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Feb 17 06:53

Report: Iranians Say Joe Biden Has Not Kept Promise to Bring Muslims into United States

Iranians in the United States say they were hoping the election of Joe Biden as president would mean that their loved ones would be allowed to come into the country after the reversal of former President Donald’s Trump’s policy to restrict travel from countries with links to terrorism.

Iran is considered by the U.S. federal government as a state sponsor of terrorism, but Biden is framing his decision as stopping a xenophobic policy targeting Muslims.

Taxpayer-funded National Public Radio (NPR) interviewed Iranian Americans who are disappointed by Biden’s failure to keep his campaign promise:

One impact of the Trump travel ban was to divide families. Eli, a 34-year-old Iranian with a green card, lives in Los Angeles. Like all the Iranians interviewed for this story, she asked that her family name not be used for fear of retaliation if she returns to Iran. Eli says of all the issues she faced moving to the U.S., the travel ban was the worst.

Feb 16 09:36

Is Biden Committing Diplomatic Suicide Over the Iran Nuclear Agreement?

As Congress still struggles to pass a COVID relief bill, the rest of the world is nervously reserving judgment on America’s new president and his foreign policy, after successive U.S. administrations have delivered unexpected and damaging shocks to the world and the international system.

Cautious international optimism toward Biden is very much based on his commitment to Obama’s signature diplomatic achievement, the JCPOA or nuclear agreement with Iran. Biden and the Democrats excoriated Trump for withdrawing from it and promised to promptly rejoin the deal if elected. But Biden now appears to be hedging his position in a way that risks turning what should be an easy win for the new administration into an avoidable and tragic diplomatic failure.

Feb 16 06:37

Israel will face ‘toughest response’ if it crosses red lines in Syria: Iranian diplomat

Iran’s presence in Syria is upon an official request from Damascus, says a senior advisor to the Iranian foreign minister, warning that Israel will face the ‘toughest response’ if it crosses red lines in the Arab country.

Speaking in an exclusive interview with Russia's Sputnik news agency on Sunday, Ali Asghar Khaji said the Iranian forces’ “presence in Syria is aimed at combating Daesh and other terrorist groups, but if Israel wants to cross the 'red lines', it will face the toughest response, which will make it regret its actions."

The Iranian official reiterated that the Islamic Republic's military presence in Syria is upon a request from the Damascus government, adding that Tehran has not received any message demanding it to leave the Arab country.

Feb 16 06:37

Iran to stop giving IAEA broader, voluntary access

Iran has informed the International Atomic Energy Agency it plans to stop taking voluntary measures that give the Agency broader access under the so-called Additional Protocol.

Iran has been implementing the Additional Protocol voluntarily as part of its commitments under the nuclear deal with world powers, known as the JCPOA.

Kazem Gharibabadi said as of February 23rd, cooperation between Iran and the IAEA would be based solely on the country’s Safeguards Agreement with the Agency. If US sanctions are effectively lifted, he added, Iran would resume implementation of all voluntary measures.

The decision is in line with a law approved by the Iranian parliament almost two months ago, obliging the government to reduce IAEA access and step up nuclear enrichment if US sanctions are not lifted, specifically those imposed against Iranian oil exports and the country’s banking channels.

Feb 15 09:42

Fire 'catastrophe' destroys hundreds of fuel tankers on Afghanistan-Iran border

Hundreds of oil and gas tankers have been destroyed by fire in a "catastrophe" at Afghanistan's biggest trade crossing with Iran, causing millions of dollars of losses, officials said Sunday.

The huge blaze, which broke out Saturday afternoon at Islam Qala port 120 kilometres (75 miles) from the western city of Herat, has been contained and an investigation launched into its cause.

"We were told that 100 or 200 tankers have been destroyed, but this number could be higher," Jailani Farhad, spokesman for the governor of Herat province, said after visiting the scene.

Younus Qazi Zada, the head of the Herat Chamber of Commerce, said 500 tankers had been engulfed by flames.

Feb 15 09:26

Iran renews pledge against nukes after controversy

Iran reiterated Monday that its opposition to nuclear weapons was official policy as laid down by its supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in the wake of controversial remarks by a minister.

