Iran

c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
By Max Blumenthal
From her influential post at the Treasury Department, Sigal Mandelker has vowed to defend “our great partner, Israel” by sanctioning Iran. Her actions have resulted in FBI interrogations of US citizens who attended a conference in Iran and the likely liquidation of a bank that partnered with the US government.
This is part one of a two part series on the growing impact of the US economic war on Iran.

Several US citizens have been questioned by the FBI and threatened with arrest for their participation in New Horizon, a public media conference held each year in Iran.

The interrogations and threats are the result of orders apparently delivered by Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence Sigal P. Mandelker, a militantly pro-Israel lawyer with longstanding ties to right-wing political networks.

Mandelker was reportedly involved in brokering the infamous Florida deal that allowed the wealthy child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein to avoid federal charges.

Since Mandelker’s appointment as Under Secretary of Treasury in 2017, she has been described on pro-Israel news sites as a “former Israeli” and “Israeli-born.”

Asked by The Grayzone if Mandelker currently holds Israeli citizenship, and if so, whether she was given a special exemption that allowed her to obtain a security clearance, the US Department of Treasury did not reply.

Mandelker’s actions against the US citizens who participated in New Horizon represent an under-acknowledged but significant escalation in the Trump administration’s strategy of “maximum pressure” to bring about regime change in Iran. As the Atlantic noted, Mandelker is “the one with her hand on the lever” of Trump’s unilateral sanctions policy against Iran.

Michael Maloof, a former security analyst in the US Department of Defense, was among the New Horizon attendees who has been visited by the FBI. Bureau agents appeared at Maloof’s Virginia home in the early morning last May to inquire about his participation in the conference. Sander Hicks, another participant in New Horizon, claimed that others who joined the conference had been threatened with arrest if they attended again.

“OFAC [the US Office of Financial Sanctions Regulations] is supposed to restrict exchanges of money, but this conference was just an exchange of ideas,” Maloof told The Grayzone. “They’re interpreting the regulations to say that even if you associate with someone who has been sanctioned, you are subject to fines and imprisonment. I haven’t seen anything in the regulations that allows that, but they’ve set the bar so low that anyone can be designated.”

The New Horizon Conference is an annual event overseen by Iranian TV host and filmmaker named Nader Talebzadeh and his wife, Zeina Mehanna, a Lebanese writer. Both were placed under financial sanctions this year by the Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Sanctions Regulations [OFAC] on the grounds that they had organized events where Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps “recruitment and collection efforts were made.”

“We wrote to OFAC challenging them about their accusations, however, they only responded by acknowledging the receipt of our letter. Nothing more!” Mehanna complained to The Grayzone.

She insisted that “we are not in contact with the IRGC nor have we ever been funded by them.”

Negative scrutiny of the New Horizon Conference began in 2014 with a series of reports by the pro-Israel pressure group, the Anti-Defamation League [ADL]. The ADL openly coordinates with local and federal US law enforcement, and escorts law enforcement officials on annual training and lobbying tours of Israel.

According to the ADL, New Horizon was an “anti-Semitic gathering” that “included U.S. and international anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers and anti-war activists.”

There was some truth to the charge: over the years, New Horizon has played host to an array of conspiracy cranks and figures with disturbing records of vehemently anti-Jewish statements.

The event has also featured well-known anti-war activists and former US national security professionals seeking to forge relations with a country that has been under sustained Western economic and military attack for decades.

Peter Van Buren, an author and former diplomat who served in the State Department for 24 years, attended New Horizon this May in the city of Mashhad. He returned with a colorful account for Reuters of life in Iran under escalating US sanctions.

“Outside, in Mashhad city, there were no demonstrations, no flag burnings, and when I visited the central mosque here after Friday prayers more people were interested in a selfie with a foreigner than anything else,” Van Buren reported.

Maloof, too, said his attendance of the conference was motivated by a desire to build diplomatic bridges. “We felt that it was important for dialogue to go [to New Horizon]. And I don’t agree with the US position on Iran,” he explained. “All we did was went there, talked and met with people, and this is the only way you’re going to have better relations.”

Maloof emphasized, “We’re all still US patriots, but we believe there’s another way to go about things than looking at everything in Iran through the prism of Israel.”

Asked if there was any interaction with IRGC officials or assets at the event, Maloof insisted, “We were not approached by anyone. And those of us who are national security veterans, we’re very attuned to that stuff.”

Under Mandelker’s guidance, the Trump administration designated the IRGC as a terrorist organization this April, provoking Iran to counter by branding all US military personnel in the Middle East as terrorists.

Since then, Mandelker has expanded her target list in Iran and across the region, even sanctioning institutions that collaborate with the US government.

Sanctioning a USAID partner

On August 30, the Treasury Department’s OFAC sanctioned an Iranian oil tanker and its captain after it was freed from detention in Gilbraltar. Mandelker claimed that the vessel was used to “transfer large volumes of oil, which attempt to mask and sell illicitly to fund the regime’s malign activities and propagate terrorism.”

That same day, Treasury sanctioned Jammal Trust Bank in Lebanon, claiming that it and its subsidiaries had been “brazenly enabling Hizballah’s financial activities.”

“Jammal Trust provides support and services to Hizballah’s Executive Council and the Martyrs Foundation, which funnels money to the families of suicide bombers,” Mandelker declared.

