IRAN | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

IRAN

Feb 02 08:30

Why the US Deep State Won’t Forgive Russia and Iran

In a stunning interview to the Beirut-based al Mayadeen network, Hezbollah’s secretary-general Hassan Nasrallah has outlined how Maj Gen Qassem Soleimani – assassinated by an American drone strike at Baghdad airport a litle over a year ago – was instrumental in convincing Russia to help Syria militarily in its war against Salafi-jihadis.

Here’s the video transcript.

Nasrallah sets the stage for the crucial visit by Maj Gen Soleimani to Moscow in 2015, when he had a two-hour face-to-face meeting with President Putin:

Feb 02 07:58

Iran’s Zarif Offers Way Out of Nuclear Deal Impasse With US

In an interview with CNN on Monday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif was asked how the US and Iran could revive the 2015 nuclear deal since each side is calling on the other to act first.

“There can be a mechanism to basically either synchronize it or coordinate what can be done,” Zarif said. He noted that the JCPOA created a Joint Commission headed by the EU foreign policy chief, who is now Joseph Borrell.

Zarif said the Joint Commission could oversee the return to the deal. He said Borrell could “sort of choreograph the actions that are needed to be taken by the United States and the actions that are needed to be taken by Iran.”

The Biden Administration has said the US would only return to the JCPOA by lifting sanctions on Iran after the Islamic Republic returned to its commitments under the deal.

Feb 02 07:56

Blinken Misleadingly Claims Iran Weeks From Having Bomb Material

Dimming hope for new diplomacy, US Secretary of State Tony Blinken accused Iran of reaching enough material for an atomic bomb in a matter of weeks “if Tehran further violates restrictions it agreed to under the 2015 nuclear deal.”

This is broadly incorrect and wildly misleading. The accusation is based, superficially, on the idea that Iran has a substantial stockpile of low-enriched uranium, and they are figuring at what level that stockpile could be enough for a single bomb.

Yet weapons grade uranium is 90% or higher enriched. Iran is presently enriching mostly to 3.5% with some to 20%. They have never attempted to go meaningfully higher than 20%, and further enrichment, though conceivably possible, is an untested road for them.

Feb 02 07:55

Israel’s Defense Minister Says Military Action Against Iran on the Table

In the latest threat against Iran from an Israeli official, Israel’s Defense Minister Benny Gantz said on Sunday that a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program was still on the table for the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

“The IDF and Israel’s defense establishment are holding onto the option of taking action against Iran’s nuclear project if that is what has to be done,” Gantz told an Egyptian TV station.

Last week, IDF Chief of Staff Avi Kohavi said he ordered the military to draw up new plans to attack Iran and expressed his opposition to the Biden administration reviving the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

Both Kohavi and Gantz frame attacks on Iran as the last hope to stop the Islamic Republic from acquiring nuclear weapons. As evidence that Iran is racing towards a bomb, Israeli officials usually point to recent increases in Iran’s uranium enrichment.

Feb 01 11:34

Message to Iran? Israeli Defence Minister Visits HQ of Command Charged With Extraterritorial Ops

Israeli officials have urged the Biden administration to scrap plans to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal, claiming the agreement would eventually enable the Islamic Republic to build a nuclear bomb. Tehran has dismissed such claims in the past, and pointed out that Israel is the only country in the Middle East with an actual nuclear weapons arsenal.

Israeli Defence Minister Benny Gantz paid a visit to the Depth Corps – the Israel Defence Force (IDF) command charged with carrying out operations far beyond Israel’s borders and deep inside enemy territory in wartime.

The visit took place Sunday, and saw Gantz meeting with Depth Corps commander Itai Veruv and IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi.

“During the visit, the defence minister was shown changes that were made to the Corps since he decided to create it as chief of staff, the Corps’ operational plans, and the readiness of the different units that would carry them out,” his office said in a statement quoted by The Times of Israel.

Feb 01 08:57

Who goes first? Biden’s first JCPOA hurdle

He’s only been president for a bit more than a week, but Joe Biden’s promise to return to the 2015 nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) with Iran has already hit a roadblock. While the United States and Iran both publicly favor returning to the nuclear deal, they both also insist that the other must take the first step. As heated as some of the rhetoric has been between the two sides, the “who goes first” problem has been prevalent throughout diplomacy on Iran’s nuclear program, so there are nonetheless good reasons to remain calm.