"Iran's position remains unchanged. Iran's nuclear activities have always been peaceful and will remain peaceful," foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference.

"The supreme leader's fatwa banning weapons of mass destruction and nuclear weapons is still valid," he added, referring to Khamenei's religious edict.

The renewed pledge came a week after Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said it would not be Tehran's fault if the country was ever "pushed" towards developing a nuclear bomb.

"Our nuclear industry is a peaceful industry. The supreme leader explicitly stated (that) in his fatwa," Alavi said in a state television interview broadcast on February 8.

Feb 15 08:59

Israel will ‘regret’ its actions if it crosses ‘red lines’ in Syria, senior Iranian official warns

Continued Israeli “aggression” in Syria will be met with the “toughest” response, a senior Iranian diplomat told Sputnik news agency. Damascus had earlier accused the Israel Defense Forces of conducting airstrikes on Syrian soil.

Ali Asghar Khaji, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s senior aide for special political affairs, blasted Israel for its “aggressive and hostile” policies in Syria, in an interview published by Sputnik on Sunday.

“While the Syrian government is fighting terrorists, Israel supports them,” he said.

Our presence in Syria is aimed at combating ISIS [Islamic State] and other terrorist groups, but if Israel wants to cross the ‘red lines,’ it will face the toughest response, which will make them regret their actions.

Feb 15 08:19

Iran threatens to further reduce nuclear commitments if the US doesn’t return to 2015 deal

Iran’s government has threatened to reduce its 2015 nuclear deal commitments further if the US doesn’t rejoin the agreement under the previous terms, removing sanctions placed on the country during Trump’s presidency.

Speaking to the media, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Saeed Khatibzadeh stated that the country will proceed with planned changes on February 21 to the inspection powers the UN watchdog received under the nuclear deal.

However, Khatibzadeh was quick to state that “it does not mean ending all inspections by the UN nuclear watchdog.” The Iranian Foreign Ministry simply sees the move as a further reduction in its obligations to reflect the refusal of the other countries to respect the agreement made in 2015.

On February 21, the law will change to deny the UN nuclear watchdog the previously sweeping powers it has had to inspect sites at will, reducing their abilities to only visit locations that the Iranian government has declared as nuclear sites.

Feb 15 07:38

Regime changers love to think Iran is always on the ‘brink of collapse’

February 11 marks the 42nd anniversary of the Iranian revolution of 1979, which ousted a despotic monarch and ushered in what many Iranians hoped would be the independence and freedom they had fought to attain for so long. These hopes were not fulfilled, however, and under the Islamic Republic, Iranians have had to continue their fight for freedom.

Their efforts have at times been undermined by outside pressure, driven by the false narrative propagated by opponents of diplomacy in the United States that the Islamic Republic is on the brink of collapse.

Feb 14 08:13

Israel Will Face 'Toughest Response' If It Crosses 'Red Lines' in Syria, Iran Warns

Over the past few years, Israel has reportedly carried out a number of airstrikes on Syria, which Tel Aviv says are aimed at countering the alleged Iranian military presence in the Arab republic. Damascus condemns such attacks as violations of Syria's national sovereignty.

Ali Asghar Khaji, a senior aide to the Iranian Foreign Ministry, has warned Israel against crossing "red lines" in Syria, in an apparent reference to the Jewish state's alleged ongoing air raids on Syrian soil.

The diplomat described "the nature of the Zionist entity" as "aggressive and hostile towards the region, the Palestinians, and neighboring countries".

"While the Syrian government is fighting terrorists, Israel supports them. Our presence in Syria is aimed at combating ISIS [Daesh*] and other terrorist groups, but if Israel wants to cross the 'red lines', it will face the toughest response, which will make them regret their actions", Khaji argued.

Feb 13 07:55

Iran Claims America Is Rebuilding the Islamic State

Iranian Chief Justice Ebrahim Raeisi on Wednesday accused the U.S. government of helping the Islamic State recover its strength in Syria and spread its operatives into countries such as Iran that oppose U.S. hegemony.

According to Raeisi, only Iran and the Shiite-dominated government of Iraq truly stand against ISIS.