But Hezbollah has not employed suicide bombing as a tactic since the 1980’s. And as Asia Times noted, Jammal Trust partnered with the US Agency for International Development (USAID) as recently as last year on public initiatives intended to help impoverished communities in Lebanon.

Because Lebanon’s economy is so thoroughly dollarized, the sanctions represent a likely death sentence for Jammal, preventing it from carrying out transactions in the US currency.

Notably, the bank is owned by a Shia businessman with close ties to Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri, and one of several who have been targeted under the watch of Mandelker. Berri was reportedly threatened with US sanctions this April by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for his insufficient hostility to Hezbollah.

When New Horizon’s Mehanna was sanctioned, her personal savings account in Lebanon was frozen.

“I got a call that I need to go to the bank and close my account,” Mehanna told The Grayzone. “The teller told me that the bank was informed by US Treasury Department to close my account because it had dollars! They closed my account, gave me a mere $400, and I was told politely to leave.”

She said she was given no documentation that her account had been closed. She recalled, “We just left the bank in total shock and bewilderment.”

It was all in a day’s work for Mandelker, the most militant official to serve in a department overseen by a long line of pro-Israel ideologues.

“That is why we have this massive sanctions regime. Because we know Iran is threatening our great partner, Israel!”

At a gathering of the elite Aspen Security Conference this July, Mandelker put her extreme views on display when she accused former Obama officials of mollycoddling Iran.

Seated beside Wendy Sherman, Obama’s Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs, and Jeremy Bash, the CIA’s ex-chief of staff, Mandelker declared that Iran was “posing an incredibly destabilizing presence in the region. They’re threatening our great ally in the region, Israel!”

She went on: “And after the JCPOA [the Iran nuclear deal], what did the Obama administration do to curb that kind of behavior? Nothing!”

“That’s not true,” Sherman protested.

“Bad actors need money to do bad things,” Mandelker continued. “That is why we have this massive sanctions regime. Because we know Iran is threatening our great partner, Israel!”

While media at the event focused on the dust-up between Trump and Obama officials, they ignored the stunning admission by a US official to advancing provocative policies on Israel’s behalf.

But this was the role that Mandelker and her predecessors have played since her position was established during the second Bush administration by her mentor, Stuart Levey.

Like Mandelker, Levey is an unabashedly ultra-Zionist ideologue. His 1985 senior thesis at Harvard University was a paean to the creation of Israel, declaring that the Zionist movement had created a “morally exemplary” state that “would be a light unto other nations.”

As journalist Phil Weiss noted, Levey’s thesis advisor was Martin Peretz, the neoconservative former New Republic publisher who emigrated to Israel after triggering protests with his declaration, “Muslim life is cheap, especially for Muslims.”

At the dawn of the so-called “war on terror,” Levey successfully lobbied Bush’s national security team to turn up the heat on Iran, a country that considered Al Qaeda its mortal enemy. His weapon of choice was sanctions, convincing the Bush administration to blacklist Iran’s Central Bank and sever Tehran’s ties to the global financial system.

“Stuart Levey’s war is like ‘Charlie Wilson’s War,’ ” an unnamed State Department official told the New York Times, referring to a former Texas congressman’s campaign to undermine the Soviet Union by funneling arms to Afghan insurgents. “It’s the most direct and aggressive stuff we’ve got going. It delivers.”

Mandelker learned the ropes in Levey’s Office of Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, developing an innovative arsenal of financial weapons against the enemies of Israel, a state for which she and her boss clearly felt a passionate attachment.

She came to the job with the conservative movement credentials she gained as a clerk in the office of Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and as a card-carrying member of the right-wing Federalist Society.

Mandelker’s husband, Stephen Capozolla, has worked as a spokesman for the Alliance for American Manufacturing, a Washington-based lobbying group, while pumping out columns denying climate change for the right-wing site, Breitbart.com.

In 2008, while Mandelker served in Bush’s Department of Justice, she approved the notorious deal that allowed the wealthy child sex trafficker Jeffrey Epstein to escape federal prosecution.

“I was told Epstein ‘belonged to intelligence’ and to leave it alone,” Alex Acosta, the former US attorney who brokered the deal, told the Trump administration’s transition team.

When Mandelker returned to government in March 2017, she earned immediate praise from Levey, her former boss, who called her “an asset.” Michael Chertoff, another close colleague, described her as his “eyes and ears” when he was at the Department of Homeland Security.

Pro-Israel websites also buzzed about the appointee, homing in on her alleged Israeli roots.

“Mandelker…isn’t just Jewish, she’s Israeli!”

The right-wing Jewish Press described Mandelker as an “Israeli-born deputy secretary,” while the Israeli security blog, Debka File, referred to her as a “former Israeli.” Meanwhile, the Jerusalem-based blogger, Jewlicious, called Mandelker a current Israeli citizen. When asked how he knew she maintained her citizenship, the blogger said he didn’t know, but that “she was born in Israel.”

According to Mandelker’s bio at the Treasury Department, however, she was born in Chicago, Illinois.

The Treasury Department did not respond to questions from The Grayzone about Mandelker’s citizenship status. It would be unusual for a US official to obtain a security clearance while maintaining dual citizenship, however, Mandelker’s former colleague at the Department of Homeland Security, Michael Chertoff, was reportedly born an Israeli citizen.

Whatever her citizenship status is, Mandelker has made no secret of her desire to advance the geopolitical imperatives of “our great partner, Israel.”

Her sanctions blacklist is broadening by the day, resulting in even former US national security officials being visited by the FBI for their participation in an Iranian media event.

