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Dr. Mohammad Marandi: Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE Have Been Cooperating Closely for Many Decades Now

American Herald Tribune | July 13, 2018

Mohsen Abdelmoumen: What is the immediate impact on the Iranian people of the Trump administration’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal?

Dr. Mohammad Marandi: Obviously, it is going to have a short term negative impact. People are concerned about the effect it will have on the economy and Iranian currency has dropped significantly. However, I believe that in the midterm the economy will stabilize, and as Iran reorientates its economy, trading partners and strategic partnerships things will stabilize. In the long term, I think Iran will probably even benefit because the US will no longer have any leverage that it can use against the country and its people.

Are not the economic sanctions imposed by the Trump administration intended to provoke disturbances within the Iranian population in order to change the power in Iran?

Without a doubt. Actually, just recently in a speech in France to the MEK terrorist organization, a cult group which has killed 17 thousand Iranians through assassinations and bomb attacks and has also fought for Saddam Hussein, Rudy Giuliani, Trump’s lawyer and close friend, admitted that the disturbances in Iran are not spontaneous and that they are carried out by their people. That does not mean there are no ordinary people who protest here and there, but the foreign role is obvious and we can see it through the western, Israeli, and Saudi, funded Persian media outlets like BBC Persian and VOA among others that attempt to create tensions and fear among Iranians.

Do you think there is a special program to assassinate Iranian scientists as was the case with Iraqi scientists where some sources have spoken of the existence of a special CIA unit responsible for assassinating scientists?

I have no idea about that, but we do know that Mohammad bin Salman has said in public that he wants to take the war into Iran and after that we saw the terrorist attacks on Tehran and an increased number of attacks alongside the Pakistani-Iranian border as well as the border between Iran and Iraq Kurdistan.

What is the exact role of the Zionist entity of Israel and its services in the assassination of Iranian scientists?

Israeli intelligence and the MEK terrorist organization worked together in this regard. In addition, Western intelligence agencies have in the past passed on IAEA information on Iranian scientists to the Israelis thus helping them carry out a number of murders.

What do you think of the alliance between the Saudis and the Israelis? In your opinion, is it tactical or strategic?

The alliance between Israel, Saudi Arabia and the UAE among others is not new at all. They have been cooperating closely for many decades now, but these Arab regimes have always been afraid to make this alliance public. However, Trump is putting a lot of pressure on these regimes to come out of the closet, especially because he wants to impose his so called deal of the century on the Palestinian people in order to destroy the Palestinian nation.

In your opinion, can Europe play a role in maintaining the nuclear agreement?

It’s possible. However, I am skeptical about the EU’s intentions and I am even more skeptical about their ability to grow a backbone in face of persistent American violations of their sovereignty and threats against their businesses and citizens.

In your opinion, why is it that Israel that massacres the Palestinian people has never been subjected to sanctions?

I think it is widely known that the Israeli regime is allowed to implement apartheid policies, carry out ethnic cleansing and colonization, the bombing of neighboring countries, the killing of civilians, the arrest children, and the confiscation of land.Western countries will give them blanket support no matter what the regime does.

What is your analysis of the situation in Syria? Can we say that Daesh is defeated definitively or is it moving towards reorganization?

The extremist groups including Daesh that were supported by western intelligence services and regional client regimes have been severely weakened and the Syrian Arab army and government have gained the upper hand. But the war is not over, al-Qaeda and other extremist groups continue to get foreign support and Western countries and media outlets have been trying to give cover to these extremist groups by calling them “moderates” and “rebels”, whereas in reality their ideologies are very similar to ISIS.

What do you think of the position of Morocco that has just cut off its relations with Iran by accusing Hezbollah of having armed the Polisario Front? Don’t you think that this maneuver bears the signature of the Saudis, Israelis and Americans?

I think it is quite clear especially taking into account the timing of the accusations that the Saudis and probably countries like the US and the UAE are behind this. But I do not have any specific information.

Why do you think Westerners are silent, both the media and the political institutions, in the face of the carnage that Saudi Arabia is committing in Yemen?

It is because of Saudi oil wealth, and because the destruction of Yemen is in the interest of the Saudi and Israeli regimes. Therefore, Western governments and western media outlets will not do anything meaningful to prevent the massacres or starvation. This is just one example of many. They did the same thing in Libya, Syria, Iraq, Bahrain, and Afghanistan.

Interview realized by Mohsen Abdelmoumen

Who is Dr. Mohammad Marandi?

Born in 1966 in Richmond, Virginia, Mohammad Marandi is the son of Professor Alireza Marandi, a former Iranian Minister of Health and a former member of the Iranian Parliament. Mohammad Marandi lived until he was 13 in the United States before joining Iran. He is a political analyst and expert on American studies and postcolonial literature. Dr. Marandi is a graduate of the University of Tehran and the University of Birmingham where he received a PhD in English Literature. He teaches English Literature and Orientalism at the University of Tehran where he is head of the graduate program in North American Studies.

