Iranian commander: We have targets within America

Hossein-Salami-10-e1391313435440 (1)By Reza Kahlili:

A top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards boasted Saturday that his forces have plans in place to attack the United States from within, should the U.S. attack the Islamic Republic.

“America, with its strategic ignorance, does not have a full understanding of the power of the Islamic Republic,” Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised interview. “We have recognized America’s military strategy, and have arranged our abilities, and have identified centers in America [for attack] that will create a shock.”

Reports indicate that terrorist Hezbollah forces — allies of Iran — have infiltrated the U.S. and have mapped out targets.

“We will conduct such a blow in which they [America] will be destroyed from within,” Salami said.

This is the second warning by a high-ranking officer of the Guards in two weeks. The chief commander of the Guards, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Jafari, addressing Secretary of State John Kerry, said on Jan. 24 that a direct conflict with America is the “strongest dream of the faithful and revolutionary men around the world.”

Kerry had previously said that if Iran did not live up to the agreement reached in Geneva on its nuclear program, “all options are on the table.”

“Your threats to revolutionary Islam are the best opportunity,” Jafari had said. “Muslim leaders for years have been preparing us for a decisive battle.… Do you know how many thousands of revolutionary Muslims at the heart of the Islamic revolutionary groups around the world are awaiting for you to take this [military] option from the table into action?”

Gen. Salami went further, saying the Revolutionary Guards have taken into consideration America’s military ability and different scenarios under which the U.S. could attack Iran via a limited missile or air strike, or even a ground attack.

“All operational bases of the enemy in the region in whatever capacity and location are within our firepower,” Salami warned. “The American military option does not make a difference for us, and they can use this option, but they will have to accept the responsibility of devastating consequences.”

Salami asked whether America could control the spread of any war with the Islamic Republic: “Can they preserve their vital interest in the region in the face of endless attacks by Iran? Can they keep their naval assets and the Zionist regime [Israel] secure?”

Salami said that with the U.S. economy and debt, America is in no position to engage Iran militarily.

The general then taunted Washington, citing Iran’s political and cultural influence in Iraq. “The current has changed for the Americans so much so that they invest [by invading Iraq] and others [Iran] benefit.”

Read more at Daily Caller

Iran and US Fighting On Same Side Rattles Israeli Defense Officials

by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
December 11, 2014

1065 (1)Confirmation that Iran has joined the air campaign against Islamic State (IS) terrorists in Syria won muted praise from U.S. officials last week. And that development has increased anxiety among Israeli defense officials that budding cooperation between Tehran and Washington will lead to dangerous comprises about Iran’s nuclear program and inadequate action confronting the Islamic Republic’s global terrorist network.

The biggest threat from that network lies just over Israel’s northern border in Lebanon.

On Sunday, according to international media reports, Israeli Air Force jets bombed targets in and around Damascus. The strikes likely targeted advanced weapons that were destined for Hizballah depots in southern Lebanon, often hidden in apartment buildings in Shi’ite villages.

With more than 100,000 rockets and missiles, Hizballah has the largest arsenal of any terrorist organization in the world, and its heavy involvement in the Syrian civil war on behalf of dictator Bashar al-Assad’s regime is giving it plenty of experience in ground warfare.

Israel did not confirm any involvement in the recent air strikes, but it is deeply involved in a covert war against an international Iranian-led weapons smuggling network that is designed to provide Hizballah and other radical terror entities around the Middle East with an array of sophisticated arms.

This network is run by Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, which oversees the smuggling of powerful weapons to Hizballah in Lebanon, often via Syria. The Iranian network also attempts to send arms to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, to radical Shi’ite militias in Iraq that fight the Islamic State, and to Shi’ite Houthi rebels that have taken over Yemen’s capital.

Iran’s Quds Force and Hizballah, both backers of the Assad regime, have set up terrorism sleeper cells around the Middle East and beyond, according to Israeli intelligence assessments. Some of these cells are routinely activated and ordered to strike Israeli and Jewish targets.

Israeli intelligence agencies quietly work to stop the planned attacks, any one of which, if successful, could spark a wider regional conflict.

Meanwhile, Tehran continues to pursue a nuclear program and develop ballistic missiles capable of carrying nuclear warheads.

According to international media reports, Israel targeted shipments of Hizballah-bound weapons in Syria five times in 2013, and once in Lebanon in 2014. This has led Hizballah to retaliate by planting two bombs on the Israeli-Lebanese border.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon appeared to hint at Israel’s role in the latest Syria strikes, by saying that “those who seek to arm Israel’s enemies will know that we can reach anywhere, at any time, and through any means to thwart their plans.”

As this covert, high-stakes struggle continues to rage against the background of Iran’s creeping nuclear program, a growing number of Israeli defense officials are expressing concern that the Obama administration may be willing to cooperate with Iran and its radical Shi’ite allies in the war against the Islamic State.

The officials stress the flourishing defense ties between Israel and the U.S., which are absolutely vital for Israeli security, and express gratitude for continuous American defense assistance.

However, some have become highly critical of the way the U.S.-led coalition against the Islamic State sees Iran as a de facto member.

Israeli defense officials wonder out loud whether the West, led by the U.S., is falling into a dangerous trap, by teaming up with the radical Shi’ite axis in the Middle East.

To be sure, no one within the Israeli defense establishment doubts the need to tackle the Sunni Islamic State. Israel is quietly providing any assistance necessary to the anti-ISIL coalition.

Yet it is the prospect of tactical cooperation between the U.S. and Iran against IS, and the danger that the cooperation could lead to Western concessions to Iran over its nuclear program that haunts some.

The failure by Washington to take tangible steps against Iran’s global terrorism network is also a source of concern. This network is growing in Syria, along with Iran’s presence there, and over the past 12 months, all of the cross-border terror attacks launched from Syria into northern Israel have been the work of elements linked to either Hezbollah or Iran, one senior military official has said.

These worries seem to be bolstered by comments like those recently made by Secretary of State John Kerry, who welcomed Iranian air strikes on Islamic State positions in Iraq, describing them as “positive.”

Unlike the Islamic State, the Shi’ite radical axis enjoys state sponsorship from an Islamic Republic that is three to six months away from nuclear weapons.

This situation makes it a more urgent problem for global security, and would seem to justify a stance that views both radical Sunnis and radical Shi’ites as threats to international peace.

Driven by an extremist religious-ideological doctrine, the Iranian-led axis views moderate Sunni governments which partner with the West – like Egypt and Jordan – as enemies, seeks to push American influence out of the Middle East, and promotes the idea of Iranian hegemony as a first step to establishing eventual Iranian global dominance.

Iran views itself as the authentic Islamic caliphate, and seeks to export its influence as far as possible. Eventually, it would like to fuel conflict across the region through its proxies under a nuclear umbrella.

“The success of the Iranian revolution influences to this day the ambition for an Islamic caliphate,” Ya’alon said this month, in an attempt to illustrate the imminent danger posed by Iran’s role in the world.

Disappointment in Israel has been expressed over what one official said was the West’s “support” for radical Shi’ites, and its willingness to ignore Iranian threats.

Israeli officials, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, have expressed concern about the U.S. agreeing to a “bad deal” with Iran over its nuclear program since talks started. Thus far, those fears have not yet been realized.

The Tel Aviv-based Meir Amit Intelligence and Terrorism Information Center published a report last week that explicitly warned about Iranian-American cooperation against IS, which it said could occur at Israel’s expense.

“Despite Iran’s basic hostility towards the United States, and despite Iran’s subversion of American interests in the Middle East, it might collaborate with the United States against ISIS and the global jihad in Syria and Iraq, the common enemy,” the reportsaid. “Such collaboration might occur at Israel’s expense and harm its vital interests (for example, Iran’s concessions on the nuclear issue). In addition, collaborating against ISIS might increase Iranian influence in Syria and Iraq, and might also strengthen Hizballah’s status in Lebanon, possibly strengthening the Iranian-led radical camp in the Middle East.”

