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Nov 30 11:24

PM: Israel Worries Iran Will Get Sanctions Relief Without Nuclear Rollback

Israeli premier Naftali Bennett has made comments warning the P5+1 against granting Iran sanctions relief as part of the Vienna nuclear talks without getting major new restrictions on their nuclear activities.

Israel is not a party to the talks, but Bennett says Israel would be unhappy with “unsatisfactory” restrictions if Iran gains billions of dollars in its assets unfrozen as part of the restoration of the deal.

Iran was meant to have been given substantial sanctions relief in the original 2015 deal, but the US never honored the terms of the agreement, and ultimately backed out entirely. Talks that could see the US returning to the deal would necessarily involve the US finally delivering on those promises.

Though Israel is nominally supportive of US diplomatic efforts with Iran, they opposed the initial nuclear deal. There is a sense that Israel prefers any deal reached to be very tentative, as this leaves room open for the US to threaten war.

Nov 30 07:51

Israel Claims Iran Will Enrich Weapons-Grade Uranium ‘Soon’

Israel has reportedly informed the United States that they believe Iran is preparing to enrich uranium to weapons-grade purity. This would be the first time Iran had ever even attempted such a move.

Israel has been predicting Iran getting nuclear arms for decades. There is no evidence that any such enrichment is even being considered by Iran, but it fits nearly into Israel’s often false narrative.

Israeli media is only too willing to take the allegations and run with them, noting that weapons-grade uranium has no peaceful uses. This would be a relevant fact if Iran is actually enriching to these levels, which again they are not.

The point seems to be telling the US, because they take Israeli allegations seriously. Then the US would repeat the unbacked claims, which would give media outlets the sense that multiple sources are making such accusations.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Nov 30 07:49

US Officials Say Israel Was Behind Recent Cyberattack in Iran

Citing unnamed US military officials, The New York Times reported Saturday that Israel was responsible for a recent cyberattack against civilian infrastructure in Iran that targeted gas stations.

The report said Israel was behind an October 26th hack of Iran’s fuel distribution system that caused gas pumps to stop working across the country. Gas pumps displayed a digital message telling customers to blame the problem on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Iran provides a certain amount of subsidized fuel to each citizen for a discounted price, and the report said it took the Oil Ministry two weeks to get the system back up and running. The idea was to get Iranians angry at the government and to create unrest, but it never materialized.

Nov 29 11:12

Israeli military readying for 'Plan B' if Iran nuclear talks fail

Israel’s military is continuing to develop its ability to conduct a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program should circumstances demand it.

After a five-month hiatus, indirect talks between the United States and Iran are set to resume on Monday, with the other parties to the nuclear deal mediating in hope of reestablishing an agreement to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions.

The defense establishment does not see a war breaking out with Iran or its proxies, such as Hezbollah in Lebanon, but the IDF has been keeping an eye on the North and on the South.

Nov 29 07:26

US Warns Iran Not to Use Talks to Accelerate Nuclear Program

US Envoy Robert Malley warns that the administration is prepared to exert pressure on Iran if they use the resume Vienna nuclear talks as a pretext for accelerating their nuclear program. He warned “it simply won’t work.”

This reflects a fundamental misunderstanding of Iran’s past actions, or at the very least an attempt to totally revise the history of the peace process. Iran’s parliament has ordered some nuclear moves in the context of nuclear talks.

Far from doing it to accelerate the program or using talks as a pretext, those moves have uniformly been ordered when the US started to pull away from the talks, or conversely when Iran’s civilian program was sabotaged by Israel and the US refused to criticize the intervention.

Iran’s stated position and actions reflect a position of being interested in making a negotiated deal that they can count on being honored, no small matter after the long slog to the initial deal led almost immediately to the US withdrawing from it.

Nov 29 07:26

Britain, Israel Agree to Stop Iran From Getting Nuclear Weapons

British Foreign Secretary Liz Truss and Israeli FM Yair Lapid have issued a joint statement surrounding their memorandum of understanding. The overarching subject is a 10-year plan to deepen ties between the two nations.

Because this is Israel, though, one cannot get through a whole diplomatic session without making things about Iran, and the nations agreed to join forces to stop Iran from getting nuclear arms.

The fact of the matter is Iran is not attempting to get nuclear arms, and Israel’s objections center on Iran’s civilian nuclear program. Israel prefers to ignore that reality, as it would get in the way of drumming up anti-Iran sentiment.

It’s not clear what, if anything, this means for UK policy toward Iran, and it may to them just be for politeness’ sake toward Israel. Israel may be keen for visible expressions of support, however, as the US is moving toward engaging diplomatically with Iran, something Israel at times opposes.

Nov 29 07:14

European Nations Fault Iran’s ‘Invasive Physical Searches’ of IAEA Inspectors

Germany, France, and the UK have issued a joint statement accusing Iran of “excessively invasive physical searches” of IAEA inspectors. UK Ambassador Corinne Kitsell accused Iran of “intimidation” with those searches.

The reports had claimed inappropriate touching during searches, and orders to remove certain articles of clothing. It’s not clear at all that these are violations of the IAEA’s agreements with Iran.

These searches aren’t coming out of the blue. Iran has long had mistrust of inspectors from certain nations, noting how often the details of inspections get leaked through third party countries, and lack the confidentiality that normally is expected.

Iran has also had a serious problem with sabotage attacks, and while the IAEA was not involved in that sabotage, they have also gone out of their way in not publicly condemning Israeli sabotage, even when it damaged IAEA equipment in places.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Iran has good reason to be careful. Some years ago an IAEA inspector was accused of using a "reference sample" to contaminate an Iranian lab. When international experts demanded the reference sample to do an isotopic comparison with the "evidence" against Iran, the sample was destroyed!

Nov 29 07:09

As Iran Nuclear Talks Resume, Will Israel Ever Exercise Military Option?

The US and its European allies are expected to put pressure on the Islamic Republic in the new round of talks that kick off in Vienna on Monday. They will try to solve the stalemate through economic and diplomatic measures but if those fail, will they give in to Israel who is pushing for a harder line on Tehran?

After six months of zero progress, the United States and its allies will convene in Vienna later in the day for a fresh round talks with Iran over its nuclear programme.

In 2018, Washington left the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a 2015 deal under which Tehran accepted restrictions on its nuclear programme in exchange for the lifting of western sanctions.

Under the Biden administration, the US has resumed discussions with Iran but so far they have not borne any fruit.

Nov 28 07:05

Israel and Iran Broaden Cyberwar to Attack Civilian Targets

Millions of ordinary people in Iran and Israel recently found themselves caught in the crossfire of a cyberwar between their countries. In Tehran, a dentist drove around for hours in search of gasoline, waiting in long lines at four gas stations only to come away empty.

In Tel Aviv, a well-known broadcaster panicked as the intimate details of his sex life, and those of hundreds of thousands of others stolen from an L.G.B.T.Q. dating site, were uploaded on social media.

For years, Israel and Iran have engaged in a covert war, by land, sea, air and computer, but the targets have usually been military or government related. Now, the cyberwar has widened to target civilians on a large scale.

In recent weeks, a cyberattack on Iran’s nationwide fuel distribution system paralyzed the country’s 4,300 gas stations, which took 12 days to have service fully restored.

Nov 27 09:38

At IAEA, US Threatens to Ramp Up Pressure on Iran

At the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) Board of Governors meeting on Thursday, the US threatened to take action against Tehran for not complying with an inspection clause of the Iran nuclear deal.

Earlier this year, Iran stopped voluntarily complying with the Additional Protocol, an aspect of the JCPOA that allows the IAEA to conduct snap inspections. The IAEA is demanding that Iran cooperates with the Additional Protocol, but Tehran has no obligation to since the US withdrew from the JCPOA in 2018.

Unsurprisingly, this crucial context is missing from the US statement. “If Iran’s non-cooperation is not immediately remedied … the Board will have no choice but to reconvene in extraordinary session before the end of this year in order to address the crisis,” said Louis Bono, the US envoy in Vienna.

Nov 26 07:20

Report: Israel Warns US Not to Settle for ‘Partial’ Nuclear Deal With Iran

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Israel is warning the US not to strike a “partial” nuclear deal with Iran. Israeli officials said they feared the US was setting up for a “less-for-less” agreement that would require Iran to reverse some of its nuclear activity in exchange for some sanctions relief.

Last week, reports said National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan floated the idea of an interim Iran nuclear deal in conversations with his Israeli counterpart, Eyal Hulata. US officials told the journal that the idea of a “less-for-less” deal was just “brainstorming” ahead of the new round of JCPOA talks that are set to start on November 29th.

Nov 26 07:13

Israel’s Gantz Says Differences Over Iran Must Not Ruin Ties With US

On Thursday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said Israel must cooperate with the US on Iran regardless of differences, and said the issue must not affect ties with Washington.

“I’ve been dealing with the Iranian issue since 2007, and we must cooperate with the US on it, ensuring that we are speaking with both sides of the aisle in the US, maintaining bipartisanship and not going into American politics as we have done in the past,” Gantz said at the end of a two-day visit to Morrocco.

