The dark nature of a new deal between Iran and China

The threat posed by China is very real, especially seen in a military and economic deal with Iran.

-$400 billion pledged by China

-Sino-Russian bombers, fighter jets & etc. to have unrestricted access to Iran’s air bases

-China gets privilege, discounts on all of Iran’s oil/gas/petrochemical

January 2016 — China’s Xi meets with Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, after Obama’s nuclear deal came into effect.

March 2019 — Xi sends letters to Khamenei, emphasizing on “maintaining & strengthening ties with Iran”

August 2019 — Draft 25-year Iran-China deal presented to Khamenei

Sep 2019 — Mohammad Bagheri, Iran’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff, traveled to China. This sheds light into the role of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) in this 25-year deal.

Reminder: The IRGC is designated as a Foreign Terrorist Organization by the U.S.

 

Nov 2019 — Fars news agency

“Bagheri: The relationship between Iran and China is strategic/Drafting a 25-year cooperation document between the two countries”

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Deal “will involve complete aerial/naval military co-op between Iran & China, with Russia also taking a key role.” If an August meeting goes as planned, “as of November 9, Sino-Russian bombers, fighters, and transport planes will have unrestricted access to Iran’s air bases.”

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Bombers to be China versions of the Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3s, with a range of 6,800 km (2,410 km with a typical weapons load).

Fighters will be the all-weather supersonic medium-range fighter bomber/strike Sukhoi Su-34, plus the newer single-seat stealth attack Sukhoi-57.

It is apposite to note that in August 2016, Russia used the Hamedan airbase to launch attacks on targets in Syria using both Tupolev-22M3 long-range bombers and Sukhoi-34 strike fighters.

Chinese and Russian military vessels will be able to use newly-created dual-use facilities at Iran’s key ports at Chabahar, Bandar-e-Bushehr, and Bandar Abbas, constructed by Chinese companies.

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Deployments to include Chinese/Russian electronic warfare (EW) capabilities, encompassing key EW areas — electronic support (including early warning of enemy weapons use) plus electronic attack (including jamming systems) plus electronic protection (including of enemy jamming).

Part of the new roll-out of software and hardware from China and Russia in Iran, according to the Iran sources, would be the Russian S-400 anti-missile air defence system: “To counter U.S. and/or Israeli attacks.”

The Krasukha-2 and -4 systems are also likely to feature in the overall EW architecture, as they proved their effectiveness in Syria in countering the radars of attack, reconnaissance and unmanned aircraft.

Part of the new military co-operation includes an exchange of personnel between Iran and China and Russia, with up to 110 senior Iranian IRGC men going for training every year in Beijing and Moscow and 110 Chinese and Russians going to Tehran for their training.

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“…Chinese companies will be given the first refusal to bid on any new, stalled or uncompleted oil/gasfield developments. Chinese firms will also have first refusal on opportunities to become involved with any & all petchems projects in Iran,” according to a report back in September 2019.

“This will include up to 5,000 Chinese security personnel on the ground in Iran to protect Chinese projects, and there will be additional personnel and material available to protect the eventual transit of oil, gas and petchems supply from Iran to China…”

“China will also be able to buy any and all oil, gas, and petchems products at a minimum guaranteed discount of 12% to the six-month rolling mean price of comparable benchmark products, plus another 6–8% of that metric for risk-adjusted compensation.”

One of Iran’s goals in this 25-year deal with China is to sell 8.4 million barrels of oil per day, according to Ali Agha-Mohammadi, head of the Economic Group in Khamenei’s office.

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“China will be granted the right to delay payment for Iranian production up to two years. China will also be able to pay in soft currencies that it has accrued from doing business in Africa and the Former Soviet Union (FSU) states,” according to petroleum-economist.com.

“… in addition to using renminbi should the need arise — meaning that no US dollars will be involved in these commodity transaction payments from China to Iran.”

“Given the exchange rates involved in converting these soft currencies into hard currencies that Iran can obtain from its friendly Western banks — including Europäisch-Iranische Handelsbank [in Germany], Oberbank [in Austria] and Halkbank [in Turkey] — China is looking at another 8–12pc discount [relative to the dollar price of the average benchmarks], which means a total discount of up to 32pc for China on all oil, gas and petchems purchases,” the source says.

September 2010 — US Treasury sanctions Europäisch­-Iranische Handelsbank

June 2018 — Oberbank will withdraw from Iran because of increased risk for European companies in light of potential U.S. sanctions

October 2019 — US prosecutors accuse Halkbank of scheme to evade Iran sanctions

Tabriz, home to a number of key oil, gas and petchems sites, and the starting point for the Tabriz-Ankara gas pipeline, will be a pivot point of the 2,300km New Silk Road that links Urumqi (the capital of China’s western Xinjiang Province) to Tehran, connecting Kazakhstan, Kyrgyzstan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan along the way, and then via Turkey into Europe, says the Iranian source.

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Iran’s benefits

-Veto power from China & Russia in the UN Security Council

-China to increase investment in Iran’s oil/gas industry, especially Phase 11 of the giant South Pars gas field & West Karoun oil fields

  • China has agreed to increase imports of Iranian oil

There is talk of Iran providing even further privileges to China, including the “Reuter concession.”

The Reuter concession was a contract signed in 1872 between Baron Julius de Reuter (born Israel Beer Josaphat), a British banker and businessman, and Nasir al-Din Shah, Qajar king of Persia. The concession gave him control over Persian roads, telegraphs, mills, factories, extraction of resources, and other public works in exchange for a stipulated sum for 5 years and 60% of all the net revenue for 20 years. The concession was so immense that even imperialists like Lord Curzon characterized it as the most complete grant ever made of control of resources by any country to a foreigner.

Terms similar to D’Arcy Concession, a petroleum oil concession that was signed in 1901 between William Knox D’Arcy & Mozzafar al-Din, Shah of Iran.

The oil concession gave D’Arcy the exclusive rights to prospect for oil in Persia (now Iran).

China is also seeking to “develop banking, financial and insurance cooperation” with Iran’s regime. And it is quite obvious how the mullahs will use the money.

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Iran is also seeking China’s participation in its technology & communications industry, including search engines, email, social messengers, GPS, servers, database, mobile phones, tablets and laptops.

History:

Last year the regime gave away Iran’s historical share of the Caspian Sea to Russia to attract Putin’s support on the global stage.

Apparently, that wasn’t enough & Moscow is cashing in on this new deal between Iran & China.

Iran’s regime went to concede the commercial Chabahar port to India, to attract economic agreements in hope of circumventing U.S. sanctions.

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By allowing China to use trawling ships in Iran’s southern waters, the mullahs’ regime has literally forced thousands of local fishermen into poverty.

This thread sheds light on the appalling nature of China’s bottom-trawling techniques & how the mullahs’ regime is allowing Chinese ships destroy Iran’s precious marine life.

And while Iranians inside & abroad are furious over this deal between the regime & China, Jason Rezaian of The Washington Post uses his column in an attempt to score cheap political points against US President Donald Trump by running Tehran’s talking points.

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Final thoughts:

-The regime in Iran is desperate, but don’t expect to see mainstream media highlight that aspect.

-The regime is selling out all of Iran to foreign countries, further fueling domestic anger.

-Many things can happen before Tehran ever profits from this deal.

Airstrike or bombing: What happened at Iran’s Natanz nuclear site?

The July 2 explosion at the Natanz nuclear site in central Iran targeting an advance centrifuge assembly lab has everyone talking. There has been speculation and experts are weighing the possibility of an industrial incident, a cyber-attack, sabotage with explosives and even an airstrike.

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The possibility of an airstrike with manned aircraft, such as F-16s or F-35s, is next to none. Why? Other than the long range and refueling demands, the amount of damage caused is not worth the risk. Such an airstrike would only be allowed if it renders massive damage and a long-term strategic setback.

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Why? Because such an operation cannot be repeated and bears the risks of pilots being shot down and arrested. Therefore, taking such a risk would not be logical for striking just one building of a single nuclear site, as important as it may be.

If the United States and/or Israel decided to launch manned aircraft airstrikes targeting Iran’s nuclear program, they would deliver a wide-range blow aimed at forcing Iran to halt its ambitions in its entirety, and thus bend the knee before their demands. And rest assured Iran would feel the need to respond through conventional and non-conventional means.

While the Iranian regime is denying any airstrikes, the possibility of using drones for such a surgical attack is not unlikely. On August 25, 2014, Iran’s semi-official Tasnim news agency, affiliated to the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force, reported that the IRGC shot down an Israeli Elbit Hermes 450 spy drone near Natanz.

