IRAN | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

IRAN

Jan 23 08:29

Gantz warns Netanyahu not to try to sideline him again on Iran talks with US

Defense Minister Benny Gantz warned Friday that he would not allow Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to bypass him and the defense establishment during talks with the new administration of US President Joe Biden on crafting policy toward Iran.

“I intend to make sure that no one even thinks to interfere with us maintaining Israel’s security with all sorts of tricks and bypassing measures that endanger us,” Gantz said in his weekly video address to followers on Facebook, in a thinly veiled message to Netanyahu, who routinely bypassed Gantz in relations with the Trump administration.

Jan 22 10:35

IRAN AND ISRAEL ARE GEARING UP FOR A WAR

The Greater Middle East has been gearing up for a new war.

The Iranian parliament announced that it is preparing a draft resolution on a “defense and security treaty for the Axis of Resistance”. By signing the treaty with its allies, states and non-state actors alike, Iran will officially create its own NATO-styled military bloc in the face of the everyday growing chances of a direct military confrontation with the US-Israeli alliance.

The unofficial Axis of Resistance is, essentially, on its way to becoming a security-guaranteeing organization that will have a lot of success stories to claim.

In recent weeks, Iran’s allies and proxies have had significant success. A vivid example of this are Yemen’s Houthis. Additionally to advances on the ground, they vowed to develop, apparently with help from Iran, even more deterrence weapons to counter Saudi Arabia and the UAE.

Jan 22 08:29

BIDEN ADMINISTRATION'S 'NEW' FOREIGN POLICY IS THE 'MORE OF THE SAME' OLD ONE

Today a new U.S. administration will come in. On foreign policy issues it will be just as disappointing as the leaving one. U.S. foreign policy is dictated by ingrained interests. The mechanisms of policy making in Washington DC guarantee that it is always a continuity and that any changes to it are slow and will only be minor.

Donald Trump and his administration were hated by the woke 'libruls' and the media for their style, not for what they were or were not doing. While Joe Biden, who has been warmongering in the Senate for decades, is now being sold as fresh bread, he is bringing no change to the menu. His foreign policy marketing team will only change the package color of the same old product the Trump team has sold.

The confirmation hearing of Biden's incoming Secretary of State Anthony Blinken and of the incoming Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines give some hints towards these 'new' policies.

Jan 22 08:27

Biden Wants to ‘Lengthen and Strengthen’ Nuclear Constraints on Iran

White House Press Secretary Jen Psaki was asked by reporters on Wednesday night what President Biden’s plans are concerning Iran and if he plans to rejoin the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

“Well, the president has made clear that through follow-on diplomacy, the United States should seek to lengthen and strengthen nuclear constraints on Iran and address other issues of concern,” Psaki said. “Iran must resume compliance with significant nuclear constraints under the deal in order for that to proceed.”

Psaki’s comments line up with what Biden said on the campaign trail and in interviews after the election. His stated goal is to work with Iran to return to the JCPOA and negotiate a stricter follow-on agreement on top of it.

Jan 22 08:18

Israel and Saudi Arabia set to push Biden away from the Iran nuclear deal

The U.S. Department of Defense announced on January 15 that it was changing its command structure to move Israel from the European Command, or EUCOM, to Central Command, or CENTCOM, which covers the Middle East, Central Asia, and parts of South Asia. The reticence of many Arab and Central Asian countries to work with Israel necessitated the awkward assignment of Israel outside its geographic location, but the rapprochement between Israel and several Arab and Muslim states changed that calculus.

The change is significant, as is the timing, coming just days before the end of the Trump administration. President Biden is not going to reverse this change, but it will present him some significant complications.

Jan 18 09:27

How CENTCOM Chief McKenzie Manufactured an Iran Crisis to Increase His Power

During the final two months of the Trump administration, a series of provocative U.S. military moves in the Middle East stirred fears that a war against Iran was being hatched. The atmosphere of crisis was not the result of any threat posed by Tehran, but rather the product of a campaign manufactured by the head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., to advance his interests.

In a bid for prestige and power within the military, and the influence over policymaking that it guarantees, McKenzie has worked to accumulate military assets. The general’s thirst for influence has been a driving factor in the latest episode of US-Iran tensions. To advance his self-serving agenda, McKenzie has deployed a calculated series of political-bureaucratic moves, combined with a PR push in the media.

Jan 18 07:52

Watch: Iran Excitedly Waiting For Biden Administration As Trump Continues To Add Sanctions

The United States on Friday imposed sanctions on firms in Iran, China, and the United Arab Emirates for trading with the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines and on three Iranian entities over conventional arms proliferation.

They are the latest in a list of sanctions intended to step up the weight on Tehran.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced Washington had sanctioned seven firms, including Chinese-based Jiangyin Mascot Special Steel Co and UAE-based Accenture Building Materials, and two people for shipping steel to or from Iran.

Jan 18 06:58

Iran holds anti-warship ballistic missile drill

Jan 17 08:12

Relieved Iran Expects Biden’s ‘Unconditional Return’ to Obama-Negotiated Nuclear Deal

Iran expects the next U.S. administration under President-elect Joe Biden to unconditionally return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal as originally negotiated by President Barack Obama, Iran’s Ambassador to the U.N. said Friday.

Majid Takht Ravanchi revealed a confident Iran has already received positive signals from the inbound Biden administration.

“We have heard from the Biden team a number of positive remarks regarding the JCPOA and the return of the United States to its obligations based on it,” Iran’s U.N. envoy told the semi-official IRNA news service.

He further said “it’s too early to judge exactly what the next dwellers of the White House will do,” but added Tehran “is not in a rush” and Biden will be given time to align his policies with those of Iran.

Jan 13 08:12

Video: Massive Blackout in Iran Days After Similar Reports from Pakistan, Vatican

There are multiple reports of a massive power outage that is being reported across Iran, sparking conspiracy theories of a covert op for their alleged involvement in the American elections.

Several videos are being posted online claiming that there has been a massive blackout in various cities of Iran. The videos show streets, apartment complexes, factories, and highways without electricity.

Jan 13 07:25

Israel Continues to Attack Syria as Tehran Awaits Biden Administration

In the fourth series of Israeli strikes on Syrian soil in the past two weeks, warplanes hit the border region near Iraq in Deir Ezzor Province, hitting warehouses near Abu Kamal, which media claim were being used by Shi’ite militias.

Israel and the Israeli press present Shi’ite militias as Iranians, though in practice the militias in this area are almost exclusively Iraqi PMF fighters who crossed in to continue fighting against ISIS.

With Iran looking to wait out the Trump Administration, and with high hopes for a diplomacy reset with Biden, Israel is stepping up the attacks on Iran, or perceived Iranian targets, to try to stir things up at the last minute.

Jan 13 07:04

Iran's state media says Facebook deleted its main page without warning

Facebook has deleted Iran’s state media Press TV page off its platform Tuesday without any warning or explanation, according to the broadcaster.

Facebook told the outlet that Iran’s international English news network is not eligible to be on its site, Press TV said in an article.

Press TV had 4 million followers before the page was taken down.

“Facebook deletes Press TV's main page without any warning or explanation,” the news outlet tweeted.

Jan 13 06:49

Pompeo Accuses Iran of al-Qaeda Ties

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed without evidence that Iran is al-Qaeda’s “new home base,” recycling an old talking point of an al-Qaeda-Iran alliance that has been repeatedly debunked.

Sources first told Reuters about the planned speech on Monday night and said Pompeo was poised to make the accusation despite skepticism in Congress and US intelligence agencies. A former US intelligence official told Reuters that Iran was never friendly with al-Qaeda before or after 9/11, and that “any claims of current cooperation should be viewed warily.”

Despite the doubt, Pompeo still made the claim. Hurling accusations at Iran without evidence is nothing new for the secretary of state. Tuesday’s speech was part of his effort to ramp up the pressure on Iran as much as possible before Joe Biden in inaugurated on January 20th.