Israel has been very vocal about its opposition to the Biden administration’s plans to resume nuclear deal negotiations on November 29th, but Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has made sure not to publicly clash with the US, avoiding a tactic of his predecessor, Benjamin Netanyahu.

Nov 26 07:11

CENTCOM Says Military ‘Prepared’ If Iran Nuclear Deal Talks Fail

Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), told Time Magazine on Wednesday that his forces are prepared for a potential military option against Iran should talks to revive the nuclear deal fail.

“The diplomats are in the lead on this, but Central Command always has a variety of plans that we could execute, if directed,” McKenzie said.

US officials often speak of the potential for failure in negotiations with Iran and like to portray Tehran as the difficult party. But it was the US that withdrew from the JCPOA in the first place, and President Biden’s hardline stance is to blame for why earlier talks failed.

Nov 25 10:13

Frustrated with CIA, Trump administration turned to Pentagon for shadow war with Iran

In the final month of his presidency, Donald Trump signed off on key parts of an extensive secret Pentagon campaign to conduct sabotage, propaganda and other psychological and information operations in Iran, according to former senior officials who served in his administration.

The campaign, which was to be led by the military’s Special Operations forces, was designed to undermine the Iranian people’s faith in their government as well as shake the regime’s sense of competence and stability, according to those former officials.

The plan, which eventually grew to a 200-page package of options, involved “things that would cause the Iranians to doubt their control over the country, or doubt their ability to fight a war,” said a former senior defense official.

Nov 25 09:44

CENTCOM Says Military ‘Prepared’ If Iran Nuclear Deal Talks Fail

Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command (CENTCOM), told Time Magazine on Wednesday that his forces are prepared for a potential military option against Iran should talks to revive the nuclear deal fail.

“The diplomats are in the lead on this, but Central Command always has a variety of plans that we could execute, if directed,” McKenzie said.

US officials often speak of the potential for failure in negotiations with Iran and like to portray Tehran as the difficult party. But it was the US that withdrew from the JCPOA in the first place, and President Biden’s hardline stance is to blame for why earlier talks failed.

Robert Malley, Biden’s special envoy for Iran, also delivered a threat on Wednesday. He said if the talks dragged out, the US would not “sit idly” while Iran’s nuclear program grew. “If they start getting too close, too close for comfort, then of course we will not be prepared to sit idly,” Malley told NPR.

Nov 24 11:03

Iran says lifting of sanctions a key factor in Vienna talks

Nov 24 07:23

Israel Signals Readiness to Increase Confrontation With Iran

Israeli officials expressed strong opposition to the Iran nuclear deal on Tuesday and stepped up threats against the Islamic Republic as the US is preparing to resume indirect negotiations with Tehran aimed at reviving the accord.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Israel “fell asleep” after the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, was signed in 2015. He warned Israel would maintain the right to take “action” against Iran if the JCPOA is revived.

“The mistake we made after the first nuclear deal in 2015 will not repeat itself,” Bennett told a conference at Israel’s Reichman University. “From the moment the deal was signed, it affected us like a sleeping pill. Israel simply fell asleep on duty … We will learn from this mistake. We will maintain our freedom of action.”

Nov 24 07:02

British Army to Switch Main Training Base From Canada to Oman in Move Seen as Hostile to Iran

The British Army has had a huge base in the Canadian province of Alberta since 1972. The Suffield base became increasingly important as the British Army pulled resources out of Germany after the end of the Cold War.

The Defence Secretary, Ben Wallace, is expected to announce the British Army is quitting its main overseas training base, in Canada, and will shift more than 1,000 tanks and helicopters to a new base in Oman.

The Daily Telegraph’s defence editor Dominic Nicholls wrote: “Defence sources said the shift to the Gulf would enable British forces to position hardware closer to allies such as Ukraine and Bahrain, and to potential adversaries such as Iran.”

The British Army Training Unit Suffield (BATUS) in Alberta has been in existence since 1972 and enables mechanised infantry and artillery to train on a 1,600 square mile base near the city of Medicine Hat.

Nov 23 10:08

Report: US Warns Israel Covert Attacks on Iran are ‘Counterproductive’

According to a report from The New York Times, the US has warned Israel against launching cover attacks against Iran’s civilian nuclear program, calling them “counterproductive.” But Israeli officials said they have no intention of “letting up.”

The report said over the past 20 months, four explosions at Iranian facilities have been attributed to Israel. Last November, Israel assassinated Iranian scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh inside Iran. The US has refused to condemn any of these attacks, giving them a tacit endorsement and raising questions over potential US involvement.

Nov 23 10:08

Israel’s Gantz Wants a ‘Broader, Stronger, and Longer’ Iran Nuclear Deal

On Sunday, Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz said he would favor a “broader, stronger, and longer” Iran nuclear deal than the JCPOA, which the US and Iran are set to resume negotiations on next week.

“I support an agreement that will be broader, stronger, and longer — taking Iran back, dismantling its current capabilities, and placing effective inspections on its sites and on its weapons production,” Gantz said.

Israel’s opposition to the Biden administration’s plans to resume negotiations with Iran is no secret. Last week, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid reiterated Israel’s stance in a meeting with US special envoy Robert Malley, who visited Israel and other country’s in the region ahead of the new talks with Iran that will begin on November 29th.

Nov 23 07:44

Iran nuclear programme: Threat of Israeli strike grows

In the turquoise waters of the Red Sea, Israeli, Emirati and Bahraini naval forces for the first time just days ago rehearsed joint security operations with a US warship.

It followed a war-game at a desert airbase just north of the Israeli port city of Eilat last month, which sent fighter planes from Israel and seven other countries roaring into the skies.

Such drills aim to send a strong warning to Iran, which has recently been holding its own large military exercises, and stress strategic alliances.

But they come at a time when many in Israel are worrying about whether this small country could soon feel forced to act alone to attack Iran's nuclear programme militarily.

The government has allocated $1.5bn (£1.1bn) to prepare the Israeli armed forces for a potential strike against Iranian nuclear sites, and there are near-daily warnings from political and military leaders.

Nov 22 08:16

Israel readying for possible Iran conflict, officials say

Top Israeli defense officials say the country is preparing for the possibility of an armed conflict with regional arch-rival Iran and its proxies.

Israeli army chief of staff Lt. Gen. Aviv Kohavi said Tuesday that the Israeli military was “speeding up the operational plans and readiness for dealing with Iran and the nuclear military threat.”

Israel considers Iran an existential threat, and has warned that it would act with military force if needed to prevent Iran from developing nuclear weapons. Last month Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid said that “if a terror regime is going to acquire a nuclear weapon we must act.”

Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes only. Tehran is set to renew nuclear talks with world powers this month, after the 2015 accord to curb its nuclear program collapsed following the U.S.’s withdrawal from the agreement in 2018.

Nov 22 07:45

In Bahrain, US SecDef Vows to Counter Iran

US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin was in Bahrain this weekend, trying to convince them, and by extension the Gulf alliance, that the US is going to counter everything he accused Iran of doing.

This started with lip service to Iran’s civilian nuclear program, saying the US is committed to a diplomatic outcome. Austin added that the US would never allow Iran to obtain nuclear weapons.

Not mentioned is that Iran is plainly not seeking nuclear weapons. With the Gulf nations and Israel both gearing up for military action, they want the US to echo the false conclusions they made long ago.

Austin also lashed Iran’s “dangerous” export of drones to its allies across the Middle East. This, too, ignored that the United States is also exporting attack drones to its own partners in the region.

Nov 20 07:14

Iranians Hold Huge Anti-Government Protest After Key River Completely Dries Up

Rare mass protests have hit a large central Iranian city over persisting water shortages and continued economic woes which is fast creating a humanitarian crisis as farmers are losing their crops.

Thousands gathered in central Isfahan, outraged over government mismanagement which has allowed a key river to dry up completely. "Footage broadcast by state television and dozens of videos circulating on social media on Friday showed a sea of farmers and other people standing on a huge barren strip of dirt where the major Zayandeh Rud River used to flow, near the iconic Khaju Bridge in Isfahan province," Al Jazeera reports.

Nov 20 06:53

“The U.S. Empire is the Largest Empire The World has Ever Known”: The Russia-China-Iran Alliance

NATO, the U.S. Government, and all other “neoconservatives” (adherents to Cecil Rhodes’s 1877 plan for a global U.S. empire that would be run, behind the scenes, by the UK’s aristocracy) have been treating Russia, China, and Iran, as being their enemies. In consequence of this: Russia, China, and Iran, have increasingly been coordinating their international policies, so as to assist each other in withstanding (defending themselves against) the neoconservative efforts that are designed to conquer them, and to add them to the existing U.S. empire.

Nov 19 07:46

‘NYT’ often cites thinktank on Iran without saying it was founded to promote Israel’s image

The New York Times and other media frequently quote experts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and identify FDD as a hawkish thinktank. But they fail to say what the FDD told the IRS: it was founded to promote Israel’s image in the United States, the investigative journalist Eli Clifton says. He characterized the omission as bordering on “journalistic malpractice.”