July 14, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment

The Globalist Elite Fears Peace, Wants War

By Federico PIERACCINI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 13.07.2018

The announced meeting between Trump and Putin has already produced a good result by revealing the hypocrisy of the media and politicians. The meeting has been branded as the greatest danger to humanity, according to the Western globalist elite, because of the danger that “peace could break out between Russia and the United States”.

Sometimes reality is stranger than fiction. The following so stretches credulity that sources will have to be cited and exact quotations given to be believed.

A case in point is the following title: “Fears growing over the prospect of Trump ‘peace deal’ with Putin.” The Times does not here fear a military escalation in Ukraine, an armed clash in Syria, a false-flag poisoning in England, or a new Cold War. The Times does not fear a nuclear apocalypse, the end of humanity, the suffering of hundreds of millions of people. No, one of the most authoritative and respected broadsheets in the world is fearful of the prospect of peace! The Times is afraid that the heads of two nuclear-armed superpowers are able to talk to each other. The Times fears that Putin and Trump will be able to come to some kind of agreement that can help avert the danger of a global catastrophe. These are the times in which we live. And this is the type of media we deal with. The problem with The Times is that it forms public opinion in the worst possible way, confusing, deceiving, and disorienting its readers. It is not by accident the world in which we live is increasingly divorced from logic and rationality.

Even if the outcome of this meeting does not see any substantial progress, the most important thing to be achieved will be the dialogue between the two leaders and the opening of negotiation channels for both sides.

In The Times article, it is assumed that Trump and Putin want to reach an agreement regarding Europe. The insinuation is that Putin is manipulating Trump in order to destabilize Europe. For years now we have been inundated with such fabrications by the media on behalf of their editors and shareholders, all part of the deep state conglomerate. Facts have in fact proven that Putin has always desired a strong and united Europe, looking to integrate Europe into the Eurasian dream. Putin and Xi Jinping would like to see a European Union more resistant to American pressure and able to gain greater independence. The combination of mass migration and sanctions against Russia and Iran, which end up hurting Europeans, opens the way for alternative parties that are not necessarily willing to [obey] Washington’s marching orders.

Trump’s focus for the meeting will be to convince Putin to put even more pressure on Europe and Iran, perhaps in exchange for the recognition of Crimea and the ending of sanctions. For Putin and for Russia it is a strategic issue. While sanctions are bad, the top priority for Moscow remains the alliance with Iran, the need to further strengthen relations with European countries, and to defeat terrorism in Syria. Perhaps only a revision of the ABM treaty and the withdrawal of these weapons from Europe would be an interesting offer for Putin. However, reality shows us that the ABM treaty is a pillar of Washington’s military-industrial complex, and that it is also Eastern European countries that want such offensive and defensive systems in their own countries, seeing them as a deterrents against Russia. Are they victims of their own propaganda, or are billions of dollars pouring into their pockets? Either way, it does not really matter. The most important point for Moscow will be the withdrawal of the Aegis Ashore ABM systems as well as military ships with the same Aegis system. But this is not something that Trump will be able to negotiate with his military leaders. For the military-industrial complex, the ABM system, thanks to maintenance, innovation and direct or indirect commissions, is a gravy train that too many interests intend to keep riding.

From the Kremlin’s point of view, the removal of sanctions remains necessary for the restoration of normal relations with the West. But this would be difficult to achieve, given that Moscow would have little to offer Washington in exchange. The strategists at the Pentagon demand a withdrawal from Syria, an end to support for Donbass, and a cessation of relations with Iran. There is simply too much divergence to reach a common position. Moreover, Europe’s sanctions against Russia benefit Washington, as they hurt the Europeans and thereby undermine what is a major trading competitor to the US. The US withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) can be looked at in the same light, blocking US allies from doing business with Iran.

Putin will keep faith with his commitments to Syria and with his allies, unwilling to betray his word even for the recognition of Crimea. On the other hand, as already mentioned, the priority remains the removal of the ABM; and while Crimea is already under the control of the Russian Federation, Syria remains an unstable territory that risks propelling Islamist terrorism to Russia’s soft underbelly in the Caucasus. For Moscow, involvement in Syria has always been a matter of national security, and this certainly remains the same now, even with Donald Trump’s unrealistic offers.

It should be kept in mind that Putin is aiming for a medium- to long-term strategy in the Middle East, where Iran, Syria and the entire Shiite arc serves to counter Saudi and Israeli aggression and hegemony. This strange alliance has emerged as the only way to deter war and dial down the heat in the region, because the crazy actions from Netanyahu or Mohammad bin Salman are deterred by a strong Iranian military. Preventing a confrontation between Iran and Saudis/Israelis also means not making Tehran appear weak or isolated. Such considerations seem beyond the strategists in Washington, let alone in Tel Aviv or Riyadh.

