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By Noobly
#2967
Commander of Iran just said this"“We will do our best to defend the Iranian nation’s security day in and day out, and if the enemy makes any mistake our roaring missiles will land on their heads,” Brig. Gen. Amirali Hajizadeh, the IRGC aerospace forces’ commander, was quoted as saying.

I am guessing Trump will love to strike first
By Noobly
#2968
Speculation is mounting that North Korea is supplying missile technology to the real Islamic State, the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Recent missile tests coming out of Tehran have caused the Trump administration to once again apply targeted sanctions against the regime. For its part, Iran has declared that it will continue the missile tests and that they do not violate the agreement reached with the Obama administration.
The North Korean analysis site, 38North.org, reported on the recent Iranian test, saying, “[Some analysts have ] speculated that it relies on a liquid-fueled engine originally developed by the Isayev Design Bureau for the Soviet R-27 submarine-launched ballistic missile … The ramifications of such a connection would be significant, not only because it would signify ongoing close Iranian-North Korean missile cooperation, but also because such an engine would be a foundation for Iran to develop a viable intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM).”
The website went on to say very forcefully that the reports of such collaboration are unconfirmed.
Fox News came out with a report in July of last year saying Iran did indeed test a BM-25 missile, built with an R-27 engine designed by Kim Jong-un’s scientists.
We have historical evidence of North Korea proliferating weapons technology to other rogue states which are enemies of the United States. The question I have is, did the Obama administration have evidence of technology transfers from Pyongyang to Tehran? And did they proceed with the Iranian “deal” anyway?
User avatar
By Rolan
#2969
Hopefully this is just power play from Iran since they have the election coming up. I would much rather prefer we do not enter into a nuclear destruction in the coming months. Iran playing on Trump's ego is a dangerous game, the man in already unpredictable as is.
By Noobly
#2970
The Trump administration’s strong response to Tehran’s missile test and other provocations related to the nuclear deal over the past week is finally sending the right deterrent message to Iran, two Israeli experts on Iran told The Jerusalem Post.

“The Trump administration responded that this [Iran’s actions] is unacceptable. We will respond. US National Security Adviser Michael Flynn put Iran on notice and then there were sanctions. This is exactly what the US should have been doing from Iran’s first provocation,” Emily Landau, INSS head of the Arms Control and Regional Security Program said on Sunday.

It is important for the Trump administration to establish with Iran that “we are not going to play the same game that the Obama administration was. We see what you are doing. We don’t accept it and we will respond. This is important for US deterrence,” she continued.

Last week’s missile test by Iran, she noted, was of a medium-range ballistic missile with an estimated range of 3,000 to 4,000 kilometers that could reach Western Europe carrying a nuclear payload.

Providing background to the current state of play, Landau emphasized: “It is important to understand that this is a continuation of a dynamic that began almost immediately after the deal was secured back in July 2015. Since then, Iran has been testing the will of the US, the P5+1 and the international community to respond to... its provocations.”

She recounted how, in October 2015, Iran tested a precision-guided missile that could carry a nuclear warhead, violating UN Security Council Resolution 1929, which imposed further sanctions and was in effect at the time. She added that Iran carried out additional missile tests, stepped up its military presence in Syria and tries to provide “game-changing weapons” to Hezbollah.

Analyzing the benefits of a strong response, she said: “There is a certain equation between the US and Iran. If Iran provokes and the US does not react, Iran’s deterrent power goes up because it learns it can do these provocations with no consequences. US power goes down because it is so afraid that it will let any provocation go by, even acting as Iran’s advocate so that there is no problem with anything Iran does.”

Landau expressed concern that because Trump is “so controversial in the US public debate, people will be strongly against Trump for whatever the reason... will not be able to differentiate between policies that are criticized in a justified manner and policies that are the correct ones – in this particular case of Iran, it’s the right policy.”

Ya’acov Amidror, former national security adviser and currently a senior fellow at the Begin-Sadat Center for Strategic Studies, voiced messages similar to Landau, but specifically emphasized that Trump’s approach was aimed at helping understand US interests, not specifically those of Israel.

The main takeaway, he said, was that “this government is not afraid Iran will walk away from the deal, so it has more freedom... this advantage allows it to put pressure on Iran” and to respond to Iranian provocations.