The influential thinktank routinely calls for U.S. military action to bring down the Iranian government. It came up on Robert Wright’s podcast, bloggingheads.tv, on November 9, in a discussion of political funding.

Nov 18 07:56

Report: US Floats Idea for Interim Iran Deal to Israel

According to a report to Axios, National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan floated the idea for an interim Iran nuclear deal to buy more time for negotiations in recent conversations with his Israeli counterpart, Eyal Hulata.

Sullivan said Iran could freeze certain nuclear activity, such as enriching some uranium at 60 percent, and in exchange, the US would release some Iranian funds or provide sanctions waivers for humanitarian goods. But the report stressed that Sullivan was just “brainstorming” and the idea was “only preliminary.”

The report said Hulata didn’t like Sullivan’s idea and stressed that Israel fears an interim deal could become permanent. It’s not clear how Iran would respond to the proposal, but with JCPOA negotiations resuming on November 29th, the US will have a chance to put it on the table.

Nov 17 07:03

This Is Russia's Biggest Move Yet To Take Control Of The European Gas Market

A deal finalized last week to develop Iran’s multi-trillion dollar new gas discovery, the Chalous field, will see Russian companies hold the major share in it, followed by Chinese companies, and only then Iranian ones, sources close to the deal exclusively told OilPrice.com. This is despite Chalous’s position unequivocally within the Iranian sector of the Caspian Sea, over which the Islamic Republic has complete sovereignty. Billions of dollars in additional capital investment are scheduled to come from financial institutions in Germany, Austria, and Italy, as the indications are that the size of Chalous’s gas reserves are even greater now than initially thought. According to one of the senior Russian officials involved in negotiating the deal: “This is the final act of securing control over the European energy market.”

Nov 17 06:28

Oil Pipeline in Southern Iran Reportedly Hit by Explosion

An oil pipeline exploded on Wednesday morning in Ramis, a village in the Ramshir district of Khuzestan, Iran, according to Tasnim News Agency.

The explosion created small tremors that could be felt in the surrounding areas, according to reports.

Jalil Zahiri, an official in Iran's Khuzestan province, said there were no casualties after an explosion damaged an oil transmission line operated by Maroon Sazeh Shiraz company, according to Tasnim News.

The extent of the damage caused by the pipeline blast remains unknown. The explosion was the result of wear and tear on the oil transmission line, according to reports.

Nov 16 08:08

Israeli FM Tells US Envoy Iran Won’t Rejoin Nuclear Deal

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid met with President Biden’s special envoy for Iran Monday and reiterated Israel’s opposition to planned US negotiations with Tehran to revive the nuclear deal, claiming the Iranians have no intention of rejoining the agreement.

US special envoy Robert Malley is in Israel as part of a tour of the region where he will meet with Iran’s rivals ahead of the nuclear deal talks that will resume on November 29th. According to Israel’s YNET news site, Lapid claimed in a meeting with Malley that Iran is only reentering the negotiations to buy time.

Malley also met with Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz and David Barnea, the head of the Mossad spy agency. An Israeli source told Haaretz that Prime Minister Naftali Bennett is not meeting with Malley because he is opposed to the JCPOA talks, although another source said Malley is not senior enough to meet with the Israeli leader.

Nov 11 06:54

China Gets Half A Million Barrels Of Iranian Oil Every Day, Violating US Sanctions As Biden Looks The Other Way

For the past several years, Iran has been subject to "crippling" oil-export sanctions, but that is news to China whose imports of Iranian oil have held above half a million barrels per day on average for the last three months, traders and ship-tracking firms told Reuters as Chinese buyers judge that getting crude at cheap prices outweighs any risks from busting U.S. sanctions, especially when the US president is unlikely to wake up from his afternoon nap and do anything to punish China for violating the terms of the "draconian" embargo.

Indeed, as Reuters notes, Chinese purchases of Iranian crude have continued this year despite the sanctions that, if enforced, would allow Washington to cut off those who violate them from the U.S. economy.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

From Iran and China's point of view, it's none of the US Government's business in the first place!

Nov 10 08:49

Israeli Army Chief: We’re ‘Accelerating’ Plans to Attack Iran’s Nuke Program

The Israeli military’s chief of staff on Monday warned that the army was accelerating plans for a potential attack against Iran’s nuclear program.

The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) is “accelerating operational planning and preparedness to deal with Iran and the military nuclear threat. Thankfully, the budget that was approved [last week] makes it possible to contend with a variety of threats,” IDF Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi told the Knesset’s Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee according to a translation of his remarks by The Times of Israel.

Israeli Defense Minister Benny Gantz also said Israel will conduct operations that “haven’t been seen in the past” in the event of war.

Last month the Israeli Air Force began training for an attack on Iran’s nuclear program at the start of 2022.

Webmaster's Commentary: 
Nov 10 08:12

Israel’s constant talk of attacking Iran is a danger to US interests

Speeches by the heads of government of Iran and Israel at the United Nations General Assembly this year illustrate two very different ways a regime’s international rival might fit into its strategy.

Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi, in a speech of about 2,000 words, made only one brief mention of what he called the “occupier Zionist regime” — two sentences about what it has done to women and children in the occupied territories and how its blockade has turned the Gaza Strip into the “biggest prison in the world,” followed by an appeal to hold a referendum “with the participation of all Palestinians of all religions and ethnicities including Muslims, Christians and Jews.”

Nov 10 08:08

Conflicts of Interest: Biden Admin Works to Prevent Diplomacy with Iran

On COI #183, Kyle Anzalone discusses how the Biden administration has prevented a return to the Iran Nuclear Deal. Iran recently made an effort to re-engage in the Vienna talks, but the US met this offer with sanctions and threats. Iran has been clear, it will not return to the negotiating table under American pressure and threats.

Kyle breaks down recent testimony by Gitmo detainee Majid Khan. Khan said his torturers needlessly shoved medical equipment into his anus and sexually abused his genitals. Khan also detailed the waterboarding and other torture he suffered. His testimony was so powerful that a military jury offered a note to the court condemning the CIA.

Kyle updates the situation in Afghanistan as starving people prepare for a cruel winter. A sudden withdrawal of international aid has pushed those in poverty to the brink of starvation. US sanctions and the Biden administration’s decision to freeze Afghan government funds are largely responsible for the crisis.

Nov 10 07:23

US and Iran are getting ever closer to war

A tense US-Iranian naval standoff appears to be related to the US enforcement of unilateral oil sanctions targeting Iran. Iran’s response suggests that Tehran may not be willing to play this game for much longer.

Amid growing tensions in the region, the United States and Iran carried out tit-for-tat naval exercises in the Persian Gulf designed to send a signal to the other – mess around at your own risk. The US exercises comprising six coastal patrol boats, supported by an expeditionary mobile base platform ship and a guided-missile destroyer, involved live fire exercises using surface-to-surface missiles. Iran followed this display of US military prowess with a demonstration of its own in the form of the annual Zolfaqar military exercise, which included live-fire drills involving anti-ship missiles, drone swarms, and submarine-launched torpedoes.

Nov 09 08:01

Nikki Haley Slams AIPAC for Tolerating Supporters of Iran Deal

Former governor and Ambassador to the UN Nikki Haley used an address at the Republican Jewish Coalition (RJC) to rip into the AIPAC lobbying group for having any tolerance at all of supporters of the Iran nuclear deal.

Haley went on to argue that AIPAC is too interested in bringing Democrats aboard for the sake of bipartisanship. She warned this would encourage bad behavior.

All of this is built around Haley’s supposition that the Israel lobby is championing a very specific far-right interpretation of Israeli interests, hostile to the Iran nuclear deal and likewise opposing a two-state solution.

The reality is that this is nowhere near a universal position within Israel, nor is it AIPAC’s. They leave open the possibility of supporting the Iran deal, and unsurprisingly don’t excommunicate US politicians who take the same position.

Nov 08 08:54

Iran demands guarantees that US won’t ditch nuclear deal again

The US must reassure Iran it will not abandon the nuclear deal with Tehran again if it is revived, the Foreign Ministry spokesman said, demanding Washington also lift sanctions.

Speaking on Monday, Foreign Ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh said Washington “must guarantee that no administration in the United States mocks the world and international law and does not repeat these behaviors” of withdrawing from agreements.

Khatibzadeh also reiterated another demand to the White House – “they must lift the oppressive sanctions completely and effectively.”

“Iran will not stop its compensatory actions until it is confident that US sanctions will be lifted in an effective and verifiable manner with the necessary and objective guarantees,” the spokesman warned.

Nov 06 15:44

WATCH: Iran Releases Dramatic Footage Of Their Military ‘Stopping The US From Taking Iranian Oil’

Iranian state media has released dramatic footage purportedly showing their military “confronting” American forces and boarding a tanker in the Sea of Oman to block the US from seizing an oil shipment for violating US sanctions.

Nov 06 07:10

Israel Can Strike Iran, But the Difficult Part Comes After, Ex-IDF Intelligence Chief Says

Tel Aviv has repeatedly raised concerns over the Iranian nuclear programme, which it claims is aimed at acquiring nuclear weapons – something that Tehran strongly denies. Israel has said that it won't allow this to happen and will take the necessary steps to ensure it, without elaborating on the matter.

