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Guilty or Not, Iran’s Fate Is in Trump’s Hands

By Tim Kirby | Strategic Culture Foundation | June 17, 2019

The USS Maine sank, someone shot something at somebody during the Gulf of Tonkin Incident and many non-Iraqis triggered the invasion of Iraq by flying planes into skyscrapers. The media hyped attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman seem like another blatant attempt to pull the US into yet another war based on questionable pretenses. The information war regarding the incident is already very hot but ultimately the future of Iran is in Donald Trump’s hands.

The Mainstream Media has already come out in force to push the narrative that Iran was probably behind the attacks on the oil tankers even though US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered no actual evidence whatsoever to support his claim that the Persians did it. (Since then grainy video has come out showing nondescript men trying to attach or detach something presumably to the tanker from what is supposedly an Iranian vessel).

From a legal or moral sense it would have been much more proper if Pompeo would have waited long enough to provide solid proof that the Iranians did it before making a public condemnation of them. But then again, if his objective was to simply plant the idea that the Iranians did it into the Mainstream Media (and thus into the minds of the masses) then he played it perfectly as evidence is not required to achieve this objective.

From the standpoint of Information Warfare, it is very critical when a new event happens to put forward one’s version of the “truth” first before any other possible competing theories can arise. This could be why Pompeo or someone like him would chose to immediately come out with accusations thrown around as facts with no evidence to support them and no respect for the great Western concepts of “innocence until proven guilty” or the “right to a fair trial”.

Pompeo’s objective here is not the truth but to take that virgin intellectual territory regarding the interpretation of this issue before anyone else can, because once a concept has become normalized in the minds of the masses it is very difficult to change it and many people in Washington cannot risk blowing the chance to waste thousands of American lives invading Iran based on an ultimately false but widely accepted/believed narrative.

Not surprisingly foreign and especially Russian media has quickly attempted to counter the “Iran obviously did it” narrative before it becomes an accepted fact. Shockingly Slavic infowarriors actually decided to speak to the captain of a tanker that was hit to get his opinion rather than simply assert that Iran didn’t do it because they are a long time buddy of Moscow. The captain’s testimony of what happened strongly contradicts the version of reality that Washington is pushing. And over all Russia as usual takes the reasonable position of “let’s gather the evidence and then see who did it”, which is good PR for itself as a nation beyond this single issue.

In terms of finding the actual guilty party the media on both sides has thus far ignored the simple fact that if Iran wanted to sink a tanker it would be sunk. No civilian vessel is going to withstand an attack from a 21st century navy by having a particularly thick hull and the idea that the Iranians need to physically attach bombs to boats is mental. Physically planting bombs is for goofball inept terrorists, not a professional military. After all, even the West acknowledges that the Iranians use the best Russian goodies that they can afford and Russian 21st century arms will sink civilian ships guaranteed. The Iranians have everything they need to smoke any civilian vessel on the planet guaranteed from much farther away than 3 feet.

If Iran’s goal was to scare or intimidate the tanker they could have just shot at it with rifles or done something else to spook the crew and get a media response. When looked at from the standpoint of military logic, these “attacks” seem baffling as Iran could have just destroyed the boats or directly tried to terrorize them to make a statement.

Then again perhaps the Iranians do want to provoke the US into a war with them, by “kind of but not really” attacking these ships. Maybe they do want to fight a war they will ultimately lose destroying everything they have built after the revolution, but this seems highly unlikely. The Iranians for decade after decade have taken a reactive stance to US aggression and encirclement, why would they change that policy right now in order to go on offense against an enemy they cannot defeat in direct confrontation?

What may be reassuring to some but terrifying to others is that the final result of what is to be done about these “attacks” lies in the hands of Donald Trump. So far Trump has agreed with the Pompeo/Mainstream Media view of the incident. But Trump like all politicians says “a lot of things” and what really matters are his actions. As the President he can take this convenient incident and use it as a casus belli or he can simply and safely “condemn” Tehran with rhetoric and literally ignore the situation until it goes away which seems to be The Donald’s preferred method of keeping the peace. He has scolded many a nation but not actually pushed for a full fledged military response against any of them.

Proving who is guilty for the attacks on the tankers may take a long time or ultimately be impossible, but how this incident will be used by Washington will prove who Trump is… a patriot who wants to Make America Great Again by ignoring the chance to jump into foreign conflicts or yet another cowardly warmonger sitting in the Oval Office ready to waste US lives and resources without a care in the world.

June 17, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , | 4 Comments

‘Does Not Make Sense’: Fallout From Oil Tanker Attack Benefits Emiratis, Saudis, Not Tehran

Sputnik – 15.06.2019

In an interview with Radio Sputnik’s Loud and Clear, Mohammed Marandi, an expert on American studies and postcolonial literature who teaches at the University of Tehran, dismissed the US accusation that Iran was responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman Thursday, saying Tehran had nothing to gain from such a move.

“There is obviously a great deal of skepticism [in Iran], because the first attack that was carried out about a month ago on a number of ships near the port off the UAE [United Arab Emirates] coast happened almost immediately after [US National Security Adviser John] Bolton said that he had received intelligence from the Israelis that Iran wants to carry out attacks on US interests,” Marandi told hosts John Kiriakou and Brian Becker.

Bolton previously accused Iran of attacking tankers located off the coast of the Emirati port of Fujairah earlier this month. On May 12, four oil tankers — two Saudi, one Norwegian and one Emirati — were targeted by acts of sabotage in the UAE’s exclusive economic zone in the Gulf of Oman. According to Bolton, the four oil tankers were targeted by “naval mines almost certainly from Iran.”

On Thursday, the “Front Altair” oil tanker, owned by Norwegian company Frontline, and the chemical tanker “Kokuka Courageous,” owned by Japanese company Kokuka Sangyo, were attacked near the Strait of Hormuz, a narrow stretch of water between the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman, and one of the most important passageways for world oil supplies.

“Now as the Japanese Prime Minister comes to Iran after 41 years … he is on his way to see the [Iranian Supreme] leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] in the morning, and as he’s getting ready, two ships are hit right outside that are linked to Japan,” Marandi explained. “These attacks seem, again, to be designed to harm Iranian interests, because the Iranian leader, in the meeting with the prime minister, called Japan a friend of Iran. So why would Iran attack targets affiliated or associated with Japan at a time when the prime minister is in Iran? It simply does not make sense.”

