IRAN | WHAT REALLY HAPPENED

IRAN

Dec 29 07:32

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

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

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

Dec 29 06:43

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

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

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

Dec 28 06:31

Israeli Military Says Iran Could Attack From Iraq or Yemen

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

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

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

Webmaster's Commentary: 

False flag alert!

Dec 25 08:49

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

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

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

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

Dec 25 08:49

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

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

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

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

Dec 24 07:24

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 23 09:47

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 22 07:48

Israeli Military Warns Iran Against Attack

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

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

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

Dec 22 07:48

US Submarine Steams Through Hormuz Strait Amid Iran Tensions

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

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

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

Dec 22 07:47

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 22 07:31

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

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

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

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

Dec 22 07:20

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

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

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

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

Dec 19 08:35

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

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

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

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

Dec 18 08:30

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 18 08:14

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

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

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

Dec 17 13:27

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

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

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

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

Dec 17 13:25

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

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

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

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

Dec 16 06:51

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

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

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

Dec 16 06:39

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

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

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

Dec 15 11:08

International law vs eternal recurrence: The US and Israel

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

Dec 14 08:02

France, other European countries withdraw from business forum over execution

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

Dec 14 07:25

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

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

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

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

Dec 14 07:12

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

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

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

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

Dec 13 06:37

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

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

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

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

— Michael McFaul (@McFaul) December 11, 2020

Dec 08 10:02

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

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

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

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

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

Dec 08 08:11

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

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

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

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

Dec 08 07:08

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

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

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

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

Dec 08 06:29

US and Its Allies Stoking Fears of Possible Iranian Attacks

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

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

Dec 08 06:27

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

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

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

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

Dec 08 06:26

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

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

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

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

Dec 08 06:23

US sanctions have caused Iranians untold misery - and achieved nothing

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

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

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

Dec 06 08:49

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

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

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

Dec 06 08:38

Israel Warns Nuclear Scientists That Iran Could Target Them

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

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

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

Dec 06 07:55

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

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

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

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

Dec 06 07:49

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

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

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

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

Dec 06 07:40

Saudis Demand To Be Consulted Before Biden Reenters Iran Nucleal Deal

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

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

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

Dec 06 07:33

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

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

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

Dec 05 08:25

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

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

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

Dec 05 08:11

Biggest Iranian Flotilla Yet En Route to Venezuela With Fuel

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

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

Dec 04 08:31

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

Dec 04 08:05

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

It is not often that one can agree with the pronouncements made by former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan, but his tweeted comment on the killing of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh suggesting that the incident “…was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict. Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits” was both restrained and reasonable. Or it was at least so until sentence two, which was clearly intended to attack Donald Trump and praise the incoming Joe Biden administration, which Brennan just might be seeking to join.

Dec 04 07:58

Iran: Saudi policy of inflaming tension no longer tenable

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

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

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

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

No amount of Saudi obfuscation can hide this ugly reality.

— Saeed Khatibzadeh (@SKhatibzadeh) December 3, 2020

Dec 04 07:55

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

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

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

Dec 03 11:52

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

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

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

Dec 03 08:17

How Israel Deployed an Intelligence Deception to Justify Killing Mohsen Fakhrizadeh

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

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

Dec 03 08:15

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

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

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

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

Dec 03 08:14

Israel Tries To Kill The Nuclear Deal

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

Dec 03 08:13

Biden Says He Will Return to Iran Nuclear Deal

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

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

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

Dec 03 08:04

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

It is not often that one can agree with the pronouncements made by former Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director John Brennan, but his tweeted comment on the killing of Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh suggesting that the incident “…was a criminal act & highly reckless. It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict. Iranian leaders would be wise to wait for the return of responsible American leadership on the global stage & to resist the urge to respond against perceived culprits” was both restrained and reasonable. Or it was at least so until sentence two, which was clearly intended to attack Donald Trump and praise the incoming Joe Biden administration, which Brennan just might be seeking to join.