The report is another signal of concerns in Jerusalem that Washington’s war on IS could lead it to make concessions to Tehran on a nuclear program.

Such an outcome would entrench and legitimize Iran’s position as a state on the threshold of nuclear arms possession, an outcome that, in Jerusalem’s eyes, would jeopardize both regional and international security to an unacceptable degree.

Yaakov Lappin is the Jerusalem Post’s military and national security affairs correspondent, and author of The Virtual Caliphate (Potomac Books), which proposes that jihadis on the internet have established a virtual Islamist state.

U.S. Privately Admits Iran Nuke Violations But Publicly Denies

An Iranian missile launch (Photo: © Reuters)

An Iranian missile launch (Photo: © Reuters)

By Ryan Mauro:

The U.S. government is privately telling the United Nations that Iran is violating the interim nuclear agreement, even as U.S. says publicly that Iran is in compliance. The State Department is playing word games by saying its expressed “concerns” don’t mean a breach has happened.

On November 24, Secretary of State John Kerry said, “Many said that Iran would not hold up its end of the bargain…But guess what? The interim agreement has not been violated. Iran has held up its end of the bargain.”

US Secretary of State John Kerry (Reuters)

US Secretary of State John Kerry (Reuters)

On December 7, Kerry predicted that a final nuclear deal would be reached with Iran within four months, significantly before the time when the seven-month extension expires on June 30. He reiterated that “Iran has lived up to every commitment it made in the interim agreement.”

Now it is known that a U.S. delegation to the United Nations accused Iran in a secret report on November 7. It stated that Iran has dispatched agents to illegally obtain parts for its heavy water reactor at Arak. The site could allow Iran to pursue plutonium-based nuclear weapons as its North Korean ally has done.

Iran is also violating the agreement by increasing the size of its uranium stockpile and exporting oil to four Asian countries above the one million barrels per day limit.

The State Department is responding to these reports by maintaining that Iran is still in compliance and that the expression of “concerns” is not an accusation of non-compliance.

The International Atomic Energy Agency report of September 5 stated that Iran failed to disclose two of five obligations in order to prove its nuclear program is not intended for bombs. Specifically, Iran continues to deny access to the Parchin site where it is believed that tests related to nuclear explosions were carried out. Iran has also not addressed evidence of work on nuclear warheads.

Read more at Clarion Project – including Appendix outlining 10 areas where Iran is hiding nuclear weapons activity

Also see:

A New Imperative to Secure the Grid

EMP-power-grid--665x385CSP, by Frank Gaffney:

Iranian leaders have long stated that they seek a world “without America.” Prior to President Obama’s disastrous diplomacy, U.S. leaders have sought to prevent the mullahs from getting the Bomb for that reason, among others.

Last week, however, a firm called Cylance issued a frightening report about extensive Iranian cyberwarfare operations over the past two years. It suggests that Tehran may already be in a position to destroy this country – without firing a shot.

Hackers believed to be associated with the Iranian regime have been able to penetrate the control systems of America’s critical infrastructure – including those of our electric utilities. Were they to disrupt or destroy such systems, the United States would lose power for prolonged periods. And without electricity, many millions of us would die.

We must secure the grid, now.

Rep. Franks on Judge Jeanine: Iran military doctrine calls for EMP weapon

 

Gaffney on Judge Jeanine: Congress must continue to act on grid security

 

High Frontier

“A Date That Will Live In Infamy!”

By 

December 8, 2014

“Global critical infrastructure organizations need to take this threat seriously. The Iranian adversary is real and they’re coming, if not already here.” ~ Mark Weatherford, Former Deputy Under Secretary of Homeland Security

On a Monday 73 years ago, today, President Franklin D. Roosevelt began his address to a joint session of Congress with these famous words: “Yesterday, December 7, 1941—a date that will live in infamy—the United States of America was suddenly and deliberately attacked by naval and air forces of the Empire of Japan.” Congress declared war on Japan, with only one dissenting vote. Three days later, Germany and Italy declared war on the United States and we were committed to World War II, a war that may have been avoided had we been prepared.  

December 8, 2014 I

But we were unprepared, and over 85 million died—including death by associated starvation and disease around the world; and including over 400,000 of the “Greatest Generation Americans” who fought in that war. (Click here for some pertinent statistics by country.) My reflections last year on Pearl Harbor emphasized that this “Black Swan” event should not have been a complete surprise. Billy Mitchell was court-martialed for demonstrating the vulnerability of ships to attack from the air and giving us 15 years of explicit “strategic warning” of Pearl Harbor’s specific vulnerability  to air attack—which we ignored, and Roberta Wohlstetter’s in-depth 1962 analysis demonstrated our failure in responding to “tactical warning” of the actual attack.    

Today, we are again living through a period of great threats to all we hold dear—and we are not likely to have time to recover from a modern surprise attack using technology that did not exist in 1941-45. This is why it is so important to block Iran’s efforts to gain nuclear weapons that could pose an existential electromagnetic pulse (EMP) threat—and why the thus far failure to do so is so dangerous. 

Strategic Warning of an EMP Attack by Iran.

The remainder of my December 11, 2013 message discussed a possible, now looming, “Black Swan” attack by Iran that could extinguish American civilization—indeed Western Civilization, which is the declared objective of Iran’s ruling mullahs.  We listed the long-standing “strategic warning” events below:

  • The U.S. demonstrated  high altitude electromagnetic pulse (HEMP) effects on “ancient” vacuum tube electronics nearly 1000 miles from our 1962 Starfish Prime nuclear test in the South Pacific—today’s solid state electronics are much, much more vulnerable to HEMP.
  • At considerable expense during the Cold War, the U.S. hardened its key military electronic systems to HEMP to assure the President could retaliate after a Soviet HEMP attack on the U.S. This capability was at the heart of our deterrent policy.
  • Post-Cold War discussions with Russia validated this investment—their high altitude tests were actually more extensive than ours and they included HEMP in their attack plans.
  • We continue to harden our strategic military systems but have done little or nothing to harden our civil critical infrastructure—especially the electric power grid, upon which the viability of most other critical infrastructure depends.
  • The Congressionally mandated nonpartisan EMP Commission reports warned of the devastating consequences of such an attack in 2004 and in 2008 provided previously classified information to back up these conclusions in a comprehensive report.
  • The EMP Commission identified the electric power grid vulnerabilities as being critically important, deserving remediation immediately—its Chairman testified that unless these vulnerabilities were rectified, starvation, disease and social collapse from a HEMP attack could lead to the death of most Americans within the following year.
  • Russia has shared its nuclear and ballistic missile technology with China, North Korea, Iran and, at least via the cacophony of proliferation if not directly, with others. This includes information that helps North Korea develop nuclear weapons to maximize EMP effects. For example, close collaboration between North Korea and Iran has benefited both—of course with help from Russia and China.
  • Iran has collaborated with North Korea and attended North Korean tests, which some experts believe were intended to demonstrate advanced designs that could easily be adapted for ballistic missile or satellite delivery to create HEMP effects.
  • Iran has pursued an extensive ballistic missile development program—including testing in the late 1990s that knowledgeable observers associate with an interest an HEMP attack from a seagoing vessel.
  • A ten-day maneuver exercise in the summer of 2011 launched some 14 ballistic missiles of various ranges, after which Iran’s then Defense Minister, Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, boasted: “The war games…show Iran’s great capability in designing, producing and using various kinds of missiles based on domestic knowledge. This showed that the sanctions imposed had no effect on Iran’s missile program.”

Last Year’s Tactical Warning of an EMP Attack by Iran.