While it is difficult to achieve a positive outcome from the meeting between Trump and Putin, it is important that there is a meeting in the first place, contrary to what The Times thinks. The media and the conglomerate of power that revolves around the US deep state fear diplomacy in particular. The same narrative that was proclaimed weeks before and after the meeting between Trump and Kim Jong-un is being repeated with regard to Trump’s meeting with Putin.

Washington bases its power on force, both economic and military. But this power also rests on the posture assumed and image projected. The United States and its deep state considers negotiating with opponents to be wrong and counterproductive. They consider dialogue to be synonymous with weakness, and any concession is interpreted as surrender. This result of 70 years of American exceptionalism and 30 years of Unipolarity, has allowed the US the ability to decide unilaterally the fate of others.

Today, in a multipolar world, the dynamics are different and therefore more complex. You cannot always employ a zero-sum mentality, as The Times does. The rest of the world recognizes that a dialogue between Putin and Trump is something positive, but we must not forget that, as in Korea, if diplomacy does not bring significant progress, then the hawks surrounding Trump will again be in the ascendant. The tasks for Rouhani, Putin and Kim Jong-un are complex and quite different from each other, but they share in common the belief that dialogue is the only way to avoid a catastrophic war. But apparently, peace is not the best possible result for everyone.

July 13, 2018 Posted by | Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Militarism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

A Neoconservative Plan for Punishing Iran

No understanding in the White House of what might come next

By Philip Giraldi • Unz Review • July 10, 2018

President Donald Trump makes a point of insisting that he has nothing against the Iranian people and is only interested in opposing what he regards as the dangerous activities of their government, but his own record in office belies that claim. It is clear that what he is trying to do is put pressure on the people of Iran to rise up and force a change in government, a process otherwise referred to as regime change. Indeed, if one is to believe Trump confidant Rudy Giuliani, the White House is now committed to “bring down the Iranian regime.” He added that “The collapse of the Islamic Republic of Iran is around the corner.”

Giuliani was addressing a Paris meeting of the National Council of Resistance of Iran at the end of June, the political front group for the terrorist Mujahideen-e-Khalq, for which he has been a frequent paid speaker. This dream of an abrupt transition in government is a fantasy project that is widely held within neoconservative and pro-Israel circles in Washington, to include Giuliani, and it very often is invoked as part of what is sometimes referred to as the “Obama betrayal,” which posits that if President Barack Obama had actively supported so-called “green” reformers in the Iranian election of 2013, they might have actually won. That supposition greatly inflates the actual support for the reformers at that time and also currently, confusing a largely civil rights movement with a unified political party.

Obama then went on to sign the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear agreement with Iran, which has been a target of joint Israeli and neocon wrath ever since. Trump, of course, has risen to the bait and has withdrawn the United States from the deal, also reintroducing both general and targeted sanctions as well as seeking to ban the sale of Iranian oil worldwide.

Unfortunately, as is so often the case, Trump and his advisers, certainly to include National Security Adviser John Bolton, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, U.N. Ambassador Nikki Haley and Senior Adviser for Policy Stephen Miller, are engaging in the wrong tactics to bring about any what might reasonably be regarded positive changes to moderate the grip of Iran’s Supreme Religious Council and are instead hardening domestic popular support for the government through the threats and sanctions which ultimately accomplish little more than punishing the Iranian people.

Oddly, the White House seems unaware of the fact that Iran is neither Libya nor Iraq. It has a strong and historic national identity that means that it does and will resist being bullied by outside powers, including the “leader of the free world” United States. The neocon and pro-Israel script that has evidently taken control of Trump pushes all the wrong buttons as it basically employs an increasing number and severity of sanctions to seek to wreck the economy and create discord in Iran that will eventually bring people out into the streets in large numbers. That means in practice using not only sanctions that selectively targeting “bad guys” like the Revolutionary Guards but also benign institutions that exist to maintain social stability inside the country.

Reports from inside Iran suggest that the renewed and additional sanctions are already hurting the Iranian people while at the same time having little impact on the government commitment to remain in Syria, which is the principal bone of contention at the moment vis-à-vis the joint U.S./Israeli/Saudi grossly exaggerated and self-serving assessment of what Iran may or may not be doing to destabilize the Middle East.

Two organizations which have recently come under sustained attack by the neocons and their allies are the “Execution of Imam Khomeini’s Order” (EIKO) and its associated Barakat Foundation. The EIKO’s principal mission is to help poor families in Iran and to perform other charitable works, but it has been assailed as a major economic resource controlled by the Supreme Religious Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s office, which misrepresents how the foundation is organized and functions.

Leading the charge against EIKO, inevitably, has been renowned neocon Canadian import and Iranophobe Mark Dubowitz, Chief Executive of the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies (FDD), who has described how the Iranian leadership controls a vast business empire which must be targeted with U.S. sanctions to punish the government and strip it of the resources available to make mischief.