To save face regarding such a brazen infiltration into Iranian airspace, state media focused on beating their chests about the regime’s “air defense capabilities.” No one ever thought to answer why was Israel able to penetrate so far into Iran’s airspace? And if so, couldn’t that or a larger, more advanced drone launch missile(s) targeting sensitive sites deep inside Iran?

In contrast to the recent explosion at a military complex in Khojir, east of Tehran, a normal industrial incident in Natanz is also unlikely. Due to various reasons, including massive investing and constant advice provided by experts of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the Natanz site is most likely one of Iran’s most advanced industrial complexes when it comes to health, safety and environmental considerations.

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The destroyed building that exploded was used for the mechanic assembly of centrifuges, meaning there were no special explosive material inside. Furthermore, a night shift is unlikely in such a building. Images indicate a pressure wave (explosion) inside the building.

The possibility of sabotage through an unauthorized entrance into the site (special forces) is near to none. The possibility of people with access inside to secretly transfer explosives into the site is doubtable due to the security measures taken at the site that are stronger than airports these days. It appears that everyone is tested for explosives before entrance.

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Back in November 2019 Iran alleged that the U.N. inspector it blocked from entering a nuclear site tested positive for suspected traces of explosive nitrates, according to the Associated Press.

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Moreover, if this explosion was deliberate, considering its small proportions, it appears the attackers sought a specific objective and to inflict a psychological blow, as if such measures can be repeated in the future.

However, since preventing such a future attack through any form of sabotage would be quite easy with further inspections and security measures, the sought psychological impact cannot be realized through sabotage.

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The possibility of a cyberattack is even less than sabotage considering the abovementioned reasoning (lack of explosive material) and escalated security measures following the Stuxnet attack.

A recent New York Times piece citing an IRGC member and a Middle East intelligence official is quite suspicious due to its very timely nature and mysterious sources.

Keep in mind:

a. It is written by Farnaz Fassihi, who has a long report card of being described as an Iran apologist, praising both Zarif & Qasim Soliemani in previous NYT pieces.

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b. The possibility of an advanced air/cruise missile strike targeting Natanz would deliver a major and humiliating setback to the regime after all its propaganda about purchasing the S300 air defense system from Russia and claiming to have produced indigenous missile defense system “even more advanced than the S300”!

Another example of an Iran apologist rushing to Tehran’s rescue is Babak Taghvaee who in a July 6 Farsi article published in the Independent claims the attack on Natanz could be anything but an airstrike. Like Fassihi, Taghvaee says, “It appears a bombing inside this building rendered significant damage and a fire, not an air strike.”

Again, the concern is to divert any and all attention from the airstrike scenario, knowing how humiliating this would be for the regime in Iran. For those unfamiliar with Taghvaee, he has long been under heavy criticism from Iranians living abroad for justifying and whitewashing the regime’ crimes, such as his claims about technical errors leading to the IRGC shooting down the Ukrainian airliner PS752 back in early January.

And a lesser discussed aspect of Natanz is the material damage the mullahs’ regime has inflicted on the Iranian people with this 300-hectare complex in the past 18 years.
Reminder: Iran has spent at least $800 billion dollars in its pursuit of nuclear weapons.

Initial higher resolution satellite images of the centrifuge assembly building in Natanz show a major explosion. Some believe this raises the possibility of an “air projectile impact” scenario.

Yellow dot shows the possible point of impact and the arrow indicates the general direction of the projectile.

Before we examine the destruction caused in the Natanz site, let us evaluate similar situations seen in the aftermaths of airstrikes in Syria.

This 48m x 26m building was destroyed in Homs, central Syria. It’s around two thirds of the 45m x 75m building in Natanz. A portion of the Homs building remained intact after the strike.

This is another target near the Damascus Int’l Airport around half of the Natanz building. One fifth of this Damascus building remained intact after the strike. Pay close attention to how the building’s remnants and shrapnel are spread (seen in green arrows).

In this attack two flat-bed trucks next to the building were apparently the target of an airstrike. However, the attack inflicted damage to parts of the building.

Now let us return to Natanz:

The damage is Category B (50% to 75% of external brickwork destroyed, remaining walls have gaping cracks that are unrepairable) inflicted in the yellow circle area of 20m radius. This amount of damage needs around 200 to 300 kgs of TNT-equivalent explosives (with initial velocity).

Moreover, the building remnants spreading in east to west direction to a distance of more than 50m (light yellow lines) support the possibility of a foreign projectile impact from the general east direction.

A cruise missile with a medium-size warhead cannot create a crater as it explodes aboveground to inflict maximum damage on the target, not the ground.

Looking at these filtered images one realizes that a corner of the building is completely gone. There is a low number of small remnants and they are blown far away. A wall of about 5m height is completely gone. We don’t even see any columns.

Iranian officials should know by now what type of projectile was used (possibility a cruise missile). Air-launched weapons, be it cruise missiles or glide bombs (most likely not used in this attack), leave remnants that can be quickly analyzed at the site.

Reminder:

Iranian officials claim they are informed of the source of this attack but refrain from public announcements due to security considerations (most likely due to the psychological impact). Determining an airstrike is far easier than sabotage or cyber-attacks.

If “advanced equipment and precision measurement devices” have been damaged in this attack, it will set back Iran’s drive for nuclear weapons for many weeks and even months. Some are saying a year. Considering IAEA inspections, we may see more bits of intelligence leaking in the future.

Better images show a possible second point of impact on the asphalt road outside the Natanz building. Considering the destruction and shrapnel both inside and outside the building, two projectiles could have been used in this attack.

Remarks made by Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesperson of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, about the possibility of reconstructing the building at the same site, or another location “with air defense considerations” further the possibility of an airstrike in this attack.

“Air defense considerations” is the key to the Natanz riddle here. It is worth noting that building another site in another location other than Natanz is a violation of the 2015 nuclear deal that can result in a strong international backlash even from Russia and China.

And its quite interesting that Reuters, after four days, continues to deliberately provide false and face-saving reporting for Iran’s regime. Of course, one shouldn’t be surprised considering the piece was written by Parisa Hafezi, a known Iran apologist at Reuters.

Reminder:

-2007 doc, mentioning Parisa Hafezi, shows how the Reuters team needs approval from #Iran’s Intelligence Ministry to visit the city of Qom.

-All foreign media reports in Iran must abide by Intel Ministry guidelines.

-Shame on Reuters for falling to such lows.

When sabotage bombing doesn’t convince, Iran’s state media are even going the distance in claiming the strike targeting Natanz was a “deliberate attack” to thus claim “an airstrike is nearly impossible.”

Conclusion, you ask?

For me, this is looking more and more like a precision and surgical airstrike carried out by Israel with U.S. support and maybe even U.S. allies in the region. Remember that Iran first claimed the building was nothing but a shed and now we know it was probably the regime’s most advanced centrifuge assembly lab.

Now that more signs are indicating a foreign attack, Tehran needs to save face. In my opinion, that is why an Iran apologist such as Farnaz Fassihi published a New York Times piece claiming the explosion was caused by a sabotage bombing.

This video from July 5, four days after the attack, shows Iran moving air defense missile batteries to the Natanz nuclear site. If it was a sabotage bombing, why move such strategic units to Natanz?

Finally, as I explained earlier, Iran acknowledging a foreign airstrike targeting its most advanced nuclear site in the heart of the country would deliver a humiliating blow and weaken the regime at a time when domestic crises are already overflowing.

Anyhow, time will tell.

Signs of change in Iraq?

Iraqi security forces raided a central command compound of an Iran-backed proxy group in southern Baghdad late on Thursday, June 25, detaining more than a dozen members of the group, government officials and paramilitary sources told Reuters. Other reports are indicating 23 individuals were arrested.

Iraqi security sources are saying those arrested not only played major roles in attacks on the U.S. Embassy and sites where U.S. bases are stationed/housed, they were also involved in planning for future attacks of similar nature.

The move is being described as the most brazen measure by Iraqi forces against a militia group backed heavily by Tehran in years and specifically targeted the Kataib Hezbollah, which U.S. officials accuse of firing rockets at bases hosting U.S. troops and other facilities in Iraq.

Kataib Hezbollah is the strong and most organized militia group affiliated with Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) Quds Force in Iraq. Their former leader was Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, commander of Iraq’s Hashd al-Shaabi, or the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF), a paramilitary umbrella grouping heavily backed by and under the influence of Iran’s regime.