These activities bridge into more recent potential “Tactical Warning” events that may signal an eminent attack. A slightly edited version of last year’s list follows:

  • The last bullet above suggested a certain irrelevance of the debate over sanctions in the broader context of the ongoing ill-advised negotiations with Iran on its nuclear weapons development programs. We just kicked the can down the road for the second time since last year—with no real prospect of any significantly helpful outcome.
  • Over a year ago, North Korea and Iran launched satellites to their south, traveling over the South Polar regions, which could easily have been directed over the U.S. in their initial orbit at an altitude to optimize HEMP effects over the entire continental U.S.
  • Over a year ago, Iranian Naval Admiral Afshin Rezayee said Iran’s Navy plans to deploy warships in the Atlantic.
  • Previously, Iranian officials had observed their ships can threaten U.S. coastal cities—particularly from the Gulf of Mexico. We are completely vulnerable to such an attack.
  • Meanwhile President Obama and his spokesmen have continued to signal a willingness for Iran to continue with a “Modest nuclear enrichment program” . . . whatever that means, it must drive the Israelis up the wall—as it should any who may ultimately be threatened by a nuclear armed Iran. Israel is the “Little Satan”—America is the “Great Satan.”

Breaking News—Urgent Tactical Warning.

Just breaking news should further heighten our concern that time for us to respond is running out.  Even as Secretary of State John Kerry prepares for another round of negotiations with little hope of any meaningful success, news this week explicitly indicates Iran is planning to employ EMP weapons against us. Last Monday, EMP Caucus Chairman Rep. Trent Franks (R-AZ), in speaking on the House floor for the Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) that passed by a voice vote, noted that

The National Intelligence University of the United States recently translated an Iranian military doctrine called “Passive Defense” which referenced the use of nuclear EMP as a weapon more than 20 times. This doctrine stresses that electrical grids are vital to national existence. It includes a formula for calculating the value of electric power plants and for prioritizing the targeting of electric grid components and other infrastructures.”

Mr. Franks made the same statement at a conference I attended last Thursday and Friday. I strongly urge that you read this important Act and the associated floor statements, including that of Rep. Yvette Clark (D-NY), the co-chair of the EMP Caucus. 

In addition, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) who will chair the Homeland Security Committee also spoke on Friday, and I believe he will be very supportive of CIPA and other measures to defend the nation against EMP attacks. Hopefully, the Senate will also pass the act before the end of the current session—if not I believe it will come up immediately in the new session to begin in January.

Rep. Franks’ reference to this Iranian report on Iran’s military doctrine deserves great weight, as further indicated by additional troubling Iranian threat information provided this week by Cylance, a private security firm. Its report on Iranian cyber operations referred to as Operation Cleaver is sobering, to say the least. Cylance dubbed the threatening Iranian team “Tarh Andishan,” which roughly translated means “thinkers” or “innovators.” They have displayed an evolved skillset to perform attacks of espionage, theft, and the potential destruction of control systems and networks. Tarh Andishan was observed actively targeting, attacking, and compromising more than 50 victims since at least 2012.

By “reverse hacking” the Iranian cyber-offense infrastructure and compromising their servers, Cylance obtained 80,000 files and 8 gigabytes of data, including data Iran stole from the U.S. Marine Corps. Among other things, the 85 page report included that the Iranian group is believed to work from Tehran, “although auxiliary team members were identified in other locations including the Netherlands, Canada, and the UK.” Targets include “military, oil and gas, energy and utilities, transportation, airlines, airports, hospitals, telecommunications, technology, education, aerospace, Defense Industrial Base (DIB), chemical companies, and governments.”

Surely, the U.S. electric power grid is among these targets. And given Mr. Franks’ revelation that the Iranian military strategy includes the exploitation of EMP, it is not a stretch to imagine Iranian attack strategy combines cyber-attacks with the more debilitating EMP attacks, once Iran achieves that capability. Indeed, this fits with Cylance’s bottom line after tracking the Operation Cleaver team for over two years, that

“the government of Iran, and particularly the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), is backing numerous groups and front entities to attack the world’s critical infrastructure.”

It would be absurd for U.S. planners not to consider the full spectrum of threats, including direct attacks like the 2 AM sniper attack on the Metcalf substation near San Jose in April 2013, followed by another attack last August.  Such repeated successful attacks on such an important substation do not provide confidence in the power company’s countermeasures, even after a year for their application—a highly publicized bad message to have sent to an Iran planning to attack the United States. Good news for Iran; bad news for us.  (Click here for a brief press account.)

The most devastating threat could occur once Iran mates nuclear weapons to its ballistic missiles and can launch a devastating HEMP attack with nuclear detonations a hundred or so miles above the U.S.—combined with cyber and a Metcalf-like attack operations. 

Some Key Bottom  Lines:

To recap a few associated important bottom lines from my email messages over the past year:

  • Members of the Executive and Legislative branches are collectively failing in their sworn duty “to provide for the common defense” against the EMP threat.
  • The key obstacles blocking effective U.S. countermeasures are purely political. The threat is well known—and validated by numerous competent technical reviews. The cost of hardening is minimal by any reasonable measure—the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission (FERC), which doesn’t have the authority and resources to rectify the situation, has estimated the annual cost to be less than that of a postage stamp per subscriber. The North American Electric Reliability Corporation (NERC) is a captive of the Electric Power industry which has blocked for four years legislation to improve the electric grid’s ability to survive an EMP attack. Click here for an example of dysfunctional NERC-FERC treatment of Natural EMP. The above mentioned Metcalf failures speak volumes. And there’s more—much more—evidence of a badly broken regulatory process.
  • So . . . the electric power companies have been winning in their efforts to frustrate initiatives to harden the electric power grid against HEMP (or other manmade or natural EMP) effects.
  • Some believe that Iran would not attack the United States for fear of retaliation—these views ignore the stated willingness of the ruling Mullahs to commit suicide to achieve their stated objective of eliminating the Great Satan (America) and Little Satan (Israel) and to hasten the return of the Mahdi according to their end times prophesy. 
  • The Critical Infrastructure Protection Act (CIPA) is a step in the right direction, but . . .
  • The clock clicks on—toward a disaster that will make Pearl Harbor look like a picnic . . .

WILL THERE BE ANOTHER DATE THAT WILL LIVE IN INFAMY?????

Near Term High Frontier Plans.

As time may be running out for effective U.S. action, we will continue to inform all who will listen about the existential EMP threat and how to counter it. Our primary focus will be to help state and local authorities, particularly the National Guard, protect the citizens under their charge. Past experience shows that it is foolish to wait for the federal authorities to respond effectively.

High Frontier will continue to advocate the most cost effective BMD systems that the powers that be will permit.

And we will seek effective means to harden the electric power grid. As quickly as possible.

What can you do?

Join us in praying for our nation, and for a rebirth of the freedom sought, achieved and passed to us by those who came before us.

Help us to spread our message to the grass roots and to encourage all “powers that be” to provide for the common defense as they are sworn to do.

Begin by passing this message to your friends and suggest they visit our webpage, www.highfrontier.org for more information. Also, please encourage your sphere of influence to sign up for our weekly e-newsletter.

And support us with your tax deductible gifts to help enable our continuing efforts.

Low Oil Prices Make Time Ripe to Pressure a Panicked Iran

Oil-Rig-Midland-Texas-IP_0By Ryan Mauro:

The U.S. and Iran failed to meet the November 24 deadline for a nuclear deadline and have yet again agreed to extend negotiations until June 30. The West is missing an excellent opportunity to pressure Iran as the regime is “panicking” over low oil prices.

In his State of the Union address on January 28, President Obama said he would veto legislation implementing tougher sanctions on Iran during these talks but “if Iran’s leaders do not seize this opportunity, then I will be the first to call for more sanctions.”

