Iran

The Iranian Regime's Propaganda of Exaggeration

 

Iran is a mighty nation. In fact, historically, Iran is a powerful, far-stretching empire that once encompassed much of the Middle East, Central Asia and South Asia. Even as it stands today, Iran is almost as large as Western Europe, minus the United Kingdom. Moreover, Iran's multi-ethnic population is unofficially estimated to have exceeded 80 million. And more importantly, Iran is a nation that gives birth to marvelous, highly creative minds.

Yet, in spite of Iran's well-known might, it's regime never ceases its deliberate saber-rattling. Most recently, during an interview aired by the Islamic Republic of Iran News Network (IRINN) and al-Alam TV IRGC Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi fired a volley of belligerent statements aimed overtly at the United States and subtly at Iran's neighbors across the Gulf.

Iranian IRGC Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi

Admiral Fadavi declared to his interviewer and domestic and international audiences, "You may have footage of the daily interaction between us and our enemies -- the Americans and their allies -- in the Persian Gulf." But, who are these allies of the Americans and "enemies" of Iran? Are these not countries such as Bahrain, the United Arab Emirates, and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, which the Iranian regime ideologues allege is occupying Mecca and Medina unlawfully?

Fadavi went on to explain the concept of deterrence: "The Americans are incapable of doing anything undetected by the hawk-eyes of the fighters of 'Islam.' They know better than ever before that they must not even think about initiating any confrontation against the 'Islamic Revolution.' That's what deterrence is all about."

Fadavi also asserted that "Nobody in America -- no political or military official -- even thinks, thinks, with a single brain cell about war with the 'Islamic Revolution.'" Somehow Fadavi chose to ignore the incredibly costly budget of the U.S. Department of Defense and the the thousands of Pentagon officials, officers and civilians contractors whose very job is to constantly devise and update plans to subdue America's adversaries, including Iran. And not to mention the numerous think tanks dedicated to combating the Iranian regime's ideology, strategic plans, and nuclear ambitions.

Iranian IRGC Rear Admiral Ali FadaviIranian IRGC Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi

Fadavi also missed or chose to ignore an important geopolitical reality: Why would the United States bother to wage war on Iran when Iran is now bogged down in an endless Shiite versus Sunni sectarian war? To the contrary, the U.S. is openly but indirectly helping the Iranian regime and its allies and proxies, including the Assad regime and Hezbollah, in sectarian civil war theaters such as Iraq, Syria and even Lebanon (where Hezbollah is battling Daesh (a.k.a., ISIL; ISIS; 'Islamic State;' and IS) in the eastern Beqaa Valley).

Fadavi also boasted about his forces' new secret "strategic" naval weapon, which is most likely a submarine-launched torpedo. That should remain as the wonder of the ages in the imagination of the Iranian regime's devotees and fans until one day the secret is exposed. It is then that the world shall learn about yet another North Korean, Chinese or Russian weapon acquired by the Iranian regime but optimized by its scientists, and renamed by its Khomeinist mullahs.

Iran's IRGC Navy attacks mock US aircraft carrierUltimately, Fadavi's aggressive hype is meant to swing the oil markets and increase oil prices (and hopefully recover the cost of the mock Hollywood-type aircraft carrier blasted by his forces in the Gulf). But, more importantly, Fadavi's aim is to manipulate the minds of gullible domestic and international Shiite mobs with intoxicating talks about power-matching the United States and secret special weapons that are neither special nor secret.

While the oil markets' reaction to such bellicose propaganda is short-lived, the imprint created in the popular mind is long-lasting. This does indeed create deterrence to domestic unrest and guarantees more peaceful nights to a privileged class of special treatment-craving mullahs and Pasdaran militants that have hijacked an entire country and with it much of the Middle East.

But nothing lasts forever -- except the Creator.

Indeed, fortune is like the moon, ever changeable. ("O Fortuna, velut luna, statu variabilis.")

