Iran: to be or…not to be …that is the question
Threats against Iran continue to ratchet, ratchet apace. Where will it all end? Only the gods know… They must know that insanity rules Washington and its allies, no? Not that this is a particularly new state of affairs, given that the US is the largest exporter of violence on the planet, and only the names of her allies change a bit. The rest of the world watches aghast and waits…
‘Netanyahu threatens Iran with Israeli planes that can ‘reach everywhere’ in the Middle East’, July 9, 2019
“As tension mounts over Iran’s nuclear program, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has warned Tehran that Israeli warplanes can strike anywhere in the Middle East, “including Iran and Syria.”
“Iran has threatened recently to destroy Israel,” Netanyahu said in a video clip posted on Tuesday. “It is worthwhile for them to remember that these planes can reach everywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and Syria.”
Netanyahu delivered his stern lecture while standing in front of an F-35 fighter jet at Nevatim Airbase in central Israel. The Israeli Air Force has used its warplanes to strike supposed Iranian and Hezbollah targets in Syria numerous times, most recently pounding the cities of Damascus and Homs at the beginning of July – attacks that left multiple civilians dead. Last year, Israel became the world’s first military power to use the next-generation F-35 in a combat operation, reportedly against Iranian targets in Syria.
PM Netanyahu at the F-35 squadron at Nevatim Air Force base:
"Recently, Iran has been threatening the destruction of Israel. It would do well to remember that these planes can reach anywhere in the Middle East, including Iran and certainly Syria." pic.twitter.com/spFskUNreo
— PM of Israel (@IsraeliPM) July 9, 2019
“The Israeli leader’s video comes a week after Iranian parliamentarian Mojtaba Zolnour remarked that “if the US attacks us, only half an hour will remain of Israel’s lifespan.”
The Iranian leadership has stuck with a calmer line, with Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stating in May that “there won’t be a war” between Iran and the US. Even the usually hardline Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps leader, Major General Hossein Salami, said on Monday that “the world knows” Tehran is not pursuing a nuclear weapon.”
‘Freedom of piracy: US seeks allies to outsource hunt for Iranian oil tankers’, RT.com, July 9, 2019
“Washington has a new tactic in its ongoing campaign against Tehran: outsource the naval blockade of Iran and have allies seize oil tankers in international waterways – all in the name of “freedom of navigation,” of course.
The latest out of Washington is that the US is looking to put together a “coalition” that would “ensure freedom of navigation both in the Straits of Hormuz and Bab al-Mandeb,” as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff General Joseph Dunford said on Tuesday. These are the waterways connecting the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Oman, and the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, respectively.
The US is in contact with “a number of countries” to see which ones “have the political will” to support the project, the Marine general added.
A legitimate policing project, however, would easily get UN approval and not require some kind of revamped “coalition of the willing” that the US used to illegally invade Iraq in 2003. Not to mention that Iran itself has welcomed a truly international security effort.
At a guess, two of those countries might be the UK and Egypt, judging by their recent seizures of tankers carrying Iranian oil. The British boarding of the Panamanian-flagged Grace 1 in Gibraltar last week is well known. Days prior, however, Egyptian marines had seized a Ukrainian-flagged vessel in the Suez Canal, the Qatari outlet Al-Araby recently reported. While Tehran has been quiet on the Egyptian seizure, its officials have condemned the taking of Grace 1 as “piracy, pure and simple” and insisted that such behavior sets a terrible precedent and must stop immediately.”
‘Iran’s President Warns UK against Sparking Insecurity after Tanker Seizure, tasnimnews.com, July 10, 2019
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian President Hassan Rouhani cautioned the UK government against the consequences of triggering insecurity by capturing an Iranian supertanker in international waters.
“In an address to a Wednesday meeting of cabinet of ministers, Rouhani lashed out at Britain for working as a US proxy in the seizure of Iran’s oil tanker Grace 1 near Gibraltar.
The UK has made a “very despicable and wrong” move to seize the Iranian ship, he added.
“We should all try to ensure full security for shipping lines across the world, and I warn the British that you have initiated insecurity and you will understand its consequences later,” the president added.
Rouhani emphasized that Iran’s supertanker has been seized unlawfully, because the British control over Gibraltar, which belongs to Spain, is an act of occupation.
“An occupier government (UK) that is illegally present in that region (Gibraltar) has taken such a despicable measure (to seize Iran’s vessel), while the people of Spain also abominate the UK move,” he added.