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Iraqi security forces arresting members of Iran-backed Kataib Hezbollah in southern Baghdad, Iraq – June 25, 2020

Reports indicate four Kataib Hezbollah senior commanders and 16 members, alongside at three one senior IRGC Quds Force were detained, according to an Iraqi official talking to the media on the condition of anonymity. There are also unconfirmed reports that all individuals detained in this raid have been transferred into the custody of U.S. forces. Iraqi security forces also confiscated a number of rocket launchers from the site, according to Reuters.

Spokesperson for the international coalition forces in Iraq, however, has denied any role in the raid targeting Kataib Hezbollah members in Baghdad’s Al-Doura district.

The Iraqi Joint Operations Command issued a statement saying the individuals were detained based on arrest warrants. Following the raid there were rumors on social media about the release of the detained Kataib Hezbollah and IRGC Quds Force members. None were confirmed and it appears pro-Iran users on various platforms had launched a desperate face-saving initiative considering the major embarrassment and realizing the consequences of the raid.

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Iraqi security forces conducting the Thursday night raid targeting the Kataib Hezbollah site in southern Baghdad, Iraq – June 25, 2020

Directly targeting Iran’s interests

The Iraqi military said the raid, carried out in the middle of the night by the U.S.-trained Counter Terrorism Service, was directed at militiamen suspected of firing rockets at foreign embassies in Baghdad’s fortified Green Zone and its international airport.

Iraqi authorities were questioning the individuals detained during the raid, the statement adds. The incident took place after a number of rocket attacks near the U.S. Embassy in Baghdad and other U.S. military sites in recent weeks.

Before the military issued its statement about the raid, Iraqi government officials and paramilitary sources had given contradicting versions of what happened.

The paramilitary sources and one government official claimed those held were sent to the security branch of the PMF. Such statements further indicate Tehran’s need to save face following the raid.

A second government official, however, flatly denied any such transfer and said the militiamen were still in the custody of other security services. One PMF source initially said 19 men had been detained. A government official told Reuters it was 23.

After the operation, unidentified gunmen entered Baghdad’s Green Zone and drove vehicles towards government buildings and a headquarters of Iraq’s Counter Terrorism Service, according to the military, as PMF officials demanded the release of the detained militiamen.

More footage of intimidating measures that were not fruitful at all for Iran’s regime and their Iraqi proxies.

Early Saturday morning local time there were reports of gunfire near the Iranian Embassy in Baghdad. Knowledge of Tehran’s tactics say these were measures aimed at intimidating the Iraqi government to release the detained individuals. Signs indicate the days of these measures being of any use are over.

Adding insult to injury

On Saturday, June 27, Iraqi media began reporting of significant changes in the Iraqi security hierarchy. Falih Fayyadh, the country’s National Security Advisor and PMF chief, was sacked from his government post and replaced by former defense minister Khaled al-Obeidi, a member of Iraq’s Sunni minority.

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Former Iraqi defense minister and now National Security Advisor Khaled al-Obeidi

It is worth noting that Fayyadh has very strong ties with Iran’s regime. There are further claims that Fayyadh has also been sacked from his role as the PMF chief. Don’t be surprised if he ends up in Iran in the coming days or weeks in fear of being apprehended by Iraqi or U.S. forces.

Former Iraqi national security advisor Falih Fayyadh seen with Iranian FM Mohammad Javad Zarif (Top), Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad (Bottom Left), Ali Shamkhani, Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (Bottom Center), and former Iraqi prime minister Nouri al-Maliki (Bottom Right) who is described as one of Iran’s main allies in Iraq.

The message

This raid also signals that new Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, whose government is currently in talks with Washington over Iraq’s security, political and economic ties with the U.S., intends to take serious action based on pledges made to rein in militia groups that have attacked U.S. installations.

Iran-backed parties and factions have shown rising hostility to Kadhimi, who is due to travel to the United States in coming weeks as part of talks over Iraq’s ties with Washington, according to Reuters.

Most importantly, this is a strong message to the mullahs’ regime in Tehran considering the billions they have poured into Iraq, especially after the 2003 war. Moreover, this further indicates Iran is losing the influence and grip it enjoyed on its western neighbor prior to the killing of Qasem Soleimani by the U.S. military on January 3 of this year.

This latest development indicates a strong initiative aimed at preventing Iran from taking advantage of the strategic talks between Baghdad and Washington, especially with only months left to the U.S. presidential election.

The balance of power in the region is shifting against Iran. This can also be seen in recent anti-Tehran demonstrations held in Lebanon and Syria.

To make matters even worse for Iran, crippling sanctions are leaving the regime economically bankrupt, thus preventing the IRGC from pouring cash into its proxies for further malign initiatives across the Middle East. And even more important for Tehran is the impact of these developments inside Iran. People across the Iran will realize the regime is weakened, further encouraging them to launch uprisings similar to that of November 2019.

Developments during the past few months are further indicating the importance of Qasem Soleimani’s elimination in weakening the IRGC Quds Force and Iran’s regime. This shows the downgraded status of regime Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and the IRGC inside Iran.

Iran’s regional policies of warmongering and terrorism are tools used to strengthen the regime’s position inside Iran. When Tehran’s influence in the region is downgraded and weakened significantly, the regime’s crackdown machine inside the country also suffers a major blow. This is a nightmare scenario for the mullahs’ ruling Iran.

For now, the Iraqi people, such as those protesters who remain in Baghdad’s iconic Tahrir Square, are celebrating the recent turn of events. And the Iranian people are watching very closely.

Originally published in The Medium

The regimes of Iran & Venezuela go way back

It is no coincidence that the regime’s of Iran and Venezuela have tag-teamed in a display of “resistance” against U.S. sanctions to score a few cheap political points through sheer propaganda that will only last a few weeks max. Iran has been sending five tankers to Venezuela and the main purpose is to show defiance in the face of measures taken by the Trump administration against both regimes.

Tehran and Caracas have been boasting about an “anti-imperialist” victory of bypassing sanctions through the transfer of 1.5 million liters of gasoline and petrochemicals from Iran to Venezuela. Of course, it goes without saying that there are high suspicions there is much more involved here than a mere transfer of oil-related goods and far more malign objectives are at stake here.

Lesser discussed in the media, however, is the fact that both regimes in Caracas and Tehran were able to take full advantage of the careless appeasement policy practiced by the Obama administration. This is the main topic of this blog.

Recently, Iran has been bailing out Maduro by sending:

-blending components used for producing gasoline

-workers, equipment for oil refining

-and discussed sending gasoline cargoes into Venezuela

(And remember Iran says it needs money to address COVID-19.)

Mahan Air (designated as a terrorist entity), associated directly to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC-designated by the State Department as a “Foreign Terrorist Organization”) has direct flights between Iran and Venezuela.

  1. Flight W5138 from Tehran to Las Piedras (Source)
  2. another Mahan Air Airbus A340-600 from Iran to Venezuela
  3. April 27—Mahan Air A340s landing in Caracas

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Iran did not establish such strong ties with the Chavez/Maduro regime in Venezuela overnight. Back in 2011, former president Hugo Chavez agreed to permit Iran build missile bases in the South American country. And the Obama administration denied everything.

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“The U.S. State Department said it reviews all information pertaining to Iranian military involvement in the hemisphere, but that it could not vouch for the report,” according to a CNN reported on May 21, 2011. Keep in mind this is just a year prior to the start of Obama’s secret talks with Iran in Oman over the regime’s controversial nuclear dossier that paved the path for the infamous 2015 nuclear deal.

“We have no evidence to support this claim & therefore no reason to believe the assertions made in the article are credible,” Obama’s State Department added.

Maduro, Chavez’ Foreign Minister at the time, described the allegations as an “extravagant lie.” He is seen in this image with his then Iranian counterpart Manouchehr Mottaki.

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The cozy relationship between Tehran and Caracas goes all the way back to the early days of Obama’s tenure.

“The missile base is part of a pattern that began in March 2009, when President Obama met Chavez at an Organization of American States meeting in Trinidad,” The Daily Caller wrote on January 3, 2011.

President Obama shook hands with the dictator, as usual, and said he wanted to be friends and reset US-Venezuelan relations. Chavez responded by presenting Obama with a book that claims the United States plunders Latin America,” the piece adds, indicating a clear lesson in “Appeasement 101.”

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Seeing such reactions from Obama, Iran felt the confidence with its plans and was establishing a very dangerous relationship with the Chaves/Maduro regime in Venezuela, involving uranium & Hezbollah sleeper cells, as reports show.

“Iran uses Venezuela and other Latin American countries as havens for its terrorists. For months Hezbollah, Iran’s terror army, has metastasized across our undefended border with Mexico to set up sleeper cells in our cities. And now we learn a senior Hezbollah thug was appointed as Venezuela’s Deputy Chief of Mission to Syria?” The Daily Caller asked.

