Aletho News

ΑΛΗΘΩΣ

Russia-Iran ties soar high under US pressure

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | April 22, 2018

A commentary entitled Tehran, Moscow boosting strategic relations, appearing last week in the Iran Daily newspaper, which is close to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei – and subsequently circulated by IRNA – noted as follows:

“Policies adopted by Tehran and Moscow are becoming more harmonious on a daily basis as their bilateral as well as multilateral moves and measures are becoming more consistent with each other.”

The general expectation was that in the downstream of the 2015 Iran nuclear pact opening the door to Iran’s integration with the international community, Russia-Iran ties might get atrophied. But the exact opposite is happening. A senior Iranian official told Alexander Lavrentiev, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s special envoy to Syria, at a meeting in Tehran last week that the two countries are having their relations at the highest level in recent times.

If any single factor is to be held accountable for this, it must be American policies. The US’ containment policies toward Russia pursued under President Barack Obama have continued during the Trump presidency – and, arguably, even intensified. For Iran, on the other hand, the expected scale of integration with the international community has not materialized following the implementation of the 2015 nuclear pact due to the US’ negative attitude. The inertia of the Obama period has given way to hostile US policies under President Trump.

Meanwhile, the conflict in Syria has found Russia and Iran on the same side as staunch supporters of President Bashar Al-Assad. The Russian-Iranian cooperation deepened progressively during the period since the deployment of Russian forces to Syria in September 2015 and proved effective in stemming the tide of the war in favor of the Syrian government.

In the process, the overall Russian-Iranian relations began acquiring a strategic character, which they had lacked previously. Today, the spectre of US sanctions haunts both countries. The quasi-alliance with Iran provides much-needed strategic depth to the Russian policies in the Middle East. Whereas, Russia’s robust support on the vexed nuclear issue is invaluable help to Tehran at the present juncture. If Iran’s relations with the West run into difficulty under US pressure, Tehran’s dependence on Russia will only increase. Suffice to say, the more these countries face hostility from the US, the stronger their quasi-alliance is becoming. Shades of the “new type of relations” between Russia and China!

Two developments this week highlight that Middle Eastern politics has to reckon with a new geopolitical reality in the developing Russian-Iranian quasi-alliance. First, in a major statement two days ago, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov hinted that following the recent western missile strike on Syria, Moscow may consider supplying the advanced S-300 missile defence system to Damascus.

If Russia upgrades the Syrian air defence system, the military balance will shift in favor of Damascus and thereby Iran will also be a beneficiary, since Syrian capability to deter any further Israeli adventures in its air space will help the consolidation of long-term Iranian presence in the Levant as well. (Following the killing of several Iranian personnel in a recent Israeli missile attack on a Syrian base near Damascus, the Chief of the Iranian Army Abdolrahim Mousavi said on Saturday that “destroying the Zionist regime is one of the major tasks of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards.”)

In a second development this week, Russian energy minister Alexander Novak was quoted as saying that Russia has received the first shipment of oil under the oil-for-goods deal agreed upon in 2014 (and ratified by the two countries last year) with a view to eschew the use of the US dollar in their bilateral trade transactions. Under the deal, Russia would initially buy 100,000 barrels a day from Iran and sell the country $45 billion worth of goods.

Indeed, the implications are profound when Russia and Iran, two energy superpowers, collaborate on oil trade. The two countries have also signed six provisional agreements to collaborate on “strategic” energy deals worth up to $30 billion. The Russian Presidential aide Yuri Ushakov recently disclosed that Russian investment in developing Iran’s oil and gas fields could total more than $50 billion.

According to Ushakov, Iran’s formal entry into the Russia-led Eurasian Economic Union is now only a matter of months. The free-trade deal between the EEU and Iran will be a game changer for Russian-Iranian economic cooperation on the whole. Meanwhile, with Russia’s support, Iran has also applied for membership of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization.

April 22, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump replaces national security adviser McMaster with John Bolton

Sputnik – March 22, 2018

HR McMaster will exit the role of National Security Adviser to United States President Donald Trump. Former UN Ambassador John Bolton, a prominent war hawk, will replace McMaster, Trump announced on Twitter Thursday evening.

It had been reported for weeks that McMaster and Trump were butting heads and that the US Army lieutenant general was on the brink of being removed. McMaster is the most recent of more than two dozen officials to be fired or resign from the Trump administration since the president took office 14 months ago.

“After thirty-four years of service to our nation, I am requesting retirement from the US Army effective this summer,” McMaster said in a Thursday statement, adding, “I am thankful to President Donald J. Trump for the opportunity to serve him and our nation as National Security Adviser.” McMaster will leave public service after retiring from the military.

Bolton will be Trump’s third national security adviser, following the very brief tenure of Iran hawk Michael Flynn and now McMaster.

Bolton was a major proponent of the US’ 2003 invasion of Iraq and an advocate for the overthrow of leader Saddam Hussein, positions he still defends more than a decade later.

He wrote an op-ed in the Wall Street Journal in late February outlining “the legal case for striking North Korea first.” Historian Gareth Porter told Radio Sputnik’s Loud & Clear last week that Bolton’s nomination would likely lead to a White House that is more eager to pursue a war with Iran. “During the [George W.] Bush administration,” when Bolton was the US ambassador to the UN, “there was a plan for war with Iran,” Porter said.

Like Trump, Bolton opposes the multilateral 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, the milestone agreement intended to provide limits to and transparency on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. Trump in January recertified the deal for what he said would be the last 120-day period without major changes.

Speaking to reporters at the White House while Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman was visiting this week, Trump stated, “The Iran deal is coming up. It’s probably another month or so, and you’re going to see what I do.” Former Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, one of the voices said to have counseled Trump that scrapping the JCPOA was a bad idea, was recently dismissed from his position in favor of former CIA Director Mike Pompeo.

Since his time in the Bush administration, Bolton has worked as a foreign policy fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. He is a Fox News contributor and frequently appears on TV as a conservative pundit.

March 22, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Militarism, War Crimes, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

Iran official warns Europe against playing US-Israeli game

Press TV – March 17, 2018

A senior Iranian official has warned European countries against playing into the hands of the United States and the Israeli regime as European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal propose fresh sanctions against Tehran under the pressure of Washington.

“Defense capabilities, particularly the missile program, of the Islamic Republic of Iran, which have a deterrent nature, will firmly be continued based on national security necessities,” Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani said in a meeting with Oman’s Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi in Tehran on Saturday.

“Political and media propaganda will have no impact on their development,” he added.

Britain, France and Germany have proposed new EU sanctions on Iran over its missile program and its regional role, a confidential document said on Friday.

The joint paper was sent to the EU capitals to sound out support for such sanctions as they would need the backing of all 28 member states of the bloc, Reuters quoted two people familiar with the matter as saying.

The proposal is allegedly part of an EU strategy to appease US President Donald Trump and preserve the Iran nuclear deal, officially known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), signed between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries in 2015 amid constant US threats to withdraw from it.

Shamkhani said US failure to fulfill its obligations and its illegal approach to the JCPOA as well as Europe’s passivity with regard to Washington’s approaches clearly show that regional countries need to focus on finding a solution to the ongoing issues and crises in the region by themselves.

“The Islamic Republic of Iran will give a proper and due response to the US constant violations of its commitments under the JCPOA and will accept no change, interpretation or new measure that would limit the JCPOA,” the SNSC secretary said.