The International Atomic Energy Agency said in September that Iran had failed to meet two obligations to ensure that its nuclear program is not for building weapons. Access continues to be denied to the Parchin site where it is believed that Iran worked on nuclear warheads and the “trigger” for nuclear explosions.

Iran continues to test newer centrifuges to speed up the uranium enrichment process and vows never to dismantle a single nuclear facility or centrifuge. All of this goes on as Supreme Leader Khamenei brags of his regime’s support for Hezbollah, Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad, emphasizing that it is willing to support both Sunni and Shiite terrorists.

Yet, in response, Iran has been given another seven months by the international community to avoid harsher sanctions. The regime will also have access to $700 million per month in unfrozen assets and be able to entice Western businesses, especially those from Europe, in order to shield itself from future sanctions and get much-needed foreign investment.

A bi-partisan coalition in Congress is campaigning to recruit enough supporters for new sanctions that can override a presidential veto. Iran says talks would be suspended if that happens.

This team has sought legislation that would sanction Iranian energy, port, ship-building and shipping sectors and the foreign companies investing in them. It would also sanction those involved in certain commodities as well as the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting company and corrupt Iranian officials.

Read more at Clarion Project

Clare Lopez at ‘A Discussion on the Iranian Nuclear Threat’

Published on Nov 25, 2014 by emetonline

On Monday, November 24, 2014, EMET was proud to host Dr. Michael Ledeen, Manda Zand Ervin, and Clare Lopez on Capitol Hill to discuss the failed nuclear deal talks and the continued threat of a nuclear Iran.

 

Also see:

Saudi Arabia May Go Nuclear Because of Obama’s Iran Deal

1392403931746.cachedBy Eli Lake and Josh Rogin:

President Obama wants an agreement with Iran to prevent a Middle Eastern nuclear arms race, but it’s pushing Saudi Arabia toward its own nuke program.
Last month, America’s top Iran negotiator Wendy Sherman had some bad news for ambassadors from America’s Arab allies. In a meeting with envoys from Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and other Gulf states, Sherman said that any bargain with Iran would likely leave Tehran, the Gulf states long-time enemy, with the capacity to enrich uranium, according to U.S. officials briefed on the encounter.

Sherman regularly briefs these allies after diplomatic talks with Iran, but in recent weeks those conversations have been different. While most of America’s Middle East allies—with the exception of Israel—have publicly supported the current Iran negotiations, behind the scenes, envoys from the region have expressed grave concerns that Iran could be left with a break out capacity to make the fuel for a nuclear weapon at a time of their choosing.

And now, one of the countries in the region without a full-blown nuclear programs—Saudi Arabia—may be changing its mind. Riyadh has a long-standing interest in nuclear power. But Western and Israeli intelligence services are starting to see signs that this interest is growing more serious, and extends into nuclear enrichment. Until recently, the pursuit of nuclear enrichment—or the fuel cycle—was considered by arms control experts as a tell-tale sign of a clandestine weapons program. Nuclear fuel is sold to all members of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty, but it’s far more costly to build the infrastructure and produce it indigenously. Saudi Arabia appears to be getting more serious about going down that path.

If Saudi Arabia pursue nuclear enrichment even if there is an Iran deal, then the victory to curb atomic weapons that Obama has tried to achieve will be at least partially undone by his own diplomacy.

“They view the developments in Iran very negatively. They have money, they can buy talent, they can buy training,” said David Albright, the president of the Institute for Science and International Security and a former weapons inspector. “The Saudis are thinking through how do you create a deterrent through capability.”

Albright said in this particular case, an indigenous Saudi program is in the very early stages. In 2012, the Saudi government announced plans to build 16 commercial reactors by 2030 and signed a technology agreement with China. But Albright said he has heard concerns expressed by a European intelligence agency that Saudi Arabia in recent years has quietly been developing the engineering and scientific knowledge base to one day master the nuclear fuel cycle, or produce the fuel indigenously for the reactors it’s trying to build. He said Saudi Arabia was hiring the scientists and engineers needed to build the cascades of centrifuges needed to produce nuclear fuel. “We don’t worry about the Saudis learning to operate a reactor,” he said. “I worry that they will learn the skills needed to master the fuel cycle.”

Read more at The Daily Beast

Also see:

Nuke Deal Elusive as Iran Digs in Heels Over ‘Inalienable’ Enrichment Rights

Anti-Iranian regime protesters chant outside the Palais Coburg in Vienna, where final negotiations over Iran's nuclear program continued Friday ahead of a November 24 deadline

Anti-Iranian regime protesters chant outside the Palais Coburg in Vienna, where final negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program continued Friday ahead of a November 24 deadline

kredo tweet

Washington Free Beacon, BY: :

VIENNA—Secretary of State John Kerry spent hours locked behind closed doors with Iran’s foreign minister early Friday as both sides rushed to reach a final nuclear agreement that sources say is becoming increasingly elusive as a result of Tehran’s intransigence.

As the United States seeks to impose clear and verifiable limits on Iran’s nuclear research work ahead of a Nov. 24 deadline, the Iranians have refused to cede any ground and are publicly insisting that its “inalienable” nuclear rights must be recognized under any final deal.

Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif spent several hours Thursday night and several more on Friday morning meeting in private, according to a senior State Department official. There is no indication yet that major headway has been made between the sides.

The foreign ministers from the negotiating countries, including the United States and Iran, are all gearing up to leave Vienna today, according to one source familiar with the status of the talks. While it remains unclear at this point if the leaders will return in the coming days, some have speculated that Zarif could be conveying the parameters of a tentative deal with higher-level officials in Tehran.

Any agreement that it is reached is likely to pave the way for another extension in talks as final details continue to be hashed out, the source said.

With neither the United States nor Iran appearing publicly before reporters in Vienna and answering questions, insiders in Washington and Vienna are becoming increasingly skeptical that the Obama administration will be able to deliver a deal the American people and Congress will find acceptable.

“The Iranians have refused to budge on the most basic elements—they want to keep the entire fuel cycle, and do so at a level that will allow them to breakout [with a nuclear weapon] whenever they choose so quickly no one will be able to stop them,” said one senior foreign policy strategist currently in Vienna for the talks.

The Obama administration is poised to ink a deal that includes many concessions to Iran before the Monday deadline comes around, according to a senior congressional aide who works on the issue of Iran.

“As Iran digs its heels against dismantling its enrichment program, eliminating its plutonium ‘bomb factory’ at Arak, and coming clean on its nuclear weapon, the worry is that the Obama administration will make more massive concessions and move to grant ‘nuclear amnesty’ to the terror-supporting mullahs in Tehran before Monday,” the congressional aide told the Washington Free Beacon.

“The Clinton administration gave ‘nuclear amnesty’ to North Korea in 1994 and North Korea exploded its first nuclear bomb little more than a decade later. So we’ve all seen this charade before,” warned the congressional source.

Many watching the talks unfold in Vienna remain skeptical that Iran will even hold up its end of any bargain that may be reached.

“If Iran agrees to something, history shows they will be lying—it will be the only time in 25 years Iran would not be secretly cheating on its nuclear obligations,” said the foreign policy strategist. “At this point, it seems that only more pressure will get Iran to dismantle its plutonium bomb factory and enough of its illicit nuclear infrastructure to assure us, our allies, Congress, and the American people that Iran won’t have the capability to build nukes.”

If Kerry and his team fail to deliver a deal that restricts many of the most controversial aspects of Iran’s nuclear program, Congress is likely to step in and impose new economic sanctions on Tehran—an outcome that will likely lead Iran to abandon any further negotiations.

“Without that [type of deal], there will be more sanctions on Iran, not fewer as Tehran seeks,” the source explained. “Even if that means a period of increased tension, Tehran won’t race ahead and will be back at the table soon, or it will soon again face a balance of payments crisis and economic default.”