Depending on how future negotiations currently being mulled on Iran's return to the nuclear accord go, Tel Aviv might face the tough choice of whether or not it should take action against the Islamic Republic, ex-chief of the IDF Military Intelligence Directorate, Amos Yadlin, said in an interview with 103FM radio.
He stressed that the Israeli military has capabilities to strike Iran in order to cripple its nuclear programme, but noted that the toughest challenge is not hitting Tehran, but what comes after.

Nov 04 07:41

VIDEO: Iran Releases Dramatic Footage Of Military 'Stopping U.S. From Seizing Tanker Full Of Iranian Oil'

Iranian state media has released dramatic footage purportedly showing their military "confronting" American forces and boarding a tanker in the Sea of Oman to block the US from seizing an oil shipment for violating US sanctions.

If this story is true, it's just the latest in a string of humiliations for the "woke" US empire which is now focused more on fighting "white rage" and anti-CRT "domestic terrorists" moms than maintaining US hegemony.

Nov 04 05:44

Israel Launches Huge Missile & Drone-Detecting Balloon As Iran Expands Reach

Israel's Defense Ministry on Wednesday unveiled the latest upgrade to its anti-air defenses, citing a heightened continued threat from Iran's ballistic missile arsenal and increasingly sophisticated drones, also possessed by Lebanon's Iran-backed ally Hezbollah.

A large new high altitude blimp called "Sky Dew" is set to be launched, which is equipped with a radar-based system in order to provide early detection for any inbound long-range missiles or drones. The balloon's sensors will complement existing anti-air defenses and radar, which includes the Iron Dome missile system, according to Israeli media reports.

Nov 03 07:07

IRGC Thwarts US Attempt to Steal Iranian Oil in Sea of Oman, State Media Says

The Iranian state news agency Mehr announced that footage of the confrontation between Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and the American Forces will be released later.

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) on Wednesday managed to thwart what was described as an attempt by the United States to take over an oil tanker in the Sea of Oman, according to reports by the Iranian media.

The IRGC transferred the oil back after the US took it to another vessel in the Sea of Oman, according to the Iranian state news agency Mehr.

Per Mehr, the American warship "confiscated" the Iranian tanker carrying oil but met with a "strong reaction" from IRGC speedboats. As the Iranian Navy directed the vessel back to the country's territorial waters, US forces reportedly tried to pursue the tanker using helicopters and warships.

The tanker is currently said to be in Iranian territorial waters.

Nov 03 06:44

Israeli Military, CENTCOM, Launch Joint Military Drills

A US helicopter carrier anchored off the Israeli Port of Eilat in the Red Sea Monday as US Central Command (CENTCOM) and the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are launching joint amphibious exercises.

The drills are one of the first major joint exercises between CENTCOM and the IDF since Israel was transferred from US European Command to CENTCOM’s area of responsibility earlier this year. In August, CENTCOM and Israel held their first joint aerial exercises that involved F-35 fighter jets from both countries.

The US said the amphibious exercises will involve about 500 troops, most of them from the 11th Marine Expeditionary Unit. “The troops will take part in a multi-branch exercise for two weeks, in which they will train with counter-terrorism forces, commando forces and expose-attack forces, simulating warfare techniques in open areas and urban environments,” the IDF said, according to The Times of Israel.

Nov 02 10:31

Blinken Won’t Rule Out Military Action Against Iran

In an interview with CBS on Sunday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken would not rule out the idea of military action against Iran if the nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, isn’t revived.

Blinken said the US and its allies prefer diplomacy but are considering “other options” if JCPOA isn’t restored. When asked if that the options include military action, Blinken said, “As we always say, every option is on the table.”

The threat comes less than a week after Iran said it was ready to return to JCPOA negotiations in Vienna by the end of November. US officials have responded to Iran’s willingness to restart talks with skepticism, and the Biden administration slapped new sanctions on Tehran after the announcement.

Blinken said the US is in “lockstep” with its allies on Iran’s nuclear program and said, “We still believe diplomacy is the best path forward.” But the threats and fresh sanctions are not sending Iran a positive signal.

Nov 01 06:25

Iranian Nuclear Deal On Table For Biden And Clueless Leaders

As Iran's nuclear program makes frightening advances, President Joe Biden is supposed to huddle Saturday with European allies to talk through a plan as they press for a diplomatic resolution — and to prepare for the possibility that Iran refuses to return to the negotiating table.

The meeting with the leaders of Germany, France, and Britain — known as the E3 — comes at a pivotal time, as Iran proceeds to enrich uranium to near-weapons-grade levels. Biden is attempting to restore the 2015 nuclear deal and bring Iran back into compliance with the pact that would have kept the Islamic Republic at least one year away from the potential to field a nuclear weapon.

Nov 01 06:05

Biden: US Will Retaliate Against Iran's Actions, Be It 'Drone Strikes or Anything Else'

Earlier this week, the US Treasury stated that fresh sanctions had been imposed against Iran's unmanned aerial vehicle program and its chief executive.

Speaking at the press conference on the results of the G20 in Rome, US President Joe Biden said that Washington will retaliate to any actions Iran may undertake "against the interests of the US."

"With regard to the issue on how we are going to respond on actions taken by them against the interests of the US whether there are drone strikes or anything else, is that we are going to continue to respond," Biden told reporters on Sunday.

The statement comes after a drone attack was carried out against the at-Tanf military base in Syria last week, for which no country or group have taken responsibility.

Nov 01 06:04

Israel’s Bennett Wants to Defeat Iran’s ‘Rotten Regime’ by Doing ‘What Reagan Did’ to the Soviets

Earlier this month, Israeli media reported that the government allocated $1.5 billion to prepare for a possible attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities, as part of $17.8 billion defence budget for fiscal year 2022. Tehran responded by warning that Israel would be made to pay a grave economic price if it dared strike.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett says his country is in a cold war with Iran, and plans to defeat the Islamic Republic the same way Ronald Reagan supposedly defeated the Soviet Union.

“We have a cold war with Iran. For the last 30 years Iran positioned around us to distract us,” Bennett said, speaking to the Sunday Times.

Oct 31 07:13

Biden Hits Iran With New Sanctions Ahead Of Nuclear Deal Talks

A few days after Iran said it was ready to ready to return to negotiations to revive the nuclear deal, the Biden administration has hit Iran with fresh sanctions.

The Treasury Department said the sanctions targeted two senior members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and two companies the US accuses of exporting drones.

Because the US has already blacklisted the IRGC as a "terrorist" organization, all of its members are already under sanctions, so the new measures will have little impact. But the move is symbolic and sends a signal to Tehran that the US is not serious about giving Iran sanctions relief to revive the JCPOA.

Iranian officials said Tuesday that Tehran plans to return to JCPOA negotiations in Vienna by the end of the month. A date hasn’t been set, but the EU said Friday that Iran and the other powers involved in the talks are working on setting one.

According the The Associated Press:

Oct 31 06:37

WATCH: IDF F-15 Jets Escorted US Bomber in Apparent Show of Force to Iran as Tensions Remain High

Israeli F-15 fighter jets have escorted a US B-1B bomber over the skies of Israel, the Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said on Saturday.

The joint flight was another example of “the continued strategic cooperation of the IDF with the United States in the area,“ the IDF added.

The army shared pictures and footage of the escort mission, which was apparently aimed at sending a message to Tehran, given the heightened tensions between Iran, on one side, and the Jewish State and the US, on the other.

Oct 31 06:35

Iran has not ‘boycotted’ return to nuclear negotiations, West must first fulfil its obligations – Tehran spokesman

Tehran has not “boycotted” its return to nuclear talks in Vienna, a spokesman for the Iranian Parliament National Security and Foreign Policy Commission has said, stating that Western states must first fulfil their obligations.

Speaking in an interview with an Iranian news agency on Monday, Mahmoud Abbaszadeh Meshkini said that the “ball is in the court of Western countries,” in regards to restarting the stalled discussions on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

He said countries that have withdrawn from the landmark nuclear accord and failed to deliver their side of the deal should first make sure they fulfil their obligations. His comment took aim at the US, which withdrew unilaterally in 2018 under then-President Donald Trump, as well as Germany, France and the UK, who he claims did not comply with their JCPOA commitments.

Oct 31 06:34

Iranian civil defense chief says US & Israel behind cyberattack that disrupted thousands of gas stations this week

Iran’s civil defense chief has accused the US and Israel of paralyzing the work of the country’s gas stations this week. He said “internal factors” may have also been involved in the cyberattack.

The head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, Brigadier General Gholamreza Jalali, compared the recent cyber intrusion to last year’s attack on the Shahid Rajaee terminal near the southern port city of Bandar Abbas on the coast of the Strait of Hormuz, and the hack that disrupted the country’s rail service in July.

“This attack is similar to cyberattacks on the railways and Shahid Rajaee, and we think it was definitely carried out by the Americans and the Zionists,” Jalali was quoted by IRNA as saying, referring to the Israeli government.

