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IRAN

Oct 03 07:15

US confirms the seizure of four Iranian tankers headed to Venezuela

Washington confirmed Friday earlier reports that it had seized Iranian tankers believed to be carrying a multimillion-dollar fuel shipment to Venezuela.

“These actions represent the government’s largest-ever seizure of fuel shipments from Iran,” a statement from the US Justice Department said.

Oct 03 07:12

Iran's Oil Exports Jump in September Defying Sanctions

Iranian oil exports have risen sharply in September in defiance of U.S. sanctions, three assessments based on tanker tracking showed, throwing a lifeline to the Islamic Republic and its collapsing economy.

Exports have shrunk from over 2.5 million barrels per day (bpd) since the United States withdrew from a nuclear deal with Iran and reimposed sanctions in 2018. Still, Iran has been working to get around the measures and keep exports flowing.

Data from TankerTrackers and two other firms indicated exports are rising in September, although the figures fall into a wide range of between 400,000 bpd and 1.5 million bpd, reflecting the difficulty in tracking the shipments.

Oct 03 07:11

A pipeline built for Iran may turn Israel into a major crude oil transportation hub

Following the normalization agreement between Israel and the United Arab Emirates, it is possible the UAE will make use of a crude oil pipeline originally built by Israel and pre-revolution Iran – and turn Israel into a major center for the transport of oil between regions, 246 Mag reports. In using the pipeline, the UAE could bypass transporting oil through the Suez Canal and save a great deal of money on shipping costs.

The Eilat-Ashkelon-Haifa oil pipeline was built in 1959, following the Suez Crisis of 1956. The pipeline was predominantly used to ship Iranian crude oil from Shah-era Iran to Europe, avoiding the Egypt-controlled Suez Canal. The transfer of oil from Iran to Europe through Israel was terminated after the Iranian Revolution of 1979, 246 Mag reports.

Oct 03 06:57

US bullying with regard to JCPOA backfires, isolating the US

The terms and conditions stipulated in the JCPOA, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, are crystal clear, with the 18th of October clearly set as the termination date for the arms embargo on Iran.

The USA, despite having unilaterally left the JCPOA and no longer being a party to the agreement, has been rallying its allies since April in the hope of extending the embargo and, eventually, triggering the snapback mechanism, to re-impose ALL sanctions on Iran!

That would entail retaining the arms embargo beyond October 18th in addition to the suspension of all nuclear enrichment-related and reprocessing activities. Since imports to Iran would consequently be banned; imports of anything that could contribute to those activities would cease.

Oct 03 06:53

Strategic partnership deal with China will mark new chapter in bilateral ties: Iran

Congratulating China on its National Day, Iran has hailed strategic ties between the two countries, saying the partnership agreement that Tehran and Beijing are working to finalize will open a new chapter in bilateral relations.

In a message to his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, on Thursday, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani congratulated the Chinese people and government on the occasion of their National Day.

Tehran and Beijing have been standing side by side in the fight against the coronavirus outbreak, he emphasized, expressing Iran’s readiness to cooperate with China in producing COVID-19 vaccine.

“I am sure that the conclusion and signing of the 25-year comprehensive strategic cooperation plan between the two countries will be a large step towards advancing common interests in line with international peace and security and confronting unilateralism,” Rouhani said.

Oct 01 10:05

Analysis | Netanyahu and Erdogan in Unlikely Alliance Against Iran in Nagorno-Karabakh?

Azerbaijani cargo planes landing at Israeli air force bases in the Negev are a relatively common sight, attesting to the extensive arms deals between the two countries. But the frequency of arrivals and timing of Ilyushin Il-76 freighters – two of which landed at Uvda last Thursday, just two days before a major escalation in the ongoing conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia, followed by two more on Tuesday and Wednesday – suggest both the preparation and replenishing of Azerbaijani forces for the latest bout of fighting around the Nagorno-Karabakh enclave, now in its fourth day.

Sep 30 07:36

Tehran rejects media allegations of arms transfer to Armenia via Iran

Iran has dismissed as lies reports by some media outlets about the transfer of weapons and military equipment to Armenia through the territory of the Islamic Republic.

“The movement of trucks and the transit of conventional civilian goods between the Islamic Republic of Iran and neighboring countries have been ongoing as usual,” Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said.

However, he added, “in addition to closely monitoring and controlling the movements and transit of goods to other countries, Iran does not allow the use of its soil for the transfer of weapons and ammunition.”

Sep 30 06:32

Iran FM calls for immediate cessation of hostilities, Yerevan-Baku dialogue

Iran’s foreign minister has reacted to the latest round of military confrontation in South Caucasus, emphasizing that the Islamic Republic is ready to do all in its power to restore peace to that region, because "our region needs peace now."

Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks in a Twitter post on Sunday, in which he called for “an immediate end to hostilities,” and urging, “dialogue to resolve differences.”

Iran’s foreign minister also indicated the Islamic Republic’s readiness to "provide good offices to enable talks" between

Sep 29 07:54

Netanyahu Not Ruling Out Preemptive Strike Against Iran

Last month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu denounced the UN Security Council's decision not to allow an extension of the arms embargo on Iran as "scandalous", adding his country is set to continue jointly working with the United States to thwart what he called "Iranian aggression".

Israel has not ruled out a preemptive strike against Iran, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned during a memorial service on Tuesday for those who fell in the 1973 Yom Kippur War, an Arab-Israeli military standoff.

"A preemptive strike is a difficult thing to do. I know that if Iran wants to base itself in the north, we are ready to fight them. This is a direct lesson of the Yom Kippur War", noted Netanyahu, asserting that they "will do everything in order to protect the State of Israel; we are not ruling out a preliminary strike".

Sep 29 07:14

Trump Administration Prepares Broad New Iran Sanctions

The exact wording is still being worked on, but the Trump Administration is preparing to introduce a new round of sanctions against Iran in general, and its financial sector in particular. The goal an executive order from Trump imposing these before the election.

Again, how it works isn’t yet confirmed, but the idea is to prevent every last avenue of legal financial exchange for Iran. Since this is already effectively the case with existing sanctions, the changes are likely to be minor.

These new restrictions will be presented as closing “loopholes,” and some officials are saying that the real goal is to prevent Joe Biden, if he wins the election, from easily reversing the sanctions and returning the US to the nuclear deal.

Sep 29 06:50

Video: US Is Preparing Military Response to Wave of Iranian-backed Attacks on Its Forces in Iraq

Over the past months, attacks on convoys of the US-led coalition moving military equipment and supplies have become an ordinary development in Iraq. Local Iranian-backed resistance groups demanding a US military withdrawal from the country have conducted over two dozen attacks so far. The most recent ones took place on September 22 and 23.

The September 22 attack erupted in the district of al-Dujayl, around 60 km to the north of Baghdad. According to Iraq’s Security Media Cell, the convoy was targeted with an improvised explosive device. No casualties were reported. On the afternoon of September 23, a second supply convoy of the U.S.-led coalition was targeted in the district of Awja, more than 160 km north of Baghdad.

Sep 29 00:15

Trump admin mulls new sanctions on Iran’s financial sector

"...The Trump administration is considering fresh sanctions to sever Iran’s economy from the outside world except in limited circumstances, by targeting more than a dozen banks and labeling the entire financial sector off-limits, three people familiar with the matter said.

The move would effectively leave Iran – which has seen its economy crushed by the loss of oil sales and most other trade thanks to existing American restrictions – isolated from the global financial system, slashing the few remaining legal linkages it has and making it more dependent on informal or illicit trade..."

Sep 28 09:33

With spy series 'Tehran,' Israelis reach out to an enemy

The show's creators hope that offering viewers a sympathetic view of Iran - one of Israel's greatest regional foes - could open hearts and maybe be a stepping stone for future dialogu

The series opens with a commercial flight from Jordan to India that's suddenly diverted to Iran. A few of the passengers on board have secrets. Those secrets will soon have war jets scrambling and a covert manhunt launching.

As audacious as the premise, “Tehran” is equally bold: an Israeli production that offers viewers a sympathetic view of Iran — one of Israel's greatest foes — without anyone from the production setting foot in the Islamic Republic.