However, Kerry’s version of a likely deal differs drastically from these parameters, which also are supported by a majority of Congress.

The Obama administration only hopes to delay Iran’s ability to produce a nuclear weapon by about a year, according to U.S. officials quoted by the New York Times.

Congressional leaders have called this unacceptable, with many in the Senate promising to veto any final deal that caves to Iran’s demands to continue its nuclear enrichment regime.

“We are now just a few days away from the Iran nuclear deadline. And the P5+1 appear poised to accept a weak deal with a regime that cannot be trusted,” Rep. Ileana Ros-Lehtinen (R., Fla.) said on Thursday. “Despite approximately $14 billion in direct sanctions relief, as well as incalculable indirect benefits to the Iranian economy and the nuclear program, Iran has repeatedly stated that it will never stop enriching uranium or take one step back in its research and development.”

General Michael Hayden, former director of the CIA, told Congress Thursday afternoon that the White House’s goals with Iran are flawed. Even if Tehran’s program is stalled, the U.S. intelligence community is not capable of detecting an Iranian nuclear bomb, Hayden said.

“Because of the covert nature of Iran’s activities, American intelligence alone will not be able to verify the agreement,” Ros-Lehtinen reiterated. “It is impossible to verify Iran’s nuclear program because as the Defense Science Board report has said, the capability to detect Iran’s undeclared or covert nuclear sites is either inadequate or does not exist.”

Meanwhile, Kerry is scheduled to meet with French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and U.K. Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond later Friday afternoon.

State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki said Kerry will travel from Vienna to Paris Friday evening for consultations with his European counterparts. It is unknown whether or not he will return to Vienna before the Nov. 24 deadline, a sign talks are at an impasse and western delegations will plot the way forward.

Also by Adam Kredo:

Fred Fleitz: Fatally Flawed Negotiations with Iran — The WMD Perspective

CSP: Fred Fleitz, Senior Fellow, Center for Security Policy; Former Chief of Staff to then-Undersecretary of State John Bolton; former Professional Staff Member, House Permanent Selection Committee on Intelligence; Former Analyst, Central Intelligence Agency speaks at the Center for Security Policy’s National Security Group Lunch on Capitol Hill regarding the fatally flawed negotiations with Iran.

 

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National Leaders Urge Congress To Repudiate Iran Nuclear Talks And Any Agreement They Might Produce

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(Washington, D.C.): Today, the Center for Security Policy released a letter signed by 17 prominent security policy practitioners and other national leaders denouncing the Obama administration’s conduct of the nuclear talks with Iran and the seriously defective deal likely to emerge from them. Signatories include: former House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, former National Counterintelligence Executive Michelle Van Cleave,formerAssistant Secretary of State for Verification and Compliance Paula DeSutter, formerAssistant Secretary of Defense (Acting) Frank Gaffney, Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Jack David, National Review Editor Rich Lowry and Middle East Forum President Daniel Pipes. 

The letter calls on the U.S. Congress to repudiate this year’s nuclear diplomacy with Iran and dissects the terms of the agreement it is reportedly producing. The authors believe the United States and its Western allies have already given away too much to Iran – and still moreconcessions appear to be in the offing.  Their professional assessment is that any accord along these lines will be a threat to our interests, allies and security.

Key problems with the incipient agreement identified in the open letter, which was organized by the Center for Security Policy, include:

  • The deal will effectively concede to Iran the “right” to enrich uranium and allow Iran to continue uranium enrichment.
  • It will permit Iran to install new, still more advanced centrifuges and to retain its large stockpile of low-enriched uranium.
  • It will not require Iran to disassemble existing centrifuges, its underground Fordow enrichment facility or its plutonium-producing Arak heavy water reactor now under construction.

In the signatories’ judgment these dangerous U.S. concessions will do virtually nothing to stop, or even substantially to delay, Iran’s pursuit of nuclear weapons.  They note estimates by three leading Washington think tanks that Iran will retain its presently assessed capability of producing weapons-grade nuclear fuel in as little as four-to-six weeks from a decision to do so.

In addition to raising their concerns about these disturbing U.S. concessions, the authors of the letter expressed alarm that Iran is already defying a key premise of this year’s nuclear talks and prerequisite for any future deal – namely, that the regime in Tehran would cooperate fully with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). In that connection, Iran was supposed to give IAEA inspectors unrestricted access to Iranian nuclear sites and answer outstanding questions about the military dimensions of its nuclear program. The signatories conclude that since Iran has failed to live up to these commitments even before an agreement was reached, there is no reason to believe it will abide by these or similar obligations in the final, comprehensive agreement that the Obama administration is trying to finalize by a November 24 deadline.  Neither is there reason to expect that the mullahs will cooperate with efforts by the IAEA to monitor their future compliance with such an accord.

Finally, the authors of the joint letter regard as wholly unacceptable President Obama’s reported intention to deny the U.S. Congress any say in the forthcoming nuclear agreement with Iran and his plan to suspend unilaterally statutorily mandated U.S. sanctions against Iran once a final accord is reached. It appears that Mr. Obama is proceeding in this fashion precisely because he knows that lawmakers on both sides of the aisle would find his deal unsupportable.

The letter concluded by stating that Congress must act now to prevent the realization and implementation by the United States of an extremely bad nuclear deal with Iran. Its signatories called on lawmakers to:

…Adopt legislation to repudiate the nuclear agreement now taking shape.  We urge you and your colleagues to insist that a coherent, realistic and firm U.S. policy be adopted instead, one aimed at actually preventing the Iranian regime from realizing its nuclear weapons ambitions.  This should require, at a minimum, that there be no further easing of sanctions or further talks with Iran until Tehran complies with all UN Security Council resolutions related to its nuclear program, fully cooperates with the IAEA, and provides truthful answers to all outstanding questions about its nuclear program.

View full text: Iran letter to Congress 111214

Also see: 

The Obama Administration’s Strategic Schizophrenia

obamasCSP, By Kyle Shideler:

Last week in the Wall Street Journal it was reported that the Obama administration sought an agreement on fighting ISIS with Iran:

The correspondence underscores that Mr. Obama views Iran as important—whether in a potentially constructive or negative role—to his emerging military and diplomatic campaign to push Islamic State from the territories it has gained over the past six months. Mr. Obama’s letter also sought to assuage Iran’s concerns about the future of its close ally, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria, according to another person briefed on the letter. It states that the U.S.’s military operations inside Syria aren’t targeted at Mr. Assad or his security forces.

It is now being reported that the same administration believes ISIS cannot be defeated without overthrowing Assad:

President Barack Obama has asked his national security team for another review of the U.S. policy toward Syria after realizing that ISIS may not be defeated without a political transition in Syria and the removal of President Bashar al-Assad, senior U.S. officials and diplomats tell CNN. The review is a tacit admission that the initial strategy of trying to confront ISIS first in Iraq and then take the group’s fighters on in Syria, without also focusing on the removal of al-Assad, was a miscalculation. In just the past week, the White House has convened four meetings of the President’s national security team, one of which was chaired by Obama and others that were attended by principals like the secretary of state. These meetings, in the words of one senior official, were “driven to a large degree how our Syria strategy fits into our ISIS strategy.”

The contradiction between these two policies should be obvious, as Iran has expended ample time, funds, and men (primarily through proxy forces like Hezbollah and other Shia militias) to keep Assad in power. In fact overthrowing Assad would by necessity require the targeting and destruction of some of the very same forces that the Obama administration envisioned fighting ISIS on our behalf in Iraq.