Iran was also quite busy establishing at least three Iranian missile bases in Venezuela, according to another damning report.

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And years later, “the radicals ruling Iran are emboldened by the confusion of the Obama administration in confronting Iran’s nuclear program,” as put by a Fox News piece. Obama, of course, had broader issues in mind with Tehran & went the distance to prevent any interruptions.

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There’s more when you dig into it with simple googling, one stumbles upon the utterly corrupt nature of the Iran-Venezuela relationship. “The secret backstory of how Obama let Hezbollah off the hook” was a bombshell Politico report that explained the distance Obama went to keep Iran’s mullahs pleased, even if it endangered the lives of the American people.

“… the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah,” the report reads in part.

It is mind boggling how many millions of people were placed at risk as a result of drug trafficked into the U.S. by the Iran/Hezbollah-linked network. ““The eight-year investigation came to a head just as the Obama administration was negotiating a deal for Iran to put aside their nuclear ambitions,” according to The Telegraph. Priorities, priorities, priorities.

Iran-backed Hezbollah’s sophisticated $1 billion-a-year drug network was actively involved in laundering money and smuggling cocaine into the United States. However, Obama’s departments of Justice and Treasury constantly undermined agents’ efforts to arrest and prosecute important members of the criminal ring, as put by The New York Post. Why one would ask? Because the Obama White House feared offending Tehran ahead of the 2015 nuclear deal.

“This was a policy decision, it was a systematic decision,” said David Asher, an illicit finance expert. “They serially ripped apart this entire effort that was very well supported and resourced, and it was done from the top down.”

When appeasement entered dangerous sectors of the government, we witnessed how Obama officials literally parroted the Iranian regime’s talking points. “John Brennan, Mr. Obama’s counterterror chief who later led the CIA, had argued in May 2010 that Hezbollah was evolving into a political party,” according to The Wall Street Journal. Here’s a look at what John Brennan calls a “political party”…

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And Obama continued their appeasement of Iran by making sure nothing slipped through the cracks. “Project Cassandra officials told Politico that they were transferred to other assignments after Mr. Obama’s deal with Iran was announced in January 2016,” according to The Washington Times.

Further astonishing is that U.S. authorities literally had specific targets in their grasps. If apprehended these individuals could have provided far more information into Iran’s malign activities and brought more corrupt figures to justice. “… the Obama Justice Department refused to pursue Abdallah Safieddine, the leader in charge of coordinating Hezbollah’s global drug trafficking operations, who also serves as Hezbollah’s liaison officer in Tehran,” according to The Hill.

It has now become quite obvious that Obama’s appeasement vis-a-vis Iran/Chavez/Maduro had no limits. Daniel Byman wrote in Lawfare:

  1. The Justice Department did not file criminal charges against Hezbollah members because of tacit White House pressure;
  2. The U.S. government refused to press hard for the extradition of a key Hezbollah weapons supplier in Czech custody, allowing his eventual release;
  3. The United States allowed “an entire Quds force network” in the United States to function and otherwise did not aggressively target Quds Force members;
  4. The administration did not target a Lebanese bank linked to drug laundering; and
  5. The administration stymied the DEA’s effort to go after Hezbollah. Over time, the agency’s task force was denied permission to expand its efforts, and its personnel and resources were steadily drained.

And Obama’s obstructionism rendered the following:

  1. “Multi-ton loads of cocaine” entered the United States;
  2. Hezbollah procured hundreds of millions of dollars from illegal drug money;
  3. The United States lost track of various networks and associated conspiracies with adversaries such as Russia, Syria and Venezuela; and
  4. Drug networks were allowed to flourish and also served as overall logistics hubs. These networks also “procured parts for Iran’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs” smuggled in night-vision goggles and even Bell helicopters.

As noted previously, Iran and Venezuela also have established a dangerous relationship involving Tehran launching missile bases in America’s backyard. It is worth the while to take a look at how former president Hugo Chavez agreed to permit Iran’s regime build missile bases in the South American country.

Chávez has signed a secret strategic cooperation agreement with former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on October 19, 2010, aiming to build an Iran-Venezuelan missile base on Venezuelan soil. The base was to be built on the Peninsula de Paraguaná, about 120 kilometers from the Colombian border. A small group of leading Iranian engineers from the Revolutionary Guard-owned construction company Khatam al-Anbia had paid visits to the designated site on the northern tip of the South American continent.

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The secret visit in early February 2010 was approved by the IRGC Air Force commander, Amir Ali Hajizadeh, who voted him with the Venezuelan partners. The Iranian delegation had plans to develop an infrastructure to protect against air attacks. Also planned is the construction of a command and control station, residential areas, watchtowers and bunkers where warheads, rocket fuel and other relevant assets can be stored. 20-meter deep rocket silos were also blueprinted.

Iran had in mind methods to launch a strategic threat to the U.S., much as the Soviet Union planned to do so in Cuba back in the early 1960s.

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“The cost of the Venezuelan military project is being paid for with Iranian oil revenue. The Iranians paid in cash for the preliminary phase of the project, which amounted to “dozens of millions” of dollars, Die Welt wrote,” according to a May 17, 2011, translation by The Jerusalem Post.

The site was to “include missile defenses, special forces units, and control stations. Iran’s oil revenue is reportedly going to the construction of bunkers, watch towers, barracks, and 65-foot deep rocket silos,” according to the Business Insider.

The German daily claims that according to the agreement, Iranian Shahab 3 (range 1300-1500 km), Scud-B (285-330 km) and Scud-C (300, 500 and 700 km) were to be deployed in the proposed base.

(File photos)

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“The leaders of Iran and Venezuela hailed what they called their strong strategic relationship, saying they are united in efforts to establish a ‘New World Order’ that will eliminate Western dominance over global affairs,” according to a Fox News report posted on May 17, 2011.

“Security sources have stated that the plans for the underground missile depots will be prepared by experts from the chemical engineering department of the Sharif Industrial University and Tehran Polytechnic,” the report adds.

There is far more on the disturbing relationship between the regime’s ruling Iran and Venezuela.

“Venezuela is said to have significant reserves, something that Iran is desperately in need of for the continuation of their nuclear bomb project. Other activities include housing of the Quds forces, along with Hezbollah cells in these facilities, so they can expand their activities throughout Latin America and form collaborations with drug cartels in Mexico and then enter America.

“Many of the Iranian so-called commercial facilities in Venezuela are under strict no-fly zone regulations by the Venezuelan government and are only accessible by the Iranians in charge of those facilities!

“With Iran’s refusal to halt its nuclear program and the progress they’re making with their missile delivery system, this new military alliance with Venezuela is most alarming for our national security here in America.”

The breadcrumbs of these warnings were everywhere, only for Obama to deliberately overlook.

“Iran has already built what it calls a ‘tractor factory’ in Venezuela, the most heavily guarded and secret tractor factory in the world. The fenced compound is so secret that even Venezuelans are not allowed to enter it; only Iranians are allowed inside.”,” according to The Daily Caller.

“The factory is in a remote area, not far from a uranium deposit former Venezuelan official estimate holds 50,000 tons of ore. Is it a stretch to connect the secret ‘tractor factory’ and the uranium?”

The malign ties between Tehran’s mullahs’ and the Chavez/Maduro regime expanded to more dangerous spheres: terrorism.

“Iran uses Venezuela and other Latin American countries as havens for its terrorists. For months Hezbollah, Iran’s terror army, has metastasized across our undefended border with Mexico to set up sleeper cells in our cities. And now we learn a senior Hezbollah thug was appointed as Venezuela’s Deputy Chief of Mission to Syria?” The Daily Caller read adds.

And talking about links & ties, we all remember how Obama had good relations with Chavez. In my opinion, as Obama betrayed the people of Iran in 2009, one could say he also betrayed the people of Venezuela.

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I wouldn’t be surprised that Assad in Syria also benefited from Obama’s appeasement of the regime’s in Iran & Venezuela. Of course, we all remember how Obama backed off from his famous Syria “red line”…

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The Trump administration, however, does understand the risk of Iran-backed Hezbollah being active in Venezuela.

Worth noting that while Iran describes transferring gasoline halfway across the globe to Venezuela, the regime doesn’t answer the question why they can’t or are not willing to provide for Iranians back home?

 

The most effective method to support the people of Iran and Venezuela in their struggle for freedom & democracy is to bring a complete end to the appeasement policy once and for all.

The story of “honor killings” in Iran

The misogynist ideology promoted by the mullahs’ regime ruling Iran is the main reason behind an unfortunate phenomenon known as “honor killings” that have long plagued this country.

