Iran tensions: Pentagon plan to deploy 120,000 troops in case of escalation

At the direction of national security adviser John Bolton, acting Defense Secretary Patrick Shanahan last week presented top White House national security officials with a plan to send up to 120,000 troops to the Middle East in the event that Iran “attack American forces or accelerate work on nuclear weapons,” the New York Times reports.

Details: The plan was reportedly presented during a meeting about the Trump administration’s broader Iran policy, attended — among others — by Bolton, CIA director Gina Haspel, Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Gen. Joseph Dunford and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats. It’s unclear if President Trump has been briefed on the details of the plan, which did not call for a land invasion of Iran, but requested a similar number of troops involved the U.S.’ 2003 invasion of Iraq, per the Times.

The big picture: Bolton and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo have been warning of an unspecified “escalating threat” from Iran in recent weeks, after receiving intelligence from Israel about a possible Iranian plot to attack U.S. interests in the region. Trump told reporters today that he’d been “hearing little stories about Iran,” adding: “If they do anything, they will suffer greatly.”

  • Saudi Arabia on Monday announced that two Saudi tankers were damaged by an “act of sabotage” over the weekend in the Gulf, without identifying any suspects. Iran’s foreign ministry distanced itself, calling the incident “worrisome” and “regretful.”
  • Later on Monday, AP and other media outlets cited an anonymous U.S. official as saying an “initial assessment is that Iranian or Iranian-backed proxies” were responsible.

https://www.axios.com/iran-military-troops-john-bolton-1d4a714c-ea52-483f-b392-2ac2af01f423.html

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Macron Holding US Responsible If Iran Leaves Nuke Deal

On Wednesday, Tehran gave Europe 60 days to ensure Iran’s interests were protected under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).

Otherwise, Tehran is ready to take further steps on scrapping the JCPOA, it warned.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that Washington would be responsible if Iranian authorities abandon the nuclear deal.

“Firstly, Iran did not withdraw this deal. Secondly, if Iran withdraws from this deal, it will be the responsibility of the United States. We will not mix the roles and say that it’s the Europeans,” the French leader said at a press conference following the informal summit of EU leaders in the Romanian city of Sibiu.

Macron pretends to hold “Great National Debate” while targeting protestors with live ammo and helicopter-deployed tear gas.

Macron’s remark follows the Russian Foreign Ministry’s announcement made earlier in the day that the United States must terminate any activities that hamper political and economic cooperation of other countries with Iran. This statement was made shortly after EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini noted that the European Union remains committed to the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear deal signed with Iran in 2015, as long as the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirms that Tehran acts in accordance with the deal.

https://www.infowars.com/macron-holding-us-responsible-if-iran-leaves-nuke-deal/

Iran Building Two New Nuclear Plants

Iranian leaders announced on Monday the construction of two new nuclear plants, and it remains unclear if the Trump administration views this as crossing a red line since its abandonment of the landmark nuclear deal, which included provisions permitting Iran to work on heavy water nuclear reactors that could provide a plutonium-based pathway to a bomb.

On the same day it announced these new nuclear reactors, which are being built in conjunction with Russia, Iran announced it would be filing papers accusing the United States of “crimes against humanity.”

The new nuclear moves are rattling congressional Iran hawks, who have been critical of a series of waivers issued by the Trump administration permitting Iran to continue engaging in nuclear research, including at an underground site that once housed the regime’s nuclear weapons program.

It remains unclear if the Trump administration will move to block this activity and sanction any international company that aids Iran in the construction of the new nuclear reactors.

“If the State Department is even considering waivers for Iran to expand its nuclear program, if those are even a little bit in play, you have to ask yourself what else is already a done deal and why that isn’t public yet,” one veteran Republican official, reflecting the views of many Iran hawks, told the Washington Free Beacon.

“You also have to ask yourself if the State Department knows that Republicans won the last presidential election or whether we’re all just going to pretend it’s Obama’s third term and the Iran deal is still in place,” the source said.

Ali Salehi, the head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, announced on Monday that construction of the two new nuclear plants have begun in the southern Iranian city of Bushehr.

“Everything is moving ahead in an excellent manner,” Salehi was quoted as saying in the country’s state-controlled press. “I was in Bushehr two or three days ago and the Bushehr 2 and Bushehr 3 power plants are being constructed.”

The State Department would not respond to questions about its policy on Iran’s nuclear construction.

Meanwhile, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani announced on Monday that Iran had begun filing paperwork accusing the United States of “crimes against humanity” for its reimposition of harsh sanctions on Tehran.

“The presidential office’s legal department, the justice minister, and foreign minister are required to compile a bill of complaint on crime against humanity against the Americans and those who were involved in sanctions and implementation of sanctions so that we can take it to a competent court for prosecution,” Rouhani was quoted as saying.