Dec 03 06:45

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

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

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

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

Dec 02 08:52

Iran Suspects Exiled Cult Was Involved In Assassination Of Top Scientist

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

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

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

Dec 02 08:09

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

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

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

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

Dec 02 08:06

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

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

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

Dec 02 07:32

Israel Is (Again) Pushing For War On Iran

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

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

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

Dec 02 07:05

Report: Trump Gives Hawks Free Rein to Hammer Iran

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

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

Dec 01 08:00

Reports: Airstrike Killed Iranian Commander Near Iraq-Syria Border

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

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

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

Dec 01 07:58

EXCLUSIVE: Iran tells MBZ it will hit UAE in response to a US attack

Tehran “directly” contacted Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Zayed last weekend, threatening the United Arab Emirates in the event of any US attack on Iran, a top-level UAE source told Middle East Eye.

The Iranians are on high alert following the assassination on Friday of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the architect of Iran’s military nuclear programme, east of Tehran.

Though Fakhrizadeh’s killing has been claimed off the record by Israeli intelligence sources to the New York Times, Iran has feared attacks by the United States too, believing outgoing president Donald Trump could lash out before his term ends on 20 January.

Dec 01 07:57

Has Bibi Boxed Biden in on Iran?

If Israel, as is universally believed and has not been denied, was behind the assassination of Iran’s leading nuclear scientist, questions arise:

Why would the Israelis kill him? And why would they do it now?

The scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, it is conceded, was a leader in Iran’s nuclear bomb program, but that program was disbanded in 2003.

Under George W. Bush, in 2007, all 17 U.S. intelligence agencies declared with "high confidence" that Iran no longer had a bomb program.

Four years later, the same intel agencies affirmed that finding.

Since 2015, Iran’s nuclear facilities, under the Iran nuclear deal, have been subject to U.N. surveillance and inspections. And Iran has neither produced plutonium nor enriched uranium to the 90% level needed for a bomb.

Israel claims Iran never stopped working on a bomb, but US Intel agencies and UN nuclear inspectors have agreed that the military nuclear program that Fakhrizadeh oversaw was ended in 2003.

Dec 01 07:52

The Assassination of Iranian Nuclear Scientist. Setting the Stage for War?

“If confirmed, the assassination of Iran’s nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is yet another reckless step that appears intended to poison the well for negotiations under a Biden administration and set the stage for war. Coming shortly after the assassination of Qassem Soleimani earlier this year, the killing of a scientist who formerly directed Iran’s shelved military nuclear program risks war between Iran, the U.S. and Israel.

Dec 01 06:47

‘No way around it,’ Iranians to retaliate scientist assassination: Retired US Navy Adm.

A retired US Navy SEAL and special operations commander has suggested that Iran’s retaliation over the assassination of scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh is certain, asserting that there is not “any way around it.”

"Iran, you know, either suspects or knows that Israel was responsible for this attack," Navy Adm. William McRaven told ABC on Monday.

He further suggested that Iran’s revenge will have serious repercussions for the US and its allies.

Nov 30 12:33

IRANIAN NUCLEAR PROGRAM GAINS STEAM FOLLOWING ASSASSINATION OF “NUCLEAR SOLEIMANI” NEAR TEHRAN

US President Donald Trump is apparently set to slam the door and go to great lengths to show love to his friends in Tel Aviv before withdrawing from the White House.

Nov 30 11:49

Five Scientists in 10 Years: Iran’s Nuclear Physicists Are Top Targets for Assassins

To be a nuclear scientist in Iran is to be in danger. During the past decade, up to this week, at least four had been killed in vehicle bombings and shootouts, and several others have been targeted but survived.

On Friday, the alleged architect of Iran’s military nuclear programme joined the ranks of the slain. Armed assassins gunned down Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in his car in an ambush in Absard city, outside the capital Tehran.