Two new cases of “honor killings” in Iran under the mullahs’ regime. This includes Reyhaneh Ameri, 22, killed on June 15 by her father with an ax for coming home late; and Fatemeh Barihi, 19, beheaded by her husband.

In late May, Romina Ashrafi, 13, was beheaded in her sleep by her own father. These innocent women are the victims of honor killings in Iran which are sanctioned & institutionalized by the laws of the clerical regime.

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The story of Reyhaneh Ameri

Reyhaneh’s sister went to her parents’ home on Monday at around 8:30 or 9 am. When she entered there was no one home and Reyhaneh’s room was locked. She knocks constantly and no one answers. She notices the rugs are in disarray. A few minutes later her father comes home.

Her mother says when left the house in the morning Reyhaneh was still in her room & her door was open. Then she tells her daughter what happened the night before. Reyhaneh had returned home at around 11:30 pm & had a quarrel with her father. After that she went to her room.

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Reyhaneh’s father tells his wife, “One day I will kill that girl!”

In 2017 he once tried to kill her and severely beat her with a stick, leaving her entire body swollen. Reyhaneh’s arms & leg were broken & her sister intervened to save her life.

Reyhaneh’s sister becomes nervous & says something might have happened to her. Reyhaneh’s mother and sister finally open her door & see the room in a mess. All her clothes are on the floor. Her mother begins to gather up the clothes, only to see they are wet.

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When she pulls the clothes aside Reyhaneh’s mother sees the middle of the room is full of blood. There is blood also on the walls. They call the police. When they arrive, the officers see blood under the rugs. They believe Reyhaneh was dragged from her room to a car.

Reyhaneh’s father had many axes and they realize one of them is not in its place. They start thinking he may have used it to attack Reyhaneh. While the police wait for Reyhaneh’s father to come back home, they track Reyhaneh’s mobile phone to a deserted area.

The tracking device shows the location near the village of Ekhtiar Abad, a 15-min drive from the city of Kerman in south-central Iran. When Reyhaneh’s father comes home he is immediately arrested by the police. He is angry and denies knowing anything.

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The trunk of his car was full of blood. So was the back license plate. Reyhaneh’s father is arrested and her mother is sent to a hospital. They search for Reyhaneh until 11 pm. Her father wouldn’t say anything other than that it wasn’t him & he hadn’t killed Reyhaneh.

At 11 pm he says with a smile that he did kill Reyhaneh with a blow of his ax to her head, and left her body in an open area near the city of Kerman. When they find Reyhaneh she was dead. Physicians at the forensics said she was alive until 9 pm. She was suffering for hours.

The story of Fatemeh Barihi

Fatemeh was forced to marry to her abusive cousin at the age of 17. She was beheaded by her husband. State media justified this heinous murder by writing this is the result of Fatemeh fleeing her husband & betraying him the day after their marriage.

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This is the regime’s attempt to justify this killing under the mullahs’ laws that allow men to kill his wife in case of adultery. One of Fatemeh’s relatives has spoken out & shed light on the truth.

A few years ago Fatemeh’s sister was forced to marry a few years ago (Fatemeh’s future brother-in-law). The result was nothing but being beaten by her husband, a miscarriage due to blow to her body, and finally, a woman without any hope in life. Fatemeh didn’t want this.

Fatemeh’s husband was more of the same & she was constantly under physical & psychological pressure. As a result, with the help of a friend, Fatemeh fled her husband a few months into their marriage & goes to the city of Mashhad in northeast Iran.

Mashhad

Some time later Fatemeh’s father finds her (how, it is not certain) & returns her to Abadan, southwest Iran. Her father remembers how they his own sister was beheaded. She was accused of adultery for seeking a divorce from her husband who was sentenced to life in jail.

Abadan

Therefore, seeking an “easier death,” he poisons Fatemeh. But Fatemeh’s mother finds out & saves her life. Fatemeh was then taken to a river & beheaded. It is said that since Fatemeh’s father will not seek justice due to his fear. Fatemeh’s murderer will walk free.

The story of Somayeh Fat’hi

According to the Hengaw human rights organization, Somayeh Fat’hi, an 18-year old woman from the city of Kermanshah, western Iran, was murdered by her father, brother and other family members in what is being described as an “honor killing.” Somayeh was reportedly married and pregnant and was poisoned on Thursday, June 18, due to having “contact with a young man.”

The family has not held a ceremony and “none of the murderers were arrested,” according to the Hengaw report. It is also worth noting that state police officials have denied reports of Somayeh Fat’hi being killed.

This is the fifth case of women being killed in “honor killings” by their fathers, brothers or husbands during the past few weeks. The exact number of such acts of murders in Iran are not declared by officials and state institutions. However, back in December 2019 the state-run ISNA news agency issued a report citing university research saying “around 375 and 450 honor killings” are taking place each year across Iran.

This reports further adds that “honor killings” add up to around 20 percent of all murders in Iran and 50 percent of family-related murders.

Increasing number of cases

There are reports of new cases being reported from across Iran.

Hajareh Hossein-bor was murdered on May 4 by her husband. Her digestive tract had been burned by acid forced down her throat. She was unconscious and could hardly breathe. Her body was found with her head full of thorns, and both her arms and hands had been pounded by stones.

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There are also reports that Leyla Farrokhi has recently been killed by her husband in the city of Karaj, west of the Iranian capital Tehran. Her husband then committed suicide. Their 19-year old daughter, witness to this tragedy, is reportedly injured.

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Leyla Farrokhi—Karaj, west of Tehran, Iran

There are also cases of women being severely beaten by their husbands.

This 22-year old woman was beaten and tortured by her 80-year old husband! The man literally attacked his wife with a hot metal rod for not working in their farm! Reports indicate neighbors helped the beaten young woman and her 5-year old son flee to find refuge.

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22-year old mother beaten with a hot metal rod by her 80-year old husband

This lady’s husband — a drug-addict for a few years according to sources — had been transferred to a rehabilitation camp by members of his family and those of his wife’s. However, when the husband returns home he takes his wife to a deserted field and nearly beats her to death. Due to the severity of his wife’s injuries he takes her to a hospital on June 4.

Unfortunately, murder and domestic violence takes place everywhere in our world.

But in Iran, the laws of the mullahs’ regime literally support murderers, allowing them to pre-plan and kill their female family members, knowing they can walk free.

In Iran under the mullahs’ regime, violence against women, domestic violence and honor killings have not been criminalized in the so-called Constitution and other laws of the clerical regime in Iran. In fact, they are sanctioned and institutionalized.

Such honor killings and shocking tragedies are the tragic result of the mullahs’ misogynistic laws. Laws that do not criminalize violence against women, including domestic violence, serve to perpetuate it.

The adoption of such hideous and medieval laws, as well as unfair trials, all come into play following four decades of miseries and misfortunes the mullahs’ regime has imposed on the people of Iran.

What’s the solution?

Regime change in Iran by the people of Iran. No need for a new war, nor even a single dollar to be spent. Supporting the Iranian people and recognizing their right to establish a free and democratic Iran that fully recognizes human rights for all, regardless of gender, faith, race, and ethnicity.

Why doesn’t Iran enter talks with the U.S.?

The recent prisoner exchange between the United States and Iran resulted in U.S. Navy veteran Michael White returning home on Thursday, June 4. Following this welcomed development U.S. President Donald Trump tweeted, “So great to have Michael home. Just arrived. Very exciting. Thank you to Iran. Don’t wait until after U.S. Election to make the Big deal. I’m going to win. You’ll make a better deal now!”

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted a seemingly defiant response. “We achieved humanitarian swap *despite* your subordinates’ efforts, @realDonaldTrump. And we had a deal when you entered office. Iran & other JCPOA participants never left the table. Your advisors—most fired by now—made a dumb bet. Up to you to decide *when* you want to fix it.”

First and foremost, Trump’s invitation of Iran for talks is not a change in U.S. policy. It also proves wrong all the mainstream media propaganda, especially pushed by the Iran apologists/lobbyists crowd, about Trump being a warmonger and seeking armed conflict with Iran.

However, we also need to keep in mind that Iran understands very well that Trump’s policy differs from his predecessor, and any negotiations with Trump will not be without significant consequences for the regime’s future.

If the regime in Iran enjoyed the capacity to enter talks with the U.S., it should be doing so now prior to the U.S. presidential election. Considering the coronavirus and social unrest crises in the U.S., Iran’s regime could be considering now a good time to enter talks as Trump is entangled with troubles at home and there is no better time to obtain concessions. Tehran agreeing to talks could provide Trump a political victory prior to the elections and allow Iran’s regime to demand for more concessions.