Ahmadinejad Hails Imminent Re-appearance of Imam Mahdi and Jesus Christ

By Al Arabiya With Agencies 
 
Mahmoud AhmadinejadLoathed in the West and weakened at home, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad wrapped up his annual address to the U.N. General Assembly on a theological note Wednesday, hailing the imminent arrival of an “Ultimate Savior.”
 
“God Almighty has promised us a man of kindness,” the Iranian leader told world leaders and senior officials gathered in New York, at what was expected to be his last speech to the assembly as president of Iran.
 
Ahmadinejad said the savior is “a man who loves people and loves absolute justice, a man who is a perfect human being and is named Imam al-Mahdi, a man who will come in the company of Jesus Christ and the righteous.”
 
As a Shiite Muslim, Ahmadinejad reveres Islam’s twelfth imam, Muhammad al-Mahdi, who disappeared from the earth in the 10th century and is said to be due to return, accompanied by Jesus, to save mankind.
 
The date of his return is not known, but Ahmadinejad indicated that he felt the arrival would come quickly, telling delegates: “Now we can sense the sweet scent and the soulful breeze of the spring, a spring that has just begun.”
 
Some critics of Iran’s Islamic regime have expressed concern that messianic Shiite beliefs might drive leaders like Ahmadinejad to seek an apocalyptic confrontation with those he sees as foes of God’s will on Earth.
 
But at the United Nations he insisted the Mahdi’s return would bless all, not just “a specific race, ethnicity, nation or a region, a spring that will soon reach all the territories in Asia, Europe, Africa and the U.S.”
 
“The arrival of the Ultimate Savior, Jesus Christ and the Righteous will bring about an eternally bright future for mankind, not by force or waging wars but through thought-awakening and developing kindness in everyone. 
 
“Their arrival will breathe a new life in the cold and frozen body of the world. He will bless humanity with a spring that puts an end to our winter of ignorance, poverty and war with the tidings of a season of blooming.
 
“Let us join hands and clear the way for his eventual arrival with empathy and cooperation, in harmony and unity. Let us march on this path to salvation for the thirsty souls of humanity to taste immortal joy and grace.
 
“Long live this spring. Long live this spring. Again and again long live this spring,” he declared, to a smattering of applause from some dignitaries.
 
The 56-year-old Ahmadinejad - who is struggling through his last year in office after nearly losing his job - has long relished any opportunity to promote his controversial views and to bat back criticism of them.
 
“Now he’s been sidelined at home he will really want to ham it up abroad,” said Ali Ansari of Scotland’s St Andrew’s University, referring to Ahmadinejad’s address to the U.N. General Assembly on Wednesday.
 
Unfazed by walkouts and demonstrations on previous visits to New York, Ahmadinejad has alleged the U.S. government was behind the 9/11 attacks, lambasted Western leaders for being played by “deceitful Zionists”, and denied homosexuality exists in Iran.
 
In contrast to the rhetoric, he has happily engaged with U.S. media, appearing on television and in newspaper interviews.
 
“There’s a lot of ego that drives the blacksmith’s son from Iran to take on the might of American television,” said Iranian-American author Hooman Majd, who has met him several times.
 
Since his election victory in 2005, the diminutive president has gone from obscurity to the most visible actor on the Iranian stage. He even survived a disputed re-election in 2009 that rocked the country to its core.
 
Mocked by progressive Iranians and blamed for severe mismanagement, Ahmadinejad has still created a cult following among some people through his charm, simple lifestyle and populist beliefs.
 
His fans glorify him as a humble servant who shuns the trappings of power. Ahmadinejad, so the story goes, took office refusing a salary and going to work with a packed lunch.
 
But such modesty does not extend to his fiery character which lies at the heart of his quest for global recognition.
 
This article was first published by AlArabiya

A week of disappointments for Tehran

By Amir Taheri

According to Iranian media, the Non-Aligned Movement [NAM] summit cost Tehran around $600 million. Taking into account production losses incurred by a week of martial law, the cost could be higher.
 
What did the investment bring for the organizers?
 