Fakhrizadeh, an officer in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has been known as one of Iran’s most celebrated physicists because of his work on the country’s nuclear programme, Project 111.

When his colleague, Majid Shahriari, was assassinated in 2010, the UN described Fakhrizadeh as a leader in Tehran’s effort to acquire a nuclear warhead.

Nov 30 07:11

Killing of top Iranian nuclear scientist: Reported versions change from 12-person commando squad to REMOTE-CONTROLLED machine gun

Iran's top scientist was assassinated with a remote-controlled machine gun from 150 meters away, semi-official news agency Fars said, contradicting previous detailed reports of a 12-person commando team doing the killing.

Citing “new details” obtained by its journalists from unidentified sources, Fars said on Sunday that the lead security vehicle in scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh's three-vehicle convoy of bulletproof cars left its escort position to prepare the arrival location in Absard, east of Tehran.

Nov 30 07:06

Israel’s gift to Joe Biden, 52 days before he even takes office: War with Iran

The assassination of Tehran’s top nuclear scientist is a ploy by Israel to compel the likely US president-elect to reject diplomacy and choose military action to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambition. Which option will he choose?

Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was the shadowy father of Iran’s nuclear program; his existence, let alone his work, was barely acknowledged by Iran. A brigadier general with the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Command, Fakhrizadeh was involved in the academic aspects of Iranian national security, eventually heading up the Physics Research Center, where he masterminded the design and material acquisition in support of Iran’s uranium enrichment effort.

Nov 30 07:05

‘Criminal act’: Ex-CIA chief urges Iran to wait on ‘return of responsible US leaders’ before reacting to nuclear scientist killing

Former CIA Director John Brennan has commented on the killing of a top Iranian nuclear scientist by urging Tehran to wait for “return of responsible American leadership” before taking retaliation against suspected perpetrators.

Amid speculation about the involvement of both Israel and the US in the alleged assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Brennan dubbed the death “a criminal act [and] highly reckless.”

“It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict,” he said of the Friday attack, which reportedly included unknown assailants attacking Fakhrizadeh and his security forces.

Nov 30 07:05

‘Important to preserve scope for talks with Iran’: Germany warns against escalation after killing of top Iranian scientist

Berlin has urged “all parties” to avoid escalating tensions following the assassination of a senior Iranian scientist in what Tehran suspects to be an Israeli operation. Iran’s leader has pledged to go after those responsible.

“A few weeks before the new US administration takes office, it is important to preserve the scope for talks with Iran so that the dispute over Iran’s nuclear programme can be resolved through negotiations,” a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry told Reuters in an email.

We therefore urge all parties to refrain from any steps that could lead to a further escalation of the situation.

Nov 30 07:04

'Fakhrizadeh assassination another desperate attempt to disrupt Iran's development'

Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht-Ravanchi says there are “serious indications of Israeli responsibility” in the assassination of Iranian physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the UN Security Council (UNSC) on Friday evening, Iran’s ambassador to the world body said that the Islamic Republic reserves the right to defend itself.

“The cowardly assassination of Martyr Fakhrizadeh -- with serious indications of Israeli responsibility in it – is another desperate attempt to wreak havoc on our region as well as to disrupt Iran’s scientific and technological development,” Takht-Ravanchi said in the letter.

Nov 30 07:04

Severe revenge for scientist’s assassination put on Iran’s agenda: IRGC chief

The chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has warned that “a severe revenge and punishment” has been put on Iran’s agenda in response to the assassination of a high-profile nuclear scientist with the Defense Ministry.

Major General Hossein Salami made the remarks in a message released on Friday after the targeted killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, head of the Iranian Defense Ministry’s Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (known by its acronym as SPND), in Absard city of Damavand County, Tehran Province.

Salami hailed Fakhrizadeh as a leading scientist in the country’s strategic industries and a prominent professor at Imam Hussein University of Tehran, and strongly condemned his assassination in a “terrorist crime designed and directed by the fake, terrorist and infanticide Zionist regime.”

