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November 24, 2014 / 2 Kislev, 5775
At a Glance

Posts Tagged ‘Tehran’

Italian FM: Israel First on Path to Secure Middle East

Thursday, March 14th, 2013

Italy appears to be standing strong with Israel regarding Iran’s nuclear program.

On Wednesday, during the Herzliya Conference, Italian Minister of Foreign Affairs Giulio Terzi di Sant’Agata told a packed audience that even if Iran acted rationally with nuclear weapons they would pose an unacceptable global threat.

“Under its own nuclear umbrella, Tehran would be free to raise and lower the volume of regional tension as best suits its national interest…” and that “with a nuclear Iran, the rules of the Middle Eastern game would not only change overnight; they would change irreversibly,” stated Terzi.

The Italian Foreign Minister went on to suggest that “in the end, however ‘regional’ the trigger, a nuclear crisis will always have a global impact…Should Tehran acquire nuclear capabilities, others would follow and the Middle East –at the very doorstep of Europe— would enter this new regional nuclear race.”

The Italian Foreign Minister also addressed the ongoing bloodshed in Syria. “We can no longer afford delays in our action. No example is better than Syria to remind us that the Assad regime and its allies do not necessarily act under similar constraints. We are witnessing the emergence of fast-rising economic and military powers, in different regions, which pursue their interest with the power of a State and the flexibility of a non-state actor.”

Terzi concluded by pointing to Israel as a regional stabilizer, stating that “Israel not only lies at their geographical center. It is also at their frontline. As the dust settles, and room grows for new ideas, Israel will be the first and foremost engine of a new path towards a more secure and peaceful Middle East.”

Iran has been an important topic at the Herzliya Conference, the annual forum for addressing Israel’s national agenda by bringing together Israeli and elite international policy makers. Former U.S. Deputy Secretary of Defense, Rudy DeLeon, also announced on Wednesday that President Barack Obama is not bluffing regarding Iranian nuclear attainment. However, DeLeon emphasized that all other options had to be explored first.

“Precisely because America is strong, we are not afraid to talk to our adversaries,” he stated.

Mullahs Capitulate, Human Rights Lawyer Ends 49-Day Hunger Strike

Monday, December 10th, 2012

Nasrin Soutoudeh, a human rights lawyer in theocratic Iran, announced on December 4th that she would end a hunger strike she had carried out for 49 days from her cell in Tehran’s infamous Evin Prison. Her offenses had been to act as a court defender of opposition political figures and activists, as well as for juveniles condemned to death for crimes committed when they were under age 18.

Soutoudeh, now nearly fifty, was sentenced last year to 11 years’ imprisonment, and barred from work in the field of law. On appeal, her term was reduced to six years. During her sustained act of defiance, Nasrin Soutoudeh consumed only water mixed with sugar and salts. Her weight fell to 95 pounds; her health became fragile.

She concluded her starvation protest after the Iranian dictatorship acceded to her main demand: that a travel ban be lifted from her 12-year old daughter Mehraveh. Soutoudeh also initiated the fast to dramatize the bad conditions under which she is held. Her husband, Reza Khandan, remains restricted in his movements by order of the regime.

In a statement from Norway, the International Organization to Preserve Human Rights in Iran (IOPHR) pointed out that official Iranian media has accused local spiritual Sufis of supporting Soutoudeh as part of an alleged foreign conspiracy to subvert the Tehran authorities. IOPHR warns that on this basis, Sufis are vulnerable to false trials and imprisonment. According to Sufis and human rights monitors, the repressive Iranian institutions consider “having ‘compassion’ for a Muslim woman in prison to be ‘acting against national security,’ ‘disturbing public order” and ‘insulting the Supreme Leader,’” a post currently held by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

IOPHR identifies the persecution of Nasrin Soutoudeh and the Sufis with a sinister “think tank,” the “Islamic Center for the Study of Religions and their Different Interpretations” located in Qom, the headquarters of theological radicalism in Iran. As one of several such institutions with similar titles and the same goal – penetration of Western academic circles and dissemination of Iranian state ideology, this “Center,” through one of its Persian-language publications, Markaz Didban (Center Watch), has attacked Soutoudeh.

According to IOPHR, Ayatollah Muhammad Reza Mahdavi Kani, chairman of the Assembly of Experts, admitted that “the supporting pole of the regime’s tent is bent.” By this, Kani is said to recognize that conflicts between the personal, doctrinal, and political factions within the Islamist government have undermined its credibility. Entities such as the “Islamic Center for the Study of Religions and their Different Interpretations” harm Iranian stability more than any actions by dissidents by sowing intrigues and fear at all levels of society.

Meanwhile, IOPHR states, Ali Larijani, Khamenei’s “national security expert,” and promoter to the world of the Iranian nuclear program, travels daily to Damascus and Beirut to “maintain the status quo” embodied in the bloodthirsty Syrian dictatorship of Bashar Al-Assad and the Lebanese government dominated by the terror group, Hezbollah.

IOPHR has appealed for aid and cooperation from other international institutions; it seems to wish to use the great potential of public opinion outside Iran as a platform for a major global effort to expose conditions in the Iranian prisons. IOPHR describes Tehran’s penal establishments as torture houses and dungeons run by stubborn and self-interested bureaucrats answerable to nobody – not even to the higher strata of clerical power.