The conference had one key objective and two subsidiary goals.
 
Let us deal with the subsidiary goals first.
 
One was to show that, despite five United Nations Security Council resolutions against it, the Islamic Republic was not isolated. The second was to mobilize support for Syrian despot Bashar al-Assad.
 
Neither goal was achieved.
 
Of NAM’s 142 members and observers only 23, mostly small African nations, sent heads of state. Most of Iran’s 15 neighbors did not do so.
 
There was also no support for the Syrian despot. The passages Tehran had composed in al-Assad’s favor were cut by the committee producing the final communique.
 
Tehran’s biggest disappointment, however, concerned the key objective of the conference. This was to build an international stature for “Supreme Guide” Ali Khamenei.
 
Khamenei cannot travel outside Iran because of an international arrest warrant issued by the Berlin Criminal Court for his alleged involvement in the murder of Iranian Kurdish leaders in that city. He is obliged to build his international image with the help of foreign dignitaries visiting him. The trouble is that few dignitaries agree to do so. Tehran has been trying for years to persuade Vladimir Putin to come to Tehran and the hope was that he would do so during the NAM meeting. Putin didn’t. Instead he sent a letter which contains no reference to Khamenei’s “wise leadership.” Even the Castro brothers who run Cuba refuse to visit Tehran. The 27 members of the European Union would not go anywhere near Khamenei. When it comes to Muslim nations, the situation is no better. Several, including Egypt, Libya, Tunisia and Morocco have no relations with the Khomeinist regime. This year, even al-Assad failed to turn up, afraid of leaving his foxhole in Damascus.
 
Tehran is left with few regular visitors, usual suspects, such as Venezuela’s Hugo Chavez. But, being unwell, Chavez, too, is no longer able to pop in.
 
Tehran had pinned hopes on two men: United Nations’ Secretary General Ban Ki-moon and Egyptian president Muhammad Mursi.
 
The two were especially attractive because Washington had criticized their decision to go to Tehran.
 
However, both proved disappointments.
 
Ban ignored diplomatic niceties and lashed out against Iran’s domestic and foreign policies both in his address at the conference and during his meeting with Khamenei.
 
Not knowing what to do, Tehran decided to do what it has often done: make things up. Here is how Ali-Akbar Velayati, advisor to Khamenei for “Islamic Awakening”, described Ban’s meeting with the “Supreme Guide”:
 
“Addressing the Sublime Position of the Leader, the Secretary-General of the United Nations said: You are not Leader only of Iran but also hold the Religious Leadership of the entire Muslim World. We have come supplicating at your threshold to ask you to help us in solving the region’s problems, including Syria, because in all those domains we face difficulties.”
 
Velayati’s claim unleashed a tsunami of headlines claiming that Ban had praised Khamenei as “Leader of the Muslim World.”
 
President Ahmadinejad’s “First Assistant” Muhammad-Reza Rahimi used the claim to weave an even bigger tale.
 
“The Tehran conference prepared the ground for worldwide management based on the teachings of our Imam,”
 
The daily Kayhan, published by Khamenei’s office, was more enthusiastic. “A New World Order is taking shape,” it claimed. “It will be guided by Our Leader.”
 
Needless to say, the claim was instantly denied by Ban’s spokesman Martin Nesirky.
 
“It is impossible that the Secretary-General would have said that,” he told reporters. “Mr. Ban could not have given such a title to the leader of Iran.”
 
For the Tehran media, that was enough to transform Ban from a man who had recognized Khamenei as Leader of Islam to “a tool of Zionism.”
 
Khamenei’s entourage came out with stories about how various foreign leaders had recognized him as a leader “not only for Islam but for all humanity”.
 
Muhammad Golpaygani, a mullah who heads Khamenei’s office, claimed that one leader who paid tribute to Kahmenei was South African President Nelson Mandela.
 
According to Golpaygani: “When received by the Leader of our Revolution, the [then] 80-year old man, Mandela, knelt in front of His Holiness and called him Leader.” (The claim was denied by Mandela’s spokesperson Birget Masanjo.)
 