Nov 29 10:29

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

By Brian Berletic

Reports on the death of senior Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh signals another dangerous turn in Washington’s systematic attempts to undermine and overthrow the current government of Iran...

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

It's worth returning to the 2009 document "Which Path to Persia?" to see how this is unfolding...

Nov 29 08:23

Iran's Lawmakers Pass Bill to Boost Nuclear Activity in Wake of Top Scientist's Murder, Reports Say

The Iranian parliament has passed a bill, dubbed "The strategic measure for the removal of sanctions," aimed at revitalizing the country's nuclear activities in the wake of the assassination of Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, the Tasnim news agency reported on Sunday.

The scientist, who also was the head of the Iranian Defence Ministry's innovation center, died as a result of a gunmen attack on Friday in the town of Absard in the Tehran region.

According to the Iranian news agency, the lawmakers assigned a double-urgency status to a bill and ratified it in a 232-14 vote at a session on Sunday.

The bill envisages increasing the uranium enrichment level to 20 percent or more — such uranium is considered a weapon-grade one. At the moment, Iran is enriching uranium at more than 4 percent, while the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) capped the level at 3.67 percent purity.

Nov 29 08:21

Iranians Burn Israeli, US Flags, Chant 'War with America' in Wake of Nuclear Scientist's Killing

A wave of outrage and condemnation has swept Iran and the Middle East in the wake of the assassination of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, an Iranian nuclear physicist and the head of the Iranian Defence Ministry's innovation centre; he was gunned down in his vehicle in the town of Absard in the Tehran region.

Students identified as members of the Basij, the paramilitary unit of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, burned Israeli and American flags in the Iranian capital Tehran on Saturday in protest over the assassination of the country’s top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, reported AFP.

?The students also burned photos of US President Donald Trump and the projected president-elect, Democrat Joe Biden.

Nov 29 08:03

Syria condemns ‘Zionist terrorist attack on science’ as Israel says it has ‘no clue’ who was behind Iranian scientist’s murder

Syria has condemned the assassination of top Iranian nuclear physicist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, calling it a chilling “terrorist attack on science”, as Israel denies involvement.

Syria’s Foreign Minister Faysal Mikdad denounced what he called a “cowardly act” in a phone call with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif. Offering his nation's condolences to Iran over the incident, Mikdad said that the murder was an attack against scientists and researchers the world over.

While Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was a senior Iranian nuclear physicist with alleged close connections to the defense industry, the Syrian minister praised his efforts in “advancing science and knowledge.” Earlier, Iran’s UN envoy said in a letter to the UN Secretary General that the scientist had played an “outstanding role in the development of the first indigenous Covid-19 test kit” in Iran.

Nov 29 07:42

Iran’s revenge for slain nuclear scientist could include missiles on Eilat

Analysis: Although the regime in Tehran is enraged by the brazen killing of Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, it will most likely not react in a way that would destroy ties with the Biden administration before they even began, opting instead for more 'creative' alternatives

Nov 29 07:41

Iran newspaper: Strike Haifa if Israel killed scientist

According the hardline Kayhan newspaper an attack on Israel's northern city must be greater than Iran’s ballistic missile strike against American troops in Iraq following the killing of Soleimani by the U.S. in January

Nov 28 10:29

Trump Might Leave Scorched Earth on His Way Out. Netanyahu Is Happy to Lend Him a Lighter

The president's frantic tweets after the news broke of top Iranian nuclear scientist's assassination make it clear his administration gave its blessing to the Tehran attack attributed to Israel. Could this be Trump's final frenzy?

Nov 28 10:07

Israel Assassinates Iranian Nuclear Scientist Near Tehran

Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in a Mossad hit on Friday while driving down the street in his own country in a suburb near their capital of Tehran.