The human rights activists and Sufis have praised the example provided by Nasrin Soutoudeh in her deliberate refusal of food. The call of the Iranian dissenters should not go unanswered. Demonstrations and conferences are overdue in Western and other foreign capitals, especially in Europe, the United States, and Canada. The Iranian usurpers should learn that while their internal contradictions and quarrels threaten to bring their tent down on their heads, the world is watching. Inevitably, the doors of Evin Prison and Tehran’s other houses of cruelty and degradation must be opened.

Originally published by the Gatestone Institute.

French FM: Iran to Blame for Gaza War

Thursday, November 22nd, 2012

French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius outraged Tehran by placing the onus of “heavy responsibility” for the recent war between Israel and Gaza terrorists on Iran.

Fabius told France Culture radio on Wednesday that “there are long-range weapons up to 75 kilometers (45 miles) and these are Iranian weapons. Iran bears a heavy responsibility,” and called the Iranian government “extremely dangerous for world peace”, noting that Iran’s presence is felt in Lebanon, Syria, Iraq and Gaza “and each time with very negative intentions”.

Iran said Israel bears sole responsibility for the war in Gaza, and should be tried for “war crimes”, while the Palestinians should be provided with arms.

Obama’s Attempts At Making Nice With The Mullahs

Thursday, November 1st, 2012

It turns out that soon after taking office, President Obama tried to make friends – totally – with the mullahs’ regime in Iran.

The aim was to start with the opening of interest sections in Washington and Tehran, then progress to “full diplomatic ties, including U.S. and Iranian embassies and ambassadors in each other’s capitals, security cooperation…, [and] direct flights between the U.S. and Iran….”

All this amity, it was presumed, would get Iran to give up its nuclear program.

So, at least, reports the Israeli daily Maariv, basing itself on “two Western diplomats very close to the administration.”

Maariv says that, beginning in the summer of 2009, there were at least two U.S.-Iranian diplomatic meetings in this context. The second was between Deputy Secretary of State William Burns and chief Iranian nuclear negotiator Saeed Jalili in Geneva in October 2009, on the sidelines of nuclear talks between Tehran and the P5+1 countries.

But Tehran, as they say, wasn’t into it. An Israeli source told Maariv that the regime “opposed any sign of normalization with the U.S., and refused to grant a ‘prize’ to the Americans.”

On Obama’s part, all this would have been in the spirit of his holiday video greeting to Iran in March 2009—and, more generally, his wooing of the Islamic world and all but apologizing for America’s supposed sins, most notably in his June 2009 Cairo speech.

In the mullahs’ case, Obama’s belief that he could talk them into friendship is particularly striking. U.S.-Iranian relations took something of a hit when the newly installed Ayatollah Khomeini regime seized 52 American diplomats as hostages at the U.S. embassy in Tehran in 1979, holding them for 444 days. Last week the Wall Street Journal’s Bret Stephens listed some additional “American victims of Iranian aggression” since that time:

The 17 Americans killed in April 1983 at the U.S. Embassy in Beirut by the Iranian-backed Islamic Jihad Organization, later known as Hezbollah. The 241 U.S. servicemen killed by Islamic Jihad at the Marine barracks in Beirut on Oct. 23, 1983. Master Chief Robert Dean Stethem, beaten to death in June 1985 by a Hezbollah terrorist in Beirut aboard TWA flight 847. William Francis Buckley, the CIA station chief in Beirut, tortured to death by Hezbollah that same month. Marine Col. William Higgins, taken hostage in 1988 while serving with U.N. peacekeepers in Lebanon and hanged by Hezbollah sometime later. The 19 U.S. Air Force personnel killed in June 1996 in the Khobar Towers bombing, for which several members of Saudi Hezbollah were indicted in U.S. federal court.

And then there are the thousands of U.S. troops killed by improvised explosive devices in Iraq and Afghanistan. The most lethal IEDs were manufactured in Iran for the purpose of killing Americans.

Obama’s belief that America was at fault in having wronged and angered Iran must have been very strong to regard this record as something that could have been overcome between friends – to the extent that he was familiar with it.

The trouble is that, three years later, there are signs that Obama is still unable to grasp the fact that the Iranian regime is implacably hostile to America. It was last March, just as Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu was in Washington warning that Iran was closing in on the bomb, that Obama chose to renew diplomatic talks with Iran – talks that, as acknowledged by all, have been an empty sham that has merely bought Tehran time just as Israel had warned.

True, Obama – under heavy pressure from Congress – finally, along with other Western countries, imposed sanctions on Iran that are taking a real toll. Just two weeks ago, though, a report by the Congressional Research Service acknowledged a “consensus” that these have in no way slowed Iran’s march toward nukes.

And it was just last week that The New York Times reported that the U.S. and Iran had agreed to still more nuclear talks after November 6. The White House denied the specifics of the report – but, incorrigibly convinced of Tehran’s potential amicability, said it remained ready, as ever, to meet with the mullahs and hash out the differences.