His comments came a day after Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned the US against the “painful mistake” of pulling out of the Iran nuclear agreement.

“Considering what has been envisaged in the JCPOA in the field of research and development and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s continued measures to develop its peaceful nuclear capability, if the US makes the mistake of exiting the JCPOA, it will definitely be a painful mistake for the Americans,” Zarif told reporters.

Elsewhere in his comments, Shamkhani said growing deep relations between Iran and Oman had led to consensus on regional issues.

“The development of constructive and all-out relations with neighbors based on common interests is the top priority of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s foreign policy,” he added.

The senior Iranian official lashed out at certain regional countries for adopting “a hasty and arrogant attitude and statements” which have posed serious challenges to the handling of regional crises.

He expressed his concern about the killing of Yemeni women and children in airstrikes by Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates as well as the catastrophic conditions of the oppressed Yemeni people.

“The shared view of Iran and Oman on the Yemeni crisis is based on putting an immediate end to war, establishing ceasefire, lifting the blockade, dispatching humanitarian aid and holding Yemeni-Yemeni dialogue to form new political structures based on the Yemeni people’s demands and vote,” Shamkhani pointed out.

He emphasized that the Yemeni crisis cannot be settled through military approaches and urged a political initiative in this regard.

About 14,000 people have been killed since the onset of Saudi Arabia’s military campaign against Yemen in March 2015. Much of the Arabian Peninsula country’s infrastructure, including hospitals, schools and factories, has been reduced to rubble due to the war.

The United Nations says a record 22.2 million people are in need of food aid, including 8.4 million threatened by severe hunger.

The UN Security Council on March 15 warned about the worsening humanitarian situation in war-battered Yemen, stating the status quo is having a “devastating” impact on the lives of civilians in the impoverished Arab country.

“The Security Council expresses its grave concern at the continued deterioration of the humanitarian situation in Yemen, and the devastating humanitarian impact of the conflict on civilians,” it said in a statement.

Oman urges dialogue instead of military approaches

The Omani foreign minister, for his part, criticized military approaches to regional issues and urged the path of dialogue and understanding instead.

He added that Oman regards Iran as a trustworthy neighboring country and commended the Islamic Republic’s role in establishing stability and security in the region.

Bin Alawi arrived in Tehran Friday night on a two-day visit to hold talks with senior Iranian officials about mutual and regional issues.

Iran rejects speculations about bin Alawi’s visit

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi on Saturday rejected speculation about a link between the Omani minister’s visit to Tehran and US Defense Secretary James Mattis’s recent travel to Muscat and said bin Alawi’s trip was taking place with the purpose of strengthening mutual relations.

“Although Oman has very good relations with many countries in the world, Mr. Yusuf bin Alawi’s trip to Tehran has nothing to do with Mattis’s visit to this country,” Qassemi said.

He strongly rejected any link between bin Alawi’s visit to Tehran and US policies on the JCPOA.

The Iranian spokesperson said, “Iran and Oman are cooperating with each other on a wide range of issues and the two sides seek to use the two countries’ existing capacities to further deepen economic, commercial, banking and financial cooperation.”

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Good Wishes for Nowruz

Iranians Prepare to Celebrate the Persian New Year, Netanyahu Is Sounding the Drums of War

By Miko Peled | American Herald Tribune | March 17, 2108

As millions of Iranians prepare to celebrate the Persian new year, Nowruz, we should extend our wishes for peace and prosperity to our Iranian brothers and sisters. However, Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu is once again sounding the drums of war and his target is once again Iran. It seems that when the going gets tough Netanyahu goes for Iran. He has done it several times in the past and most recently during his latest visit to Washington, DC. Netanyahu – arguably in an effort to divert attention from his impending indictment – insisted that “Iran, Iran, Iran” is a threat. And although all who visit Iran talk about the richness of its culture, the beauty of its landscapes and the kindness of its people, according to Netanyahu “Darkness is descending on our region,” and that darkness is caused by Iran. “Iran,” a country that has never attacked or occupied anyone, “is building an aggressive empire” which includes, “Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza, Yemen” and “more to come.”

It is no coincidence that Netanyahu specifically mentioned Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Gaza and Yemen. The message that he sends is clear: the destruction of Iraq and Syria must go on because of Iran; the destabilization of Lebanon and the demonizing of Hezbollah must go on, the genocide in Gaza too will go on, not because of Zionist genocidal tendencies but because of Iranian influence and finally, in a message of support to Mohammad Bin Salman, Netanyahu gave his blessing to the ongoing Saudi bombing in Yemen. It so happens that during his recent visit to the UK, Bin Salman, the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia just sealed a deal to receive billions of pounds worth of weapons to be used in the ongoing slaughter in Yemen. Netanyahu explained that these are the arms of the “Iranian empire” and even though the lion’s share of the killing in the Middle East is done by the US, Israel and their cronies, Iran is the problem. “More to come” Netanyahu added presumably as a threat that Israel is keeping open the possibility that still other countries may see destruction.

Though he did not mention it specifically, at the center of Netanyahu’s speech is the new vision for the Middle East- sewn together by Israel, The United States and the Saudi Crown Prince, Mohammad Bin Salman. What has been named “The Deal of the Century” in English and Safkat El Kurn in Arabic (the Arabic name being less ambitious as it means the deal of the decade) is a vision of an “open” and “moderate” Saudi Arabia which like Jordan and Egypt will have diplomatic relations with Israel ignoring the Palestinian people’s struggle against Zionist oppression. In return Saudi Arabia will be permitted to continue its own genocide in Yemen and receive Western support in its ongoing feud with Iran. It will also be spared, like Egypt and Jordan, “Israel’s longtime peace partners,” the lectures on human rights violations. Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia are all reactionary dictatorships with leaders who have no regard for human rights and who sold their Palestinian brothers in return for billions of dollars. The message for Arab regimes is clear – collaborate with Israel and the West and you will be allowed to oppress your people and line your pockets with cash, or stand with the Palestinians and find yourself in ruins like Iraq and Syria or under constant threat like Iran. Clearly, Mohammad Bin Salman made his choice clear.

“The force behind so much of what is bad is this radical tyranny in Tehran. If I have a message for you today, it’s a very simple one: We must stop Iran. We will stop Iran.”

Stop Iran from doing what? Stop Iran from supporting the Palestinian struggle for freedom. Stop Iran from calling to remove the racist Zionist regime from Palestine and to allow for a democracy to emerge. How is Iran a dangerous radical tyranny more than Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia? The difference is that the latter are happy to collaborate with Israel.

Netanyahu is accustomed to receiving political gifts from the U.S. and particularly from Donald Trump. These are gifts that solidify his power at home, and this time he received the following: “The President has also made it clear that if the fatal flaws of the nuclear deal are not fixed, he will walk away from the deal and restore sanctions.” The United States walking away from the Iran agreement will suit Israel fine, and will show Bin Salman that when it comes to the US, Israel can deliver. While other Israeli politicians run around the like children, with few achievements to show Netanyahu is a serious player on national and international issues.

The troubling partnership between Bin Salman, Netanyahu and Trump (through his son-in-law Jared Kushner) will inevitably crash and burn. Both Bin Salman and Netanyahu represent regimes that have no legitimacy and the Kushner-Trump foreign policy is founded on Zionist mythology and grand ambitions that disregard the will of the people of the region. It is an irony that Netanyahu could not resist calling Iran dishonest, “I warned that Iran’s regime had repeatedly lied to the international community, that it could not be trusted,” and then add the biggest lie of them all, “Israel remains committed to achieving peace with all our neighbors, including the Palestinians.”