This campaign, spearheaded by Dubowitz and his associate Saeed Ghasseminejad, has been going on since Trump was elected, with the folks at FDD confident they had a friend in the White House.

Other outlets in the pro-neocon-inclined and friendly to Israel media have also picked up on the theme that Iran must be the target of what amounts to economic warfare. The National Interest recently ran an article advocating the imposition of oil sanctions on Iran in general while also targeting EIKO in particular in order to “change Iran’s behavior,” which is presumed by the authors to be very bad though without any real explanation of why that is so.

And the U.S. Congress is also in on the act. As is nearly always the case, the U.S. House of Representative’s Oversight and Government Reform Committee’s subcommittee on National Security sought expert testimony on how to punish Iran but only looked for speakers who were inclined to take a hard line. They received that kind of enlightenment from the FDD’s own Richard Goldberg, who is hardly a disinterested observer on the subject.

Goldberg begins by making his case for bipartisan ire directed against Tehran, gushing about how “[he] had the privilege to work with many talented people – Democrats and Republicans – who shared a passion for keeping America and our allies safe from the long list of threats posed by the Islamic Republic of Iran. Together, we put forward numerous bipartisan bills to increase the pressure on Iran. … It is my sincere hope that we can find a way to resuscitate the bipartisan spirit that once infused this important national security issue.”

Goldberg, who is a bit vague on exactly what kind of “long list of threats” Iran represents, was senior foreign policy adviser to Israel-firster hawk former Senator Mark Kirk of Illinois. He celebrates in his FDD bio how “[he] was instrumental in the deployment of a U.S. missile defense radar to the Negev Desert – the first-ever full-time deployment of U.S. forces in Israel. In the Senate, Rich emerged as a leading architect of the toughest sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran. He was the lead Republican negotiator for three rounds of sanctions targeting the Central Bank of Iran, the SWIFT financial messaging service and entire sectors of the Iranian economy.”

There has been some pushback against the war-by-sanctions approach currently being advanced by the Trump Administration. Robert Fontina of Counterpunch has rejected the depiction of EIKO as anything but a charitable foundation. The truth is that EIKO engages in major social projects, including rural poverty alleviation, empowering women, home and school building, and provision of healthcare. American sanctions against it and similar entities hit ordinary Iranians’ lives by producing food insecurity while also restricting the supplies of needed medications. Ahmad Noroozi of the Barakat Foundation claims that numerous Iranians have already been affected by U.S.-initiated sanctions directed against his country, restricting access to cancer treatments and other pharmaceuticals. And it is all aimed at fomenting social unrest and ultimately regime change.

Iranian writer Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich, no friend of the Iranian government, has declared that American sanctions directed against the Iranian economy and people are little more than “sanctioned terrorism.” Her assessment is undeniably correct.

It is indeed disturbing that the abandonment of the rule of law by the Trump Administration and its allies in the media has meant that Washington is resorting more and more to sanctions as an extreme form of punishment in order to enforce its geopolitical demands. Countries that oppose Washington’s policies are now routinely subjected to financial and trade penalties. Cuba, North Korea, and Iran have recently been joined by Russia and Syria as targets of the U.S. Treasury Department. Even America’s European allies and friends are being threatened if they seek to buy Iranian oil or cooperate with Russian energy initiatives.

The sad fact is that the pretense of U.S. global leadership now consists of a basket of new “rules” that are both arbitrary and basically illegal supported by pretexts that are essentially fabricated. Consider the frequent fallacious designation of Iran as “the world’s biggest state sponsor of terrorism” and the repeated false assertions from U.S. and Israeli government sources that Tehran is secretly building a nuclear bomb. Trump has become effectively the mouthpiece of Israeli leader Benjamin Netanyahu, with the latter calling the shots. Shortly after Trump had announced American withdrawal from JCPOA, Israel mounted a series of deadly air strikes against Syria, specifically targeting Iranian military personnel present by invitation in the country to fight ISIS and other terrorist groups. It was an incident that could have rapidly escalated into a broader war, which was clearly the Israeli intention.

There are deadly consequences to following the Israeli and Saudi lead into a possible major war with Iran. If sanctions produce desperation inside Iran, an apparent breakdown in order could easily invite a hypocritical U.S. and Israeli “humanitarian” intervention, possibly escalating into an international conflict, something that the White House appears to not understand. As is often the case, the Trump Administration has not developed sufficient maturity to appreciate that if one pushes hard against a certain country or group of countries there will be an equally strong reaction, and the results might not be pretty. Punishing the Iranian people without any real understanding of what might emerge in pursuit of nebulous political objectives just might not be a good idea.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

US targets Iran’s tourism; airlines halt service

Press TV – July 10, 2018

The US government says it has sanctioned a Malaysia-based tourism agent for Iranian private airline Mahan Air which is already under American sanctions.