How the sanctioning of that conference came about is the subject of heavy intrigue. According to Mehanna, the co-founder of the New Horizon Organization, she and husband were targeted as the result of a separate US investigation into a former US counter-intelligence officer and her alleged handler, another American citizen.

The latter suspect American was an anchor for Press TV, Iran’s state broadcaster. Known as Mazrieh Hashemi, she was jailed by federal authorities this January when she attempted to return to the US to visit her family.

How Hashemi’s imprisonment was spun by US authorities into the sanctioning of New Horizon will be chronicled in the next installment of this series.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
By Max Blumenthal
From her influential post at the Treasury Department, Sigal Mandelker has vowed to defend “our great partner, Israel” by sanctioning Iran.
The Iron-hand ...

Netanyahu expects tough stance from Trump in any meeting with Rouhani
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu speaks during a state memorial ceremony at the Tomb of the Patriarchs, a shrine holy to Jews and Muslims, in Hebron in the Israeli-occupied West Bank September 4, 2019. REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu appeared resigned on Thursday to a possible meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, after voicing opposition to world powers opening a dialogue with Iran.

Trump says meeting with Iran's Rouhani possible at U.N. General Assembly
U.S. President Donald Trump talks to reporters as he receives a status report on Hurricane Dorian in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 4, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday left the door open to a possible meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani at the upcoming U.N. General Assembly in New York.

UK and Israeli leaders agree on need to stop Iran getting nuclear weapon
Britain's Prime Minister Boris Johnson welcomes Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu outside Downing Street in London, Britain September 5, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

British Prime Minister Boris Johnson and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu agreed during a meeting in London on the need to prevent Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon, Downing Street said on Thursday.

Britain deeply concerned at Iran's plan for faster uranium enrichment
Britain said on Thursday it was concerned and disappointed by Iran's plan to take another step away from a 2015 nuclear deal by starting to develop centrifuges to speed up uranium enrichment.

U.S. Treasury warns anyone fueling Iran tanker risks being blacklisted
FILE PHOTO: An Iranian flag flies on Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, as it sits anchored after the Supreme Court of the British territory lifted its detention order, in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, August 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

The U.S. Treasury Department on Thursday warned that anyone around the world who helps fuel Iranian vessels blacklisted by Washington runs the risk of being designated as well.

Iran's Zarif tweets: U.S. Treasury is nothing more than a 'jail warden'
Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attends a news conference with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) after their meeting in Moscow, Russia, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

The U.S. Treasury is nothing more than a "jail warden", Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on Thursday, a day after Washington imposed fresh sanctions designed to choke off the smuggling of Iranian oil.

Iran to inform EU within hours on reducing commitment to nuclear deal: IRNA
Iran will inform the European Union within hours of its decision to further scale back its commitment to its 2015 nuclear deal with major world powers, the foreign minister said on Thursday, according to state news agency IRNA.

Iran to develop centrifuges for faster uranium enrichment
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, September 4, 2019. Official President website/Handout via REUTERS

Iran on Wednesday said it would take another step away from a 2015 nuclear deal by starting to develop centrifuges to speed up its uranium enrichment but it also gave European powers two more months to try to save the multilateral pact.

No trade mechanism until Iran passes terrorism financing laws: French diplomat
FILE PHOTO: French President Emmanuel Macron delivers a speech at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France August 27, 2019. Yoan Valat/Pool via Reuters

A European trade mechanism to barter humanitarian and food goods with Iran will not work until Tehran sets up a mirror company and meets international standards against money-laundering and terrorism financing, a French diplomatic source said.

Trump Administration cool to French plan for $15 billion Iranian credit line: officials
The Trump administration views a French proposal to extend a $15 billion credit line to Iran with some skepticism, U.S. officials said on Wednesday, adding that they had not seen any concrete proposal that would be in keeping with U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

U.S. will not provide waivers for Iran credit line plan: official
A senior U.S. diplomat said on Wednesday the United States would not provide any sanctions waivers to accommodate a French proposal to extend a $15 billion credit line to Iran.

Iran has released seven crew members of seized tanker Stena Impero: Sweden foreign minister
FILE PHOTO: Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at undisclosed place off the coast of Bandar Abbas, Iran August 22, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS/File Photo

Iran has released seven of the 23 crew members of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero that was seized earlier this summer, Sweden's foreign minister said on Wednesday.

Seven of tanker Stena Impero's crew reach Dubai after Iran frees them
FILE PHOTO: Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at undisclosed place off the coast of Bandar Abbas, Iran August 22, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Seven of the 23 crew members of the British-flagged tanker Stena Impero that was seized by Iran in July reached Dubai on Thursday after Tehran agreed to their release, a Russian official said.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Bolton: No sanctions relief until Iran stops lying and spreading terror

US National Security Advisor John Bolton said Iran needs to stop lying and spreading terror. (File/AFP)

September 07, 2019 - US National Security Advisor John Bolton said, “We can talk, but #Iran’s not getting any sanctions relief until it stops lying and spreading terror!”
Bolton tweeted a picture showing what appears to be a satellite image of the Iranian ship, the Adrian Darya.

“Anyone who said the Adrian Darya-1 wasn’t headed to #Syria is in denial,” President Donald Trump security advisor wrote on Friday.

“Tehran thinks it’s more important to fund the murderous Assad regime than provide for its own people,” Bolton said.


