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February 7, 2016 / 28 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

US Navy Vessels Seized in Persian Gulf, Held by Iran

Wednesday, January 13th, 2016

Ten crew members of two U.S. Navy vessels were picked up by the Iranian Coast Guard on Tuesday while in the Persian Gulf.

Iranian state-run FARS News reported the two vessels were two kilometers (1.2 miles) inside Iranian territorial waters. Nine men and one woman are being held, according to EA Worldview.

The incident occurred while the two crews were trying to sort out mechanical trouble with one of the boats near Farsi Island, in the middle of the Persian Gulf.

U.S. officials told the Associated Press Tuesday that both crews and vessels were being held by Tehran.

However, “We have been in contact with Iran and have received assurances that the crew and the vessels will be returned promptly,” said Pentagon spokesperson Peter Cook.

A senior American official said Secretary of State John Kerry “personally engaged with [Iran’s foreign minister Mohammed Javad] Zarif on this issue to try to get to this outcome.”

The boats were in the process of traveling between Kuwait and Bahrain when the U.S. lost contact with them. The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in Bahrain.

Farsi Island is home to an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps base, EA Worldview reported.

Senior U.S. military officials said the boats were on a training mission Tuesday night when one vessel lost power and drifted into Iranian territorial waters.

One official said the Iranians ‘understand the territorial incursion was not deliberate’ and have agreed to release the Americans in international waters within hours.

“We subsequently have been in communication with Iranian authorities, who have informed us of the safety and well-being of our personnel.

“We have received assurances the sailors will promptly be allowed to continue their journey,” the unnamed American official said.

Less than a month ago, Iran fired a rocket towards U.S. vessels passing through the Strait of Hormuz.

Kuwait Joins Sunni Nations Cutting Ties With Iran

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Kuwait became the fourth Sunni Muslim nation on Tuesday to cut diplomatic ties with Iran following a crisis that began last weekend between the Islamic Republic and Saudi Arabia.

Citing “torching and sabotage activities” at the Saudi Arabian embassy by an Iranian mob in Tehran, Kuwait recalled its ambassador from the Iranian capital.

Kuwait follows Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates and Sudan, all of whom have recalled their ambassadors from Tehran over the incident as well.

“Such action constitutes a flagrant breach of international conventions and violation of Iran’s international commitment over security and safety of diplomatic missions on its lands,” said the Kuwaiti foreign ministry in a statement.

Rioters in Tehran stormed the Saudi Arabian embassy over the weekend, smashing furnishings and other items inside the building and then torching the offices. The attack came in response to the execution by Saudi Arabia of prominent Shi’ite Muslim Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr. The cleric was among 47 convicts executed Saturday in the Sunni Muslim kingdom on charges of terrorism.

The United Nations Security Council has also stepped into the breach, condemning “in the strongest terms” the attack on Saudi Arabia’s embassy, as well as on a Saudi Arabian consulate in Iran.

The Council called on Iran to “protect diplomatic and consular premises against any intrusion or damage.”

But Saudi Arabia is not likely to provide Iran with that opportunity at this point: Riyadh has already severed its ties with Tehran and ejected Iran’s ambassador from the kingdom.

Moreover, an unrepentant President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday that Riyadh could not cover its “crime” by severing political relations with Tehran, Press TV reported.

Both Russia and China have issued statements calling on the two sides to “use restraint” and reconsider their actions in view of the impact such a conflict might have on the stability of the region. But the long-simmering tensions between Shi’ite and Sunni Muslims have been cooking in nearly every Arab nation in the Middle East.

Those issues have been responsible to a great extent for the savage civil war that has completely destroyed Syria, and still rages in what once was a single Arab nation in that place. The same issues are responsible for the lack of a new president in Lebanon, for more than a year.

Ultimately, the conflict between Sunni and Shi’a Islam will either be resolved between the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran’s Ayatollahs — in which case the two will united against Israel — or it will likely become responsible for a new breakdown of order in Arab nations where governments have no adequate grip on their societies.

Bahrain, UAE, Sudan Join Saudi Arabia, Sever Ties with Shi’ite Iran

Tuesday, January 5th, 2016

Several Gulf Arab nations and at least one African country have downgraded their ties with Shi’ite Iran after Saudi Arabia cut its ties with the Islamic Republic, with the possibility that more may follow.