Sep 28 09:22

Iran and Iraq agree to boost ties in high-level meetings

Iraqi Foreign Minister Fuad Hussein has concluded a two-day diplomatic trip to Tehran, during which he met with top Iranian officials to discuss boosting political and economic ties, and the role of the United States in the region.

On Saturday, Hussein met with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, and parliament Speaker Mohammed Bagher Ghalibaf.

Sep 28 07:16

Iran to Help Syria Rebuild Air Defenses to Better Withstand Ceaseless Israeli Aggression

Iran’s military is reporting they’ve made a deal with the Syrian government to help rebuild their air defense systems, and have signed a new contract to begin when the Iran arms embargo expires next month.

Details of what the contract said is unclear, but the Iranians say they are ready to export some arms with the embargo’s expiration.

The likely arms are Sayyad-2, as the Syrians have S-200 launchers, which are compatible with the Iranian missiles.

Syria has invested a lot in air defenses over the years, but over the past year they’ve lost a lot of capacity in some parts of the country, facing near constant Israeli attacks. The systems are mostly bought from Russia, but Iran’s compatible parts may be cheaper.

Sep 28 07:01

Zarif says US simply lying about sanctions not affecting humanitarian items

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Washington is simply lying when it claims its unilateral sanctions have had no impact on the delivery of humanitarian items to the Iranian people.

“Whatever the Americans are saying about their sanctions not affecting humanitarian items is just [a] lie,” the Iranian foreign minister told Russia Today on Sunday.

Zarif said the United States has not only hindered Iran’s oil export, but also denied the Islamic Republic access to its “own money.”

“The United States first of all limited our financial resources by preventing us from selling oil and, secondly, it is preventing us from having access even to our own money.”

Sep 28 07:00

US sanctions are harming Iran’s Covid-19 response & amount to ‘medical terrorism’, FM Zarif tells RT

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has accused the United States of impeding his country’s ability to fight coronavirus, explaining that US sanctions have prevented the purchase of critical medical supplies.

Washington’s efforts to stop Tehran from exporting oil have limited the government’s ability to respond to the global health crisis and provide relief to the Iranian people, Zarif said in an interview with ‘Worlds Apart’ host Oksana Boyko. The top Iranian diplomat noted that Iran also has “quite a bit of money stashed in countries abroad,” but that the US has prevented Tehran from gaining access to these funds, even to buy medicine.

Zarif lamented that, due to US sanctions, Iran could not use its “own money” to ensure access to coronavirus vaccines under development. Iran cannot even purchase doses of influenza vaccine, the foreign minister said.

Sep 28 06:57

CIA Spy’s Dream: IRGC Opens Massive National Aerospace Park in Tehran - Video

The Islamic Republic has made major strides in its defence electronics, rocketry, radar and space technology industries in recent years, and demonstrated the extent of its capabilities through the successful launch of a new generation of satellites, and the destruction of a stealthy $220 million US drone which violated its airspace last year.

Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps have inaugurated a large new National Aerospace Park in Tehran on Sunday, with the permanent exhibition showing off the achievements of the Middle Eastern nation’s defence and aerospace industries.

The exhibition, located inside a giant hanger facility, features an array of equipment and technologies, including full-scale mockups of various classes of missiles and rockets, radar systems, rocket engines, defence electronics components, prospective and fielded drones, and satellites.

Sep 28 05:51

American Space Force Installs Military Base in the Persian Gulf to Monitor Iran

The sixth and newest branch of the U.S. Armed Forces now has an overseas base. A squadron of 20 soldiers has been sent to an air base in Al Udeid, which is in a desert in Qatar, where the first unit abroad of the American Space Force will be deployed. The Space Force is the first new military service since the creation of the Air Force in 1947 and the speed with which it managed to install its first base abroad is surprising. On Sunday (September 20), the U.S. Space Force posted a video on its Twitter account showing the military’s oath ceremony, which took place earlier this month. The number of troops in the region is provisional and is expected to increase soon.

Sep 27 05:35

Russia pledges military cooperation with Iran after UN arms embargo expires

Russia said Tuesday it will develop military cooperation with Tehran after a United Nations arms embargo on Iran expires next month, despite U.S. efforts to block arms deals.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said earlier this month that Washington would prevent Iran from purchasing Chinese tanks and Russian air defense systems as the U.N. arms embargo expiration approaches.

"New opportunities will emerge in our cooperation with Iran after the special regime imposed by U.N. Security Council Resolution 2231 expires on Oct. 18," Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov told the Interfax news agency.

Sep 27 05:20

Enemies Lists on Display at the United Nations

The opening of the United Nations General Assembly in New York each September is generally notable for its two weeks of speeches by heads of state, foreign ministers and other government officials addressing their own fellow citizens through the medium of a world forum. This year was no exception except for the fact that the coronavirus pandemic meant that most speakers were not live, instead delivering their messages by means of pre-recorded videos.

Most of the speeches were bland, boasting of achievements back at home, and utterly predictable. Many also praised the United Nations as a gathering place where all nations could learn to get along. There were, however, some exceptions, with certain spokesmen using the bully pulpit to deliberately target regimes and foreign leaders for criticism, or even to deliver thinly veiled threats.

Sep 24 06:34

Don’t believe all the US lies on Iran. America’s sole aim is to get the country it ‘lost’ in 1979 back in its grip

Let’s not pretend US actions or words on Iran have any legitimacy. The real ‘threat to the world’ comes from self-righteous warmongers in Washington, not from Tehran.

We’ve heard it all over the past week. Iran is a “threat to the world”, a “sponsor of terrorism”, is “destabilizing the Middle East”, and the international community must “cooperate” over this grave threat by implementing crushing United Nations sanctions on the country, including an arms embargo, as part of a “snapback” option against it. Shamelessly, Mike Pompeo positions himself once again as a champion of freedom, claiming he is on a self-righteous mission to stop the tyranny of Iran from “obtaining a nuclear weapon”.

Sep 24 06:22

Iran Bucks US Sanctions to Export Venezuelan Crude

After defying U.S. sanctions by shipping a cargo of oil condensate to Venezuela just last week, Iran is using the same ship to help the Latin American country export its crude.

The Iran-flagged supertanker Honey, also known as Horse, is loading Venezuela’s top exported grade Merey 16 at Venezuela’s government-controlled port of Jose, according to a shipping report seen by Bloomberg. The shipments give some respite to the nation’s hobbled oil industry, as most shipowners avoid doing business with the country for fear of sanctions.

The vessel, which just discharged 2 million barrels of Iranian condensate , turned off its satellite signal to avoid detection after the U.S. was able to intercept 1.116 million barrels of gasoline going to Venezuela in August. Bloomberg reported that the ship was discharging its contents in Venezuela last week though ship-tracking signals still show the ship off the coast of Dubai.

Sep 23 12:06

IRAN SAYS HOUTHIS USE ITS MILITARY KNOW-HOW IN BATTLE AGAINST SAUDI ARABIA

Iran has supplied Ansar Allah (also known as the Houthis) with technical expertise and know-how, a spokesman for the Iranian Armed Forces Brigadier General Abolfazl Shekarchi said on September 22. However, the general claimed that Yemeni forces “have learned how to produce missiles, drones and weapons in Yemen on their own” and Iran has no military presence in the region. Shekarchi described what Iran is doing across the region as “spiritual and advisory presence”.

“Countries of the resistance front have armies and forces themselves. We provide them with advisory help. In order to share our experience with the people of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, our skilled forces go there and assist them, but this is the people and armies of these countries who stand against the enemies in practice,” the general stated.

Sep 22 07:27

US blockade of Iran would be an act of war: American analyst

Patrick Lawrence, an American political analyst and foreign affairs journalist, has said the US should not try to blockade the Islamic Republic of Iran in order to enforce illegal sanctions unilaterally, because blockades are acts of war.

For the first time in ten months, last week a US aircraft carrier sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and enters into the waters of the Persian Gulf, after Washington threatened to illegally extend an expiring arms embargo on Iran.

The US 5th Fleet said in a statement on Friday that the strike group led by the USS Nimitz and including two guided-missile cruisers and a guided-missile destroyer sailed into the Persian Gulf to operate and train with US partners.