Hard as it may be to believe, Netanyahu’s obsession with Iran has nothing to do with Iran and it has nothing to do with any real or perceived threat by Iran. Netanyahu discovered that Iran is a perfect target to use each time he needs a smoke screen. As Palestinians die a slow agonizing death due to his policies, thirsty for water, desperate for urgent medical care and fighting for their freedom, killed in the streets and held in Israeli torture chambers, Netanyahu the magician is terrifying the world with a smoke screen intended to turning the world’s attention to a threat that does not exist. Still, one may safely assume some seventy-five million Iranians are concerned for their country and their lives.

As Nowruz approaches, I wish all Iranians inner strength, peace, prosperity and Nowruz Mobarak.

Miko Peled is a writer and human rights activist. He is an international speaker and the author of “The General’s Son, Journey of an Israeli in Palestine”.

March 17, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

How ‘Operation Merlin’ Poisoned U.S. Intelligence on Iran

Former CIA officer Jeffrey Sterling, left, leaves the Alexandria Federal Courthouse on Jan. 26, 2016 with his wife Holly, center, and attorney Barry Pollack. Photo: Kevin Wolf/AP
By Gareth Porter | Consortium News | March 3, 2018

Jeffrey Sterling, the case officer for the CIA’s covert “Operation Merlin,” who was convicted in May 2015 for allegedly revealing details of that operation to James Risen of the New York Times, was released from prison in January after serving more than two years of a 42-month sentence. He had been tried and convicted on the premise that the revelation of the operation had harmed U.S. security.

The entire case against him assumed a solid intelligence case that Iran had indeed been working on a nuclear weapon that justified that covert operation.

But the accumulated evidence shows that the intelligence not only did not support the need for Operation Merlin, but that the existence of the CIA’s planned covert operation itself had a profound distorting impact on intelligence assessment of the issue. The very first U.S. national intelligence estimate on the subject in 2001 that Iran had a nuclear weapons program was the result of a heavy-handed intervention by Deputy Director for Operations James L. Pavitt that was arguably more serious than the efforts by Vice-President Dick Cheney to influence the CIA’s 2002 estimate on WMD in Iraq.

The full story of the interaction between the CIA operation and intelligence analysis, shows, moreover, that Pavitt had previously fabricated an alarmist intelligence analysis for the Clinton White House on Iran’s nuclear program in late 1999 in order to get Clinton’s approval for Operation Merlin.

Pavitt Plans Operation Merlin

The story of Operation Merlin and the suppression of crucial intelligence on Iran’s nuclear intentions cannot be understood apart from the close friendship between Pavitt and CIA Director George Tenet. Pavitt’s rise in the Operations Directorate had been so closely linked to his friendship with Tenet that the day after Tenet announced his retirement from the CIA on June 3, 2004, Pavitt announced his own retirement.

Soon after he was assigned to the CIA’s Non-Proliferation Center (NPC) in 1993 Pavitt got the idea of creating a new component within the Directorate of Operations to work solely on proliferation, as former CIA officials recounted for Valerie Plame Wilson’s memoir, Fair Game. Pavitt proposed that the new proliferation division would have the authority not only to collect intelligence but also to carry out covert operations related to proliferation, using its own clandestine case officers working under non-official cover.

Immediately after Tenet was named Deputy Director of the CIA in 1995, Pavitt got the new organization within the operations directorate called the Counter-Proliferation Division, or CPD. Pavitt immediately began the planning for a major operation targeting Iran. According to a CIA cable declassified for the Sterling trial, as early as March 1996 CPD’s “Office of Special Projects” had already devised a scheme to convey to the Iranians a copy of the Russian TBA-486 “fireset” – a system for multiple simultaneous high explosive detonations to set off a nuclear explosion. The trick was that it had built-in flaws that would make it unworkable.

A January 1997 declassified cable described a plan for using a Russian émigré’ former Soviet nuclear weapons engineer recruited in 1996 to gain “operational access” to an Iranian “target.” The cable suggested that it would be for the purpose of intelligence on the Iranian nuclear program, in the light of the fact that the agency had not issued a finding that Iran was working on nuclear weapons.

But in mid-March 1997 the language used by CPD to describe its proposed covert operation suddenly changed. Another declassified CPD cable from May 1997 said the ultimate goal was “to plant this substantial piece of deception information on the Iranian nuclear weapons program.” That shift in language apparently reflected Tenet’s realization that the CIA would need to justify the proposed covert operation to the White House, as required by legislation.

With his ambitious plan for a covert operation against Iran in his pocket, Pavitt was promoted to Associate Deputy Director of Operations in July 1997. On February 2, 1998, CPD announced to other CIA offices, according to the declassified cable, that a technical team from one of the national laboratories had finished building the detonation device that would include “multiple nested flaws,” including a “final fatal flaw” ensuring “that it will not detonate a nuclear weapon.”

An official statement from the national lab certifying that fact was a legal requirement for the CIA to obtain the official Presidential “finding” for any covert operation required by legislation passed in the wake of the Iran-Contra affair.

Pavitt obtained the letter from the national laboratory in mid-1999 a few weeks after it was announced he would be named Deputy Director of the CIA for Operations.

But that left a final political obstacle to a presidential finding: the official position of the CIA’ s Intelligence Directorate remained that Iran did not have a nuclear weapons program. The language of the CIA’s report to Congress for the first half of 1999, which was delivered to Congress in early 2000, contained formulations that showed signs of having been negotiated between those who believed Iran just have a nuclear weapons program and those who did not.

The report referred to nuclear-related projects that “will help Iran augment its nuclear technology infrastructure, which in turn would be useful in supporting nuclear weapons research and development.” The shift from “will” to “would” clearly suggested that nuclear weapons work was not yet an established fact.

A second sentence said, “expertise and technology gained, along with the commercial channels and contacts established-even from cooperation that appears strictly civilian in nature-could be used to advance Iran’s nuclear weapons research and developmental program.” That seemed to hint that maybe Iran already had such a nuclear weapons program.

That was not sufficient for Tenet and Pavitt to justify a covert nuclear weapons program involving handing over a fake nuclear detonation device. So the dynamic duo came up with another way around that obstacle. A new intelligence assessment, reported in a front page article by James Risen and Judith Miller in the New York Times on January 17, 2000, said the CIA could no longer rule out the possibility that Iran now had the capability to build a bomb – or even that it may have actually succeeded in building one.

Risen and Miller reported that Tenet had begun briefings for Clinton administration officials on the new CIA assessment in December 1999 shortly after the document was completed, citing “several U.S. officials” familiar with it. The Tenet briefings made no mention of any evidence of a bomb-making program, according to the sources cited by the Times. It was based instead on the alleged inability of U.S. intelligence to track adequately Iran’s acquisition of nuclear technology and materials from the black market.

But the new assessment had evidently not come from the Intelligence Directorate. John McLaughlin, then Deputy Director for Intelligence, said in e-mail response to a query that he did not recall the assessment. And when this writer asked him whether it was possible that he would not remember or would not have known about an intelligence assessment on such a high profile issue, McLaughlin did not respond. Pavitt and Tenet had obviously gone outside the normal procedure for an intelligence assessment in order to get around the problem of lack of support for their thesis from the analysts.