The move came after a Tehran mob stormed and torched the Saudi Arabian embassy and consulate buildings. In response, Saudi Arabia suspended all air traffic between the two countries. A letter was also immediately sent to the United Nations Security Council, accusing Iran of failing to protect the Saudi embassy.

Iran’s foreign ministry spokesperson Jaberi Ansari denied the charges, saying no Saudi diplomats were harmed in the incident; he added that none were even present during the attack.

He neatly sidestepped the fact that the building was torched and that all the interior furnishings were completely smashed by the mob that stormed the building. Instead, Ansari claimed Saudi Arabia was “looking for some excuses to pursue its own unwise policies to further tension in the region.”

But Iranian security personnel did nothing to stop the destruction of the embassy until after the embassy offices were completely smashed; at which point, authorities called for “calm.”

The destruction of the diplomatic properties came in response to Saudi Arabia’s execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric on Saturday. Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was one of a total of 47 who were executed on charges of terrorism.

Nimr was known as a vocal activist who opposed the Saudi regime, and who led a vigorous Shi’ite Muslim minority movement in Sunni Muslim-led Saudi Arabia. Iran threatened at the time of the execution that Saudi Arabia would “pay dearly” for Nimr’s death.

By Sunday, Saudi Arabia had cut its ties with Iran and expelled the ambassador, giving him 48 hours to leave the kingdom.

The United Arab Emirates and the island nation of Bahrain – Sunni-ruled monarchies – also both notified Iranian diplomats they had 48 hours to leave the kingdom.

The UAE recalled its ambassador from Tehran and announced it would reduce the number of diplomats stationed in Iran, according to the WAM state news agency. The government said in a statement, the UAE “has taken this exceptional step in light of Iran’s ongoing interference in internal [Gulf Cooperation Council] and Arab affairs that has recently reached unprecedented levels.”

Iran was was also accused by Bahraini officials of “increasing, flagrant and dangerous meddling” in the affairs of Gulf states – again, not the first time Iran has been accused of such activity. A similar charge was leveled against the Islamic Republic during the Arab Spring revolutions, when Tehran was accused of stirring uprisings among Shi’ite populations within the Sunni-led kingdoms and emirates. Bahrain also severed its ties with Iran.

Likewise, the majority Sunni Muslim nation of Sudan also expressed its disapproval of the Iranian attack on the Saudi embassy, calling the mob action “barbaric”. As with Bahrain and the UAE, Sudan also severed its diplomatic ties with Iran, expelling the Iranian ambassador and the entire Iranian diplomatic mission from the country. Sudan also recalled its own ambassador from Tehran.

Russia and China have now both released statements calling for “restraint” on the parts of Iran and Saudi Arabia. Both have expressed concern about escalation of tensions in the region, and have asked both parties to work together to “safeguard the region’s peace and stability.”

Iranian ‘Protesters’ Destroy Tehran Embassy After Saudis Execute Shi’ite Cleric

Sunday, January 3rd, 2016

A tidal wave of Iranian fury over Saudi Arabia’s execution of a Shi’ite cleric crashed over Riyadh’s embassy in Tehran early Sunday.

Raging Iranian demonstrators stormed the embassy, smashing furniture and torching the building, Iran’s ISNA news agency reported.

The fury came in response to Saudi Arabia’s execution of prominent Shi’ite Muslim cleric Nimr al-Nimr on Saturday. The cleric was executed together with 46 other suspects accused of terrorism, mostly alleged members of Al Qaeda.

Iran warned the cleric’s execution would “cost Saudi Arabia dearly.” The Revolutionary Guards Corps vowed “harsh revenge” against “this pro-terrorist, Islamic regime” for its execution of Nimr.

The cleric was admired in Iran as a champion of Shi’ite minority rights. Nimr was a vocal critic of the Saudi dynasty and was perceived as a leader of the younger generation of Shi’ite activists who had lost patience with older leaders.

In addition to Nimr, three other Shi’ites were also executed Saturday; all four were accused of involvement in shooting police.

Tehran police chief Hossein Sajedinia was later quoted by ISNA as saying “unruly elements” were arrested for attacking the embassy with firebombs and rocks, but there was no confirmation of the claim.