Criticizing the Obama administration, Amidror said it would not condemn any Iranian provocations as “serious because it was afraid Iran would use that to end the agreement.”

In contrast, the current government “thinks the deal is bad for the US... thinks it must contain Iran... would be happy if Iran violated the agreement... does not worry about the outcome if the agreement ended and it had lots of freedom... and would be happy” if it could blame Tehran for ending the deal.

Questioned about whether he was more satisfied by Trump’s actions from an Israeli perspective, he shot back: “It has nothing to do with being satisfied. It is not connected to Israel. It is connected to an American understanding that these things are not good for the US, including Iranian actions in the Middle East.”

Pressed that some have said the US must not suffice with words but must send an aircraft carrier and other concrete signs of military power to the region as an implied threat, he said sarcastically that he appreciates all those who tell the US government what it should do: “There is a full Pentagon for that – everyone thinks they are an expert.”

Likewise, Landau said Trump had responded not merely with words, but with new sanctions as well. Regarding mixed reports about whether an aircraft carrier would be sent to the region, he said it was best to wait and see because the situation is “mid-episode.”

US reviews of Trump’s Iran response in the US have been mixed with a small group of Republicans calling for even tougher reactions; a wide group of Republicans and Democrats sending similar messages while supporting maintaining the deal; and a small group of Democrats warning Trump not to ruin the deal by antagonizing Iran.

Source: http://www.jpost.com/Middle-East/Iran-N ... ran-480668
User avatar
By Rolan
#2971
Seems Russia does not agree with Trump on this one.

The Kremlin on Monday disagreed with President Donald Trump’s description of Iran as “the No. 1 terrorist state.”

“Russia has friendly partner-like relations with Iran,” Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov told reporters on a conference call Monday, according to Reuters. “We cooperate on a wide range of issues, value our trade ties, and hope to develop them further.

Russia’s stance is at odds with Trump, who blasted the Obama administration’s nuclear deal with Iran in an interview with Fox News host Bill O’Reilly broadcast Sunday during pre-game Super Bowl coverage. He wouldn’t say, however, whether he would back out of the deal.

“I mean, we’re going to see what happens. I can say this: They have total disregard for our country,” Trump said. “They are the No. 1 terrorist state. They’re sending money all over the place — and weapons. And — can’t do that.”

Trump on Sunday also seemed to defend the notion that Russian President Vladimir Putin is “a killer,” telling O’Reilly that America has “a lot of killers” and asking, “You think our country’s so innocent?”

Trump has signaled a willingness to thaw relations with Russia and work with the Kremlin to defeat the Islamic State. He said he respects Russia’s authoritarian leader but maintained that he has “no idea” whether the two will get along.

Trump and Putin spoke for an hour by phone late last month, according to a readout from the White House. Topics included destroying the Islamic State, working to achieve peace in Syria and repairing the relationship between both nations.

“It’s no secret for anyone that Moscow and Washington hold diametrically opposed views on many international issues,” Peskov said. “That should not be an obstacle when it comes to forging normal communication and pragmatic mutually-beneficial relations between Russia and the United States.”

Source: http://www.politico.com/story/2017/02/k ... ump-234677
User avatar
By Rolan
#2972
The supreme leader might get a dose of democracy soon.

---------

Iran's supreme leader said Tuesday that "newcomer" President Donald Trump had shown the "real face" of the United States, after the American leader accused Iran of being ungrateful for sanctions relief approved by the Obama administration and vowed a tougher stance.

Last week, after Iran tested a ballistic missile, Trump tweeted that the country was "playing with fire," saying they "don't appreciate how 'kind' President (Barack) Obama was to them. Not me!"

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who makes the final decisions on all major policies in Iran, appeared to respond to the tweet in a remarks carried by State TV. "Why should we be thankful to the previous U.S. administration?" he said. "Because it imposed anti-Iranian sanctions? Because of the extremist Islamic State group? Setting the region on fire in Iraq and Syria?"

He went on to mock Trump, saying: "We are thankful to Mr. Newcomer, of course, since he has shown the real face of the U.S. and proved what Iran has said for 38 years about the political, economic, social and moral corruption of the U.S. government."

He added that the Iranian people "are not afraid of any threat."

Trump has repeatedly criticized the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran, the U.S. and five other world powers, in which Tehran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions, but he has not said what he plans to do about it.