On Friday, US President Donald Trump accused Iran of attacking the tankers, claiming that a video released by the US military proves Tehran’s culpability. Just a day prior, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo claimed that the attacks were executed with such a high degree of sophistication, with all 44 crew members of the tankers being safely evacuated, that Iran was the only power in the region that could have been behind them.

However, on Friday, Yutaka Katada, the president of Kokuka Sangyo, refuted the US version of events, claiming that crew members on the Japanese ship saw a flying object right before the attack.

“I do not think there was a time bomb or an object attached to the side of the ship. A mine doesn’t damage a ship above sea level. We aren’t sure exactly what hit, but it was something flying towards the ship,” Katada said, according to Japanese media.

“I’m glad to know that people think that when Iran carries out an attack, they’re very careful not have people killed. I guess that means that they expect the Israelis and Americans to kill innocent people in such attacks,” Marandi told Sputnik.

“But I don’t think that is a credible argument. In fact, it runs in contrast to American claims. Americans are claiming that Iranian oil exports are down to zero, which is not true, but if that’s the case, what’s the use in driving up the price of oil?” Marandi asked.

Following the attacks Thursday, oil prices rose by 4% with Brent Crude, the international benchmark for oil prices, spiking to $61.99 a barrel. The US has previously threatened to reduce Iranian crude oil exports “to zero” via sanctions.

“[The rise in oil prices] only benefits the Saudis and the Emiratis. It would make the vast amount of oil that they export more expensive,” Marandi noted.

“The most important point [that one] can make about Iranian responses to the US is a) that the Iranians will restart elements of the nuclear program, and they will decrease their commitment to the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] JCPOA, and that will put pressure on the US and the Europeans; and b) I am very confident that the Iranians are helping the Yemenis in their fight against Saudi and Emirati aggression,” Marandi added. “And the amount of damage that the Yemeni armed forces are doing to the Saudis has gone up dramatically. We have seen how sophisticated the Yemeni defense capabilities have become over the last couple of years, and I think that the transfer of tech to the Yemenis has been from friendly countries like Iran.”

In May 2018, Trump announced the US’ withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, the JCPOA, reinstating harsh sanctions against Tehran. Last month, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran would begin stockpiling low-enriched uranium and heavy water, which can be used to build nuclear weapons in nuclear reactors. He also said the country would start enriching uranium to higher levels than permitted under the terms of the JCPOA.

June 15, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , | 2 Comments

US video not enough to blame Iran for tanker attacks: Germany

Press TV – June 14, 2019

Video footage released by the US military to blame Iran for the recent attacks on two oil tankers in the Sea of Oman has been disputed even by Washington’s allies and Western analysts.

Less than a day after the US Central Command (CENTCOM) released the video late Thursday purportedly showing “Iranian sailors” removing a mine from the Japanese-owned Kokura Courageous’ hull earlier in the day, European governments — except for Britain — have so far refused to accept the US’ narrative that Tehran was to blame for the “suspicious” attacks.

They are reluctant to accept the White House’s claims at face value, and do not want to provide Washington with any pretext for war.

German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said on Friday the video is not sufficient to prove the US claim that Iran was behind the attacks.

“The video is not enough. We can understand what is being shown, sure, but to make a final assessment, this is not enough for me,” Maas, who was in Iran earlier this week on an official two-day visit, told reporters in Oslo.

Nathalie Tocci, a senior adviser to European foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini also rejected the US allegations, saying, “Before we blame someone, we need credible evidence.”

Iranians are deeply rational actors, she said. And for Iran to have attacked a Japanese ship when the Japanese prime minister was in Tehran “is not an especially rational thing to do.”

In the video released, a small boat is shown coming up to the side of the Japanese-owned tanker. An individual stands up on the bow of the boat and can be seen removing an object from the tanker’s hull. The US claims that the object is likely an unexploded mine.

“At 4:10 p.m. local time an IRGC Gashti Class patrol boat approached the M/T Kokuka Courageous and was observed and recorded removing the unexploded limpet mine from the M/T Kokuka Courageous,” the CENTCOM said in a statement.

The claim, however, was soon rejected by the Japanese ship’s operator, whose president said on Friday its sailors on board the Kokuka Courageous saw “flying objects” just before the attack, suggesting the tanker wasn’t damaged by mines.

“The crew told us something came flying at the ship, and they found a hole,” President Yutaka Katada of Kokuka Sangyo told a press conference in Tokyo. “Then some crew witnessed the second shot.”

The video was also disputed by Western investigative journalists and defense analysts.

Investigative historian and journalist Gareth Porter said he had “written to the CENTCOM media desk to ask why the video the command has released does not show what happened before the moment something is removed from the side of the boat.”

The investigative journalism website Bellingcat also wrote that “there’s currently no evidence to verify what was removed from the side of the vessel was a mine, and there’s no evidence at the moment about who placed it there, so claiming it was a mine placed by the Iranians is pure conjecture at this point in time.”

Some analysts and observers even questioned the authenticity of the video, arguing that the US military has edited the video to make it misleading.

False-flag operation

The attacks on Thursday morning sent shock waves through the world which was awaiting the news of a meeting between Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe and Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei in Tehran.

François Heisbourg, a French defense analyst, told The New York Times there’s a lot of suspicion among US allies in Europe about American motives.

“The maritime milieu is especially susceptible to manipulation — remember the Gulf of Tonkin,” a dubious report of naval hostilities that President Lyndon B. Johnson used to escalate the war in Vietnam. And then, he said, are the bitter memories of the Iraq war, which was based on faulty intelligence and badly split Europe.

Heisbourg said there are several potential beneficiaries from the attacks, among them Washington hard-liners like the national security adviser, John Bolton, and “wild ones” in Saudi Arabia or in the UAE.

Back in April, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had warned that an “accident” could be plotted to take place so as to trigger a broader crisis.

Speaking in an interview with Reuters at the Iranian mission to the United Nations in New York on April 24, Zarif said the so-called “B-Team,” including Bolton and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, could goad Trump into a conflict with Tehran.

In a tweet after the recent incidents in the Sea of Oman, Zarif referred to his earlier warnings, and said, “The B-Team is sabotaging diplomacy (including important and constructive visit of PM Shinzo Abe) and covering up economic terrorism by the US against Iran.”

Last month, the Trump administration had accused Iran of being behind a similar attack on four oil tankers in the Persian Gulf while independent analysts blamed US and Israeli intelligence agencies for carrying out a false flag operation in order to ignite a conflict in the Middle East region.