In other words, there are worrisome indications that when it comes to Iran’s Islamist regime, the U.S. chief executive remains dangerously delusional.

Iranian Agent Admits Plot to Kill Saudi Ambassador in Washington DC

Friday, October 19th, 2012

Visit Rubin Reports.

Perhaps you remember an incredibly sensational story from back in October 2011 that after a brief period in the headlines disappeared completely. The U.S. government arrested an Iranian-American citizen in Texas and charged him with being an agent of the Iranian government who planned at Tehran’s behest to hire a Mexican drug gang to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in a fiery terrorist attack in Washington D.C.

It would have been another September 11, albeit on a far smaller scale. Knowing about such an operation should have been a real game-changer for U.S. Middle East policy.

Now that man, Manssor Arbabsiar, arrested in September 2011, has pled guilty to these charges in a Manhattan court. The trial is scheduled for January.

The case is so important because the U.S. government was officially claiming that the Iranian regime planned an act of war on American soil. Talking to journalists, U.S. officials insisted that the very top leaders in Iran must have authorized the attack, though they admitted they didn’t have hard proof.

Nevertheless, the highest officials in the United States threatened retaliation. President Obama said: “Even if at the highest levels there was not detailed operational knowledge, there has to be accountability with respect to anybody in the Iranian government engaging in this kind of activity.” Notably, however, the Obama Administration policy attitude toward Tehran, already involved in sanctions of course, was not altered further by this new revelation.

The government says it has impressive evidence, based on the fact that the Mexican “drug lord” Arbabsiar was propositioning with was a secret U.S. agent. It includes tapes of the accused speaking with intelligence officials from the Quds Force inside Iran and his withdrawing $100,000 as down payment for the hit.

We do know that Iran has sponsored terror attacks against Americans in Saudi Arabia, Iraq, and elsewhere. Yet an assassination in the heart of Washington D.C., with passers-by and restaurant patrons being blown up, would have marked a considerable escalation. Some argued that the plot was too strange to believe: Iranian intelligence delegating a used car salesman to contract with Mexican drug lords.

It is understandable that some are incredulous about this story. I have no idea what the truth is, but note that the U.S. government says it has strong evidence and that the Obama Administration—not known for its boldness in challenging America’s enemies—really stuck its neck out in this case. They must really believe that the plot was real.

What does all of this tell us?

This operation should once again remind American leaders that the Tehran regime is not just a problem because of the nuclear weapons’ project but because it is a determined foe of the United States on every issue. A major priority for U.S. policy should be then to battle Tehran’s influence everywhere, notably in Lebanon, Syria, and Bahrain. (This has already been done in Iraq, though Iran’s influence there is now on the rise and that of the United States diminishing.) Those supposedly friendly governments helping Iran—with Turkey and Venezuela at the top of that list—should not be treated as allies.

And if the attack was an independent initiative, albeit one that the Iranian regime didn’t actively oppose, it shows that once Iran has nuclear weapons there might be other such “rogue” operations. While I don’t support a military attack on Iran, such a factor should be taken into account in making such a decision in future.

Visit Rubin Reports.

Iran Police Clash with Protesters Outside Tehran’s Central Bank (Video)

Wednesday, October 3rd, 2012

Iranian police has used tear gas against demonstrators who burned tires and garbage cans, the BBC reported on Wednesday. Many were arrested.

Eyewitnesses told the BBC that dozens assembled outside Iran’s central bank in Tehran, urging the bank governor to stand down and chanting anti-government slogans.

The protesters targeted President Ahmadinejad’s government, which they say is mismanaging the economy are unable to avert Iran’s currency crisis.

Over the past week, Iran’s coin, the rial, has sunk to a record low against Western currencies.

Money dealers and bazaar traders were among the demonstrators.

Images posted online show hundreds of people marching towards Iran’s central bank.

Reports say many shops in the central Grand Bazaar were gated down in solidarity with the demonstrators.

Viewers of BBC Persian channel in Iran say the government has been jamming its signal after the Persian-language channel first reported the Tehran protests.

Hundreds of police are reported to have rounded up illegal money changers in Tehran.

According to the BBC, Tehran’s bazaar is the biggest financial ally of the Iranian regime, since it bankrolled the 1979 Islamic revolution.

 

PM Netanyahu Apologizes for Embarrassing Ban Ki-Moon

Monday, September 24th, 2012

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has apologized to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon for publicizing details of a conversation between the two regarding the Ban’s visit to Tehran in August.

According to a report by Haaretz, Netanyahu called to apologize for making Ban’s participation in a conference of the Non-Aligned movement in Tehran public information, and for letting his office “leak” to the media that he had participated in a phone conversation with Ban in which he urged the leader not to go to Iran for the mid-August meeting.

A senior Israeli official told Haaretz that Netanyahu called Ban several days later to apologize, saying that while he was against Ban’s visit, he did not intend to embarrass the secretary-general.

During the conversation, Netanyahu told Ban he had heard and appreciated Ban’s condemnation of Iranian Holocaust denial and threats to destroy Israel.

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/pm-netanyahu-apologizes-for-embarrassing-ban-ki-moon/2012/09/24/

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