His administration said Iran was "on notice" over the missile test, and imposed new sanctions on more than two dozen Iranian companies and individuals.

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who has worked to improve relations with the West, said earlier Tuesday that the nuclear agreement could serve as a blueprint for resolving other Middle East disputes.

As an example, he pointed to Russian-led negotiations in Kazakhstan aimed at firming up a shaky Syrian cease-fire and paving the way for the revival of peace talks to end that country's nearly six-year civil war. Iran and Russia are close allies of Syrian President Bashar Assad, while the U.S. and other Western countries support the rebels fighting to topple him.
User avatar
By Rolan
#2973
The United States is adding new sanctions on Iran over that country’s alleged misdeeds, and nearly all of those allegations are either out-and-out lies or half-truths. It has a familiar ring to it, as demonizing Tehran has been rather more the norm than not since 1979, a phenomenon that has included fabricated claims that the Iranians killed American soldiers after the U.S.’s armed interventions in Afghanistan and Iraq. This time around, the administration focused on the perfectly legal Iranian test of a non-nuclear-capable, medium-range ballistic missile and the reported attack on what was initially claimed to be a U.S. warship by allegedly Iranian-backed Yemeni Houthi fighters. The ship was later revealed to be a Saudi frigate.

Donald Trump’s national-security adviser, Michael T. Flynn, “officially” put Iran “on notice” while declaring that “The Trump Administration will no longer tolerate Iran’s provocations that threaten our interests. The days of turning a blind eye to Iran’s hostile and belligerent actions toward the United States and the world community are over.”

Ignoring the fact that Iran cannot actually threaten the United States or any genuine vital national interests, the warning and follow-up action from the White House also contradict Donald Trump’s campaign pledge to avoid yet another war in the Middle East, which appears to have escaped Flynn’s notice. The increase in tension and the lack of any diplomatic dialogue mean that an actual shooting war might now be a “false flag,” false intelligence report, or accidental naval encounter away.

If it all sounds like a reprise of the baseless allegations and intentionally unproductive negotiations that led to the catastrophic Iraq War, it should. What “belligerent actions against the United States” Flynn was referring to, generally speaking, were not completely clear, but that lack of precision may have been intentional, to permit instant vilification of anything Tehran attempts to do to counter the hostility coming out of Washington.

Hating Iran has a considerable pedigree. I must confess to being of a generation in the federal government, like Flynn and others, where saying something derogatory about Iran was in the DNA, welcomed by all and sundry. I nursed a personal and specific grudge relating to the mullahs, as an Iranian government agent tried to kill me in Turkey in the 1980s. But more often the animosity was generic, sometimes expressed humorously at CIA Station staff meetings. I recall how one fellow officer who was undercover at a consular office would positively gloat as he described how many Iranian visa applicants he had turned down in the past week and everyone would bang their fists on the conference table, signifying their approval. Of course, we all felt fully justified in our Iranophobia due to the 1979-80 embassy hostage crisis, which was still very fresh in our minds.

But my rancor toward Iran has long since faded. I have Iranian friends and have come around to the view that Iran has much more been sinned against than sinned in its relationship with the United States. With the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in July 2015, I even began to believe that the two nations might well be able to resume something like normal diplomatic relations, which would benefit everyone involved. Alas, such hopes appear to be scuppered by a recent wave of Iran hysteria that bids fair to eclipse the Russian panic that has consumed the media and chattering class during the past six months.

I should have seen it coming. In December 2015, I was present at a conference in Moscow where General Flynn explained his concept of 21st-century geo-economic-political strategy. At least I think that was what he was talking about, though one can understand the frustration of the interviewer, Sophie Shevdernadze, as she tried to get him to explain what he meant during a largely incoherent presentation.

At the time I knew little about Flynn and his views, but I was particularly taken aback by a random shot he took at the Iranians, stating very clearly that they were responsible for “fueling four proxy wars in the Middle East.” He was presumably referring to Iraq, Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen. The audience, which included a number of international journalists and genuine foreign-policy experts, became somewhat restless and began to mutter. I was standing in the back of the room and witnessed Flynn’s son, Michael G. Flynn, responding to the expressions of disbelief, waving his arms around and shouting “Right! Right! Check the intel!”