So why doesn’t Iran enter talks with such a window of opportunity? A subject not discussed in western media is the utterly fragile state of Iran’s regime and the fact that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei completely lacks the capacity to enter talks with the “Great Satan,” as he likes to call the U.S.

Khamenei’s level of authority is nowhere near regime founder Ruhollah Khomeini, Iran’s previous supreme leader. Khomeini relied on his internal support to give in to ending the 1980s Iran-Iraq war despite his eight-year modus operandi of continuing the war until the very last house in the Iranian capital Tehran. Furthermore, the regime in its entirety is far weaker in 2020 than it was back in 1988.

Khamenei, the current supreme leader, cannot hold together the regime’s ranks and files and internal disputes are escalating with each passing day. Khamenei has lost Qassem Soleimani, a key behind-the-scenes figure during the three years of talks that led to the 2015 nuclear deal with Obama. Soleimani was able to continue Iran’s expansions in the Middle East (thanks to Obama’s appeasement) and thus portray a strong image to help Khamenei convince his dismal social base to follow his blessing of talks that led to the 2015 deal with Washington, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

And again, thanks to Obama’s appeasement, Khamenei was able to obtain a long list of incentives in the JCPOA. These flaws led to Trump’s decision to tear up the nuclear deal in May 2018 and impose crippling sanctions that have wreaked havoc to the regime’s economy, plunging its currency parallel to nearly all its desperately needed oil exports.

Khamenei is also very much concerned about defections from his ranks and files. Twice in recent years he has specifically voiced concerns about defections and disillusionment among the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), the entity that is supposedly the strongest ideological force keeping the regime in power and missioned to safeguard the regime’s “Islamic Revolution.”

Khamenei has also signaled that a new deal with the U.S. will inevitably result in more deals demanding the regime to scale back on its very pillars of domestic crackdown and foreign warmongering. These are absolute red lines for the mullahs’ regime.

More recently, Khamenei has been preparing his regime for difficult times ahead. He is publicly calling for a “young Hezbollahi government.” In parallel nature, a senior IRGC officer, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, has been selected as the new Majlis (parliament) speaker after a record low voter turnout in February’s parliamentary elections, and Ebrahim Raisi, known for his role in the 1988 massacre of 30,000 political prisoners, is the regime’s judiciary chief. This line-up is no signal of a regime gearing for talks.

And why doesn’t Iran follow North Korea’s lead of entering talks with the U.S. and kicking the can down the road? Quite simple. Pyongyang has the bomb. Iran does not, thanks to decades of revelations made by the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), especially the August 2002 exposure of the Natanz uranium enrichment site and the Arak heavy water reactor. Ever since, Iran has been involved in a cat-and-mouse game with the international community in its ongoing drive to obtain nuclear weapons while claiming to only seek peaceful nuclear energy.

All in all, Iran’s is now desperately hoping for Trump to somehow lose in November or at least for the Democrats to gain control of Congress, making Trump a lame duck president for at least two years. This is highly unlikely, to say the least.

Tehran giving in to talks with Washington will portray a very weak image of the mullahs’ regime inside the country. This will without a doubt leave the mullahs’ regime very fragile in the face of an increasingly restive population that is described as a powder keg. The next round of nationwide uprising will dwarf the November 2019 protests that swept over 140 cities across Iran. This is the Iranian regime’s main concern.

Iran claims 225 killed in November 2019 uprising, opposition says at least 1,500

After six months of denial, Iran’s interior minister says up to 225 people were killed during the November 2019 protests following a petrol price hike imposed by the ruling regime to help compensate a devastated economy, according to reports on Sunday, May 31.

Officials in Iran have yet to issue an overall death toll for the unrest and refuse to provide any names. The timing of this acknowledgement is of no coincident. Knowing the world is focused on developments inside the U.S. and the global coronavirus pandemic, Tehran has chosen now to make this announcement with hopes of putting a lid on the actual death toll and bringing an issue to an end.

It is worth noting that the Iranian opposition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) was repeatedly issuing statements with updates on the number of protesters killed, injured and arrested by the Iranian regime’s authorities during the November 2019 uprising. After a string of similar reports, the NCRI reported on December 16 that over 1,500 protesters were killed by the regime’s security forces.

Death toll in Iran crackdown exceeds 300, Amnesty says
Riot police disperse protesters against increased gas prices on a highway in Tehran, Iran, on November 16, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/West Asia News Agency, via REUTERS

One week later, on November 23 Reuters issued a special report also indicating over 1,500 protesters were killed, citing three officials inside the Iranian regime’s Interior Ministry.

“About 1,500 people were killed during less than two weeks of unrest that started on Nov. 15. The toll, provided to Reuters by three Iranian interior ministry officials, included at least 17 teenagers and about 400 women as well as some members of the security forces and police,” the report reads.

Did Iran authorize three Interior Ministry officials to talk to Reuters and provide the 1,500 count to help keep a lid on the actual number of protesters killed and at least bring a political end to the NCRI reports? Quite possibly.

Now after six months of denial, at a time when the world is focusing on the global COVID-19 pandemic and the U.S. is engulfed in domestic developments just four months from the November 2020 presidential election, Iran’s regime considers this the perfect timing to issue a report with numbers far below that of the NCRI and Reuters, and even less than that of Amnesty International’s 304 death count report. From the regime’s perspective, this will bring a desperately needed end to this ordeal.

However, scenes of the November 2019 massacre launched by the regime against peaceful protesters will never be forgotten. Just recently, the U.S. Treasury Department sanctioned Iranian Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli and other senior law enforcement officials in connection with serious human rights abuses.

“The Iranian regime violently suppresses dissent of the Iranian people, including peaceful protests, through physical and psychological abuse,” said Treasury Secretary Steven T. Mnuchin.

Hassan Shahvarpour Najafabadi, Commander of the IRGC’s Vali Asr Base in Khuzestan province during the IRGC’s violent suppression of protestors in Nov 2019. In this province & Mahshahr alone, the IRGC killed at least 100 protestors in 3 days.

The scenes became horrific as regime security forces opened indiscriminate fire into crowds of protesters, killing men, women and children. This footage from is from the Saveh road located southwest of the Iranian capital Tehran. Scenes of protesters shot by the regime’s security forces opening fire. A man is heard saying four people were killed in this scene.

Shiraz was described as the epicenter of the Iranian people’s uprising against the mullahs’ regime. It was also probably the city where regime forces showed the utmost brutality. This footage is from November 18, 2019.

WARNING – DISTURBING FOOTAGE

The smaller cities surrounding Tehran were also scenes of major protests. Regime officials were ordering security forces to open fire and even shoot at point blank range, knowing the protesters were only just a few kilometers away from rallying towards sensitive regime headquarters in the capital Tehran.

This footage is from the city of Shahriar on November 16, 2019.

And regime forces resorted to unspeakable brutality. This footage is dated November 16, 2019, from the city of Karaj, located west of Tehran.

WARNING – DISTURBING FOOTAGE

Saveh, another city located southwest of Tehran, witnessed scenes of security forces opening direct fire at protesters as demonstrations continued over the gasoline price hike.

On May 20, 2020, the U.S. administration further indicated its insistence on standing alongside the Iranian people and not tolerating the regime’s dreadful human rights violations.

The Iranian people support sanctions against the mullahs’ regime ruling Iran. Listen to this internet taxi driver recording a message on March 25 saying specifically, “”Please do not provide any money to the Islamic republic. Not a single rial [Iranian currency] reaches the people. Please do not lift the sanctions from the filthy mullahs… That is exactly what they want.”

Even when the regime’s own state-media ask ordinary people about U.S. sanctions and their conditions, the answers provided are quite interesting, to say the least. This young man specifically points the finger at the mullahs’ regime and the ongoing financial corruption and embezzlement plaguing the country.

The Iranian people understand very well that U.S. sanctions also prevent the regime from funding the Assad regime & terrorist groups across the Middle East.

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Iran’s regime has been known to prop the murders Assad killing machine in Syria along with numerous other terrorist militia extremist groups checkered across the Middle East (Credit: FDD)

Mark my word: The at least 1,500 innocent Iranians killed by the mullahs during the brave November 2019 uprising did not die in vain.

I’ll end this piece with this footage. This is just one reason we, the Iranian people, will never forget the regime’s massacre back in November 2019. The scene is indeed painful and heartbreaking. But justice will be served.

Iran’s interests in the ambush targeting Gen. Michael Flynn

We have been learning quite significantly about the corrupt nature of the Obama administration. One specific case is the exoneration of Gen. Michael Flynn who happened to be the U.S. President Donald Trump’s first National Security Advisor. Lesser talked about is the media these days is the interests Iran’s regime had in the ambush targeting Gen. Flynn.