Bolton tweeted a picture showing what appears to be a satellite image of the Iranian ship Adrian Darya-1

The Adrian Darya, which carries 2.1 million barrels of Iranian crude worth some $130 million, switched off its AIS beacon just before 1600 GMT Monday, according to the ship-tracking website MarineTraffic.com. The ship was some 45 nautical miles (83 kilometers) off the coast of Lebanon and Syria, heading north at its last report.

The tanker, which was pursued by the US across the Mediterranean Sea, slowed to a near-stop on Sunday off the coast of Syria.

Iranian tanker Adrian Darya 1 photographed off Syrian port Tartus: U.S. satellite firm
What appears to be the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 off the coast of Tartus, Syria, is pictured in this September 6, 2019 satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies. Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

The Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 at the center of a dispute between Tehran and Western powers, which went dark off Syria earlier in the week, has been photographed by satellite off the Syrian port of Tartus, Maxar Technologies Inc., a U.S. space technology company said on Saturday.

Iran further breaches nuclear deal, says it can exceed 20% enrichment
Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran speaks during news conference in Tehran, Iran September 7, 2019. WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

Iran said on Saturday it was now capable of raising uranium enrichment past the 20% level and had launched advanced centrifuge machines in further breaches of commitments to limit its nuclear activity under a 2015 deal with world powers.

Iran seizes ship with Filipino crew for alleged fuel smuggling in Gulf
Iran's coast guard has seized a foreign tugboat suspected of smuggling fuel in the Gulf and detained its 12 Filipino crew members, state television reported on Saturday.

Iran 'inching' toward place where talks could be held: Pentagon chief
FILE PHOTO: Mark Esper talks to reporters at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper said on Friday that it appeared Iran was inching toward a place where talks could be held, days after U.S. President Donald Trump left the door open to a possible meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani.

Denmark discusses Hormuz naval mission with European allies
Denmark's Prime Minister Mette Frederiksen, Foreign Minister Jeppe Kofod and Defense Minister Trine Bramsen attend a news conference in the Prime Minister's Office in Copenhagen, Denmark, September 6, 2019.  Ritzau Scanpix/Niels Christian Vilmann/via REUTERS

Denmark's prime minister said on Friday that it is in talks with a number of European allies about an international naval mission to ensure safe shipping through the Strait of Hormuz.

U.S., France to discuss Strait of Hormuz navy coordination
FILE PHOTO: Mark Esper talks to reporters at the Pentagon in Arlington, Virginia, U.S. July 24, 2019. REUTERS/Yuri Gripas

Defense Secretary Mark Esper and his French counterpart will discuss on Saturday how France's navy could coordinate with Washington to ensure freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz, a senior U.S. defense official said on Friday.

Britain will support U.S. in Iran talks if deal can be made: UK defense minister
FILE PHOTO: Britain's Defence Secretary Ben Wallace walks outside Downing Street in London, Britain, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson

Britain will always help the United States along a path to talks with Iran if a deal can be made, British defense minister Ben Wallace said on Friday, although he cautioned that Iran should be judged by its actions rather than words.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Netanyahu is manipulating everything in his little game-book to start a major confrontation with Iran. He doesn't realize how pathetic he appears with his juvenile demonstrations?

IAEA found uranium traces at Iran 'atomic warehouse'

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Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called on the IAEA to visit the site last year. (Reuters)

Sunday September 08, 2019 - Samples taken by the UN nuclear watchdog at what Israel’s prime minister called a “secret atomic warehouse” in Tehran showed traces of uranium that Iran has yet to explain, two diplomats who follow the agency’s inspections work closely say.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is investigating the particles’ origin and has asked Iran to explain the traces. But Tehran has not done so, according to the diplomats, stoking tensions between Washington and Tehran. US sanctions have slashed Iranian oil sales and Iran has responded by breaching its 2015 nuclear deal with world powers.

Exclusive: IAEA found uranium traces at Iran 'atomic warehouse' - diplomats
FILE PHOTO: The Iranian flag flutters in front the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) headquarters in Vienna, Austria July 10, 2019. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner

Samples taken by the U.N. nuclear watchdog at what Israel's prime minister called a "secret atomic warehouse" in Tehran showed traces of uranium that Iran has yet to explain, two diplomats who follow the agency's inspections work closely say.

Iran Urges IAEA to Uphold Professionalism, Impartiality - Politics news - Tasnim News Agency
Iran Urges IAEA to Uphold Professionalism, Impartiality
Acting director general of the UN nuclear agency, Cornel Feruta, met with Zarif in Tehran on Sunday.

Feruta arrived in Tehran on Sunday morning and had separate meetings with Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi and Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani.

Acting director general of the UN nuclear agency, Cornel Feruta, met with Zarif in Tehran on Sunday.

In the gathering, Iran’s top diplomat highlighted the country’s close cooperation with the IAEA, which has resulted in successive reports from the UN nuclear agency confirming the Islamic Republic’s compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), stressing the need for the continuation of cooperation at this juncture.

Zarif also called on the IAEA to observe the principles of professional work, maintain the confidentiality of activities, and keep doing its duties impartially.

The foreign minister also underscored that Iran’s decision to reduce commitments to the JCPOA in response to the EU’s failure to honor its undertakings was in conformity with the Article 36 of the nuclear deal.
For his part, the visiting IAEA official said the UN nuclear agency tries to build trust and carries out verification activities professionally and impartially.

