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May 25, 2016 / 17 Iyar, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

Turkey, Iran Talk Unity on Syria as Kremlin Punishes Tehran

Sunday, March 6th, 2016

Turkey’s Prime Minister Ahmet Davutoglu met Saturday in Tehran with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the final day of a two-day official visit to the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani said cooperation between Iran and Turkey will play a positive role in the settlement of regional issues, according to Iran’s official Press TV.

“Iran and Turkey have common objectives and interests and must strengthen the foundations for peace and stability in the region through [improving] bilateral cooperation and focusing on the fight against terrorism as a common enemy,” Rouhani said.

“We believe that regional problems should be settled by regional countries and nations and Iran-Turkey cooperation will undoubtedly play a constructive role in establishing sustainable peace in the region,” the Iranian president pointed out.

The Iranian president said Tehran and Ankara enjoy great potential to expand ties in different sectors including transportation, energy, trade, joint investment, tourism, science and technology and expressed the country’s readiness to bolster cooperation with Turkey.

Davutoglu arrived in Tehran at the head of a high-ranking political and economic delegation on Friday hoping to expand the trade between the two nations to $30 billion – triple the current amount.

He told Rouhani that Ankara is determined to open a “new chapter” in relations with Tehran, according to Press TV.

The Turkish prime minister also “expressed Turkey’s readiness to cooperation with the Islamic Republic in the campaign against terrorism,” the state news agency reported.

Since Iran is a generous sponsor of the Lebanon-based Hezbollah terrorist organization as well as the Hamas terrorist rulers of Gaza and their Palestinian Islamic Jihad allies, the statement raises questions.

The international headquarters of Hamas are still located in Istanbul, as they have been for about a year or more. Nevertheless, Turkish officials did deport a top Hamas official who masterminded the abduction and murder of three Israeli yeshiva teens in 2014 — the attack that launched Operation Protective Edge that summer.

Over the past several weeks, Turkish officials have been deeply involved in talks with Israeli representatives to resolve differences and repair the broken ties between the two nations. At last report, two of the three demands of the Turkish government had been met by Israel, and the third was allegedly well on the way towards resolution, according to an announcement by Turkish government officials.

That was a week prior to Davutoglu’s meeting with Rouhani. How is Israel to interpret this latest move?

“It is extremely important for Turkey and Iran to develop some common perspectives in order to end our region’s fight among brothers, to stop the ethnic and sectarian conflicts,” the Turkish prime minister told reporters in Tehran.

Although the two nations are backing different sides in the Syrian civil war, it seems they may have developed a common antipathy for Russia.

The Kremlin has been adamant that Iran withdraw its forces from Syria – including its proxy, the Lebanon-based Hezbollah guerrilla terrorist fighters – who are backing President Bashar al-Assad. Russia has reportedly told Iran their interests are different in Syria.

A highly-placed source told Kuwait’s daily Al-Jarida newspaper that Russia’s President Vladimir Putin is retracting the sale of the S-300 anti-missile system. The moves comes as punishment to Iran for violating its pledge not to hand over any of its sophisticated weaponry to terrorist groups.

Israel brought Moscow clear evidence that Iran gave Hezbollah SA-22 surface-to-air missiles. The intelligence was confirmed by reports by Russian fighter pilots who flew sorties over Syria and Lebanon and whose radar could detect SA-22 systems in areas under Hezbollah control.

Hana Levi Julian

Argentina Spymaster Testifies Fernandez Govt Involved in Death of Prosecutor Alberto Nisman

Thursday, March 3rd, 2016

The most famous spy chief in Argentina told a local judge this week that he believes prosecutor Alberto Nisman was murdered by someone linked to the government of former President Cristina Fernandez.

Santiago Blanco, attorney for Jaime Stiuso, told the Vorterix radio station on Wednesday that his client does not have “direct proof” that Nisman was murdered. “He is interpreting the precedents and motives that might have led to Nisman’s killing,” Blanco told the station.

Nisman was found dead of a gunshot to the head at his apartment on Jan. 18, 2015, just before he was to publish the findings of an investigation of the deadly July 18, 1994 bombing at the AMIA Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires.

