Russia: Israeli airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria a ‘wrong move’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

Russia: Israeli airstrikes on Iranian targets in Syria a ‘wrong move’

Moscow, which is allied with Assad regime, says reprisal attack after rockets launched at Israel is in ‘stark contrast’ with international law; IDF said it coordinated with Kremlin

Russia's deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, speaks with journalists after meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut, Lebanon, December 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Russia’s deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov, speaks with journalists after meeting with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil in Beirut, Lebanon, December 5, 2014. (AP Photo/Hussein Malla)

Russia on Wednesday condemned Israel for striking Iranian targets in Syria overnight, saying the operation was in contravention of international law.

In the predawn hours, the Israeli Air Force launched a large airstrike operation, targeting dozens of Iranian and Syrian military sites in Syria in response to a rocket attack on northern Israel the day before.

The Britain-based Syrian Observatory for Human Rights war monitor said that at least 11 people were killed, including seven “foreigners” who were likely Iranian, and that others were injured during the overnight strikes.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the strikes were a “wrong move” that is in “stark contrast” to international law, Interfax reported.

He added that Moscow had reached out to its allies regarding the incident, the report said.

Russia backs the government of Syrian dictator Bashar Assad and has criticized previous Israeli attempts to prevent an Iranian entrenchment near Israel’s northern border.

Photo taken on October 18, 2017 shows an Israeli flag fluttering above the wreckage of an Israeli tank sitting on a hill in the Golan Heights and overlooking the border with Syria. (Jalaa Marey/AFP)

The IDF had said it coordinated its aerial campaign with Moscow through the deconfliction mechanism the two countries established in light of Russia’s significant military presence in Syria.

Israel has repeatedly said that it will not accept Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and that it will retaliate for any attack on the Jewish state from there.

Israel’s leaders issued fresh threats to Iran after the operation, with the defense minister saying even Tehran’s leaders were “not immune.”

“The rules have changed: Whoever fires at Israel during the day will not sleep at night. That was the case last week and it is the case this week,” said newly installed Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, also referring to last week’s targeted killing of Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror chief Baha Abu al-Ata in his home in Gaza, which sparked a two-day conflagration.

“Our message to the leaders of Iran is simple: You are not immune anymore. Wherever you send your octopus tentacles, we will hack them off,” Bennett added.

A senior defense official told reporters Israel believes it killed and injured a number of Iranians in the strike. The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, reiterated the image of an octopus as a metaphor for Iran’s actions in Syria, as well as the implicit threat to attack Iranian leaders.

“Iran is an octopus with its head in Tehran that sends its tentacles to wrap around us. We have not yet threatened Tehran, but we are beginning to get close to the head of the octopus. We struck a building staffed by Iranians at the Damascus airport. We assess that there are Iranians killed and injured,” the official said.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, right, seen with Education Minister Naftali Bennett at the weekly cabinet meeting in Jerusalem on August 30, 2016. (Emil Salman/Pool)

The official said that Israel destroyed six Syrian air defense batteries, as well as multiple buildings on Syrian military bases that are controlled by Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Quds Force.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the strike: “I have made clear that anyone who attacks us, we will attack them. That is what we did tonight toward military targets of the Iranian Quds Force and Syrian military targets in Syria.”

The IDF said it was girding for several possible Iranian responses, from total calm to a full-scale attack.

“We are preparing for defense and attack, and we will respond to any attempt to retaliate,” IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman told reporters Wednesday morning.

“We are ready for three scenarios: no response, a minor response, and a more significant response,” he said.

Video footage from Syria appeared to show a Syrian air defense missile crashing to the ground in a heavily populated area shortly after launching, which could account for the casualties.

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Zilberman said the targets of its strikes were all located within 80 kilometers of Israel’s border and were focused around Damascus and the Syrian Golan Heights.

The Quds Force is a part of the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards Corps responsible for extraterritorial operations, and is a key actor in Syria — both against rebels and in Tehran’s efforts to entrench itself along Israel’s border and threaten the Jewish state from there.

AFP contributed to this report.

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23 killed as Israeli strikes in Syria, 16 of them likely Iranian

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

23 killed as Israeli strikes in Syria, 16 of them likely Iranian – war monitor

Identities of foreigners killed in attacks not immediately confirmed; Russia denounces Israeli strikes, calling them a ‘wrong move’

An Israeli M109 self-propelled howitzer is stationed near the border with Syria in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on November 19, 2019, after Israeli air defenses intercepted four rockets fired from neighboring Syria. (JALAA MAREY / AFP)

An Israeli M109 self-propelled howitzer is stationed near the border with Syria in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights on November 19, 2019, after Israeli air defenses intercepted four rockets fired from neighboring Syria. (JALAA MAREY / AFP)

At least 23 “fighters” were killed in Israel’s predawn airstrikes in Syria Wednesday, 16 of them likely Iranians, according to a Syrian war monitor.

The Israel Defense Forces launched the strikes against Iranian and Syrian targets around the capital of Damascus and on the Syrian Golan Heights in response to a Tuesday morning rocket attack.