“The world should know that the U.S. move [sanctions] is not aimed at the Iranian government and nuclear technology but it is against the Iranian people’s health, environment, ordinary life, foodstuff and medicine,” Rouhani said.

However, it is the nuclear reactors that are eliciting outrage within the Trump administration and on Capitol Hill.

The news comes amid an ongoing inter-agency battle over how far to go in sanctioning Iran and its illicit activities. Some elements of the Trump administration are angling to keep issuing waivers to permit Iran’s nuclear work, as well as its production of lucrative crude oil.

The debate has been raging inside the administration for months, with some hardline officials expressing frustration at some colleagues for seeking to preserve the nuclear deal and keep it on life support, despite President Donald Trump’s vocal commitment to a policy he describes as “maximum pressure.”

Some administration officials in the State Department have made clear that these various waivers exempting countries from sanctions are necessary to preserve the framework of the Iran nuclear deal.

“Even as we have been systematically re-imposing sanctions related to Iran in pursuit of the better, ‘win-win’ deal of which I speak, we have carefully refrained from restoring sanctions in such a way as to obstruct international cooperation with Iran on a number of projects contemplated under the JCPOA that provide Iran opportunities to benefit from nuclear technology in ways not raising proliferation risks,” Chris Ford, assistant secretary in the State Department’s Bureau of International Security and Nonproliferation, said in December in comments that rankled some Iran hawks.

“To accomplish this, the secretary of state waived the imposition of certain sanctions to the extent necessary to enable specified nonproliferation activities involving Iran,” Ford explained.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-building-two-new-nuclear-plants/

Forty years since revolution, Iran taunts ‘declining’ America

Forty years after its revolution, Iran has no fear of a “declining” America, a senior cleric said on Friday at the start of official commemorations of the uprising that made the country a permanent enemy of the United States.

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a famously hardline cleric who is the secretary of the Guardian Council, a body with huge influence over the way Iran is run, used his speech to mock the leadership of President Donald Trump.
Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a famously hardline cleric who is the secretary of the Guardian Council, a body with huge influence over the way Iran is run, used his speech to mock the leadership of President Donald Trump.
“Even many of America’s allies don’t listen to it anymore and they are not afraid of it,” Jannati said at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who returned from exile in France to lead the revolution exactly 40 years ago.“America cannot manage its own affairs now,” Jannati said in remarks carried by state television, adding that “millions of people are hungry there and America’s power is in decline.” He did not say what he was basing that assertion on.
“Even many of America’s allies don’t listen to it anymore and they are not afraid of it,” Jannati said at the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, who returned from exile in France to lead the revolution exactly 40 years ago.“America cannot manage its own affairs now,” Jannati said in remarks carried by state television, adding that “millions of people are hungry there and America’s power is in decline.” He did not say what he was basing that assertion on.
The 1979 uprising deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a secular king allied to the West. Later that year, Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy and held 52 Americans for 444 days – an affront to U.S. pride that still colors how Iran is viewed from Washington.Trump last year pulled out of an international agreement under which Iran curbed its nuclear work in exchange for a sanctions relief. The re-imposed sanctions caused a currency crash, rampant inflation and added to investors’ hesitancy about doing business there.Jannati, who opposed President Hassan Rouhani’s decision to negotiate away some of Iran’s nuclear rights, said:
The 1979 uprising deposed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, a secular king allied to the West. Later that year, Iranian students stormed the U.S. embassy and held 52 Americans for 444 days – an affront to U.S. pride that still colors how Iran is viewed from Washington.Trump last year pulled out of an international agreement under which Iran curbed its nuclear work in exchange for a sanctions relief. The re-imposed sanctions caused a currency crash, rampant inflation and added to investors’ hesitancy about doing business there.Jannati, who opposed President Hassan Rouhani’s decision to negotiate away some of Iran’s nuclear rights, said:
“Unfortunately, some of our officials believe that we cannot manage the country without America’s help. May such wrong thoughts be damned!”Among many programs on state TV featuring achievements since the revolution, was a short animation showing an Iranian-made Ghadir navy submarine surfacing near a U.S. aircraft carrier and other vessels which then inexplicably sink without any sign of an attack or explosion.In December, the USS John C. Stennis entered the Gulf, ending a long absence of U.S. aircraft carriers.Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Robin PomeroyOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.
“Unfortunately, some of our officials believe that we cannot manage the country without America’s help. May such wrong thoughts be damned!”Among many programs on state TV featuring achievements since the revolution, was a short animation showing an Iranian-made Ghadir navy submarine surfacing near a U.S. aircraft carrier and other vessels which then inexplicably sink without any sign of an attack or explosion.In December, the USS John C. Stennis entered the Gulf, ending a long absence of U.S. aircraft carriers.Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Robin PomeroyOur Standards:The Thomson Reuters Trust Principles.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

State Funds Nonprofit That Provided ‘Material Support’ to Iran, Hamas

The State Department’s bureau of political-military affairs continues to direct tens of millions of dollars to a nonprofit that paid a $2 million-dollar fine and admitted to providing “material support” to Iran, Hamas, and other groups the U.S. considers terrorists or terrorist-linked.