The blockade comes as the US prepares to unleash “the strongest sanctions in history” on Iran after President Donald Trump decided to withdraw Washington from a landmark nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic.

“As a result of today’s action, all property and interests in property of Mahan Travel and Tourism Sdn Bhd that are or come within US jurisdiction are blocked,” the US Treasury Department said in a statement on Monday.

The first group of unilateral US sanctions on Iran’s automotive sector, gold trade, and other industries will “snap back” on August 4. Further sanctions on oil and transactions with the Central Bank of Iran will come into effect November 6.

Trump has given companies 180 days to wind down their businesses in Iran or have their trade severed with the US.

Dutch airline KLM said on Saturday it had decided to suspend its direct flights to Tehran “for commercial reasons.”

“As a result of the negative results and financial outlook for the Tehran operation, the last flight will take off from Amsterdam on 22 September 2018 and land at Schiphol on 23 September,” it said in a short statement on its website.

KLM resumed flights to Tehran in 2016 when the nuclear agreement signed between Iran and world countries came into effect. The Dutch airline had ceased its Iran operations in 2013 after the West intensified sanctions on the Islamic Republic.

Austrian Airlines also announced on Friday that it will stop service to the Iranian cities of Isfahan and Shiraz, starting in September, but will continue its flights to Tehran.

“The underlying reason for these changes in the route network is a realignment of the airline’s portfolio,” a statement said on the official website of Austrian Airlines which is owned by the German airline company Lufthansa.

Austrian Airlines announced its expansion of flights to Shiraz and Isfahan in 2015, 2016 and 2017.

The exodus of European companies is a blow to their governments’ efforts to keep Iran in the nuclear agreement.

Europe has pledged to put together an economic package for Iran so that the country benefits from staying in the deal but France said on Friday the offer was unlikely to come by before November.

Germany’s Foreign Minister Heiko Maas also said the Europeans would not be able to fully compensate for companies leaving Iran due to new US sanctions.

July 10, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | 1 Comment

Germany studying request to return €300mn to Iran

Press TV -July 9, 2018

The German government is reportedly studying a request by Iran to withdraw €300 million from bank accounts held in Germany and transfer the cash to the Islamic Republic.

Unnamed officials in Berlin were quoted by Bild newspaper as saying that Tehran was seeking withdraw the funds from the Europaeisch-Iranische Handelsbank AG (eihbank) in order to satisfy part of its foreign currency needs when fresh US sanctions against its financial sector take effect.

The report added that Iran had told the German Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) that it needed the cash from the accounts “to pass on to Iranian citizens who require cash while travelling abroad, given their inability to access recognized credit cards”.

BaFin was now reviewing the request, which had been briefed to senior officials in the chancellery, foreign ministry and finance ministry, the newspaper added in its report as quoted by Reuters.

It further highlighted allegations by the US and Israel that Iran would try to use the cash for purposes other than satisfying its domestic needs. However, it cited unnamed German officials as saying that they had no indications of such plans.

In May, US President Donald Trump announced that he would pull America out of a 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran and re-impose the sanctions that the deal had envisaged to be lifted.

He has already emphasized that the sanctions which would be imposed on Iran would be “at the highest level”.

The sanctions would include a universal ban on Iran over buying or acquiring US dollars as well as restrictions over purchases of crude oil from the country and investing in its oil sector projects.

July 9, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | 6 Comments

French shipping firm pulls out of Iran due to US sanctions threat

MEMO | July 7, 2018

French shipping group CMA CGM has decided to pull out of Iran following the Trump administration’s decision to renew sanctions on companies operating in the country, its chief executive said on Saturday.

Some other big shipping companies like A.P. Moller-Maersk have already said they would halt business ahead of a reimposition of sanctions following the United States’ decision to pull out of the 2015 Iran nuclear accord.

“Due to the Trump administration, we have decided to end our service for Iran,” CMA CGM chief Rodolphe Saade said during an economic conference in the southern French city of Aix-en-Provence.

“Our Chinese competitors are hesitating a little, so maybe they have a different relationship with Trump, but we apply the rules,” Saade said.

He added that his company’s cooperation agreement with local Iranian partner IRISL had been suspended and that the company did not want to fall foul of the rules given their large presence in the United States.

He also said that the company had so far not seen an impact of trade tensions between China and the United States on shipping volumes, but was making preparations with a close eye on China and southeast Asia in case the situation deteriorated.

In May, the European Union announced measures that would enable it to avoid US sanctions on Iran or possibly block them. The measures are designed to avoid tens of billions of dollars in losses for European companies, which invested in Iran in the wake of the agreement, signed in 2015. However, this hasn’t stopped many large European companies and insitutions from bowing to US pressure, including the EU’s own bank.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

Giraldi: US Sanctions on China Over Trade With Iran May Trigger Chaos

Sputnik – 07.07.2018

WASHINGTON – Any move by US President Donald Trump to threaten economic sanctions on China for its trade with Iran could set off global chaos as support for such moves among US allies in Europe evaporates, former CIA officer Phil Giraldi told Sputnik.