Now, one may ask where does Iran play in this already complicated legal and political dispute that has been ongoing for more than three years now? The answer is actually quite simple.

From Iran’s perspective, Gen. Flynn had the audacity of adopting a very strong stance against this malign regime and famously placed Tehran’s mullahs “on notice” in the very early days of the Trump presidency.

Now, one may ask where does Iran play in this already complicated legal and political dispute that has been ongoing for more than three years now? The answer is actually quite simple.

From Iran’s perspective, Gen. Flynn had the audacity of adopting a very strong stance against this malign regime and famously placed Tehran’s mullahs “on notice” in the very early days of the Trump presidency.

Of course, these remarks were made after President Trump entered the Oval Office. A legitimate question would be: Did Gen. Flynn sound alarm bells for the Iranian regime even prior to the Trump presidency? Most certainly.

Gen. Flynn was one of the few voices to stand firm against former U.S. president Barack Obama’s highly flawed 2015 Iran nuclear deal. This is his tweet on the very day the pact was signed.

Gen. Flynn also realized how the deal played right into Tehran’s hands, providing it billions of dollars to fund its terror groups across the Middle East.

In August 2016, more details of the Obama/Iran nuclear deal were emerging, especially the $400 million ransom Obama paid in cash to Iran for a number of hostages.

And it is interesting that one of the U.S. citizens released by Tehran was none other than Jason Rezaian who very conveniently came back to the U.S. and began pushing Iran’s talking points in his Washington Post columns. This, of course, is another story for another time.

Gen. Flynn had a very good understanding of Iran’s threat and he was hated by Tehran apologists/lobbyists in the West; most specifically, members of Iran’s main lobby group, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) founded by Trita Parsi. They were quick to push Tehran’s narrative against Flynn following the General’s position against the mullahs’ regime.

Considering his strong position vis-à-vis Iran, Gen. Flynn would have certainly not tolerated Iran’s influence in U.S. government, especially those figures who had reached high places during the Obama administration.

Gen. Flynn would have not tolerated the likes of Sahar Nowrouzzadeh of Iran’s lobby NIAC in the White House. Nowrouzzadeh worked directly on Obama’s Iran nuclear deal. While she may deny it, this card proves her previous membership in NIAC.

“NIAC’s most accomplished alum is Sahar Nowrouzzadeh, who is now National Security Council director for Iran in the Obama admin & the top US official for Iran policy, bringing together various departments working on US strategy toward [Iran],” reads a Daily Beast article form back in September 2015.

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Sahar Nowrouzzadeh alongside former U.S. President Barack Obama in the White House apparently prior to a TV interview

Nowrouzzadeh was probably effective in having NIAC founder/then president Trita Parsi & a former Iranian regime ambassador to Germany invited to the White House more than 30 times. Their objective: pave the path for the 2015 Iran nuclear and Obama providing the utmost concessions to Tehran.

“Two high-level Iranian government backers, including a former Islamic Republic official and another accused of lobbying on Tehran’s behalf, were hosted at the Obama White House for more than 30 meetings with top officials at key junctures in the former administration’s contested diplomacy with Iran, according to White House visitor logs that provide a window into the former administration’s outreach to leading pro-Iran advocates,” according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Remember how President Trump had to work through many obstacles until finally tearing up the 2015 Iran nuclear deal in May 2018? Knowing General Flynn, he would not have tolerated the deal and all the lies behind it.

It is worth noting that in July 2015, Obama Treasury Secretary Jack Lew assured the Senate Foreign Relations Committee that, under the nuclear accord, Iran “will continue to be denied access to the [U.S.] financial and commercial market” and that “Iranian banks will not be able to clear U.S. dollars through New York, hold correspondent account relationships with U.S. financial institutions, or enter into financing arrangements with U.S. banks.”

However, Senate Republicans unveiled a report indicating that “the Obama administration secretly tried to help Iran use U.S. banks to convert $5.7 billion in Iranian assets, after promising Congress that Iran would not get access to the U.S. financial system — and then lied to Congress about what it had done,” according to The Washington Post. This is more reason that should Gen. Flynn have remained as National Security Advisor, the Iran nuclear deal would have most likely been torn apart far before May 2018.

Iran’s regime and its lobby group NIAC also realized that Gen. Flynn was a threat to all the relatives of government officials granted U.S. citizenship by the Obama administration as the Iran nuclear was being hammered out.

“When Obama, during the negotiations about the JCPOA, decided to do a favor to these men, he granted citizenship to 2,500 Iranians and some officials started a competition over whose children could be part of these 2,500 Iranians,” Mojtaba Zolnour, a member of the regime’s Majlis (parliament), claimed back in July 2018.

Gen. Flynn most likely had realized that “the Obama administration derailed an ambitious law enforcement campaign targeting drug trafficking by the Iranian-backed terrorist group Hezbollah,” according to a Politico report. Hezbollah procures massive funds through such a network and any disruption would be a devastating blow to Tehran.

Of course, much more can be added to this text. The point is that Gen. Flynn would never tolerate appeasement vis-à-vis Iran’s regime. This was realized early on and there is belief it was one of the main reasons he was attacked in such dishonorable fashion.

Despite all the kicking and screaming regarding the exoneration process of Gen. Flynn, justice is finally being done. And the sky is the limit to the goods Gen. Flynn can do, and the devastating defeats Iran’s regime can suffer.

Originally published in Quodverum

User ID leak: Iran using coronavirus crisis to spy on ordinary Iranians

As the world rightly focuses on addressing the coronavirus pandemic, a lesser discussed issue is how the Iranian regime is taking advantage of the status quo in many different ways. And with China’s support.

42 million Iranian “Telegram” user IDs and phone numbers leaked online, according to a recent report. Iran’s regime has a history of using apps to place the general public, especially activists and dissidents, under a watchful eye.

The incident follows a similar case in 2016 when Reuters reported 15 million Telegram user IDs, phone numbers, and one-time verification codes were identified by Iranian hackers, resulting in more than a dozen compromised accounts.

The information contained in this recently exposed database poses a clear risk to users. Not only does it reveal who in Iran uses Telegram (or a Telegram fork), it also opens them up to attack.

SIM swap attacks are one example. A SIM-swap attack occurs when the attacker convinces a phone carrier to move a phone number to a new SIM card, allowing them to send and receive the victim’s SMS messages and phone calls. The attacker could then receive their one-time access verification codes, granting full access to app accounts and messages.

Affected users could also be at risk of targeted phishing or scams using the phone numbers in the database.

IRGC role

Just recently Google Play removed an Android app developed by Iran’s regime—supposedly launched “to test and keep track of COVID-19 (coronavirus) infections”—while users accuse the regime of collecting phone numbers and real-time geo-location data.

Once installed, the app asks for access to real-time geo-location details, which it would immediately upload to a remote server. Furthermore, it was soon discovered that the app had been developed by a company that has previously built other apps for the Iranian regime.

Smart Land Strategy, linked to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), previously built Telegram Gold and HotGram, both removed from Play Store for secretly collecting user data and reports of the apps being developed at the behest of Iran’s intelligence agencies, according to a report.

“… the Iranian government could be using the current COVID-19 pandemic as a ruse to trick millions of Iranians into installing the app, collect their device and location details, and then install malware on their devices through a subsequent update,” the report warns.

Malign past & China’s support

Back in February 2018, the Iranian opposition coalition National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) held a press conference in Washington warning, “… the regime has created close to 100 spyware apps, including Mobogram, Telegram Farsi, Hotgram, Wispi, and Telegram Talayi, that resemble popular apps and spy on the unwitting Iranians who download them by mistake.”

NCRI press conference in Washington, DC
Alireza Jafarzadeh, Deputy Director of the Washington office of the dissident National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), speaking to reporters at a Feb. 15, 2018 news conference on “cyberwarfare” being waged by Iran’s government. (Photo courtesy of NCRI)

Iran’s regime is now taking advantage of the coronavirus crisis to launch an app aimed at spying on ordinary Iranians further indicates the mullahs are lying about the numbers of COVID-19 deaths and cases and are only concerned about maintaining their establishment in power.

Back in March 2012, a Chinese telecommunications equipment company sold Iran’s largest telecom firm a powerful surveillance system capable of monitoring landline, mobile and internet communications, according to Reuters citing interviews and contract documents show.

