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Intelwars Iran Iran nuclear nuclear warhead Nuclear weapon Uranium metal

Iran set to produce uranium metal, a key material used in nuclear weapons, UN watchdog says

Iran has begun work on an assembly line to produce a key material used in nuclear warheads, the International Atomic Energy Agency said in a confidential report released to member states on Wednesday.

According to the report, allegedly viewed by the Wall Street Journal, the Islamic republic informed the United Nations watchdog agency that in coming months it was planning to manufacture equipment it will use to produce uranium metal at a site in Isfahan.

The Wall Street Journal story noted that the development was a significant one since uranium metal can be used to construct the core of a nuclear weapon. Here’s more from the story:

Iran hasn’t made uranium metal so far, senior Western officials said. The IAEA said Tehran had given it no timeline for when it would do so. Still, the development brings Iran closer to crossing the line between nuclear operations with a potential civilian use, such as enriching nuclear fuel for power-generating reactors, and nuclear-weapons work, something Tehran has long denied ever carrying out.

Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Kazem Gharib Abadi, said Wednesday on Twitter that Iran would produce uranium metal, saying it would allow the development of a new fuel for the Tehran civilian research reactor. Iran has said it would take four to five months to install the equipment to produce a uranium powder from which uranium metal is made.

The move will likely add to rising tensions between the United States and Iran in the early days of President-elect Joe Biden’s term, as production of uranium metal is strictly prohibited by the Iran nuclear agreement forged in 2015 when Biden was vice president.

President Trump withdrew the U.S. from the agreement in 2018, but Iran is still part of the international agreement that also includes the U.K., France, Germany, China, and Russia. On the campaign trail last year, Biden signaled that he was open to re-entering the nuclear deal.

Iran appears to be testing the boundaries of late perceiving that the incoming Biden administration will be much more lenient.

In December, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani bragged he has “no doubt” the administration under Biden will “bow” to Iran by rejoining the nuclear deal and lifting sanctions reimposed on them by Trump.

Only a few days later, satellite photos obtained by the Associated Press appeared to show new construction underway at Iran’s underground nuclear site at Fordo, another breach of the agreement.

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Intelwars Iran MIDDLE EAST MiddleEast

Iran Prepares Next Satellite Launch

January 12, 2021 (Gunnar Ulson – NEO) – The Iranian Space Agency (ISA) is preparing the launch of another satellite into orbit, the Zafar 2, which is described by Tehran Times as being capable of “taking color photos and [surveying] oil reserves, mines, forests, and natural lands.” 

This capability can be used for monitoring seasonal environmental changes as well as for creating detailed maps.

Zafar 2 has been developed entirely within Iran by the Iranian University of Science and Industry.  

Zafar 2’s predecessor failed to reach orbit, but Iran has previously, successfully launched satellites to orbit including Omid in 2009, Rasad in 2011 and Navid in 2012.

Iran’s current satellite launch vehicles consist of the Safir and Safir-2 rockets, the latter of which is also referred to as Simorgh. 

These are considered as small-lift orbital launch vehicles or small launch vehicles (SLVs) comparable to Rocket Lab’s Electron, Moscow Institute of Thermal Technology’s Start-1, Orbital Sciences Corporation’s Minotaur I, China’s Long March 6 and Long March 11 as well as Japan Aerospace Exploration Agency’s (JAXA) Epsilon and the European Space Agency’s (ESA) Vega. 

Why this is Important

Iran now belongs to an exclusive club of nations capable of building and launching vehicles and payloads into orbit.  This small club includes Russia, the US, France, Japan, the UK, India, Israel, Ukraine, and North Korea. Many of these nations have previously developed the ability to send payloads into space but are not currently continuing to do so, meaning Iran belongs to a much more exclusive club still. 

Iran has achieved this despite immense economic, political and military pressure from the US and its allies. This pressure manifests itself in the form of intense and enduring economic sanctions, political subversion and even covert and semi-covert military operations. 

Iran’s scientific community and military leadership are regularly targeted with assassinations and Iran’s industrial infrastructure often suffers from “mysterious” accidents including fires and explosions. 

And still Iran is capable of operating a functioning and active space program able to build both launch vehicles and practical satellites for further enhancing Iran’s economic, military and scientific capabilities. 

It is a reflection of a wider Iranian economy that has, because of US sanctions, become increasingly self-sufficient and resilient. 

And while Iran’s space program is sometimes dismissed as merely political posturing or accused of being cover for a clandestine weapons program capable of delivering nuclear warheads at wider ranges, there is an obvious economic benefit for cultivating a space program with capable small-lift orbital launch vehicles. 

It is true that several other rockets in this category were developed from intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs), but it is also true that these missiles were developed into commercial launch vehicles to exploit a growing market need for putting small satellites into orbit. 

The orbital launch market is expanding in all dimensions, including small-lift orbital launch demand. 

Market Watch in a report titled, “Small-lift Launch Vehicle Market : Global Industry brief Analysis by Top Countries Data, Market Size, Future Prospects And Outlook 2021-2024 with Remarkable Growth Rate,” would note: 

The small-lift launch vehicle market is expected to grow at a CAGR of 12% from 53.1 million USD in 2016 to reach 105.3 million USD by 2022 in Asia-Pacific market. The small-lift launch vehicle market is very concerted market; there are only top six players in Asia-Pacific.

With or without continued sanctions, a reliable small-lift orbital launch vehicle developed by Iran could not only allow Iran to build up its own orbital infrastructure aiding the Iranian economy in communications, navigation and imagery, but could also offer other nations without space programs launch services just as ESA, JAXA, Roscosmos and private operators like Rocket Lab do.

It is unlikely that this will happen any time soon, but developing such capabilities takes time and resources, and Iran is investing both toward what will be an eventual reality. 

It is reasonable to assume that Iran’s space program, as it gains experience and develops domestic rocket and satellite technology, will move into heavier payloads both within the small-lift orbital launch category and beyond. Again, this will further enhance Iran’s economy, but also offer potential partners and customers a wider variety of launch services. 

An Iran free of US sanctions, or at least an Iran in a multipolar world where US sanctions increasingly have little impact, is a nation that can convert its nascent space program into both a powerful means of enhancing its existing economic activity, as well as become a potential launch service to create new economic activity.  

As we witness the US fade globally and its ability to impose itself on nations worldwide diminishes, the day where nations can freely deal with Iran may come sooner than later. Not only will this alleviate economic pressure on Iran and make available more resources to develop its domestic space program’s capabilities, but it will allow the Iranian space program to benefit from technology from other nations  as well. 

Iran currently has several unfinished space-related projects and dormant partnerships with other nations both in Europe and across Eurasia, all put in stasis because of US pressure. Were Iran and its potential partners able to move around this pressure, these projects and partnerships, and much more, could move forward once again. 

Iran is a nascent space-faring nation with the potential to join others in the near future, where the Iranian Space Agency is no longer merely demonstrating technology and launching basic payloads into orbit, but able to compete in and benefit commercially from emerging markets amid this new space race. 

Gunnar Ulson, a New York-based geopolitical analyst and writer especially for the online magazine “New Eastern Outlook”. 

References: 

AMN News – Iran’s 2nd satellite is ready for launch despite US criticism: 
https://www.almasdarnews.com/article/irans-2nd-satellite-is-ready-for-launch-despite-us-criticism/
Tehran Times – All-Iranian environmental satellite unveiled:
https://www.tehrantimes.com/news/444317/All-Iranian-environmental-satellite-unveiled
Market Watch – Small-lift Launch Vehicle Market : Global Industry brief Analysis by Top Countries Data, Market Size, Future Prospects And Outlook 2021-2024 with Remarkable Growth Rate: 
https://www.marketwatch.com/press-release/small-lift-launch-vehicle-market-global-industry-brief-analysis-by-top-countries-data-market-size-future-prospects-and-outlook-2021-2024-with-remarkable-growth-rate-2020-12-25

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Air traffic control Intelwars Iran Qassem soleimani Terrorism Us capitol

Chilling threat promising terrorist attack on US Capitol to avenge death of Iran’s Soleimani made to air traffic controllers

Federal officials are investigating a chilling threat made on air traffic control radio waves two days ago, which promised revenge for the death of Gen. Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s top terrorism architect who was killed one year ago in an airstrike authorized by President Donald Trump.