Two minutes later, the elder Flynn returned to the theme, mentioning the “terrible nuclear deal with Iran.” Now, I am accustomed to hearing nasty things about Iran, but they usually come from Israeli partisans who persist in falsely describing the Iranians as a global threat. It is in their interest to do so, and many pliable American politicians and media talking heads have picked up the refrain, so much so that a U.S. attack on Iran would likely be endorsed overwhelmingly by Congress and applauded in the media.

But I believed that Flynn was not particularly in with that group, consisting largely of neoconservatives, and his disdain for Iran seemed to be at least somewhat sincere in that it appeared to be rooted in his own experience as head of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA). But I was wrong and should have paid more attention to the people Flynn was talking to.

Sources of Flynn’s Worldview

A long-time foe of Iran, Michael Ledeen believed that invading the country should have been the first priority in 2003 rather than Iraq. He believes that “everything traces back to Tehran” and that Iran manipulates both sides of the Shi’ite-Sunni conflict, leading reviewer Peter Beinart to note that his “effort to lay virtually every attack by Muslims against Americans at Tehran’s feet takes him into rather bizarre territory.”

Even as Flynn was speaking in Moscow he was collaborating with Ledeen on a book called The Field of Fight: How We Can Win the Global War Against Radical Islam and Its Allies, which appeared in July 2016. The book has two basic premises. First, the entire “civilized world” is engaged in a life-and-death struggle with a perverted form of Islam that has produced the phenomenon referred to as “radical Islamic terrorism,” a phrase that may have been embraced by the Trump administration largely thanks to Flynn. Flynn insists on the tag including the Islamic part because of his belief that the Muslim religion is itself intrinsic to the very nature of the conflict. In fact, he prefers to call Islam a political ideology rather than a religion and even describes it as a political ideology that has “metastasized” into “malignant cancer.” He once tweeted that “Fear of Muslims is RATIONAL,” linking to a false claim that Islam wants 80 percent of humanity enslaved or exterminated.

Second, Ledeen’s book views Iran as both the source and lynchpin of the massive disorder prevailing in the Middle East, with tentacles reaching throughout the region and beyond. It is itself a radical Islamic regime that uses terror as a weapon, a state sponsor of terrorism according to the State Department, and it also is an ally of movements like ISIS and the various al-Qaeda affiliates that it only pretends to be fighting. Flynn and Ledeen also assert that Iran is intent on developing a nuclear weapon and has a secret program to do so in spite of the 2015 agreement. It would use such a weapon to threaten Israel and other U.S. interests in the Middle East and beyond, and is simultaneously developing ballistic missiles that could be used to deliver the weapons on target.

In addition to Ledeen, Flynn’s conspiratorial mindset goes back further, to his days with DIA, where he was well known for what his staff referred to as “Flynn facts,” things he would say that were demonstrably untrue. He once insisted that three-quarters of all new cell phones were bought by Africans and maintained that Iran has killed more Americans than al-Qaeda. Few dared to disagree. When he took over DIA, Flynn said to his senior staff that everyone needed to know was that he was always right. His subordinates would only be right when their views became the same as his.

DIA Director Flynn considered the Benghazi attack in September 2012 to be an incident in the global war against Islam. His initial reaction was to “prove” Iranian involvement, and he pressured his analysts to come up with the evidence, including shouting at them when they couldn’t support his conclusions. He told the analysts that Benghazi was a “black swan” event that needed more creative analysis to unravel.

Later, in testimony before the House of Representatives in June 2015, Flynn stated that

Iran represents a clear and present danger to the region, and eventually to the world. Iran’s stated desire to destroy Israel is very real. Iran has not once contributed to the greater good of the security of the region. Nor has Iran contributed to the protection of security for the people of the region. Instead, and for decades, they have contributed to the severe insecurity and instability of the region, especially the sub-region of the Levant surrounding Israel. … It is clear that the nuclear deal is not a permanent fix but merely a placeholder.