The Nimitz strike group includes the USS Princeton and USS Philippine Sea, both guided-missile cruisers, and the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett.

Sep 22 07:26

Iranian woman walks round the globe to introduce peace road

Every year on September 21 people around the world attempt to strengthen the ideals of peace in various ways.

The day was established in 1981 by the United Nations General Assembly. Countries attempt to stop hostilities during the day and hold educational and cultural events to promote peace.

This year a common enemy, known as the coronavirus, has made it more necessary to promote peace and help the world get rid of the disaster.

Due to the spread of the virus, the programs are held with restrictions and few people participate.

In Iran, a woman has decided to walk around the world. She is going to introduce a peace road for the first time to the world. By travelling between peace symbols of different countries, this Iranian woman seeks to deliver Iran’s message of peace to other parts of the world.

Sep 22 07:20

Trump Admin Unilaterally Imposes UN Sanctions on Iran

On Monday, the Trump administration announced new sanctions on Iran under the guise of enforcing stipulations of the 2015 nuclear deal, an agreement the US withdrew from in 2018. The US is taking these measures unilaterally, with virtually no international support. The move is not only rejected by the UN Security Council but also by key European allies like the UK, Germany, and France.

President Trump signed an executive order on Monday that is meant to replace a UN arms embargo on Iran that will expire in October. The executive order allows the US to impose sanctions on any individual or entity that sells weapons to Iran.

Sep 22 07:20

Iran Offers Full Prisoner Exchange With US

On Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif made a video address to the Council of Foreign Relations in New York, during which he proposed a full exchange of prisoners held by the US and Iranian governments.

It’s unclear exactly how many prisoners this would cover, but Zarif said the offer was to exchange all prisoners, adding that “there are Iranians in US prisoners who are only there because they refuse to betray their country.”

Iran has some US citizens in prison on espionage charges, while mostly the Iranians held by the US are facing allegations of violating sanctions. The US has often demanded the unconditional release of all Americans held.

Exchanges are not unheard of. In December 2018 the US and Iran traded a pair of prisoners, and in June Iran released a Navy veteran who had contracted Covid-19, in return for the US allowing an Iranian-American doctor to visit Iran.

Sep 22 07:07

U.S. concerned about Iran-North Korea cooperation, seeks to prevent it - envoy

The United States is concerned about Iran’s cooperation with North Korea and will do whatever it can to prevent it, Elliott Abrams, Washington’s envoy on Iran, said on Monday.

Abrams was responding to a reporter’s question on whether the United States had seen evidence that Tehran and Pyongyang had resumed cooperation on long-range missile development.

He spoke shortly after the Trump administration slapped new sanctions on Iran over its nuclear and weapons programs.

Sep 22 06:58

The US’ Latest Anti-Iranian Sanctions Will Worsen the Trade War with China

The US’ latest anti-Iranian sanctions won’t change much when it comes to the Islamic Republic’s present economic predicament but will almost certainly provoke a worsening of the so-called “trade war” with China since the real intent seems to be to target the countless companies that are poised to participate in those two countries’ reported $400 billion strategic partnership agreement by replicating the model of “maximum pressure” that’s been experimented against Huawei over the past year.

Sep 20 12:50

Iran's Rouhani Vows "Crushing Response" After Pompeo Declares Restoration Of All Sanctions

Pompeo on Saturday announced the restoration of all sanctions on Iran, following the expiration of a 30-day window for the Islamic Republic to come back into conformity to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

But as even America's European allies point out, Washington is attempting to uphold 'snapback' sanctions based on a deal it pulled out of in May 2018. Undeterred, Pompeo announced the re-implementation of "virtually all previously terminated UN sanctions on the Islamic Republic of Iran."

Sep 20 09:33

US carrier transits Strait of Hormuz amid tensions with Iran

The USS Nimitz aircraft carrier safely transited on Friday through the Strait of Hormuz, the world’s most important chokepoint for oil shipments, the U.S. Navy said, as tensions with Iran continue to simmer.

Sep 20 06:46

Goal of Natanz explosion was to send ‘clear’ message to Iran - EXCLUSIVE

An explosion two months ago at a key Iranian uranium enrichment facility in Natanz was meant to send a message of determination to stop the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program, The Jerusalem Post has learned. The purpose of the attack was to send an unambiguous deterrent message that progress toward a nuclear weapon beyond certain redlines would not be tolerated.

In addition, the Post has confirmed foreign reports that the explosion was caused by physical sabotage as opposed to exclusively cyberwarfare.

Sep 20 05:18

Britain, France, and Germany Spurn US Plan for Iran Sanctions

Trump Administration officials have been saying this for weeks, but on Friday reiterated their intentions to try to enforce a UN Security Council resolution that includes broad sanctions against Iran. Officials say they expect every nation to comply.

The glaring problem with this is that the resolution doesn’t exist, at least not as an active resolution the US wants. The P5+1 nuclear deal gave the US the authority to reimpose sanctions on Iran, but the US had withdrawn from that pact years ago. Though the Trump Administration argued that didn’t matter, the UN has virtually unanimously rejected their interpretation, and rejected the UN Security Council resolution. The US believes the resolution becomes active Sunday, but the reality is it just doesn’t exist legally.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

These actions spell desperation on the cusp of madness, and the world is not following suit; so, what is next here, an invasion of Iran?!?

Considering just how "brilliantly" the other US occupations around the world are going, you might imagine it might just be time for a "re-think" on this; but of course, Israel's Bibi Netanyahu will not allow that to happen; he wants the US waging war against Iran, so Israel will not have to.

Sep 19 08:26

US threatens sanctions for China and Russia over Iran arms deals

Chinese and Russian defense companies that strike weapons deals with Iran will suffer the “very full force” of U.S. sanctions, according to the State Department, despite Western disagreements about the legality of President Trump’s move to renew an international arms embargo.

“It's the position of the United States that the arms embargo should be extended, and had it been extended, we would not have had to snap back to restore the full panoply of U.N. sanctions,” State Department special representative Elliot Abrams, the lead official for Iran, told reporters Wednesday. "So, one practical effect, we believe, will be to say to arms manufacturers and traders around the world that if you engage in business with Iran, very full force of these new, or rather restored, sanctions will be felt immediately, they will be placed on you.”

Sep 19 08:22

US leaders ruining region, betraying own people to protect Israel: Iran's Zarif

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the US leaders, who have been providing all-out support for Israel, have not only ruined the West Asia region, but also betrayed their own people.

Zarif made the remarks in a Thursday tweet in clear allusion to recent comments by US President Donald Trump, who said during a rally in Winston-Salem, North Carolina on September 8 that the US was not involved in the Middle East for oil, but because we “want to protect Israel.”

Bragging about America’s energy independence during the rally, Trump said, “While I’m president, America will remain the number one producer of oil and natural gas in the world. We will remain energy independent. It should be for many, many years to come. The fact is, we don’t have to be in the Middle East, other than we want to protect Israel. We’ve been very good to Israel. Other than that, we don’t have to be in the Middle East.”

Sep 19 06:50

USS Nimitz aircraft carrier enters Persian Gulf after Pompeo’s threats against Iran

For the first time in ten months, a US aircraft carrier has sailed through the Strait of Hormuz and enters into the waters of the Persian Gulf, as Washington has threatened to illegally extend an expiring arms embargo on Iran.

The US 5th Fleet said in a statement on Friday that the strike group led by the USS Nimitz and including two guided-missile cruisers and a guided-missile destroyer sailed into the Persian Gulf to operate and train with US partners.

The Nimitz strike group includes the USS Princeton and USS Philippine Sea, both guided-missile cruisers, and the guided-missile destroyer USS Sterett.

“The [carrier strike group] will operate and train alongside regional and coalition partners, and provide naval aviation support to Operation Inherent Resolve,” read the statement.

Sep 19 06:48

After failure at UN, US says will work to hinder arms trades with Iran with its own action

Following a humiliating failure at the UN Security Council to secure an extension of the arms embargo against Iran, the United States has threatened to use its “secondary” sanctions to block any arms trades with Tehran after the expiry of the UN ban next month.

US Special Representative for Venezuela and Iran Elliott Abrams claimed on Wednesday that Washington could deny access to the US market to anyone who trades in weapons with Tehran.

