• 2020-07-23

    Beginning in June 2020, Iran experienced a notable string of explosions, fires and industrial accidents. The damaged sites included Iran’s nuclear facility in Natanz, a missile plant in Khojir, the power grid in Shiraz and a chemical plant in Mahshahr. The most destructive incident was an explosion at the main uranium enrichment site in Natanz, which set back Iran’s nuclear program by months. On June 26, a similar incident ripped through Iran’s largest missile production plant near Tehran. Residents living in the capital city saw a bright orange glow lighting up the skyline.

  • 2020-07-23

    United Against Nuclear Iran is a nonprofit organization dedicated to preventing Iran from fulfilling its nuclear weapons ambitions. It began more than a decade ago toward the end of the George W. Bush administration and is among the few groups today that has continued through both Obama and Trump administrations, having retained its bipartisanship and managed to offer steady and serious assessment. Alas, recent decisions by various UANI board members in their personal capacities threaten to undermine UANI’s reputation, if not reverse the good work that UANI has done. At issue is the Mujahedin-e Khalq, an Iranian opposition group that emerged as an outgrowth from the merging of Islamist and Marxist intellectual strains in the decade prior to the 1979 Islamic Revolution in Iran. […] Last week, the group held its annual summit. While virtual, it continued to bring together foreign officials, most of who, while serving in government, knew better. Mujahedin-e Khalq press highlighted comments by former senator and current UANI co-chairman Joe Lieberman. Other UANI board members who frequently appear at Mujahedin-e Khalq rallies include former national security adviser John Bolton, former Bush-era counterterrorism official Francis Townsend, and Clinton-era U.N. Ambassador Bill Richardson. Last September, UANI founder and co-chairman Mark Wallace also appeared with the Mujahedin-e Khalq. 

  • 2020-07-23

    After a successful operation by five Iranian tankers to export fuel to Venezuela, four other Iranian tankers are now said to be on their way, reaching their destination in the coming months. However, unlike last time when the U.S. administration failed to intimidate Iran, it is now determined to prevent this second delivery. To this end, the U.S. Department of Justice has announced an order by a federal judge to confiscate the shipments of the four Iranian tankers en route to Venezuela. The order was issued following a request by U.S. prosecutors under the pretext that Iran spends the income from fuel exports to Venezuela on war activities, proliferation of WMDs, military equipment and weapons supporting terrorism, and human rights abuses. 

  • 2020-07-23

    There was a dangerous incident on Thursday over Syria involving two U.S. jets and an Iranian passenger plane bound for Beirut: An Iranian passenger plane en route from Iran to Beirut swerved and dropped abruptly to avoid two fighter jets, injuring several passengers before landing in Beirut, Iranian and Lebanese television stations reported on Thursday evening. […] Centcom confirmed that U.S. jets were involved, and claimed that they were conducting a routine patrol in connection with the al-Tanf base in southeastern Syria. This latest incident is another reminder that the U.S. military presence in Syria is unauthorized and illegal. U.S. jets have no business operating in Syrian airspace, and U.S. troops have no business being on Syrian territory. The jets were operating illegally to safeguard an illegal base, and in the process they nearly caused a terrible accident. U.S. jets shouldn’t be interfering with civilian flights over Syria. They shouldn’t be there at all. Just imagine how the U.S. would respond if the positions were reversed and a U.S. passenger plane were harassed in a similar fashion by fighters from a hostile government in another country’s airspace. This incident is bound to increase tensions between Iran and the U.S., which were already quite high following the acts of war that been carried out inside Iran in recent weeks. 

  • 2020-07-22

    As Iran is riled by a series of incidents, of which some bear all the hallmarks of a novel, and audacious, sabotage campaign, traditional forms of pressure on the country persist. Among those are attempts to promote ethnic strife in a society where various minority groups account for almost half of the population. 