[...] Trump retweeted Israeli journalist Yossi Melman saying Mossad wanted him dead and "his death is a major psychological and professional blow for Iran."

Nov 28 08:37

‘Criminal act’: Ex-CIA chief urges Iran to wait on ‘return of responsible US leaders’ before reacting to nuclear scientist killing

Former CIA Director John Brennan has commented on the killing of a top Iranian nuclear scientist by urging Tehran to wait for “return of responsible American leadership” before taking retaliation against suspected perpetrators.

Amid speculation about the involvement of both Israel and the US in the alleged assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, Brennan dubbed the death “a criminal act [and] highly reckless.”

“It risks lethal retaliation & a new round of regional conflict,” he said of the Friday attack, which reportedly included unknown assailants attacking Fakhrizadeh and his security forces.

Nov 28 08:35

Intelligence officials: Israel behind elimination of Iranian scientist

Three intelligence officials told The New York Times on Friday that Israel was behind the attack in which senior Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was eliminated.

It is unclear how much the United States may have known about the operation in advance, according to The New York Times, and the White House declined to comment.

Fakhrizadeh has been considered the driving force behind Iran’s nuclear weapons program for two decades, and continued to work after the main part of the effort was quietly disbanded in the early 2000s.

Earlier on Friday, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, said there were “serious indications” that Israel was involved in the elimination of a top nuclear scientist and called on the international community to condemn the elimination.

“Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators,” tweeted Zarif.

Nov 28 08:22

Iran Blames Israel, US For Assassination Of Top Nuclear Scientist

Update 2: Iran accused Israel and the U.S. of organizing the assassination of one of its top nuclear scientists on Friday and vowed revenge, sharply escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf in the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was the head of research and innovation at Iran’s Ministry of Defense, and was also viewed internationall as the head of Iran's nuclear weapons program. He was killed close to the Damavand campus of Islamic Azad University, about 60 kilometers east of central Tehran, Iran's Tasnim news reported.

"Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet. Iran’s army also accused the U.S. of bearing responsibility. Curiously, Trump retweeted a New York Times report on Fakhrizadeh’s killing without commenting.

Nov 28 08:19

Killing of Top Iranian Scientist Raises Risk of Regional War

The killing of a top Iranian scientist on Friday could risk a major war in the region, with all signs pointing to Israel being responsible. The assassination came after a report said President Trump reviewed options to strike an Iranian nuclear site at an Oval Office meeting earlier this month.

Although officials left the meeting assuming a military strike was off the table, other options were left open. Three intelligence officials told The New York Times that Israel was responsible for killing Mohsen Fakhrizadeh. If Israel carried out the assassination, it raises questions about how much the US knew about the operation.

The Times story on Fakhrizadeh’s killing reads: “It was unclear how much the United States may have known about the operation in advance, but the two nations are the closest of allies and have long shared intelligence regarding Iran.”

Nov 28 08:01

Five scientists in 10 years: Iran's nuclear physicists are top targets for assassins

To be a nuclear scientist in Iran is to be in danger. During the past decade, at least four had been killed in vehicle bombings and shootouts, and several others were targeted but survived.

On Friday, the alleged architect of Iran’s military nuclear programme joined their ranks. Armed assassins gunned down Mohsen Fakhrizadeh in his car in an ambush in Absard city, outside the capital Tehran.

Fakhrizadeh, an officer in Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), has been known as one of Iran's most celebrated physicists because of his work on the country's nuclear programme, Project 111.

Nov 28 07:56

Anti-Iran Saber Rattling

For over 40 years, the US never attacked Iranian territory — other than by covert operations.

Tehran’s legitimate nuclear energy program has no military component — confirmed time and again by the IAEA and US intelligence community assessments.

Investigative journalist Seymour Hersh earlier said the following:

According to US National Intelligence Estimates on Iran’s nuclear program, “there is no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any effort to build the bomb,” adding:

“Despite years of covert operations inside Iran, extensive satellite imagery, and the recruitment of many Iranian intelligence assets, the United States and its allies, including Israel, have been unable to find irrefutable evidence of an ongoing hidden nuclear-weapons program in Iran…”

It’s because none exists, not now or earlier.