Feb 01 08:45

BEX ALERT - Secretary of State Blinken Says Iran Could Be 'Weeks' From Having Material to Build Nuke

Hopes for a speedy US return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action nuclear deal have been dashed amid a vocal disagreement between Tehran and Washington on which side should make concessions first. Iran says the US must remove all sanctions. The US wants the Islamic Republic to return to its obligations under the nuclear accord.

Iran may be just "a matter of weeks" away from accumulating enough fissile material to build a nuclear bomb, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said, echoing claims made by Israel for the better part of the last decade.

Blinken made the comments in an interview with NBC News' Andrea Mitchell that was published Monday.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Iran has been weeks away from having the bomb for thirty years now!

Feb 01 08:19

Mossad head says IDF chief ‘irresponsible’ for panning US on Iran policy: report

The head of the Mossad intelligence agency, Yossi Cohen, panned as “irresponsible” a speech that IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi delivered last week in which he disparaged the Biden administration’s policy on Iran’s nuclear program, according to reports on Sunday.

In private conversations, Cohen criticized Kohavi for having come out publicly against the US government and argued that the top military officer should have waited to see how the new administration approaches the issue, according to Army Radio. Cohen further said that the speech was “irresponsible” and a mistake, and that Kohavi had acted of his own accord, the report said.

An unnamed defense source responded by telling Army Radio, “It is a shame that there is someone in the defense establishment who chooses to publicly defame the chief of staff.”

Feb 01 07:51

Israel, America and the Iranian nuclear deal crisis

The Israeli government is preparing for a new phase in its relationship with America under the new US administration headed by Joe Biden. It will not be without disagreements and contradictions, unlike the past four years of Donald Trump's term in office, as he did everything he could to satisfy Israel's extreme right wing led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

One area for disagreement with the new administration is not related to any US position against Israel, but is mainly about the concept of Israel's interests. US administrations are generally keen to ensure that Israel's political, economic and security interests are taken care of, and that the occupation state's hegemony in the region is maintained, not least because it acts as a tool for the benefit of US interests given the strong alliance between the two countries.

Feb 01 07:40

Iranian Official: ‘Genies’ Influenced Recent State Decisions

Some Iranian politicians consulted “genies” when making recent decisions concerning state affairs, a member of Iran’s Expediency Council, which exercises supervisory powers over all branches of Iran’s government, said last weekend, Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty (RFE/RL) reported on Thursday.

Genies are supernatural creatures mentioned in the Quran, Islam’s holy book. They are referenced within Islamic mythology and Iranian folklore, which hold that “genies live in a parallel world and possess extraordinary powers, including the ability to take different shapes and forms,” according to RFE/RL.

Jan 30 11:04

Signal is blocked in Iran and no one will admit to ordering it

Like many people across the globe, Iranians have been spooked by WhatsApp's recent announcement that it would be sharing data with parent company Facebook. In response, they have been flooding to the messaging app's rival, Signal.

This month, Signal became the most-downloaded app in Iran. On Monday, it was suddenly blocked and removed from local Android markets.

Signal is an encrypted end-to-end messaging app used by journalists and activists worldwide and considered the most secure app of its kind.

The huge rise in its popularity clearly troubled Iranian authorities. But amid the outcry over Signal's restriction, no one in Tehran's government or judiciary has taken responsibility for blocking the app, with a blame game rumbling on as Iranians bypass restrictions through VPNs.

Jan 30 11:03

Iran says it will install 1,000 centrifuges at nuclear plant in next 3 months

New equipment to be set up at Natanz enrichment facility; Iranian official says its scientists have exceeded expected output of enriched uranium

Iran said Thursday it plans to install 1,000 new centrifuges at the Natanz nuclear facility within three months and that its scientists had exceeded previous goals for uranium enrichment.

Behrouz Kamalvandi, a spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, made the announcement about the centrifuges while Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf visited the Fordo nuclear facility, an underground site near the city of Qom.

Jan 30 10:31

Iran warns US to 'accept reality' over China's rise as global superpower

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has told US President Joe Biden that the United States must realise we no longer live "in a Western-centered world." He pointed to the rising threat of China as an example of the West's waning influence over global affairs. The Iranian insider's comments came as Tehran and Washington locked horns over sanctions and Iran's nuclear weapon's programme. The diplomat also had strong words for European leaders over their lack of decisive action in recent conflicts.

Mr Zarif told RT there had been a "transfer" of power away from the western countries towards China and Russia on the world stage.

Jan 30 09:06

The Putin-Biden Strategic Telephone Call: How Long Before Washington’s Demonization of Russia, China, and Iran Leads to War?