A declassified CIA cable dated November 18, 1999 instructed the Russian émigré to prepare for a possible trip to Vienna in early 2000, indicating that Tenet hoped to get the finding within a few weeks. Clinton apparently did give the necessary finding in early 2000; in the first days of March 2000 the Russian émigré dropped the falsified fireset plans into the mail chute of the Iranian mission to the United Nations in Vienna.

Pavitt Suppresses Unwelcome Iran Nuclear Intelligence

Pavitt’s CPD was also managing a group of covert operatives who recruited spies to provide information on weapons of mass destruction in Iran and Iraq. CPD not only controlled the targeting of the operatives working on those accounts but the distribution of their reports. CPD’s dual role thus represented a serious conflict of interest, because the CPD had a vested interest in an intelligence estimate that showed Iran had an active nuclear weapons program, and it could prevent intelligence analysts from getting information that conflicted with that interest.

That is exactly what happened in 2001. One especially valuable CPD operative, who was fluent in both Farsi and Arabic, had begun recruiting agents to provide intelligence on both Iran and Iraq since 1995. His talents had been recognized by the CPD and by higher levels of the Operations Directorate: by 2001 he had been promised an intelligence medal and a promotion to GS14 – the second highest grade level in the civil service.

But that same year the operative reported very important intelligence on the Iran nuclear issue that would have caused serious problems for Pavitt and CPD and led ultimately to his being taken out of the field and being fired.

In a November 2005 court filing in a lawsuit against Pavitt, the unnamed head of CPD and then CIA Director Porter Goss, the operative, identified only as “Doe” in court records, said that one of his most highly valued “human assets” – the CIA term for recruited spies – had given him very important intelligence in 2001. That information was the subject of three crucial lines of the key paragraph in the operative’s complaint that were redacted at the demand of the CIA. For years “Doe” sought to declassify the language of that had been redacted, but the CIA had fought it.

It was assumed in press accounts at the time that the redacted lines were related to Iraq. But the lawyer who handled the lawsuit for “Doe,” Roy Krieger, revealed to this writer in interviews that the redacted lines revealed that the CIA “human asset” in question was an Iranian, and that he had told “Doe” that the Iranian government had no intention of “weaponizing” the uranium that it was planning to enrich.

It was the first intelligence from a “highly-valued” U.S. spy – one who was known to be in a position to know he claimed to know – on Iran’s intentions regarding nuclear weapons to become available to the U.S. intelligence community. “Doe” reported what the spy had said to his supervisor at CPD, according to the court filing, and the supervisor immediately met with Pavitt and the head of CPD. After that meeting the CPD supervisor ordered “Doe” not to prepare any written report on the matter and assured him that Pavitt and the head of the CPD would personally brief President Bush on the intelligence.

But “Doe” soon learned from his own contacts at CIA headquarters that no such briefing ever took place. And “Doe” was soon instructed to terminate his relationship with the asset. After another incident involving intelligence he had reported on WMD in Iraq that had also conflicted with the line desired by the Bush administration, CIA management took “Doe” out of the field, put him in a headquarters job and denied him the intelligence medal and promotion to GS-14 that he had been promised, according to his court filing. The CIA fired “Doe” without specifying a reason in 2005.

Pavitt did not respond to requests for an interview for this story both at the Scowcroft Group and, after he retired, at his home in McLean, Virginia.

The intervention by Pavitt to prevent the intelligence from Doe’s Iranian asset from circulating within the U.S. government came as the intelligence community was working on the 2001 National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) on the Iranian nuclear program. That NIE concluded that Iran was working on a nuclear weapon, but the finding was far from being clear-cut. Paul Pillar, the CIA’s National Intelligence Officer for the Middle East and North Africa, who was involved in the 2001 NIE, recalled that the intelligence community had no direct evidence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program. “We’re talking about things that are a matter of inference, not direct evidence,” Pillar said in an interview with this writer.

Furthermore he recalls that there was a deep divide in the intelligence community between the technical analysts, who tended to believe that evidence of uranium enrichment was evidence of a weapons program, and the Iran specialists, including Pillar himself, who believed Iran had adopted a “hedging strategy” and had made no decision in favor or a nuclear weapon. The technical analysts at the CIA’s Weapons Intelligence Non-Proliferation and Arms Control (WINPAC), were given the advantage of writing the first draft not only on Iranian technical capabilities but on Iranian intentions – a subject on which it had no real expertise – as well, according to Pillar.

The introduction of the intelligence from a highly credible Iranian intelligence asset indicating no intention to convert its enriched uranium into nuclear weapons would arguably have changed the dynamic of the estimate dramatically. It would have meant that one side could cite hard intelligence from a valued source in support of its position, while the other side could cite only their own predisposition.

Pillar confirmed that no such intelligence report was made available to the analysts for the 2001 NIE. He noted just how rarely the kind of intelligence that had been obtained by “Doe” was available for an intelligence estimate. “Analysts deal with a range of stuff,” he said, “from a tidbit from technical intelligence to the goldmine well-placed source with an absolutely credible account,“ but the latter kind of intelligence “almost never comes up.”

After reading this account of the intelligence obtained by the CPD operative, Pillar said he is not in a position to judge the value of the intelligence from the Iranian asset, but that the information from the CPD Iranian asset “should have been considered by the NIE team in conjunction with other sources of information.”

That lead to a series of estimates that assumed Iran had a nuclear weapons program.

In 2004, a large cache of purported Iranian documents showing alleged Iranian research related to nuclear weapons was turned over to German intelligence, which the Bush administration claimed came from the laptop of an Iranian scientist or engineer. But former senior German Foreign Official Karsten Voigt later revealed to this writer that the whole story was a fabrication, because the documents had been given those documents by the Mujahedin-E Khalq, the Iranian opposition group that was known to have publicized anti-Iran information fed to it by Israel’s Mossad.

Those documents led directly to another CIA estimate in 2005 asserting the existence of an Iranian nuclear weapons program, which in turn paved the way for all the subsequent estimates – all of which were adopted despite the absence of new evidence of such a program. The CIA swallowed the ruse repeatedly, because it had already been manipulated by Pavitt.

Operation Merlin is the perfect example of powerful bureaucratic interests running amok and creating the intelligence necessary to justify their operations. The net result is that Jeffrey Sterling was unjustly imprisoned and that the United States has gone down a path of Iran policy that poses serious – and unnecessary – threats to American security.

Gareth Porter is an independent journalist and winner of the 2012 Gellhorn Prize for journalism. He is the author of numerous books, including Manufactured Crisis: The Untold Story of the Iran Nuclear Scare (Just World Books, 2014).

March 3, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

What the Russian veto on Yemeni war signifies

By M.K. Bhadrakumar | Asia Times | March 1, 2018

The Russian veto in the United Nations Security Council on Monday to block a Western-backed resolution to condemn Iran for its alleged violations of international sanctions and its fueling of the conflict in Yemen was a landmark event.

This is the first time Russia has shot down a US-led move in the Security Council regarding a regional conflict in which it is not directly involved. Moscow did not block the Western moves over Iraq in 2003 or over Libya in 2011, although Russian interests were involved. Nor did Moscow block Kosovo’s admission to the UN as a sovereign state, piloted by the West, in 2008, although it was a bitter pill to swallow in every sense.

In Syria, of course, Russia has exercised its veto power repeatedly both in self-interest and in the interests of its ally. But in the Yemen conflict, Russia is neither a participant nor a protagonist, nor has it any legitimate reason to take sides.