On October 25, 2006, Nisman and a colleague had formally accused the government of Iran of having directed the bombing, and the Lebanon-based Iranian proxy Hezbollah terror group with carrying it out.

But according to a report by the New York Times, Nisman was holding a warrant for the arrest of Fernandez. Had he lived he would have presented his findings the next day to the court, including a claim that Fernandez had conspired to derail his investigation and had conspired with the Iranians to protect them from implication in the bombing. After his death the case against Fernandez was dismissed.

But his evidence did not die with him, as many probably hoped.

Just days before Nisman was found dead, he took measures to make sure his research into the bombing and high-level conspiracy didn’t disappear with him, according to a Makor Rishon report.

Nisman sent an email to three friends with a backup of his research and report. One of them was Israeli-Argentine writer and educator, Gustavo Daniel Perednik.

A month before, Perednik met with Nisman in a cafe, where Nisman told him about what he was working on. Nisman told Perednik, “In case someone murders me, all the data is saved.”

The emails were sent from Nisman’s private, secure account in the prosecutor’s office. It was the last email from Nisman Perednik received.

Another recipient is believed to be Jaime Stiuso, the country’s former chief of counterintelligence. Stiuso was fired last year by then-President Cristina Fernandez.

Attorney Federico Casal, representing Nisman’s family, was present in the courtroom for Stiuso’s testimony. He told local media the former intelligence director directly blamed the former president for the prosecutor’s death. Stiuso also reportedly implicated Fernandez administration officials in Nisman’s death, including former Cabinet chief Anibal and former legal secretary Carlos Zannini.

It was Ricardo Sáenz, the prosecutor at the Buenos Aires Criminal Appeals Court who insisted that the probe into Nisman’s death be handled by federal judicial authorities.

Sáenz also confirmed Nisman’s death was a homicide, the Buenos Aires Herald reported last week.

In a ruling presented to the Appeals Court, Sáenz supported the hypothesis of the plaintiffs in the case, Nisman’s daughters, his ex-wife Sandra Arroyo Salgado, and his mother and sister, arguing the case could no longer be handled by Judge Fabiana Palmaghini, who took over the probe from prosecutor Viviana Fein last December. He insisted the investigation required a federal magistrate.

“The procedural action in this case according to the evidence produced until now is the hypothesis that Alberto Nisman was the victim of a homicide,” the prosecutor said. Sáenz raised the issue of Diego Lagomarsino, the IT engineer who worked with Nisman at the AMIA special unit, and was the source of the .22 caliber Bersa gun that ended Nisman’s life.

The 1994 attack killed 85 people and left hundreds wounded. It was the deadliest bombing in the history of the country. Argentina is home to 200,000 Jews – the largest such community in Latin America and the sixth largest Jewish community outside the State of Israel.

Hana Levi Julian

Saudi-led Gulf Cooperation Council Declares Hezbollah a Terror Group

Wednesday, March 2nd, 2016

The six-member Gulf Cooperation Council led by Saudi Arabia formally declared Hezbollah to be a terrorist organization on Wednesday (March 2). The group has already been declared a terrorist entity by the European Union and the United States.

Hezbollah was blacklisted by the group in response to hostile acts perpetrated within GCC member states, the GCC said in a statement. Among the offenses listed were attempts to recruit new terrorists and smuggling weapons and explosives. In particular, Hezbollah’s support for the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen is of great concern to the Saudis and its Gulf partners.

The other five members of the GCC are the United Arab Emirates, Kuwait, Qatar, Bahrain and Oman. All have recently withdrawn staff members from their embassies in Beirut and issued warnings to their citizens against travel to Lebanon.

The move is seen by analysts as the lining up of Sunni Muslim nations against the Shi’ite Iranian axis being formed in the region. But it is also a move by Saudi Arabia to draw closer to the Western world at a time when radical Islamists are pulling Muslim-majority nations in the opposite direction.

Arab leaders are being faced with a difficult choice: join the 21st century with the West or risk one’s role at the top by either doing nothing or siding with extremist Islamists. As deeply conservative and even radical Saudi Arabia itself might be, it appears that its leadership sees the writing on the wall and has opted to avoid another Arab Spring.