The lucrative contracts for IED and other bomb removal continued despite the Trump administration’s tougher policies on Iran and pledge to undertake a maximum diplomatic and financial pressure campaign against Iran and terrorist groups linked to it.

The Norwegian People’s Aid, or NPA, an Oslo-based humanitarian non-profit strongly affiliated with labor unions, has at least a six-year history of working for the U.S. Agency for International Development and more recently for the State Department for demining and other bomb-removal efforts around the world.

Read more

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.infowars.com/state-funds-nonprofit-that-provided-material-support-to-iran-hamas/

Iran Had Secret Plans to Build Five Nuclear Warheads

A new bombshell report based on a secret trove of seized Iranian nuclear documents shows the Islamic Republic had concrete plans to manufacture and build at least five nuclear weapons and that it was much further along in this scheme than previously known by the international community.

Iran’s contested nuclear weapons program was much further along than the international community thought, according to a report based on scores of secret Iranian plans seized by Israel and publicly disclosed for the first time earlier this year.

Information obtained in this raid on Iran’s secretive nuclear files has revealed that Tehran was well along the path to building several nuclear weapons by around 2003, including the complex infrastructure needed to produce such weapons, according to a new report from the Institute for Science and International Society, a nuclear watchdog group that has exposed in the past the extent of Iran’s nuclear works.

The report is being viewed as a bombshell revelation on Capitol Hill and is seen as validating critics of the Obama administration who alleged the former White House has underestimated the extent of Iran’s nuclear weapons progress.

“Iran intended to build five nuclear warheads, each with an explosive yield of 10 kilotons and able to be delivered by ballistic missile,” the group disclosed in a new report that shows Iran has retained much of its nuclear infrastructure and could continue using it to clandestinely conduct weapons work in violation of the landmark nuclear accord.

“Iran’s initial plans show that it had achieved much more than feasibility and scientific studies relating to nuclear weapons, as the IAEA assessed in late 2015, as the Iran nuclear deal was being implemented,” according to the group, which based its report on access it was granted to the seized Iranian nuclear documents, which show the regime allocated millions of dollars to the purchase of nuclear materials, including uranium, the key component in a bomb.

“Iran had put in place by the end of 2003 the infrastructure for a comprehensive nuclear weapons program,” according to the report. “The evidence supports that Iran was preparing to conduct an underground test of a nuclear weapon, if necessary. The end goal was to have tested, deliverable nuclear weapons, and Iran made more progress toward that goal than known before the seizure of the archives.”

Iran hawks on Capitol Hill say the report confirms warnings from many that the Obama administration downplayed Iran’s nuclear activities in a bid to ink the nuclear pact with Iran.

“Republicans have long known that the Obama administration lied to the country about the Iran deal,” said one senior Republican congressional official familiar with the report. “Just a few months ago PSI published documents showing they lied to Congress about enforcing sanctions and giving dollar access.”

The latest disclosures are fueling the push in Congress for the Trump administration to reimpose greater economic sanctions on Iran, a portion of which went back into effect earlier this month. Some in Congress have called on the Trump administration to go further in its actions, including by fully cutting off Iran’s oil exports and access to international financial markets.

“Now this report shows they also lied about Iran’s nuclear weapons work,” the source said. “You can expect congressional Republicans to increase pressure on the Trump administration to implement maximum pressure on Iran, which they still aren’t doing.”

Iran was poised to construct at least five nuclear warheads based on its weapons work at the time, according to the new report, which also found that Tehran’s nuclear infrastructure was far more sophisticated than previously believed.

“Iran made far more progress toward its goal of manufacturing five nuclear weapons than known before the seizure of the archives,” according to the watchdog group.

Information about Iran’s nuclear activities, although far less complete, was kept hidden from the public as the Obama administration pressed the international community to support the nuclear agreement.

“It must be acknowledged that at that time, the IAEA and the JCPOA parties, appeared to be downplaying the Iranian nuclear weapons program so as not to stand in the way of starting the implementation of the JCPOA in January 2016,” the report found, noting that international nuclear inspectors have yet to take a stance on the new information.

“Today, the IAEA has in its possession much of the content from the Iranian archive; it should be expected to act on this information, something that is not yet visible, after six months of examining the new information.

This nuclear infrastructure remains intact, further fueling concerns about what Iran has been hiding from nuclear inspectors, who must give Iran advance notice of any inspections and refrain from entering the country’s contested military sites.