  • 2020-07-19

    A frequent guest of the MEK, Giuliani spoke at Friday’s conference, calling for regime change and railing against the mullahs. […] Senator Martha McSally (R-AZ) and Rep. Lance Gooden (R-TX) also spoke at the conference, the only sitting members of Congress to attend. “Thank you to Madame Rajavi on everything she’s done. I want to encourage young people to continue your fight, your resistance … the people of the United States are with you,” Gooden said. Other speakers from the US included former Connecticut Senator Joe Lieberman, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich, former New Jersey Senator Robert Toricelli, and others. The MEK pays well for these short speeches. President Trump’s Secretary of Transportation Elaine Chao collected $50,000 from the MEK for a five-minute speech in 2015. Although he was missing from this conference, former National Security Advisor John Bolton is a MEK favorite and has delivered many speeches to the group. Records show the MEK has paid Bolton at least $180,000 for speeches over the years.

  • 2020-07-17

    A series of explosions, fires, and other calamities at military, commercial, and, arguably, dual-use facilities throughout Iran in recent weeks have left little doubt that outside forces are engaged in a sustained and coordinated series of low-intensity attacks designed to weaken, and possibly provoke, Iran. The most likely culprits are Israel and the United States, and many analysts have speculated about a possible coordinated initiative against Iran, although that has not been confirmed. While Gulf Arab countries may find a degree of satisfaction at an adversary’s setbacks, this reaction must be combined with anxiety about the real potential they could get caught in the crossfire should Iran feel the need to retaliate. 

  • 2020-07-16

    „The partnership, detailed in an 18-page proposed agreement obtained by The New York Times, would vastly expand Chinese presence in banking, telecommunications, ports, railways and dozens of other projects. In exchange, China would receive a regular — and, according to an Iranian official and an oil trader, heavily discounted — supply of Iranian oil over the next 25 years. The document also describes deepening military cooperation, potentially giving China a foothold in a region that has been a strategic preoccupation of the United States for decades. It calls for joint training and exercises, joint research and weapons development and intelligence sharing — all to fight “the lopsided battle with terrorism, drug and human trafficking and cross-border crimes.” 

  • 2020-07-16

    There was a news story yesterday about an arrangement between China and Iran that was at least being contemplated. I think that’s very telling about what will happen on October 19th when the current embargo for Iran that prevents Iran from both purchasing most weapon systems and being – and acting as an arms dealer. It would be tragic. This was one of the central failings of the JCPOA, just that that was but a roughly five-year hiatus in Iran being the world’s largest state sponsor of terror and one of its larger sellers of arms to bad actors around the world. We will work with the UN Security Council to ensure that the arms embargo is extended, and I’m confident that we’ll get that outcome. I believe we have all the tools that we need. I hope we can solve it diplomatically. I hope we can convince the P5 that it’s the right thing to do to extend this arms embargo, to make it an indefinite arms embargo until the Islamic Republic of Iran changes its ways, but in the event we can’t convince them, I’m confident that we have a legal basis and a path forward so that we can, as President Obama reminded us, unilaterally reimpose all of those sanctions. We don’t need approval of anyone. I can find you 15 quotes from Secretary Kerry, from Wendy Sherman, from Barack Obama that reminded the American people that the United States had the unilateral right to reimpose all of those sanctions if we were unhappy with the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran. I can assure you this administration is not pleased by Iran’s behavior and we’re going to ensure that this arms embargo doesn’t expire in October.

  • 2020-07-15

    Over the last few weeks, Iran has been hit by a series of unusual explosions at such sensitive facilities as its nuclear enrichment complex, factories and gas pipelines. Many analysts and diplomats suspect sabotage by Israel, the United States or some other outside force. While reliable information from within Iran is difficult to come by, and conflicting accounts are emerging, at least two of the incidents occurred at sites linked to Iran’s missile and nuclear programs. The New York Times quoted a “Middle Eastern intelligence official” claiming that Israel planted a bomb at the Natanz nuclear facility in the building where Iran had resumed work on advanced centrifuges. The Times of Israel reported that the “official” may be Mossad head Yossi Cohen.

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