Next came, a Lebanese gentleman, identified as Muhammad Yazbeck, Chairman of Hezbollah’s Religious Council. He was quoted claiming that Khamenei, being “the true heir” to Ali Ibn Abi-Talib , is “the undisputed Leader of all believers”.
 
However, the real disappointment came from Mursi. He refused even a courtesy call on Khamenei who was waiting in a room a few meters away.
 
Mursi refused to go on “pilgrimage” to Khomeini’s tomb and rejected Iranian demands to extend his four-hour stopover. Mursi did not even agree to discuss a restoration of diplomatic ties with Tehran.
 
Tehran’s answer was to “doctor” Mursi’s speech at the conference to make him sound as if he backed al-Assad in massacring Syrians.
 
Then, Deputy Foreign Minister Hussein Amir-Abdullahiyan told reporters that Mursi and Ahmadinejad had negotiated the restoration of relations. (Mursi’s spokesman denied the claim.)
 
Tehran was shocked, not knowing what to do with Mursi.
 
For years, thanks to such Muslim Brotherhood figures as Kamal el-Halbawi and Fahmy Howeidy, Tehran had believed that it could steer the Brotherhood towards Khomeinism. Mursi was expected to be Khamenei's Man Friday.
 
Kayhan spearheaded the change of tune on Mursi.
 
The Egyptian leader is now regarded as “a dubious character” and “an opportunist.”
 
The sharpest attack on Mursi came from Tazendejam-Razmandeham, a Hezbollah-affiliated Internet site.
 
Here is its take on the Egyptian leader:
 
“The Egyptian President has studied and grown up in America. There, they pickled him in salt from an early age so that, one day, they could use him as a winning card. .. Mursi has come with a well-calculated plan to draw the Egyptian people towards him while turning Egypt into a land base for America from which to invade Lebanon, destroy the Lebanese nation and overthrow Hezbollah. We do not see a bright future for Hezbollah. For them, the countdown has started.”
 
Has the “countdown” started only for Hezbollah?
 
This article was first publish by Asharq Alawsat.

Do discard the ‘resistance axis’ hoax

By MICHAEL YOUNG

A Syrian regime Russian-made armored personnel carrier destroyed by the Free Syrian Army on Wadi Al Sayeh Street in Homs, Syria.

The notion of a “resistance axis” has been a casualty of the revolts in the Arab world. Using the term displays willful blindness to what has taken place during the past year. Resistance, the way the word is currently understood in the Arab world, implies resistance to injustice and hegemony, principally imposed by the United States and Israel. Yet when Iran and Syria, pillars of the axis, have been at the vanguard in violently and unjustly suppressing freedoms at home, the term “resistance axis” elicits only laughter. And yet there are people who need to keep the term alive, with its moral implications, because their professional agenda is invested in its being taken seriously.

Cold war heats up between Washington and Hezbollah

As power structures shift in the Middle East, experts say Western pressure on Hezbollah will continue to mount as the group risks losing the support provided by the regime of embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad.

Iran Threatens Turkey, Reveals Missile Silos

Soon those silos will contain nuclear-tipped missiles.

June 28, 2011 - 12:00 am - by 'Reza Kahlili'

Iranian regime-run site Entekhab reports:

According to sources close to the Iranian regime, who were interviewed by Al-Manar [Hezbollah affiliated TV run out of Lebanon], Iran’s resolve is as strong as a rock and defending Damascus is as much of a priority as defending Beirut and Tehran. … Tehran does not meddle in any of the events taking place in Syria.

Quoting the Iraqi daily newspaper Al-Akhbar, Entekhab wrote:

Tehran has threatened Turkey by announcing that Iran will bomb every single NATO and U.S. base in Turkey, should they allow any attacks on Syria to be launched from within Turkish soil. The Iranian regime believes protecting Syria to be as important as protecting both Lebanon and Iran.