Last week, the United Nations Security Council held a meeting on the vessel attacks near the UAE port of Fujairah, but member states refused to blame any party despite Abu Dhabi’s claim that a “state actor” was behind the incident. Russian Deputy Ambassador Vladimir Safronkov told reporters that no evidence on Iran’s alleged link to the attacks were presented during the briefing.

Days before the Security Council briefing, Bolton had vowed to present to the UN evidence on Iran’s involvement in the Fujairah attacks, but he didn’t.

Following those allegations, Iran officially warned about the use of fake intelligence, similar to those which resulted in the US invasion of Iraq in 2003, to push Washington toward a war with Tehran.

“Those who were responsible for the Iraqi invasion back in 2003 are the same people who are trying to create a conflict in our region,” Iranian ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi said in May, referring to Bolton’s role in the Iraqi invasion.

June 14, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | , , | 5 Comments

Iran’s supreme leader ‘has no intention’ to make or use nuclear weapons – Japan’s PM

RT | June 13, 2019

Tehran has no intention of making or using nuclear weapons, Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, according to Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

“Supreme Leader Khamenei made a comment that the country will not and should not make, hold or use nuclear weapons, and that it has no such intentions,” Abe told reporters in Tehran on Thursday following his meeting with Khamenei.

The previous day, Abe called on Iran to play a constructive role in securing peace and stability in the Middle East, saying that Tokyo is determined to do everything it can to help, Reuters reported.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | Militarism | , | 2 Comments

Iran Calls Reported Oil Tanker Attack in Gulf of Oman ‘More Than Suspicious’

Sputnik – 13.06.2019

On Thursday morning, reports emerged that two tankers were damaged near the Strait of Hormuz. It comes at a time of heightened tensions in the Middle East and just a month after four vessels were affected in a similar incident off the Emirati coast.

Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has seemingly hinted that Thursday’s reported attack on two tankers in the Gulf of Oman had something to do with Japan’s efforts to advance the peace process in the Middle East.

“Reported attacks on Japan-related tankers occurred while PM Shinzo Abe was meeting with Ayatollah Khamenei for extensive and friendly talks,” Zarif tweeted.

“‘Suspicious’ doesn’t begin to describe what likely transpired this morning,” he added.

Iran’s government spokesman, Ali Rabei, said Tehran was ready for regional cooperation to ensure the security of strategic waterways. “All countries in the region should be careful not to fall in the trap of those who benefit from regional insecurity,” he said.

On Thursday, two oil tankers operated by shipping companies Frontline and Bernhard Schulte were damaged in a suspected attack near the Strait of Hormuz, the most important oil artery in the world.

No casualties have been reported; the Bahrain-based US Navy 5th Fleet said it was assisting the tanker, while Iranian rescuers, according to local media, have saved and transported 44 crew members to an Iranian port.

Japan’s Trade Ministry said that the two tankers were carrying “Japan-related” cargo, without providing further details.

Meanwhile, Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is visiting Iran as part of his effort to reduce tensions between the Islamic Republic and the United States. Abe noted on Wednesday that he and Iranian President Rouhani had ‘bluntly discussed’ how to reduce Iran-US tensions.

A similar yet-unsolved incident took place in the Gulf of Oman in mid-May, when four commercial vessels − among them two Saudi oil tankers − were damaged by limpet mines. UAE investigators blamed the attack on a “state actor” but failed to identify the culprit.

The United States, which is embroiled in an escalating war of words with Iran, was quick to accuse the Islamic Republic of orchestrating the attack, which the latter denied.

June 13, 2019 Posted by | False Flag Terrorism | | 6 Comments

Munk School of Global Affairs feeds anti-Iran propaganda

Fifth-Anniversary-Of-The-Munk-School-Of-Global-Affairs@2x

By Yves Engler · June 12, 2019

Sometimes, when you pay attention, it is easy to see how foreign policy propaganda works. Take the case of Iran.

Recently the US has choked off Iranian oil exports, listed its military a terrorist organization and dispatched an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to its environs to stop Iran’s “aggression”. Going along with Donald Trump’s warlike actions and rhetoric, Justin Trudeau’s government has broken a promise to restart diplomatic relations, failed to withdraw Iran from Canada’s list of state sponsors of terrorism and recently accused Tehran of destabilizing the region.

This is the context in which the Munk School of Global Affairs’ Citizen Lab released a recent report criticizing Iran. According to Citizen Lab, an Iran-aligned group dubbed Endless Mayfly impersonated major media sites, used fake Twitter accounts to spread false articles and targeted journalists with fake stories. Its report noted, “initial reporting on some of the inauthentic articles speculated that Endless Mayfly may have links to Russia; however, based on the evidence gathered from our investigation we conclude with moderate confidence that Endless Mayfly is Iran-aligned and has been operational since at least early 2016.”

The University of Toronto based lab’s accusations were picked up by dozens of media outlets around the world. A New York Times headline read: “Report Shows How a Pro-Iran Group Spread Fake News Online” while the Globe and Mail noted “New Citizen Lab report suggests Iran spreads fake news.”

But, the report’s concluding section titled “Narratives fit Iranian interests, propaganda” isn’t convincing. One reason it claims Iran was responsible for the initiative is that “framing Saudi Arabia as a creator and supporter of global Islamist terrorism is also a very common theme in Endless Mayfly content and is consistent with recent rhetoric from Iran’s top-ranking officials.” But, Iranian officials certainly aren’t the only ones who claim Saudi Arabia contributes significantly to Islamic terror.

While the media mostly covered Citizen Lab’s claims uncritically, its positions on Iran should be viewed with significant skepticism. This ‘lab’ has produced a stream of reports critical of Iran and, in fact, is part of a government funded effort to destabilize that country. In March Citizen Lab Director Ron Deibert co-authored “Censors Get Smart: Evidence from Psiphon in Iran.” Previously, Citizen Lab published “Group 5: Syria and the Iran Connection”, which described a malware operation targeting Syrian opposition figures that purportedly came from Iran. The Lab published After the Green Movement: Internet Controls in Iran, 2009-2012 and in 2015 they detailed hacking of Iranian dissidents. While Citizen Lab carefully avoided naming a culprit, their press release hyped the matter and a number of media reports implied Iranian authorities were responsible.

Deibert is a regular at anti-Iranian events. He spoke at a Toronto International Film Festival screening of a movie about the 2009 Green Revolution in Iran and a 2012 Walrus article described a “network of local Farsi speakers linked to Deibert and Psiphon.”