“The system was part of a 98.6 million euro ($130.6 million at the time) contract for networking equipment supplied by Shenzhen, China-based ZTE Corp to the Telecommunication Co of Iran (TCI), according to the documents. Government-controlled TCI has a near monopoly on Iran’s landline telephone services and much of Iran’s internet traffic is required to flow through its network.

“Human rights groups say they have documented numerous cases in which the Iranian government tracked down and arrested critics by monitoring their telephone calls or internet activities. Iran this month set up a Supreme Council of Cyberspace, headed by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who said it would protect ‘against internet evils,’ according to Iranian state television.”

Months later, the FBI launched an investigation into allegations that a top Chinese maker of phone equipment supplied Iran with U.S.-made hardware and software, including a powerful surveillance system, in violation of federal laws and a trade embargo, according to the Wired citing a report by The Smoking Gun.

Investigators, who began their probe earlier in 2012, also found evidence that the company planned to obstruct a Department of Commerce inquiry into the contract behind the sales.

Apologists/lobbyists to the rescue

Chief Iran apologist/lobbyist Trita Parsi was quick to push Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s talking points about U.S. sanctions after Google took actions against Iran’s spying app.

Negar Mortazavi, another known Iranian apologist/lobbyists, claimed this could “help people self-diagnose the coronavirus.” Self-diagnosing is scientifically impossible. But that is not important for Mortazavi.

Why? Because as an Iran apologist/lobbyist with close ties to Zarif, her sole focus is to push Tehran’s talking points. Even the article cited by Mortazavi in her tweet reads:

“But that app was booted from Google’s Play Store recently, reports ZDNet.”

Why? Because of “misleading claims,” according to the report, that it could detect COVID-19 infections, something that is impossible through an app.

Another important reminder: Iran’s regime uses indigenous apps to gain information about Iranian dissidents. Even despite the ongoing coronavirus, security and maintaining their grip on power is the regime’s number one priority.

Who’s to blame for Iran’s coronavirus outbreak?

It is now common knowledge that the regime in Iran is concealing the truth about the coronavirus epidemic engulfing this country. Criticism is escalating over the mullahs’ refusal to impose quarantine measures similar to those adopted by governments across the globe.

As a result, Iran is the source of around nine out of ten COVID-19 cases throughout the Middle East. As of Monday, April 5, Iran is reporting around 60,500 cases 3,739 deaths as concerns grow that officials are deliberately under-reporting the truth.

COVID-19 was discovered in Iran on January 30, according to a report published by the state-run Jahan-e Sanat daily.

Weeks of denials provided this dangerous virus ample time to spread throughout Iran as the regime could not afford any element leading to low turnout for its marking of the 41st anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on February 11.

To make matters worse, the mullahs desperately needed a mandate with a large voter participation during the February 21 Majlis (parliamentary) election in which regime authorities urgently sought to claim high popularity and a ratification from the Iranian public.

To this day criticism continues as reports show Iranian authorities were aware of coronavirus symptoms in the country in early February. Other reports indicate an employee of the Ilam Medical Sciences University died of COVID-19 symptoms in Tehran’s Masih Daneshvari Hospital on February 2 after being hospitalized for a few days. Lung specialists informed the individual’s loved ones that he/she died of coronavirus. This indicates that the individual could have been infected with COVID-19 as early as January 20.

Hospitals across Iran are overwhelmed with patients being placed in hallways. While regime officials are requesting a $5 billion loan from the International Monetary Fund and aid such as 172 million masks from abroad, concerns exist over such aid being allocated for malign objectives, such as supporting terrorist groups checkered throughout the region. The regime is also under criticism over hoarding and even exporting medical goods for revenues to be used by the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC).

The Shokat-pour logistical base in the Mohammad Shahr district of Karaj, west of Tehran, under the command of IRGC Quds Force Colonel Kalateh Arabi, is where hygiene products used against coronavirus (masks, gloves, special gowns and …) are stored, a report indicates. These items are sent to Iraq and Syria to be used by units of the Lebanese Hezbollah and Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces).

Sensing the escalating pressure of such criticism, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is blaming U.S. sanctions for the regime’s failures and refusal to provide medical aid to the Iranian people. His recent tweets have rallied Iran apologists and lobbyists abroad to push Zarif’s anti-sanctions talking points in western media.

Iran apologists - lobbyists
Iran apologists – lobbyists, all connected to NIAC – pushing a certain article in choir fashion

Simple questions Zarif and the apologists/lobbyists crowd dodge are as follows:

-If sanctions are truly hindering Iran’s fight against coronavirus, why did the Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Abbas Mousavi say on February 4, “… medicine & food, as you know, were not on any sanctions…?”

-Did “sanctions” prevent Iran’s regime from stopping Mahan Air flights to/from China?

-Did “sanctions” prevent Iran’s regime from quarantining Qom & other COVID-19 hotspots?

-Why did Iran just spend $67 million redecorating the Zeynab Shrine in Damascus, Syria? Shouldn’t that money be used to provide for the Iranian people during the COVID19 outbreak?

– The regime ruling Iran didn’t have a problem in providing 200 million euros for the IRGC Quds Force, a terrorist-designated group. And they don’t have money for the people?

– The regime in Iran, that Zarif represents, is also asking for a $5 billion loan from the IMF. Why should the international community trust Tehran when according to your own senior official one billion euros for essential goods were “lost”?

If Iran is requesting a $5 billion “emergency” loan from the IMF, why not first tap the vast riches controlled Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei? The regime dictator oversees an organization called Setad that has assets estimated at about $95 billion, according to Reuters. The U.S. Embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, estimates that Khamenei owns assets worth about $200 billion, according to the Washington Free Beacon.

Further reports are pointing the finger at the regime’s continued flights to and from China through the IRGC-affiliated Mahan Air airliner (sanctioned as a terrorism-facilitating entity). The regime’s Mustafa Association has actively been involved in transferring Chinese religious students to Iran despite pleas and criticism from the Iranian people to stop this practice.

Iran’s coronavirus outbreak began in Qom, a city in central Iran, located 125 kilometers (80 miles) southwest of Tehran, and established as the regime’s religious center.

Even the regime’s own media outlets, highly supervised to control criticism targeting the mullahs, ran pieces with headlines such as: “Mysterious virus at Iran’s gates,” as China initiated a lock-down back in January. All the while, travel between China and Iran continued.

In sudden fashion, Iran’s officials announced two coronavirus deaths on February 19 without any prior reporting of cases. Both victims had died in Qom and people immediately began raising suspicions, citing the fact that it usually takes up to two weeks for COVID-19 symptoms to expand and lead to an unfortunate death. Meaning the victims were most likely infected in early February and further fueling suspicions about the regime keeping a lid on the truth since late January or early February for political reasoning.

Iran’s mullahs refused to postpone the February 21 parliamentary election, suffering the lowest voter turnout since the 1979 revolution. The regime sought a highly needed legitimacy boost following the Ukrainian passenger jet blowout disaster, killing all 176 people on-board, and the November 2019 uprising quelling that left over 1,500 dead, more than 8,000 injured and over 12,000 imprisoned.

For more than a month officials even refused to close highly visited religious sites in Qom and Mashhad, the country’s second largest city in northeast Iran. Such large gatherings provided adequate environments for COVID-19 to spread exponentially. Adding insult to injury, the regime’s religious officials actually encouraged the public to visit these shrines and went as far as claiming the sites cure illnesses.

Unfortunately, the virus spread with rapid speed and hazmat-suited workers are seen burying coronavirus victims across the country. The Washington Post published a report about trenches and graves being prepared at such a scale in Qom that they could be viewed from space.

In fear of escalating public outrage over the regime’s concealment, officials are now desperate to whitewash their previous failures. “We found out a little late that the coronavirus had entered Iran because we mistook it for the flu,” said Reza Malekzadeh, a deputy health minister.

Knowing the crisis is getting out of control, the regime is resorting to desperate measures both inside the country and abroad. Signs indicate the mullahs’ military and IRGC apparatus are showing a more active presence on the streets, indicating that officials view the COVID-19 epidemic as a potential security threat to their rule. This is especially concerning as a slate of prisons across the country are witnessing riots by inmates protesting the authorities’ refusal to at least provide temporary leave during the coronavirus epidemic.

In parallel fashion, Tehran apologists and lobbyists are parroting talking points in a last ditch effort to maybe turn the tide of sanctions against the U.S.

What remains certain is the fact that the mullahs’ regime ruling Iran could care less about the Iranian people and the main focus is preserving its rule at all costs.

The regime in Iran, not sanctions, is to blame for the coronavirus epidemic in this country. Joining the U.S. maximum pressure policy will in fact support the Iranian people in the long run of their struggle against the mullahs’ regime.