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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Iran threatens America over ‘violation’ of nuclear deal; orders nuclear-powered ships

“Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani has ordered the head of the country’s Atomic Energy Organisation to start planning the development of nuclear-powered ships in reaction to what he called the United States’ violation of their nuclear deal.” Meanwhile, Iran’s vice president and the head of its nuclear program, Fereydoon Abbasi-Davani, has finally admitted:

Sometimes we pretended to be weaker than we really were, and sometimes we showed strength that was not really in our hands.

When Barack Obama was scorched with criticism over his bad decision to enter into the nuclear agreement with the rogue state of Iran, he defended himself by referencing the deal as a “powerful display of American leadership and diplomacy,” and somehow believed that prostrating himself before this international bully would be a smart way to avoid a “Middle East war.” He wanted the people of America to believe that a gentleman’s handshake with Iranian crooks would be legitimate.

Then the stench of Obama’s bad deal began to leak out, as more information about it surfaced. According to testimony provided before Congress about the Iran nuclear deal, Iran may have received up to $33.6 billion in secret payments facilitated by the Obama administration. According to Mark Dubowitz, executive director at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, at least $11.9 billion was paid out to Iran, but the regime may have received as much as $33.6 billion in cash or in gold and other precious metals.

Now, on top of reckless abuse of taxpayer dollars, with the Obama Administration even accused of laundering “U.S. Cash to Iran Via N.Y. Fed, Euro Banks,” America is now also facing a grave threat that Obama has enabled and fueled. Iran is not happy with being challenged by an incoming President who refuses to facilitate its rising power as a global menace and funder of jihad terrorism.

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Trump’s Warning To Boeing Doesn’t Stop With Air Force One

President-elect Donald Trump lashed out at Boeing on Twitter this week for charging way too much for the company’s new version of his new airplane, Air Force One. “More than $4 billion,” he tweeted earlier in the week. “Cancel order!” Later he told reporters that the cost for the two new planes that will replace the current version “is totally out of control.” He added, “I think Boeing is doing a little bit of a number. We want Boeing to make a lot of money, but not that much money.”

Maybe Trump woke up on the wrong side of the bed and Boeing was the first thing that crossed his mind. Even if he does cancel the contract, Air Force One is only a small part of the $96.11 billion in sales that the Chicago-based Boeing racked up in 2015.

A much more serious concern for Boeing is the $25 billion the company stands to rake in from the Iran Deal—which Trump also apparently believes to be a rip-off. The ostensibly patriotic airplane company was last in the news for rolling out its mega-deal with the Iranians. The deal, some argued, was was likely to assist the Iranian regime in its bloody war in Syria, where the IRGC has frequently landed passenger jets to deliver weapons and troops.

Boeing was heavily invested in selling the Iran nuclear deal, paying a lobbying firm to “monitor” it, even as the American aerospace giant denied that it had any position on the agreement, and even as it employed one of the most vocal proponents of the JCPOA and a longtime advocate of engagement with Iran, former U.S. ambassador Thomas Pickering, who presented himself to Congress and in the press as an impartial arbiter of the deal’s merits. “I was a Boeing employee from 1/2001 to 6/2006,” Pickering told The Daily Beast. “I was a direct consultant to Boeing from 7/2006 until 12/2015 when‎ contract for consulting was moved to [private Washington firm Carla Hills and Co.] for my work.”

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President Trump and the Iran Nuclear Deal

The U.S. House of Representatives this week voted overwhelmingly (419-1) to extend sanctions on Iran for the next 10 years.  This legislation is meant to ensure the radical Iranian regime complies with the international nuclear agreement.  The Iran Sanctions Extension Act needs the approval of the Senate, and President Obama’s signature.  If President Obama should refrain from signing the Act, it is more than likely that the Republican dominated House and Senate will submit this piece of legislation to President-Elect Donald Trump for his signature.  The Iran Sanctions Extension Act is due to expire at the end of the year.

While President Trump may not keep to his promise to scrap the nuclear deal with Iran, he would certainly seek to use U.S. economic leverage to punish the aggressive regime of the Ayatollahs.  According to the official Islamic Republic News Agency, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani informed his cabinet ministers following the U.S. elections last week that the nuclear agreement between the P-5+1 and Iran “Cannot be overturned by one government’s decision,”

During the campaign appearance last March before the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC), Donald J. Trump described the Iran nuclear deal as “terrible,” and used as an example, the Obama administration’s bad negotiating skills.  He said, “My number one priority is to dismantle the disastrous deal with Iran.”  Trump also said that he would “police that contract so tough that they (the Iranians) don’t have a chance.”  Trump pointed out the deficiency of the nuclear agreement in that it has time-limited restrictions on Iran’s enrichment of uranium and its other nuclear activities.  Trump also railed against the excessive concessions made to the mullahs of Iran.  But, like many other promises made during the campaign, Trump will probably modify his promise on Iran’s nuclear deal.

In a recent position paper, Trump’s two top advisors on Israel, David Friedman and Jason Rosenblatt stated that, “The U.S. must counteract Iran’s ongoing violations of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Iran’s quest for nuclear weapons and their noncompliance with past and present sanctions, as well as the agreements they signed, and implement tough, new sanctions when needed to protect the world and Iran’s neighbors from its continuing nuclear and non-nuclear threats.”

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