“It will be interesting to see what happens when Washington tries to sanction the Central Bank of China over business dealings with Iran — utter chaos on top of the already existing trade war!” Giraldi said on Friday.

The participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), also known as the Iran nuclear agreement, confirmed on Friday at the meeting of the JCPOA Joint Commission in Vienna the need to continue the full and effective implementation of the agreement.

The JCPOA participants including the United Kingdom, France and Germany affirmed their support for continued export of Iran’s oil and gas condensate, petroleum products and petrochemicals and for further trade with and investment in Iran, their joint statement said.

However, Giraldi cautioned that British Prime Minister Theresa May, German Chancellor Angela Merkel and French President Emmanuel Macron could face major pressure from Washington to scrap their ties to Iran, and that they might surrender to it.

“I think this is admirable, but it will come up against the hard reality of US sanctions if Trump pushes the issue, which I think he will do based on recent statements by [presidential adviser Rudy] Giuliani and [Secretary of State Mike] Pompeo that nothing short of regime change for Iran is envisioned by the White House,” he said.

Faced with such pressure, May, Merkel and Macron might yield to Washington’s demands, Giraldi advised.

“The Western Europeans will likely crumble because the threat of blocking them out of the US financial system would be too hard a pill to swallow if Trump really wants to make them squirm,” he said.

Giraldi pointed out he was concerned that the current major European leaders slacked the determination to stand up to trump for their nations’ best interests.

“Of course, the US economy will also suffer greatly, which will be a card they can play, but I do not see leaders of the caliber of Merkel, May and Macron fighting very hard on behalf of what they know to be right and correct relating to Iran,” he said.

Trump was listening to extremists on the Iran issue and was unlikely to change direction, Giraldi assessed.

“It comes down to Trump and his God-awful advisers wanting something much more than the Europeans do so they will give in. Russia and China will, of course, do the right thing,” he said.

Philip Giraldi is executive director of the Council for the National Interest, a group that advocates more even-handed US government policies in the Middle East.

July 7, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , | 1 Comment

Imperial Hubris Redefined

By Philip M. GIRALDI | Strategic Culture Foundation | 05.07.2018

There have been two developments in the past month that illustrate clearly what is wrong with the White House’s perception of America’s place in the world. Going far beyond the oft-repeated nonsense that the United States is somehow the “leader of the free world,” the Trump Administration has taken several positions that sustain the bizarre view that such leadership can only be exercised if the United States is completely dominant in all relevant areas. Beyond that, Washington is now also asserting that those who do not go along with the charade and abide by the rules laid down will be subject to punishment to force compliance.

The first issue has to do with outer space. There is an international treaty agreed to in 1967, the so-called Outer Space Treaty, which has been signed by 107 countries including most Europeans, Russia, China and the United States. Conventional weapons or electronic systems designed to protect orbiting satellites from attack are permitted over where the atmosphere ends 62 miles above the Earth’s surface, but outer space is supposed to be free to all. The treaty also forbids any colonization or appropriation of the moon or planets by any national authority.

President Donald Trump apparently is not familiar with the treaty. Speaking before an audience at the National Space Council on June 18th, he said that he was, on his own presidential authority “… hereby directing the Department of Defense and Pentagon to immediately begin the process necessary to establish a space force as the sixth branch of the armed forces… our destiny, beyond the Earth, is not only a matter of national identity, but a matter of national security. It is not enough to merely have an American presence in space. We must have American dominance in space.”

The idea that the US would seek to have a major presence in space would probably surprise no one, but Trump is saying something quite different. He is creating a military command for space, the moon and the planets and is intent on using that to support an offensive capability that provides dominance in those areas. As no one in his right mind would allow Washington to militarily dominate outer space based on its track record of irresponsible leadership since 9/11, the Trump proposal should be and will be opposed by virtually the entire world.

A fantasy of space dominance is a symptom of a governing class that cannot distinguish between what is important and what is not. It is rooted in a nation that has been constantly fed fear since 9/11 even though it is not threatened. Iran, the second issue surfaced recently, is part of that alleged threat matrix, with the United States and its barking dog Israel repeatedly claiming that the country is both a terrorism supporter and is involved in a secret nuclear weapons program. Both claims are basically false.

Trump has complied with Israel’s demands to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) restricting Iran’s nuclear program even though Tehran was in complete compliance. On June 26th, the White House announced Iran’s punishment, declaring that it would sanction anyone buying Iranian oil, starting on November 4th. The “zero tolerance” global Iranian oil ban deliberately seeks to devastate most sectors of the country’s economy to force it to comply with Israeli, Saudi and US demands that it should effectively disarm.