Jan 13 06:48

Iran Calls for Drop of ‘Snapback’ Sanctions in Future Talks

A senior aide to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Monday that “snapback” sanctions should be dropped in any future negotiations over the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

Snapback mechanisms are part of the JCPOA that can trigger UN sanctions on Iran. The US tried to invoke snapback sanctions in 2020, but the UN Security Council rejected the move because the US was no longer a party to the deal, having withdrawn in 2018.

Khamenei’s aide, Ali Akbar Velayati, spoke out against the snapback measures in an interview that was published on Monday. “This (trigger) mechanism must be abandoned as an irrational principle in the event of further negotiations,” he said.

Jan 13 06:47

Report: Israel Plotting How to Sabotage Biden’s Return to Iran Deal

With the incoming Biden administration expected to return to diplomacy with Iran, Israeli officials are working on ways to sabotage a revival of the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

An Israeli source told Bloomberg that Israeli officials are weighing their options and deciding between a public crusade against the JCPOA or a quieter strategy through behind-the-scenes engagement with the Biden administration. In the coming weeks, Israel is expected to send a stream of envoys to Washington to discuss the JCPOA.

Israeli officials, including Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have made their opposition to Biden’s known. Reports from Israeli media said Netanyahu is at odds with Defense Minister Benny Gantz over handling Biden’s Iran policy.

Jan 08 11:48

‘Completely untrustworthy’: Iran BANS import of coronavirus vaccines from US and Britain

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has prohibited the import of any Covid vaccines from the US and UK, questioning their efficacy and suggesting developers might be willing to “test” their drugs on foreign nations.
The announcement came in a televised speech on Friday, with the Supreme Leader going as far as to suggest that London and Washington might be seeking to “contaminate” other countries with their anti-coronavirus solutions.

"Imports of US and British vaccines into the country are forbidden ... They’re completely untrustworthy. It’s not unlikely they would want to contaminate other nations."

Khamenei did not miss the opportunity to take further swipes at Iran’s arch-rival, stating that the soaring numbers of coronavirus infections in the US are the best proof why its medical products should not be trusted.

"If the Americans were able to produce a vaccine, they would not have such a coronavirus fiasco in their own country," he said.

Jan 07 06:53

Iran Showcases Suicide Drones During Large-Scale UAV Combat Exercise

Iran is conducting two day large-scale drone exercises in Semnan province and in coastal waters which started Tuesday, involving hundreds of domestic built UAVs, and notably including suicide drones.

According to the Iranian Army chief overseeing the combat exercises, Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi, naval drones will fly from warships in the country’s southern waters, while suicide UAVs will additionally conduct long-range sorties.

Underscoring the nature of the exercise as a 'show of strength' at a moment US forces are in the region, including the USS Nimitz carrier strike group which days ago was called back to its Mideast area of operation after it was initially pulled out, Mousavi emphasized that "the Islamic Republic of Iran is one of the able and most powerful countries in the field of drone production."

Jan 07 06:47

South Korean Warship Now Patrolling Persian Gulf After Iran Seized Tanker

A South Korean warship sailed into the Persian Gulf on Tuesday after Iran seized a South Korean-flagged tanker in the waters.

South Korea’s defense ministry said the destroyer Choi Young was operating near the Strait of Hormuz. "It is carrying out missions to ensure the safety of our nationals," South Korean Defense Ministry spokesperson Boo Seung Chan said of the destroyer.

Jan 06 10:05

Israel dismisses 'nonsense' Iran charge it seeks to trick U.S. into war

An Israeli official on Sunday dismissed as “nonsense” an allegation by the Iranian foreign minister that Israel was trying to trick the United States into waging war on Iran.

It was Israel that needed to be on alert for possible Iranian strikes on the one-year anniversary on Sunday of the assassination of Tehran’s top general, Qassem Soleimani, in a U.S. drone strike in Iraq, Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz said on Kan public radio.

Washington blames Iran-backed militia for regular rocket attacks on U.S. facilities in Iraq, including near the U.S. embassy. No known Iran-backed groups have claimed responsibility.

On Saturday, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Twitter: “New intelligence from Iraq indicate that Israeli agent-provocateurs are plotting attacks against Americans — putting an outgoing (President Donald) Trump in a bind with a fake casus belli.”

Jan 06 10:04

Gantz: ‘Events’ with Iran possible amid US administration change

While the tensions are felt in the region ahead of the coming change in the White House, Defense Minister Benny Gantz said that he sees a possibility of “events happening in the Iranian front.”

When asked in an interview on Ynet on Monday if there is a chance that the situation with Iran will “erupt,” Gantz responded that he thinks that “there is a chance we will see ‘events.’

Jan 06 09:20

Veteran whistleblower claims Trump has secret plan to trigger conflict with Iran

Veteran whistleblower Daniel Ellsberg has claimed Donald Trump may have a secret plan to trigger a military conflict with Iran, and urged government officials to leak the classified files

Speaking the day that a court in London blocked the extradition to the US of Julian Assange on medial grounds, Mr Ellsberg said there were several parallels between his case, and the attempted prosecution of the WikiLeaks founder.

In 1971, Mr Ellsberg, working as an analyst for the RAND corporation leaked to to several newspapers, thousands of classified files that came to be known as the Pentagon Papers.

Jan 06 09:00

IRAN USES ITS GRIP ON STRAIT OF HORMUZ TO FIGHT BACK US-IMPOSED SANCTIONS

Iran has found an original way of dealing with sanctions and limitations imposed on it by the so-called “maximum pressure” campaign launched by the Trump administration.

On January 4, the Navy of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps detained a South Korea-flagged oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz over an alleged environmental pollution issue. The chemical tanker HANKUK CHEMI was inbound to Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates. Ahead of the incident, the United Kingdom Maritime Trade Operations naval authority reported that an “interaction” between Iranian authorities and a merchant vessel in the Strait of Hormuz led the ship to alter its course and proceed into Iranian waters.

Jan 06 07:59

BEX? Iran Parliament Votes on Official Mandate to Destroy Israel

Iran’s parliament voted on a mandate to destroy the state of Israel Sunday, the anniversary of Qassem Soleimani’s assassination.

The mandate aims “to destroy the usurping Zionist regime” and “[break] the siege of Gaza by sending basic goods from official naval bases to Gaza in exchange for money or free of charge.”

Upon passage of the mandate into law, the Iranian regime will be obligated to pursue the “Right of return of Palestinian refugees” and the “Liberation of the Golan Heights” by providing “welfare-economic-security and infrastructures.”

The mandate also designates the U.S. killing of Qassem Soleimani as a “terrorist act” that warrants the “execution of severe revenge by expelling the United States from the region and reciprocal measures to weaken the United States.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

This story comes from a single source and there is no mention of it in PressTV or Al Jazeera as yet.

Jan 06 07:50

Iran issues Interpol notice for 48 US officials including Trump

US President Donald Trump has had a “red notice” request for his arrest issued through Interpol by Iran.

Iranian judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili announced during a press conference on Tuesday that Iran has requested the international police organisation to arrest Trump and 47 other American officials identified as playing a role in the assassination of top general Qassem Soleimani last year.

Jan 05 10:41

Trump overruled Defense Secretary Chris Miller and ordered the USS Nimitz BACK to the Middle East after the aircraft carrier was called home in attempt to 'de-escalate' tension with Iran on anniversary of Soleimani killing

Donald Trump is said to have ordered defense officials to keep the USS Nimitz in the Middle East after the Pentagon had said it would pull the aircraft carrier out of the region.

Acting defense secretary, Christopher C. Miller, announced its redeployment in a 'de-escalatory' signal to Tehran in the run-up to Sunday's one-year anniversary of the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, officials told the New York Times Saturday.

But the president is then said to have overturned Miller's order, a senior defense official told CNN. Miller said Sunday that the carrier would stay in the Middle East.

He said in a statement: 'Due to the recent threats issued by Iranian leaders against President Trump and other U.S. government officials, I have ordered the USS Nimitz to halt its routine redeployment.