Sanctions “will have a very significant impact” on arms manufacturers and traders that seek to do business with Tehran, he told reporters.

Sep 17 10:36

When it comes to Iran, how many failures is enough for Pompeo?

For many years Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has worked to bring Iran to heel, if not to destroy the Islamic Republic altogether. He would presumably prefer to accomplish those ends through economic and political warfare, but it is unlikely he would object to military attacks if that is what it takes. As a Congressman from Kansas as early as 2014, he was urging Washington to attack Tehran’s nuclear facilities, noting it would take “under 2,000 sorties,” or bombings, to do the job. “This is not an insurmountable task for the coalition forces,” he said.

Sep 16 07:27

Iran warns the UAE and Bahrain they will bear 'severe consequences' after they signed an historic peace deal with arch-foe Israel

Iran has warned the UAE and Bahrain they will be responsible for 'severe consequences' caused by the signing of an historic peace deal with Israel.

Hassan Rouhani, the Iranian President, blasted leaders of the two Arab states over the deal and accused them of forgetting 'their debt to the Palestinian people'.

'How could you reach out your hands to Israel? And then you want to give them bases in the region? All the severe consequences that would arise from this are on you,' he said in televised remarks.

Sep 16 07:18

President Trump Warns Iran Of Retaliation If They Assassinate US Ambassador

President Donald Trump has issued a stark warning to Iran if they go through with an alleged plan to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa.

On Monday, reports emerged that Iran was considering assassinating the US ambassador to South Africa, Lana Marks, as retaliation for the killing of General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian regime’s Quds Force, in a drone strike earlier this year.

US officials have been aware of a general attack on the ambassador since the spring, but intelligence suggests the threat has become far more specific in recent weeks, according to a government official. The Iranian Embassy in Pretoria is involved in the plot, they told Politico.

Sep 16 06:32

Pompeo Vows US Will Never Let Iran Acquire Russian & Chinese Weapons

Weeks ago the United States lost its bid to get the UN Security Council to extend the international arms embargo on Iran, which is set to expire October 18.

And now on Tuesday Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is vowing to never let Iran acquire Chinese and Russian weapons, but it remains unclear precisely how he hopes to make this happen.

Pompeo said during an interview with European radio broadcaster “France Inter” on Tuesday that “Nothing has been done so far to enable the extension of this ban, and therefore the United States assumed its responsibilities.” He's of course referencing the fact that the Europeans have by and large sought to uphold the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal, or JCPOA.

Sep 15 05:30

Iran's Resistance Film Festival Key to Undo Hegemony of US Films: Canadian Journalist

"...A Canadian journalist and political analyst described the 16th Resistance International Film Festival underway in Iran as important in the face of the hegemony of American films..."

Sep 14 07:01

Iran Says It Chased Off US Spy Plane During Large-Scale Hormuz Exercises

On Friday the AFP reported on some surprising statement from Iran's military, which however remains unconfirmed from the US side:

The Iranian navy on Friday said it drove off American aircraft that flew close to an area where military exercises were underway near the Strait of Hormuz.

Sep 14 06:25

Iran To Link Its Power Grid To Russia, Azerbaijan

Iran’s electricity grid will be connected with Russia and Azerbaijan in a few months, once grid compatibility studies are completed, Iran’s Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian said on Friday.

Iran’s power grid could be linked and synchronized to connect with other grids either via Azerbaijan or via Armenia and Georgia, Ardakanian said, as reported by Iranian Fars news agency.

Sep 14 06:15

Iran to develop pharmacy network in Venezuela

The Islamic Republic of Iran continues to improve its cooperation with Venezuela, now by the creation of a pharmacy network in the socialist-ruled South American country.

Carrying Iranian medical products, the brand new chain of drugstores is meant to tackle the dire scarcity of medicines hitting Venezuelans as a result of US' economic sanctions that impede imports.

Caracas Mayor's office and the Iranian Embassy have signed an agreement that gives birth to the network. Officials hail the deal.However, from the opposition, some express criticism. But experts say the Venezuela-Iran alliance for medicines is a right move.

Sep 14 06:14

Iran is plotting to assassinate the US ambassador to South Africa Lana Marks as revenge for killing General Qassem Soleimani, intelligence officials claim

Iran is said to be contemplating an assassination attempt against America's ambassador to South Africa.

The alleged plot has been detailed in intelligence papers which have been seen by U.S. intelligence and government officials.

American officials say they have been aware of threats towards ambassador, Lana Marks, 66, since the spring but the intelligence detail has suddenly become more specific in recent weeks.

Sep 14 05:52

Venezuela Defies Sanction Tripwires and Imports Iranian Oil

An oil tanker is discharging Iranian condensate for Venezuela as both countries continue to avoid U.S. sanction tripwires.

The ship, identified as Honey, turned off its satellite signal and started unloading about 2 million barrels of South Pars condensate at Venezuela’s controlled port of Jose on Saturday, according to a report and a person with knowledge of the situation.

The cargo will most likely be used by the state oil company PDVSA to blend with Venezuela’s tar-like oil and help to prop up oil production in the Orinoco oil belt.

Sep 13 07:39

Iran Chased Off US Spy Plane During Strait of Hormuz Exercises

The day before Iran’s Friday military exercises in the Strait of Hormuz, they warned the US to keep their planes out of the area. Unsurprisingly, they did not, and Iran reported a P-8 spy plane and two US drones in the Iranian air defense zone.

Iran reported that they sent planes up and drove the US plane away. It’s hardly a surprise the US made an appearance, especially after being told not to, and this may have just been a chance for Iran to test its interception capabilities amid the wargames.

Iran sought to use the exercises to show off its home-made weaponry, deploying a cruise missile, as well as the Fateh – the first Iranian-made submarine. The Fateh was introduced last year, but this is its first time seen during an operation.

Sep 13 07:14

How Iran-China Strategic Partnership May Hammer Final Nail in Coffin of US' Maximum Pressure Policy

A draft of an economic and security deal between the People's Republic of China and the Islamic Republic of Iran previously leaked by The New York Times is continuing to reverberate in the international media. Iranian political analyst Mahan Abedin has explained the fuss over the accords and shed light on Iran's strategic shift towards the East.

The 18-page Persian-language document envisages multi-billion-dollar Chinese investments in the Iranian economy as well as considerable oil discounts for the People's Republic. The agreement also includes security cooperation, intelligence sharing, and joint military drills. Commenting on the leak, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif admitted that his country had indeed been negotiating a 25-year strategic partnership with China, adding, however, that the accords have yet to be passed by the Iranian parliament. The authenticity of the document in question has not been confirmed by Tehran so far.

Sep 09 02:20

Report: Three More Iranian Tankers Under Way With Fuel for Venezuela

Analysts with TankerTrackers.com have tentatively identified a new round of Iranian gasoline shipments to Venezuela. According to the firm, the product tankers Forest, Faxon and Fortune appear to have taken on about 825,000 barrels of gasoline at Port Shahid Rajaee, then turned off their AIS transponders. None have broadcast an AIS position since the end of August, according to consultancy Dryad Global.

TankerTrackers.com believes that these vessels are "very likely" headed for Suez, then Venezuela - marking the second time this year that Iranian-flagged vessels have carried gasoline cargoes on this route.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I would like to politely remind those in the Bowels of Power in DC, that a boarding and inspecting the cargo of ships in declared international waters, is tantamount to an act of war.

Sep 09 01:52

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.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

And unfortunately, current US Administration policy is driving Iran ever closer to China, which would seem to be the polar opposite of what the US government would want to accomplish here.

Sep 09 01:42

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.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

And we have a companion piece, also from antiwar.com, with the following title:
Iran moves its centrifuge-manufacturing in Natanz deep Underground.

Sep 08 13:10

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.”

Sep 07 07:42

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.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

To those calling for regime change in Iran (fictitious or real); am I the only human on the planet NOT dealing with an industrial-strength case of SMD (selective memory disorder) concerning a Russian sponsored conference on Iran last summer, in which the Iranian delegates were assured that Iran won't be alone, if the US attacks it?!?!