Air traffic controllers working airspace over New York heard the threat on Monday, CBS News reported.

“We are flying a plane into the Capitol on Wednesday. Soleimani will be avenged,” the unidentified person said on the aviation frequency.

The threat came on the one-year anniversary of Soleimani’s death, whom Iranian officials have repeatedly vowed to avenge.

More from The Hill:

The possibility of retaliation from Iran to mark the anniversary has been a major concern for the U.S. In the immediate aftermath of the killing, Iran launched an attack on a Baghdad airbase housing U.S. troops, killing none but injuring several.

This week, Iran called on the International Criminal Police Organization (Interpol) to issue a “red notice” for Trump’s arrest in connection with Soleimani’s killing. The international agency’s general secretariat told NPR it is “strictly forbidden for the Organization to undertake any intervention or activities of a political, military, religious or racial character” and that it will not act on Iran’s request.

Perhaps not coincidentally, the threat promised an attack Wednesday at the Capitol, the same time and location where chaos is unfolding over Joe Biden’s victory in the 2020 presidential election.

Is the threat credible?

Fortunately, government officials do not believe the threat was credible, although senior national security officials were briefed about the threat, Fox News reported.

What is more concerning about the incident, officials said, was the fact that someone was able to breach the highly secured communication lines between pilots and air traffic controllers than ensure planes are able to operate safely.

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Intelwars Iran Iran nuclear Iran seizes Iran tanker uranium enrichment

Iran seizes oil tanker, ramps up uranium enrichment to near-nuclear weapon levels

Iran has begun enriching uranium at 20% — a technical step away from the 90% level needed to produce a nuclear weapon — at its underground facility at Fordo, officials in the country announced Monday.

What are the details?

The regime had previously been enriching uranium at 4.5%, which is still in violation of its 2015 nuclear agreement, though at a significantly lower level, NBC News reported.

The move is the latest in a series of escalating actions against the West and comes on the same day that Iran’s Revolutionary Guard seized a South Korean oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.

The news also comes just days after satellite photos obtained by the Associated Press showed new construction under way at the facility. Under the nuclear pact, Iran is not permitted to enrich uranium at over 3.5% and is not permitted to enrich uranium at all at its Fordo site, which is located deep within a mountain near the holy city of Qom.

In exchange for limiting enrichment, Iran receives sanctions relief from other parties to the deal: France, Germany, the United Kingdom, Russia, and China.

President Donald Trump removed the United States from the agreement in 2018, arguing the regime could not be trusted and was in fact continuing to construct a bomb in spite of the pact’s restrictions.

What else?

Iran has been ramping up its aggressive rhetoric and actions against the U.S. in the waning days of the Trump administration, making some worry that a military conflict may soon commence.

Just last week, top Iranian officials suggested they may attempt to assassinate Trump in retaliation for U.S. forces killing terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani in a drone strike a year ago. Soleimani was the commander of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds Force, which is designated a terrorist organization by the U.S.

At the same time, U.S. military leaders said they were bracing for an attack as the anniversary of Soleimani’s death approached.

Anything else?

Officials in Iran apparently feel much better about their prospects with new leadership coming to the White House.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently bragged he has “no doubt” the incoming U.S. administration under Democratic President-elect Joe Biden will “bow” to Iran and rejoin the nuclear deal forged when Biden was vice president.

While on the campaign trail, Biden indicated he would rejoin the deal as a starting point for future negotiations with the terror-sponsoring regime.

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Intelwars Iran Iran attack Qassem soleimani Soleimani US Military

US military bracing for Iranian attack as anniversary of Soleimani’s death approaches, officials say

The United States military suspects that an Iranian-linked attack on American personnel and interests in Iraq could be immanent as the one-year anniversary of Iranian terrorist leader Qassem Soleimani’s death approaches.

On Jan. 2, 2020, the U.S. launched a drone strike on an envoy near the Baghdad airport that killed the renowned Iranian military leader along with Iraqi militia commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

What are the details?

Defense officials reportedly expressed their suspicions of a retaliatory attack on Wednesday as two B-52 bombers finished a round-trip, 30-hour mission from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to the Middle East. The mission was part of an effort to demonstrate American military might in the region and deter any action by Iran.

“The United States continues to deploy combat-ready capabilities into the U.S. Central Command area of responsibility to deter any potential adversary, and make clear that we are ready and able to respond to any aggression directed at Americans or our interests,” said Gen. Kenneth “Frank” McKenzie, chief of U.S. Central Command, according to the Washington Post.

“We do not seek conflict, but no one should underestimate our ability to defend our forces or to act decisively in response to any attack,” he added.

Another defense official speaking anonymously told the Post that “the threat streams are very real” and that a “fair amount of advanced conventional weaponry” has flowed over the border from Iran into Iraq in recent weeks.

Last week, McKenzie similarly indicated to ABC News that U.S. forces remained “in a period of heightened risk,” but emphasized that the military is “not looking for war with Iran.”

Those comments came as the U.S. Navy acknowledged that it sent a submarine into the Persian Gulf, “a move widely seen as sending a message to Iran,” the outlet reported.

What else?

Soleimani’s death was a major blow to the terror-sponsoring Iranian regime as he was the leader of the elite Quds Force, a special wing of the Revolutionary Guard Corps. For years, he had coordinated attacks on U.S. forces and assets in the Middle East.

Given how high profile a leader he was, a retaliatory attack near the anniversary of his death is certainly a possibility, especially as tensions rise in the region.

Last week, unknown attackers launched more than 20 rockets on the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, killing at least one Iraqi civilian, though no Americans were hurt. Iran denied any involvement, but the Post reported that U.S. officials believe the attack was carried out by militias coordinating with the regime.

President Trump responded to the attack with a sober warning for Iran:

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Intelwars Iran Iran biden Iran nuclear deal Lift sanctions Rouhani

Iranian president boasts there’s ‘no doubt’ Joe Biden will ‘bow’ to Iran and lift sanctions

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani recently boasted about his country’s prospects now that a new president has been elected in the United States.

The totalitarian ruler said he has “no doubt” that the incoming U.S. administration under Democratic President-elect Joe Biden will “bow” to Iran and rejoin the nuclear deal forged in 2015 when Biden was vice president.

President Donald Trump removed the U.S. from the deal in 2018 and has since adopted a much tougher stance toward Iran, reimposing crippling sanctions lifted under the deal and conducting an airstrike that killed Iranian terrorist military leader Qassem Soleimani.

“I have no doubt that the heroic national resistance of Iran is going to compel the future U.S. government to bow … and the sanctions will be broken,” Rouhani said Thursday in a televised address introducing several infrastructure projects, according to the Washington Post.

Only a day prior, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also showed some openness to working with Biden if it resulted in the lifting of U.S. sanctions.

“If the sanctions can be lifted in a correct, wise, Iranian-Islamic, and dignified manner, this should be done,” he said during a televised address. “But our main focus should be on neutralizing the sanctions, and the initiative for this is in your hands.

“The lifting of sanctions is in the hands of the enemy, but nullifying them is in our hands,” he added.

The remarks appear to be a signal to the Biden administration that reengagement in the nuclear deal could be in order. The optimism makes sense since Biden indicated on the campaign trail he was willing to restore friendlier diplomatic relations with the country.