Jan 05 06:06

Bill Kristol Has Always Wanted to Rape Iran

One year after the CIA escalated covert operations in Iran, the protests across that nation are reportedly beginning to get more violent. This is happening on the same day the Iranian terror cult MEK hosted Rudolph Giuliani and Newt Gingrich in a pro-regime change rally that was so sparsely attended that half the audience consisted of bused-in Europeans unaffiliated with the cause.

“We are now realistically being able to see an end to the regime in Iran,” said Giuliani, who earlier this year infamously led a “Regime change! Regime change!” chant at a related MEK event.

“The Mullahs must go, the Ayatollah must go, and they must be replaced by a democratic government which Madam Rajavi represents,” Giuliani said in reference to MEK cult leader Maryam Rajavi.

“Freedom is right around the corner,” added Giuliani, who is currently serving as President Trump’s lawyer. “Next year I want to have this convention in Tehran!”

Jan 04 09:35

Iran cooperates with Cuba in producing COVID-19 vaccine: official

Iran is cooperating with Cuba in producing a COVID-19 vaccine, official IRNA news agency quoted an Iranian Health Ministry official as saying on Friday.

Iran will purchase vaccines from a foreign country and participates in the World Health Organization's COVAX program for receiving its vaccine quota, said Kianoush Jahanpour, spokesman of the Iran Food and Drug Administration (IFDA).

Besides, the Pasteur Institute of Iran is going to produce COVID-19 vaccine in joint cooperation with a Cuban company, said Jahanpour.

He added that tests and trials of Tehran-Havana vaccine are underway in Cuba.

Jan 03 08:11

Iran's President Rouhani Accused Of Threatening Trump With Assassination

Iran's President Hassan Rouhani is being accused of threatening President Trump with assassination in a speech he gave this past week ahead of the one-year anniversary of the killing of popular Iranian General Qassem Soleimani on Jan. 3rd, 2020 in Baghdad.

It all appears to be based on a mistranslation from the Farsi of Rouhani's words while he addressed a cabinet session on Wednesday. In a widely shared article The Washington Times quoted the Iranian president as saying, "Trump will soon be dead." The report claimed that this was a clear death threat, also given Rouhani made a comparison to the Saddam Hussein's demise.

But Iran's leaders are now slamming this as but more "anti-Iran bigotry" designed to escalate tensions as a pretext for preemptive military action against the Islamic Republic. Tehran has called The Washington Times report a deliberate mistranslation based in "fake news".

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I am very worried that "someone" will take a shot at Trump during his rally Wednesday with Iran set up to take the blame.

Jan 03 07:52

US Military Stands Guard Against Iranian Attack

It was no coincidence that Iran released American hostages on the day of Ronald Reagan’s inauguration in 1981. They knew what they were up against.

It also is not a coincidence the Iranians may be planning a move against this nation, as this publication has been predicting for months. For in Joe Biden, the Iranians also know what they’re up against: weakness. Thus, the US military stands ready to hopefully deter and if need be respond to Iranian aggression. There are reports the attack may come soon. Perhaps a recon in force then. But the real move will come between the Biden inauguration and March.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The corporate media has been pushing the "Iran Assassination Threat" for a while now. I am wondering if someone is planning to take a shot at Trump during his rally in DC and blame it on Iran.

Jan 02 08:14

Iran begins human trials for locally made coronavirus vaccine

The first study of the safety and effectiveness of a coronavirus vaccine in Iran began Tuesday, state TV reported, with dozens due to receive the domestically developed shot in the hardest-hit country in the Middle East.

The vaccine, produced by Shifa Pharmed, part of a state-owned pharmaceutical conglomerate, is the first in the country to reach human trials. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said Iran is cooperating with a “foreign country” to produce another vaccine expected to run in tests in human volunteers in February, without offering further details.

Jan 02 07:46

Iran Puts Maritime Forces On Higher Alert As Top General Warns 'Ready To Respond' To US Pressure

While populations across the globe rang in the new year and are now enjoying the holiday, wondering what 2021 will hold, tensions in the Persian Gulf between the US and Iran just grew hotter.

CNN Pentagon correspondent Barbara Starr reports Iran's forces in the Persian Gulf are now on high alert, possibly in preparation for some level of either offensive or defensive action.

"Iranian maritime forces in the Persian Gulf raised readiness levels in last 48 hours," Starr writes based on a US defense official. But it remains that it's "not clear if moves are 'defensive' because expect US attack, or are signals Iran preparing for operations in the Gulf against the US," the official said.

Jan 02 07:32

Israeli Military Preparing For ‘Iran-Backed’ Attacks From Iraq and Yemen

According to a report in Israeli media, the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) is preparing for a possible strike from “Iran-backed militias” in Iraq and Yemen. The IDF reportedly held talks last week about possible attacks from Iraqi militias and the Houthis in Yemen.

Since Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an apparent Israeli plot, both Israel and the US have been overblowing the threat of possible Iranian retaliation. Israel, like the US, likes to conflate any Shia group in the Middle East with Iran, despite the many different factions and sects.

For example, the Houthis are a Zaydi Shia group and practice a different form of Shiism than the mullahs in Iran. The Houthis are also an entirely homegrown movement and are not the Iranian proxy the US and its allies portray them to be. Zaydi Shia Imams ruled the area of north Yemen the Houthis now control for over 1,000 years until 1962.

Jan 02 07:28

‘Naval BOMB’ prone to ‘sudden explosion’ found on hull of Iraqi tanker as Iran warns US may use false-flag attack to start war

Explosives experts were called in to defuse a naval mine found attached to the hull of an oil tanker as it departed an Iraqi port, prompting an evacuation of the ship’s crew amid simmering tension in the Gulf.

Iraqi authorities confirmed the discovery on Friday morning through the semi-official Security Media Cell Twitter account, saying a “foreign body” was spotted on the vessel as it entered international waters in the Persian Gulf on Thursday afternoon, some 28 nautical miles (52km) off Iraq’s coast.

“Immediately a team for handling explosives was formed from the Ministry of Interior,” the Security Cell continued, adding that the team was “still working to neutralize the mine and evacuate the target ship, and our naval forces are making a great effort with the bomb team to accomplish this mission.”

The tanker, rented from Iraq’s government-run Oil Marketing Company (SOMO), was in the area to refuel another vessel, which was successfully evacuated after the bomb was found.

Jan 01 09:00

A New War in the New Year? Trump Again Takes Aim at Iran

One of the most perplexing narratives presented during the waning days of the administration of President Donald J. Trump is his apparent disengagement from dealing seriously or providing leadership regarding the surging Coronavirus while at the same time continuing an activist foreign policy that in no way benefits any American. Ironically, the new administration of Joe Biden will, undoubtedly, establish its own priorities after January 20th, presuming the result of the election holds, and could easily reverse any government actions initiated overseas by Trump.

Jan 01 07:54

Israel’s propaganda on Iran’s nuclear program led to death of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

The Israeli assassination of Iranian defense official Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is being treated as a triumph of Israeli intelligence, with ubiquitous references in The New York Times and other major media outlets to the killing of “Iran’s top nuclear scientist.”

In fact, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency eliminated Fakhrizadeh, a defense official, despite the knowledge that its public depiction of him as the key architect of an Iranian nuclear weapons program was a deception.

For years, U.S. media outlets have portrayed Fakhrizadeh as Iran’s equivalent to J. Robert Oppenheimer, marketing him to the public as the mastermind behind an Iranian version of the Manhattan Project. This image was developed primarily through a carefully constructed Israeli disinformation operation based on documents that displayed signs of fabrication.

Jan 01 07:28

U.S. to move aircraft carrier out of Mideast amid Iran tension

The Pentagon has decided to send home the only Navy aircraft carrier operating in the Middle East, a move that will reduce American firepower in the region amid heightened tensions with Iran.

The decision, announced Thursday by the acting secretary of defense, Christopher Miller, came one day after Air Force B-52 bombers flew nonstop from the United States to the Persian Gulf in a show of force that military officials said was intended to caution Iran against carrying out attacks against U.S. forces or interests.