Iran says cuts in commitment allowed under nuclear deal: Fars
FILE PHOTO: Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attends a news conference with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) after their meeting in Moscow, Russia, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Sunday Iran's reduction of commitments under its 2015 nuclear deal were allowed under the accord, the semi-official Fars news agency reported.

https://www.tasnimnews.com/en/news/2019/09/07/2092375/iran-s-activation-of-centrifuges-should-not-be-over-dramatized-Russia
Iran’s Activation of Centrifuges Should Not Be Over-Dramatized: Russia

September, 07, 2019 - “Decision of #Iran to use more advanced centrifuges shouldn’t be over-dramatized. Yes, it’s another deviation from #JCPOA, but new activities will remain verifiable by #IAEA and reversible. No proliferation threat. Just a strong signal that balance within the JCPOA must be restored,” Ulyanov tweeted on Saturday.

As a third step in Iran's reduction of commitments under the deal, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) said on Saturday it had activated 20 IR-4 and 20 IR-6 centrifuges for research and development purposes.

The International Atomic Energy Agency said it was aware of the reports “related to Iran’s centrifuge research and development. The Vienna-based agency said its “inspectors are on the ground in Iran and they will report any relevant activities to IAEA headquarters.”

Iran's nuclear chief: EU has failed to fulfill 2015 deal commitments
FILE PHOTO: Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi speaks to Reuters during an interview in Brussels, Belgium November 27, 2018.  REUTERS/Yves Herman

Iran's nuclear chief said on Sunday the European parties to the 2015 nuclear deal have failed to fulfill their commitments under the pact, a day after Tehran announced further breaches of limits on its nuclear activity set by the accord.

Iranian tanker reaches destination, oil sold: ministry tells TV
What appears to be the Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1 off the coast of Tartus, Syria, is pictured in this September 6, 2019 satellite image provided by Maxar Technologies. Satellite image ©2019 Maxar Technologies/Handout via REUTERS

Iran's foreign ministry spokesman on Sunday said an Iranian oil tanker at the center of a dispute between Tehran and Western powers had reached its destination and sold its oil, state television reported.

Tehran says Iranian tanker unloaded cargo on Mediterranean coast
FILE PHOTO: A crew member takes pictures with a mobile phone on Iranian oil tanker Adrian Darya 1, previously named Grace 1, as it sits anchored after the Supreme Court of the British territory lifted its detention order, in the Strait of Gibraltar, Spain, August 18, 2019. REUTERS/Jon Nazca

An Iranian tanker at the center of a dispute between Tehran and Western powers has delivered its cargo after docking somewhere on the Mediterranean coast, Iran's state news agency IRNA quoted a Foreign Ministry spokesman as saying.

U.S. will sanction whoever purchases Iran's oil: official
FILE PHOTO: A gas flare on an oil production platform in the Soroush oil fields is seen alongside an Iranian flag in the Persian Gulf, Iran, July 25, 2005.    REUTERS/Raheb Homavandi/File Photo

The United States will continue to impose sanctions on whoever purchases Iran's oil or conducts business with Iran's Revolutionary Guards and no oil waivers will be re-issued, a U.S. official said on Sunday.

Iran says British oil tanker could be released soon
FILE PHOTO: Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at undisclosed place off the coast of Bandar Abbas, Iran August 22, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

The British-flagged oil tanker seized by Iran could be released after the imminent completion of legal proceedings against the tanker, Iranian state television reported on Sunday.

Iran’s Top General to Visit China - Politics news - Tasnim News Agency
Iran’s Top General to Visit China
September, 08, 2019 - Heading a high-ranking military delegation, Major General Baqeri will travel to China on Wednesday at the invitation of his Chinese counterpart.

During the visit, the top Iranian general is scheduled to hold talks with Chief of the Joint Staff Department of China’s Central Military Commission Li Zuocheng and a number of other senior officials.

Baqeri’s meetings in China would reportedly revolve around regional developments, enhancement of Iran-China defense ties, and promotion of cooperation between the two countries.

Iran and China have close diplomatic, economic, trade and energy ties, and in recent years have developed their military relations as well.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Canada sells Iran properties to compensate ‘victims of terror’

Cityscape and landscape view of Ottawa, Canada

Cityscape and landscape view of Ottawa, Canada

September 13, 2019 - Some $21 million of Iranian property has been sold in Canada after authorities ordered it be seized to compensate victims of attacks backed by Tehran.

On 7 August the Superior Court of Justice in Ontario ruled that funds from the $21.1 million asset sale should be distributed to victims of Hamas and Hezbollah attacks. The two groups are said to be backed by Iran, making Tehran “a state sponsor of terrorism”.

One of two properties sold was the former Iranian Cultural Centre in Ottawa which raised a staggering $20 million.

In addition to the proceeds of the sale of the properties, the victims were awarded a share of some $2 million seized from Iran’s bank accounts.

“The Iranian regime unwaveringly and unabashedly provides tens of billions of dollars for terrorist organisations that have destroyed innocent lives across the globe, including those of Canadians,” said Danny Eisen, spokesperson for the Canadian Coalition Against Terror, which lobbied to change the law so victims could seek redress from states that sponsor terrorism.

Under the Justice for Victims of Terrorism Act in Canada, victims can pursue through the courts claims for compensation using Canadian assets of state sponsors of terrorism.

At present only Iran and Syria are designated as such by Ottawa.

Canada severed diplomatic relations with Iran in 2012. During his election campaign in 2015, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau pledged to restore ties with Iran however this never saw fruition.