Biden, the current occupant of the White House, and President Putin of Russia have had their first telephone meeting. President Putin stressed that it is in the interest of the US, Russia, and the entire world for the tense relationship between Washington and the Kremlin to be normalized. Biden apparently, was noncommittal on this overriding issue and although indicating agreement to renew the 1991 treaty to limit and reduce strategic offensive arms, Biden mainly raised American propaganda issues with Russia.

Considering Washington’s record since the Clinton regime of simply abandoning out of hand previous agreements with Russia, renewing the START Treaty might not mean much. The important issue is the normalization of relations between the nuclear superpowers. As Russia can wipe the US off of the face of Earth, Washington needs to be careful what impression it creates in the Kremlin.

Jan 30 09:05

Biden Admin’s Coercive Iran Policy Threatens Serious New Regional Crisis

eam Biden is planning to hold on to what it apparently sees as its “Trump card”— the Trump administration’s sanctions against Iran oil exports that have gutted the Iranian economy.

A close analysis of recent statements by members of President Joseph Biden’s foreign policy team indicates his administration has already signaled its intention to treat negotiations with Iran as an exercise in diplomatic coercion aimed at forcing major new concessions extending well beyond the 2105 nuclear agreement. The policy could trigger a renewed US-Iran crisis as serious as any provocation engineered by the Trump administration.

Jan 30 08:36

Jaish-ul-Hind Terror Group Allegedly Claims Responsibility for Blast Near Israeli Embassy in Delhi

On Friday evening, a low-intensity blast took place a few metres away from the Israeli embassy in the Indian capital. According to Delhi Police, nobody was injured in the incident but the windscreens of several vehicles parked nearby were damaged. The blast occurred on the final day of India's 72nd Republic Day celebrations.

The terrorist group Jaish-ul-Hind has allegedly claimed responsibility for the blast near the Israeli embassy in India’s capital city New Delhi. Not much is known about this group.

A senior official from an Indian federal investigation agency revealed to Sputnik on condition of anonymity that they have found the Telegram chat of a suspected channel in which Jaish-ul-Hind took responsibility for the minor IED explosion.

"In the said chat, the terror outfit is seen taking pride over the attack. However, agencies are still verifying the claim," the official said.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Before Jaish-ul-Hind took credit, the corporate media was insisting that the bombing was "probably" the work of Iran!

Jan 30 08:33

Iranian Lawmakers Push Bill to Formalise Anti-Israel ‘Axis of Resistance’ Military Alliance

The ‘Axis of Resistance’, also known as the ‘Resistance Front’, is a loose political alliance that includes Iran, Syria, Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Forces militias, and the Lebanese political and militant group Hezbollah. In recent years, these forces have cooperated in combatting a host of terrorist threats including Daesh (ISIS)* and al-Qaeda.*

Iranian lawmakers have proposed a motion to formally establish a military alliance among Resistance Front countries and groups, Abolfazl Aboutorabi, a senior MP from Esfahan province, has told Tasnim.

The bill, dubbed the "Defence and Security Treaty of the Resistance Group," is said to have been signed by 34 lawmakers, and to have been submitted for review to the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and for consideration in a public session of parliament.

Jan 29 11:43

Iran Hits Back at Blinken, Says US Must Return to Deal First

On Thursday, Tehran hit back at the US after Secretary of State Antony Blinken said Iran must return to compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal before the Biden administration does.

“Reality check for @SecBlinken, the US violated JCPOA, blocked food/medicine to Iranians, punished adherence to UNSCR 2231,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote on Twitter.

“Throughout that sordid mess, Iran abided by JCPOA, only took foreseen remedial measures. Now, who should take 1st step? Never forget Trump’s maximum failure,” Zarif added.

In his comments on Wednesday, Blinken said “it would take some time” for Iran to return to compliance and then for the US to “assess whether it was meeting its obligations.” His statement shows that the Biden administration is in no hurry to lift sanctions.

Jan 29 11:41

New US SecDef and Israeli Defense Minister Discuss Iran in First Call

On Thursday, recently confirmed Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin held his first call in the new position with his Israeli counterpart, Defense Minister Benny Gantz.

According to a statement from Israel’s Defense Ministry, Gantz raised the issue of “Iranian aggression” with Austin, something Gantz said the two countries “need to deal with.” The call comes at a time of heightened tensions, with Israeli officials threatening to attack Iran if the Biden administration revives the nuclear deal.