“If Iran returns to strict compliance with the nuclear deal, the United States would rejoin the agreement as a starting point for follow-on negotiations,” Biden wrote in a CNN op-ed in September.

After all, it was under his leadership during the Obama administration that the U.S. agreed to lift the decades-old sanctions against Iran if the country reduced its uranium stockpile and ceased efforts to construct a nuclear weapon. Of course, Iran did not hold up their end of the bargain just as many Americans suspected.

As TheBlaze noted in 2018, Trump routinely criticized the agreement as the “worst deal ever,” “horrible,” “laughable,” and “defective at its core.”

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Intelwars Iran MIDDLE EAST MiddleEast

Dangerous Provocations Ahead for Iran

December 9, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – The recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh has been framed by an almost gleeful Western media as an attempt to ensure incoming US President Joe Biden does not return to the so-called “Iran Nuclear Deal” signed while he was Vice President in 2015. 

The story goes that Biden had hoped to return the US back to a prominent leadership role upon the global stage and that making peace with Iran was among his priorities. 

There was a rush by the Western media to blame the Israeli government – who in turn appears to be in no rush to discount or disprove these accusations. The purpose of this is to make the US appear uninvolved in the recent escalation. The race to shape public opinion and depict the US as helpless amid growing tensions between Israel and Iran is meant to make any possible US involvement in the near future look uninvited, unplanned, and reluctant on Washington’s part.  

However, the goal of undermining and overthrowing the Iranian government has been an obsession for US foreign policy for decades – spanning multiple presidencies including that of Barack Obama’s. 

US policymakers have – since as early as 2009 – specifically laid out plans to use these sort of tactics to move the US and its allies further toward conflict with Iran – and to do so in a way to minimize to make Iran – not the US – look like the aggressor.  

Those holding their breath, waiting for President-elect Joe Biden to reverse the dangerous course US foreign policy is on forget who – for 8 years as Vice President – helped steer it in this direction in the first place. 

While the Obama-Biden administration did indeed sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – or the Iran Nuclear Deal – at the same time the US instigated the still-ongoing proxy war against Syria – Iran’s closest regional ally – and a proxy war designed specifically to remove one of Iran’s key allies from the equation before more directly confronting Iran itself. In many ways the US presence in Iraq and its role in the ongoing Saudi war with Yemen also serve this purpose. 

The “Iran Nuclear Deal” Was Doomed Years Before it was Signed

Despite the Obama-Biden administration’s seemingly enthusiastic desire for peace with Iran, the JCPOA was doomed before it was ever signed.

The peace overtures made by the US government at that time were purely for show – part of a plan devised years before the deal was even publicly discussed and long before it was ever signed. 

The Brookings Institution – funded by the largest Western corporate interests on Earth – in a 2009 paper (PDF) titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran,” had not only called for the US to disingenuously offer Iran an opportunity to escape from under US sanctions, but admitted that the offer would be deliberately sabotaged by the US and used as a pretext toward further escalation.

The document included statements like this (emphasis added): 

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.) 

The Brookings document also proposed: 

In a similar vein, any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer—one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.

Creating the deal, sabotaging it, and using it as a pretext to pursue military aggression against Iran was always the plan – long before the JCPOA was ever signed. 

The 2009 Brookings document – at over 200 pages long – also laid out the framework one can clearly see the US and its allies followed ever since it was published – including attempts to remove Iran’s allies – Syria and Hezbollah in Lebanon from the equation – before more direct action could be taken on Iran itself as well as the use of Israel to carry out aspects of the plan the US could not afford to do politically.  

In one way or another – virtually everything laid out in  the Brookings document has been implemented or at least attempted. 

This most recent escalation was predictable. Recently, articles like ““Biden’s America” Will Continue Pressure on Iran,” noted that peace with Iran was never part of America’s foreign policy – whether it was “Trump’s” America or “Biden’s” America. 

All that was required was a provocation and escalation that would appear to “drag” the US “reluctantly” away from allegedly desired “peace” the Western media had claimed Biden prioritized upon coming to office. 

With the killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the dominoes have already begun to fall to that end. Dangerous times lay ahead for Iran and for the Western public who face the possibility of being dragged into another disastrous war – proxy or otherwise – in the Middle East. All that’s left to move this policy forward is a provocation from Iran – a provocation real or staged – the US can cite to involve itself more directly with a compliant Western media eagerly waiting to once again play its role in supporting that involvement.   

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook”. 

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Intelwars Iran MIDDLE EAST MiddleEast

Assassination of Iranian Scientist brings US-Israel Closer to War with Iran

November 29, 2020 (Brian Berletic – LD) – Reports on the death of senior Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh signals another dangerous turn in Washington’s systematic attempts to undermine and overthrow the current government of Iran.  

The Western media is framing the assassination as a unilateral operation carried out by Israel with the New York Times in an article titled, “Assassination in Iran Could Limit Biden’s Options. Was That the Goal?,” claiming: 

Intelligence officials say there is little doubt that Israel was behind the killing — it had all the hallmarks of a precisely timed operation by Mossad, the country’s spy agency. And the Israelis have done nothing to dispel that view. 

The article also claimed: 

But Mr. Netanyahu also has a second agenda.

“There must be no return to the previous nuclear agreement,” he declared shortly after it became clear that Mr. Biden — who has proposed exactly that — would be the next president.

The New York Times assumes that Biden genuinely wanted to return to the 2015 nuclear agreement – officially known as the The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – and insists that it is up to Iran whether or not that possibility still remains. 

The article claims: 

If Iran holds off on significant retaliation, then the bold move to take out the chief of the nuclear program will have paid off, even if the assassination drives the program further underground.

And if the Iranians retaliate, giving Mr. Trump a pretext to launch a return strike before he leaves office in January, Mr. Biden will be inheriting bigger problems than just the wreckage of a five-year-old diplomatic document.

But there is a third option – if the US or Israel – or both – stage an event meant to look like an Iranian retaliation to help ensure the nuclear deal is permanently buried and only a path toward escalation lies ahead for Washington. 

And this third option is the most likely. More than mere speculation – this conclusion is drawn from US policy papers produced by corporate-funded policy think tank – the Brookings Institution. 

Their 2009 paper (PDF) titled, “Which Path to Persia? Options for a New American Strategy toward Iran,” had not only called for the US to disingenuously offer Iran an opportunity to escape from under US sanctions, but admitted that the offer would be deliberately sabotaged by the US and used as a pretext toward further escalation. 

Thus the JCPOA was doomed before it was even signed in 2015 – with US policymakers fully determined to scrap it at the most opportune time and then incrementally ratchet up pressure on Iran.

And while the US posed as “peacemaker” with Iran in 2015 – at the same time it waged proxy war on Iran’s closest ally in the region – Syria – aiming to overthrow the Syrian government and thus further isolating and encircling Iran itself. 

Two quotes in particular from the 2009 Brookings document are revealing in regards to the ill-fated JCPOA and what is most likely to follow this most recent assassination as well as the prospects for Biden’s “desire” to restart the deal after taking office next year. 

First the document claims (emphasis added): 

…it would be far more preferable if the United States could cite an Iranian provocation as justification for the airstrikes before launching them. Clearly, the more outrageous, the more deadly, and the more unprovoked the Iranian action, the better off the United States would be. Of course, it would be very difficult for the United States to goad Iran into such a provocation without the rest of the world recognizing this game, which would then undermine it. (One method that would have some possibility of success would be to ratchet up covert regime change efforts in the hope that Tehran would retaliate overtly, or even semi-overtly, which could then be portrayed as an unprovoked act of Iranian aggression.) 

Next, the document claims: 

In a similar vein, any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offer—one so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.

Creating the deal, sabotaging it, and using it as a pretext to pursue military aggression against Iran was always the plan – long before the JCPOA was ever signed.  