Dec 31 07:47

U.S. officials warn of potential Iran-linked attack

The U.S. military is bracing for a possible attack on American personnel and interests in Iraq, U.S. defense officials said, days before the first anniversary of an American drone strike that killed an Iranian general in Baghdad.

The officials spoke as two B-52 bombers carried out a round-trip, 30-hour mission from Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota to the Middle East ending on Wednesday, in an effort to show American presence and military might in the region to deter Iran. The Air Force carried out similar missions twice before in the last 45 days.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

False-flag alert!

Dec 31 07:32

Two American B-52 'Stratofortress' bombers fly over Persian Gulf to warn Iran in anticipation of 'complex attacks' in retaliation for killing of General Solemani one year ago

The United States flew strategic bombers over the Persian Gulf on Wednesday for the second time this month, in a show of force meant to deter Iran from attacking American or allied targets in the Middle East.

It came after a senior U.S. military official warned that Iran is planning 'complex' revenge scenarios to avenge the killing of General Qasem Solemani, who died last January 3.

The senior officer confirmed Wednesday's flight by two Air Force B-52 'Stratofortress' bombers was in response to signals that Iran may be planning attacks against U.S. allied targets in neighboring Iraq or elsewhere in the region in the coming days, even as President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office.

Dec 30 14:57

Iran Cuts Power Supply To Iraq On Unpaid Debt

Dec 30 08:13

Iran Envoy Reveals How Tehran May Exact Revenge on US for Soleimani Without Direct Military Action

3 January will mark the one year anniversary of the assassination of Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani in Baghdad in a US drone strike. Iran responded to the killing by launching ballistic missiles at two US bases in Iraq, and threatened further attacks. The Pentagon was put on alert earlier this month, citing a “heightened risk” from Iran.

The Islamic Republic of Iran may not need to resort to direct military action as a means to avenging its slain commander, Iraj Masjedi, Iran’s ambassador to Iraq has said.

“Revenge for the assassination of General Soleimani is not a military action necessarily, rather, the expulsion of American forces from the region can be revenge for General Soleimani’s blood,” Masjedi said, his comments to local media cited by Tehran Times.

Dec 30 07:26

Iran Adopts Bitcoin for International Trade Amid Heavy Sanctions, Falling Rial, Soaring Inflation

The Iranian government has adopted bitcoin for international trade as the country’s economic crisis deepens, with rising Covid-19 cases, depreciating rial, and intensifying sanctions imposed by the U.S. government.

Iran’s Economic Troubles Magnified

Iran is undergoing a severe economic crisis as Covid-19 cases surge in the country. The Iranian health ministry says that the number of daily Covid-19 infections has more than quadrupled in less than two months. In addition, an increasing number of sanctions have been placed on Iran by the U.S. government, while the local fiat currency, the rial, continues to dramatically fall.

Dec 29 07:39

Iran Vows "Massive Response" If Israel Crosses 'Red Lines' With Sub Presence In Gulf

Just a little over three weeks to go until President-Elect Joe Biden's inauguration on Jan.20 and tensions in the Persian Gulf are at boiling point given not only the presence of a US nuclear submarine but allegedly a major Israeli presence as well. A week ago Israeli sources confirmed that an Israeli submarine had crossed the Suez Canal visibly above water en route to the Persian Gulf as a clear "message" to the Islamic Republic.

On Monday Iran's foreign ministry warned that Israel now risks crossing "red lines" should it enter deeply into the Gulf and thus Iran's own backyard, with ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh warning that Israel should be "aware of the risks of crossing Iran’s red lines."

Dec 29 07:34

Britain says Zaghari-Ratcliffe has 'no legal right to consular assistance'

The British Foreign Office has said that British-Iranian aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe has no right to its help, appearing to row back on the diplomatic cover it had provided her last year.

The claim, contained in a letter sent to lawyers representing Zaghari-Ratcliffe, could have profound implications for all Britons travelling abroad in the belief that their passport grants them the legal right to government help, prompting consternation from politicians and constitutional observers.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe's family MP, Tulip Siddiq, said that Britain was "failing" in its basic duty to protect its citizens.

Zaghari-Ratcliffe, an aid worker, is serving a five-year sentence in Iran for espionage, a charge she has consistently denied.

Dec 29 07:32

Iran Red Crescent says Pfizer vaccine batch being sent by US benefactors

An unidentified group of US-based philanthropists plans to send 150,000 doses of the Pfizer vaccine to Iran in the coming weeks, Iranian media reported Monday, in a step that could bring the hardest-hit country in the Middle East closer to inoculating its citizens against the coronavirus.

Details remained scarce in the report by semiofficial Tasnim news agency. It quoted the chief of the country’s Red Crescent Society as saying he expects the vaccine created by American drug maker Pfizer and its German partner BioNTech to be imported by January19 “based on coordination with a group of benefactors in the US.”

Dec 29 06:43

Iran Builds Up Air Defense Systems Near Nuclear Sites Over Possible US Strikes, Reports Claim

Iran is strengthening air defense systems located near its nuclear facilities as a precaution against possible US missile strikes, the Kuwaiti Al-Qabas newspaper reported on Thursday, citing informed sources from Iran.

The measure is taken amid growing tensions between Tehran and Washington ahead of US President Donald Trump's departure. Earlier in the day, Trump wrote on Twitter that the recent rocket attack on the US embassy in Iraq was carried out from the territory of Iran, and warned that Washington would hold Tehran responsible if any US nationals were killed in a new rocket attack. Tehran has denied the allegations.

Dec 28 06:31

Israeli Military Says Iran Could Attack From Iraq or Yemen

Since Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an apparent Israeli plot, Israel has been hyping the threat of Iranian retaliation and warning that an attack could happen anywhere. Adding to the hysteria, a spokesman for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) said Israel expects that an Iranian attack could come from Iraq or Yemen.

In an interview with the Saudi newspaper Elaph, IDF Spokesman Hidai Zilberman said Israel is monitoring Iran’s activity in Iraq and Yemen, calling the two countries Iran’s “second circle” after Lebanon and Syria.

The US, Israel, and Saudi Arabia falsely label Yemen’s Houthis as an Iranian proxy. Houthi attacks inside Saudi Arabia are often framed as Iranian operations despite the five-year US-backed Saudi-led siege on Yemen that has killed hundreds of thousands.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

False flag alert!

Dec 25 08:49

Two desperate men, Trump and Netanyahu, are trying to provoke conflict with Iran

Mainstream media reports on how unhinged Donald Trump is becoming concentrate on his efforts to overturn the U.S. election and on his pardons, but don’t pay enough attention to his threats toward Iran. And the mainstream continues to ignore the fact that a desperate Benjamin Netanyahu keeps trying to provoke a conflict between the U.S. and Tehran.

Trump’s latest warmongering came in a two-part tweet last night. First he claimed that rockets “from IRAN” hit the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad on Sunday, and he included a photo of 3 of them that he said had “failed to launch.” Then:

…Some friendly health advice to Iran: If one American is killed, I will hold Iran responsible. Think it over.

Dec 25 08:49

US Jews need to stop Biden from reentering Iran deal — Israeli tells Israel lobby group

An Israel lobby group associated with the Democratic Party gave a platform to an Israeli to say that American Jews “betrayed” Israeli Jews by not opposing the Iran deal in 2015, and American Jews need to take an “active role” in trying to prevent the Biden administration from returning to the deal.

Writer Yossi Klein Halevi said that the Iran deal is viewed by many Israelis including himself “as the single greatest strategic threat that this country has faced in decades.” Not Iran, the Iran deal. And U.S. Jews have a special responsibility to let Biden know that returning to the deal is a “betrayal” of Israel.

Halevi expressed these hawkish views in the Israel Policy Forum’s “virtual annual event” on December 16. The IPF is an Israel lobby group on the left-center, which supports the two-state-solution and opposes the Trump “peace” plan and Israeli annexation plans.

Dec 24 07:24

Iran's president compares Trump to hanged Saddam, predicts US president may meet same fate

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has compared Donald Trump to Saddam Hussein and suggested that the US president may meet a similar fate as the former Iraqi leader's – being executed by hanging.