Oct 30 06:30

US ‘Skeptical’ Over Iran Nuclear Deal Talks and Considering Harsher Action

US officials are “highly skeptical” that renewed talks with Iran will revive the nuclear deal and are discussing imposing harsh penalties against Tehran, CNN reported on Friday.

On Tuesday, Iran said it was ready to return to indirect negotiations with the US in Vienna to revive the nuclear deal. Iran didn’t specify a date, but the EU said Friday that it is working on setting one.

Despite Tehran’s willingness to restart talks, US officials are saying that they don’t think Iran is serious about reviving the deal. One US official told CNN that Iran’s public statement didn’t “give us a huge amount of optimism.”

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan said Thursday that it’s not “entirely clear” to him “whether the Iranians are prepared” to restart negotiations. “We have heard positive signals that they are but I think we have to wait and see when and whether they actually show up in the negotiating table,” he said.

Oct 30 05:50

'This Sends the Wrong Message': Biden Blasted for New Iran Sanctions Ahead of Nuclear Talks

U.S. President Joe Biden faced criticism Friday for imposing fresh sanctions on Iran as he heads into weekend talks with European leaders prior to potential direct negotiations with Tehran over the nuclear deal ditched by his predecessor over three years ago.

The U.S. Treasury Department announced the new sanctions—which target individuals and companies tied to Iran's drone program—while the president was in Rome for a Group of 20 summit, during which he's expected to discuss the Iranian nuclear program with European attendees, according to Jake Sullivan, Biden's national security adviser.

"This sends the wrong message about U.S. intentions," warned Sina Toossi, a senior research analyst at the National Iranian American Council (NIAC). "We need to build goodwill not impose more sanctions."

Oct 29 10:13

Israel to Attack Iran? Washington Gives the Green Light to the 'Military Option'

Some might recall candidate Joe Biden’s pledge to work to rejoin the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) which was a multilateral agreement intended to limit Iran’s ability to develop a nuclear weapon. The JCPOA was signed by President Barack Obama in 2015, when Biden was Vice President, and was considered one of the only foreign policy successes of his eight years in office. Other signatories to it were Britain, China, Germany, France, and Russia and it was endorsed by the United Nations. The agreement included unannounced inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities by the IAEA and, by all accounts, it was working and was a non-proliferation success story. In return for its cooperation Iran was to receive its considerable assets frozen in banks in the United States and was also to be relieved of the sanctions that had been placed on it by Washington and other governments.

Oct 29 10:12

Exclusive: Attack On Iran Has Become A Priority, Israeli Official Says

A top Israeli official has told Iran International that an attack against Iran's nuclear targets has become a priority, as media say that training will begin.

"The Israeli Air Force will begin practicing for a strike on Iran’s nuclear program beginning next year, having set aside funding and updated its training schedule for the mission," the Times of Israel reported. The newspaper said that while plans were in draft, some parts could be ready quickly while others would take over a year to be fully actionable.

A senior Israeli military official told Iran International's correspondent in Tel Aviv Monday that attacking Iran was now the Israeli air force’s top priority. Last week the Israeli media revealed the government had a $1.5-billion budget for an attack on Iran's nuclear facilities that covered fighter jets, bombers, and intelligence gathering drones, as well as specialized munitions that could penetrate Iran's underground sites.

Oct 29 10:11

Mike Pompeo: Israel might need to attack Iran due to US 'appeasement'

An Israeli last-resort military action against Iran is a risk of American appeasement and emboldens the Islamic Republic, former US secretary of state Mike Pompeo said Tuesday at the Jerusalem Post Conference.

Military action is “not in the best interests of anyone,” he told Jerusalem Post editor-in-chief Yaakov Katz.

Pompeo defended the Trump administration’s decision to leave the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), known as the Iranian nuclear deal, in 2018, saying the policies it adopted had made the world safer from the Iranian regime.

Oct 28 06:34

The Hawks Are Encircling Iran…Again

Washington and Tel Aviv’s threats against Iran are rapidly proliferating. The Israelis reportedly just approved a $1.5 billion budget for a possible military attack on Iran. Israel’s Air Force is currently training “intensely” to attack Iran’s nuclear facilities. Under Joe Biden’s watch, the Iranian people continue to be crushed under the same cruel “maximum pressure” sanctions imposed by the Donald Trump administration. In fact, on multiple occasions, Biden has imposed new sanctions on Iran. The ceaseless economic warfare is justified by the lie that Iran was or is seeking nuclear weapons as well as the ever present ancillary alarmism that this would imperil Israel.

Oct 27 09:12

Cyber Attack in Iran Reportedly Cripples Gas Stations Across the Country

A cyber attack in Iran left petrol stations across the country crippled, disrupting fuel sales and defacing electronic billboards to display messages challenging the regime's ability to distribute gasoline.

Posts and videos circulated on social media showed messages that said, "Khamenei! Where is our gas?" — a reference to the country's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Other signs read, "Free gas in Jamaran gas station," with gas pumps showing the words "cyberattack 64411" when attempting to purchase fuel, semi-official Iranian Students' News Agency (ISNA) news agency reported.

Abolhassan Firouzabadi, the head of Iran's Supreme Cyberspace Council, said the attacks were "probably" state-sponsored but added it was too early to determine which country carried out the intrusions.

Oct 27 08:54

Iranian Officials Hold Emergency Meeting After Cyberattacks Target Gas Stations

Earlier in the day, reports suggested that gas stations across the Islamic Republic had malfunctioned, while the hacked systems allegedly displayed the question "where is the gas", addressing the Iranian Supreme Leader.

Iranian state TV said that Oil Ministry officials were convening an "emergency meeting" to solve the technical issues amid cyberattacks, targeting gas stations.

"The Supreme National Security Council confirmed that there has been a cyberattack against the petrol distribution computer system", the television station IRIB said. "Technical experts are fixing the problem and soon the refuelling process... will return to normal".

The disruptions occurred nearly two years after widespread protests hit the country due to a major increase in fuel prices.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Oct 27 06:18

Russia prepares the curtain call

The implementation of the conclusions of the US-Russia summit in Geneva (known as "Yalta II"), held on June 16, 2021, continues. It seems that the concessions made by Washington to Moscow are much more significant than previously thought. President Vladimir Putin continues to put the world back in order not only in the wider Middle East, but also in Africa and Asia. Substantial changes are already observable in four months. In the Russian tradition, nothing is announced, but everything will be revealed en bloc when things have become irreversible.

Oct 26 11:08

Iranian Officials Hold Emergency Meeting After Cyberattacks Target Gas Stations

Earlier in the day, reports suggested that gas stations across the Islamic Republic had malfunctioned, while the hacked systems allegedly displayed the question "where is the gas", addressing the Iranian Supreme Leader.

Iranian state TV said that Oil Ministry officials were convening an "emergency meeting" to solve the technical issues amid cyberattacks, targeting gas stations.

"The Supreme National Security Council confirmed that there has been a cyberattack against the petrol distribution computer system", IRIB television station said. "Technical experts are fixing the problem and soon the refuelling process... will return to normal".

The disruptions occurred nearly two years after widespread protests hit the country due to a major increase in fuel prices.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack so far.

Oct 25 12:34

US patience is up, pressure on Tehran could be days away - analysis

Stage one of the Biden administration waiting for Tehran to talk has concluded.
The patience of the US with Iranian procrastination from returning to nuclear talks is up and it will start exerting pressure along with global partners in “the coming days and weeks” to get Iran back to the negotiating table, was a major takeaway from a press briefing by US Iran envoy Rob Malley.

At one point in the briefing, Malley said that he and his team had met with EU, Sunni Gulf states and other non-Western partners (in September he was in Moscow) recently to “discuss where we go from here – to see in the coming weeks and months” what steps they would take against the Islamic Republic if there was no near-term return to talks.

Oct 25 06:59

Israel To Request America’s New GBU-72 Bunker Buster Bomb

In the coming months, Israel plans to ask the US to sell its new 5,000 pound GBU-72 bomb to the Israeli Defense Forces, sources here say, with the goal of utilizing it against Hamas’ subterranean bases.

Already, Israeli planners have shared operational lessons from their use of the GBU-28 bomb with the US Air Force in order to help develop operational profiles for the GBU-72. In turn, Israeli military officials hope Washington will ok the eventual sale of the GBU-72 once it enters full use in for the US Air Force.

During this years “Guardian of the Walls” military operation in Gaza, Israeli made significant use of the GBU-28, an older 5,000 pound “bunker buster” weapon,” in order to target Hamas’ so called “Metro City” tunnel network.

Israeli sources told BD that the use of these bombs in a densely populated area like Gaza required very accurate planning in order not to the hit the civil population.

Oct 25 06:49

Iran official berates Israel’s ‘strike budget,’ warns of 'shocking response'

Iran’s security chief brushes aside reports about Israel's budget for a potential attack on Iranian nuclear facilities, saying the regime must consider the colossal cost of repair after Tehran’s “shocking” response.

The Times of Israel, citing a report published by Channel 12, reported earlier this week that Israeli officials had approved a budget of five billion shekels ($1.5 billion) to purchase high-powered weapons and equipment in preparation for a possible attack against Iranian nuclear facilities.