With prospects of the plan being revived already unlikely – and more so with this recent escalation – the only path left and just as Brookings in their 2009 paper planned years ago, is toward wider conflict between the US and Iran. 

Whether this conflict unfolds as American policymakers envisioned over a decade ago or US power in the Middle East evaporates before this plan is fully realized – only time will tell – and depends widely on not only Iran’s patience and skill – but also on that of its allies in Moscow and even Beijing.  

For the US who still clings to the illusion of leading a “rules based international order” – assassinating scientists half-way across the planet either directly or through its Israeli proxies – is only further evidence of just how desperately the world needs to move on with such an order left far behind. 

Brian Berletic is an independent geopolitical analyst based in Bangkok, Thailand and a regular contributor to New Eastern Outlook. You can support him and his work at Land Destroyer via Patreon here

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Intelwars Iran Mainstream media Media Bias New York Times

NY Times taken to woodshed for claiming Iran’s nuclear program is ‘peaceful’: ‘Is this an Iranian paper?’

The New York Times was summarily blasted on Saturday after the newspaper presented Iran’s nuclear program in a positive light. The Times’ posturing came after the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Islamic country’s top nuclear scientist.

What did the Times say?

The Times claimed that the nuclear ambitions of Iran — a state-sponsor of terrorism, according to the State Department — are for “peaceful purposes.”

“Iranian officials, who have always maintained that their nuclear ambitions are for peaceful purposes, not weapons, expressed fury and vowed revenge over the assassination, calling it an act of terrorism and warmongering,” the newspaper tweeted.

What was the response?

In response, the New York Times, the so-called “paper of record,” was accused of disseminating “foreign propaganda garbage.”

  • “Is this an Iranian paper?” conservative commentator Lisa Boothe said.
  • “What was once the self-styled newspaper of record is now just a well-funded left-wing blog, relentlessly hostile to America and Israel, and always ready to propagandize for their enemies,” Sen. Tom Cotton (R-Ark.) said.
  • “NYT, once again, ignores U.S. intelligence agencies’ warnings and props up a murderous, gay killing Regime.
    Their tweet should have a warning label of pushing misinformation, @Twitter,” Richard Grenell
    responded.
  • “The New York Times is pure foreign propaganda garbage,” Republican operative Arthur Schwartz said.
  • “Two weeks ago, the IAEA declared Iran’s enriched uranium stockpile was over 12 times the legal limit. Also, you don’t build nuclear facilities deep under mountains with 90 degree entrances meant to defeat cruise missiles when they’re for peaceful purposes,” GOP operative Alex Plitsas said.
  • “Wow. The press has truly become an anti- American propaganda tool. Not even worth using for toilet paper,” another person said.
  • “Lmao. Much like the peaceful protests, this is just peaceful nuclear bomb research,” another person mocked.

Anything else?

Notably, two top officials from the Obama administration were angered by Fakhrizadeh sudden death.

Former CIA Director John Brennan called the operation to kill Fakhrizadeh “criminal” and “highly reckless.”

“This was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict. Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits,” he said.

Brennan added, “I do not know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the the murder of Fakhrizadeh. Such an act of state-sponsored terrorism would be a flagrant violation of international law & encourage more governments to carry out lethal attacks against foreign officials.”

Meanwhile, Ben Rhodes, a top Obama aide who helped craft the Iran nuclear deal, claimed Fakhrizadeh’s death was meant to undermine Joe Biden’s administration.

“This is an outrageous action aimed at undermining diplomacy between an incoming US administration and Iran. It’s time for this ceaseless escalation to stop,” Rhodes said.

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Intelwars Iran John Brennan Logan Act Mohsen fakhrizadeh Politics Ted Cruz

Ted Cruz hits ex-CIA boss John Brennan over ‘bizarre’ support of Iran following killing of nuclear scientist

Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) and former CIA director John Brennan traded barbs regarding the killing of Iran’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

“This was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict,” Brennan wrote on Twitter. “Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits.”

“I do not know whether a foreign government authorized or carried out the murder of Fakhrizadeh,” Brenna continued. “Such an act of state-sponsored terrorism would be a flagrant violation of international law & encourage more governments to carry out lethal attacks against foreign officials.”

“These assassinations are far different than strikes against terrorist leaders & operatives of groups like al-Qaida & Islamic State, which are not sovereign states,” he tweeted. “As illegitimate combatants under international law, they can be targeted in order to stop deadly terrorist attacks.”

Cruz reacted by saying, “It’s bizarre to see a former head of the CIA consistently side with Iranian zealots who chant ‘Death to America.’ And reflexively condemn Israel. Does Joe Biden agree?”

Brennan, who was director of the CIA between 2013 and 2017, retorted, “It is typical for you to mischaracterize my comment.”

“Your lawless attitude & simple-minded approach to serious national security matters demonstrate that you are unworthy to represent the good people of Texas,” Brennan said, besmirching the senator.

Cruz then hit back, by pointing out that Brennan voted for Gus Hall, a U.S. Communist Party candidate who only secured 0.07% of the vote in 1976.

“Gosh, I touched a nerve. Facts matter,” Cruz tweeted. “FACT 1: you’ve admitted, in 1976 you voted for the Communist candidate for President because, I guess, Jimmy Carter wasn’t liberal enough for you.”

Then the Texas senator took aim at the Obama administration’s cozy relationship with the Iranian government.

“FACT 2: you gave $150 Bn to Ayatollah Khamenei, knowing it would be used to kill Americans,” Cruz said.

The two then exchanged blows about the Logan Act, which “forbids private citizens from engaging in unauthorized correspondence with foreign governments,” and nobody has been indicted on the legislation since 1852.

@tedcruz is now misrepresenting the Logan Act. Apparently, he is a poor Senator & a bad lawyer,” Brennan wrote. “A private citizen publicly criticizing what could be a state-sponsored assassination of a government official & cautioning against retaliatory killing is called freedom of speech.”

“In contrast, an individual tapped to be National Security Advisor (but not yet one) in an incoming Administration who privately contacts a foreign government official & advises how to conduct relations with the U.S. could be in violation of the Logan Act,” Brennan said.

“My commitment to Israel’s security & my efforts to counter Iran’s malign activities are well documented throughout my 33 years of national security work serving Republican & Democratic Administrations,” Brennan stated, then attacked Cruz. “Aside from his tiresome rhetoric, what has Senator Cruz ever done?”

Cruz fired back, “Ok, let’s apply your proffered standard: Ben Rhodes has publicly stated, ‘foreign leaders are already having phone calls with Joe Biden, talking about the agenda they’re going to pursue on Jan. 20.’ Does that mean you think Joe Biden should be prosecuted under the Logan Act?”

“The only coherent answer is NO, neither Biden nor Gen. Flynn violated the Logan Act bc it’s unconstitutional—which is why nobody has been convicted of violating it in the history of the US,” Cruz contended. “But you want to use it as a partisan cudgel, a weapon to attack your political opponents.”

Fakhrizadeh, who was considered the top architect of Iran’s nuclear program, was gunned down in a road ambush in broad daylight on Friday. The black sedan the scientist was traveling in was riddled with bullets.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said the assassination was “an act of state terror,” there were “serious indications” of Israeli involvement.

On Saturday, Iran’s supreme leader promised to retaliate for the killing of Fakhrizadeh. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei demanded that Iranian officials make a pledge into “pursuing this crime and punishing its perpetrators and those who commanded it.”

Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani vowed that the Islamic republic “will respond in time to the assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh.”

“Once again, the evil hands of Global Arrogance and the Zionist mercenaries were stained with the blood of an Iranian son,” Rouhani added.