Hezbollah has been sending fighters to the Syrian front for years to battle on behalf of President Bashar al-Assad alongside the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Hezbollah has also provided training and other technical assistance to Hamas on behalf of Iran prior to the Gaza-based terrorist group’s wars with Israel.

Hana Levi Julian

Rouhani Wins Tehran in Iran’s Election for Assembly of Experts

Monday, February 29th, 2016

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his allies won 15 of the 16 seats for Tehran in the Assembly of Experts, the state news agency IRNA reported Monday.

The 16th seat went to Ahmad Jannati, a known hardliner.

The Assembly of Experts is the 88-member clerical body tasked with choosing Iran’s next Supreme Leader – the country’s most powerful position.

Hana Levi Julian

Analysis: Iran, ISIS Likely to Unite for WWIII

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Israeli military analysts are now beginning to prepare top officials, who are in turn beginning to prepare the nation, for what eventually may become the start of World War III.

Most analysts still believe the Syrian crisis is a sectarian conflict between the Sunni, Shi’a and Alawite Muslims. But that time is long gone.

A cataclysmic clash of civilizations is taking place in Syria, one that a number of nations have patiently awaited for decades.

Turkey, so deeply invested in the glorious history of its Ottoman Empire period, would find great satisfaction in stretching its influence with a modern-day “Turkish Islamic Union” that might embrace like-minded nations in the region and perhaps also beyond.

Da’esh, as it is known in the Middle East and which in English calls itself the “Islamic State” (known by others as ISIS or ISIL) is rapidly stretching its influence to build a worldwide Sunni caliphate. It began as a splinter group from the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, and then morphed into the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (hence “ISIS”) — but at last count had successfully recruited more than 41 other regional Muslim terrorist organizations to its cause from around the world on nearly every continent.

And then there is the Islamic Republic of Iran, a Shi’ite Muslim nation, which is extending its tentacles as rapidly throughout the world as Da’esh, but far more insidiously and certainly more dangerously. If in this world one might define any nation today as Amalek, that ice-cold, black-hearted evil that first picks off the weakest of the Jewish nation, it is Iran, which has quietly extended its influence and control farther and more deeply than any other enemy Israel has ever had. Wealthy, patient, smiling and calculating, Iran acquires new allies each year, even among those Israel once counted as friends. Meanwhile, Iranian officials never forget to keep the home fires burning, to stir the pot and keep it simmering, and always to nurture the various conflicts at home in the Middle East.

This past week, Iran announced the money it donates to families of Arab “martyrs” who murder Israelis will be paid via its own special charity organization, and not through the Palestinian Authority government.

But Tehran has yet to reveal the details of exactly how it intends to pay.

Instead, a high-ranked government official simply made an announcement this weekend saying Iran did not trust the Ramallah government, driving a deeper wedge already dividing the PA’s ruling Fatah faction from Gaza’s ruling Hamas terror organization — Iran’s proxy group.

Hamas has been planting sleeper cells and budding regional headquarters, however, throughout the PA-controlled areas of Judea and Samaria, and it is clear the group’s next goal is an attempt to wrest control of those two regions from the PA, thus completing Iran’s takeover of the PLO — the PA’s umbrella organization and liaison to the United Nations.

Money is always helpful in such an enterprise, and Iran has recently enjoyed a massive infusion of cash that came courtesy of the United States and five other world powers after sanctions were lifted last month as part of last July’s nuclear deal.

Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammed Fath’ali announced last Wednesday that Iran would pay Arab families for each “martyr” who died attacking Israelis in Jerusalem and each Arab family whose home was demolished by Israel after one of its occupants murdered Israelis in a terror attack.

Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani last week underlined Tehran’s continued strong support for the wave of terror against Israel.

“The Islamic Republic supports the Palestinian Intifada and all Palestinian groups in their fight against the Zionist regime. We should turn this into the main issue in the Muslim world,” Larijani said in a meeting with a number of “resistance” groups in Tehran, FARS reported Sunday (Feb 28).