“The U.S. claimed that it seeks to fight Daesh [ISIS] and formed a coalition for this, but we have witnessed the strengthening of Daesh in terms of weapons, logistics, intelligence, and other aspects,” Raeisi said during a meeting with Iraqi President Barhan Salih in Baghdad.

“While Iraq, Syria, Iran and regional countries are working together to eliminate the remnants of Daesh, the Americans do nothing but relocate the Daesh terrorists in the region,” the head of the Iranian judiciary claimed.

Feb 13 07:33

Blast Hits Iranian-Afghanistan Border as Dozens of Gas Tanker Trucks Reportedly Catch Fire

No casualties have been reported as yet, but the fire caused significant financial damage, according to authorities.

A gas tanker truck has exploded on the Iranian-Afghanistan border at a customs post in Herat Province, Reuters reported citing a local official.

Tolo News earlier cited witnesses as saying that a massive fire erupted at the customs post which affected dozens of trucks.

Social media users have since shared videos allegedly depicting the conflagration.

Feb 13 07:13

Report: PM to tap national security adviser to lead nuclear deal talks with US

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has decided to appoint National Security Advisor Meir Ben-Shabbat to lead talks with Washington regarding the Iranian nuclear deal, according to a report Friday by Walla news.

Senior officials told Walla’s Barak Ravid that Ben-Shabbat will be appointed to conduct discussions with world powers and other regional partners on the future of the moribund accord.

The report said Ben-Shabbat spoke Thursday with his American counterpart Jake Sullivan, the National Security Advisor to US President Joe Biden, and discussed Iran, among other subjects.

Feb 13 06:49

Is America on a Collision Course with China over Iran?

The visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to Tehran in January 2016 laid the foundations for a future partnership agreement. He stated that he sought to open a “new chapter” in China’s relations with Iran. The Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “The Islamic Republic will never forget China’s cooperation during the sanctions era.”

In July 2020, ‘New York Times’ reported it had acquired an 18-page document titled, ‘Iran-China Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’, which concluded a long-term trade and military negotiations between China and Iran – and would see China invest $400 billion over the next 25 years in Iran.

Feb 11 11:17

IRANIAN ROCKETS BECOME EVEN MORE POWERFUL AS ISRAEL LACKS OPTIONS TO CONTAIN TEHRAN INFLUENCE

Despite Israel’s best efforts, Iran’s influence and presence in the Middle East, and in Syria specifically is spreading.

One could blame that on the Biden administration’s halt in the “maximum pressure” campaign, but that influence was increasing even when Donald Trump sat in the White House.

Currently, Iran is furthering its interests and there is little to truly deter it.

On February 1st, Iran carried out its first successful missile launch since Joe Biden became president.

The missile is the Zuljanah, Iran’s newest domestic built satellite-carrying rocket. It is hailed as Tehran’s “most powerful rocket engine” and it can either carry a 220-kilogram satellite, or up to 10 smaller ones.

The Trump Administration, and also Israel have repeatedly accused Iran of using such tests as a way to develop capability for ballistic missiles with a nuclear warhead.

Feb 11 07:57

Israel killed Iran's top nuclear scientist with remote-control machine gun that was smuggled into the country in small parts, report claims

Israeli secret agents spent months smuggling a high-tech machine gun into Iran in tiny pieces to kill the regime’s top nuclear scientist, it was revealed last night.

The remote-controlled weapon fired 13 high-accuracy rounds into Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, 62, known as the ‘father’ of Iran’s illegal atomic programme, as he was driven from the capital Tehran to his country residence last year.

The gun was so accurate that the scientist’s wife, who was sitting just inches from him, emerged entirely unscathed from the attack.

Feb 11 06:52

Iran’s Zarif: Window Is Closing for Biden to Revive JCPOA

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif released a video statement in English on Wednesday where he appealed to the Biden administration to lift sanctions on Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

Zarif warned President Biden that the “current window” to revive the JCPOA is closing. “Soon, my government will be compelled to take further remedial action in response to the American and European dismal failure to live up to their commitments under the nuclear deal,” he said.

Zarif was referring to a law passed by Iran’s parliament that set February 21st as a deadline for Iran to slightly restrict IAEA inspections of its nuclear program if sanctions are not eased. “It can be averted, only if the United States decides to learn from Trump’s ‘maximum failure.'”