The Pentagon said that Austin pledged to uphold Israel’s Qualitative Military Edge (QME) while speaking with Gantz. The QME is a commitment by the US to ensure Israel maintains military superiority over its neighbors.

Austin’s conversation with Gantz came the day after Secretary of State Antony Blinken spoke with Israeli Foreign Minister Gabi Ashkenazi, who also brought up Iran.

Jan 29 09:23

US Demand for Iran to Reverse Its Nuclear Steps First 'Will Not Happen', Zarif Says

Earlier this week, Javad Zarif made it clear that Tehran will return to full compliance with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal if the US lifts its sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif told reporters on Friday that the US demand for Tehran to reverse its nuclear steps first "is not practical" and "will not happen".

The remarks come after he accused the US of violating the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, also known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), "for no reason", urging Washington "to remedy its wrong".

"Why on earth should Iran—a country that stood firm and defeated 4 years of a brutal US economic terrorism imposed in violation of JCPOA & UNSC [United Nations Security Council] Resolution—show goodwill gesture first?", Zarif tweeted earlier this week.

Jan 29 09:07

Seize the opportunity to rethink regional security, Iran tells neighbors

Iran hails that an opportunity has arisen for the countries of the region to renew their perspective of the issue of collective security, calling the matter an asset than cannot be either bought from abroad or guaranteed by stockpiling foreign weapons.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the remarks in an Arabic language tweet on Thursday.

“Dear neighbors, an opportunity is available to us to rethink the issue of regional security,” the tweet read.

Jan 29 07:40

Iran says it is exceeding uranium enrichment targets, leaving return to nuclear deal in a quagmire

By the end of the month, Iran will have exceeded 17 kilograms of 20-percent-enriched uranium, the country’s state TV said on Thursday, in a move that leaves the return to the 2015 nuclear deal in jeopardy.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf announced the news during a televised speech as he visited the Fordo nuclear plant in northwestern Iran.

The Iranian Parliament passed a bill in December, requiring the country to produce and store 120 kilograms of uranium enriched to the 20-percent level each year – or an average of 12 kilograms per month.

Jan 28 12:19

Blinken Says Iran Must Comply With Nuclear Deal Before the US Does

In a sign that the US is a long way from lifting sanctions on Iran, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said the US will not return to the nuclear deal until Iran comes back into compliance.

“President Biden has been very clear in saying that if Iran comes back into full compliance with its obligations under the JCPOA, the United States would do the same thing,” Blinken said at a press conference on Wednesday.

“But we are a long ways from that point. Iran is out of compliance on a number of fronts. And it would take some time … for it to come back into compliance in time for us then to assess whether it was meeting its obligations,” he said.

Blinken’s comments come after Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said the US must take the first step. Writing in Foreign Affairs last week, Zarif called on President Biden to unconditionally lift sanctions if he is serious about restoring the JCPOA.

Jan 28 12:17

Israeli Military Chief Announces New Plans to Strike Iran

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said on Tuesday that he ordered the military to draw up new plans to attack Iran’s nuclear program. He also warned the new Biden administration against reviving the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

“I have ordered the IDF to prepare a number of operational plans, in addition to the existing ones,” Kohavi said. “We are studying these plans and we will develop them over the next year.”

Kohavi’s comments are just the latest threatening comments towards Iran from Israeli officials. Earlier this month, an Israeli minister from the Likud party said Israel will have to attack Iran if the Biden administration returns to the JCPOA.

Warning against a revival of the JCPOA in his comments on Tuesday, Kohavi said the new administration should not let up the pressure that the Trump administration left on Iran in the form of crippling economic sanctions.

Jan 28 11:45

ISRAELI MILITARY ASKS $1.2 BILLION TO PREPARE FOR STRIKE ON IRAN

The Israeli military needs over $1 billion to fund its widely promoted strike on Iran, which Tel Aviv has threatened to carry out if the US should rejoin the nuclear deal. According to Israeli sources, the military would need these additional funds to deal with the challenges that it faces including ‘threats’ from the Iranian-led Axis of Resistance.

The interesting fact is that even the IDF Chief of Staff admits that Israel is the initiator of the escalation. However, the Israeli leadership continues to insist that the Iranian threat is growing.

“In general, none of [our enemies] want to initiate anything against us. All of their actions — almost without exception — are retaliatory to our actions, not actions that they’ve initiated. And when they decide to carry out [an attack], they experience difficulties and decide to abandon their ways of acting,” IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said adding that military spending must be increased, despite the coronavirus crisis.