Iran’s nuclear program is the world’s most heavily monitored by IAEA inspectors.

Nov 28 07:47

Israeli Embassies Reportedly 'On High Alert' as Iran's Ayatollah Vows Revenge for Scientist's Murder

On Friday, top-ranking Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in the town of Absard near Tehran. Iran condemned Fakhrizadeh's assassination as an act of terrorism, which Foreign Minister Zarif blamed on Israel.

Israeli embassies around the world have increased their level of alert, Israel's N12 News reported. According to the media outlet, Jewish communities throughout the world were also advised to stay vigilant.

The report comes as Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei strongly condemned the killing of Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, calling for the perpetrators of the crime to be punished.

In a tweet, Khamenei added that the scientific work Fakhrizadeh was involved in will continue to be pursued.

Nov 28 07:46

Unrelated to Scientist's Murder? US Reportedly Sends Warships to Persian Gulf As 'Message to Iran'

The United States is moving its USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and other warships into the Persian Gulf to support the withdrawal of troops from Iraq and Afghanistan, CNN reported on Saturday, adding that the decision was made before the assassination of Iranian nuclear physicist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.

The broadcaster is citing an unnamed US defence official, who confirmed that the move was decided before the report about the killing of Fakhrizadeh but would still serve as a message to Tehran.

The Iranian Defense Ministry said on Friday that the head of its research and innovation centre, Fakhrizadeh, had been killed. Earlier on Saturday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani accused Israel of being behind the killing of the nuclear physicist, while Iran’s Ambassador to the United Nations Majid Takht Ravanchi has warned the US and Israel against "adventuristic" steps.

Nov 28 07:45

Nimitz carrier group returns to Persian Gulf after drills, in ‘pre-planned’ move not related to Iranian scientist murder – report

A US aircraft carrier and other warships are headed to the Persian Gulf to bolster troop withdrawals in the region, a defense source told CNN, insisting the deployment is unrelated to the recent murder of a top Iranian scientist.

The Nimitz carrier strike group – led by the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier and backed by several guided-missile destroyers – will soon resume operations in the Persian Gulf region, CNN’s Barbara Starr reported on Friday, citing an anonymous Pentagon official.

The ships will provide “combat support and air cover as US troops withdraw from Iraq and Afghanistan” by mid-January under orders from President Donald Trump, moving a sizable arsenal into the region just months before he is set to leave office.

Nov 28 07:44

Iran warns US & Israel against any ‘adventurism’ during Trump’s ‘final’ days in office after murder of scientist — letter to UN

Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations has called on Washington and Tel Aviv to avoid “adventuristic measures” after the assassination of a top Iranian scientist, while also alleging “serious indications” of Israeli involvement.

The Islamic Republic's UN envoy Majid Takht Ravanchi penned a harshly worded letter to the international body on Friday, blasting the “terrorist assassination” of leading nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh by unknown assailants earlier on Friday morning, while also warning that Tehran would retaliate to any brash moves taken by Israel or the US.

Nov 27 13:48

Iran Blames Israel, US For Assassination Of Top Nuclear Scientist

Iran accused Israel and the U.S. of organizing the assassination of one of its top nuclear scientists on Friday and vowed revenge, sharply escalating tensions in the Persian Gulf in the final weeks of Donald Trump’s presidency. Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was the head of research and innovation at Iran’s Ministry of Defense, and was also viewed internationall as the head of Iran's nuclear weapons program. He was killed close to the Damavand campus of Islamic Azad University, about 60 kilometers east of central Tehran, Iran's Tasnim news reported.