Though Iranian regime officials have claimed that this threat has not affected Turkish-Iranian relations, there are reports that privately a number of Turkish officials are extremely incensed by the Iranian regime’s belligerence. So far, neither Iran nor Turkey has publicly commented on this matter.

I revealed on May 9 that Ayatollah Khamenei held a covert meeting in Tehran with commanders of the Revolutionary Guards, representatives of the Syrian embassy, members of Hezbollah, and leaders of the Sadr movement. There, he demanded that all operational and logistic forces be applied in order to stamp out the blaze of sedition in Syria and to destroy those who are enemies of God in that country. The Iranian supreme leader called the Syrian protesters an enemy of God who are plotting against Islam. One week after that meeting, reports from sources within Iran indicated a dispatch of Guard forces to Damascus via four planes filled with guns, ammunition, and other military equipment.

The Iranian leaders are extremely worried about the situation in Syria as the fall of the Assad government will be a big blow to the Islamic regime in Tehran. Syria has provided the gateway for the expansion of the Iranian terror networks needed to influence the events in the Middle East, and a change in Syria could mean the start of the demise of radicals in Iran.

Interestingly, on Monday June 27, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps began a 10-day major missile war game, code named Great Prophet 6. During the war game, the domestically manufactured short-range, medium-range, and long-range missiles, consisting of the Qiam, Shahab, and Sejil missiles, will be test-fired. The latest military achievements by the IRGC will be unveiled — which includes underground missile silos that were revealed for the first time on Monday.

Iranian state TV footage showed deep underground missile silos, including images of missiles being fired from one silo after a large metal roof opened to facilitate the launch. They claim that the Iranian missiles stored in them are now ready to hit targets should there be any threat or aggression by the enemy. A Guards’ officer further claimed that Iran has “numerous” underground missile silos, which satellites can’t detect. Other officers from the Guards stated that only a few countries in the world possess the technology to construct underground missile silos. The technology required for that is as complicated as building the missile itself. The missiles in these silos are permanently mounted in the vertical position and ready to be launched on a moment’s notice, making it much harder for the U.S. or its allies to detect and destroy the site before the launch.

The West ignores or seems to not understand the danger that the radicals in Iran pose to the stability and security of the world. Soon those missiles will be armed with nuclear warheads, and this will be checkmate.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for an ex-CIA spy who requires anonymity for safety reasons. A Time to Betray, his book about his double life as a CIA agent in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, was published by Simon & Schuster on April 6.

Official: The Arab revolt makes Tehran nervous

By Amir Taheri

For three decades Khomeinist rulers in Tehran have dreamed of change in the Middle East. Now that change is really happening in much of the region, Tehran is watching with growing nervousness.

That the Khomeinist regime should have dreamt of change is no surprise. 

Thirty years ago, Iran under Velayat-e Faqih or rule by a mullah looked out of place in the Middle East. Indeed, with the exception of Tibet's government in exile under Dalai Lama, the Khomeinist set-up did not resemble any regime in the world. Like the Bolshevik regime of Russia in 1917, it had to either become like others or make all others like itself.

For a decade, under Khomeini himself, the regime tried to make the rest of region like itself by "exporting revolution". 

The results were meagre. Tehran managed to influence part of the Shi'ite community in Lebanon and create a branch of Hezbollah in that country. Tehran also succeeded in turning Syria into a client state without, however, persuading the Baathist regime to adopt Walayat al-Faqih. 

In the decade that followed, under President Hashemi Rafsanjani, the regime tried to become like others, especially in the economic field. The strategy produced a class of new rich with extensive business contacts with the outside world, including the Gulf region. 

In the final analysis, however, that strategy, too, failed.

Under President Muhammad Khatami, the regime tried a new version of that strategy, this time emphasising the political domain. 

Known as the "Davos Strategy", named after the Swiss village where Khatami spent time courting Western political and business leaders during the World Economic Forum, it focused on public relations. That included pseudo-intellectual speeches in Western universities and clubs, peppered with quotations from Hobbes, Locke and de Tocqueville. 