Suffice to say the Russian veto on Monday falls into a category by itself as a manifestation of the Russian-American standoff for global influence. It therefore becomes a turning point in the post-Cold War era of big-power politics.

On its broadest plane, Russia has signaled that the US and its Western allies can no longer dominate the international system and Russia will oppose US hegemony as a matter of principle. This has serious implications for regional and international security.

Indeed, what Russia has done is shoot down an unprincipled Western attempt to isolate Iran from a geopolitical perspective. The West has adopted a cynical position over the conflict in Yemen. The US has been a virtual participant in the conflict by providing military assistance to the Saudi forces and identifying for them targets for their brutal air attacks on Yemen.

The administration of US President Donald Trump has not cared to provide any empirical evidence that the Houthis are dependent on Iran’s support. UN and other experts refuse to accept the US allegation that Iran supplied the Houthis with the missiles that targeted Saudi Arabia. The Barack Obama administration was frank enough to admit that while the Houthis could be “pro-Iran,” there was no alliance as such between the two.

In reality, Zaidi Shiite Muslims are more closely aligned to Sunni Islam than to the Shiism practiced in Iran.

The Russian stance took exception to the British-drafted text (supported by the US and France) containing a condemnation of Iran predicated on “unconfirmed conclusions and reports that should be double-checked and discussed by the sanctions committee,” as Russia’s permanent representative to the UN, Vasily Nebenzya, put it.

Nebenzya noted that the Russian side offered “more than one compromising formulation” but those ideas had been dismissed. He said Russia “is fundamentally against a technical extension of sanctions committees’ export groups being politicized and used for solving not technical and expert tasks, but geopolitical ones.”

Significantly, the aborted British text not only contained condemnations against Tehran on illegal supplies of weapons to Houthis but also stated an intention to assume further measures in response to those violations. Conceivably, Moscow suspected the US intentions in the downstream, given the Trump administration’s hostile strategy toward Iran – scrapping the nuclear deal, imposing more sanctions, rolling back Iran’s missile capability and pushing back at Iran’s surge as a regional power.

In a clear rebuff to Washington, Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov said on Tuesday in Moscow that “it is necessary to fully implement the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action [Iran nuclear deal]. If there is a desire to discuss some other issues concerning Iran in this format or in another format, this should be done with Iran’s voluntary participation and on the basis of consensus rather than through ultimatums.”

Interestingly, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir telephoned Lavrov on Monday just hours before the Security Council vote. According to the Russian readout, they “exchanged views on a number of issues on the bilateral and Middle East agendas, including in the context of the drafting of a new UN Security Council resolution on Yemen.”

Evidently, if the Trump administration had sought to leverage Saudi-Russian relations, it didn’t work. Moscow has in effect “de-hyphenated” its relations with Saudi Arabia and Iran. Russia has displayed its unique credentials to play an influential role in ending the conflict in Yemen and in facilitating a Saudi-Iranian rapprochement. Interestingly, Riyadh did not criticize Moscow’s veto on Monday and it was left to the US, Britain, France and Germany to issue a joint statement.

Of course, what emerges, in the final analysis, is the resilience of the Russian-Iranian alliance in Middle East politics. The Western thesis that an “assertive” Iran inevitably grates against Russian “expansionism” in the Middle East stands exposed as an overblown notion.

Ironically, Monday’s event will have a salutary effect on Russian-Iranian coordination in Syria, especially as the two powers prepare for a trilateral summit with Turkey in Istanbul in April.

March 1, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Iran trade is not vulnerable to US sanctions

By M K Bhadrakumar | Indian Punchline | February 28, 2018

The fear mongers among the Indian elite spread a canard that India needs to be watchful of American wrath if it expands economic ties with Iran. Of course, that is plain baloney. The Modi government has announced a decision to sequester India-Iran relations from US sanctions by allowing Indian companies and entities to use the national currency. This decision coincided with President Hassan Rouhani’s recent visit and becomes a landmark event in the chronicle of India-Iran relations.

Interestingly, European countries are also moving in the same direction as India. Their plan is to offer euro-denominated credits to Iranian buyers of their goods and services, which will keep the transactions beyond the reach of any US sanctions. France has already announced its intention to offer dedicated, euro-dominated export guarantees to Iranian buyers, which dispense with any US link, whether to the dollar or otherwise.

Like India, European countries also are staunch supporters of the Iran nuclear deal. Like India, they also are on the lookout for increasing their trade with Iran. The head of France’s state-owned Public Investment Bank (Bpifrance) Nicolas Dufurcq said last week with a touch of sarcasm, “This is a completely separate flow (of money). There is no dollar in this scheme… no one holding a US passport.” (One might say about the Indian elite, perhaps – “no one holding a Green Card.”)

Dufurcq was addressing French lawmakers in Paris. He disclosed that there is a pipeline of about 1.5 billion euros in potential contracts for French exporters in the Iranian market. France used to have close business ties with Iran and French manufacturing plants are still operating in Iran. Other European countries such as Germany, Belgium, Austria and Italy are also following the French example to insulate their economic relations with Iran from US sanctions. Italy and Iran agreed recently on a framework agreement that provides Italian credit up to 5 billion euros for its companies making investments in Iran. The credit agreement is between state-owned agencies in the two countries.

Unfortunately, Indian analysts largely go by the jaundiced opinions about Iran disseminated by the US media. The stunning reality is that in the last financial year the post-sanctions Iranian economy surged by 16%. Importantly, Iran is unique among the petrodollar states of the Persian Gulf in having a concerted strategy to grow its non-oil economy. And that is where lucrative business opportunities lie for Indian trade and industry.

Of course, the stabilization of oil prices above $50 per barrel also helps boost Iran’s income. Thus, the Modi government’s plans for a huge expansion of economic relations with Iran are based on a sound assessment. This is what Professor Juan Cole, the noted American expert on the Middle East wrote in his blog Informed Comment :

  • US pressure on Iran is not insignificant and does slow its economic progress. But if you tallied up wins and losses, there does not seem much question that Iran is gradually winning. That progress by Tehran is because of the nuclear accord, which reassured most of the world. Tehran should stick with it.

To be sure, Iran intends to stick to the nuclear accord and keep its part of the bargain so long as the international community abides by the July 2015 agreement. Tehran places great store on the support from European countries. (Read a piece in LobLog by former British diplomat Peter Jenkins, A Nuclear Deal With Iran Remains The Least Bad Option)

Iranian foreign policy is making an historic shift in its integration with the international community. The Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said on February 19 in a national address, “In foreign policy today, the top priorities for us include preferring East to West.” Of course, it is another side of the Iranian ideology of preserving the country’s strategic autonomy. Yet, importantly, Khamenei didn’t exclude the West.

Détente with the US was Iran’s expectation in negotiating the 2015 nuclear deal but the growing feeling is that this will not be possible so long as the Trump administration is in power. It was an historic mistake on the part of the Obama administration not to have taken the nuclear deal to its logical conclusion by removing the residual US sanctions that hamper banking ties and, secondly, by engaging Iran constructively on issues of regional security and stability. The bottom line is that Iran has a surprisingly flexible foreign policy – pragmatic to dealings with the West. It’s the Israeli lobby, stupid – in Washington and Delhi!

February 28, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Fake News, Mainstream Media, Warmongering, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 5 Comments

U.S. Escalates Threat Against Iran After Russia U.N. Veto

By Tyler Durden | Zero Hedge | February 27, 2018

The United States has escalated international tensions with Iran, threatening unilateral action against the Islamic Republic on Monday after Russia vetoed a United Nations Security Council motion to call out Tehran for allowing weapons to fall into the hands of Yemen’s Houthi group.