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ASSASSINATION Intelwars Iran Iran nuclear program ISRAEL MIDDLE EAST Mohsen fakhrizadeh

Iran claims top nuclear scientist was assassinated with Israeli involvement

A top Iranian nuclear scientist, believed by the Israeli government to be the mastermind directing Iran’s nuclear weapons program in the early 2000s, was killed in a targeted attack Friday outside of Tehran,
according to multiple reports, citing Iranian state media.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday said the killing of scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was “an act of state terror” that there were “serious indications” of Israeli involvement in his death, though Zarif did not level an outright accusation. According to the Associated Press, Israel did not immediately comment on Fakhrizadeh’s death, but Israel has long been suspected of carrying out targeted assassinations of Iranian nuclear scientists decades ago.

Fakhrizadeh was a senior officer with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and a professor of physics at Imam Hussein University in Tehran. He was the former leader of Iran’s Physics Research Center, the Jerusalem Post reported.

Iranian state TV said Fakhrizadeh was ambushed by “armed terrorist elements” and suffered injuries that proved to be fatal. Reports said doctors and paramedics could not save him after he was taken to a hospital.

A
statement released by Iran’s defense ministry said, “Armed terrorists targeted a vehicle carrying Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of the ministry’s research and innovation organization.

“After a clash between the terrorists and his bodyguards, Mr. Fakhrizadeh was severely injured and rushed to hospital. Unfortunately, the medical team’s efforts to save him were unsuccessful and minutes ago he passed away.”

The Fars news agency, which has ties to the IRGC, said the attack occurred in Absard, a small city east of the Iranian capital of Tehran. It said witnesses heard an explosion followed by machine gun fire. A car carrying Fakhrizadeh was the target of the attack, according to the agency.

The Associated Press says no group has claimed responsibility for the attack.

Zarif issued a statement on Twitter, calling on the international community and the European Union to condemn the attack and suggesting Israel was responsible.

The commander of the IRGC has also sworn vengeance for the killing.

“Assassination of nuclear scientists is the most obvious violation of the global hegemony to prevent our access to modern sciences,” said Major General Hossein Salami.

Another Iranian official, 2021 Iranian presidential candidate Hossein Dehghan, accused “Zionists” of waging war on Iran.

“In the last days of their gambling ally’s political life, the Zionists seek to intensify and increase pressure on Iran to wage a full-blown war,” Dehghan tweeted, seemingly referring to U.S. President Donald Trump. “We will descend like lightning on the killers of this oppressed martyr and we will make them regret their actions!”

According to BBC Persian reporter Jiyar Gol, Fakharizadeh’s death “is a blow to Iran’s security and intelligence services who were tasked with protecting him.” The BBC reports that “some in Iran even believe the assassination could have been carried out by Iranian security forces working for Israeli and Western intelligence agencies.”

Fakhrizadeh was in charge of Iran’s “Amad” nuclear program, translated “Hope.” Israel and other Western countries have accused the program of developing nuclear weapons while Iran has maintained the program was for peaceful purposes.

More from the Associated Press:

The International Atomic Energy Agency says Iran “carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device” in a “structured program” through the end of 2003. That was the Amad program, which included work on the carefully timed high explosives needed to detonate a nuclear bomb.

Iran also “conducted computer modeling of a nuclear explosive device” before 2005 and between 2005 and 2009, the IAEA has said. The agency said, however, that those calculations were “incomplete and fragmented.”

IAEA inspectors now monitor Iranian nuclear sites as part of Iran’s now-unraveling nuclear deal with world powers.

In 2018, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu said “remember that name” after mentioning Fakhrizadeh in a news conference alleging that Iran had lied about its nuclear weapons program. Netanyahu presented tens of thousands of files of Iranian files acquired by Israeli intelligence from an Iranian nuclear archive.

“A key part of the plan was to form new organizations to continue the work,” Netanyahu alleged. “This is how Dr. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of Project Amad, put it. Remember that name, Fakhrizadeh.”

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"Biden’s America" Will Continue Pressure on Iran

November 19, 2020 (Tony Cartalucci – NEO) – US President Donald Trump famously took a hardline approach against Iran – withdrawing the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – or the “Nuclear Deal” – and opting instead for a policy of “maximum pressure” against Iran diplomatically and economically. 

But there is a major misconception that the previous administration of former US President Barack Obama and then Vice President Joe Biden – had somehow sought to resolve US-Iranian tensions and offer Iran an opportunity to escape out from under decades of economic sanctions imposed by one US administration after another. 

In fact – the US strategy regarding Iran required by necessity a feigned rapprochement – via the “Nuclear Deal” – followed by a sharp and hostile pivot aimed to make Iran appear unreasonable in the face of attempted peace offered by Washington. 

This two-part strategy was planned during the administration of US President George Bush and executed by the Obama and Trump administrations respectively. 

Far from mere speculation – this strategy was laid out in an extensive 2009 policy paper published by the Brookings Institution – a prominent US-based think tank funded by the largest, most powerful corporate-financier interests in the West. 

The paper titled, “Which Path to Persia?: Options for a New American Strategy Toward Iran” (PDF),” stated explicitly (emphasis added): 

..any military operation against Iran will likely be very unpopular around the world and require the proper international context—both to ensure the logistical support the operation would require and to minimize the blowback from it. The best way to minimize international opprobrium and maximize support (however, grudging or covert) is to strike only when there is a widespread conviction that the Iranians were given but then rejected a superb offerone so good that only a regime determined to acquire nuclear weapons and acquire them for the wrong reasons would turn it down. Under those circumstances, the United States (or Israel) could portray its operations as taken in sorrow, not anger, and at least some in the international community would conclude that the Iranians “brought it on themselves” by refusing a very good deal.

For the policy to be executed within the current political environment in the United States – it required one administration operating under liberal left cover – and another under a more hardline right-leaning cover.  

The paper having been published in 2009 and the policy laid out in it executed over the course of the following decade illustrates the continuity of agenda in Washington regardless of who is elected into office – and how corporate interests – not the American people or even the rhetoric of their elected representatives – drive US foreign policy.  

And even when the Obama administration extended its feigned “Nuclear Deal” to Iran – it had deliberately engineered proxy war in Syria aimed directly at one of Iran’s closest regional allies. 

Thus – at the same time the US posed officially as seeking peace with Iran – its proxy war funded, armed, and provided military support for militant groups killing both Syrian forces allied to Iran and Iranian forces attempting to aid in the protection and restoration of order in Syria. 

In essence – US war in Syria was defacto war by proxy against Iran. The same could be said of US support for Saudi Arabia and its unrelenting destruction of neighboring Yemen – a war the US provides Saudi Arabia weapons, training, logistics, intelligence, and even its own special forces to aid and abet Saudi forces inside Yemen. 

These conflicts aimed at Iran – and Russia and China in a much wider scope – were engineered beginning under the administration of US President George Bush, executed under the Obama administration and continued under the Trump administration. 

Unless the weapon manufacturers, banks, oil companies, and other interests driving US foreign policy particularly in regards to Iran have for some reason changed their motivations and objectives regarding the Middle East – this agenda will continue uninterrupted under a Biden administration. And it’s quite clear the prevailing foreign policy circles in Washington still desire containment and even regime change in Iran. 

For Iran – who surely has “noticed” this pattern of enduring American belligerence from one administration to the next – it will most likely continue operating under the assumption that genuine peace will not be offered to it by Washington and is instead a condition Iran and its own policies must impose upon Washington and its presence in the Middle East and Central Asia regions by leaving the United States no other viable option. 

Tony Cartalucci, Bangkok-based geopolitical researcher and writer, especially for the online magazine New Eastern Outlook.”   

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DNI Ratcliffe says Iran sent fake emails to US voters; Democrats are skeptical

At a press conference Wednesday evening, Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe announced the U.S. government believes Russia and Iran have acquired voter registration information and are attempting to influence the 2020 U.S. election.

Ratcliffe’s announcement followed reports that voters in Florida and Alaska received intimidating emails threatening them to support President Donald Trump.