"Terrorists murdered an eminent Iranian scientist today. This cowardice—with serious indications of Israeli role—shows desperate warmongering of perpetrators," Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in a tweet. Iran’s army also accused the U.S. of bearing responsibility. Curiously, Trump retweeted a New York Times report on Fakhrizadeh’s killing without commenting.

Nov 27 12:05

Iran Accuses Israel Of Seeking To Provoke "Full-Blown War" With Brazen Assassination

Since news broke hours ago of the assassination of Iran's top nuclear scientist, Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, on the streets in a city just east of Tehran, Iranian leaders have blamed an Israeli assassination plot.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said there were "Serious indications of Israeli role" in killing of Fakhrizadeh, who subsequently died of his wounds in a hospital. What Iran has dubbed a terrorist attack reportedly involved a hail of machine gun fire and a suicide bomber explosion.

And a top military adviser to Iran's supreme leader and former IRGC general issued a similar allegation on Twitter. Hossein Dehghan wrote:

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

Nov 27 09:19

Head Of Iran's Nuclear Weapons Project Assassinated

Amid speculation that Israel is on war footing over a possible strike in Iran in the coming weeks, moments ago Iranian state media reported that the country's top nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was assassinated in Damavand, east of Tehran. He was reportedly accompanied by his bodyguard when they were attacked by a “suicide” attacker at the entrance of Absard town.

According to Iran Front Page News, Fakhrizadeh was killed by shooting, but before the shootout, his car has been stopped with an explosion at Mostafa Khomeini Blvd. Several others are also reportedly killed in the incident, but haven’t been identified yet.

Nov 26 02:18

Video: Iran swaps Israel’s spy for three nationals jailed abroad

"...Kylie Moore-Gilbert was freed from Tehran’s Evin prison on Wednesday morning after serving about two years of her 10-year jail term.

She was swapped for an Iranian businessman and two other nationals incarcerated abroad on delusional accusations, Iranian news agencies reported.

The three Iranians were detained for attempting to circumvent illegal sanctions against the Islamic Republic, the reports said.

Footage from the prisoner swap was aired on Iran’s state television on Wednesday.

IRNA news agency reported that Moore-Gilbert had passed a two-year special training course for her spying mission.

During the course, she became fluent in Persian and was prepared to perform espionage activities inside Iran..."

Nov 25 12:13

Israeli Military Prepares For Possible Trump Preemptive Attack On Iran: Axios

With just weeks to go to President-Elect Joe Biden's being inaugurated on January 20, Axios reports that Israel is preparing for the possibility that Trump will launch a preemptive attack on Iran.

Axios' Barak Ravid reports from Tel Aviv that "The Israel Defense Forces have in recent weeks been instructed to prepare for the possibility that the U.S. will conduct a military strike against Iran before President Trump leaves office, senior Israeli officials tell me."

While not citing specific intelligence, Ravid says Israeli military and intelligence leaders are anticipating "a very sensitive period" just ahead of the inauguration and Trump's exiting the White House.

Nov 25 07:22

“Coup 1953” Documentary Opens Up Wounds Over Britain’s Criminal Role in Iran’s History

“Angry TV film-makers stop release of lauded Iranian documentary,” ran the headline of a recent Guardian news story. What documentary exactly is this? We learn: “Coup 53, which charts MI6’s role in the shah’s restoration, has been blocked by makers of a 1985 show, who say it sullies their names.”

The makers of that show, the British TV series End of Empire, deny that the UK government put any pressure on them to remove an interview with an MI6 officer from their series (they say it was an off the record interview). For this reason they are preventing the release of a film that documents Britain’s treachery back in the 1950s, when a vicious act of state-sponsored terrorism was perpetrated against an entire nation.

Nov 25 06:20

Saudi Arabia Receives Dangerous Gifts From Houthi-Iranian Alliance

The Yemeni Houthis have fired their new cruise missile, the Quds-2, at a Saudi Aramco oil company distribution station in the kingdom’s city of Jeddah, the group’s media news wing announced early on November 23. A spokesperson for the Armed Forces of the Houthi-led government, Yahya Sarea, said foreign companies and residents in Saudi Arabia should stay away from the military and oil infrastructure of Saudi Arabia as “operations will continue”. He emphasized that the missile precisely hit its target causing notable damage.