If Russia is going to continue to cover for Iran then the U.S. and our partners need to take action on our own. If we’re not going to get action on the council then we have to take our own actions,” said U.S. Ambassador Nikki Haley during a visit to the Honduran capital of Tegucigalpa.

Haley did not specify what type of action she meant, however the Russian veto was a big blow to the United States which has been lobbying for months to hold Iran accountable at the U.N. – while also threatening to withhold waivers on U.S. sanctions unless the “terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal” are fixed.

“Obviously this vote isn’t going to make the decision on the nuclear deal. What I can say is it doesn’t help,” Haley said. “That just validated a lot of what we already thought which is Iran gets a pass for its dangerous and illegal behavior.”

President Trump warned European allies in January that they would need to commit to fixing the nuclear deal by May 12.

President Donald Trump warned European allies last month that they had to commit by mid-May to work with Washington to improve the pact. Britain drafted the failed U.N. resolution in consultation with the United States and France.

The initial draft text – to renew the annual mandate of a targeted sanctions regime related to Yemen – wanted to include a condemnation of Iran for violating an arms embargo on Houthi leaders and include a council commitment to take action over it.Reuters

Russia has questioned the findings of January U.N. report which concluded that Iran supplied the Houthi group with weapons in a proxy war between the Saudi-backed Yemeni government forces and Iranian-allied Houthi rebels in what appears to be another attempted regime change in the region.

In mid-January, Yemeni Houthi rebels claimed to have struck targets inside Saudi Arabia after launching two ballistic missiles, according to Houthi military media. Some pro-Houthi sources also reported the destruction of a Saudi military base in Najran, which lies in southwest Saudi Arabia near the border with Yemen.

Meanwhile, Saudi Arabia disputed that the missiles hit their targets, with Saudi state TV Ekhbariya reporting that Saudi missile defense has intercepted one near Jizan Regional Airport, a busy transport hub in southern Saudi Arabia, though it is unclear what happened to the reported second missile.

Following Monday’s Security Council vote, Iran’s mission to the U.N. accused the United States and Britain of abusing council privileges to “advance their political agenda and put the blame of all that happens in Yemen on Iran.”

Iran, meanwhile, has grown frustrated with what they’re getting out of the nuclear deal – with deputy foreign minister Abbas Araghchi telling a London audience last Thursday that they would likely pull out of the nuclear deal before the May 12 deadline if western banks don’t start doing business with them.

Most of it is because of this atmosphere of uncertainty which President Trump has created around JCPOA, which prevents all big companies and banks to work with Iran, it’s a fact, and it’s a violation lead by the United States. -Abbas Araghchi

Araghchi also criticized President Trump for his increasing rhetoric over the nuclear deal:

You know, every time President Trump makes a public statement against JCPOA saying it’s a bad deal, it’s the worst deal ever, I am going to fix it, I am going to change it, all these statements, public statements are a violation of the deal. Violation of the letter of the deal, not a sprit, the letter. If you just see paragraph 28 it clearly says that all JCPOA participants should refrain from anything which undermines successful implementation of JCPOA, including in their public statements of silly officials.

“If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the (deal) continues, if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us,” Araqchi told an audience at the London-based think tank Chatham House. “That’s a fact.”

February 27, 2018 Posted by | Timeless or most popular, Wars for Israel | , , , , | 2 Comments

US curbs bid to take Iran off FATF financial blacklist

Press TV – February 24, 2018

The world’s financial watchdog has extended a waiver for punitive measures against Iran for another six months but refused to remove the country from its blacklist.

The Paris-based the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) had been weighing Tehran’s request for the lifting of so-called countermeasures for some time but a flurry of recent visits by a top US official to France and other European countries thwarted the bid.

Change of heart

Iran’s removal from the blacklist had gained support in European capitals in recognition of the steps Tehran has taken in recent years to enact legislation barring terrorist financing and money laundering.

However, the US sent the official to France, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium ahead of a plenary meeting of the task force Friday to warn that keeping Iran on the FATF blacklist was a top priority, and that Washington would aggressively pursue that policy.

As a result, the FATF decided to continue the suspension of countermeasures, taking into account the fact that Iran has draft legislation currently before Parliament, but did not remove the country from the list in a decision which many believe is political.

The FATF suspended its punitive measures for a year in 2016 when Iran reached a landmark nuclear deal and promised to step up its fight on money-laundering. The task force extended the waiver last July and again on Friday.

The Iranian government hopes that the exit from the FATF blacklist would remove one hurdle to foreign investment. Critics of the government, however, say membership in the Financial Action Task Force has not only failed to attract investment, but it has also exposed various institutions to extraterritorial regulations and penalties.

Iranian institutions targeted

In its Friday decision, the FATF threatened Iran with new penalties in June if it doesn’t bolster oversight of alleged terrorism financing and money laundering within its borders.

Some in Iran believe the US is using the FATF to target key organizations such as the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) which has both a role in the Iranian economy and supports groups such as Lebanon’s Hezbollah regarded as legitimate “resistance” entities by the Islamic Republic.

The FATF cited nine “action items” which Iran had to fully address before the body considers its bid for removal from the blacklist.

“Until Iran implements the measures required to address the deficiencies identified in the Action Plan, the FATF will remain concerned with the terrorist financing risk emanating from Iran and the threat this poses to the international financial system,” it said.

“The FATF, therefore, calls on its members and urges all jurisdictions to continue to advise their financial institutions to apply enhanced due diligence to business relationships and transactions with natural and legal persons from Iran, consistent with FATF Recommendation 19,” it added.

Countries that do not follow FATF are often labeled as high-risk or uncooperative jurisdictions by the West, making international trade costly and difficult.

US threats

Iran agreed to scale back its nuclear energy program in return for the lifting of sanctions which would facilitate business with the world and pave the way for foreign investment. However, US pressures on bodies such as FATF and its threats have driven away banks, investors and companies.

Earlier this week, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said Tehran will withdraw from the nuclear deal if there is no economic benefit and major banks continue to shun the Islamic Republic.

Big banks are afraid of falling foul of remaining US sanctions.

Araqchi said even if US President Donald Trump relents and issues fresh “waivers” to continue suspending sanctions on Tehran, the existing situation is unacceptable for Iran.

“The deal would not survive this way even if the ultimatum is passed and waivers are extended,” Araqchi, Iran’s lead nuclear negotiator, said in a speech at the Chatham House think tank in London.

“If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) continues, if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us,” he said. “That’s a fact.”

February 24, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Wars for Israel | , , , | Leave a comment

US Violates Iranian Nuclear Deal Almost Every Day – Tehran

Sputnik – February 22, 2018

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said Thursday that the US violated the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) almost every day, while Trump’s public statements contribute to this.

“It is a fact that the United States is not implementing the JCPOA [the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action], it is a fact that it violates it almost daily,” he told the BBC.

According to him, Trump’s statements regarding the deal being “bad,” or seeking to change it are a violation of the agreement.

“This violates the letter, not the spirit of the agreement,” the deputy minister added.

Speaking further, the senior Iranian official said that Iran would withdraw from the agreement if there would be no economic benefits for the country and major banks wouldn’t work with Iran.

“The deal would not survive this way even if the ultimatum is passed and waivers are extended,” Araqchi said.