With early financial support from the Ford Foundation, Donner Canadian Foundation and Open Society Institute, Citizen Lab developed software to bypass government censors. It worked with Voice of America, Radio Free Europe and Radio Farda in Iran to disseminate its Psiphon technology to Iranian dissidents. A 2018 Vice story titled “This App Is Helping Iranians Beat Tehran’s Internet Censorship” described Psiphon’s growth in Iran. It noted, “the lab, and the school, has spent years devising various ways to improve civic engagement in Iran, especially online, with some financial support from the Canadian government.”

The Munk School of Global Affairs joined the Stephen Harper Conservatives’ low-level war against Iran. After severing diplomatic ties and designating Iran a state sponsor of terrorism in 2012, Foreign Affairs ploughed $250,000 into the Munk School’s Global Dialogue on the Future of Iran. The aim of the initiative was to foment opposition to the regime and help connect dissidents inside and outside Iran. Employing cutting-edge Internet strategies, the Iran Dialogue was launched at a two-day conference kicked off by foreign minister John Baird. Some Iranian Canadians criticized the 2013 Global Dialogue on Iran. In a letter to Munk School head Janice Stein, who was awarded an honorary doctorate from Hebrew University “in tribute to her unwavering devotion to Israel”, the president of the Iranian Canadian Community Council Niaz Salimi wrote: “Conspicuously absent from the event were experts, academics, political activists, students, bloggers, journalists and members of the Iranian diaspora (including those of the Iranian-Canadian community) whose views on Iran do not fully concur with the positions of the Harper government.”

The Munk School has been a hub of anti-Iranian activity. A senior research fellow until recently, Mark Dubowitz was dubbed “The Man Who Fights Iran” by Ynet, Israel’s largest English language news site. Alongside his position at the Munk School, Dubowitz was executive director of the extremist pro-Israel Foundation for Defense of Democracies where he led its campaign against the Obama administration’s Iran nuclear deal. In 2011 Dubowitz said, “the best way [to end Iran’s nuclear program] is to work toward changing the regime.”

Expanding the Global Dialogue on the Future of Iran, Foreign Affairs gave the Munk School $9 million in 2015 to establish the Digital Public Square project. The federal support “will enable the Munk School to create our new Digital Public Square, a square designed for citizens who cannot come together physically to exchange ideas about the future of their country,” Munk School head Janice Stein said. The countries cited were Iran, Syria, Iraq and Russia. There was no mention of employing digital technologies to undermine online censorship in equally, or more, repressive allies such as Rwanda, Jordan, Honduras or Saudi Arabia.

This is one-way Canadian propaganda works: Establish who your enemies are — generally defined by big corporations, rich people and whoever is in power in Washington — attempt to destabilize their “regimes”, then accuse their governments of interfering in your affairs.

Citizen Lab’s recent report criticizing Iran is part of a government funded effort to demonize that country, which could be a step towards a military assault.

June 12, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Abe’s mediatory mission to Tehran hangs in the balance

By M. K. BHADRAKUMAR | Indian Punchline | June 10, 2019

With two days to go for the arrival of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tehran on a peace mission to promote US-Iran talks, a great deal of shadow boxing has been going on. Typically, there is much excitement in the media. Thus, western media in general hyped up the remarks of the commander of the US’ Lincoln strike group, Rear Adm. John F. G. Wade to make them sound belligerent and provocative.

However, Tehran has not fallen into that trap. The fact of the matter is that the US and Iranian militaries have deep experience in fathoming each other’s  intentions and working out ground rules of co-habitation in the crowded waters of the Persian Gulf. This arrangement has worked fine for past 4 decades and quite obviously, a ‘new normal’ has come to exist lately with the recent deployment of a US nuclear strike group in the region.

The Tehran Times carried a sober report on Adm. Wade’s remarks bringing out vividly what the admiral wished to convey (and Iran’s appreciation of it). The influential establishment daily highlighted Wade’s remark that “Since we’ve been operating in the region, we’ve had several interactions with Iranians. To this point all have been safe and professional — meaning, the Iranians have done nothing to impede our maneuverability or acted in a way which required us to take defensive measures.”

That just about sums up the state of play in the Persian Gulf. The facts are important. The Tehran Times reported: “One month after its arrival in the region, the Lincoln has not entered the Persian Gulf, and it’s not apparent that it will. The USS Gonzalez, a destroyer that is part of the Lincoln strike group, is operating in the Persian Gulf.”

“Last week, the Lincoln was some 320 kilometers (200 miles) off the eastern coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea. It would still need to pass through the Gulf of Oman and the Strait of Hormuz before reaching the Persian Gulf.” Clearly, the ‘new normal’ is not so precarious as made out by some media reports (here , here and here.) Surely, a lot of grandstanding is going on, but, war? Not a chance. 

Meanwhile, the US has extended its sanctions on Iran’s oil industry to cover its largest petrochemical group. This appears to have been a decision in the pipeline but the timing of the announcement (on Friday) is intriguing — although it is a by-now familiar pattern of an inchoate Administration pulling in different directions. No doubt, Tehran has questioned the US’ true intentions by making such a move at this point in time when the air is full of talk about negotiations.

The Trump administration has taken a reckless step on the eve of Abe’s mission, which could have been avoided. It is a moot point whether Trump himself was aware of it or not. All the same, Tehran is approaching the talks with Abe calmly and purposely.

Unsurprisingly, Iran plays down the forthcoming talks. A commentary in the Tehran Times in the weekend cited Washington’s move on Friday in extending the sanctions to the petrochemical sector as confirming that the White House has no intentions to “retreat” from its “maximum pressure” strategy. The commentary sees two-fold pressures as working on Trump — aversion to war in the US public opinion and the lack of support from allies apropos his Iran policies.

Interestingly, the commentary weighs on Abe’s mission, assessing that its outcome depends on two factors — “the ‘real will’ and determination of the US and Iran to solve the ongoing problems, especially the US’ ‘real will’ ” and secondly, Japan’s ability to influence US decisions.

Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has welcomed Abe’s visit — “We will carefully listen to Abe’s views, and then will express ours in detail.” But he stressed that the US must stop its ‘economic war’. He disclosed that Tehran has already sensitised Abe in the matter.

Importantly, the Spokesman of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council has noted that the success of Abe’s visit could be guaranteed if only Japan has made efforts to “return the US to the JCOPA (2015 nuclear deal) and compensate (sic) the losses suffered by Iran (due to sanctions)” as well as to remove the US sanctions regime.

Abe’s visit to Tehran is a milestone in Japan-Iran bilateral relations insofar as this is the first such event since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, although the two countries have kept up friendly ties all through. Tehran pins hopes that Abe can win waivers from the US to be able to buy oil from Iran.