Feb 09 12:02

TRUMP’S MAXIMUM PRESSURE CAMPAIGN LIVES ON UNDER BIDEN’S COMMAND

The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps received 340 new speedboats during a ceremony at the southern Iranian port city of Bandar Abbas.

The delivered speedboats are co-produced by the IRGC Navy and the Defense Ministry and are capable of carrying various types of missiles to attack enemy targets. The delivery took place alongside the celebration of the 42nd anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. These boats are to be actively used in the Persian Gulf, Sea of Oman, and the Caspian Sea.

The IRGC Navy is focused on smaller vessels, aimed at swarming a potential adversary. The newly-delivered speedboats were described as agile, maneuverable and equipped with radar-evading stealth technology.

Feb 09 08:20

Russia, Iran & China To Hold Joint Naval Drills As CENTCOM Chief Blasts Iran As "Driver Of Instability"

On Monday Russia announced plans to hold joint naval drills with Iran and China in the Indian Ocean, according to Reuters, which cites comments made by Moscow's ambassador to Tehran. Russian Ambassador Levan Dzhagaryan said, "The next multilateral naval exercises will take place in the northern part of the Indian Ocean in mid-February 2021."

It comes just after the USS Nimitz aircraft carrier was ordered out of its Mideast region of responsibility at the start of this month. The Nimitz is headed home to its base in Washington state, after Trump kept it in the Indian Ocean and gulf region on standby amid ratcheting tensions with Iran. Biden then ordered it home within his first couple weeks in office.

Feb 09 08:11

Iran calls on UN to condemn 'Israel threats', warns of retaliation

Iran has called on the United Nations to intervene in what it said was an increase in hostilities by Israel.

In a letter to UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres, Iran's ambassador to UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi said Israel had increased "provocative and warmongering rhetoric" against Iran and it was actively planning operations against the Islamic republic.

The letter alleged that Iran's nuclear programme has prompted Israeli general Aviv Kochavi in January to "prepare a number of operational plans, in addition to those already in place".

Takht-Ravanchi said this constituted a threat and urged a "proportionate response by the global community" as it violated article two of the UN charter, which states that members must refrain from "threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state".

Feb 09 07:56

Iran warns its ‘peaceful’ nuclear program could change if it’s ‘backed into a corner’

Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi said the country’s nuclear program is peaceful, and it will be the fault of others if it is pushed towards the path of creating nuclear weapons.

“The leadership [of Iran] has explicitly stated that the production of nuclear weapons is against Sharia law, and the Islamic Republic forbids it, but if a cat gets backed [into a] corner, it may act as it wouldn’t have acted while free,” Alavi said, as cited by Iranian media.

If they push Iran in this direction, it won’t be the fault of Iran, but the fault of those who have pushed Iran.

Feb 09 07:38

BIDEN’S IRAN POLICY IS JUST TRUMP’S IRAN POLICY WITH A RAINBOW FLAG EMOJI

In a new interview with CBS Evening News, President Biden confirmed that his administration will not be lifting sanctions imposed upon Iran in order to bring Tehran to the negotiating table for the restoration of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), commonly known as the Iran nuclear deal.

“Will the U.S. lift sanctions first in order to get Iran back to the negotiating table?” Biden was asked by CBS’s Norah O’Donnell.

“No,” the president replied.

“They have to stop enriching uranium first,” asked O’Donnell.

Biden nodded in response.

Feb 08 14:09

Iran will kill and destroy ISIS terrorist group 100%

Feb 08 08:23

"The Post-U.S. Era Has Started": Iran's Ayatollah Blasts Biden For Refusing To Lift Sanctions

Despite Joe Biden's prior promises on the campaign trail to immediately restore US participation in the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (JCPOA) brokered under Obama, it's now looking to be effectively in tatters merely less than a month into his administration.

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a 'final ultimatum' on Sunday, demanding the US remove all sanctions that were enacted by Trump prior to the Islamic Republic returning to compliance.

"Iran has fulfilled all its obligations under the deal, not the United States and the three European countries," Khamenei said, according as cited in Reuters. "If they want Iran to return to its commitments, the United States must in practice... lift all sanctions."