Hana Levi Julian

Netanyahu: Israel Cautiously Welcomes Ceasefire in Syria

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

By Jonathan Benedek/TPS

Jerusalem (TPS) – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu cautiously welcomed on Sunday, February 28 the ceasefire that began in Syria on Saturday, February 27 between the Syrian government and a number of rebel groups.

“We welcome the efforts to achieve a stable ceasefire in Syria that is long-term and substantive,” Netanyahu said after the weekly cabinet meeting. “First and foremost, from a human vantage point, anything to stop the horrific killing there is important.”

Netanyahu, however, expressed the need to be prepared for any aggression against Israel from Iran.

“At the same time, it is important to be clear that any settlement in Syria must include an end to Iranian aggression against Israel from Syrian territory,” stressed Netanyahu.

Through Syria, Iran has supplied weaponry and support to Hezbollah, a Lebanese terrorist organization that has captured Israeli soldiers in the past and launched rocket attacks on Israeli territory. In that light, any Iranian transfer of advanced weapons to Hezbollah poses a national security threat to Israel. Israel also has concerns that Hezbollah is building up a base of operations in Syria.

“We will not agree to the supply of advanced weapons to Hezbollah from Syria and Lebanon,” added Netanyahu. “We will not tolerate the creation of a second terrorist front in the Golan.”

Israel’s absolute rejection of an additional terror front in Syria or Lebanon has been demonstrated by the number of alleged recent Israeli strikes on weapons transfers to Hezbollah, according to foreign reports.

“These have been the red lines and will continue to be the red lines of the State of Israel,” Netanyahu said.

TPS / Tazpit News Agency

PA PO’d: No Flow on Iranian Dough

Sunday, February 28th, 2016

Palestinian Authority officials are livid over an announcement by Iran that money promised to the families of “martyrs” will not flow through the Ramallah government coffers.

It seems Iran doesn’t trust the PA government’s sticky fingers – and perhaps Tehran also wants to stir the pot between Fatah and its proxy, Hamas a bit also. Hamas as a group is more Islamist and radical in its observance than the PA government’s ruling Fatah faction; moreover, Hamas is nearly entirely under Iran’s control whereas Fatah has many backers.

The International Affairs Adviser to the Iranian Parliament Speaker and Shura Council, Hossein Sheikh al-Islam, said Saturday that Tehran will not send the financial aid to the families who have lost their members in attacks on Israelis via the Ramallah-based Palestinian Authority (PA) government.

“Tehran will not send its aid package to the families of those killed … through the PA as it cannot be trusted,” Sheikh al-Islam told al-Resalah news website on Sunday, the semi-official Iranian FARS news agency reported.

Noting that Iran will dispatch its aid through a special channel, he added, “The financial aid package will be sent at the earliest; Iran doesn’t spare any efforts to support the resistance.”

Nabil Abu Rudeinah, spokesperson for PA leader Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen), called the Iranian move a “flagrant intrusion into internal Palestinian and Arab affairs.”

Rudeinah said “It would have been better if Iran would send its funds to the Palestinian institution responsible for Palestine’s heroes and their families, rather than resorting to crooked ways and illegal means,” according to the PA’s official WAFA news agency.

He added that al-Islam’s remarks are “unacceptable, not just [as] an overriding of the Palestinian legitimacy but a violation of all laws,” the Xinhua news agency reported.

Al-Islam’s interview with Alresalah was not spontaneous by any means: the online news site has a close link with the Hamas terror organization which controls Gaza. Hamas has become an Iranian proxy since seizing the region from the Palestinian Authority in 2007.

Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammed Fath’ali announced last Wednesday that Iran would pay Arab families $7,000 for each “martyr” who died attacking Israelis in Jerusalem. In addition, Iran promised to pay $30,000 to each Arab family whose home was demolished by Israel after one of its occupants murdered Israelis in a terror attack.

Although the funds are expected to be channeled through an Iranian charity it is not yet clear which one, nor how the money is to be distributed.

Hana Levi Julian

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/pa-poed-no-flow-on-iranian-dough/2016/02/28/

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