"The day that madman was hanged was the day people celebrated their final victory," Rouhani said Wednesday at a Cabinet meeting in Tehran. "Trump's fate won't be much better than Saddam's."

The inflammatory remarks may ratchet up tensions with Washington at a time when media outlets such as Forbes and NBC News have suggested that Trump may order an attack on Iran during his final days in office, leaving President-elect Joe Biden to deal with the aftermath.

"One madman in our region was Saddam, who imposed a war on our nation, and the other madman was Trump, who imposed another war on our people," Rouhani said. "One imposed a military war on us, while the other imposed an economic war."

Dec 23 09:47

Netanyahu hints Israel won't shy away from military action against Iran

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu hinted that Israel would not shy away from military action against Iran when he spoke at the graduation ceremony for IDF pilots on Wednesday.

"We will not allow Iran to acquire nuclear weapons," Netanyahu said.

"We do not take lightly the threats made against us, nor do we shy away from them," Netanyahu said.

"Our policy is clear and consistent: whoever tries to harm us will suffer a crushing blow.

Dec 22 07:48

Israeli Military Warns Iran Against Attack

Since Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an apparent Israeli plot, Israel has been hyping the threat of an Iranian attack in the region. On Monday, Israel Defense Forces (IDF) chief of staff Aviv Kohavi continued the pattern and said Israel is prepared to “forcefully” respond to an Iranian attack.

“If Iran and its partners, members of the radical axis, whether in the first circle of states or the second, carry out actions against Israel, they will discover their partnership to be very costly,” Kohavi said.

“The radical axis” refers to groups in Syria, Lebanon, and Gaza, all places Israel has bombed over the past year. Israel has ramped up its airstrikes in Syria this year against what it claims are Iranian-linked targets. While Iran has some involvement in Syria, its presence in the country is overblown by Israel as a way to justify the airstrikes.

Dec 22 07:48

US Submarine Steams Through Hormuz Strait Amid Iran Tensions

On Monday, the US steamed a nuclear-power guided-missile submarine through the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow waterway between Iran and the Arabian peninsula. The US Navy said the Ohio-class submarine USS Georgia was accompanied by two US warships.

“Georgia’s presence demonstrates the United States’ commitment to regional partners and maritime security with a full spectrum of capabilities to remain ready to defend against any threat at any time,” the US Navy said in a statement.

US submarines and warships often sail near Iran’s coast. The announcement of the Georgia’s maneuver is a clear message to Iran and comes at a time of heightened tensions. Earlier this month, the US sent two B-52 bombers to the Middle East, the second time within a month that the US deployed long-range bombers to the region.

Dec 22 07:47

Pompeo Blames ‘Iran-Backed’ Militias for Baghdad Rocket Attack

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo blamed “Iran-backed” groups in Iraq for a Sunday rocket attack on the US embassy in Baghdad’s Green Zone.

“Iran-backed militias once again flagrantly and recklessly attacked in Baghdad, wounding Iraqi civilians,” Pompeo wrote on Twitter. No deaths were reported in Sunday’s attack, but some reports said Iraqis were injured by the barrage of rockets.

Iran denied involvement in the attack. “Attacking diplomatic and residential premises is not acceptable,” Saeed Khatibzadeh, Iran’s foreign ministry spokesman, said.

Kataib Hezbollah, an Iraqi Shia group that is seen as close to Iran, also denied responsibility for the attack. The group issued a statement on the incident, calling it “uncontrolled” and “a threat to civilian lives.”

Dec 22 07:31

Israeli submarine reportedly crosses Suez Canal in ‘message’ to Iran

Vessel said to have surfaced and faced Persian Gulf, in show of force amid threats over killing of nuclear scientist; in similar move, US sub crosses Straight of Hormuz

An Israeli submarine openly crossed the Suez Canal last week, in a show of force against Iran, the Kan public broadcaster reported Monday night.

The move was approved by Egypt, according to the report, which cited Arab intelligence sources.

Dec 22 07:20

Pentagon Threatens Iran As Region Braces For 1-Year Anniversary Of Soleimani Killing

On the same day the US embassy in Baghdad's Green Zone came under attack by a hail of eight rockets fired by unknown militants, the United States threatened Iran with military action should it decide to pursue any future retaliation for the US killing of IRGC Gen. Qassem Soleimani last January.

Sunday's attack, widely believed the have been the work of Iran-backed Shia militia or an allied group, triggered the embassy's counter-rocket defense system and resulted in at least one Iraqi civilian death and limited damage to the embassy complex.

General Kenneth McKenzie, who heads the US Central Command (CENTCOM), is currently touring the region ahead of the anniversary of the Jan.3 killing of Soleimani. The trip was unannounced and is being widely interpreted as sending a strong "message" to leaders in Tehran.

Dec 19 08:35

Tacit Approval From Biden: Iran Dangerously Escalating Knowing Quid-Pro-Joe Will Just Smile

Iran has started construction on a site at its underground nuclear facility at Fordo amid anxieties with the U.S. over its atomic program, satellite photos received Friday reveal.

Iran has not publicly confirmed any new construction at Fordo, whose revealing by the West in 2009 appeared in an earlier round of brinkmanship before world powers struck the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran.

While the idea of the building remains unclear, any work at Fordo likely will trigger new concerns in the last days of the Trump administration before the inauguration of President-elect Joe Biden. Already, Iran is constructing its Natanz nuclear facility after a strange explosion in July there that Tehran reported as a sabotage attack.

Dec 18 08:30

Satellite Images Allegedly Show Iran Building at Underground Nuke Site in Wake of Scientist's Murder

In 2019, Tehran went beyond the restrictions imposed by the Iran nuclear deal in terms of enriching and stockpiling uranium. The move came a year after Washington's unilateral exit from the deal and the re-introduction of crippling US sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iran has kicked off construction at a site located close to its uranium enrichment plant in Fordo in the country's Qom Province, according to satellite imagery from Maxar Technologies obtained by the Associated Press (AP).

Neither Iran's mission to the United Nations, nor the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have commented on the matter yet.

AP claimed that the construction, which allegedly kicked off in late September, is taking place at a northwest area of the Fordo site about 90 kilometres (55 miles) southwest of the capital Tehran.

Dec 18 08:14

Iranian press review: Supreme leader gives green light for new talks with US

In a rare intervention, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has backed efforts by President Hassan Rouhani’s administration to lift the sanctions that have been imposed on Iran since the US withdrew from the 2015 international nuclear deal two-and-a-half years ago.

In a meeting with the family members of slain Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani on Wednesday, Khamenei advised the officials not to waste time.

Dec 17 13:27

Iran’s Khamenei Emerges After Rumored Health Decline To Urge Reviving Nuclear Deal With Biden

Days ago into last week there were widespread rumors spreading on Mideast social media of the severe health decline of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. The persistent rumors ranged from saying he was in a coma even to some claiming his death.

But Khamenei put the unfounded speculation to rest after on Wednesday morning he appeared at an event marking the first anniversary of the death of IRGC Quds Force General Qassem Soleimani. He hasn't made a public appearance in three weeks.

But more importantly he emerged to give final high level backing to prior statements of Iranian leaders, most notably President Hassan Rouhani, indicating that should the United States return to the 2015 nuclear deal abandoned by Trump in 2018, Iran would "follow within an hour".

Dec 17 13:25

US Hits Chinese, UAE-Based Companies With Iran-Related Sanctions

On Wednesday, the US sanctioned companies based in China and the UAE, accusing them of helping Iran export petrochemicals, as the Trump administration continues to ramp up the pressure on Tehran.

The Treasury Department said in a statement that it blacklisted four companies for facilitating the export of petrochemicals produced by an entity in Iran that is already under US sanctions.

The US also hit a Vietnam-based company with sanctions over its alleged connection with “significant transactions for the transport of petroleum products from Iran.” The sanctions seize any US assets the companies may have and block US citizens from doing business with them.