Feb 08 07:46

DEFENSIVE MOVES OR PREPARATION FOR WAR WITH IRAN?

The US has decided to deploy the Israeli Iron Dome Missile Interceptor Systems, purchased in 2019, in Eastern European countries and also in the Gulf countries where the US Central Command (CENTCOM) operates and has established operational military bases. This step coincides with the US decision that Israeljoin CENTCOM (with Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Bahrein, Jordan, Iraq, Egypt, Sudan, Afghanistan, Kuwait, Qatar, Oman, Pakistan and more) following the normalisation of trade and diplomatic relations between several Arab and Islamic countries and Tel Aviv.

Feb 04 12:00

Netanyahu seeks anti-Iran alliance parallel to Biden administration

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been seeking to create an anti-Iran alliance with the UAE and Bahrain to run parallel to the Biden administration, Arabs48.com reported on Wednesday. It cited Israel Hayom, which claimed that Netanyahu wanted to use his visits to the UAE and Bahrain to "coordinate stances related to the Iranian issue in order to be parallel to the US administration."

On Wednesday evening, Israeli media announced that Netanyahu had postponed his planned visits to the Gulf States due to the new lockdown measures in Israel, including the closure of Ben Gurion Airport.

"In Israel, they are very worried by the Iranian provocation represented by the rising rate of uranium enrichment, as well as the messages that the Biden administration is planning to lift the sanctions imposed on Iran and return to the nuclear deal," said Israel Hayom.

Feb 04 11:54

Justice Dept Seeks Court Authorization to Keep Seized ‘Iranian’ Oil

The US Justice Department continues to seek legal authority to seize oil that doesn’t belong to it and then sell it by arguing that Iran would benefit if they didn’t do so. The latest cargo is 2 million barrels sitting in the Liberian Achilleas tanker off Brazil.

The Justice Department is arguing that the ship acquired the oil in a ship-to-ship transfer near a UAE port, and presented it as Iranian oil benefiting terrorists. The cargo was meant to be sent to China, and was identified as Basran crude, from Iraq, not Iran.

Officials aren’t offering details of how they got hold of this ship/cargo, but it is now in Brazil, pending court approval to bring it up to the Gulf of Mexico, where the Justice Department would sell it.

Feb 04 11:52

Why the Biden Administration Has Set itself up for Failure on the Iran Nuclear Deal

By laying out unrealistic demands to Iran and engaging in fearmongering about its nuclear program, Secretary of State Tony Blinken has underscored America’s real intent about rejoining the controversial agreement.

President Joe Biden has made rejoining the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA, popularly known as the Iran nuclear deal) one of the top priorities of his administration, reversing course from the direction taken by former President Donald Trump who, in May 2018, withdrew the US from the landmark 2015 agreement.

However, the gap between Biden’s stated desire and the ability of his foreign policy team, headed by Secretary of State Antony Blinken, to bring it to fruition may be insurmountable.

In a recent statement, Blinken warned that if Iran continued to unilaterally lift the various restrictions on its nuclear program mandated under the JCPOA, it would be able to produce enough fissile material for a nuclear weapon within “a matter of weeks.”

Feb 03 09:51

Reports: Israel discussing possible attack on Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Monday met with senior security and army officials to discuss preparations for a possible attack on Iran, local media outlets reported.

Israeli Kan news channel reported that Netanyahu met with Defence Minister Benny Gantz, Chief of Staff Aviv Kochavi and officials in the ministries of defence and finance to discuss the possibility of transferring funds from emergency security bases to finance the expected operational plans against Iran.

The meeting comes ahead of the cabinet meeting today which will be convened at the invitation of Netanyahu to discuss "developments related to the Iranian issue".

Feb 03 08:44

Nimitz Carrier Departs Mideast For Home As Iran Releases S.Korean Tanker Crew

Reflecting the expected shift in Biden administration foreign policy priorities away from the Middle East and toward southeast Asia, especially China, the Pentagon has announced Tuesday afternoon that the USS Nimitz has departed its Mideast region of operation.

It had been sent there at the tail-end of the Trump presidency amid ratcheting tensions with Iran, and as the former president reportedly mulled military action to prevent Iran from taking steps to achieve nuclear weapons.