The article went on to state: '“Iran will withstand this type of fight and Iran is not alone,” Zamir Kabulov, the Foreign Ministry’s special envoy for Asian countries including Iran, said at a Russian-Iranian policy forum in Moscow.

When asked if Russia was ready to provide material support to Iran if the U.S. attacks it, Kabulov said that “specific actions are a question for the Russian president.”

“But it’s not just Russia, many other countries sympathize and empathize with Iran,” the Kommersant business daily quoted him as saying. “Tehran won’t be alone if the U.S., God forbid, takes wild and irresponsible actions against it.”

Forgive me, but fighting Russia - in terms of attempting to create regime change in Tehran - doesn't strike me as a "win" for the US government.

The US government still hasn't gotten over the 1979 revolution in Iran, where the US "plant", the Shah was kicked out, and an Ayatollah installed as the Iranian leader.

Sep 07 07:21

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.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

There is zero justification for the US's continued illegal occupation of Syria; and you can bet, if the Russian military, who were invited by the Syrian government to get rid of the US funded/trained jihadists, find themselves in a situation where they feel they have to defend themselves, they will.

Is this what President Trump is hoping to provoke here?!? Starting World War III over Syria with Russia as a distraction from his failed international and domestic policies before an election cycle?!?

Somebody, please tell me that the Trump administration is not this ham-fistedly, pig- headedly stupid!!!

Sep 07 06:39

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.”

Sep 05 06:14

Iran Launches Gold-backed Cryptocurrency as Anticipation for Crypto-Rial Grows to Evade US Sanctions

A gold-backed cryptocurrency has been launched in the Islamic Republic of Iran,. The cryptocurrency known as Peyman (the Persian word for covenant) is the fruit of cooperation between four banks and Ghoghnoos Company.

The four partner banks are Parsian Bank, Bank Pasargad, Bank Melli Iran, and Bank Mellat. Iran Fara Bourse, an over-the-counter exchange, is also expected to host the new currency, Iranian English daily Financial Tribune reports.

Sep 05 06:08

Iranian Resistance Axis Strikes Back: Convoys With US Equipment Blowing Up In Iraq

Submitted by South Front,

On September 3, an explosion of an improvised explosive device (IED) targeted a convoy with equipment of the US-led coalition in the southern Iraqi province of Dhi Qar.

Iraqi troops that were escorting the convoy suffered no casualties. According to local sources, no significant damage was caused to the equipment. Following the incident, security forces detained 2 suspects near the explosion site. The investigation is ongoing.

However, it is no secret that the attack was likely conducted by one of multiple pro-Iranian Shiite groups that surfaced in the country following the assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani and several prominent Iraqi commanders by a US strike in Baghdad in January.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

The Pentagon and the US government will not allow an orderly withdrawal from Iraq, because it would telegraph that despite the blood and money spent, we have lost this one.

Sep 03 14:15

JCPOA Signatories in Vienna Reject Snapback Sanctions on Iran

Hegemon USA increasingly finds itself isolated on the world stage.

The harder it pressures, bullies, otherwise threatens and/or bludgeons other countries to bend to its will, the further its isolation longer-term.

On Tuesday, Joint Commission of the JCPOA signatories Russia, China, Britain, France, Germany and Iran met in Vienna, a statement by Russia’s Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Ryabkov saying the following:

“We are witnessing an important process of consolidation of parties to the JCPOA against this American venture.”

“We are certain that the results of today’s event will help our colleagues in New York continue their work in the right direction.”

Ministers attending the meeting stressed the importance of preserving the landmark JCPOA agreement.

By abandoning it illegally in May 2018, the Trump regime has no say on matters relating to it.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Please read this very carefully; if the US takes any unilateral action against Iran, it will have zero support from the other P4+1 members.

The current ban on foreign weapons being sold to Iran ends Sunday, 18 October; last summer, at a conference including Iranian delegates, the Russian diplomat leading the conference made the following statement:
Iran ‘Won’t Be Alone’ If U.S. Attacks, Russian Official Says

The Russian diplomat making that promise was one Zamir Kabulov, a career diplomat who is very close to Putin, and would not have made that statement without Putin's express approval.

He went on to state: "“But it’s not just Russia, many other countries sympathize and empathize with Iran,” the Kommersant business daily quoted him as saying. “Tehran won’t be alone if the U.S., God forbid, takes wild and irresponsible actions against it.”

War with Russia over Iran>?!? What the hell are those in the bowels of power in DC thinking?!?

Sep 03 06:06

What the UAE-Israel Deal Really Means for the Middle East

A key part of this joint intelligence initiative between the UAE and Israel (and, by extension, the U.S.) has been the dramatic increase in the past two years of the purchase of commercial and adjunct residential properties in Iran’s southern Khuzestan province – a key sector for its oil and gas reserves – by UAE-registered businesses, particularly those based in Abu Dhabi and Dubai, said the source.

“Around 500,000 Iranians left Iran around the time of the [1979 Islamic] Revolution and settled in Dubai, in the first instance, and then Abu Dhabi, and they have never been in favour of the IRGC having the key role in Iran, so some of them have been used to front businesses or commercial property developments in Khuzestan that are being funded from business registered in those two states of the UAE,” he added.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

There you have it, folks!!

Sep 02 06:27

Iran’s Drug Control Chief: US Aircraft Smuggling Narcotics Out of Afghanistan

Eskandar Momeni, director general of Iran Drug Control Headquarters, said Monday that not only has the US war in Afghanistan caused an explosion in poppy cultivation, but also that US military aircraft are smuggling drugs out of the country.

Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported Monday that Momeni blamed the US for the explosion of the Afghan drug trade over the last 20 years.

“In the year 2000, the total production of narcotics in Afghanistan stood at about 200 tons, which rose to over 9,000 tons in 2017, an increase of about 50 times,” Momeni said during a Monday video conference with national anti-drug coordination councils, ISNA reported.

"Based on reliable information, planes operated by NATO and the United States transport these illicit drugs in our neighboring country," he added.

Aug 31 06:39

US obviously does not understand law or UN after thrice being defeated: Iran FM

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the United States has once again threatened to impose restrictions on ‘anyone and any entity’ dealing with the Islamic Republic despite being dismissed by the United Nations Security Council three times.

“After thrice being rejected by SC, US now threatens ‘sanctioning anyone & any entity that comes between US’ & ‘its snapback’,” Zarif said in a post on his Twitter account on Friday.

After thrice being rejected by SC, US now threatens "sanctioning anyone & any entity that comes between US" & "its snapback"
Obviously they don't understand law or UN. Maybe they can grasp this:
You divorced the JCPOA in 2018. Your name on the marriage certificate is irrelevant. pic.twitter.com/7PRtmjvfDB

— Javad Zarif (@JZarif) August 28, 2020

Aug 30 05:30

UAE And Israel Plan To Create Intelligence Bases On Yemen’s Socotra Island

By South Front,

Israel and the United Arab Emirates are going to create a military intelligence-gathering infrastructure on Yemen’s Socotra Island, according to Arab and French sources.

According to reports, a delegation of Israeli and UAE officers recently visited the island and examined several locations for establishing the planned intelligence facilities. Earlier in August, the UAE and Israel with assistance from the United States reached a historical peace agreement relaunching diplomatic, economic and even military cooperation between the states on the highest level. The security and military cooperation in the Bab al-Mandab Strait was among the expected goals.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

So the first item on the cooperation agenda between UAE and Israel is.... surveillance?!?

Aug 29 00:36

The Israel-UAE Deal Isn’t About Peace at All: The U.S.-brokered pact makes no pretense of peace for Palestinians. Instead, it sharpens a regional coalition against Iran.

In some ways, the U.S.-brokered plan for mutual recognition between Israel and the United Arab Emirates is big news. For more than a quarter of a century, only two Middle Eastern countries – Egypt and Jordan – had officially recognized Israel. None of the Gulf monarchies did.

So, it was a pretty big deal when the announcement was made. Except, actually, not so much.

Despite the UAE’s claimed adherence to a decades-long position that no Arab country should normalize relations with Israel until it ended its occupation of Palestinian land, ties between the UAE and Israel had been quietly underway for years. The same is true of many other Arab states.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Wow, this looks more like a cynical "same-old same-old", than a real move for peace in the region.