Dec 16 06:51

Iran Uses Disguised Tanker To Export Venezuelan Oil In 'Gold-For-Food' Barter

A tanker chartered by the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has been loading Venezuelan crude for export, documents from state-run PDVSA show according to Reuters, providing evidence of the two countries’ latest tactics to expand their trade in defiance of U.S. sanctions. Venezuela and Iran have deepened their cooperation this year as Venezuela has exchanged gold and other commodities for Iranian food, condensate and fuel.

According to the reports, names of scrapped vessels are being used by several PDVSA customers, including NIOC, to disguise the routes and identities of the tankers they use. A very large crude carrier (VLCC), identified in PDVSA’s loading documents as the Ndros, arrived at Venezuela’s main oil port of Jose last week to load 1.9 million barrels of heavy Merey 16 crude bound for Asia, the documents showed.

Dec 16 06:39

Rouhani Says Iran Would Rejoin Nuclear Deal "Within An Hour" Of US Signing On

Iran has made the biggest overture yet in terms of signaling the incoming Biden administration that it's willing to work for a full return of US participation in the 2015 nuclear deal, or JCPOA. This would of course require that the Islamic Republic comes back into compliance with uranium enrichment caps and other stipulations involving advanced centrifuge numbers.

The Guardian reports that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Monday said expressly that should the United States return to the deal, Iran would "follow within an hour". Biden has long said he stands ready to bring the US back in despite Trump's trying to box him in by heaping daily sanctions onto Iran's already unprecedented economic isolation.

Dec 15 11:08

International law vs eternal recurrence: The US and Israel

Lawrence Davidson: "If Biden wants to promote a safer, more humane world under the rule of law, he should turn his attention to the assassin and not the assassinated; to the saboteur and not those sabotaged; to Israel, and… his own nation’s Middle East foreign policy…">>

Dec 14 08:02

France, other European countries withdraw from business forum over execution

France said on Sunday its ambassador to Iran would not participate in an online business forum in Tehran this week, in a growing row between Iran and European nations over the execution of Iranian dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam.

Dec 14 07:25

Iran's President Accuses Israel of Assassinating Nuclear Scientist to Provoke War in Region

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, a senior Iranian physicist and rocket scientist, was killed in a brazen daylight ambush attack on his convoy while traveling along a rural road about 175 km east of Tehran. Iran almost immediately blamed Israel for the assassination. Tel Aviv has not made any formal statements on the matter.

Israel's assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was aimed at destablizing the region and provoking war in the final days of the "ill-fated Trump presidency," President Hassan Rouhani announced Monday, making the comments at a press event.

Emphasizing that "the region's stability" was of great importance to Iran, Rouhani warned that Tehran nonetheless reserves the right to retaliate for the assassination, but will do so at the time and place of its choosing.

Dec 14 07:12

Iran summons French and German envoys over criticism of journalist's execution

Iran has summoned the envoys of Germany and France over their criticism of the execution of an opposition journalist.

The foreign ministry voiced Iran's protest to the two ambassadors over French and EU criticism of the execution on Saturday of dissident journalist Ruhollah Zam, who had been based in Paris before he was captured in Iraq and taken to Iran.

Zam was convicted in June this year of fomenting violence during anti-government protests in 2017. His Amadnews feed had more than one million followers.

Dec 13 06:37

No US-Iran peace till there is democracy in Tehran, says ex-diplomat McFaul, who’s ‘surprised’ by negative feedback

Stanford Professor Michael McFaul was surprised by the number of negative comments he received after stating that there can be no good relations between Washington and Tehran until Iran “becomes a democracy”.

The observation, which the Obama-era diplomat shared with his Twitter followers on Friday, provoked an avalanche of critical responses. McFaul later even said he was surprised that his “analytical statement” that simply rehashed a theory that democracies generally get on together well was taken as a policy suggestion to Tehran.

U.S.-Iran relations will never be stable and peaceful until Iran becomes a democracy.

— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) December 11, 2020

Dec 08 10:02

Iran sends BIGGEST EVER fleet of oil tankers to Venezuela, defying US sanctions – report

Iran is sending a large fleet of oil tankers to Venezuela to help the Latin American nation survive a severe lack of fuel, Bloomberg has reported, citing sources. Both countries are facing US sanctions targeting their oil trade.

According to the sources, some of the flotilla of around ten Iranian vessels will also help export Venezuelan crude after discharging fuel.

The current fleet under sail is about double the size of the one that first startled international observers in May when crossing part of the Caribbean Sea patrolled by the US Navy, they said.

The last Iranian fuel shipments sent in early October on three vessels are running out, threatening steeper nationwide shortages.

Dec 08 08:11

Saudi Arabia: US Must Consult Gulf States Before Returning to Iran Nuclear Deal

When the Obama Administration reached the P5+1 nuclear deal with Iran, among the biggest opponents was Saudi Arabia. With President-elect Joe Biden expected to rejoin the process, the Saudis are stepping forward again.

Saudi FM Prince Faisal bin Farhan is warning that any move to rejoin the Iran deal could only be sustainable if Biden consults with the Gulf Arab states first. He added he is “ready to engage” when Biden takes office.

The incoming administration hasn’t commented, but there are reasons to doubt this happening. The talks would be high risk for little reward, as the Saudis are almost certain to remain opposed to the deal, and the US oughtn’t give the impression they need a Saudi imprimatur to make the move.

Dec 08 07:08

Full-Scale War or Partial Retaliation: What Are Iran's Options to Avenge Fakhrizadeh's Killing?

Iran is unlikely to declare a full-fledged war against Israel, which it blames for the assassination of its top nuclear scientist, according to one Israeli expert. At the same time, he claims that Tehran might retaliate, opting for a limited strike or a targeted killing of an Israeli diplomat abroad.

Iran is still trying to decipher the assassination of its nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, who was killed ten days ago with the help of a satellite-controlled machine gun that purportedly used artificial intelligence.

The Islamic Republic pointed the finger of blame at Israel for the assassination, claiming it was in Tel Aviv's interests to get rid of an Iranian nuclear scientist believed to play a pivotal role in building the country's atomic reactors.

Dec 08 06:29

US and Its Allies Stoking Fears of Possible Iranian Attacks

Since Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an apparent Israeli plot, the US and Israel have been warning about threats in the region. Despite Iran’s clear desire to make it to January 20th without a military confrontation with the US, anonymous officials are hyping the threat of Iranian retaliation for Fakhrizadeh’s death.

On Monday, an anonymous US official told The Associated Press that Washington fears Iran may take advantage of US troop drawdowns in Iraq and Afghanistan. For this reason, the official said the US might have to hold off on the planned departure of the aircraft carrier USS Nimitz from the Persian Gulf.

Dec 08 06:27

Israel tried to lure Iran into war with Fakhrizadeh's killing. So far it has failed

As time has elapsed since the killing of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on 27 November, the chances for quick retaliation are fading away.

After the assassination, in an operation east of Tehran attributed to Israel’s Mossad, senior Iranian leaders have used harsh language to promise revenge, not only against Israel but also the United States and Israel’s new allies in the region, Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.

Among those vowing retribution were President Hassan Rouhani and military confidants of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, including former Defence Minister Ahmad Wahidi.

Dec 08 06:26

U.S. sanctions are impeding Iran’s access to coronavirus vaccines, experts say

U.S. economic sanctions on Iran could impede its access to coronavirus vaccines, business and financial analysts say, imperiling efforts to contain the largest outbreak in the Middle East and risking continued spread of the virus throughout the region.

While a spokesman for the Covax global vaccine program said Iran has received a U.S. government exemption to procure vaccines, analysts warn that financial sanctions hamstring Iran’s efforts to participate in the program and to make related medical purchases.

“The Trump administration has deliberately failed to provide the kind of clarity and guidance that would be necessary to allow financial institutions that contain Iranian accounts” to allow Iran “use of its own money for making these purchases,” said Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, founder and publisher of Bourse & Bazaar, a media company supporting business diplomacy between Europe and Iran.

Dec 08 06:23

US sanctions have caused Iranians untold misery - and achieved nothing

"My young cousin passed away last week," an Iranian Twitter user recently lamented. “She needed medication for her cancer that doctors said can’t be found."

