and their families, have usurped the entire wealth of Iran.  Many of them, such as the IRGC, have illegally expropriated the nation’s collective wealth for their personal benefit. For example, IRGC commanders have built dams on Iran’s rivers to direct water to their private plantations. Lake Urmia, in northwestern Iran, used to be the largest lake in the Middle East, and the sixth-largest saltwater lake on Earth before they appropriated it.  It was once a major tourist attraction and a home to migratory birds but has since shrunk substantially and has fallen into a dramatic decline for some years after the IRGC got hold of it. The dried lakes and rivers that remain have caused substantial destructive changes to the environment since.  Poor air, land, and water quality all have serious health effects including respiratory and eye diseases in the country.

Meanwhile, MEK reported that, residents of Ahvaz, in the capital of the oil-rich fields of Khuzestan province, have been protesting for six consecutive days in increasingly larger gatherings. These Iranian citizen protests are over dust storms, power failures and government mismanagement despite security forces declaring all demonstrations illegal.

President Rohani’s one-day visit to Ahvaz on Feb. 23 followed days of protests by residents blaming power cuts, dust pollution, and water-supply problems on government mismanagement. Rohani’s visit did not satisfy the protestors, they said  Rohani’s promises, like the others, were hollow promises aiming to cool citizen anger. Considering the powder-keg nature of Iran’s society, his only concern was for his regime, worrying that the people’s exasperation and scattered protests may merge into a mass uprising similar to that of 2009. That’s little comfort to those afflicted by the natural disasters and the indifferent response.

For average Iranians, what, again, was good about this much-touted Iran Deal?

hassan-mahmoudi  Hassan Mahmoudi is a human rights advocate and social media journalist seeking democracy for Iran and peace for the region.

Originally posted in American ThinkerAmerican Thinker

via    Missile Launches And Storm Damages Show Failure Of Obama’s Iran Deal — Iran Commentary

How to Punish Iran’s Belligerent Ballistic Missile Program

Considering the fact that the IRGC enjoys full control over Iran’s missile program, designating the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization is currently the most effective measure. BY SHAHRIAR KIA The new sanctions imposed on Iran’s January 29 medium-range ballistic missile test triggered a variety of international reactions. There is widespread consent that Iran’s actions should […]

via  How to Punish Iran’s Belligerent Ballistic Missile Program — Iran Commentary

IRGC terrorist designation is correct response to Iran’s missile tests

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This article was posted on the Hill

By Shahriar Kia

When Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei was ordering the recent ballistic missile test, he most probably didn’t forecast a widespread international reaction and the heavy consequences afterward.

Eight years of appeasement policy under the Obama administration has placed Iran facing a serious miscalculation, thinking there is still room for its policy of threats and export of terrorism. The Jan. 29 missile launch has rendered a grave backfire on the mullahs, resulting in disastrous political and strategic consequences for Tehran.

In the meantime, Die Welt revealed the mullahs also test-fired a cruise missile dubbed “Sumar” on the same day.

“The missile is believed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons and may have a range of 2,000 to 3,000 km, the paper said, citing intelligence sources,” Reuters reported.

While the mullahs’ regime has attempted to cloak this missile test launch, the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) published related images in its affiliated news agency.

The Obama “golden era” and Tehran taking advantage of his engagement, and concessions from the U.S., has come to an end.

Shortly after Iran’s test-launch officials in the United States, United Kingdom, Germany, France, the European Union and NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg condemned the measure and considered it in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions.

The UNSC held a closed-door session on Jan. 31 and issued a statement referring the dossier to the Resolution 2231 committee for further investigation. UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres is also tasked to follow up on the matter and file a report on this matter.

U.S. National Security Advisor Michael Flynn used strong criticism at a White House briefing lashing at the Obama administration’s flawed policy for not responding adequately to Iran’s arrogance.

“The recent ballistic missile launch is also in defiance of UN Security Council Resolution 2231,” he said, adding “As of today, we are officially putting Iran on notice.”

To this end, recent developments show Tehran’s recent missile test has triggered strategic policy changes in the region and across the globe against the religious fascism ruling Iran.

Of course, senior Iranian officials and media outlets resorted to saber-rattling to cloak their concerns over such unexpected global reactions.

Iranian Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan described the missile test as in line with previous plans and claimed such launches will continue with “enhanced speed and precision…”

The Kayhan daily, the known Khamenei mouthpiece, revealed the Iranian regime’s terrified status quo, describing this as a “historic turn.”

“There are times when developments take such an unprecedented pace, making any forecasting about the future quite difficult,” the piece reads.

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said in a recent TV interview Tehran’s foreign policy will face serious crises with Donald Trump coming to the White House.

Ali Khorram, an Iranian Foreign Ministry official, suggested the mullahs’ regime should use “common sense” and keep a low profile during such times.

The state-run Iran daily wrote, “This measure by Iran provides an excuse for Trump to take actions against Iran, increasing his intention to disrupt the status quo resulting from the Iran nuclear deal.”

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani described Trump as “inexperienced” in an attempt to cloak his concerns and belittle such harsh reactions.

The mullahs ruling Iran are seemingly already missing the Obama years.

The IRGC and other entities loyal to the regime are extremely concerned over a change in international policies after Obama left office. Khamenei, the leader of a regime dependent on the IRGC for its very survival, is resorting to missile launches and hollow threats against America and the West in an attempt to lift their spirits.

Without a doubt, the most effective measure targeting the mullahs’ Achilles Heel is found in the West adopting a firm policy against Tehran aimed at stopping Iran’s nuclear program and destructive meddling in the Middle East.

“The clerical regime must be evicted from Syria, Iraq, and, the IRGC must be placed on the list of terrorist organizations,” said Maryam Rajavi, President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), to a recent conference at the Unites States Senate.

To this end, the U.S. and the European Union should blacklist the IRGC.

via  IRGC terrorist designation is correct response to Iran’s missile tests — Iran Liberty