Iran continues to denies it has any links to the attacks which the court cases are based on, saying victims should have been asked to prove Tehran’s involvement and not based judgement on the US’ allegations.
 

c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member

https://soundcloud.com/rttv%2Fcrosstalk-crosstalk-on-trump-iran-locked-and-loaded Published time: 18 Sep, 2019 / 26:00
Again we stand on the brink of war. We should not be surprised: official Washington was quick to blame Iran for the attack on Saudi energy assets. Iran has denied involvement, while the Houthis have claimed responsibility. Will Trump take the neocon bait and set the Middle East on fire? CrossTalking with Mohammad Marandi, Ahmed Alibrahim, and Nicolas J. S. Davies
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
U.S. issues visas for Iran's Rouhani, Zarif to travel to U.N. meeting
FILE PHOTO:  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (R) and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif attend a meeting with Muslim leaders and scholars in Hyderabad, India, February 15, 2018. REUTERS/Danish Siddiqui

The United States has issued visas allowing Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to travel to New York for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations next week, Iran's U.N. mission said on Thursday.

Iran's Zarif leaving on Friday for U.N. meeting: spokesman
FILE PHOTO: Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif attends a news conference with Russia's Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov (not pictured) after their meeting in Moscow, Russia, September 2, 2019. REUTERS/Evgenia Novozhenina

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is to leave for New York on Friday to attend the U.N. General Assembly, the ministry spokesman tweeted on Thursday, after earlier reports of a U.S. delay in issuing a visa for the visit.

Military strike against Iran would result in 'all-out war': Zarif
Any U.S. or Saudi military strike against Iran would bring "all-out war", Tehran said on Thursday, keeping up a drumbeat of warnings to its adversaries after they accused the Islamic Republic of a strike on Saudi oil facilities.

Kuwait foreign minister discusses with Iranian counterpart de-escalating tensions in region
Kuwait's foreign minister received a call from his Iranian counterpart where the two discussed measures to de-escalate tensions in the region to avoid more dangers, state news agency KUNA reported on Friday.

As chance of Trump, Rouhani meeting at U.N. fades, talk turns to Security Council
FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks during the cabinet meeting in Tehran, Iran, September 18, 2019. Official President website/Handout via REUTERS

The chances of a meeting between U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani while they are both in New York next week for the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations have dwindled since an attack on Saudi oil facilities.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Iran may release British-flagged tanker within hours, Swedish owner says: SVT
FILE PHOTO: Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at undisclosed place off the coast of Bandar Abbas, Iran August 22, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS.
Stena Impero, the British-flagged tanker detained by Iran on July 19, may be released within hours, Swedish television on Sunday quoted the head of the Swedish firm that owns the vessel as saying.

Iran to present plan for Gulf security at U.N. this week
FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey, September 16, 2019. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will present a plan for creating security in the Gulf in cooperation with other countries in the region when he attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.

Iran navy commander says Iran ready to defend its marine borders
The head of Iran's navy said on Sunday that the Islamic Republic is ready to defend its marine borders and would deliver a "crushing reaction" to any aggression.

Iranian held by Somali pirates since 2015 freed
An Iranian sailor held hostage by Somali pirates was dying of malnutrition, a former British army officer who helped negotiate his release told Reuters on Sunday. Three other Iranian hostages remain in Somalia.

Saudi Arabia says if attack launched from Iran, it would be an act of war: CNN
If an investigation shows that last week's attack on Saudi Arabian oil facilities was launched from Iranian territory, the kingdom would consider it an act of war, but Riyadh is currently seeking a peaceful resolution, a senior Saudi official said.

Australia offers Trump only limited commitment on Iran: PM
FILE PHOTO: Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks during a joint news conference with U.S. President Donald Trump in the East Room of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 20, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

Australia is not getting involved with the United States in its pursuit of aims in relation to Iran, beyond a commitment to freedom of navigation in the region, Prime Minister Scott Morrison said after talks with U.S. President Donald Trump.

United States sending troops to bolster Saudi defenses after attack
U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday approved sending American troops to bolster Saudi Arabia's air and missile defenses after the largest-ever attack on the kingdom's oil facilities, which Washington has squarely blamed on Iran.

Saudi Arabia to wait for investigation before responding to attacks: minister
Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir speaks at a briefing with reporters in London, Britain June 20, 2019. REUTERS/Simon Dawson
Saudi Arabia will wait for the results of an investigation before responding to last weekend's attack on its oil facilities, for which it believes Iran is responsible, a senior official said on Saturday.

Pompeo says U.S. mission is to avoid war with Iran but measures in place to deter
The United States aims to avoid war with Iran and the additional troops ordered to be deployed in the Gulf region are for "deterrence and defense,", U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Sunday.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
British tanker Stena Impero is free to leave after completion of judicial and legal process: Iran ambassador to UK
The detained British-flagged tanker Stena Impero is "free to leave," Iran's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hamid Baeidinejad, tweeted on Monday.

British tanker Stena Impero free to leave: Iran ambassador to UK
FILE PHOTO: Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at undisclosed place off the coast of Bandar Abbas, Iran August 22, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS.

The detained British-flagged tanker Stena Impero is "free to leave," Iran's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hamid Baeidinejad, said on Twitter on Monday.