“We have identified that two foreign actors, Iran and Russia, have taken specific actions to influence public opinion relating to our elections,” Ratcliffe said at an abruptly scheduled press conference on election security with FBI Director Christopher Wray.

“First, we have confirmed that some voter registration information has been obtained by Iran and separately by Russia. This data can be used by foreign actors to attempt to communicate false information to registered voters that they hope will cause confusion, sow chaos, and undermine your confidence in American democracy,” he continued. “To that end, we have already seen Iran sending spoofed emails designed to intimidate voters, incite social unrest, and damage President Trump. You may have seen some reporting on this in the last 24 hours or you may have even been one of the recipients of those emails.”

Watch:


BREAKING: DNI John Ratcliffe WARNS that Iran and Russia are seeking to influence election

www.youtube.com

Ratcliffe also accused Iran of distributing a video with false information about fraudulent ballots.

“Iran is distributing other content to include a video that implies that individuals could cast fraudulent ballots, even from overseas. This video and any claims about such allegedly fraudulent ballots are not true,” he said.

“These actions are desperate attempts by desperate adversaries. Even if the adversaries pursue further attempts to intimidate or attempt to undermine voter confidence, know that our election systems are resilient, and you can be confident your votes are secure. Although we have not seen the same actions from Russia, we are aware that they have obtained some voter information, just as they did in 2016. Rest assured that we are prepared for the possibility of actions by those hostile to democracy.”

FBI Director Wray said the Bureau is taking the lead in investigating criminal activity threatening the election and assured Americans that they should be “confident” that their votes are counted.

“We’re not going to tolerate foreign interference in our elections or any criminal activity that threatens the sanctity of your vote or undermines public confidence in the outcome of the election,” he said.

The press conference was held after voters in some states alerted election officials to efforts to intimidate them into supporting President Trump.

On Tuesday, election officials in Florida and Alaska contacted law enforcement after registered Democratic voters reported receiving threatening emails telling them to “Vote for Trump or else!” CNN reported that the emails appeared to be sent from addresses associated with the “alt-right” group the “Proud Boys.” The chairman of the Proud Boys, Enrique Tarrio, denied that his group sent the emails when contacted by CNN and said they were working with the FBI to identify who was impersonating them.

“We have spoken to the FBI and are working with them. I hope whoever did this is arrested for voter intimidation and for maliciously impersonating our group,” Tarrio said.

CNN obtained one of the emails and reached out to John Scott-Railton, a senior researcher at the University of Toronto’s Citizen Lab, to have it analyzed. According to Scott-Railton, the email was sent using foreign internet infrastructure.

“This isn’t someone with a fake email account sending messages. This is an operation. The questions will be: how big was it, how many were targeted, and how well were tracks covered,” he said.

“It appears that the operators likely leveraged multiple insecure servers that they probably didn’t own in different countries, including Saudi Arabia, to send messages.”

Democrats have received Ratcliffe’s conclusions with skepticism, accusing the former GOP congressman of trying to downplay evidence of Russian interference in the election on behalf of President Trump.

House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) said Thursday that Russia, not Iran, was he real threat.

“Everything that we’ve seen here in the public domain does not justify the statements that we heard yesterday,” Pelosi said, according to Reuters.

“Russia is the villain here. From what we’ve seen in the public domain, Iran is a bad actor, but in no way equivalent,” she added.

Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), who sits on the Senate Foreign Relations committee, accused the Trump administration of “trying to bury” evidence of election interference by Russia.

“All year, the Trump administration has been desperately trying to bury information about Russian interference and overhype efforts by Iran and China. The truth is simple – only Russia has both the capability and intent to significantly disrupt our election,” he said in a statement. “If Director Ratcliffe is serious when he says we will not allow foreign interference in our elections, then this administration would actually do something to deter the Kremlin rather than withhold information about Russian interference and create false equivalences with other nation’s efforts.”

House Intelligence Committee Chairman Adam Schiff (D-Calif.) told MSNBC Wednesday that the threatening emails “appear to be an effort to suppress the Democratic vote, or an effort to inflame the Democratic vote, or simply to sow chaos.”

He disputed Ratcliffe’s characterization of Iran’s efforts as damaging to Trump, claiming that the Iranian video spreading misinformation about fraudulent ballots sounded like a “Trump talking point.”

“It’s hard to see how that could be hurtful to the president,” Schiff said. “We don’t know if this is just Ratcliffe’s spin, or whether it is the assessment of the analysts.”

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Coup 53, Palantir Public, Market Manipulation – New World Next Week


This week on the New World Next Week: MI6 involvement in Iran coup finally confirmed; Palantir goes public as police state ramps up; and JPMorgan found guilty of market manipulation.

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Interview 1580 – New World Next Week with James Evan Pilato


This week on the New World Next Week: MI6 involvement in Iran coup finally confirmed; Palantir goes public as police state ramps up; and JPMorgan found guilty of market manipulation.
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Iranian President: The U.S. Will Suffer A Humiliating Defeat This Weekend

Photo Credit: AP Photo/Vahid Salemi

Speaking in a Wednesday cabinet session, President Hassan Rouhani said Washington failed in its attempts to reinstate a United Nations arms embargo as well as international sanctions on Iran, and these failures amount to major victories for Iran. Rouhani added that the U.S. would “suffer a humiliating defeat this weekend.”

“The US suffered ignominious defeats,” he said. “Our people should pay attention. This Saturday and Sunday will be days of the Iranian nation’s victory and days of humiliating defeats for the U.S,” he added according to Iran Front Page News.

 

“So, I urge anti-Iran news channels abroad not to fabricate stories that would indicate that the U.S. has made a claim and has waited for a month, so it can use this mechanism,” the president said. “After all, no mechanism ever started in the first place to be producing any results,” he added.

“I congratulate the Iranian nation, in advance, on the success that Iranians will secure on Saturday and Sunday, the same way that I congratulated Iranians on their resistance during the eight-year Iraqi imposed war on Iran [in the 1980s],” he added.

Elsewhere in his remarks, the president fulminated against the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Bahrain for normalizing their relations with Israel. “[Israeli authorities] are committing more and more crimes in occupied Palestine every day. How come [the UAE and Bahrain] are extending your hands to Israel? Then you want to give Israel bases in this region. You will be responsible for all grave consequences of this move. Your action is against regulations and regional security,” he said.

A month ago, mainstream media in the U.S. declared that Trump has suffered a “humiliating defeat” at the UN in his efforts to impose sanctions on Iran.

US efforts to indefinitely extend an arms embargo collapsed last week when it suffered a humiliating defeat at the UN Security Council. A resolution sponsored by Washington only secured one other vote from the 15-member UN Security Council.

The US continues to maintain that despite its unilateral withdrawal it nonetheless has “an explicit right” to initiate the snapback sanctions and that any argument to the contrary would “create a perilous precedent that could threaten the force of virtually any Security Council decision.”- Middle East Monitor, 8/20/2020

Hopefully, this doesn’t elude to a war. It’s important information, however. Stay alert and aware. If history has shown us anything, it’s that things will get crazy as the rhetoric ramps up.

The post Iranian President: The U.S. Will Suffer A Humiliating Defeat This Weekend first appeared on SHTF Plan – When It Hits The Fan, Don't Say We Didn't Warn You.

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Iran considers assassinating US ambassador in retaliation for Qassem Soleimani’s death, report says

Iran is reportedly exploring avenues of retaliation against the United States government for killing Qassem Soleimani, the top Iranian military commander who met his maker upon being targeted by a drone strike in Iraq earlier this year.

What are the details?

American intelligence sources indicate the Iranian government is considering a plot to assassinate Lana Marks, the U.S. ambassador to South Africa, Politico reported.