‘US steps up threats as Iran exceeds uranium enrichment cap’, Bill Van Auken, wsws.org, 9 July 2019
” The increase in the enrichment level—which had been capped at 3.67 percent and has risen to 4.5 percent, according to Iranian authorities—follows last month’s announcement by Iran that it was deliberately exceeding the 300 kg cap imposed by the JCPOA on its enriched uranium stockpiles. The country is supposed to export any excess amounts, but even that option has been undermined by the US “maximum pressure” sanctions regime.
Tehran indicated that it will impose another 60-day deadline for the European powers to take concrete steps to ensure that Iran receives the sanctions relief that it was promised in return for its submission to drastic limits on its nuclear program.
Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), told the official news agency ISNA Monday that if such relief is not forthcoming, Iran could take a third step of installing more centrifuges and enriching uranium to 20 percent.
While the increase from 3.67 to 4.5 percent is largely symbolic, the rise to 20 percent would place the Iranian nuclear program in a position to move more rapidly toward the 90 percent enrichment level needed to produce weapons-grade uranium.”
“Iran’s latest actions provoked a flurry of new threats from top US officials. President Donald Trump told reporters on the White House lawn Monday that “Iran better be careful,” while suggesting that the minimal increase in its uranium enrichment was aimed at securing a nuclear weapon.
Similarly, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo tweeted that “Iran’s latest expansion of its nuclear program will lead to further isolation and sanctions.”
Demonstrating once again who one of the Puppet Masters of this administration is:
“And Vice President Mike Pence, speaking before a sympathetic audience of right-wing evangelicals at the Christians United For Israel conference in Washington Monday, said: “Iran should not confuse American restraint with a lack of American resolve … the United States of America and our military are prepared to protect our interests and protect our personnel and our citizens in the region.”
— Mike Pence (@mike_pence) July 9, 2019
A prepared text released before the speech described the US administration as “willing to talk” with Tehran, but Pence dropped the line in his delivered remarks.” [snip]
“Berlin, meanwhile, placed the onus on Tehran for the increasing crisis surrounding the nuclear deal. “The ball is clearly in Iran’s court,” a spokesman for the German Foreign Ministry told a news conference on Monday. “We want to preserve the deal. For this, parties must stick to it.”
The reality, however, is that Tehran has no reason to “stick to it” under conditions in which the US sanctions regime has robbed Iran of the promise of economic normalization that was made in return for its sweeping nuclear concessions.”
He writes that the perceived threat that Iran may seize U vessels has, according to Bloomberg News, had caused a UK BP tanker bound for Iraq’s Basra oil terminal to reverse course and stop off the coast at Saudi Arabia.
Tehran, Russia, and China all find Washington’s July 10 emergency meting with the IAEA board of governors…only too ironic, given that it was Washington (courtesy of Bibi) who’d pulled out of the JCPOA, before which the IAEA had reported that Iran had always been in full compliance with the protocols of The Deal.. Tehran also hopes that the governors will say: “End the sanctions”.
And speaking of oil terminals, Tehran said that the ship the UK ha seized at Wahington’s request was not headed to Syria, as it was too large to be accommodated at Syrian terminals.
Zarif: Snapback Mechanism Unimplementable
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said it would be impossible to implement the so-called snapback mechanism to renew the UN sanctions on Iran’, tasnimnews.com, July 10, 2019
““The snapback mechanism does not apply to Iran at all,” Zarif said, adding that Tehran has only referred to the JCPOA terms that allows for compensation.
“Our reasoning is absolutely clear, but the Europeans are making instrumental use (of the JCPOA), as they themselves know that this mechanism has no credibility and have announced that (their recent moves) do not mean using the snapback mechanism,” he added.
The Europeans are not ready to pay for their security, he deplored, saying the main problem lies with the US, which has withdrawn from the JCPOA.
“The Islamic Republic of Iran’s stance is explicit, which is negotiations under pressure will never be possible. They must stop the pressures and economic war and terrorism against people of Iran. In that case, it would be possible to discuss the implementation of the JCPOA,” he added.
“The key point in the snapback mechanism is that in case of a failure to resolve a dispute among the parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the UNSC would vote on a resolution “to continue the sanctions lifting”, meaning that a single veto from one of the UNSC members (most likely from the US) would end the sanctions’ lifting and slap the previous sanctions against Tehran again.
Only if you need more to read; I sure don’t (smile):
Nuclear Chief Suggests Solution to Iran-US Conflicts
TEHRAN (Tasnim) – Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi reiterated the peaceful nature of the country’s nuclear program and proposed a solution “to avoid conspicuous catastrophe”, tasnimnews.com, July, 10, 2019
To the citizens of Iran faced with actual war or war by other means: killing and illegal sanctions:
(cross-posted from Café Babylon)