The administration’s utter strategic incoherence is founded on an unwillingness to comprehend what drives both the Iranian aims (through proxies in Iraq and Syria), as well as the forces arrayed against them.  As we have repeatedly pointed out here on the Free Fire blog (See here, here, and here), the Syrian opposition is dominated by Al Qaeda and Al Qaeda-allied Islamist militias connected to the Muslim Brotherhood. The Obama Administration’s policy for Syria has involved alternatively partnering with these Islamists, while also bombing certain units of them during the course of the air campaign against ISIS. All sides in the current regional conflict are motivated by the same ideological agenda, establishing their hegemony in the region in order to extend (their particularly sectarian brand) of Islamic law, and to use future gains as a base for further jihad against their enemies, including principally the United States. Whether the U.S. attempts to partner with Iran against ISIS, or Al Qaeda against ISIS, or the Muslim Brotherhood against Al Qaeda, or Al Qaeda and the Muslim Brotherhood against Iran, every permutation will result in the same eventual outcome. Victory for enemies of the United States.

The Obama administration has prided itself on it’s attention to “nuance”. In its dealings in the Middle East, it has repeatedly attempted to tease out differences and distinctions that are at best irrelevant, leading to the construction of a world view that is ultimately divorced from reality in any meaningful way. The result is that this Administration finds itself simultaneously on all sides, and still the wrong sides, of every strategic challenge.

BLACK: It’s Not The Centrifuges-It’s The Warhead

iranian-nuclear-weaponTruth Revolt, By Edwin Black, Nov. 11, 2014:

November 24, 2014 is a looming deadline for Iran, Israel, the United States and the world over its nuclear weapons program. Just days ago, the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] released a report summarized by its conclusion: “The Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurances about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran is in peaceful activities. Iran has not provided any explanations that enable the Agency to clarify the outstanding practical measures, nor has it proposed any new practical measures in the next step of the Framework for cooperation.”

Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, leading the international negotiations, has described the back and forth as “a forest of distrust.” At the same time, she declares, “Our bottom line is unambiguous … Iran will not, shall not obtain a nuclear weapon.” In the background, media revelations recently disclosed secret correspondence between the Obama White House to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei — kept even from Congressional leaders and America’s closest allies and Israel. Washington is struggling to enlist Tehran in the faltering campaign against the Islamic State. This process has juggled agreed numbers of centrifuges — a limit of 4,000 … or is it 10,000 … or is it something in between? Centrifuges are a critical component because each vertical cylinder slowly but steadily distills uranium into a highly enriched weapon-ready state.

However, as the world ponders Iran’s dash to enrich more kilograms of uranium, the underlying concern is not so much about the enrichment process itself, but the end product: a nuclear warhead. Iran has been developing its warhead for some sixteen years. That design is nearly perfected.

Compare the process to gunpowder. To use gunpowder, you need load it into a cartridge, load the cartridge and a bullet into a rifle, and then find a marksman. Iran has nearly mastered all those steps — but in nuclear terms.

Four technological achievements are key to completing Tehran’s nuclear weapon:

1) accretion of enough nuclear materials, highly enriched to weapons-grade or 90 percent; 2) machining that material into metal for a spheroid warhead so it can fit into a missile nosecone; 3) developing a trigger mechanism to initiate the atomic explosion at a precise moment during missile reentry; and, of course, 4) a reliable delivery system.

Start with the nuclear material. Experts estimate that a single bomb would require approximately 25 kilograms of Highly Enriched Uranium, or HEU, with a U-235 concentration of at least 90 percent. Much of Iran’s nuclear enrichment remains at 3.5 and 20 percent levels. But the numbers are deceiving. Enriching to 3.5 percent is 75 percent of the task of reaching weapons-grade. Once Iran has reached 20 percent, it has gone 90 percent of the distance. Indeed, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani delivered a 2005 speech in his capacity as National Security Advisor in which he declared, “a country that possesses fuel cycle technology can enrich uranium —and the country that can enrich uranium to about 3.5 percent will also have the capability to enrich it to about 90 percent.” Today, Iran possesses enough nuclear material for a fast “break-out” that would finish the job, creating enough for five or ten bombs, in about six weeks.

Second, that HEU must be metalized and shaped into a dense spheroid compact enough to fit into a missile nosecone. Iran has mastered the metallurgical techniques using other high-density metals such as tungsten, which have been test-detonated in a special chamber to measure their explosive character.

Third, the spheroid must be detonated. Iran’s warhead design employs a R265 shock generator hemisphere drilled with 5mm boreholes that are filled with PETN— pentaerythritol tetranitrate, an organic high explosive favored by terrorists. When triggered with precision, the PETN array can cause a massive synchronized implosion. That will fire an internal exploding bridgewire which will in turn actuate an embedded neutron initiator to detonate the atomic reaction—and the mushroom cloud. This sequence of devices has been assembled and tested. Iran has some 500 exploding bridgewires.

Fourth, the warhead must be delivered. The Shabab-3 missile nosecone is large enough to accommodate the warhead. The outer radius of the R265 shock generator-encased warhead is 550 millimeters, less than the estimated payload chamber diameter of about 600 millimeters. Most of all, the Iranian military has selected the Shabab-3 not only because it possesses a range of 1200 kilometers, but because it can be detonated in an airburst some 600 meters off the ground on re-entry. The height of 600 meters was used in the Nagasaki explosion. Such a weapon cannot be crashed into the ground. It must be detonated while still airborne. Iran has a small fleet of Shahab-3 missiles.

Hence, Iran’s metronomic accretion of nuclear material is not just an ambiguous physics undertaking that should worry the West. It is part and parcel of a nuclear attack plan that the international community is determined to address.

Edwin Black is the author of 11 award-winning editions, including IBM and the Holocaust,and his most recent book Financing the Flames. The author can be found at www.edwinblack.com

Also see:

US Veterans and Families Sue Six Banks Accused of Transferring funds to Finance Iran Terror Groups

Honor Guard Advancing Colors at Veterans Day Ceremony  WWII National Memorial Washington, DC Source: Getty Images

Honor Guard Advancing Colors at Veterans Day Ceremony WWII National Memorial Washington, DC
Source: Getty Images

NER, By Jerry Gordon, Nov. 11, 2014:

Just prior to Veterans Day, November 10, 2014, a lawsuit was filed in the Eastern Federal District Court in Brooklyn, New York against six major international banks allegedly engaged in transfers of funds with a leading Iranian bank. The defendants in the action include HSBC Bank USA, Barclays, London’s Standard Chartered Bank, the Royal Bank of Scotland, Credit Suisse, and London-based Iranian Bank Saderat.  The suit is on behalf of more than 200 plaintiffs Veterans and families of US service personnel and a journalist killed or maimed in Iraq. Attacks that occurred over the period from 2004 to 2008 by terrorist groups affiliated with Iran’s Quds Force and its proxy Hezbollah.  Over 80 wounded veterans are among the plaintiffs, many victims of Improvised Explosive Devices (I.E.D.).  The suit by the plaintiffs is requesting a jury trial.

The New York Times in its account of the lawsuit drew from the complaint compelling examples of the victims of Iran’s Quds Force and Hezbollah attacks in Iraq:

The sneak attack on the compound outside Baghdad in January 2007, the lawsuit said, was the work of a terrorist group “trained and armed by Iran’s Quds Force with Hezbollah’s assistance.” Once inside the compound, the group sprayed bullets and lobbed grenades, killing several American soldiers, including 20-year-old Jonathon M. Millican, who jumped on one of the grenades. Mr. Millican’s widow and father joined the lawsuit, along with the families of three other soldiers killed in that attack and a surviving soldier who suffers from post-traumatic stress disorder.

The journalist, Steven Vincent, was kidnapped and shot in August 2005. His widow, mother and father are plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Christopher M. Hake was on his second tour of duty in Iraq in March 2008 when an Iranian-manufactured explosive device went off near his vehicle and killed him.