According to the report, U.S. officials have been aware of Iran’s plans since the spring. But the country, which is the world’s leading state sponsor of terrorism, has begun concentrating on the plan to murder Marks, with details becoming more specific over recent weeks.

One U.S. official told Politico that Iran’s embassy in South Africa is involved in the plot.

However, intelligence officials are not certain why Iran has set its sights on Marks, whom Politico noted has no known ties to Iran. Marks, a successful businesswoman, does have close ties to President Donald Trump, though, and has been a member of the Mar-a-Lago club for more than two decades.

The ambassador is reportedly aware of the threat against her life.

More from Politico:

Still, attacking Marks is one of several options U.S. officials believe Iran’s regime is considering for retaliation since the general, Qassem Soleimani, was assassinated by a U.S. drone strike in January. At the time, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. killed Soleimani to re-establish deterrence against Iran.

An intelligence community directive known as “Duty to Warn” requires U.S. spy agencies to notify a potential victim if intelligence indicates their life could be in danger; in the case of U.S. government officials, credible threats would be included in briefings and security planning. Marks has been made aware of the threat, the U.S. government official said. The intelligence also has been included in the CIA World Intelligence Review, known as the WIRe, a classified product that is accessible to senior policy and security officials across the U.S. government, as well as certain lawmakers and their staff.

It was not immediately clear what alternative methods of retaliation Iran is weighing.

Marks was confirmed by the Senate to her diplomatic post last year. She officially assumed office in January, weeks after Soleimani’s death.

What’s the background?

The U.S. government shocked the world when it confirmed on Jan. 2 that a drone strike targeting Soleimani, the leader of Iran’s elite Quds Force, was successful. Even more surprising, the strike happened near the Baghdad airport in Iraq.

Iran immediately vowed retaliation and cashed in that threat on two occasions — once in January and once in March. The first attack did not result in American casualties, but the second, which was carried out by Iran-backed militia in Iraq, resulted in the deaths of two Americans.

The U.S. then retaliated for that attack, targeting multiple Iran-backed militias with airstrikes.

All then remained relatively calm in the region as the coronavirus pandemic ravaged the world, and Iran in particular.

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Iran executes champion wrestler despite pleas from President Trump and Dana White to spare his life

An Iranian champion wrestler has been executed despite international outcries and pleas from President Donald Trump and UFC president Dana White to spare his life.

Navid Afkari, a 27-year-old Greco-Roman wrestler, participated in anti-government protests against Iran’s Shia theocracy in 2018. Iranian authorities accused Afkari of stabbing a water supply company security guard in the southern city of Shiraz during the civil unrest.

Iranian officials claim that Afkari’s mobile phone had been in the area where Hassan Turkman was murdered. Authorities alleged there is surveillance footage of him walking down a street, talking on his phone, near the crime scene. Iranian authorities claimed Afkari stabbed Turkman in the back, over a “personal dispute,” without elaborating.

In July, Afkari was convicted of the murder of Turkman, and hit with other charges. A provincial court in Shiraz sentenced Afkari to death for the murder.

The wrestler’s brothers Vahid Afkari and Habib Afkari were sentenced to 54 and 27 years in prison, respectively, as well as 74 lashes for each man. The Afkari brothers were charged with 20 different crimes, including “attending illegal gatherings, assembly and conspiracy to commit crimes against national security and insulting the supreme leader.” Iran’s Supreme Court rejected a review of the case in late August.

Iran broadcast the wrestler’s confession on state TV last week. The mother of the brothers, Behieh Namjou, claimed that the three men confessed to the killing under torture. She pleaded for mercy from authorities for her children.

Afkari’s death sentence caused international outcry for the wrestler to be spared from the death penalty.

“These brothers are the latest victims of Iran’s deeply flawed criminal justice system, and their case is further evidence that Iranian courts systematically rely on ‘confessions’ obtained under torture and other ill-treatment to secure criminal convictions, in contravention of international law,” said Diana Eltahawy, Amnesty International’s deputy regional director for the Middle East and North Africa.

“Amnesty International is calling on the international community, including UN human rights bodies and EU member states, to urgently intervene and demand the Iranian authorities immediately reveal the fate and whereabouts of these three brothers and to save Navid Afkari from execution,” Eltahawy said on Friday.

Iranian actress and human rights defender Nazanin Boniadi brought awareness to Afkari’s case.

UFC president Dana White wrote, “Iran, please spare Navid Afkari.”

“This week the New York Times wrote a story about a very famous wrestler from Iran – his name is Navid Afkari,” White says in the video. “He went to a peaceful protest in Iran, and he is gonna be executed for that.”

“It was brought to my attention. This guys is – first of all he is human being,” White continued. “Number two he is one of us, could be any of my fighters.”

“The only I thing I thought to do is to call the President [Donald Trump] and see if he could help this man,” White revealed. “He said ‘let us look into it, we’ll talk to my administration and see if there is something we can do to save his life’.”

President Donald Trump pleaded for Iran to not execute Afkari.

“Hearing that Iran is looking to execute a great and popular wrestling star, 27-year-old Navid Afkarai, whose sole act was an anti-government demonstration on the streets,” President Trump tweeted on Sept. 3. “They were protesting the ‘country’s worsening economic situation and inflation’ To the leaders of Iran, I would greatly appreciate if you would spare this young man’s life, and not execute him. Thank you!”

On Tuesday, a global union representing 85,000 athletes called for Iran’s expulsion from international sports competitions if it executed Afkari, according to Reuters.

Navid Afkari was executed on Saturday, according to Iranian state media.

“The retaliation sentence against Navid Afkari, the killer of Hassan Turkman, was carried out this morning in Adelabad prison in Shiraz,” said the chief justice of Fars province, Kazem Mousavi, on Iranian state TV on Saturday. Mousavi said the execution occurred “after legal procedures were carried out at the insistence of the parents and the family of the victim.”

Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad wrote, “In a taped message from inside the prison, Navid said: ‘If I’m hanged, know that an innocent man has been killed.'”

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China COMPUTERS/INTERNET/SECURITY COVER-UP/DECEPTIONS/PROPAGANDA CURRENT EVENTS DICTATORSHIP Intelwars Iran WAR/DRAFT/VETERAN AFFAIRS

China Looks To Build Espionage Hub In Iran Under 25-Year Deal

Authored by Simon Watkins via OilPrice.com,

The next phase of the 25-year deal between China and Iran will focus on a large-scale roll-out of electronic espionage and warfare capabilities focused around the port of Chabahar and extending for a nearly 5,000 kilometre (3,000 mile) radius, and the concomitant build-out of mass surveillance and monitoring of the Iranian population, in line with the standard operating procedure across China, senior sources close to the Iranian government told OilPrice.com last week.

Both of these elements dovetail into Beijing’s strategic vision for Iran as a fully-functioning client state of China by the end of the 25-year period. By that time, Iran will be an irreplaceable geographical and geopolitical foundation stone in Beijing’s ‘One Belt, One Road’ project, as well as providing a large pool of young, well-educated, relatively cheap labor for Chinese industry. The mass surveillance, monitoring, and control systems to cover Iran’s population is to begin its full roll-out as from the second week of November, after the final agreement on event sequencing has been reached in the third week of October at a meeting between Iran’s most senior Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and intelligence services figures and their Chinese counterparts.

Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, already agreed on the broad plans in July, according to the Iran sources.

“The plan is for nearly 10 million extra CCTV [closed-circuit television] cameras to be placed in Iran’s seven most populous cities, to begin with, plus another five million or so pinhole surveillance cameras to be placed at the same time in another 21 cities, with all of these being directly linked in to China’s main state surveillance and monitoring systems,” said an Iran source.

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Iran Seeks Revenge For Sabotage Attack On Natanz Nuclear Plant

Iran has identified the perpetrators of an act of sabotage at Natanz nuclear facility in the central part of the country in July, according to a spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Behrouz Kamalvandi said that while the details of the act of sabotage are still being investigated, the security forces “have detected the agents [who committed the act of sabotage] as well as the motive, methods and manner of the sabotage.”

