Radical Iran-led Axis Confronted with U.S. Deterrence for First Time

The conflict in Syria has long ceased being a civil war, becoming instead a clash between coalitions and blocs that divide the entire Middle East.

The Iranian-led axis is the most dangerous and highly armed bloc fighting in Syria. Bashar al-Assad’s regime is not an independent actor, but rather, a component of this wider axis. In many respects, Assad is a junior member of the Iranian coalition set up to fight for him.

Russia joined the Iranian axis in 2015, acting for its own reasons as the pro-Assad coalition’s air force, helping to preserve the Syrian regime.

This coalition enabled the Assad regime to conduct mass murder and ethnic cleansing of Sunnis from Syria, while also using unconventional weapons against civilians in an effort to terrorize rebel organizations into submission.

Feeling confident by its growing control of Syria, Iran also uses its regional coalition to arm, finance, and deploy Shi’ite jihadist agents all over the Middle East, and to attack those who stand in the way of Iranian domination.

The Iranian-led axis has been able to spread violence, terrorism, and Islamic militancy without facing repercussions.

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Iran Threatens Trump Ahead of Inauguration: If He Nixes Nuclear Deal, We’ll Surprise Him the Same Way He Likes to Surprise Others

Iran will retaliate if newly inaugurated US President Donald Trump nixes the July 2015 nuclear agreement, the Islamic Republic’s top diplomat said this week, according to the semi-official state news agency Mehr.

“We will surprise him the same way he likes to surprise the others,” Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was quoted as saying during a visit to Myanmar.

“It is up to the US to decide to behave in front of the international community,” Zarif stated. “It seems the others are worried about Trump’s in-campaigning remarks, especially about the issue of Palestine and some other issues, but we are not at all worried, and we wait to see.”

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Referring to the nuclear deal agreed to a year and a half ago by Iran and six world powers, including the US, Zarif said, “Whatever Trump does, does not concern us at all, as we have our own options. However, it is an international agreement which demands the full commitment of the whole world.”

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Rafsanjani and Reform in Iran

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, President of the Islamic Republic of Iran from 1989 to 1997, is dead, and the New York Times is inconsolable. Rafsanjani, you see, was a “reformer,” a “protector,” according to the Times, “of what was left of Iran’s marginalized reformist movement and others with more moderate views than the conservative hard-line clerics who hold sway in Iran’s security forces and judiciary.” As always, reality and what the New York Times reports couldn’t be farther apart.

Rafsanjani, said the Times, “supported Hassan Rouhani, the current president, who is now suddenly bereft of a powerful and influential background figure with Islamic revolutionary credentials that could not be questioned.” Without a trace of self-awareness, the Times’ longtime Tehran correspondent, Thomas Erdbrink, added in the very next sentence that “Mr. Rafsanjani” was also “a longtime comrade of the supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, although the two had their disagreements.”

Erdbrink didn’t explain how Rafsanjani could be simultaneously a “reformer” who supported Rouhani and a “longtime comrade” of the “hardliner” Khamenei, and with good reason: the whole idea of a “reformist movement” within the Iranian regime is a fiction, as Obama adviser Ben Rhodes revealed, to the administration’s embarrassment, in the Times in May 2016. That was when the Times published an effusive profile of Rhodes, in which Times reporter David Samuels revealed that “the way in which most Americans have heard the story of the Iran deal presented—that the Obama administration began seriously engaging with Iranian officials in 2013 in order to take advantage of a new political reality in Iran, which came about because of elections that brought moderates to power in that country—was largely manufactured for the purpose for selling the deal.”

The chief false and misleading aspect of Obama’s presentation of the deal to the American public was his claim that he was dealing with moderate elements of Iran’s Islamic regime—that, according to Samuels, was a “narrative that Rhodes shaped.” Rhodes propagated the falsehood that Rouhani was a “moderate” who was struggling against “hard-liners” within the regime. Samuels describes this as “actively misleading,” as is Erdbrink’s claim on Rafsanjani’s death that he was the chief supporter of this non-existent “reformist movement,” of which Rouhani was supposedly a part.