The NYT noted this example of flagrant disregard by one of the six banks accused in the complaint caught evading financial sanctions against dealings with Iranian financial institutions:

The lawsuit cites a series of emails and conversations taken  from the banks’ settlements with federal prosecutors, offering a lens inside the banks’ flagrant disregard for sanctions against Iran. A Standard Chartered executive, in response to concerns raised by an employee in New York, reportedly replied: “You f–ing Americans. Who are you to tell us, the rest of the world, that we’re not going to deal with Iranians?”

 

The Eastern District Brooklyn federal court figured prominently in a jury verdict in the case of Almog v. Arab Bank  rendered in September 2014. The plaintiffs were 6,000 terrorist victims of more than 24 Hamas attacks involving Americans and families in Israel. The jury found the Jordan- based Arab Bank liable for transfers to the terrorist group Hamas.  The Arab Bank suit presiding federal Judge is now determining how best to handle the damages assessment phase.   Both lawsuits were filed under the 1990 US Antiterrorism Act that provided a civil cause of actions for international acts of terrorism and an extraterrorial jurisdiction in federal courts.  Some of the lawyers in this current suit were also counsel in the Arab Bank matter.

There are similar cases pending against the Bank of China, NatWest and Crédit Lyonnais.  One example is the $338 million damages award against the Bank of China in 2012 in a verdict by a DC federal court in a case brought by Shurat HaDin Israel law Center of Tel Aviv headed by Nitsana Darshan Leitner and US co-counsel New York attorney Robert Tolchin.  The Center and US counsel brought the suit on behalf of the family of the late Danny Wultz of Weston, Florida who was mortally wounded in a Palestinian terrorist attack in Tel Aviv in 2006. The terrorist group Palestinian Islamic Jihad involved in perpetrating the attack used funds provided by Iran through transfers via the Bank of China.

A Washington Free Beacon report on the suit noted the arguments contained in the plaintiffs compliant:

The veterans argue that the banks helped Iran illegally move “billions of dollars” to terrorist entities that later targeted U.S. troops in attacks.

The suit alleges these banks are knowingly acting as key cogs in Iran’s efforts to evade U.S. sanctions and provide “material support” to Hezbollah and other terror groups, which, at Tehran’s behest, have carried out attacks against U.S. interests in Iraq.

“Defendants’ unlawful conduct was purposefully directed at the United States, and the conspiracy was specifically designed to effectuate the flow of billions of U.S. dollars through the United States in violation of U.S. laws, and in fact resulted in hundreds of billions of dollars illegally passing through the United States,” plaintiffs argue in the complaint filed by New Jersey-based Osen & Associates.

The veterans and their families are seeking an unspecified amount of damages from the banks as a result of their alleged support for Iranian terrorism.

The suit alleges that the international banks in question were “knowingly” part of a “conspiracy” by Iran to skirt international sanctions.

The lawsuit explains in great detail how Iran has funneled money to Hezbollah and other terror entities in Iraq. Iranian money, the suit alleges, was spent to train terrorists and arm them with IEDs and other weapons typically used to kill and wound U.S. soldiers.

The context of this latest US antiterrorism suit – Iran’s Quds Force involved with proxy Hezbollah fighting US forces in the Iraq War – comes at a time when the Administration has reached out to Iran’s Supreme Ruler, Ayatollah Khamenei seeking the Islamic  Regime’s  assistance in fighting the Islamic State, ISIS.  Already heavily engaged in Iraq advising the Iraqi national security forces on how to combat ISIS is none other than the head of the Quds Force, Qassem Suleymani, along with Hezbollah operatives.

We hope that this federal lawsuit at least finds these major banks dealing with Iranian financial institutions complicit in the terror financing of Al Quds and Hezbollah who killed Americans and maimed US vets for life.

US Embracement of Iran Will Only Help the Islamic State

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (r) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (l) shake hands as EU envoy Catherine Ashton and Oman Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi watch. Zarif began talks with Kerry and Ashton in Oman on Nov.9, 2014 to end a standoff over Tehran's nuclear program. (Photo: © Reuters)

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry (r) and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif (l) shake hands as EU envoy Catherine Ashton and Oman Foreign Minister Yussef bin Alawi watch. Zarif began talks with Kerry and Ashton in Oman on Nov.9, 2014 to end a standoff over Tehran’s nuclear program. (Photo: © Reuters)

BY RYAN MAURO:

As the November 24 deadline for a deal with Iran looms, President Obama wrote a secret letter to Supreme Leader Khamenei reportedly suggesting a common bond against the Islamic State terrorist group (ISIS or ISIL).

The unpublished letter reportedly offered cooperation with Iran against ISIS if a nuclear deal is reached. Secretary of State Kerry saidthis is incorrect and that the nuclear negotiations are being treated as a wholly independent issue.

The evidence supports Kerry, as Iran publicly rejected cooperation with the U.S. against ISIS in September. There has already been some level of indirect coordination, as U.S. airstrikes assisted Iraqi forces and two Iranian-sponsored militias, Asaib Al-Haq and the Hezbollah Brigades, in breaking the ISIS siege of Amerli.

President Obama similarly said the U.S. is not coordinating with Iran and that the nuclear issue is not being paired with the ISIS issue. He would not confirm or deny the letter but said he told Iran, “Don’t mess with us, we’re not here to mess with you. We’re focused on our common enemy.”

The White House ruled out military cooperation and intelligence-sharing with Iran, raising the question of what kind of relationship the U.S. is seeking with Iran.

The letter underscores one of the biggest flaws in the U.S. strategy against ISIS: The failure to tackle Iranian-backed militias in Iraq whose activity fuels ISIS and other Sunni extremists and undermines the Iraqi government.

Iran needs ISIS and Al-Qaeda just as these organizations “need” Iran. Ayatollah Khamenei and his allies, the Syrian regime, have a strategy of setting up Al-Qaeda and ISIS as their opponents  so they can purport themselves up as the “moderate” alternative.

That is why Iran helps Al-Qaeda, even permitting it to use Iranian territory to send fighters to Syria. And that’s why, as senior U.S. Treasury Department official David Cohen mentioned, the Assad regime buys oil from ISIS.

Yet, former U.S. ambassador to Iraq and Turkey, James Jeffrey, hit the nail on the head when he said Supreme Leader Khamenei “is basically a believer in a very similar Islamic philosophy to that of ISIS…It is a pan-Islamic force of revolutionary bent.”

Read more at Clarion Project

End the Bush-Obama Fecklessness: Destroy Iran’s Nuclear Facilities Now

mrz111309dapr20091113032918By Andrew G. Bostom, November 10, 2014:

The Obama administration and Iran’s rulers, spurred by the latter’s alleged “pragmatic” wing [1], appear to be rushing headlong towards a final agreement on November 24, 2014, which would validate Iran’s right to enrich uranium for putative non-military uses, and also provide the global jihad-promoting Shiite theocracy [2] extensive relief from economic sanctions. This mutually desired outcome was strongly hinted at by both U.S. Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman during an October 23, 2014 speech [3], and the recent public statements [1] of key Iranian regime advisors.

Indeed, reports surfaced this past week [4] that President Obama himself has made direct, supplicating overtures to Iran’s head Shiite theocrat, Ayatollah Khamenei, linking U.S.-Iranian “cooperation” in fighting the Islamic State Sunni jihadists, to reaching a final nuclear agreement November 24, per the so-called “P5 +1” (= the U.S., Britain, France, Russia, China, i.e., the five permanent members of the U.N. Security Council, plus Germany) negotiations process. At a post-midterm elections press conference, 11/5/14, Mr. Obama openly expressed [5] his endorsement of the apparently forthcoming nuclear deal with Iran:

I think that we’ll be able to make a strong argument to Congress that this is the best way for us to avoid a nuclear Iran, that it will be more effective than any other alternatives we might take, including military action.