Pentagon press secretary John Kirby issued a statement confirming the "USS Nimitz has left Arabian Sea and 5th Fleet after being deployed for over 270 days amid tensions with Iran." The aircraft carrier is now "currently in the Indo-Pacific."

Feb 03 08:30

US Dismisses Iran’s Offer to Coordinate Return to Nuclear Deal

The US State Department dismissed an idea floated by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, who suggested the EU could help coordinate the actions needed to be taken by the US and Iran to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA.

When asked about Zarif’s offer, State Department spokesman Ned Price said there are “many steps” the US has to take before engaging “directly with Iran” and before the US is willing to “entertain any sort of proposal.”

Price restated the Biden administration’s demand for Iran to return to commitments it agreed to when the JCPOA was negotiated. Iran’s argument against this demand is that since the US violated the deal, it is on Washington to return to compliance.

Price also stressed the need for the administration to consult with US allies, partners, and Congress on Iran before going forward.

Feb 03 08:30

Israeli Minister: US Will Never Attack Iran, Israel May Act Alone

An Israeli minister close to Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Tuesday that the US will never attack Iran’s nuclear program and that Israel might act on its own.

“The United States will never attack the nuclear facilities in Iran. Israel must decide whether it will accept a nuclear Iran,” Tzachi Hanegbi, who currently serves as the minister for settlement affairs, told Israel’s Kan broadcaster. “Israel will be forced to act independently to remove this danger.”

Last month, Hanegbi threatened an attack on Iran’s nuclear program if the Biden Administration returns to the nuclear deal. The Likud minister’s comments are some of the most direct public threats made by an Israeli official.

Feb 02 10:37

Israel Cracks the Whip

Anyone who persists in believing that the United States is not Israel’s poodle should pay attention to the comedy that is playing out right now. Joe Biden was president for less than a week when the Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu government announced that he would soon be receiving a possibly unwelcome visitor in the form of the Israeli foreign intelligence service Mossad’s chief Yossi Cohen, who will be flying to Washington in February to explain the correct policy when dealing with Iran. And lest there be any confusion on the issue, the Israel Defense Force chief of staff Lieutenant General Aviv Kochavi also announced that any Biden attempt to mend fences with the Islamic Republic will have to meet certain conditions or Israel will exercise other options. He said “In light of this fundamental analysis, I have instructed the Israel Defense Forces to prepare a number of operational plans, in addition to those already in place.

Feb 02 09:29

Iran Launches New Satellite-Carrying Rocket As Biden Plan To Restore Nuclear Deal Falters

In a first since the Biden administration entered the White House, Iran has successfully launched its newest domestic built satellite-carrying rocket, named Zuljanah.

Iranian state TV while not specifying the exact date featured video of the launch Monday which occurred in a daytime desert setting. "State TV said the rocket is capable of carrying a 220-kilogram (485-pound) satellite, adding that the three-stage rocket uses solid fuel in the first and second stages and fluid fuel in the third," according to the AFP.

The launch was a test hailed by officials as utilizing the Islamic Republic's "most powerful rocket engine".

An Iranian defense ministry statement said "the test helped Iran to achieve its most powerful rocket engine... the rocket can be launched using a mobile launching pad."

"It is capable of carrying a single 220 kg satellite or up to 10 smaller ones" with the rocket itself capable of reaching a height of 310 miles, according to the statement.

Feb 02 08:59

Israel says it’ll take 6 months for Iran to produce enough fissile material for a single nuclear weapon, longer than US projection

The Israeli energy minister has said he predicts it will take Iran six months to reach a position where it has enough fissile material for a single nuclear weapon, while a small arsenal could be achieved in one to two years.

Israel’s forecast of six months is longer than that of US Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who suggested Iran might have enough fissile material for a single nuclear weapon within three to four months.

“In terms of enrichment, they [Iranians] are in a situation of breaking out in around half a year if they do everything required,” Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz told public broadcaster Kan on Tuesday. “As for nuclear weaponry, the range is around one or two years.”

Steinitz added that the Trump administration had been successful in “seriously damaging Iran’s nuclear project and entire force build-up.”

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.

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