The threat of sanctions is blatant bullying as the United Nations and all other signatories of the JCPOA continue to support the agreement and have no reason to punish Iran, but there is also an appreciation that sanctions would include being blocked from US financial markets, meaning that the warning must be taken seriously. There are reports that a number of European and Asia refiners and their financial backers are already moving to cut purchases and exit the Iran market well before November.

But there also has been some pushback. Turkey is refusing to go along with the American demand and it is unlikely that China, Russia and India will comply, even if threatened with sanctions. If the European Community were to unite and develop a backbone to take a stand against submitting to US pressure it might actually force Washington to save face by issuing waivers to mitigate the impact of its demand.

There is no rational US interest that compels a hubristic American government to establish a space military or to create a global sanction against Iran, but it is clear that the Trump Administration does not care much for genuine interests as it huffs and puffs to show its power and determination. It is time for the rest of the world to wake up to the danger posed by Washington and mobilize to stand up against it.

July 5, 2018 Posted by | Militarism, War Crimes | , | Leave a comment

Japan PM Abe cancels trip to Iran amid US pressure

RT | July 4, 2018

Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has reportedly abandoned plans to visit Iran later this month, amid increasing pressure from Washington aimed at isolating Tehran politically and economically.

According to Japanese media reports, Tokyo recently informed Tehran that Abe was cancelling talks with President Hassan Rouhani scheduled for mid-July. Abe’s trip would have marked the first time a Japanese leader had visited Tehran in 40 years.

Washington’s growing hostility towards Iran is believed to have played a deciding factor in the sudden change of travel plans. Openly declaring its desire to cut off Tehran’s oil revenues, the Trump administration is now pursuing a policy of economic strangulation, urging Japan and its other allies to stop buying Iranian crude oil entirely by November 4.

Japan has so far refused to comply with Washington’s demands, although Iranian crude currently only accounts for roughly five percent of the country’s total oil imports. It’s likely that Washington’s request to increase political and economic pressure on Tehran will be a major topic of discussion when US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo visits Tokyo for a two-day visit this weekend.

According to government sources who spoke to the Japan Times, Tokyo was still exploring the possibility of Abe visiting Iran, although much would depend on the state of relations between Washington and Tehran.

Still, there’s a chance that Japan will resist Trump’s strong-arming. A spokesman for the Japanese prime minister’s office told Reuters that Abe’s travel plans in the Middle East – where he is scheduled to visit Saudi Arabia and Egypt following stops in Brussels and Paris beginning July 11 – had not been finalized yet.

Trump was condemned by Washington’s allies after unilaterally withdrawing from the Iran nuclear deal in May. Soon after, he announced tough new sanctions targeting the country. The move has jeopardized the future of the landmark 2015 accord –which lifts international sanctions on Tehran in exchange for placing strict controls on the country’s nuclear capabilities. Europe has strenuously objected to the draconian measures, arguing that its firms would lose billions invested in Iran following the removal of sanctions in 2015.

July 4, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , | 2 Comments

Vienna Opposes US Anti-Iran Sanctions That Affect Austria – President

Sputnik – 04.07.2018

VIENNA – Vienna regrets Washington’s decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran as these restrictions violate international law and affect Austria due to their extraterritorial nature, Austrian President Alexander Van der Bellen said on Wednesday.

“Austria regrets the US pullout from the JCPOA. We also regret the US decision to reimpose sanctions on Iran. This does not concern the so-called primary sanctions against Iran, but the secondary sanctions which affect Austria, too. We believe that these secondary sanctions violate international law due to their extraterritorial nature,” Van der Bellen told reporters after his talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Vienna.

The European Commission supports this position against the United States’ decisions related to the JCPOA, the Austrian president added.

Rouhani on Future of JCPOA

His Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani, in his turn, said that Tehran would remain in the deal, provided that the country is able to benefit from it.

“We will not withdraw from the JCPOA if we are able to benefit from it,” Rouhani said after talks with his Austrian counterpart Alexander Van der Bellen.

Rouhani specified that Iran would stay in the deal if the remaining signatories to the agreement manage to ensure Iran’s interests after the US pullout from the agreement.

The Iranian president also stressed that the remaining signatories to the JCPOA had demonstrated firm political will.

Rouhani is currently on his European trip aimed at discussing the future of the JCPOA after the US withdrawal with EU member states. On Monday and Tuesday, the Iranian president visited Switzerland, after which he arrived in Austria.

EU officials have repeatedly criticized the extraterritorial nature of sanctions imposed by the United States on the countries considered by Washington as its adversaries.

After the US withdrawal from the JCPOA, other signatories — Iran, China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, Germany, and the European Union – said they would abide by it. Moreover, EU leaders asked the United States to grant sanctions waivers to the bloc’s companies cooperating with Iran.

July 4, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , | Leave a comment

Iran will import goods only from countries that buy its oil – MP

RT | July 4, 2018

The Energy Committee of Iran has announced that Tehran will buy goods only from those nations which purchase Iranian oil. This follows the US demand from its allies to stop buying Iranian crude.