Iran’s foreign ministry also issued a statement calling for calm after photos were posted on Twitter showing parts of the interior of the embassy completely destroyed. The ministry urged “protesters” to “respect” the premises, but it wasn’t clear how much was left to “respect.”

WJS: NSA Taps Guided Obama’s Win over Netanyahu on Iran

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

See also: US not Only Spying on Israel, but on U.S. Pro-Israel Legislators and Groups

(JNi.media) In 2011 and 2012, according to a Wall Street Journal revelation Wednesday, Prime Minister Netanyahu and President Obama were in sharp conflict over what to do about Iran’s emerging nuclear program. Netanyahu was preparing to take a page out of his predecessor, Menachem Begin’s play book on the Iraqi nuclear plant–although striking in Iran would have been far more formidable–while Obama was engaged in secret talks with the Iranians, and by secret we mean without letting Israel know.

According to the WSJ report, the White House was petrified that Netanyahu would blitz Iran without alerting the Americans, thus bringing down the house on the negotiations that were still at their most tender phase. And so US spy agencies enhanced their surveillance of Israeli political targets, for which they had approval from congressional intelligence committees.

After a few years of this, the NSA was fairly certain there was not going to be a repeat of the 1981 Operation Opera, that took out the Osirak reactor in Iraq. Except that by then the American Administration had a new reason to keep tapping Bibi: they wanted to make sure Israel was not aware of the secret talks with the Iranians, because if those became known to the Israelis, they would have sounded the alarm and the fragile negotiations could go bust. So they kept on tapping.

According to the WSJ report, after the Edward Snowden scandal had erupted and it turned out the NSA was tapping all of America’s friends, including heads of state, when President Obama promised to behave better and stop tapping everyone, that’s not what he really meant. The NSA hadn’t spent decades bugging phone and Internet networks around the world to just cut them off all of a sudden. How would they spy on everyone in the future if they needed to? So, instead, they just stopped eavesdropping. The taps stayed in place, but silent.

Except for one particular trouble spot, right around wherever Bibi happened to be at the moment. Apparently, not tapping our friendliest nation, Israel, didn’t enter anyone’s mind over at the NSA. “Going dark on Bibi? Of course we wouldn’t do that,” a senior US official told the WSJ.

And so, the NSA was certain last year that Israel was spying on the Iran negotiations in Europe, and by late 2014 they knew Mr. Netanyahu wanted to block the nuclear deal but didn’t have a strategy yet. On January 8 this year, the strategy was hatched by then Republican House Speaker John Boehner and the new Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell: they invited Netanyahu to deliver a speech to a joint session of Congress. They contacted Israeli Ambassador Ron Dermer, who told Bibi, who grabbed the offer.

At which point, the NSA started yet another one of their famous walks on legal thin ice, because, according to US law, there’s a huge difference between tapping foreigners, even very friendly ones, like Netanyahu, and tapping US elected officials without their knowledge. If you’re going to tap Speaker Boehner chatting with PM Netanyahu, you must disclose this to the appropriate Congressional committees. Also, an NSA directive dating back to 2011 says that direct communications between foreign intelligence targets and members of Congress should be destroyed when they are intercepted, and only the NSA director can decide otherwise regarding “significant foreign intelligence.”

The NSA is allowed to tap communications between US lawmakers after, as an example, an ambassador tells his government back home about a meeting with said lawmakers. So this is how the NSA, working for the Democrat in the White House, could spy on the conversations of the Congressional leadership, that happened to be Republican.

Iranian Rocketfire ‘Close Call’ With US Vessel in Strait of Hormuz

Wednesday, December 30th, 2015

The Iranian Revolutionary Guards fired a rocket close to an American military vessel on Saturday, in the Strait of Hormuz.

The missile was test-fired 1.3 kilometers (barely 3/4 of a mile) from the USS Harry S. Truman.

U.S. Central Command told Reuters the drill was “provocative, unsafe and unprofessional.”

The rockets were directed off the carrier’s starboard side, and were fired just as the U.S. carrier neared the end of the strait, military sources said.

The USS Harry S. Truman and the other vessels were in the “internationally recognized maritime traffic lane” at the time, a U.S. military official told NBC News. The USS Buckley, a French frigate and other commercial traffic were also present in the strait.