Quite obviously, the benchmark for the Iranian negotiators will be the remarks made by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on May 29 during an an address to a gathering of Iranian academicians, researchers and elites in Tehran. Khamenei said that the bottom line is, “We will not negotiate on the core issues of the Revolution. Negotiations on this issue imply trading; that is, they mean we give up on our defensive capabilities. We will not negotiate our military capability.”

In general, Khamenei said the US has a history of targeting the assets of a country by pressurising it. In this, negotiation becomes a tactic to compel the interlocutor to trade its national assets. “They (US) pressure until the adversary gets tired, and then propose to negotiate. This negotiation is complementary to the pressure and aims to cash in on the pressures. They impose pressure and then propose to negotiate. This is what negotiation means to them. Their strategy is not negotiation. It is pressure. Negotiation is part of the pressure strategy.”

That is why, Khamenei underscored, Iran has had to resort to resistance as a “countermeasure.” To quote him, “The countermeasure for us (Iran) is to use our own means of pressures to contend their (US) pressure. However, if we are deceived by their call for negotiations and consider our means of pressures unnecessary, we would slip and that equals absolute defeat.” (Excerpts of Khomeini’s speech are here.)

June 10, 2019 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Trump Is Not Extricating Himself on Iran. He Is Being ‘Dug in’

By Alastair Crooke | Strategic Culture Foundation | June 10, 2019

Little doubt: it was intentional, a tactical ploy. Trump initially appeared to distance himself from the hawkishness of his team on Iran, by saying that ‘no’, he didn’t want war: No – really, he only wanted the Iranians to call him. He even riffs Bolton for his propensity for war. Since then, the press has been full of stories of ‘channels’ to Iran opening, and of mediators aloft. And we are regaled too with hints of some potential rift between the President and Bolton.

Of course, it was all good PR, and pure Art of the Deal: Invite your counter-party to negotiate precisely at the moment it is experiencing maximum pressure, and is ‘weakened’. And the PR part worked as a charm. Hence the mediation hype in the media. So, why all this ‘hot and cold rhetoric’? Which is it? Is Trump having second thoughts about conflict, or not? Well, in a word: ‘not’. The tactics represent pressure: More pressure on Iran, that’s all.

Whilst all this plays out, the US military build-up against Iran persists, amidst mounting US claims of Iranian intent to threaten the US, and its allies (but absent any evidence). Yes, Pompeo did say, “we’re ready to sit down with them”. But, Pompeo then added, “the American effort to fundamentally reverse the malign activity of this Islamic republic, this revolutionary force, is going to continue”.

First, and foremost, Iran would have to begin behaving as “a normal country”, which as the WSJ observes, only comes about when Iran observes every one of the twelve conditions. “The US hasn’t dropped those demands,” the Journal writes, “and has increased pressure from economic sanctions as well as pursuing its military buildup in the region.”

Is it all bluster? Will Trump go all the way with his threats and pressures – but ultimately pull out, just short of war? That seems to be the general consensus today; but Team Trump’s view of Iran seems based in so many misconceptions, layered on other misconceptions, and on intelligence that amounts to no more than Mossad’s assessment of Iranian future intentions.

The consensus on ‘no conflict’ unfortunately, may turn out to have been overly sanguine. This is not because Trump consciously desires war, but because the hawks surrounding him, particularly Bolton, are painting him into a corner – from which he must either back down, or double down, if Iran does not first capitulate.

And here is the point: the main Trump misconception may be that he does believe that Iran wants, and ultimately, ‘will seek a deal’. Really?

It is quite difficult to imagine what President Rouhani’s response could be, if asked by the Iranian National Security Council: if you (i.e. Rouhani) were to enter talks with US, what precisely would you talk about; what would you say? The Trump Administration’s position is that Iran will not ‘be allowed’ to enrich uranium at all – which is to say that Iran would be precluded – contrary to the provisions of the NPT – from having nuclear generated electricity, as it has sought since the time of the Shah. (To suggest that the West would supply Iran with just enough uranium to work its reactors, but no more, is absurd. Iran would never place its industrial base in jeopardy, to some whimsical western decision to punish Iran for some one, or other, misdemeanor).

This has been the conundrum from the outset: Iran will not accept ‘zero enrichment’; and now Bolton and Pence will not allow it any enrichment. US policy has completed the circle, back to its positions of circa 2004: i.e. No Enrichment.

The Supreme Leader has said some days ago, that he only reluctantly agreed to talks with the Obama team on the assurance that Obama had indeed accepted the principle of Iranian in-country enrichment. With hindsight, Ayatollah Khamenei said, he made a mistake. He should never have allowed the talks to proceed.

Indeed, there is nothing to talk about – except how the US might revert to the status quo ante its JCPOA withdrawal, and how it might quietly re-enter the nuclear accord – without too much loss of face. But this is absolutely not an option for Bolton, or for his US Christian Zionist allies.

And some symbolic encounter, Trump – Kim Jong Un Singapore-style, is not an option for Iran. Nor, is a ‘freeze’ of the situation, as in North Korea. A freeze would mean that Iran continues under maximum US pressure, for as long as the freeze might last, and at no cost to the US.

Why then, is Trump heading down this ‘dead-end’ road that might trip him into an unwanted, and politically costly, conflict of some sort? Well, possibly because Trump has been ‘fed’ some nonsense ‘intelligence’ that Iran is on the cusp of an economic and political implosion – which is about to sweep away the Iranian Revolution into the dustbin of history. This is ‘the line’ currently being purveyed by Netanyahu and Mossad, and by others inside the US (based on the usual, suspect exile stories). Trump might conclude from such assessments that war is not a risk, since the imminent collapse of Iran would make acting out any military threats redundant. He can afford, in short, just to wait out the collapse. If you detect a whiff of Iraq in the run-up to 2003 about all this (i.e. the input of Curveball and Chalabi), you would be right, in more ways than one – it is more than just the part played by embittered exiles in framing the prospect for war.

There is a conception that Bolton, as National Security Adviser, has little clout over the Pentagon. But the American Conservative, in an article entitledAmassing War Powers, Bolton Rips a Page Out of Cheney’s Playbook’, points out the misconception:

The elevation of Patrick Shanahan to the secretary of defense position will likely make National Security Adviser John Bolton the most powerful voice inside President Donald Trump’s cabinet.