Jan 28 05:57

Israeli Military Chief Announces New Plans to Strike Iran

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said on Tuesday that he ordered the military to draw up new plans to attack Iran’s nuclear program. He also warned the new Biden administration against reviving the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

“I have ordered the IDF to prepare a number of operational plans, in addition to the existing ones,” Kohavi said. “We are studying these plans and we will develop them over the next year.”

Kohavi’s comments are just the latest threatening comments towards Iran from Israeli officials. Earlier this month, an Israeli minister from the Likud party said Israel will have to attack Iran if the Biden administration returns to the JCPOA.

Jan 27 06:23

U.S. General manipulates media to push for war with Iran

Jan 26 10:29

THE VICIOUS CYCLE OF MIDDLE EASTERN “DIPLOMACY”

In the Middle East, the proxy war between Israel and Iran is unfolding with full speed.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) targets various positions in Syria, allegedly damaging Iran’s interests. In return, Tehran’s allies and proxies target Israel’s allies throughout various positions in the Middle East.

On January 22nd, IDF warplanes struck targets in the vicinity of the city of Hama in central Syria. It was launched from Lebanese airspace, and at least seven missiles hit various targets.

Most of the missiles, however, were intercepted by Syrian defenses. Reportedly a civilian family was killed, as a project struck the heavily populated district of Kazo in Hama city.

It is unclear what specifically was targeted by the IDF, but it usually disregards reports of civilian casualties.
The missiles that were used in the attack turned out to be US-made GBU-39 Small Diameter Bomb (SDB), a type of smart bomb.

Jan 26 09:37

Press review: Biden’s inaugural address calls for unity and Iran may form ‘Shiite NATO’

Joe Biden’s inaugural speech, in which he mostly focused on the need to unite Americans and overcome differences, was fitting given the current moment, said experts interviewed by Izvestia. However, his address was not inspiring and his oratory skills were obviously less impressive than those of his predecessors - Barack Obama and Donald Trump. Besides, if the new US leadership keeps branding the former president’s supporters as extremists and insists on impeaching Trump, it will be hard to achieve unity in American society, the newspaper writes.

Jan 26 08:53

Iran & China "Caught Red-Handed" In Illicit Oil Transfer Off Indonesia

Iran is demanding answers on Monday from the Indonesian government after its coast guard seized an Iranian-flagged vessel off the Indonesian coast over the weekend.

Indonesia's coast guard said the tanker was "caught red-handed" in an illegal ship to ship oil transfer with a Panamanian-flagged tanker. The Sunday incident comes after multiple international reports detailed the increasingly creative ways that both Iran and Venezuela are seeking to skirt US sanctions on their crude exports, often with China's help.

The Wilson Center's Jason Brodsky has noted that the Iranian-flagged MT Horse, which is one of the vessels involved, was "sent by Iran to Venezuela last year to deliver 2.1 million barrels of Iranian condensate." In this latest episode it appears a China-Iran venture to import or ship the Islamic Republic's "banned" oil.

Jan 26 08:17

Israelis Say They Will Attack Iran If US Returns to Nuclear Deal

Israeli officials have made their opposition to the Biden administration returning to the Iran nuclear deal known. Some have even threatened a military strike on Iran if President Biden revives the deal, known as the JCPOA.

An Israeli source affirmed this to Breaking Defense in an article published on Monday. “Israel needs to know — and fast — whether Washington plans to stop Iran’s race to the bomb or take some action to do this,” the source said, speaking on the condition of anonymity.

The source said that Israeli intelligence is monitoring Iran’s nuclear facilities closely. Israeli airstrikes on Syria were also mentioned, which have ramped up in recent months. “This pressure will continue and grow, as a preparation for a direct attack on targets in Iran,” the source said of airstrikes in Syria.

Jan 26 08:16

Report: Biden Seeking Direct Dialogue With Iran

On Monday, an anonymous US official close to the Biden administration told Sky News Arabia that President Biden is seeking direct talks with Iran and is pursuing that dialogue through European mediators.

Also on Monday, Iran’s Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht Ravanchi told NBC News that Iran has not spoken to the new administration. “No, there has not been any conversation between Iran and the US after Biden came into office.”

When asked if Iran was planning to open up a direct dialogue with the US or through intermediaries, Ravanchi said Iran is “not planning to initiate anything.”

Jan 26 08:16

Iran Won’t Expel UN Inspectors

Looking to preempt hardliner MPs’ warnings about expelling IAEA inspectors from Iran, the Foreign Ministry has issued a statement Monday insisting that they have absolutely no intention of expelling any of the inspectors, despite it being the law.