The statement comes almost two weeks after US President Donald Trump delivered an ultimatum to the heads of European countries, saying that he wouldn’t extend the US sanctions relief on Iran if the sides refused to “fix the terrible flaws of the Iran nuclear deal.

“The day before, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in an exclusive interview with Sputnik that “the US has never adhered to its liabilities within the JCPOA.”

Fears of Syrian War Tearing Middle East Apart

Araghchi also commented on the on-going conflict in Syria, which has recently escalated after an Israeli F-16 jet was shot down by the Syrian Army as it was about to attack Iranian positions for allegedly flying a drone into Israel’s airspace.

The Deputy FM denied the accusations, claiming that the drone in fact belonged to the Syrian government.

At the same time, he underlined the policy of double standards on the part of Israeli  Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who had earlier branded Iran as the “greatest threat to our world,” while the Israeli military itself is frequently flying drones over Syria and  neighboring countries.

“They shouldn’t be angry when they are faced with something that they are doing against others on a daily basis,” Araghchi said.

The deputy minister noted that the incident has had a significant destabilizing impact on the de-escalation process in Syria and on the maintenance of peace in the Middle East.

“Fear of war is everywhere in our region,” Araghchi stated.

Nevertheless, Araghchi stressed that the presence of Iranian forces in Syria should not be misinterpreted as a threat to Israel, since their sole objective is to assist the government of Bashar al-Assad in combating terrorists.

“Just imagine if we were not there. Now you would have Daesh [the Islamic State group] in Damascus, and maybe in Beirut and other places,” he said.

The Deputy FM affirmed that the “de-escalation of tensions” is “very important” to the Iranian strategy in Syria, and the country has “worked hard to achieve that.”

February 22, 2018 Posted by | Economics, Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Trump’s Foreign Policy Is In Service To Israel

By Paul Craig Roberts | Institute For Political Economy | January 28, 2018

Peter Jenkins, a former British ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, expresses concerns about the decisions of France, Germany, and the UK to appease President Trump on fixing “flaws” in the Iranian nuclear agreement. http://lobelog.com/europe-dont-go-all-wobbly-on-the-jcpoa/ It is worth a read to see that the European governments are still Washington’s toadies despite the “hate Trump” attitude that allegedly prevails among Washington’s European vassals.

Readers need to understand that there are no flaws in the agreement. The allegation of “flaws” is an israeli orchestration in order to resurrect the attacks on Iran that the nuclear agreement terminated. What Trump is doing is appeasing Israel. Israel doesn’t want Iran to have long range missiles, non-nuclear ones, that enhance Iran’s defensive posture. More importantly, Israel does not want to lose the nuclear weapons charge that Israel invented and hoped to use to have the US military destabilize Iran a la Iraq and Libya. Israel’s problem with Syria and Iran is that both countries support Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that has twice driven the vaunted Israeli army out of southern Lebanon, territory Israel wants to occupy for the water resources. If Israel, armed as it is with the American Zionist Neoconservatives who control US foreign policy, can resurrect the Western attack on Iran, Israel can perhaps pressure Iran to abandon Hezbollah and Lebanon to Israel.

Americans are so totally brainwashed by Israeli propaganda that there is no public restraint on Washington serving Israel’s interest. And that is what Trump is doing. The tough guy is nothing but a panderer for Israel.

What is going on has nothing whatsoever to do with the Iranian nuclear or missile program. It has to do with Israel’s use of US power, including the intimidation power over Europe, to remove Iran as a constraint on Israeli expansion.

Of course, the UK diplomat probably knows this, but he also knows that he cannot say it without being read out of his career as an “anti-semite.”

January 29, 2018 Posted by | Ethnic Cleansing, Racism, Zionism, Wars for Israel | , , , | 1 Comment

The Algiers Accords: Decades of Violations – And Silence

BY Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich | American Herald Tribune | January 17, 2018

This week marks the 37th anniversary of a pledge made by the United States in 1981:

“The United States pledges that it is and from now on will be the policy of the United States not to intervene, directly or indirectly, politically or militarily, in Iran’s internal affairs.”

This week also marks 37 continuous years of the United States failing to uphold its pledge: the 1981 Algiers Accords.

Just how many people have heard of the 1981 Algiers Accords, a bilateral treaty signed on January 19, 1981 between the United States of America and the Islamic Republic of Iran? Chances are, not many. Just as chances are that not many are fully aware of what actually led to the signing of this treaty.

Following the success of the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew the Shah, America’s strongman in Iran, plans were made to topple the new government in Tehran. In 1980, under the Carter administration, the United States began clandestine radio broadcasts into Iran from Egypt. The broadcasts called for Khomeini’s overthrow and urged support for Shahpur Bakhtiar [1] , the last prime minister under the Shah. Other plans included the failed Nojeh coup plot as well as plans for a possible American invasion of Iran using Turkish bases [2].

The new Revolutionary government in Iran, with a look to the past and the 1953 British-CIA coup d’état that overthrew the Mossadegh government and reinstalled the Shah, had good reason to believe that the United States was planning to abort the revolution in its nascent stages. Fearful, enthusiastic students took over the U.S. embassy in Tehran and took the diplomats as hostages in order to prevent such plans from fruition.

These events led to the negotiation and conclusion the Algiers Accords, point 1 of which was the pledge by the United States not to intervene in Iran’s internal affairs in anyway. The Algiers Accords brought about the release of the American hostages and established the Iran–U.S. Claims Tribunal (“Tribunal”) at The Hague, the Netherlands. The Tribunal ruled consistently “the Declarations were to be interpreted in accordance with the process of interpretation set out in the Vienna Convention on the Law of Treaties.” (*)

A pledge is only as valid and worthy as the person making it. From the onset, the United States failed to uphold its own pledge. For instance, starting in 1982, the CIA provided $100,000 a month to a group in Paris called the Front for the Liberation of Iran. The group headed by Ali Amini who had presided over the reversion of Iranian oil to foreign control after the CIA-backed coup in 1953 [4]. Additionally, America provided support to two Iranian paramilitary groups based in Turkey, one of them headed by General Bahram Aryana, the former Shah’s army chief with close ties to Bakhtiar [5].

In 1986, the CIA went so far as to pirate Iran’s national television network frequency to transmit an address by the Shah’s son, Reza Pahlavi, over Iranian TV in which he vowed: “I will return,” [6]. The support did not end there. Pahlavi had C.LA. funding for a number of years in the eighties which stopped with the Iran-Contra affair. He was successful at soliciting funds from the emir of Kuwait, the emir of Bahrain, the king of Morocco, and the royal family of Saudi Arabia, all staunch U.S. allies [7].

In late 2002, Michael Ledeen joined Morris Amitay, vice-president of the Jewish Institute for National Security Affairs; ex-CIA head James Woolsey; former Reagan administration official Frank Gaffney; former senator Paul Simon; and oil consultant Rob Sobhani to set up a group called the Coalition for Democracy in Iran (CDI) [8]. In spite of his lack of charisma as a leader, in May, 2003, Michael Ledeen wrote a policy brief for the American Enterprise Institute Web site arguing that Pahlavi would make a suitable leader for a transitional government, describing him as “widely admired inside Iran, despite his refreshing lack of avidity for power or wealth.” [9] In August 2003, the Pentagon issued new guidelines -All meetings with Iranian dissidents had to be cleared with Undersecretary of Defense for Policy Douglas Feith. Reza Pahlavis’ name was included in the list of contacts that had been meeting with Pentagon analysts [10].