The tweet tragically went on: "Maybe she’d be alongside her little daughter now if she had this medicine and not under a pile of cold dirt."

These heartbreaking words are from journalist Katayoon Lamezadeh, one of thousands of Iranians who have taken to social media to speak of how sanctions have upended their lives. Their stories reflect the devastating human costs of US economic sanctions that are often ignored by Washington’s foreign policy elite and largely unknown to the American public.

Dec 06 08:49

Chaos & Suspicion: The Killing Of Iran's Nuclear Scientists

New details are emerging about an attack that killed Iran's most senior nuclear scientist last Friday. Initially, it was thought that Mohsen Fakhrizadeh's car was attacked by undentified gunmen armed with automatic weapons and explosives. However, a Fars news agency report on Sunday evening states that Fakhrizadeh was actually killed by a remote-controlled weapon mounted in a vehicle that subsequently exploded. Iran has blamed Israel and an opposition group in exile called Mujahedeen-e-Khalq for the attack. A senior Iranian security official has described it as "highly complex", adding that it was carried out with "electronic devices".

While Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is the most senior nuclear scientist to be killed in mysterious circumstances in Iran, Statista's Niall McCarthy notes that he is by no means the first with Tehran holding Israel accountable for at least five assassinations.

Dec 06 08:38

Israel Warns Nuclear Scientists That Iran Could Target Them

Israel warned its nuclear scientists that they could be targets of an Iranian attack, Israeli media reported on Friday. The warning came after prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed, an attack widely believed to have been carried out by Israel.

One former scientist who worked at Israel’s Dimona reactor said he was cautioned to change his daily routine. The Dimona reactor is where Israel is believed to have first developed nuclear weapons.

Israel is estimated to have anywhere between 90 and 300 nuclear warheads, although they maintain a policy of ambiguity and officially deny possessing nuclear weapons.

Dec 06 07:55

"All Terrorists Are Educated In Schools Sponsored By Saudi Arabia": Iran Airs Laundry List

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said this week that every terrorist group in our region received its teachings in religious schools funded by Saudi Arabia. Specifically he charged "Every terrorist group in our region has graduated from Saudi-funded Madrassas".

Khatibzadeh tweeted on Thursday "No amount of Saudi confusion can hide this ugly reality." He added in another statement about Saudi Arabia, "Their atrocities in Yemen, and the infamous killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi are just some of their other stunts, and the latest of this is their standing with the state sponsor of terror against the Palestinians."

"The Saudis must change course," he continued. "The policy of inflaming tensions can no longer be defended."

Dec 06 07:49

Top U.S. Military Commander in South America: Iran Quds Force Active in Venezuela

Iran is sending Venezuelan dictator Nicolas Maduro’s socialist regime weapons and troops, a top U.S. military official told the Wall Street Journal Wednesday.

“We see a growing Iranian influence in there,” the head of the U.S. Southern Command, Admiral Craig Faller, told the Journal. “We’re real [sic] concerned about what Iran is up to, not just globally, but here in this hemisphere.”

He went on to cite the “alarming and concerning” arrival of military personnel from the elite Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), notorious for its terrorist activities in other countries including Syria and Iraq. Faller also confirmed that the military is seeing an “uptick” in weapons shipments from Iran to Venezuela, although he did not specify the specific arms being supplied.

Dec 06 07:40

Saudis Demand To Be Consulted Before Biden Reenters Iran Nucleal Deal

After President-Elect Joe Biden told The New York Times this past week that should Iran return to compliance to the 2015 nuclear deal (particularly caps placed on enrichment) he'll return the US to participation in the Obama-era agreement, the Saudis have registered their alarm.

Saudi Arabia's top diplomat said Saturday that Washington must consult the kingdom and Gulf state allies before moving forward with reentry to the JCPOA. The Sunni kingdom sees Shia Iran as its number one threat and enemy in the region.

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan told AFP, "Primarily what we expect is that we are fully consulted, that we and our other regional friends are fully consulted in what goes on vis a vis the negotiations with Iran."

Dec 06 07:33

Trump official denies new Iran sanctions are meant to tie Biden's hands

The U.S. special representative for Iran said Thursday evening that new sanctions on Tehran’s government put in place by the Trump administration did not represent an effort by the outgoing president to box in President-elect Joe Biden when it comes to Iran policy.

“That’s completely the wrong way to read it,” Elliott Abrams said during a George Mason University webcast, adding that the sanctions were part of the “maximum pressure” campaign that had been Trump administration policy since May 2018, when the president announced that the United States was leaving the nuclear deal with Iran that had been negotiated by the Obama administration.

Dec 05 08:25

Biden: ‘Hard to tell’ how much Fakhrizadeh killing complicates detente with Iran

In his first public comments on the assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist over the weekend, which Tehran has blamed on Israel, US President-elect Joe Biden said Thursday it was “hard to tell” how much it had complicated his hopes of reaching a detente with the Islamic Republic once he enters office.

In the wake of the killing, commentators have speculated it may have angered the Biden team. It has been seen as a possible move by Israel to use the final weeks of President Donald Trump’s exceedingly friendly administration to establish facts on the ground in regional geopolitics that the incoming president will be hard-pressed to overturn.

Dec 05 08:11

Biggest Iranian Flotilla Yet En Route to Venezuela With Fuel

Iran is sending its biggest fleet yet of tankers to Venezuela in defiance of U.S. sanctions to help the isolated nation weather a crippling fuel shortage, according to people with knowledge of the matter.

Some of the flotilla of about 10 Iranian vessels will also help export Venezuelan crude after discharging fuel, the people said, asking not to be named because the transaction is not public.

Dec 04 08:31

People of Saudi Arabia and Iran dumping Qurans in the City Sewers

Dec 04 08:05

A Killing in Iran: Who Gains from Yet Another Assassination?

It is not often that one can agree with the pronouncements made by former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan, but his tweeted comment on the killing of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh suggesting that the incident “…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” was both restrained and reasonable. Or it was at least so until sentence two, which was clearly intended to attack Donald Trump and praise the incoming Joe Biden administration, which Brennan just might be seeking to join.

Dec 04 07:58

Iran: Saudi policy of inflaming tension no longer tenable

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman says Saudi Arabia has to revisit its decades-old policy of fueling tensions throughout the region.

Tweeting on Thursday, Saeed Khatibzadeh reminded that “for decades, Wahabism—nurtured by colonial powers—has been the source of bigotry, hatred & terrorism in our region — and beyond.”

1/ For decades, Wahabism—nurtured by colonial powers—has been *the* source of bigotry, hatred & terrorism in our region — and beyond.

Fact: Every terrorist group in our region has graduated from Saudi-funded Madrassas.

No amount of Saudi obfuscation can hide this ugly reality.

— Saeed Khatibzadeh (@SKhatibzadeh) December 3, 2020

Dec 04 07:55

The Israeli/US/UK complex attempts to gaslight the world

The assassination of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh on Friday was the latest strategic offensive from Israel to provoke a war with Iran. The style of this terrorist attack lies well within Mossad''s repertoire and Israel is the (regime) with the most to gain.

The Israeli leaders understand that a protracted war will be fought by American and British soldiers with limited Israeli military participation. This is because Israel and their founding families control the foreign policy of the United States which has the strongest military in the world. These same entities control the entirety of the US mainstream media and much of its government. They also control the US economy through the Federal Reserve System.

Dec 03 11:52

TRUMP ADMINISTRATION FIGHTS IRAN IN MIDDLE EAST AS QODS FORCE EXPANDS IN U.S. BACKYARD

The United States and Israel are preparing for even more military action against Iran following the assassination of prominent nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, in the countryside of Tehran last week.

The Israeli Defense Forces and the United States have already stepped up coordination mechanisms to react to what Israeli media likes to call ‘non-motivated aggression’ by Iran. The accepted measures reportedly include procedures for joint detection of missile or rocket fire at Israeli or American targets. Israeli sources claim that Iran will respond to the attack, which took place near Tehran, most likely in some asymmetrical way, by the end of December.