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Iran, Hamas and the Dance of Death

The Iranians and Hamas are exploiting the final days of the Obama Administration to restore their relations and pave the way for Tehran to step up its meddling in the internal affairs of the Palestinians in particular and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict in general.

Emboldened by the nuclear deal framework with the world powers, Iran has already taken the liberty of interfering in the internal affairs of other Arabs, particularly the Iraqis, Lebanese, Syrians, Yemenites and some Gulf countries.

It now appears that the Obama Administration’s failed policies in the Middle East have increased the Iranians’ appetite, such that they are convinced that they can expand their influence to the Palestinians as well.

Thanks to the civil war in Syria, relations between Hamas and Iran have been strained over the past few years. Hamas’s refusal to support the regime of Bashar Assad — Iran’s chief ally in the region — has led the Iranians to suspend financial and military aid to the Islamist movement in the Gaza Strip. However, recent signs indicate that Iran and Hamas are en route to a kind of Danse Macabre — a move that will undoubtedly allow Tehran to become a major player in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

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Iranian Atomic Energy Official: Islamic Republic’s Nuclear Program in Better Shape Since Forging of Deal With World Powers

The second-in-command of Iran’s atomic energy agency (AEOI) declared on Tuesday that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program was in better shape since the forging of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with world powers in July 2015, the regime-aligned Mehr News Agency reported.

According to the report, AEOI deputy chief Behrouz Kamalvandi gave a press conference in which he said, “We are now in possession of some new reactors that are much technically superior to their previous versions.”

Kamalvandi also pointed to Tehran’s joining of the International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (ITER) megaproject, calling Iran’s participation in it “highly significant,” and saying it “will improve our position on the international scene tremendously.” ITER, he said, “will allow the human race to reserve energy for millions of years.”

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Iran’s Threats Louder after Obama Appeasement

After eight years of President Barack Obama’s policies of appeasement, Iran’s threats, such as “Death to America,” and “Death to Israel,” have grown even louder.

This week, the Iranian government orchestrated one the largest anti-American and anti-Israeli demonstrations, since 1979, echoing Iran Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent messages.

The government provided facilities for the protesters. Chants of “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” were heard across Iranian cities as thousands of Iranians marked the anniversary of the seizure of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran and the taking of 52 American hostages for 444 days by militant students.

According to the Tehran-based bureau of the Los Angeles Times,

“The demonstrators brought by buses to the former embassy complex included young and old, university students, military staff and employees of state-run companies who voiced opposition to the nuclear deal Iran signed with the United States and world powers… Many echoed Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei…. Almost 1 in every 10 demonstrators at the former embassy — now widely dubbed a “den of espionage” — carried placards with Khamenei’s words: ‘We do not trust America.'”

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Aleppo’s Fall Signals Rise of Emboldened Radical Shi’ite Axis

Recent sweeping gains by the pro-Assad alliance in Aleppo signal the rise of an emboldened Iranian-led radical Shi’ite axis. The more this axis gains strength, territory, weapons, and influence, the more likely it is to threaten regional and global security.

Ideologues in Iran have formulated a Shi’ite jihadist vision which holds that the Iranian Islamic revolution must take control of the entire Muslim world. Losing the Assad regime to Sunni rebels, many of them backed by Tehran’s Gulf Arab state archenemies, would have represented a major setback to Iran’s agenda.

This same ideological agenda also calls for the eventual annihilation of Israel, the toppling of Sunni governments, and intimidating the West into complying with Iran’s schemes.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei and Tehran’s military elites, in the form of the Islamic Republican Guards Corps (IRGC), use the current regional chaos to promote these goals.

In Syria, Iran has mobilized tens of thousands of Shi’ite militia fighters from all over the Middle East, as well as those from Hizballah in Lebanon, and sent them to do battle with Sunni rebel organizations to help save the Assad regime.

As the Shi’ite axis wages a sectarian war against Sunnis moderate groups and jihadists, it mobilizes and arms its proxies, and moves military assets into Syria, gaining a growing influence that can be used for bellicose purposes in the not too distant future.

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