Nov 25 06:08

With clock ticking, many fear a Trump military move against Iran

Tensions and anticipation are building up as the transfer of power starts in Washington with the incoming administration expected to reverse US President Donald Trump's maximum pressure campaign against Iran and return to the nuclear deal.

Last week, Trump - according to the New York Times - asked to assess military options for a possible strike against Iranian nuclear facilities. Tehran has warned of a "crushing response" if it is attacked.

On Tuesday, Middle East Eye correspondent Suadad al-Salhy reported that Iranian officials, worried that Trump may "drag the region into an open war before leaving", have instructed their Iraqi allies to halt attacks on US troops and interests.

Nov 25 06:06

Pompeo’s Trip to Israel: That Says It All

In the most telling formulation of the of the Middle East peace deals uttered by an American spokesman since they were signed, Pompeo made it clear that the deals were really about two things: aggressively confronting Iran and setting the precedent that deals could be made in the middle east without considering the Palestinians while cementing the occupation.

Nov 24 12:42

In  threat to Iran, US sends heavy bombers to Middle East via Israel

The United States this week rapidly deployed several heavy bombers to the Middle East this week in an apparent threat to Iran, amid swirling speculation that US President Donald Trump plans to take military action against Tehran before President-elect Joe Biden enters office.

US Central Command said the planes were sent into the region “to deter aggression and reassure US partners and allies.”

In a highly irregular move, the B-52H Stratofortress planes were seen flying toward Israeli airspace on Saturday en route to the base where they will be stationed, likely in Qatar. The aircraft were spotted on civilian tracking software approaching Israel before they apparently turned off their transponders, rendering them invisible on those applications.

It was the third time in the past year and a half that B-52 bombers, which are capable of carrying nuclear weapons and other powerful munitions, have been deployed to the region in

Nov 22 11:46

In Apparent Message to Biden, Netanyahu Warns World Powers Against Reentering 2015 Iran Nuclear Deal

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu warned Sunday that world powers must not reenter the 2015 nuclear accord with Iran, in a message seemingly directed towards U.S. President-elect Joe Biden.

Speaking at the annual commemoration ceremony for Israel's first prime minister, David Ben-Gurion, Netanyahu said, "we must uphold an uncompromised policy to guarantee that Iran doesn't develop nuclear weapons.

"Thanks to our firm stance to prevent the nuclearization of Iran and our objection to the nuclear accord, many Arab countries have fundamentally changed their approach towards Israel," Netanyahu added.

Nov 22 11:44

Iran vows to crush any Israeli attempt to hit its "advisory" role in Syria

Foreign Minister denies Islamic Republic have military forces in Syria and says it has sent commandos to the country as military advisers for as long as they are needed; denies Iranian deaths in latest Israeli strike on Damascus

Nov 22 11:11

Iran Vows Crushing Blow to Israel

Nov 22 08:25

Message to Iran: B-52 bombers deployed to Middle East

The U.S. military deployed B-52 bombers to the Middle East Saturday, just days after the Trump administration announced a partial withdrawal of American troops from Afghanistan and Iraq.

U.S. Central Command said the U.S. Air Force B-52H “Stratofortress” aircrews conducted the mission on "short notice" to "deter aggression and reassure U.S. partners and allies."

“The ability to quickly move forces into, out of and around the theater to seize, retain and exploit the initiative is key to deterring potential aggression," said Lt. Gen. Greg Guillot, 9th Air Force commander.

"These missions help bomber aircrews gain familiarity with the region’s airspace and command, and control functions and allow them to integrate with the theater’s U.S. and partner air assets, increasing the combined force’s overall readiness.”

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