Aug 27 12:59

Turkey floats ‘new cooperation’ with Iran after gas find

Turkey says its largest-ever natural gas discovery in the Black Sea could lead to new cooperation with Iran even as Ankara aims not to be just a buyer, but also a producer.

Turkey is dependent on imports for almost all of its energy needs and Iran is a key supplier of Ankara’s natural gas purchases which generate nearly 40 percent of the country’s electricity production.

“The countries we have been cooperating with for years are Iran and Russia. This new period for Turkey may lead to new cooperation with these countries,” Turkish Finance Minister Berat Albayrak said in a televised interview on NTV Tuesday.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday his country was determined ultimately to become a net energy exporter as he announced the discovery of a 320 billion cubic meter natural gas field that could come on stream as soon as 2023.

Aug 27 10:33

Iran Shops for Weapons in Moscow, while the US Is Sidelined

Army 2020 is being held on August 23-29 at Kubinka Air Base, Alabino Military Training Grounds, outside of Moscow. About 70 nations will participate in a display of more than 730 pieces of Russian weapons, equipment, and industrial exhibits.

The event acts as a showroom for sales, as well as a forum for discussions between military officials, researchers, and defense industry experts.

Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu said the ongoing Army 2020 event will enable the Iranian delegation to inspect the latest Russian equipment.

Aug 27 10:30

Reports Say the Explosion at Iranian Nuclear Plant Had a Criminal Cause

In July, a major explosion hit the Iranian nuclear power plant at Natanz, used especially for enriching uranium – an essential activity for the development of nuclear technology. The explosion sparked a huge fire that caught the attention of the media around the world at the time. After the incident, no fatalities or leaks of radioactive materials were reported in the region, so the damage was considered low.

Immediately after the explosion, several rumors were spread about the real nature of the event, as it is common on such occasions. Some of the rumors claimed that Israel had triggered the explosion with the intention of damaging Iran in its nuclear development plans. At the time, all rumors were denied and no “conspiracy theory” was highlighted. Now, after the result of the investigations, such rumors have surfaced, but the Iranian government remains silent about them, stating that the investigations’ data will be revealed later.

Aug 27 09:39

Iran voluntarily grants IAEA access to two locations specified by UN agency

Iran has agreed to grant the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) access to two sites specified by the UN nuclear agency.

At the end of a two-day trip by IAEA Director General Rafael Grossi to Tehran, Iran and the UN agency issued a joint statement on agreements and the results of high-level talks between the two sides.

According to the Wednesday statement put on the website of the IAEA, the International Atomic Energy Agency and the Islamic Republic of Iran "agreed to further reinforce their cooperation and enhance mutual trust" to facilitate the full implementation of Iran’s Comprehensive Safeguards Agreement (CSA) and the Additional Protocol (AP) thereto, which is provisionally applied by Iran since January 16, 2016.

Aug 27 09:33

Iran & IAEA reveal deal on inspections day after UNSC president dismisses US sanctions 'snap back' bid

Tehran has struck a deal with the UN’s nuclear watchdog to allow inspectors into two suspected former nuclear sites. The breakthrough comes just days after Washington demanded the UN slap Iran with fresh sanctions.

In a joint press statement, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on Wednesday that “Iran is voluntarily providing the IAEA with access” to the two sites. Inspectors believe that these sites still contain nuclear material, but an Iranian official told Reuters that this information is “fabricated.”

"Iran, like before, is ready to cooperate with the IAEA," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on state television after the announcement.

Aug 26 07:07

Alliance Between Venezuela and Iran Evolves into the Military Sphere

The alliance between Venezuela and Iran seems to be taking new directions. The ties between the two countries began to strengthen in an economic sphere when, in the first half of 2020, Tehran started sending oil ships to Venezuela, circumventing the international trade rules imposed by Washington with the aim of blocking Caracas economically. Earlier this year, Tehran sent several cargoes of gasoline to Venezuela to help the South American country overcome fuel shortages, as well as equipment to help state oil company PDVSA overcome production and export difficulties during the crisis.

Aug 26 06:51

UN Security Council Rejects US Snapback Sanctions on Iran

The UN Security Council has rejected as US demand for snapback sanctions against Iran, with Indonesia’s ambassador, the rotating council president, citing near universal opposition on the council to the US interpretation.

The method for snapback sanctions was built into the P5+1 nuclear deal, and the US argues that they are still technically party to the deal, at least for the sake of doing things to Iran. The US withdrew from the deal in 2018 and ceased meeting its own obligations, and the other nations don’t consider them a party anymore.

Last week, the parties expressed opposition almost universally, saying the US measures were unacceptable. US officials say the opposition has no legal impact on their snapback sanctions. The US has vowed to enforce the sanctions whether they pass or not.

Aug 25 07:45

Iran’s Drug Control Chief: US Aircraft Smuggling Narcotics Out of Afghanistan

Eskandar Momeni, director general of Iran Drug Control Headquarters, said Monday that not only has the US war in Afghanistan caused an explosion in poppy cultivation, but also that US military aircraft are smuggling drugs out of the country.

Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported Monday that Momeni blamed the US for the explosion of the Afghan drug trade over the last 20 years.

“In the year 2000, the total production of narcotics in Afghanistan stood at about 200 tons, which rose to over 9,000 tons in 2017, an increase of about 50 times,” Momeni said during a Monday video conference with national anti-drug coordination councils, ISNA reported.

"Based on reliable information, planes operated by NATO and the United States transport these illicit drugs in our neighboring country," he added.

Aug 25 07:40

Analysis of Black Boxes Reveals Downed Ukraine Jet Struck by Iranian Missiles 25 Seconds Apart

Analysis of the black boxes of the Ukrainian passenger plane downed on January 8 by Iranian forces shows that it was hit by two missiles 25 seconds apart and that passengers were alive for some time following the first blast, Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization revealed on Sunday.

According to Touraj Dehghani-Zanganeh, the head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organization, the second missile hit Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 just 25 seconds after the first, but only 19 seconds of that gap were recorded by the black boxes due to damage from the first missile, Reuters reported, citing Iranian state television.

“Nineteen seconds after the first missile hit the plane, the voices of pilots inside the cockpit indicated that the passengers were alive ... 25 seconds later the second missile hit the plane,” he said. “Therefore, no analysis of the performance and effects of the second missile was obtained from the aircraft’s black box.”

Aug 25 07:17

IAEA Chief Visits Tehran, Asks for Access to Former Sites

The sites in question are a pair of sites that the IAEA has claimed might have been nuclear sites, based on Israeli allegations and US backing of Israeli allegations. The US has pushed the IAEA to investigate the sites.

Iran did grant the IAEA access before, and it didn’t find anything definitive one way or another. They’ve kept asking for extra visits, even though Iran insisted neither was relevant to their nuclear program, and that letting them just keep visiting keeps it unresolved forever.

This puts things in an endless loop, where the US will ensure the IAEA keeps saying the issue is open, and Iran can’t resolve the matter outright, and has to just keep responding or be accused of a coverup.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

I have to wonder what new strictures will be placed against Iran between now, and 18 October, when the UN ban on Iranian purchases of foreign weapons ends; I sense that in order to keep his numbers up, President Trump may well find a way of declaring war against someone; Iran is high on his list, I am sure, because very few Americans understand the history of this Middle Eastern country, and the role the US played in its subjugation, when the legitimately and democratically elected elected Prime Minister, Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh, was overthrown and the Shah was empowered as Iran's ruler by the US' CIA.

I don't want to be Mrs. Chicken Little of Indiana 2020 here; but the stench of blood is in the air for me right now, and I am telling Mike that my "nesting instincts" are running at full tilt boogie right now.

And IF President Trump declares a "national emergency", he is fully within his FEMA designated capability of suspending the Constitution and Bill of Rights.

I am hoping and praying that I am completely wrong on this; but please remember the immortal words of George Carlin, who, in retrospect, was half comedian, half prophet; and note - for some of our more think-skinned readers, the obscenities might be a little much for you, but Carlin's observations in this monologue are bang spot-on:

We Like War!!

Aug 25 06:54

Venezuela’s Maduro thanks Iran for helping oil industry overcome U.S. sanctions

Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro on Sunday thanked ally Iran for helping the South American country overcome U.S. sanctions on its oil industry and floated the idea of purchasing missiles from the country.