Concurrent with this direct interference, and in the following decade, Washington concentrated its efforts into putting a chokehold on the Iranian economy. A provision of the Algiers Accords was that “the United States will revoke all trade sanctions which were directed against Iran in the period November 4, 1979, to date.” Embargoes and sanctions became the norm. Failing to interfere in Iran’s domestic affairs in order to topple the Islamic Republic through economic hardship, the United States once again turned up pressure through broadcasts and direct support for dissidents and terrorists – in conjunction with economic sanctions.

This stranglehold was taking place while concurrently, and in violation of the Algiers Accords, the CIA front National Endowment for Democracy was providing funds to various groups, namely “Iran Teachers Association” (1991, 1992, 1993, 1994,2001, 2002, 2003); The Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI founded in 1995 by Kenneth R. Timmerman, Peter Rodman, Joshua Muravchik, and American intelligence officials advocating regime change in Iran), National Iranian American Council (NIAC) 2002, 2005, 2006), and others [11].

Funds from NED to interfere in Iran continued after the signing of the JCPOA. The 2016 funding stood at well over $1m.

In September 2000, Senators openly voiced support for the MEK Terror group Mojaheddin-e-khalgh. Writing for The New Yorker, Connie Bruck revealed that: “Israel is said to have had a relationship with the M.E.K at least since the late nineties, and to have supplied a satellite signal for N.C.RI. broadcasts from Paris into Iran.” [12]. Perhaps their relationship with Israel and their usefulness explains why President Bush accorded the group ‘special persons status’ [13].

During the illegal invasion and occupation of Iraq, the terrorist group got protection from the U.S. troops in Iraq despite getting pressure from the Iraqi government to leave the country (CNN [14]). In 2005, “a Farsi-speaking former CIA officer says he was approached by neoconservatives in the Pentagon who asked him to go to Iran and oversee “MEK [Mujahedeen-e Khalq] cross-border operations” into Iran.”

Moreover, according to Pakistani Intelligence, the United States secretly used yet another terrorist group – the Jundallah, to stage a series of deadly attacks against Iran. The United States seems to have a soft spot for terrorists.

In addition to CIA funding and covert operations with help from terrorists, the United States actively used radio broadcasts into Iran to stir up unrest including Radio Farda and VOA Persian. It comes as no surprise then that the recipient of NED funds, NIAC, should encourage such broadcasts. Also, the BBC “received significant” sum of money from the US government to help combat the blocking of TV and internet services in countries including Iran and China.”

It is crucial to note that while the United States was conducting secret negotiations with Iran which led to the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), the MEK were delisted as a foreign terror organization. This provides them with the legitimacy to write opinion pieces in leading American papers.

Also important to note that during the JCPOA negotiations in which the United States participated as a party to an agreement, it was busy flouting the Treaty with its broadcasts in to Iran – apparently, without objection. But the violation was not limited to broadcasts. Item B of the Treaty’s preamble states:

“Through the procedures provided in the declaration relating to the claims settlement agreement, the United States agrees to terminate all legal proceedings in United States courts involving claims of United States persons and institutions against Iran and its state enterprises, to nullify all attachments and judgments obtained therein, to prohibit all further litigation based on such claims, and to bring about the termination of such claims through binding arbitration.”

Unsurprisingly, the US again failed to keep its pledge and a partisan legislation allocated millions for the former hostages.

Clearly, the United States felt bound by the Treaty for it recognized Point 2. Of the Algiers Accords when in January 2016 Iran received its funds frozen by America in a settlement at the Hague. Perhaps for no other reason than to pacify Iran post JCPOA while finding the means to re-route Iran’s money back into American hands.

It would require a great deal of time and verse to cite every instance and detail of the United States of America’s violation of a Treaty, of its pledge, for the past 37 years. But never has its attitude been more brazen in refusing to uphold its pledge and its open violation of international law than when President Trump openly voiced his support for protests in Iran and called for regime change. The US then called an emergency UNSC meeting on January 5, 2018 to demand that the UN interfere in Iran’s internal affairs.

America’s history clearly demonstrates that it has no regard for international law and treaties. Its pledge is meaningless. International law is a tool for America that does not apply to itself. This is a well-documented fact – and perhaps none has realized this better than the North Korean leader – Kim Jong-un. But what is inexplicable is the failure of Iranians to address these violations.

Endnotes

[*] U.S. TREATIES AND AGREEMENTS

The Vienna Convention on theLaw of Treaties defines a treaty “as an international agreement concluded between States in written form and governed by international law, whether embodied in a single instrument or in two or more related instruments and whatever its particular designation.”

Under United States law, however, there is a distinction made between the terms treaty and executive agreement. ” Generally, a treaty is a binding international agreement and an executive agreement applies in domestic law only. Under international law, however, both types of agreements are considered binding. Regardless of whether an international agreement is called a convention, agreement, protocol, accord, etc. https://www.law.berkeley.edu/library/dynamic/guide.php?id=65)

[1] David Binder, “U.S. Concedes It Is Behind Anti-Khomeini Broadcasts,” New York Times, 29 June 1980,

[2] Mehmet Akif Okur, “The American Geopolitical Interests and Turkey on the Eve of the September 12, 1980 Coup”CTAD, Vol.11, No.21, p. 210-211

[3] Malintoppi, Loretta.  World Arbitration Reporter (WAR) – 2nd edition, December 2010

https://arbitrationlaw.com/library/algiers-accord-and-iran-united-states-claims-tribunal-1981-algiers-world-arbitration.  Downloaded January 14, 2018

https://treaties.un.org/doc/publication/unts/volume%201155/volume-1155-i-18232-english.pdf

[4] Bob Woodward, “Veil: The Secret Wars of the CIA, 1981-1987”, New York: Simon & Schuster, 1987, p. 480.  (Cited by Stephen R. Shalom, “The United States and the Gulf War”, Feb. 1990).

[5]Leslie H. Gelb, “U.S. Said to Aid Iranian Exiles in Combat and Political Units,” New York Times, 7 Mar. 1982, pp. A1, A12.

[6]Tower Commission, p. 398; Farhang, “Iran-Israel Connection,” p. 95. (Cited by Stephen R. Shalom, “The United States and the Gulf War”, Feb. 1990).

[7] Connie Bruck, ibid

[8] Andrew I KillgoreThe Washington Report on Middle East Affairs.  Washington:Dec 2003.  Vol. 22,  Iss. 10,  p. 17

[9] Connie Bruck, ibid

[10] Eli Lake,  New York Sun , Dec. 2, 2003

http://daily.nysun.com/Repository/getFiles.asp?Style=OliveXLib:ArticleToMail&Type=text/html&Path=NYS/2003/12/02&ID=Ar00100

[11] International Democracy Development, Google Books, p. 59 https://books.google.com/books?id=ReTtEj6_myAC&printsec=frontcover#v=onepage&q&f=false

[12] Connie Bruck, “A reporter at large: Exiles; How Iran’s expatriates are gaming the nuclear threat”.  The New Yorker, March 6, 2006

[13] US State Department Daily Briefing http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/dpb/2004/34680.htm

[14] Michael Ware, “U.S. protects Iranian Opposition Group in Iraq” 6, April 2007 http://www.cnn.com/2007/WORLD/meast/04/05/protected.terrorists/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

January 17, 2018 Posted by | Deception, Timeless or most popular | , , , , , | 1 Comment