Trump on Iran meeting: "We'll see what happens"
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives aboard Air Force One at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York, U.S. September 22, 2019. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

U.S. President Donald Trump, arriving at the United Nations General Assembly on Monday, was asked about the possibility of meeting Iranian leader Hassan Rouhani after tensions over an attack on Saudi oil facilities.

Rouhani says Iran resists sanctions, drives U.S. "desperate"
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani walks during a farewell ceremony before leaving for New York, in Tehran, Iran September 23, 2019. Official Iranian President website/Handout via REUTERS

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday new U.S. sanctions blacklisting Iran's central bank for a second time pointed to U.S. "desperation" in the face of Iranian resistance.

Iran to present plan for Gulf security at U.N. this week
FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani attends a joint news conference with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan in Ankara, Turkey, September 16, 2019. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will present a plan for creating security in the Gulf in cooperation with other countries in the region when he attends the United Nations General Assembly in New York this week.
 

angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Owner of Stena Impero held in Iran says tanker is preparing to leave
The British-flagged tanker Stena Impero detained by Iran in July is preparing to leave, Will Marks, a spokesman at the vessel's Swedish owner Stena Bulk said in a text message.

UK tanker held in Iran leaves Bandar Abbas port: Refinitiv data
FILE PHOTO: Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at undisclosed place off the coast of Bandar Abbas, Iran August 22, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS./File Photo

The British-flagged Stena Impero tanker, which was detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in July, has started moving and exited the Bandar Abbas port on Friday, according to Refinitiv ship-tracking data.

UK tanker held in Iran enters Dubai port: Refinitiv ship-tracking data
Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, is seen at undisclosed place off the coast of Bandar Abbas, Iran August 22, 2019. Nazanin Tabatabaee/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

The British-flagged Stena Impero tanker, which was detained by Iran's Revolutionary Guards in July, has entered port Rashid in Dubai, according to Refinitiv shipping data.

British tanker arrives in Dubai after 10-week detention in Iran
Stena Impero, a British-flagged vessel owned by Stena Bulk, which was seized by Iran's Revolutionary Guard, left Iran's Bandar Abbas port and heads to Port Rashid in Dubai, at Bandar Abbas, Iran September 27, 2019. FARS NEWS/WANA (West Asia News Agency) via REUTERS

The British-flagged Stena Impero tanker arrived at Dubai's Port Rashid on Friday after sailing out of Iranian waters, according to Refintiv shipping data, after it was detained in July during a row with Britain that has stoked tensions in the Gulf.

Iran's Rouhani says wider talks with U.S. possible if 2015 deal implemented
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid
Iran can discuss other issues with the United States providing its 2015 nuclear deal with six powers is fully implemented, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Thursday, adding that Tehran's missile capabilities were not negotiable.

Khamenei says Iran should give up hope of European help against U.S. sanctions
FILE PHOTO: Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaks during Friday prayers in Tehran September 14, 2007. REUTERS/Morteza Nikoubazl/File Photo

Iranian Supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said on Thursday European countries were unlikely to help Iran against U.S. sanctions, and Tehran "should give up all hope" in that regard, according to his official website.

Trump says he refused to lift sanctions for an Iran meeting
U.S. President Donald Trump arrives for a photo opportunity with sheriffs from across the country on the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Erin Scott

U.S. President Donald Trump said he had refused a request by Tehran to lift sanctions in exchange for talks, contradicting Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who earlier on Friday said the United States had offered to lift restrictions to facilitate a meeting.

Rouhani says he rejected U.S. offer to lift sanctions made in message to Europeans
FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani gestures at the conclusion of his address to the 69th United Nations General Assembly at the United Nations Headquarters in New York, September 25, 2014.  REUTERS/Mike Segar/File Photo

The United States sent a message to European leaders that it was willing to lift all sanctions on Iran, according to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who said he had rejected talks with Washington while punitive U.S. sanctions remained in place.

Despite French, British pleas, few signs of U.S.-Iran detente
FILE PHOTO: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani speaks at a news conference on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Brendan Mcdermid

Britain and France all but begged Iran to jump into the waters of a negotiation with the United States this week.

Pompeo has no comment on possibility of U.S.-Iran prisoner swap
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a press conference at the Palace Hotel on the sidelines of the 74th session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York City, New York, U.S., September 26, 2019. REUTERS/Darren Ornitz

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo declined on Thursday to discuss the possibility of a U.S.-Iranian prisoner swap after the United States deported an Iranian woman who pleaded guilty to exporting restricted U.S. technology to Iran.
 

c.a.

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Press TV – Iranian authorities have rejected reports suggesting that ships carrying imports of food and grain have been stuck outside two main ports in southern Iran simply because American sanctions on the country are creating payment problems.

A senior government official in the southern Iranian province of Khuzestan confirmed on Thursday that ships carrying basic goods were waiting for discharge outside Imam Khomeini Port, Iran’s main port for goods, but he insisted they had been stuck because of increased import activity at the port.

The comments came after the Reuters news agency claimed in a report that at least 20 dry bulk ships carrying around one million tons of grains were waiting outside Imam Khomeini Port for unloading. It said other vessels had waited for weeks for their cargoes to be processed in the port and in Bandar Abbas, another major cargo port on the Persian Gulf.

However, the government source ruled out payment issues and said that the ships remained anchored mainly because there have been changes to Iran’s import polices as the country seeks to increase inventories of basic goods and foods to cope with the sanctions.