Washington maintains strict sanctions against Iran’s oil industry to try to halt the country’s nuclear program. Earlier this year, Tehran sent several gasoline cargoes to Venezuela to help it overcome fuel shortages, as well as equipment to help state oil company PDVSA repair its dilapidated refineries.

“We are helping each other,” Maduro said in an interview broadcast on state television. “I think the Iranian experience will help us reinforce our management capacity.”

He did not provide further details of how Iran was helping, noting he should maintain “silence since we are in a war.”

Aug 24 07:55

Donald Trump and the Art of Betrayal

The betrayal began with Iran. The work had all been done by Obama and Secretary of State, John Kerry. Trump was the beneficiary of a historic treaty that made the world a safer place and that lifted trust between Iran and the US to a level it hasn’t been at since 1979. All Trump had to do was honor it. But he couldn’t do that.

For all the complexity of the negotiations, for all the complexity of the clauses, the deal was pretty simple: if Iran keeps its promise to limit its civilian nuclear program, America would keep its promise to lift sanctions. Iran did; America didn’t. Trump broke America’s word and betrayed Iran.

Aug 24 07:54

Iranian Official: Fire at Natanz the ‘Result of Sabotage’

An Iranian nuclear official said the July 2nd fire at Natanz nuclear facility was the result of sabotage. “The explosion at Natanz nuclear facility was a result of sabotage operations,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesman for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said on Sunday.

Kamalvandi also said security officials will reveal the cause of the blast “in due time.” The Natanz explosion caused significant damage to the nuclear facility, and Iranian officials said it slowed down their centrifuge program.

Since the blast, there has been much speculation of the cause since Iran suspected “sabotage” from the beginning. Shortly after the incident, an unnamed Middle Eastern intelligence official told The New York Times that Israel was responsible for the explosion, which was caused by a “powerful bomb.”

Aug 24 07:53

Exposing Pompeo’s phony UN snapback stunt in two sentences

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo failed miserably in his efforts on Thursday to force the United Nations to reimpose its pre-JCPOA sanctions on Iran.

To briefly summarize, the Trump administration and its allies in Washington have been pushing to pile even more sanctions on Iran, and to do that, it hatched a plan to try to get the U.N. to “snapback” its pre-JCPOA sanctions for purportedly violating the nuclear deal’s terms.

Of course there are two big problems with this approach, the first of which is that while yes, Iran has violated some of the JCPOA’s terms, it has done so only after Trump withdrew the United States from the agreement and reimposed crushing sanctions. And second, in order to trigger the “snapback” mechanism built into the agreement, you have to be a participant in the agreement, which of course, the U.S. ceased to be when Trump exited it in 2018.

Aug 24 06:56

US is willing to dismantle the UN Security Council to put pressure on Iran

In a world where American exceptionalism and unilateralism has become common currency, the brazenness of Secretary of State Pompeo’s bid to impose “snap back” inspections of Iran takes the cake. Moreover, it’s doomed to fail.

When it comes to Iran and the Iran nuclear deal (formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA), President Trump has been singularly focused on one outcome–to bring the Islamic Republic back to the negotiation table for the purpose of producing a “better deal” than the one done by his predecessor, Barack Obama, in July 2015. For the former New York realtor and reality television star-turned Chief Executive, it does not get any simpler than that–he is, after all, the consummate (if self-proclaimed) “deal maker.” How the deal is made, and even what constitutes the deal, is less important than the deal itself. This goal dominated his thinking about Iran as a candidate and continues to do so as President.

Aug 24 06:35

Pompeo Rebukes Allies Who Oppose Sanctions on Iran

The United States and other members of the UN Security Council are angry tonight at the US push for “snapback” sanctions on Iran, built around the US dictating what’s going to happen, and the rest of the world seeing the attempt as unseemly.

Pompeo says the move amounts to American leadership, and everyone’s resistance will be viewed as siding with the ayatollahs. Other nations said that in withdrawing from the deal and then trying to use the deal against the parties within it, the US was being “unpleasant.”

The US is arguing that they are still sort of part of the P5+1 nuclear deal, despite publicly disavowing it. The deal had a secret clause allowing the US to force the introduction of a UN resolution on Iran sanctions relief, and then argues that once they veto it, the sanctions will all be de facto back to pre-deal levels.

Aug 24 06:20

Trump Regime Unilaterally and Illegally Imposing Snapback Sanctions on Iran

DJT unlawfully withdrew from the JCPOA in May 2018, giving his regime no legal say over its implementation or whatever relates to it.

Days earlier, he vowed to unilaterally impose snapback sanctions on Iran.

The JCPOA provision lets any of its signatories reimpose veto-proof sanctions on Iran that became null and void when the agreement took effect in January 2016.

Only JCPOA signatories Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany may legally invoke snapback now — not the US after illegally abandoning the binding agreement.

Remaining signatories unanimously oppose snapback because it would undo years of diplomatic efforts that went into establishing the JCPOA they want preserved.

Aug 23 09:23

Officials in Iran say black box from downed Ukrainian passenger plane with 176 on board reveals jet was hit by TWO missiles 25 seconds apart - and some passengers were alive after first blast

Tehran claims it accidentally struck down the passenger plane during a time of extreme tensions with the US in January, killing all 176 passengers on board.

The head of Iran's Civil Aviation Organisation Touraj Dehghani Zanganeh today said a second missile hit the aircraft 25 seconds after the first, but only 19 seconds of this gap was recorded due to damage from the initial hit.

He added voices heard inside the cockpit after the first missile hit 'indicated that the passengers were alive' at that time.

The announcement marks the first official report on the plane's cockpit voice and data recordings since they were sent to France for analysis in July.

Aug 21 05:32

Pompeo: We’ll Sanction China or Russia if They Violate Iran Snapback Sanctions

On Wednesday’s broadcast of the Fox News Channel’s “Special Report,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed that the United Nations Security Council snapback sanctions on Iran will resume and if China, Russia, or any other country does not follow them, the United States will respond by imposing sanctions on them.

Pompeo said, “30 days from now, all the sanctions that were in place will resume. They have been temporarily paused because of the ridiculous nuclear deal, and the world will be a safer place. The Iranians won’t have the chance to have Russian air-defense systems, Chinese tanks, all the things that pose risk and instability in the Middle East. The Gulf states are all excited about — Israel is excited about it. It’ll reduce their risk, and it’ll make Americans safer too.”

Host Bret Baier then asked, “So when China or Russia refuse, is the administration going to hold them accountable with sanctions too?”

Aug 20 08:13

Trump: US to Restore All ‘Snapback’ Sanctions on Iran

On Wednesday, US President Donald Trump said he intends to restore all economic sanctions against Iran, which were reimposed in 2018 when Trump accused Tehran of breaking the terms of the 2015 nuclear deal.

Trump told reporters at the White House he was sending US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to notify the United Nations Security Council that the US intends to restore virtually all suspended sanctions on Iran.

“It’s a snapback," Trump said. "Not uncommon.”

Aug 20 06:19

'Fully valid': US top diplomat desperately makes case for snapback against Iran

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is desperately trying to make the case for the use of snapback against Iran from an internationally backed deal that his boss, President Donald Trump, quit in 2018.

"This will be a fully valid, enforceable UN Security Council resolution," said Pompeo at a joint presser Wednesday, not long after the US failure in the Council to extend an arms embargo against Tehran, set to be lifted under the Iran nuclear deal in October.

Aug 20 06:19

Saudi Arabia issues desperate call for extension of anti-Iran UN arms ban

The Saudi regime has issued a desperate call for the extension of a UN arms embargo against Iran only days after the UN Security Council said a resounding ‘No’ to a US resolution seeking an illegal extension of the embargo.

The cabinet, chaired by King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud on Tuesday, demanded the extension of the arms embargo on Iran, alleging that the removal of the sanctions will lead to “more destruction” and further fuel conflicts in the Middle East region.

It also pledged the kingdom’s support for all international measures that contribute to stopping Iran’s regional clout.