“So say defense analysts who spoke to TAC this week. Former US officials also said they fear that Shanahan’s relative lack of experience may set America on a path to war, and cited a New York Times report that Shanahan had delivered to Bolton a plan to send as many as 120,000 troops to the Middle East. Subsequent reports indicate that the Pentagon might be making plans to send even more … Stephen Wertheim, assistant professor of history at Columbia University, added, “when senators ‘think Shanahan’ [at confirmation hearings], they should think Bolton. Because a vacuum at the top of DoD, means that the department becomes a rubber stamp for Bolton””.

But more than this, the America Conservative ‘Cheney Playbook’ tag is right in another way: Bolton chairs at the NSC, the regular and frequent strategic dialogue meetings with Israel – intended to develop a joint action plan, versus Iran. What this means is that the Israeli intelligence assessments are being stovepiped directly to Bolton (and therefore to Trump), without passing by the US intelligence services for assessment or comment on the credibility of the intelligence presented (shades of Cheney confronting the analysts down at Langley). And Bolton too, will represent Trump at the ‘security summit’ to be held later this month in Jerusalem with Russia and Israel. Yes, Bolton truly has all the reins in his hands: He is ‘Mr Iran’.

Daniel Larison writes: “The Trump administration is still chasing after the fantasy that Russia will help push Iranian forces out of Syria”:

“A senior White House official said in a conference call with reporters that the US plans to stress to Russia during its trilateral national security advisers summit in Jerusalem this month that Iranian forces and their proxies have to leave Syria.

“The administration has been seeking Russian cooperation on this front for the last year. It has never made sense. The Russian government has no reason to agree to the US plan. Why would Russia do the US the favor of supporting the administration’s anti-Iranian policy? The administration’s problem is that they wrongly believe that other governments share their opinion of Iran’s role in the region. Reuters quotes an administration official saying this:

“But beyond discussions to prevent any unintended military escalation, the US official said the goal of the talks would be “to see how we can potentially work together to get rid of the primary irritant in the Middle East, which is the Islamic Republic of Iran.”

“The US and Israel may consider Iran to be “the primary irritant,” but Russia doesn’t see things this way and it isn’t going to respond favorably to efforts to enlist them in an anti-Iranian pressure campaign. Russia wants to cultivate good relations with Israel, so they are participating in the meeting, but that participation shouldn’t be taken as a sign that they are interested in giving Bolton what he wants. All in all, this meeting in Jerusalem will make for a curious photo op, but it isn’t going to produce anything significant.”

Yes. Another misconception, it seems. But one that is hugely convenient for Bolton – for, if the US fails to achieve a commitment on the part of Russia to ensure the expulsion of Iran from Syria, then we are likely to witness escalation by Israel – backed by the US – against Iranian elements in Syria. Already, we have seen missiles landing in occupied Golan in recent days – as a signal that Syria and Iran may be ready to activate the Golan as a new front in the conflict with Israel.

The Bolton squeeze with regard to Iran is in high gear. The aim, Col Pat Lang suggests, “is probably to pressure Iran until they lash out somewhere against US forces or interests”.

It may be, (or it may not be), that Trump is bluffing in his menaces to Iran. Trump may indeed be opposed to war – though, on the other hand, he has never missed an opportunity, over the years, to castigate and demonise Iran, whilst lauding Saudi Arabia in extravagant language. Bluffs do get called. And, does Trump really understand how improbable it is that Iran now will ‘lift the phone to call him’? Is he at all familiar with the complexities of more than a decade of nuclear negotiations with Iran?

No? Well Bolton and Netanyahu surely are – as they lead a willing President down the narrowing path, to the point where he has no alternative but either a humiliating retreat back down that path, or to double-down and go further.

So where is this taking us? Well, firstly, there will be Iranian push-back (to Bolton’s delight). For the present, Iran remains within the JCPOA; but it is limiting and curtailing its partial commitments (which is permitted, under the terms of the accord – when a signatory to the accord is not observing the deal). Iran has indeed started to accelerate enrichment, but has not breached the limits on its holding of uranium or heavy water – though it likely soon will. After 60 days, if the EU is not moving towards normalizing of its economic relations with Iran, we may see Iran increase the level of enrichment above 3.67%. And secondly, Iran has clearly signaled that US Gulf Allies who have urged, and supported the US attrition against Iran, will begin to experience pain, too. Iran has warned that any new ‘Gulf War’ would include the destruction of the energy infrastructure of some Gulf States. It would take twenty years for the Gulf to recover from such an event,

And whilst it is true that the US is not in a position to mount a full war on Iran, this does not mean that the US cannot escalate military pressures on Iran via Special Forces working with insurgent ethnic minorities inside the country to destabilize it, or to degrade Iranian infrastructure through missile or ‘bunker-buster’ attacks.

And when Iranian push-back starts, as the pressures escalates – and when it becomes clear that Russia will not act as America’s policeman in respect to Iran, Hizbullah or the Hash’d a-Shaibi, as Russia won’t – then the ‘war party’ will urge Trump to send Iran a painful ‘message’ of American ‘deterrence’ – and then what? Is it safe to conclude Trump will demur?

No. It is not possible to assert ‘there will be no conflict’. There is some risk. And Iran knows it.

June 10, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 1 Comment

Qatar rejects anti-Iran statements of Mecca summits

Press TV – June 3, 2019

Qatar says it rejects the anti-Iran statements of the recent Mecca summits as they had been prepared in advance without consulting Doha.

“The statements of the [Persian] Gulf and Arab summits were ready in advance and we were not consulted on them,” Mohammed bin Abdulrahman Al Thani told the Al-Araby broadcaster.

“Qatar has reservations on the Arab and [Persian] Gulf summits because some of their terms are contrary to Doha’s foreign policy,” he added.

“We hoped the Mecca summits would lay the groundwork for dialogue to reduce tensions with Iran,” the top diplomat said in comments reposted on Twitter by his ministry.

“The Mecca summit ignored the important issues in the region, such as the Palestine issue and the war in Libya and Yemen,” he went on to say.

Qatar is not the first Arab state to reject the final statements of the emergency meetings in Mecca. Following the talks, Iraq also opposed the communiqué issued by the Arab participants.

Iraq, which maintains close ties with neighboring Iran and has strong ties with Washington as well, objected to the communiqué, which required “non-interference in other countries” as a pre-condition for cooperation with Tehran.

Iraqi President Barham Salih asked the gathering to support his country’s stability, arguing that rising tensions with Iran could cause war. He voiced hope that Iran’s security would not be targeted.