“We will carry out barter exchange of oil and goods, which means the purchase of goods will depend on the sale of oil,” representative of Iran’s Energy Committee Asadollah Karekhani told ILNA news agency.

“We want to inform our target markets and countries that buy oil from us that we’ll purchase goods from them only if they purchase our oil,” he said, noting that a working group is being formed on barter deals.

Last week, a senior US State Department official told reporters that Washington would try to convince its allies to completely stop buying oil from Iran by early November. Discussions are also being held with other countries, including China.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has warned that if the country’s crude oil exports were threatened, the rest of the Middle East’s would be as well.

“Assuming that Iran could become the only oil producer unable to export its oil is a wrong assumption … The United States will never be able to cut Iran’s oil revenues,” he said.

Iran is OPEC’s second-largest crude exporter with more than 2 million barrels a day.

Rouhani is currently in Europe to gather support ahead of a meeting later this week between Iran and the five global powers that are still party to the 2015 nuclear deal.

July 4, 2018 Posted by | Economics | , , , , | 1 Comment

Bill Kristol Has Always Wanted to Rape Iran

By Caitlin Johnstone | American Herald Tribune | July 1, 2018

One year after the CIA escalated covert operations in Iran, the protests across that nation are reportedly beginning to get more violent. This is happening on the same day the Iranian terror cult MEK hosted Rudolph Giuliani and Newt Gingrich in a pro-regime change rally that was so sparsely attended that half the audience consisted of bused-in Europeans unaffiliated with the cause.

“We are now realistically being able to see an end to the regime in Iran,” said Giuliani, who earlier this year infamously led a “Regime change! Regime change!” chant at a related MEK event.

“The Mullahs must go, the Ayatollah must go, and they must be replaced by a democratic government which Madam Rajavi represents,” Giuliani said in reference to MEK cult leader Maryam Rajavi.

“Freedom is right around the corner,” added Giuliani, who is currently serving as President Trump’s lawyer. “Next year I want to have this convention in Tehran!”

So things appear to be escalating. We saw very similar situations in the lead-up to both Libya and Syria, right up to and including the shady ties with the suspiciously well-funded extremist group. We can expect the CIA operations, propaganda and psyops to combine with the effects of starvation sanctions in a way which leads to widespread chaos, which we can expect to see erupt into violence of disputed origin, which we can then expect to see blamed solely on Tehran, which we can then expect to see elicit calls for humanitarian interventionism. Just like Libya and Syria. If the formula ain’t broke, why fix it?

And the bloodthirsty warmongers of Washington couldn’t be more thrilled.

“A democratic Iran not only would free Iranians from repressive theocracy but produce closer ties between our two countries; real security, economic , and moral benefits for both Iranians and Americans,” contributed Michael McFaul, an ambassador to Russia during the Obama administration.

“Very true,” tweeted Iraq war architect and PNAC founder William Kristol. “And great to see a bipartisan consensus for regime change in Iran! (It would be happily ironic if, totally inadvertently, tough sanctions followed by the JCPOA followed by withdrawal from the deal caused so much whiplash that the regime crumbled.)”

The word “bipartisan” is a popular buzzword in establishment politics, because since the two-headed uniparty has worked so hard creating the illusion of opposition among its leaders and very real hatred across America’s fake political divide, the sight of these two groups getting together on something can be spun to give the impression that it must be a very commonsense and important pro-human agenda. Really, though, what it generally means in practice is neoconservative Republicans and neoconservative Democrats getting together to do something horrible.

Bill Kristol used his influence in the Bush administration to advance the agenda that his Project for the New American Century think tank had laid out several years earlier for US military-enforced planetary domination. It began with the catastrophic and unforgivable invasion of Iraq, but according to US General Wesley Clark the plan once if got through to the Pentagon was to take out six more governments after that: Syria, Lebanon, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, and, finishing off, Iran.

Kristol lost some credibility as the actual horror of what the Iraq invasion had unleashed upon the world began to really sink in to social consciousness, but since 2016 he has rehabilitated his image by forming a close anti-Trump alliance with the birthplace of neoconservatism: the Democratic Party. Kristol is now one of #Resistance Twitter’s most popular pundits and a regular guest analyst on liberal cable TV due to his staunch support for neoconservative policies that this administration claims to oppose, including escalations against Russia.

Bill Kristol wants to rape Iran. Bill Kristol has always wanted to rape Iran. Bill Kristol has advocated disastrous regime change intervention after disastrous regime change intervention throughout his entire corrupt, blood-soaked career, and he has always been wrong. Every single time. If the regime change cheerleading of this virulent Never-Trump neoconservative failmeister doesn’t tell Trump supporters that they’re on the wrong side of this issue, I don’t know what will.

July 1, 2018 Posted by | Wars for Israel | , , , , , | 2 Comments