“The continued existence of the Iranian nuclear archive and warehouse reinforces that the Iranian nuclear program’s remains, and likely some activities, may have continued up to today,” the group said.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://freebeacon.com/national-security/iran-secret-plans-build-five-nuclear-warheads/

Iran Facilitated Passage Of 9/11 Attackers

A prominent Iranian politician admitted that Iran knowingly facilitated the passage of al-Qaeda members who later carried out the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, potentially confirming allegations in a 9/11 Commission report.

Mohammad-Javad Larijani, a former diplomat, member of a politically influential Iranian family, and current international affairs assistant in the Iranian judiciary, made the comments in an interview with Iranian state TV on May 30, according to an Al Arabiya report. The interview translation was independently confirmed by The Daily Caller News Foundation.

The 9/11 Commission Report was released on July 22, 2004. It is the official report of the events leading up to and after the events of the terror attacks, and was put together by the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States at the request of Congress and then-President George W. Bush.

There was strong evidence that al-Qaeda hijackers traveled through Iran “on their way to or from Afghanistan, taking advantage of the Iranian practice of not stamping Saudi passports,” the report stated.

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http://dailycaller.com/2018/06/08/iran-facilitated-passage-of-9-11-attackers-politician/

Iran nuclear deal: Anger in Tehran, shouts of ‘death to America’

During the demonstration in parliament, lawmakers held up the flaming U.S. flag as their fellow parliamentarians joined in anti-American chants. They also burned a piece of paper representing the nuclear deal and stomped on the papers’ ashes. Larijani, according to the Iranian Students’ News Agency, said Trump lacked “mental capacity.”

European diplomats meanwhile insisted that the 2015 accord would not suddenly collapse despite the U.S.’s withdrawal. Hans Dietmar Schweisgut, the European Union’s representative to China said Wednesday during a press briefing in Beijing that the EU strongly believes “that this is an agreement which belongs to the international community. This is not an agreement that will fall apart if you just walk away.”

France’s foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian told French radio that the deal “wasn’t dead yet” and that European countries would hold talks over how to keep it alive.

Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia were all signatories to the 2015 accord under which Iran pledged to limit its stockpile of enriched uranium for 15 years and its number of centrifuges for 10 years. Both are needed to make nuclear weapons. The EU, U.S. and United Nations lifted economic sanctions as part of the deal.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/world/2018/05/09/trump-iran-nuclear-deal-withdrawal-fallout/593490002/

Trump declares US leaving ‘horrible’ Iran nuclear accord

President Donald Trump withdrew the U.S. from the landmark nuclear accord with Iran on Tuesday, abruptly restoring harsh sanctions in the most consequential foreign policy action of his presidency. He declared he was making the world safer, but he also deepened his isolation on the world stage and revived doubts about American credibility.

The 2015 agreement, which was negotiated by the Obama administration and included Germany, France and Britain, had lifted most U.S. and international economic sanctions against Iran. In exchange, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program, making it impossible to produce a bomb and establishing rigorous inspections.

But Trump, a severe critic of the deal dating back to his presidential campaign, said in a televised address from the White House that it was “defective at its core.”

U.S. allies in Europe had tried to keep him in and lamented his move to abandon it. Iran’s leader ominously warned his country might “start enriching uranium more than before.”

The sanctions seek to punish Iran for its nuclear program by limiting its ability to sell oil or do business overseas, affecting a wide range of Iranian economic sectors and individuals.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

https://apnews.com/cead755353a1455bbef08ef289448994

Putin cements alliance with Iran and Turkey at Syria summit

Russia, Iran and Turkey have been drawn together in their support of Syria. Putin and Rouhani provide Assad with military support and Turkey has now joined their efforts because it wants to crush US-backed Kurdish forces massing on its border.

Putin supplies both countries with sophisticated military equipment. President Erdogan recently signed a $2.5 billion arms deal with Russia for S-400 sophisticated anti-aircraft missiles, which has caused consternation among Turkey’s fellow Nato members.

And Russia helps both countries on energy. It is also building Turkey a $20 billion nuclear power station, which began construction yesterday, and last year Putin signed a $30 billion energy co-operation deal with Iran.

Through these major deals Russia now finds itself in the position of having influence over Turkey as well as Iran. And these two countries in turn exert huge influence beyond their borders.

Turkey controls much of the flow of middle eastern refugees into Europe. It stemmed the influx after signing a deal with the EU in March 2016 – but if it reversed this agreement the political consequences in Europe would be enormous.

Iran has been accused of supplying arms to the Taliban by the government of Afghanistan and is fueling the conflict in Yemen.

FOLLOW THE LINK FOR THE FULL REPORT – JR

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-5577929/Putin-cements-alliance-Iran-Turkey-Syria-summit-Ankara.html