“We are watching before our eyes the escalation of a regional and international crisis which can turn into war that will engulf all. If the crisis is not managed well, then we will be faced with the danger of a regional and international confrontation which will bring tragedy to our countries,” Salih said.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran is a Muslim country that is a neighbor to Iraq and Arabs. It is certain that we do not wish the security of Iran to be targeted. We share a common border that is 1,400 km long and a long history and relations, and it is also certain that the security of a fellow Islamic country is in the interest of Arab and Islamic countries. The region needs stability based on a mechanism of joint security that guarantees non-interference in internal affairs and the rejection of violence and extremism,” he added.

The statements mainly cited concerns about the recent sabotage attacks against several ships off the UAE. Both Saudi and Emirati officials have blamed the mysterious “sabotage” attacks on Iran while Iran has strongly denied any involvement, and offered to sign non-aggression pacts with the Persian Gulf Arab states.

Related:

Iran repeats offer on non-aggression pact with Arab states

June 2, 2019 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering | , , , , | 2 Comments

Regime Change in Iran: Been There, Done That

By Philip Giraldi | American Free Press | May 27, 2019

The failed coup attempt in Caracas in early May brings to mind the techniques used by the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) and British intelligence in Iran in 1953 to overthrow the Mohammad Mossadeq government. It is quite astonishing how that regime-change long-ago operation parallels what is currently taking place in Venezuela and also with regards to Iran yet again.

Mossadeq was the democratically elected prime minister of Iran beginning in 1951, serving in a government in which the Shah with limited authority was the head of state presiding over a parliamentary system. Iran was nominally independent at the time, but it was heavily influenced by the neighboring Soviet Union, which retained control over several Iranian provinces after the Second World War ended, and Great Britain, which exploited the country’s oil resources through the mechanism of the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company (AIOC), which was owned by the British government. When Mossadeq, frustrated by lack of progress in negotiations with the British over sharing of oil revenues, eventually declared that he would nationalize the AIOC, London and Washington conspired to remove him.

The new National Iranian Oil Company was immediately attacked by the British, who used the Royal Navy to block export of oil from Iran’s Abadan refinery. Ships carrying Iranian oil were stopped and boarded with their shipments confiscated as “stolen property” in light of the British government’s former ownership claim on the AIOC.

By mid-1952, Britain’s blockade of Iranian oil exports had badly hurt the Iranian economy, which eventually led to government bankruptcy. Meanwhile, the American CIA, which was initially ambivalent about what the proper role in the Anglo-Iranian conflict might be, joined British agents in supporting groups inside Iran that were hostile to Mossadeq. In the Majlis parliamentary election in the spring of 1952, Mossadeq faced serious opposition funded by the Anglo-Americans, and the election eventually was suspended. By early 1953, pro-communist and pro-Shah mobs supported and coordinated by the U.S. and Britain roamed the streets, sometimes fighting each other. Fearing a communist takeover and also under pressure from London, which was threatening to withdraw from the Korean War as a quid pro quo, President Dwight D. Eisenhower agreed to carry out a joint coup d’état.

Losing popular support due to a sinking economy, as early as August 1952 a struggling Mossadeq began ruling by emergency powers and started to jail opponents, which only aggravated the crisis. A rigged referendum to dissolve parliament and grant Mossadeq authority to govern by decree passed with 99.9% approval but led to accusations that the prime minister was seeking “total and dictatorial power.” The New York Times reported, “A plebiscite more fantastic and farcical than any ever held under Hitler or Stalin is now being staged in Iran by Premier Mossadeq in an effort to make himself unchallenged dictator of the country.” The move by Mossadeq also led to the first coup attempt, which was organized by the CIA.

On Aug. 15, 1953, Col. Nemathollah Nassiri, the commander of the Shah’s Imperial Guard, delivered to Mossadeq a decree from the Shah dismissing him. Mossadeq, who had been warned of the plot, had Nassiri arrested, and the Shah and his family fled into exile in Italy. The first coup thus ended with a whimper, but it was lessons learned for the second, better organized successful attempt which followed a few days later, Operation Ajax, coordinated by Kermit Roosevelt of the CIA.

Exploiting pro-Shah sentiment in the military, the CIA and the British turned to their stables of recruited army officers while also exploiting agents infiltrated into the communist party Tudeh, which rose to the occasion by launching mass demonstrations, to include looting and arson, which quickly alienated the public and also provided a pretext for Western support of the coup as it could be promoted as “anti-communist.” Efforts were also made to turn influential clerics against Mossadeq. The Iranian people blamed the government for all their woes and rioting soon led to the calling out of the army to restore order. The army did so and then had Mossadeq arrested. He was condemned to death, but his sentence was later commuted to three years in solitary confinement followed by house arrest. He died in 1967.

End of story, but not quite. All the elements currently being used against Venezuela and Iran were there back in 1953 to bring down Mossadeq and also appear in a detailed 2018 Pentagon plan describing how to bring about a coup in Caracas. Wrecking the countries’ economies through sanctions and exclusion from the global banking network creates a crisis where one need not have existed. Meanwhile, a sustained campaign of vilification by Western political leaders and the media establishes the narrative that the benevolent intention is to block extremism and restore democracy while also eliminating a threat to the United States. And, as a last resort, the threat or actual use of force to stop the export of commodities to further wreck the economy becomes a clearly stated policy option, currently also employing secondary sanctions for anyone who dares to trade with the designated victim. Recently, America’s unilaterally imposed global ban on the export and sale of Iranian oil began. Venezuela’s oil sales are also being blocked and even its electricity grid is being attacked in an attempt to starve the Venezuelan people into rebelling against their government.

But you also have to have spies, secret agents, to get the ball rolling, just as was true in 1953. One assumes that the CIA has been active in recruiting the agents of influence inside Venezuelan political opposition as well as military circles who will bring out increasingly larger mobs as the situation continues to deteriorate. How successful they have been is difficult to determine, but Venezuelan opposition leader Juan Guaido failed the first time around, reportedly because the Venezuelan government was aware of what was happening and the contacts that the CIA was relying on to bring out the army were in fact double agents.

The suffering Iranian and Venezuelan people have yet to rise up in revolt. No matter. It took more than one try to bring down Mossadeq, and National Security Advisor John Bolton has recently warned Iran that its government won’t have any more anniversaries to celebrate if it continues with its “threats.” The Trump administration is also reported to be preparing military options for dealing with Venezuela.

Bolton has even warned the Russians, who are assisting Venezuela’s government: “This is our hemisphere. It’s not where the Russians ought to be interfering. This is a mistake on their part.”  He is seemingly unaware of the irony, that the Russians might make the same claim about Eurasia and the Iranians regarding the Persian Gulf, where Bolton and his neocon friends in Washington have been the source of nearly continuous conflict.