Nicknamed "A Smile Under A Turban", Khatami for a while charmed some naïve souls.

However, that strategy, too, failed because a leopard does not change by painting is spots.

By the time, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had become president, it must have been clear to rulers in Tehran that no nation would be foolish enough to copy Walayat al-Faqih.

That was why Ahmadinejad tried to move the ball in a different court by focusing on the Israel-Palestine issue. 

His calculation was based on the assumption that the issue was top of the list of priorities for Muslims, especially Arabs, throughout the world.

To that end, Ahmadinejad adopted an incendiary rhetoric to inject the classical Khomeinist discourse with a stronger dose of anti-Israel and anti-American themes.

Well, that strategy, too, has failed. 

The Arab Uprising was, and is, about people rejecting brutal and corrupt military-security regimes imposed by coups d'etat and maintained by repression. It is not about religion and even less about Israel-Palestine. Nor is there much sign of anti-American sentiments, quite the contrary. 

No one knows how the current tsunami may reshape the political landscape. 

But one thing is certain: no one is trying to adopt the Khomeinist model.

Tehran strategists are not quite sure what is happening in the Middle East. Nevertheless, it is clear that, all in all, they are pessimistic about the outcome of the current turn in the region's political kaleidoscope.

After 9/11, the mullahs feared that change in Afghanistan and Iraq might be extended to Iran. President George W Bush's so-called "Freedom Agenda" for the Greater Middle East clearly included Iran.

Now we know that change in the Middle East need not come either from "export of revolution" by Iran or military invasion by the United States.

This why Tehran is nervous. Ten days ago, Esfandiar Masha'i, the key strategist in Ahmadinejad's administration, warned against "starry-eyed assessments of the events" in Arab countries affected.

"We must not assume that the change will necessarily be in our interest," he said. 

Newspapers controlled by the "Supreme Guide" Ali Khamenei attacked Masha'i for "trying to create the impression that the Arab Uprising is not profoundly Islamic." 

However, the Islamic Majlis, Iran's fake parliament, has just published a lengthy analysis that echoes Masha'i's alleged "pessimism."

It says that Libya will end up under a new government backed by the United States. Nevertheless, the Majlis rejects the idea of backing Muammar Gaddafi to prevent the US from scoring a strategic gain. 

The analysis also admits that Egypt and Tunisia will end up under new pro-Western regimes backed by their respective armies. The most that Tehran could hope for is to restore diplomatic ties with Tunis and Cairo. But even that "does not look likely at present."

The Majlis analysis insists that the Islamic Republic should deploy "strategic support" for President Bashar al-Assad's regime in Syria to crush the popular revolt.

In that context, the analysis adds, the role of Hezbollah in Lebanon is "of special importance". The "spread of revolt to Syrian cities" a threat to "the interests of the Islamic Republic".

The analysis recommends hat Hezbollah units be used to affect the outcome of the current tensions, especially in Bahrain and Yemen through "asymmetric warfare."

The Majlis report calls for using Hezbollah to "strengthen our zone of influence in Lebanon".

The analysis also recommends the use of "clandestine operations" against Saudi Arabia and Kuwait.

Another move recommended by the analysis is to "extend and deepen relations" with Qatar as a means of dividing the Gulf states. With the fall of the Syrian regime now a possibility, the analysis recommends "strengthening relations with Nuri Al-Maliki's government" in Iraq.

All in all, however, the analysis, predicts that Iran's relations with the Gulf states, except Qatar, may be severed at some point in the future.

The Majlis report also predicts a popular revolt in neighbouring Azerbaijan and recommends that "contingency plans be drawn to face any eventuality." 

An prising in the former Soviet republic may quickly spread to Iran's Azerbaijani provinces that account for almost 15 per cent of the total population.

The Islamic Republic looks like a man who, all his life, has dreamt of a big do in which he would be the heart of the party but, when the party comes in the end, he has the door shut in his face.

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