Around $600 million will be added to the previous $900 million budget for acquiring aircraft, intelligence-gathering drones, and weapons that can destroy heavily fortified underground sites, the report said.

The claims drew a stern warning from Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani in tweets he posted in Persian, Arabic, English and Hebrew on Sunday.

Oct 23 05:53

Israel, Iran holding separate large scale aerial drills

As tensions continue to rise between Iran and Israel, both countries are holding large-scale aerial exercises.

Israel and seven nations – Germany, Italy, Britain, France, India, Greece and the US – are participating in Blue Flag 2021, the largest and most advanced aerial exercise ever held in the Jewish state.

This year’s drills will focus on the integration of fourth- and fifth-generation aircraft, including the F-35 Adir in complex operational scenarios, the Israeli military said.

Oct 22 07:24

Revealed: Biden rejected way forward in Iran deal talks

Iran’s delay in rejoining talks in Vienna to revive the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement has fueled speculation that the new Ebrahim Raisi government has lost interest in the accord. Its deepened mistrust, optimism about its China option, and confidence that it can weather American sanctions have shaped this conclusion, leaving Washington with no choice but to publicly threaten its own shift to more coercion under an undefined Plan B, the narrative goes.

But new information obtained by Responsible Statecraft reveals that that impasse is not because of an Iranian sense of immunity to pressure, but largely because President Joe Biden refused to commit to keeping sanctions lifted on Iran for the rest of his term, even if Iran rejoins and complies with the nuclear deal.

Oct 22 06:45

Israel Resumes Practicing Attacks on Iran

The Israeli Air Force has resumed, after a two-year pause, what is being described as “intense” drills to practice attacking Iran’s nuclear sites, a move that likely would start a major war.

This comes just days after a report that the Israeli government approved a $1.5 billion budget increase for the military explicitly to pay for preparations to attack Iran.

Defense Minister Benny Gantz defended the spending, saying it is necessary to prepare for the planned attack on Iran. This is expected to include acquiring new planes to participate in the attack.

Underpinning Israel’s on-again, off-again planning to attack are decades of efforts to get the United States to attack Iran instead. Usually Israel’s scaling up its own unilateral options is theater to try to pressure the US.

Oct 21 05:52

UN Experts Say US Sanctions on Iran are Causing Medical Shortages

A group of UN experts warned on Tuesday that US sanctions on Iran are causing medical shortages in the country.

US sanctions technically have exemptions for medical supplies and other humanitarian goods. But many companies and banks stop doing business altogether with countries targeted by the US over fears of sanctions.

“Many banks and businesses, including pharmaceutical and medical companies around the world, over-comply with sanctions out of fear of potential penalties,” the UN experts said.

One example the experts cited was the fact that patients suffering from a rare skin disease, known as epidermolysis bullosa (EB), have been unable to access a type of bandage that can prevent life-threatening infections.

“This is only one of many examples sadly illustrating the plight of thousands of people, including children, caused by over-compliance with sanctions by third parties out of fear of being sanctioned in turn,” the experts said.

Oct 20 10:30

Iran, Venezuela To Sign 20-Year Economic Cooperation Deal While Facing US Sanctions

Iran and Venezuela have announced a plan to sign a 20-year economic cooperation deal as the two countries continue to strengthen their trade relationship in the face of US pressure.

Venezuelan Foreign Minister Felix Plasencia met with his Iranian officials in Tehran on Monday. After meeting with Plasencia, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said the deal will be signed when Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro visits Tehran in the "next few months."

The Iranian Foreign Ministry said the two diplomats "decided to hold a joint economic commission of the two countries in the near future and to compile and finalize a comprehensive plan for the 20-year economic cooperation between the two countries."

Oct 20 09:05

'The grim reaper for the enemy': CIA's 'legendary' Iran chief forced to retire

The CIA’s Iran chief, described by his colleagues as “legendary,” is being forced to retire as the center he oversees is folded back into the agency’s larger Middle East division, according to former CIA officials.

The official, Mike D’Andrea — nicknamed the “Dark Lord” or “Prince of Darkness” and known by the undercover name "Roger"— had been granted waivers that allowed him to continue working at the CIA past the mandatory retirement age, according to former agency officials. But the agency declined his most recent retirement exception, according to these officials. D’Andrea’s retirement was first reported by the New York Times.

“They decided not to extend him again,” said a former senior CIA official. “It was basically, ‘Look, you’re not going to go any higher, we need new thinking, we need new people,’ and so they eased him out. He didn’t volunteer.”

Oct 20 09:00

Report: Israel Approves $1.5 Billion Budget for Potential Attack on Iran

According to a report from Israel’s Channel 12, the Israeli government approved a $1.5 billion budget to prepare for a potential attack on Iran.

The extra funds would be used to purchase additional aircraft, surveillance drones, and the munitions needed to strike Iran’s underground nuclear facilities. The report said about $620 million would come from the 2022 military budget, and the rest of the funds would come from this year’s budget.

For years, Israel has been seeking bunker-busting bombs that could penetrate Iran’s underground facilities. If they did acquire the munitions, Israel would also need bombers capable of carrying them, something it currently doesn’t have. The US tested a new 5,000-pound bunker buster earlier this month, which Israeli media interpreted as a possible message to Iran.

Oct 20 06:14

Top Trump Security Adviser Contradicts ‘Imminent Attack’ Claim Behind Soleimani Assassination

In a new book about his time in the Trump administration, a retired US Army general who served as a senior adviser to the White House contradicts the justification given by Donald Trump for the January 2020 killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani, which was that he was allegedly planning an “imminent attack” against US troops and embassies.

A new book that hit shelves today by Lt. Gen. Keith Kellogg reveals that the Trump administration planned the killing of Soleimani as part of a “disproportional” response to attacks on US troops in Iraq by Shiite militias. Kellogg was then-Vice President Mike Pence’s national security adviser, and also served as executive secretary and chief of staff for the US National Security Council under Trump.

Oct 19 07:35

Note to Blinken: Israel’s ‘military option’ shouldn’t be on our table

As indirect talks to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) remain in limbo, the U.S. and Israeli governments continue suggesting that “other options,” including military action, are available and will be considered if the talks should fail.

The latest example of this came during a press conference between Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid and Secretary of State Antony Blinken earlier this week along with their counterpart from the United Arab Emirates. Commenting on Iran’s nuclear program, Lapid said that “Israel reserves the right to act at any given moment, in any way,” and he stated, “We know there are moments when nations must use force to protect the world from evil.” For his part, Blinken said that “time is running short” to restore the nuclear deal, and he affirmed that “Israel has the right to defend itself and we strongly support that proposition.”

Oct 18 06:41

Israel Demanding Answers After Biden Quietly Removed Sanctions On Iranian Missile Companies

Pro-Israeli lobbying and advocacy groups are seeking answers from the Biden administration over why it removed two Iranian firms believed linked to Iran's ballistic missile program from the US sanctions blacklist earlier this month.

The US Treasury Department had quietly and without explanation dropped sanctions on Mammut Industrial Group, and its subsidiary Mammut Diesel Company. Both had been targeted by the prior Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign.

In September 2020 under the guidance of the Trump White House, the US Treasury had identified the Iranian companies as "key producers and suppliers of military-grade, dual-use goods for Iran’s missile programs," and further described as "Iran’s primary developer of liquid propelled missiles."

These and other companies have hired law firms in the US to fight to be removed from the blacklist, with the two in question being successful in this case.

Oct 17 07:37

Are Saudi Arabia and Iran on the road to reconciliation?

Saudi Arabia and Iran reportedly are on the path to reconciliation after years of tense relations.

Iraq has been hosting a series of meetings between officials on both sides aimed at easing tensions after a five-year rift, and expectations are high that a public announcement of a normalization agreement could come soon.

A fourth round of negotiations between the two Middle East arch-rivals took place in late September.

Professor Mohammad Marandi, head of the American Studies Department at Tehran University, told The Media Line that he doesn’t believe that Iran sees Saudi Arabia as a rival, but rather as part of the western bloc.

Oct 15 09:48

With Nod to Military Action Against Iran, US Gives In to Israeli Pressure

Secretary of State Tony Blinken said all options are on the table against Iran, giving a clear nod to threats to attack militarily. This is exactly the sort of threat Israel has wanted, and Israeli officials are congratulating one another in getting that out of the US.

“All options” was a catch-all term for the US in threatening anyone, but Israeli officials felt the US wasn’t saying it nearly enough against Iran, presenting this as a split between Israel and the Democrats, a rift they now see as healing.

Israeli officials saw limited threats against Iran as a sign that the US realistically hadn’t kept some options on the table. It isn’t clear that the US is any closer to attacking Iran now, however.

The US is resisting key aspects of a deal, and warning time is running out for Iran. This, and the threats to attack, are part of the bargaining effort, not serious signs an attack is imminent.