Flynn was eventually fired from DIA over his hardline views, in part because of his demonization of Iran and Islam. It would be easy to suggest that Flynn has only a tenuous grasp on what is really going on in the Middle East. Consider his assertion that Shi’ite Iran is in league with groups like al-Qaeda—which consider Shi’a to be a heresy and are willing to kill its followers on that basis alone. But the situation is actually much more dangerous than the usual Washington groupthink: Flynn and Ledeen have constructed a narrative in which the world is at war with a great evil and Iran is the central player on the enemy side. It is a viewpoint that is, unfortunately, shared at least in part by the new secretaries of defense and state and endorsed by many in Congress. This has consequently developed into a new sensibility about U.S. national security that is apparently driving the Trump administration’s responses to Iranian behavior.

The Danger of Escalation

Iran certainly exhibits assertive behavior regionally. But much of its maneuvering is defensive in nature; it is surrounded by a sea of enemies, most of whom are better armed and funded than it is. The nuclear agreement with Iran has considerably delayed any possible development of a nuclear weapon and is in everyone’s interest. It is not plausibly a delaying tactic to acquire a weapon somewhere down the road, as Flynn and Ledeen would have us believe.

Iran will be a very tough nut to crack if Flynn has his way and the Trump White House employs military force. Iran is roughly the same size as Alaska and has three times the population of Iraq, and the Iranian people have a strong national identity. They would fight hard, and using their sophisticated Russian-provided air defenses and Chinese missiles they could inflict major damage on U.S. air and naval units in the Persian Gulf region. They would also be able to unleash limited but nevertheless lethal terrorist resources. It would not be a “cakewalk,” and even if there were a military victory of some sorts, the world would be left with yet another power vacuum in the heart of Asia.

I believe that Flynn is a dangerous man, possibly even mentally unhinged on some issues. He thinks that the United States has the preemptive right to tell countries in the Middle East what is acceptable and what is not and is willing to exercise various repressive measures to compel good behavior. Iran, as a designated “problem state,” is consequently not allowed to act in support of its own national-security interests. Flynn justifies his hostility by claiming that Iran is the world’s leading sponsor of terrorism and instability, which is a self-serving lie. Absent diplomacy to resolve differences, the only interaction with Tehran from Washington has become the threat of economic sanctions backed up by military force. As Iran responds in kind this will become an escalatory cycle with no easy way out.

A better policy would allow Iran to diversify naturally without a constant stream of provocations that only serve to embolden hardliners. Iran’s young people, the majority of the population, are very pro-Western and even pro-American in their cultural affinities and sentiments. The Iranian population is closely tied to a large Iranian diaspora, with an estimated 1.5 million Iranians living in the U.S. alone. Threats of military action will strengthen the grip of the government in Tehran, producing hard responses and piling threat upon threat that will ultimately lead nowhere. Hopefully some adults in the White House cabinet room will at some to point tell Michael Flynn that it is time to sit down and listen to the facts.

Philip Giraldi, a former CIA officer, is executive director of the Council for the National Interest.
User avatar
By Rolan
#2975
TEL AVIV – A senior Iranian official goaded President Donald Trump on Sunday, insisting the U.S. would suffer an “unprecedented defeat” at the hands of an “iron dam” like Iran.
Ali Akbar Velayati, head of the Expediency Council’s Strategic Research Center, told the semi-official Tasnim news agency that a “calculating newcomer” like Trump wouldn’t dare confront Iran, which is far more powerful than other countries the U.S. has come up against.

Velayati was responding to Trump’s veiled warning on Friday to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in which he said Rouhani “better be careful” about threatening the U.S.

“We are by no means worried about Trump’s comments,” Velayati said, adding that despite Trump’s public rhetoric, the president is a calculating politician. Furthermore, the Iranian official told Tasnim, the opposition Trump faces at home among the media, judiciary and influential politicians will prevent him from doing what he wants with Iran.

Velayati, who also served as Iran’s foreign minister, said the Islamic Republic was not seeking war against any country, but would not waste a moment defending itself if necessary.

His comments come after Rouhani addressed the Iranian people on Friday in an event to commemorate the 38th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution.

“We are experiencing conditions in which some novices have come to power in the region, in the world and in the U.S. as they should all know that they have to talk to the Iranian nation with the language of respect and dignity,” Rouhani said.

The following day, head of Iran’s Strategic Council on Foreign Relations Kamal Kharrazi described the new president as “a rookie person and a newcomer on the political scene [who] has made many mistakes.”

The commemoration of the revolution was marked with hundreds of thousands of people taking to the streets and celebrating by burning effigies of Trump and chanting “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel.”

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