Aug 20 05:43

Trump demands full restoration of UN sanctions on Iran, as Pompeo warns Russia & China not to meddle

US President Donald Trump said the State Department will soon attempt to trigger a “snap back” of UN sanctions on Iran, as the top American diplomat threatened consequences for Moscow and Beijing if they try to block the effort.

“Today I'm directing the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo to notify the United Nations Security Council that the United States intends to restore virtually all of the United Nations sanctions on Iran – it’s a snap back, not uncommon,” Trump told reporters during a White House press conference on Wednesday.

When the United States entered into the Iran deal, it was clear the United States would always have the right to restore the UN sanctions that would prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon.

Aug 20 04:16

Trump Demands ‘Snapback’ Sanctions on Iran

President Trump has demanded the reimposition of ‘snapback’ sanctions on Iran as part of the P5+1 nuclear deal, and revealed the US will go to the UN Security Council on Thursday to demand full imposition of all those sanctions without objection.

Within the nuclear deal, there is a clause that allows the US to snapback all sanctions if they believe Iran is failing in the deal. The clause also says no members of the deal can veto the measure. This is the plan the US is resting on.

And yet President Trump withdrew from the deal in May 2018, and had failed to live up to requirements before then. This raises serious doubts that the US can impose ‘snapback’ under the terms of a deal that they are no longer party to, or whether nations like China and Russia would be compelled not to veto it.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Folks, this is like "being a little bit pregnant"; one is either part of the deal, or one is not part of the deal, from which President Trump withdrew American participation in May of 2018.

If the US is no longer a part of the deal, its leadership has utterly no right to demand a snapback to all sanctions.

One has to wonder; is this administration suffering from some kind of collective lead poisoning from the water pipes in DC?!?!?

Because I have to tell you; from where I sit, this looks like desperation on the cusp of madness, and were I a betting woman, the US is going to be made to appear thoroughly, hysterically unhinged, if this administration really pushes these demands today at the Security Council.

Aug 19 13:25

Here we go again! US intelligence saying IRAN is paying bounties to kill Americans in Afghanistan is pure parody

It was Russia in June, now it’s Tehran. Don’t US analysts understand that Taliban fighters really don’t need any more motivation to target American troops? This is simply politicized (un)intelligence that isn’t fooling anyone.
According to CNN, the Iranian government has paid “bounties” to the Haqqani network, a terrorist group with close links to the Taliban, for six attacks on US and coalition forces in Afghanistan in 2019, including one on December 11 which targeted Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, which wounded four US personnel.

Aug 19 13:22

Here we go again! US intelligence saying IRAN is paying bounties to kill Americans in Afghanistan is pure parody

It was Russia in June, now it’s Tehran. Don’t US analysts understand that Taliban fighters really don’t need any more motivation to target American troops? This is simply politicized (un)intelligence that isn’t fooling anyone.
According to CNN, the Iranian government has paid “bounties” to the Haqqani network, a terrorist group with close links to the Taliban, for six attacks on US and coalition forces in Afghanistan in 2019, including one on December 11 which targeted Bagram Air Base, north of Kabul, which wounded four US personnel.

Aug 19 07:14

Ron Paul warns Trump's failed Iran policy may lead to war  

Former US congressman Ron Paul has warned that the Trump administration's failed Iran policy was leading Americans to war in the Middle East region.

In an interview attached to a featured article titled Trump's Failed Iran Policy Is Leading Us To War, Paul said Trump's failed hostile "maximum pressure" policy against Iran had received no support by most other countries.

Aug 19 07:13

US Media Reveals American, Israeli Plans to Fight S-400s If They End Up in Iran

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council rejected a US draft resolution to indefinitely extend the UN arms embargo against Iran, which is set to expire in October. Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the decision “scandalous,” while senior US Senator Lindsey Graham claimed it makes “a major conflict” with Iran “much more likely.”

The United States and Israel are already preparing for a scenario in which Russia sells advanced air defence systems such as the S-400 to Iran, including by conducting drills involving the destruction of advanced surface-to-air missile threats, Breaking Defense has intimated.

Aug 18 09:08

Palestinians only pawns in UAE-Israel deal, shared enmity towards Iran is the REAL move

The “historic” agreement for normalization of ties between the United Arab Emirates and Israel is being presented as a noble effort by the Gulf Arab states to fend off further annexation of Palestinian land.

That facade was quickly eroded when Israeli premier Benjamin Netanyahu said his annexation plans were only “on hold” and not derailed, as the UAE had claimed in announcing the purported accord mediated this week by the Trump administration.

The terse Palestinian reaction to the supposed deal got it right. It was “a stab in the back.” Iran and Turkey also denounced it as a sell-out of Palestinian rights by the UAE.

Aug 18 06:42

Enhancing tourism major component of draft Iran-China deal: Iranian official

An Iranian official says enhancing cooperation and investments in the tourism sector constitutes a key component of a 25-year partnership agreement under discussion between Iran and China.

Deputy of Minister of Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicraft Vali Taymouri said Monday that a major component of the draft agreement — known as the Sino-Iran Comprehensive Strategic Partnership — is seeking avenues of “expert cooperation” within the tourism sector and attracting Chinese tourists.

He said the draft agreement, which Tehran and Beijing are working to finalize, takes into account the views of experts at Iran’s tourism ministry.

The official added that the agreement would address investments in the construction by China of facilities meant to promote tourism.

Taymouri said that the possibility of Chinese or joint investments in the tourism sector and training tour leaders to further accommodate Chinese travelers has been considered in the pact.

Aug 17 15:53

Iran: Fuel En Route to Venezuela Seized by US Wasn't Iranian

THE cargo of four tankers seized by the United States last week en route to Venezuela was no longer Iranian property, Iran's oil minister said Monday, insisting that the U.S. had no right to confiscate the shipment in international waters.

The Trump administration said it seized the cargo of four tankers it was targeting for transporting Iranian fuel to Venezuela. The move was part of stepped-up U.S. campaign of maximum pressure on Iran and Venezuela, both heavily sanctioned allies.

According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the oil had been “sold to customers and the payment was received" for it.

Aug 17 15:51

Iran: Fuel En Route to Venezuela Seized by US Wasn't Iranian

THE cargo of four tankers seized by the United States last week en route to Venezuela was no longer Iranian property, Iran's oil minister said Monday, insisting that the U.S. had no right to confiscate the shipment in international waters.

The Trump administration said it seized the cargo of four tankers it was targeting for transporting Iranian fuel to Venezuela. The move was part of stepped-up U.S. campaign of maximum pressure on Iran and Venezuela, both heavily sanctioned allies.

According to the semi-official ISNA news agency, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said the oil had been “sold to customers and the payment was received" for it.

Aug 17 12:23

President Trump Says Stolen Iranian Fuel Sent to Houston

The US confirmed on Friday that it seized 1.116 million barrels of Iranian fuel that was bound for Venezuela. President Trump said the four oil tankers that are carrying the fuel are headed to Houston.

“We have four tankers. They are going to Houston, and they’re there … Iran is not supposed to be doing that. And so we did — we seized the tankers, and we’re moving them, and moved, to Houston,” President Trump said at a press conference on Friday.

It is not clear how exactly the shipment was seized. With US sanctions on Venezuela targeting the maritime industry, it is possible the shipowners were threatened with the loss of registration or insurance, which could have been enough for them to comply and sail to a US port.

Aug 17 12:22

No Longer Leader of the Free World: Trump Administration Humiliated at UN over Iran Arms Embargo

On Friday, the United Nations Security Council took up a resolution presented by US ambassador to the UN, Kelly Craft, aimed at an indefinite extension of the UN arms embargo on Iran. Only one of the 15 members, the Dominican Republic, supported the US resolution. Eleven abstained. And two–Russia and China, voted against it. The resolution would have needed 8 to pass and would have needed to avoid a veto by one of the five permanent members.

But it failed by 13 to 2. China and Russia did not even have to brandish a veto. It is hard to remember another vote on which the US was humiliated quite this badly, though if George W. Bush had actually pursued a UNSC authorization for his Iraq War in spring of 2003, he might have similarly gone down to epochal diplomatic defeat.

Let us underline this. The most powerful countries in the world and the current representatives of the main global blocs just sided with Ayatollah Ali Khamenei against Donald J. Trump.

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