Oct 15 06:01

Tehran Warns Israel Against ‘Military Adventure’ Amid Boasting IDF Can Strike Nuclear Facilities

After increasing talk by Israel about its willingness to strike Iran by itself as a last resort to halt the country’s nuclear program, Tehran has sent a letter to the United Nations Security Council (UNSC) warning Israel against a “military adventure” against the Islamic Republic.

Delivered on Thursday and printed in Iran’s Tasnim News Agency, the letter comes as Iran makes preparations to return to Vienna for negotiations on reviving the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) next week.

“We warn the Zionist regime against any miscalculation or military adventure targeting Iran and its nuclear program,” wrote Majid Takht Ravanchi, Iran’s ambassador to the United Nations, referring to Israel.

Oct 15 05:45

Biden’s Iran Special Envoy Warns: ‘Prepare’ for Unconstrained Nuclear Iran

As Iran deal negotiations continue to stall, the Biden administration is preparing for a world where the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program has no constraints, according to U.S. special envoy for Iran Robert Malley.

In a virtual discussion Wednesday concerning the future of U.S. relations with Iran hosted by the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, Malley attacked the previous administration, casting blame on President Donald Trump’s decision to withdraw from the landmark 2015 nuclear deal and claiming that “we didn’t need to be here.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Oct 14 07:22

US Steps Up Rhetoric Against Iran, Weighing ‘All Options’ If Talks Fail

US officials stepped up their rhetoric against Iran Wednesday, warning that Washington will have to consider other “options” if attempts to revive the nuclear deal fail.

At a joint press conference with his Israeli and UAE counterparts in Washington, Secretary of State Antony Blinken warned “time is running out” for Iran to return to talks. “we are prepared to turn to other options if Iran doesn’t change course, and these consultations with our allies and partners are a part of that,” Blinken said.

Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid made it clear that Blinken’s “other options” are a threat. “I would like to start by repeating what the Secretary of State just said. Yes, other options are going to be on the table if diplomacy fails. And by saying other options, I think everybody understands here, in Israel, in the Emirates, and in Tehran what is it that we mean,” he said.

Oct 14 06:45

Israel claims ‘right’ to strike Iran ‘at any moment’ to prevent it from obtaining nukes, FM Lapid says after meeting with Blinken

Israel reserves the right to attack Iran at any time of its choosing, under the pretext of stopping it from acquiring a nuclear weapon, Tel Aviv’s FM Yair Lapid said after meeting with his American and Emirati counterparts.

Addressing reporters after a sit-down with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken and United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Abdullah bin Zayed in Washington on Wednesday, Lapid insisted that Tehran must not be allowed to obtain the bomb, saying the issue was at the “center” of his visit. Though Iran has long maintained it has no interest in developing nukes, Lapid vowed that Israel would stop its supposed “race to the bomb” by any means necessary.

“Israel reserves the right to act at any given moment and in any way. That is not only our right, it is also our responsibility,” he said. “Iran has publicly stated it wants to wipe us out. We have no intention of letting this happen.”

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Oct 13 08:21

Former Mossad Chief Stuns Audience By Admitting Iran "Not Even Close" To Getting Nuclear Bomb

Apparently even within the Israeli national security state, there's a deep divide over the question, despite hawks sounding the alarm for decades that Iran is ever "on the brink" of obtaining a nuke. Or also, it could be that internally Israeli intelligence knows the Iranians are not actually close, while the politicians publicly take a very different position for propaganda purposes, and to keep up the international pressure on Tehran.

The influential former Mossad director Yossi Cohen suggested this precisely in Tuesday comments that raised eyebrows. The Israeli intelligence veteran commander said in reality that Iran is "not even close" to getting a nuclear weapon - though he chalked this up largely to Israeli's sabotage and espionage efforts targeting the Iranians.

Oct 13 08:08

Israel’s Bennet Warns There are Non-Peaceful Ways to Deal With Iran

On Tuesday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennet continued his threats against Iran and warned there are non-peaceful ways to deal with Tehran’s civilian nuclear program.

Bennett accused Iran of not living up to its commitments to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). But Iran has only stopped voluntarily complying with the Additional Protocol, an aspect of the Iran nuclear deal that allows the IAEA to conduct snap inspections. Because the US withdrew from the JCPOA, Iran is no longer bound to follow this measure.

“Iran is blatantly violating the IAEA commitments,” Bennet said at the Jerusalem Post Conference in downtown Jerusalem, according to The Times of Israel. “We’re not going to wait. I expect the global powers to hold them accountable … That would be the peaceful route. There are other routes.”

Oct 13 08:08

Israel’s FM Claims Iran Is ‘Becoming a Nuclear Threshold State’

In Washington on Tuesday, Israeli Foreign Minister Yair Lapid claimed in a meeting with National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan that Iran is “becoming a nuclear threshold state.”

A nuclear threshold state typically means a country has the capability to quickly build nuclear weapons but has not yet done so. Lapid’s comments are just another false claim by Israel that Iran is racing towards a nuclear bomb.

Israel points to the fact that Iran is enriching some uranium at 60 percent as evidence of Tehran’s desire for nuclear weapons. But 60 percent is still well below the 90 percent needed for weapons-grade, and this step was taken in response to an Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility back in April.

The alarmist wording from Lapid comes as Israel is trying to convince the US not to return to the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA. Lapid’s office said the Israeli foreign minister raised with Sullivan “the need for an alternative plan” to the JCPOA.

Webmaster's Commentary: 

Same thing Israel has been saying for 30 years now!

Oct 08 07:41

Iran Closes Its Airspace to Azerbaijani Military, Warns Russia to be Wary of Geopolitical Changes in Caucasus

Iran has closed its airspace to Azerbaijan’s air force, which supplies military equipment to the Nakhijevan Autonomous Republic, Haqqin.az reported Tuesday, October 5. According to Azeri media publications, the country’s defense department has already been notified of the change.

“Baku regarded this decision as another betrayal against Azerbaijan, which is instigated by the Armenian government,” the Defense Ministry reportedly said. [sic]

From Press TV: Iran concerned by Israel presence in Caucasus, will not accept any geopolitical change in region: FM

Iran wants Russia to be wary of “potential changes in region’s borders”

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian wants Russia’s “to be sensitive about any potential changes in borders across the region.”

Oct 06 09:00

IDF Chief Says Israel Will Continue to Attack Iran

Israel Defense Forces (IDF) Chief of Staff Aviv Kohavi said Tuesday that Israel will continue to launch attacks “destroy” Iran’s capabilities, including its civilian nuclear program.

“Operations to destroy Iranian capabilities will continue, in any arena and at any time, and the operational plans against Iran’s nuclear program will continue to be developed and improved,” Kohavi said.

While the IDF has not launched an overt attack inside Iran, the Israelis frequently carry out covert attacks against the Iranian nuclear program. Most recently, Iran has accused Israel of attacking an Iranian nuclear warehouse with a drone in June. The attack damaged equipment belonging to the International Atomic Energy Agency, and Iran is calling on the nuclear watchdog to condemn the incident.

Over the past few months, Kohavi has repeatedly said the IDF is “accelerating” plans to attack Iran’s nuclear program, signaling that Israel is planning a more overt operation inside the country.

Oct 06 08:59

US Tells Israel It Will ‘Turn to Other Options’ If Diplomacy With Iran Fails

National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan hosted his Israeli counterpart Eyal Hulata in Washington on Tuesday to discuss Iran. In the meeting, Sullivan conveyed to Hulata that the US is prepared to “turn to other options” if diplomacy with Iran fails.

“Mr. Sullivan explained that this administration believes diplomacy is the?best path to achieve that goal, while also noting that the President has made clear that if diplomacy fails, the United States is prepared to turn to other options,” NSC spokesperson Emily Horne said in a readout of the meeting.

President Biden first said the US would “turn to other options” with Iran alongside Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett when the two leaders met in August. Iran took Biden’s comments as a threat, and for good reason. The Israelis are pushing the Biden administration to abandon its stated plans to revive the nuclear deal and take a more hawkish approach towards Iran.

Oct 06 06:41

Rising tensions between Azerbaijan and Iran spark fears of a conflict that would be an Israeli-US proxy war against Tehran

Tensions are running high as Iran holds war games along its northern border, warning it won’t tolerate its neighbour providing a safe haven for the “anti-security activities of the fake Zionist regime.”
Iranian war games held along its northern border with Azerbaijan, leading to Baku threatening military deployment in retaliation, has sparked fear of war between the two countries.

But any such war would not end up being won by Tehran or Baku, but rather the United States and Israel, who would likely seize such an opportunity to fuel a Syria-style proxy war against the Islamic Republic.

Oct 04 10:08

Iran Deploys Tanks, Armor, Artillery to Azerbaijan Border; Turkey Deploys its army in Azerbaijan

Iran is massing troops, artillery and armor along its northwestern border with Azerbaijan; and now Turkey is sending troops into Azerbaijan to confront Iran if a war breaks out.