Dec 03 08:17

How Israel Deployed an Intelligence Deception to Justify Killing Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

The Israeli assassination of Iranian defense official Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is being treated as a triumph of Israeli intelligence, with ubiquitous references in the New York Times and other major media outlets to the killing of “Iran’s top nuclear scientist”. In fact, Israel’s Mossad intelligence agency eliminated Fakhrizadeh, a defense official, despite the fact that its public depiction of him as the key architect of an Iranian nuclear weapons program was a deception.

For years, US media outlets have portrayed Fakhrizadeh as Iran’s equivalent to J. Robert Oppenheimer, marketing him to the public as the mastermind behind an Iranian version of the Manhattan Project. This image was developed primarily through a carefully constructed Israeli disinformation operation based on documents that displayed signs of fabrication.

Dec 03 08:15

How US media manipulates Iran’s nuclear program into a sinister myth

Experts, media elites, and other Iran observers lit into New York Times national security reporter David Sanger this week for his sloppy — and perhaps “Judith Miller-level bad” — reporting on Iran’s nuclear program following the assassination of one of the country’s top nuclear scientists last week.

The offense in question involved the opening line of Sanger’s “News Analysis” which asserted that the scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, had “led Iran’s pursuit of a nuclear weapon for the past two decades.”

Of course, as has been repeatedly documented by the U.S. intelligence community and the International Atomic Energy Agency, Iran ended its military nuclear program sometime in 2003, and has not been ongoing over the past two decades, a point that journalist and former NBC News anchor Ann Curry made to Sanger on Twitter.

Dec 03 08:14

Israel Tries To Kill The Nuclear Deal

Last Friday Iran’s leading nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in a coordinated terrorist attack outside of Tehran. The Iranian government has publicly blamed Israel for the attack, and according to early reports Israeli involvement has been confirmed by U.S. and other intelligence officials. Israel sponsored a number of similar assassinations of lower-profile scientists in the early 2010s, and their government is a loud opponent of U.S. reentry into the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The purpose of murdering Fakhrizadeh seems to have been to trigger a conflict that would kill the JCPOA, but the murderers also reminded us why it is so important that their efforts fail.

Dec 03 08:13

Biden Says He Will Return to Iran Nuclear Deal

Despite the tensions between the US and Iran and last week’s assassination of an Iranian scientist, Joe Biden said he plans to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Biden made the comments in an interview with New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman that was published on Wednesday. Friedman asked Biden if he stood by the views of an op-ed he penned in September, where the former vice president said he would work with Iran to return to the JCPOA. “It’s going to be hard, but yeah,” Biden answered.

The former vice president said he favors an immediate return to the JCPOA and then a follow-on deal that addresses Iran’s ballistic missiles program. Biden hopes the second deal could involve Saudi Arabia and the UAE. He said, “the best way to achieve getting some stability in the region” is to deal “with the nuclear program.”

Dec 03 08:04

A Killing in Iran: Who Gains from Yet Another Assassination?

It is not often that one can agree with the pronouncements made by former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan, but his tweeted comment on the killing of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh suggesting that the incident “…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” was both restrained and reasonable. Or it was at least so until sentence two, which was clearly intended to attack Donald Trump and praise the incoming Joe Biden administration, which Brennan just might be seeking to join.

Dec 03 06:45

Iran To Boot Nuclear Inspectors Unless Access To Banking & Oil Markets Restored 

Critics of Trump and Pompeo's maximum pressure campaign against Iran have argued that the sanctions strangulation and 'dirty tricks' actions which put the Islamic Republic on the extreme defensive and thus a militarized posture will only push it to pursue a nuclear bomb at all costs.

After all the mullahs see what happened to Libya and Iraq, and especially since the last January assassination of IRGC Quds Force chief Qassem Soleimani (and now the killing of its top nuclear scientist last Friday) consider that Iran is at war on multiple fronts against its enemies. As yet more proof, Iran is ready to take the most dramatic step yet pulling further away from prior designated restrictions on its nuclear energy development program:

A bill requiring Iran’s government to suspend nuclear inspections unless sanctions are lifted, and ignore other restraints on its nuclear program agreed with major powers, was passed by the hardline-led parliament on Tuesday.

Dec 02 08:52

Iran Suspects Exiled Cult Was Involved In Assassination Of Top Scientist

Iran continues to release details surrounding the killing of its top scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. On Monday, a senior Iranian official said a controversial group of Iranian exiles based in Albania could have been involved in the assassination.

"We have some clues but surely the 'Monafeghin' group was involved and the criminal element behind it is the Zionist regime and Mossad," Ali Shamkhani, secretary of the Supreme National Security Council of Iran, told state TV.

The "Monafeghin" refers to the National Council of Resistance of Iran, a coalition led by the People’s Mujahedin of Iran, or MEK (Mujahedin-e Khalq). The MEK is a controversial group widely considered to be a cult, and up until 2012, was designated as a terrorist group by the US government.

Dec 02 08:09

Iran reminds IAEA of its ‘immediate, primary responsibility’ over Fakhrizadeh killing

Iran’s envoy to Vienna-based international organizations has rapped the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) for keeping silent over the recent assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

Kazem Gharibabadi told reporters on Monday that the IAEA is expected to clearly declare its stance regarding the recent act of terrorism and strongly condemn it.

“The IAEA has an immediate and primary responsibility toward the member state (Iran) that has accepted the highest level of the Agency’s inspections, has the most transparent nuclear program as it implements various commitments, but its scientists are exposed to assassination threats or are targeted by terrorists, and its nuclear facilities are exposed to aggression or are targeted with sabotage,” Gharibabadi said.

Dec 02 08:06

Past and present: Israel’s targeting of Iran nuclear aspirations

The assassination of Iran’s top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh sent shock waves across the Middle East.

Tehran accuses Israel of being responsible for the brazen attack and has pledged retaliation. While proof for the accusation does not exist, Fakhrizadeh’s death fits a pattern previously linked to Israel – a long list of moves against officials in Iran and its nuclear programme, which Israel continues to consider perilous to its existence.

Dec 02 07:32

Israel Is (Again) Pushing For War On Iran

There is a campaign to push U.S. president Donald Trump into attacking Iran before he leaves his office. It is likely that Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahoo, with the help of Secretary of State Mike Pompous, is the brain behind it.

The campaign started on November 16 with a New York Times piece which claimed that Trump had asked for options to bomb Iran:

President Trump asked senior advisers in an Oval Office meeting on Thursday whether he had options to take action against Iran’s main nuclear site in the coming weeks. The meeting occurred a day after international inspectors reported a significant increase in the country’s stockpile of nuclear material, four current and former U.S. officials said on Monday.

Dec 02 07:05

Report: Trump Gives Hawks Free Rein to Hammer Iran

According to a report from The Daily Beast, President Trump has given his most hawkish advisors free rein to squeeze Iran as much as possible in the final weeks of his administration. The story cites multiple anonymous US officials who say Trump’s only condition was that his aides do not risk starting “World War III.”

The report reads: “Trump has given some of his most hawkish administration officials, particularly his top diplomat, Mike Pompeo, carte blanche to squeeze and punish the Islamic Republic as aggressively as they wish in the coming weeks.”

Dec 01 08:00

Reports: Airstrike Killed Iranian Commander Near Iraq-Syria Border

Iraqi sources told several Arab media outlets on Monday that an airstrike near the Iraq-Syria border killed a commander in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps. The strike reportedly occurred either late Saturday or early Sunday, and some accounts say it was a drone strike.

Some of the sources identified the slain military leader as Muslim Shahdan, a senior IRGC commander. Other reports say the IRGC commander could not be identified, but all accounts say three other people were killed in the same event. The commander was reportedly struck in a vehicle that was entering Syria from Iraq.

Iran has yet to confirm or deny the report, but if it is true, the IRGC commander’s killing comes just days after prominent Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed inside Iran and would ratchet up tensions in the region even more. All indications point to Israel being responsible for Fakhrizadeh’s death.

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