The AEOI for the first time described the July 2 incident at the Natanz nuclear facility as a sabotage attack on July 23, and since then pro-Iranian sources have repeatedly vowed to take revenge for the attack.

Meanwhile, Iran’s Defence Minister Amir Hatami announced that the country is working to expand its missile capabilities even further. In particular, the military is working on air-launched cruise missiles that would be able to hit targets in the range of up to 1,400km.

These statements cause expected concern in Israel, the United States and Saudi Arabia, as the main geopolitical opponents of Iran in the region. They also claim that Teheran has been ramping up its proxy efforts against the Saudi-Israeli-US block in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and the Gaza Strip.

Despite loud claims by Iranian officials and state-linked media, Iran is in fact not interested in an open military confrontation with the US-Israeli alliance. Therefore, it is logical that the Iranian response to the Natanz attack will likely be asymmetric. The recently increased IED attacks on US convoys and rocket strikes on US-affiliated facilities in Iraq could be a part of this campaign.

At the same time, Israel has been actively strengthening security measures on the contact lines with Lebanon and Syria, and continues its low intensity bombing campaign against ‘Iranian-linked targets’ in Syria.

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IRAN SEEKS REVENGE FOR SABOTAGE ATTACK ON NATANZ NUCLEAR PLANT

Iran has identified the perpetrators of an act of sabotage at Natanz nuclear facility in the central part of the country in July, according to a spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran. Behrouz Kamalvandi said that while the details of the act of sabotage are still being investigated, the security forces “have detected the agents [who committed the act of sabotage] as well as the motive, methods and manner of the sabotage.”

According to the Iranian side, the saboteurs sought to disrupt the uranium enrichment process at the Natanz facility, but they were not successful in this respect. The act of sabotage reportedly caused no casualties and failed to stop the enrichment work at the facility. The AEOI spokesman likened the current conditions facing the country to the battleground adding that security forces allegedly “succeeded in confronting a large number of cyber attacks on its nuclear facilities.”

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Another Opinion Columnist Pushing War With Iran Who Doesn’t Actually Exist

There is at least one more foreign policy opinion writer from the Mujahideen-eKhalq (MEK) whose existence is dubious, based on a study by a social media analyst and statements from a defector from the group. Amir Basiri, who contributed to Forbes 9 times, the Washington Examiner 52 times, OpenDemocracy, Algemeiner, and The Hill once also appears to be a fabrication.

The MEK is an Iranian exile group for which John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, and other foreign policy luminaries have given paid speeches. Dems like Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean have also spoken on their behalf. But the group has American blood on its hands, has been accused of practicing forced sterilization, and their belief system has been described as a mixture of Marxism and Islamism. Its supporters claim they, and their front group the National Council of Resistance of Iran, are a sort of government-in-exile, despite nearly nonexistent support for the group within Iran. They also have waged a substantial disinformation campaign in the Western press, in particular targeting conservative media.

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Another Opinion Columnist Pushing War With Iran Who Doesn’t Actually Exist
The MEK’s disinformation primarily targeted right-of-center outlets receptive to a hawkish line against Iran

Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) holds a statement signed by 31 U.S. dignitaries and former officials in support of the NCRI and its fight for freedom in Iran on July 17, 2020, in Ashraf-3, Albania. Mayor Rudolph Giuliani (LED screen) one of the signatories, presents it to Ms. Rajavi. (Photo by Siavosh Hosseini/NurPhoto via Getty Images)
SEPTEMBER 2, 2020|12:01 AM
PAUL BRIAN AND ARTHUR BLOOM
There is at least one more foreign policy opinion writer from the Mujahideen-eKhalq (MEK) whose existence is dubious, based on a study by a social media analyst and statements from a defector from the group. Amir Basiri, who contributed to Forbes 9 times, the Washington Examiner 52 times, OpenDemocracy, Algemeiner, and The Hill once also appears to be a fabrication.

The MEK is an Iranian exile group for which John Bolton, Rudy Giuliani, and other foreign policy luminaries have given paid speeches. Dems like Joe Lieberman and Howard Dean have also spoken on their behalf. But the group has American blood on its hands, has been accused of practicing forced sterilization, and their belief system has been described as a mixture of Marxism and Islamism. Its supporters claim they, and their front group the National Council of Resistance of Iran, are a sort of government-in-exile, despite nearly nonexistent support for the group within Iran. They also have waged a substantial disinformation campaign in the Western press, in particular targeting conservative media.

“Amir Basiri and Heshmat Alavi are two fake accounts,” Hassan Heyrani, an MEK defector told TAC. “At Camp Liberty, near the BIAP airport in Iraq, I was in the political unit of the organization with some of the persons who grew up in America and Canada. We worked as a team to write the articles analyzing the Iranian regime. The MEK put them in The Washington Post and all the newspapers in Western countries.”

Basiri’s op-eds focus on the need for regime change in Iran which he claimed is “within reach.” The thrust of Basiri’s writing – last placed at the Examiner in October of 2018 – is to encourage American readers to take an interest and sympathize with the plight of Iranian protesters and dissidents. Basiri consistently argued against the Iran nuclear deal, downplayed terrorism against Iran, called for tougher sanctions as a method of regime change and highlighted the necessity of Trump working with the Iranian opposition.

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CORPORATE MEDIA COVER-UP/DECEPTIONS/PROPAGANDA CURRENT EVENTS Intelwars Iran RUSSIA/BELARUS/UKRAINE SYRIA WAR/DRAFT/VETERAN AFFAIRS

US Defends its Illegal Presence in Syria: US troops in Syria clashed with both Russian and Syrian government forces in August

In comments to Newsweek, the US State Department defended the US occupation of eastern Syria. Washington’s policy in Syria has come under fire in recent weeks after US troops clashed with both Syrian government forces and Russian soldiers.

“We have been very clear regarding our overall policy goals in Syria,” the State Department told Newsweek. “The United States’ policy objectives for Syria have been consistent and remain the same: the enduring defeat of ISIS and Al-Qaeda, an irreversible political solution to the Syrian conflict in line with UNSCR 2254, and the removal of all Iranian-supported forces.”

The State Department spokesperson also addressed a recent oil deal inked between a US company and the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), who the US backs. “We are continuing the vital mission of assisting our SDF partners in securing oil fields in northeast Syria once occupied and used by ISIS to generate revenue,” the spokesperson said.

The State Department’s position reflects both President Trump’s and the Pentagon’s stated goals in Syria. Since October 2019, when President Trump decided to stay in Syria to “secure the oil,” the Pentagon has maintained the US mission is to prevent ISIS from regaining a foothold in the region. Iran is another factor many US officials cite when justifying the presence in Syria, which is also mentioned by the State Department.

Of course, the Syrian government considers the US presence an illegal occupation and denounces the oil deal as theft. The US denying the Syrian government access to its vital resources, combined with heavy US sanctions, is severely hampering the country’s reconstruction effort.

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Intelwars Iran

Iran identifies perpetrators of sabotage at Natanz nuclear facility: AEOI spokesman

The spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says the country’s security forces have identified the perpetrators of an act of sabotage at Natanz nuclear facility in central Iran in July.

“It is for the security organizations to painstakingly investigate [the incident] and they are expected to give their final view in this regard. Their investigations are underway and as far as we know, they have detected the agents [who committed the act of sabotage] as well as the motive, methods and manner of the sabotage,” Behrouz Kamalvandi said on Sunday.

He added that the saboteurs sought to disrupt the uranium enrichment process at the Natanz facility, but they failed.

Therefore, the Iranian official said, the AEOI decided to build another shed at the nuclear facility, stressing, “Their desperate effort did not stop us.”

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