As the ships were transiting through, the Iranian navy suddenly announced over maritime radio that a live-fire exercise was about to begin. The navy ordered all vessels – which at the time were not in Iranian territorial waters – to clear the area.

Just 23 minutes later, an Iranian Navy fast and short attack craft began firing several unguided rockets “in close proximity,” according to U.S. Central Command spokesperson Navy Commander Kyle Raines.

“These actions were highly provocative, unsafe, and unprofessional and call into question Iran’s commitment to the security of a waterway vital to international commerce,” Raines said.

“While most interactions between Iranian forces and the U.S. Navy are professional, safe, and routine, this event was not and runs contrary to efforts to ensure freedom of navigation and maritime safety in the global commons,” Raines added in the unusually irate statement.

On November 16 2015, the USS Harry S. Truman, with assigned Carrier Air Wing Seven, began a scheduled deployment to the U.S. 6th and 5th Fleet areas of operation, the U.S. Navy confirmed. Truman can travel in excess of 30 knots, and has a crew of approximately 3,000. With the embarked air wing and staffs, the number rises to about 5,000.

Rouhani: Muslims Must Improve Image’ but not Forget ‘Zionist Crimes’

Sunday, December 27th, 2015

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday that Muslims must improve the image of Islam in light of the evil of the Islamic State (ISIS) that has stained the religion as violent, according to foreign news agencies.

The report on Reuters omitted what was headlined in the Iranian regime-controlled Mehr News Agency, which headlined:

Ignoring Zionist crimes in Islamic world implausible – Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani slammed disappearance of addressing and broadcasting violence and crimes of Zionist regime in the Islamic world.

Rouhani was speaking at an international “unity” conference, which he said he hopes will help unify Muslims.

He called on Muslims “to follow a fair, moderate tone of discourse which is far from any kind of extremism, which he said results in violence.”

Iran is fearful of the Islamic State (ISIS), which has the same objective of the Tehran regime by wanting to create a Caliphate in the entire Middle East, for starters, before conquering the rest of the world.

The real difference between Iran and the ISIS is who calls the shots, or in their case, who swings the knife or tightens the noose.

Rouhani implied the rest of the world should have listened to him two years ago when Iran proposed the “World Against Violence and Extremism” to the United Nations. “Although seemingly passed unanimously by Muslim and non-Muslim countries, no measure of good faith was taken in practice,” he said.

Ignoring the “Zionist crimes,” which means the existence of Israel, the Iranian president referred to Islamic civil war and added:

If the world wants peace, all have to work together against extremism, violence and terrorism.

Why are we so silent in the face of all the killing and bloodshed? Do we help those who are the main cause of crimes? Is it not a disgrace to the Islamic world that innocent Muslims with their small children, with women, travel during the harsh winter, inside the river or sea with boats to seek refuge in non-Islamic countries?

We have to eliminate the negative interpretation of Islam in the virtual and real world; the great injustice is not only upon Muslims and the people of Libya, Syria, Iraq and Yemen; it is also the greatest injustice in the face of Islam.

His thesis tried to distance Islam in Iran from ISIS. Rouhani asked, “Did we ever think that, instead of enemies, an albeit small group from within the Islamic world using the language of Islam, would present it as the religion of killing, violence, whips, extortion and injustice?”

Reuters did not ask if “the religion of killing, violence, whips, extortion and injustice” also exists in Iran but took care to call Rouhani “a relative moderate” who supports Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, who also is trying to defeat the ISIS.

Assad also continues to use chemical weapons and raid civilian population centers with barrel bombs.

“Rouhani the moderate” as secretary of Supreme National Security Council in 1999, stated in a pro-government rally during student protests, “At dusk yesterday we received a decisive revolutionary order to crush mercilessly and monumentally any move of these opportunist elements wherever it may occur. From today our people shall witness how in the arena our law enforcement force . . . shall deal with these opportunists and riotous elements, if they simply dare to show their faces.”

Since taking office as president, more than 600 people have been executed, usually by hanging, which for Rouhani may be a more moderate type of Islam than the ISIS practice of beheading.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/rouhani-muslims-must-improve-image-but-not-forget-zionist-crimes/2015/12/27/

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