Pace Mr. Obama’s and his advisers’ “arguments”—a toxic brew of willful, dangerous delusion, ignorance, and cynicism—the diplomatic processes they are aggressively pursuing will inevitably yield an Iran armed with nuclear weapons. Thus within two days of the U.S. President’s latest roseate pronouncement, a tocsin of looming calamity was sounded in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report [6] released Friday, 11/7/14.

Even the centerpiece of touted P5 +1 negotiations’ “success,” curtailment of Iran’s uranium enrichment program, was questioned by the IAEA, which noted the Islamic Republic was continuing activities “which are in contravention of its obligation to suspend all enrichment-related activities.” The IAEA report [6]further observed that contrary to its relevant commitments, “Iran has not suspended work on all heavy water related projects.” Most ominously, the IAEA report highlighted [6] Iran’s failure to cooperate and resolve “outstanding issues related to possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program.” Specifically, the IAEA expressed [6] its remaining concern,

about the possible existence in Iran of undisclosed nuclear related activities involving military related organizations, including activities related to the development of a nuclear payload for a missile.

As a concrete example of Iran’s ongoing defiance, the IAEA cited [6] unresolved questions (which date back to the IAEA’s 11/8/2011 report [7], paragraphs 38-45) pertaining to nuclear weapons detonation research, such as “detonator development and the initiation of high explosives and associated experiments.” Regarding the Parchin facility—long known as a center [8] for weapons triggering research and development, which allegedly [8] (per the IAEA’s own 11/8/2011 assessment [9]) includes possessing the design for an implosion-type nuclear weapon, and experimental efforts to construct a nuclear warhead—the 11/7/14 IAEA report added [6] it

has observed through satellite imagery that the construction activity that appeared to show the removal/replacement or refurbishment of the site’s two main buildings’ external wall structures appears to have ceased. This activity is likely to have further undermined the Agency’s [IAEA’s] ability to conduct effective verification. 

Albeit with decided understatement, the IAEA’s 11/7/14 report came to this rather dire conclusion [6]:

the Agency is not in a position to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran, and therefore to conclude that all nuclear material is in peaceful activities.

Panglossian assessments notwithstanding, the most rational and feasible alternative to the axiomatic, but unacceptable consequence of feckless Obama, and before that George W. Bush Administration policies, are coordinated U.S. military strikes which target and destroy Iran’s four essential nuclear facilities: the uranium enrichment compounds at Natanz and Qom (/Fordow); the uranium conversion hub at Isfahan; and Iran’s plutonium-producing reactor, (still) being constructed at Arak. Consistent with the IAEA’s ongoing concerns [6] about “undeclared nuclear material and activities in Iran” (including, perhaps, at Khondab [10]?), it must be underscored that three of these four sites—the Natanz and Qom uranium enrichment facilities, and the heavy-water, plutonium producing Arak reactor—were each developed clandestinely [8]. Moreover, August 14, 2002, early in the Bush II Administration, it was revealed publicly [8] that two of these secret nuclear sites, Natanz and Arak, were already under construction. Former Bush and Obama Administration Defense Secretary Robert Gates’ published (January, 2014) memoir [11], as first reported by the Washington Post’s Walter Pincus [12], discloses [12] how President Bush, some five years after the revelations about Natanz and Qom, was convinced by Gates to forestall a pre-emptive Israeli attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities, and the (absurd) “geo-strategic rationale” for this executive decision:

Gates writes that his most effective argument was that an Israeli attack on Iran that overflew Iraq would endanger what the surge had achieved with Baghdad. Bush then ‘emphatically said he would not put our gains in Iraq at risk,’ according to Gates (p. 193 [13]).”

Finally, just prior to leaving office, the George W. Bush Administration negotiated a November 17, 2008  “SOFA” (status of forces agreement [14]) with our “Iraqi allies” which, as per Article 27, paragraph 3 (“Iraqi land, sea and air shall not be used as a launching or transit point for attacks against other countries.”) prohibited the US from attacking, for example, Iranian nuclear production facilities, from Iraqi bases and airspace.

The case for limited, targeted military strikes on Iran’s four known nuclear facilities has been made with pellucid cogency by Georgetown University International Relations Professor, and expert on Iran’s nuclear program, Matthew Kroenig [8]. In his dispassionate May, 2014, study, A Time to Attack [8], Kroenig elucidates [8] the profoundly destabilizing threat posed by an Iran armed with nuclear weapons:

From Iran , a revisionist and risk-acceptant state, we can expect…reckless behavior. Iran will almost certainly be willing to risk nuclear war in future geopolitical conflicts, and this will mean that it will be able on occasion to engage in successful nuclear coercion. It also means that, in playing these games of brinkmanship, it will increase the risk of a nuclear exchange.

Kroenig then outlines [8] the tactical obstacles military strikes on Iran’s four established nuclear facilities would confront, from the relative ease of attacking the surface Isfahan and Arak sites, to the difficulty of targeting the underground Natanz and Qom complexes.

…Isfahan and Arak are above ground and therefore are easy military targets. We [the U.S.] could easily destroy these facilities using air- or sea-launched cruise missiles, launched from U.S. B-52 bombers operating outside Iranian airspace or U.S. warships in the Persian Gulf.

Natanz is buried under seventy feet of earth and several meters of reinforced concrete, and Qom is built into the aide of a mountain and is therefore protected by 295 feet of rock. To destroy these sites we would need to use the Nassive Ordnance Penetrator, or MOP. The MOP weighs 30,000 pounds and according to open source reporting, is capable of penetrating up to 200 feet before exploding. Some simple arithmetic (200 feet is greater than 70+ feet) suggests that Natanz doesn’t stand a chance. It is unlikely that the MOP could penetrate into the enrichment chamber of Qom in a single shot (295 feet is greater than 200 feet), but we could simply put subsequent bombs in the crater left from a previous bomb and thus eventually tunnel our way in. Putting multiple bombs in the same hole requires a fair bit of accuracy in our targeting, but we can do it. In addition to destroying their entrances, exits, ventilation heating and colling systems, and their power lines and sources. The MOP can only be carried on the U.S. B-2 stealth bomber. Since it can be refueled in midair, the B-2 can be sent on a roundtrip mission from U.S. bases in Missouri and Diego Garcia in the Indian Ocean to its targets in Iran and back home again without stopping. The B-2 could also be escorted by stealthy U.S. F-22 fighters, or F-16s, to protect it against fighter aircraft.

This relatively limited, and very brief campaign consisting of “a barrage of cruise missiles and bombing sorties,” Kroenig observes [8], plausibly conducted in one night,

would almost certainly succeed in its intended mission and destroy Iran’s key nuclear facilities.

Citing [8] four historical precedents where pre-emptive bombing of nuclear facilities achieved the goal of non-proliferation, decisively—“Nazi Germany during World War II, Iran during the Iran-Iraq War, Iraq several times in the 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s, and Syria in 2007”—Kroenig concludes [8] by enumerating the multiple benefits which would accrue from similarly destroying Iran’s known nuclear installations:

There is absolutely no doubt that a strike on Iran’s nuclear facility would significantly set back Iran’s nuclear progress and create a real possibility that Iran would remain non-nuclear for the foreseeable future.

Moreover…[a] strike…would stem the spread of nuclear weapons in the Middle East and bolster the nonproliferation regime around the world.

Furthermore, a U.S. strike would also strengthen American credibility. We declared many times that we were prepared to use force if necessary to stop Iran from building nuclear weapons. A strike would demonstrate that we mean what we say and say what we mean and that other countries, friends and foes alike, would be foolish to ignore America’s foreign policy pronouncements.

Read more at PJ Media