Philip Giraldi is a former CIA counter-terrorism specialist and military intelligence officer and a columnist and television commentator. He is also the executive director of the Council for the National Interest.

June 2, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 2 Comments

We Offered Dialogue but MBS Threatened to Take Battle into Iran: Zarif

Al-Manar | June 1, 2019

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the Islamic Republic offered Gulf states dialogue after clinching the nuclear deal in 2015, revealing that Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman’s reply was by threatening to take the battle into Iran.

In an interview with Al-Alam TV channel, Zarif said that shortly after the nuclear deal was clinched in 2015, and as Gulf states were concerned over the rapprochement between the US and Iran, “we refused talks with Washington over the region, stressing that such dialogue should be between the region neighbors only.”

“At time we clearly announced readiness for dialogue between Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) states, but unfortunately Mr. Mohammed Bin Salman frankly said that there is no dialogue with Tehran threatening to take the battle into Iran,” Zarif was quoted as saying in the interview.

The top Iranian diplomat said meanwhile, that the Islamic Republic’s power is a source of concern to the US, warning that any confrontation with Iran now will have negative impacts on states which are pushing towards such a step.

“We have huge defensive power and we can repel any threat.”

Zarif also stressed that the US should stop its “economic terrorism and policy of bullying.”

“The US through launching an economic war against Iranian people is waging an all-out war.”

June 1, 2019 Posted by | Aletho News | , | 1 Comment

How Yesterday Resembles Today: Iran Confronted The US in The Strait Of Hormuz in The 1980s

By Elijah J. Magnier | American Herald Tribune | May 29, 2019

“We are going to intercept and stop all oil exports from the (Middle East) region if we are prevented from exporting our oil. We shall take every measure possible to close the Strait of Hormuz. If the US aims – by sending jets, carriers – to reinforce its positions and status among the international community, it doesn’t concern us. But if the US is seriously aiming to threaten us, it should know that not one drop of oil will leave the region and we shall destroy all US interests in the Middle East”. This is what the President Grand Ayatollah Sayyed Ali Khamenei said in 1983, in response to the US President Ronald Regan’s decision to send jet carriers to the Middle East during the Iran-Iraq war. It seems like only yesterday.

Today, in 2019, the experienced and veteran leader of the revolution, Sayyed Khamenei – who played a role in the very similar critical situation in the 80s – is facing President Donald Trump and an administration who seem not to have learned much from history and the previous US-Iran confrontation. Looking at past foreign policy with a critical eye seems not to be part of the current US administration’s practice. A small reminder may give many answers to what Trump can expect in a wider confrontation with Iran.

In the 80s, Iran’s “Islamic Revolution” was facing serious problems on many levels. Its armed forces were disorganised and dispersed; there were serious differences between decision-makers and politicians over how to run the country following the fall of the Shah; domestic security was lacking; there were ethnic and national struggles; no country was ready to sell weapons to Iran; the US, Europe and the Gulf states supported Saddam Hussein’s aggression against Iran; and the country was going through serious economic difficulties.

It was a perfect scenario for Saddam Hussein to invade Iran, which he did in September 1980 by bombing Mehrabad international airport and occupied later Khorramshahr, calling for an uprising of ethnic Arabs “in al-Muhammara”. This same objective, and concomitant regime-change is what the US administration has been aiming at since 1979- and it apparently retains the same fixation in 2019.

Many may not remember that Imam Khomeini did not hesitate to encourage the Iranian leadership, led by the current Rahbar (Spiritual Leader) Sayyed Ali Khamenei (1987), who was the President of Iran then, to confront and open fire against US forces or indeed any hostile country sailing in the Gulf. “If I were you (addressing his speech to the political leadership), I would order the armed forces to target the first vessel protecting an oil carrier trying to cross the Strait of Hormuz. You decide what you think best (as a course of action), whatever it takes”, said Imam Khomeini.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei (and Sheikh Hashemi Rafsanjani) gave immediate orders to the armed forces to act accordingly. All armed forces were fully coordinated with the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Forces (IRGC – Pasdaran). Iran launched Chinese-made Silkworm missiles on Kuwait port al-Ahmadi. Another attack was registered on a Kuwaiti oil tanker that had been registered to fly the American flag and was sailing under US Navy protection- it hit an Iranian mine in the Gulf. Moreover, Iran shot down a US helicopter using US-made Stinger missiles delivered by the Afghan Mujahedeen to Iran. It was ready to take the confrontation further in the Persian Gulf, careless of the US “almighty” military power. Iran also attacked a Soviet vessel, the freighter Ivan Korotoyev, sailing in the Gulf and providing naval escorts for its ships.

It was rare to see the two superpowers, the US and Russia, united against Iran in one Middle Eastern conflict, in support of Saddam Hussein. Of course, Iran’s diplomacy skills were not yet sharpened. It was helping the Afghans against the Soviets and was committed to fighting US hegemony in the Middle East.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei went to New York, and at the UN Security Council told the world that “the US will receive a response to its hideous action” in the Gulf (following a US attack against an Iranian commercial ship called Iran Ajr). Indeed, a US owned giant oil tanker carrying the name of Sungari was attacked and set ablaze by the IRGC. Iran was not willing to stand down, but instead showed itself ready to confront two superpower countries at a time when Tehran was in its worst condition.

Today, Iran is well equipped with all kinds of missiles, and is a more powerful, highly productive country with strong and efficient allies who can hurt its enemies much more than in 1987. The Islamic Revolution principles and values are still the same, led by more or less the same people. The IRGC is stronger than ever and is an integrated part of the armed forces.

Sayyed Ali Khamenei was fully devoted to Imam Khomeini. He served as a faithful guardian of the “Islamic Revolution”, supervised the IRGC, represented Imam Khomeini at the Security Council and played an effective role in arming and merging the IRGC into all levels of the country’s armed forces. He will not hesitate to take further steps against any weakness any leader in the country today might show in trying to soften the relationship with the US. Today, the leader of the Revolution is neither afraid of war, nor of peace. He will not negotiate with Trump and will not help him be re-elected in 2020. Those who think Iran is desperate or cornered or failing due to the US sanctions may need to read more carefully the history and behaviour of the “Islamic Revolution” since 1979.

Elijah J. Magnier is a veteran war correspondent and Senior Political Risk Analyst with over 35 years’ experience covering Europe, Africa & the Middle East.

May 31, 2019 Posted by | Timeless or most popular | , | 1 Comment