“Assume that storage capacity in this port has been nearly three million tons but currently around six million tons of basic goods have entered this port,” the official told semi-official Tasnim news agency, adding, “It is obvious that some ships should wait for discharge.”
Iranian authorities said in August that imports for basic goods and foodstuffs have significantly increased this year amid efforts to offset the impacts of the American sanctions.

So, the new hakcer's, have been ID for next years loss by the DNC. :ninja: This is rich.

  • Oct. 4, 2019Updated 2:16 p.m. ET
SAN FRANCISCO — Iranian hackers targeted hundreds of email accounts associated with at least one presidential campaign, as well as those of American journalists and current and former United States government officials, according to Microsoft.

In a report released on Friday, Microsoft said the hackers, with apparent backing from Iran’s government, made more than 2,700 attempts to identify the email accounts of current and former government officials, journalists covering political campaigns and accounts associated with one major presidential campaign.

Microsoft would not name the campaign.

The revelation comes as the Trump administration is weighing a possible cyberstrike against Iran, to punish Tehran for what White House officials charge was an Iranian attack on Saudi oil facilities last month.

The report is also an indication that cyberattacks may play a major role in the 2020 presidential campaign, as they did four years ago.

The Microsoft researchers said the hackers tried to attack 241 accounts and were successful in four cases, using fairly unsophisticated means. In those cases, the hackers appear to have used information available about their victims online to discover their passwords. It was unclear what information they managed to steal.

Earlier this week, security executives at the Democratic National Committee warned staff in an email that Iranian hackers may be targeting their email accounts with so-called spearphishing attacks, in which hackers try to lure their target into clicking on malicious links or attachment. That link can give attackers a foothold into a computer network.

The hackers were also believed to be interfering with an additional security feature known as two-factor authentication — a common security method that asks for additional credentials beyond a password — and were creating fake LinkedIn personas to make their email lures more believable.

Following Russia’s interference in the 2016 presidential campaign, Democrats have repeatedly warned their Republican counterparts that election interference cuts both ways, and that state-sponsored hackers may not always seek to help the Republican candidate. To date, Senator Mitch McConnell, the Senate majority leader, has refused to bring any election security bills to the floor.

Other cybersecurity firms said they are also witnessing what appear to be the beginning stages of several different nation-state cyberattacks on American political campaigns.

Oren Falkowitz, the chief executive officer at Area 1, a Silicon Valley security company that is helping presidential and Senate candidates block phishing attacks, said Area 1 is witnessing cyberattacks against candidates across the political spectrum.

“We’ve already seen attacks on several campaigns and believe the volume and intensity of these attacks will only increase as the election cycle advances toward Election Day,” Mr. Falkowitz said in an interview.

In July, Tom Burt, Microsoft’s corporate vice president, told an audience at the Aspen Security Conference that Microsoft had evidence that Russian, Iranian and North Korean hackers have been the most active nations conducting cyberattacks.

Mr. Burt said Russian, Iranian and North Korean hackers had been targeting nongovernmental organizations and think tanks that work closely with U.S. political campaigns. He added that in the race to infiltrate the inboxes of American political operatives and campaigns, Chinese hackers have been notably quiet.

This is a breaking story and will be updated.



 
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angelburst29

The Living Force
FOTCM Member
Syrian War Report – October 4, 2019: Iran Foils Attempt To Assassinate Commander Of Qods Force

The Intelligence Service of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps announced that it had foiled an “Israeli-Arabic” plot to assassinate Gen. Qasem Soleimani, the commander of the Qods Force of the IRGC. According to Hojjatoleslam Hossein Taeb, the assassination squad bought a house next to the shrine of Gen. Soleimani’s father, prepared 350-500kg of explosives and planted them in a tunnel under the shrine. The squad planned to carry out the attack on September 8 or 9, which are the 9th and 10th days of the holy Islamic month of Muharram. Gen. Soleimani was supposed to visit his father shrine on one of these days. The IRGC arrested the entire squad consisting of 3 operatives. G_3
This interview was released on October 2, just before the assassination attempt on General Qasem Soleimani and gives his account of the conditions before-during and after the 33-day War of 2006, involving U.S. and Israeli military, in Lebanon, occupied parts of Palestine and the Golan Heights. According to Soleimani, the U.S. had built up divisions of military troops - equaling 200,000 - as cover for Israeli activities. It's not only a true account of the circumstances but a piece of Middle Eastern History. It's customary to start interviews with "a Blessing" and Soleimani has a verbal habit of often repeating information, as to, get the information into proper format but he gives a clear and precise account "on how Israel" conducts it's major military operations. This is Part 1 of the interview - Part 2 to follow within a few days.

On an added note ... if you follow the format that Soleimani explains, adding the most recent development of Trump pulling military troops out of Syria, it removes the cover and security afforded to Israel - in it's clandestine bombing raids into Syria. Imagine THAT?


IRGC Quds Force Commander Reveals Untold Facts about 33-Day War - Politics news - Tasnim News Agency
Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Force Major General Qassem Soleimani in a rare interview gave an account of the factors and circumstances surrounding the 33-day war of 2006.

The war launched by Israel in 2006, also known as the July War, took place in Lebanon, northern parts of Occupied Palestine and the Golan Heights.

It started in July 2006, and continued until a United Nations-brokered ceasefire went into effect in the morning on August 14 that year, though it formally ended on September 8 when Israel lifted its naval blockade of Lebanon.

After 20 years, for the first time since being appointed as the Chief Commander of Quds Force, Major General Soleimani was interviewed by Khamenei.ir.
 
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