A major fight is brewing between Iran and Azerbaijan/Turkey over trade routes being blocked. The scalable Google map below shows the region:

Azerbaijan imposed a $300 Truck Toll upon only Iranian trucks, to travel 40 miles (or so) along an Interstate Highway that passes through Azerbaijan, to places in Armenia. That road was previously Armenia until Azerbaijan invaded last year and took a considerable portion of land, including the road. The yellow-highlighted segment of road on the map below is the issue:

Oct 04 07:15

IRAN SAYS "WAR WITH ISRAEL HAS ALREADY BEGUN" AMID FRESH COVERT ATTACKS

Amid a recent spate of covert espionage attacks on Iranian infrastructure - some publicly known and more that are possibly unknown - Iran's foreign ministry has declared that "war with Israel has already begun".

A foreign ministry spokesmen told the major Israeli national Hebrew-language daily newspaper Maariv that "Israel has carried out attacks that were intended to destroy our nuclear program for peaceful purposes." Saeed Khatibzadeh declared "the war with Israel has already begun" - in an ominous message intended as a warning to the Israeli public and leadership.

The spokesman added that Israel "has murdered nuclear scientists and harmed the Iranian people. Iran is blamed for terrorism, but there is no good or bad terrorist. The entire crisis in the region is the fault of Israel."

Oct 04 07:12

Iran FM: US Needs to Unfreeze $10 Billion for Negotiations

Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amirabdollahian is calling on the US to unfreeze some $10 billion in Iranian assets as a sign of good faith, conditioning Iran’s return to nuclear negotiations on this .

Amirabdollahian said this was an opportunity to say just once that the US “considered the interests of the Iranian nation.” There has been no response from the State Department.

The odds don’t look great, however. The Biden Administration has been criticizing Iran’s new government since the election, and given the appearance of being tepid on renewing the talks in the first place.

That, and the long-standing US desire to brag about just how many Iranian assets they’ve frozen, makes a goodwill gesture extremely unlikely. If anything, it will be one more thing for the US to condemn them over, and another excuse when the talks don’t materialize.

Oct 04 06:46

Saudi Confirms First Round of Talks With New Iranian Government

Saudi Arabia confirmed on Sunday it had held its first round of direct talks with Iran's new government last month, part of a process begun earlier this year to reduce tension between the Gulf's rival Sunni and Shi'ite Muslim powers.

The longtime foes who severed ties in 2016 began talks in April, at a time when Washington and Tehran were discussing reviving a nuclear pact that Riyadh and its allies had opposed.

Three rounds of Saudi-Iranian talks were held in Iraq in the months before Iran's new hardline president, Ebrahim Raisi, took office in August.

Foreign Minister Prince Faisal bin Farhan al-Saud said the latest round had taken place on Sept. 21. He did not give the location of the meeting. The date coincides with a speech by Raisi at the U.N. General Assembly in New York.

Oct 03 07:32

Satellite Images Show Damage at Tehran ‘Missile’ Site

Israeli satellite images are emerging on the site in Tehran which earlier this week was reported to have had an explosion. Iran reported it was Research and Self-Sufficiency site operated by the Revolutionary Guard Corps. Two were reported killed in the blast.

What happened isn’t clear, though as usual it was seen as possibly another Israeli sabotage attack. On top of that, media reports are spinning the site as being a possible “missile factory.”

This accusation is based on the Treasury Department saying in 2017 that the research and self-sufficency organization was researching missiles. It isn’t clear how big this organization is, or how many sites they have. Iran was keen to become less reliant on military imports.

Oct 01 13:53

Iran kicks off war games amid rising tensions with Azerbaijan and alleged ‘Zionist presence’

The Iranian military has started large-scale drills in the northwestern part of the country, involving drones, armored units and helicopters amid rising tensions with Azerbaijan.
On Friday morning, Iran’s Army Ground Forces kicked off the ‘Fatehan (Conquerors) of Kheibar’ military exercise. Brigadier General Kiomars Heidari told Iranian news agencies that the exercises were planned in order to test weapons, military equipment and assess combat readiness.

The brigadier added that the drills would improve the combat readiness of armed forces stationed in the region and suggested that they had been scheduled. Armored units, artillery and drones from the Army Ground Forces divisions were supported by helicopters from the Army Air Force.

Sharing photos of the exercises online, journalist Heshmat Alavi said the drills were some of the largest ever held by Tehran, noting growing tensions with neighboring Azerbaijan.

Sep 30 06:22

Israeli PM’s speech to UN leaves out ‘Palestinians’ and blames destruction of Gaza on Iran

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett gave a speech to the U.N. General Assembly Monday in which he said that Israel has a diverse democracy “in the toughest neighborhood on earth,” and Iran is trying to destroy Israel through its “terror” proxies.

Bennett never mentioned Palestine or Palestinians (as major media have reported). No, Israel’s refusal to grant rights to Palestinians, and Palestinians’ refusal to accept that discrimination, is a minor issue that Israel wants the world to forget about in the era of Israeli deals with Arab states. Bennett also brushed the Palestinian issue aside when he met with Joe Biden in August.

No one thinks about the conflict in Israel, Bennett said.

Sep 28 11:37

With militarised media as a weapon of mass deception, what is the plan?

Fernando Guevara argues that mainstream media, the police and other "civilian institutions", have become militarised. "Even on the internet, algorithms are re-set to catch what suits Zionists/Israel, while a lot of what sheds light on their terror is simply removed/de-platformed.">>

Sep 28 10:41

At UN, Israel’s Bennett Hints at Military Action Against Iran

Addressing the UN General Assembly for the first time Monday, Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett hinted at possible military action against Iran, accusing the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program of crossing “all red lines.”

“Iran’s nuclear program has hit a watershed moment. And so has our tolerance,” Bennett said. “Words do not stop centrifuges from spinning.”

Bennett cited Iran’s recent move to enrich some uranium at 60 percent as one of the “red lines.” But 60 percent is still below the 90 percent needed for weapons-grade uranium, and Tehran only increased enrichment to such levels in response to an Israeli attack on Iran’s Natanz nuclear facility.

The latest Israeli attack on Natanz took place in April. It was a clear effort to sabotage the indirect negotiations between the US and Iran to revive the nuclear deal, which started around the same time.

Sep 28 10:38

Iran, Saudi sides continue tension-easing talks in Baghdad

Representatives from Iran and Saudi Arabia have held a new round of talks in Baghdad, two Iraqi officials said Monday, in the first such meeting between the regional foes since a new president was sworn in in Tehran.

The meeting held last week discussed “pending issues between the two countries according to a previously agreed on roadmap, including diplomatic representation between the two countries,” according to one Iraqi official.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to give official statements, said the meeting was not on a ministerial level, but described the talks as positive.

Iraq has recently played the role of mediator between the two regional foes whose rivalry has often played out to deadly consequences in Iraq and elsewhere in the region.

Sep 28 05:21

Iran's Nuclear Program Has Crossed 'All Red Lines': Israel PM

Israel's Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said Monday Iran had breached all the "red lines" aimed at curbing its nuclear weapons program, but that Israel "will not allow" Tehran to get the bomb.

In his first address to the United Nations General Assembly, Bennett claimed the Islamic republic had in recent years taken "a major leap forward" in its nuclear production capacity and ability to enrich weapons-grade uranium.

"Iran's nuclear weapon program is at a critical point, all red lines have been crossed," said Bennett, who took office in June.

"There are those in the world who seem to see Iran's pursuit of nuclear weapons as an inevitable reality, as a done deal, or they have just become tired of hearing about it," the 49-year-old premier told the world body.

"Israel doesn't have that privilege. We cannot tire. We will not tire. Israel will not allow Iran to acquire a nuclear weapon."

Webmaster's Commentary: 

"We'll get the Americans to invade Iran!"

Sep 27 06:58

Fire At IRGC Research Facility In Tehran Injures 3 Revolutionary Guardsmen

A mysterious blaze broke out at one of Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) research centers in the capital of Tehran on Sunday evening (local time), multiple international reports have said.

Three IRGC members have been wounded in the fire, the cause of which is as yet unknown. Details as to its extend are also unknown - only that it was soon reported contained at that the injured were transported to a nearby hospital.

Iran state TV quoted a statement from IRGC officials as confirming, "On Sunday evening a fire broke out in one of the IRGC … research centers in the west of Tehran. Three people were injured and the fire has been contained."

The facility is located in western Tehran, and given the high security nature of IRGC locations, it's unlikely that many details will be divulged. This naturally tends to lead to immediate speculation by observers about the possibility of an Israeli sabotage operation.

Sep 27 06:33

Exclusive-Under U.S. Sanctions, Iran and Venezuela Strike Oil Export Deal - Sources

Venezuela has agreed to a key contract to swap its heavy oil for Iranian condensate that it can use to improve the quality of its tar-like crude, with the first cargoes due this week, five people close to the deal said.

As the South American country seeks to boost its flagging oil exports in the face of U.S. sanctions, according to the sources, the deal between state-run firms Petroleos de Venezuela (PDVSA) and National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) deepens the cooperation between two of Washington's foes.

One of the people said the swap agreement is planned to last for six months in its first phase, but could be extended. Reuters could not immediately determine other details of the mwpact.

The oil ministries of Venezuela and Iran, and state-run PDVSA and NIOC did not reply to requests for comment.

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