Iran’s parliament demanded full US sanctions relief by February 21, with all IAEA inspectors otherwise being kicked out. That was a big ultimatum, opposed by the Rouhani government when it was proposed. Now officials say they’re not going to do it anyhow.

Since expelling inspectors would provoke a huge international backlash, that’s probably a relief to a lot of people. At the same time, it’s likely that this will spark a new hardliner versus reformer battle among Iranian political factions.

Jan 26 08:15

US Expanding Military Presence in Saudi Arabia With Eye on Iran

The US military is expanding its operations in Saudi Arabia and looking to establish bases in the western part of the country. The initiative began about a year ago and was just revealed to reporters by Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command.

According to McKenzie, the US has been using various air bases and seaports in western Saudi Arabia and is working to build its own bases in the region. As part of the plan, the US and Saudi Arabia are negotiating infrastructure projects that would make two ports on the Red Sea and two airbases in the west more suitable for the use of the US military.

The idea is that US bases in Qatar, the UAE, and Bahrain are in the range of Iran’s ballistic missiles, and bases further west would be beneficial in a conflict with Tehran, something McKenzie explained to reporters.

Jan 26 07:37

Potential Robert Malley Tap for Iran Envoy Sparks Firestorm

The Biden administration’s rumored appointment of former national security official Robert Malley as special envoy to Iran has sparked an outcry, with critics saying the move would only benefit the ayatollahs and would send a “chilling signal” the new American administration does not care about Tehran’s regional terror nor its human rights infractions.

Under former President Barack Obama, Malley, then a national security official, was one of the most enthusiastic proponents of the fIran deal. He was also initially kicked off of Obama’s first presidential campaign after reports emerged he had met with members of the Hamas terror group.

Writing in Bloomberg, journalist and national security expert Eli Lake argued picking Malley would mean Biden’s “first foreign-policy blunder could be on Iran.”

Jan 26 07:04

Russia's Sputnik V Vaccine Has Been Registered in Iran

Last week, Iranian government spokesman Ali Rabiei stated that Iran had held talks with Russia, China, and India on the potential procurement of vaccines against the coronavirus.

Iranian Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif on Tuesday announced that Tehran had registered Russia's Sputnik V vaccine.

"I would like to tell you that the Sputnik V vaccine was registered in Iran yesterday. It was approved by our sanitary authorities and we hope we will soon be able to buy it and start joint production [by] the relevant institutes in Russia and Iran”, Zarif said at a press conference after talks with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.

Jan 26 06:56

From Iran, cleric tells Israel TV hostility between the two countries should end

In an unprecedented interview, a former senior Iranian cleric and current opposition figure spoke with an Israeli television news channel Monday night from Tehran, and called for an end to hostilities between the countries.

“It is time for the Iranian regime to stop inventing enemies that don’t exist,” the former ayatollah Abdol-Hamid Masoumi-Tehrani told Israel’s Channel 12 news.

Masoumi-Tehrani, who had the honor of the “ayatollah” title revoked by Tehran due to his disagreements with the regime, said he has “no problem” with the Jewish state.

Jan 25 08:46

Mossad chief to meet Biden to press Israeli demands on Iran nuclear deal: Report

Mossad head Yossi Cohen is set to meet with US President Joe Biden in Washington next month to discuss the Iran nuclear deal and Israel’s expectations for any overhaul of the treaty, Channel 12 news reported Saturday night.

Cohen, an major ally of Netanyahu, will be the first senior Israeli official to meet with US President Joe Biden, who was sworn in on 2o January.

In the first official contact between the Biden administration and the Israeli government, Israeli National Security Adviser Meir Ben-Shabbat, and his US counterpart, Jake Sullivan, spoke by phone on Saturday.

Jan 25 08:43

Iran Wants the Nuclear Deal It Made

As a candidate for president in 2016, Donald Trump pledged to stop wasting American blood and treasure on wars in West Asia. During his time in office, Trump instead further trapped the United States in the region and inflamed divisions to the point where a minor incident might quickly spiral out of control and lead to a major war.

The new administration in Washington has a fundamental choice to make. It can embrace the failed policies of the Trump administration and continue down the path of disdain for international cooperation and international law—a contempt powerfully evident in the United States’ decision in 2018 to unilaterally withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal, that had been signed by Iran, China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the European Union just three years earlier. Or the new administration can shed the failed assumptions of the past and seek to promote peace and comity in the region.

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.

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