• 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.

  • 2020-07-16

    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.

  • 2020-07-16

    „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.” 

  • 2020-07-15

    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.

  • 2020-07-15

    Iranian officials say that some of the explosions at factories and military facilities, and some forest fires, may have been sabotage but blamed weather and accidents for the others. [...] A large fire broke out at a shipyard in the southern Iranian port city of Bushehr on Wednesday, burning seven ships and sending plumes of black smoke billowing above the city skyline, according to videos and Iranian media reports. The fire followed dozens of recent fires and explosions across Iran’s forests, factories and military and nuclear facilities in the past three months that have rattled ordinary Iranians. Iranian officials have said that some of the episodes may have been acts of sabotage but blamed weather, accidents and equipment malfunctions for the others. 

  • 2020-07-11

    Iran and Syria have signed different military and defense cooperation over the past years. The Islamic Republic commenced providing Syria with advisory military assistance after numerous countries, at the head of them the U.S. and its Western and regional allies, began funding and arming militants and terrorists with the aim of deposing the Syrian president’s government. Although the Syrian government initially lost considerable expanses of territory to ISIS and other terror outfits, the country rallied to retake the lost grounds and drive out terrorists from much of the country.

  • 2020-07-10

    As Iran’s center for advanced nuclear centrifuges lies in charred ruins after an explosion, apparently engineered by Israel, the long-simmering conflict between the United States and Tehran appears to be escalating into a potentially dangerous phase likely to play out during the American presidential election campaign.

  • 2020-07-10

    It is unlikely that Iran would seek to respond to any destructive cyberattack in a disproportionate manner – don’t expect missiles to fly against either Israel or US bases in the region. Instead, Iran will probably deploy its own very capable offensive cyberweapons in targeted retaliation, either against facilities in Israel and/or the US, or against regional targets affiliated with either of those countries. Cyber warfare is a new phenomenon, one which can inflict significant collateral damage on civilian infrastructure both in the targeted nation, as well as third parties not directly involved in the conflict at hand. If Israel and/or the US were, in fact, to have conducted a destructive cyberattack on Iran, there will almost certainly be retaliation. Where this cycle of cyber warfare will end, however, is unknown. Given the complex realities of cyber warfare, where computer viruses are released in a manner conducive to causing a global cyber pandemic, the question must be asked if the outcome achieved at Natanz and Hemmat was worth the potential risk accrued. If history is any lesson, the answer is – and will be – a resounding ‘No.’

  • 2020-07-07

    Several days after the massive July 2 explosion that destroyed the upper level of Iran’s centrifuge upgrading and uranium enrichment plant in Natanz, reports emerged in Israel that Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu had asked Mossad Director Yossi Cohen to stay on an additional year once his five-year term expires at the end of the year. However, "the head,” as the spy agency director is known, only agreed to a six-month extension. Shortly after, in the pre-dawn hours of July 3, Israel launched its Ofek 16 spy satellite carried on a Shavit rocket from its Palmachim military base. The satellite significantly enhances Israel’s ability to track events around the world, in particular Iran. 

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