The military said it targeted dozens of sites connected to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps’ Quds Force, including a facility at the Damascus International Airport, which Israel says was used to coordinate the transport of military hardware from Iran to Syria and on to other countries in the region.

“We struck a building staffed by Iranians at the Damascus airport. We assess that there are Iranians killed and injured,” a Israeli senior defense official said Wednesday, on condition of anonymity.

In this photo released by the Syrian official news agency SANA, a damaged building targeted by Israeli missile strikes is seen in Qudsaya suburb, western the capital Damascus, Syria, Wednesday, Nov. 20, 2019. (SANA via AP)

Israel also targeted a number of Quds Force facilities on Syrian military bases. When Syrian air defenses fired on Israeli jets, the IDF also targeted those batteries, the army said.

A large explosion is seen over the Damascus skyline in footage purportedly taken on the night between Tuesday and Wednesday, November 20, 2019 (video screenshot)

Israel has repeatedly warned Syrian dictator Bashar Assad to not intervene during IDF strikes on Iranian targets in his country or else his military will also be targeted, as was the case Wednesday.

According to the Britain-based monitoring group the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights, 23 people were killed in the strike, and 16 of them were foreigners. Though presumed to be Iranian, that could not be immediately confirmed by SOHR.

Four civilians were wounded, the monitor said.

Video footage from Syria appeared to show a Syrian air defense missile crashing to the ground in a heavily populated area shortly after launching, which may account for some of the casualties.

Russia on Wednesday condemned Israel for the strikes. Moscow backs the Assad government and has criticized previous Israeli strikes in the country, especially those that target Syrian military bases in addition to Iranian facilities.

Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov said the strikes were a “wrong move” that is in “stark contrast” to international law, Interfax reported.

He added that Moscow had reached out to its allies regarding the incident, the report said.

On Wednesday morning, the IDF said it had coordinated its airstrikes with Russia.

Following its reprisal raids, the Israeli military said it was preparing for a potential Iranian retaliation.

“We are preparing for defense and attack, and we will respond to any attempt to retaliate,” IDF Spokesperson Hidai Zilberman told reporters first thing Wednesday morning.

“We are ready for three scenarios: no response, a minor response, and a more significant response,” he said.

Israel has repeatedly said that it will not accept Iranian military entrenchment in Syria and that it will retaliate for any attack on the Jewish state from Syria.

Zilberman said the military targeted both “the host, Syria, and the guest, Iran.”

“Our message to the leaders of Iranian is simple: You are not immune anymore. Wherever you send your octopus arms — we will hack them off,” said newly installed Defense Minister Naftali Bennett.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said of the strike: “I have made clear that any who attack us, we will attack them. That is what we did tonight toward military targets of the Iranian Quds Force and Syrian military targets.”

Iranian Revolutionary Guards’ Quds Force commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. (YouTube screenshot)

The Quds Force, led by Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani, is a part of the Islamic Republic Revolutionary Guards Corps responsible for extraterritorial operations, and is a key actor in Syria — both against rebels and in Tehran’s efforts to entrench itself along Israel’s border and threaten the Jewish state from there.

Early Tuesday morning Israel’s anti-missile defense system intercepted four rockets fired from Syria toward the Golan Heights.

The rockets triggered sirens in the northern Golan Heights and Galilee region at 4:52 a.m., sending residents rushing to bomb shelters.

Last week Syrian state media reported that an Israeli strike hit the home of a senior Palestinian Islamic Jihad terrorist in Damascus, Akram al-Ajouri, killing his son and another person. Islamic Jihad accused Israel of being behind the strike in Damascus. The Israeli army refused to comment.

On the same day, an Israeli airstrike killed Islamic Jihad military commander Baha Abu Al-Ata, whom Israel blamed for recent rocket fire into its territory, in a strike on his home in Gaza City. Around 450 rockets were fired into Israel from the Gaza Strip in the aftermath of the military operation against Abu Al-Ata, according to the Israeli army, as the military struck back at Islamic Jihad targets. A ceasefire between Israel and Islamic Jihad was reached after 50 hours of clashes.

Israel has carried out hundreds of airstrikes in Syria against Iranian targets over the last several years, but does not generally comment on specific attacks. Iran has forces based in Syria, Israel’s northern neighbor, and supports Hezbollah and Gaza terrorists.

In August, in a rare announcement, the IDF said it had targeted sites in the town of Aqrabah, southeast of Damascus, near the city’s airport to foil what it said was an imminent armed drone attack on Israel by Iran-backed fighters.

In January Israel was said to have conducted a daylight missile attack on Iranian targets at the airport. Iran responded by firing a surface-to-surface missile at the northern Golan Heights, which was intercepted by the Iron Dome missile defense system over the Mount Hermon ski resort, according to the Israel Defense Forces.

Times of Israel staff and AFP contributed to this report.

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IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Held Secret Summit to Join Forces Against Saudi Arabia

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Report: IRGC, Muslim Brotherhood Held Secret Summit to Join Forces Against Saudi Arabia

Monday, 18 November, 2019 – 13:00
Former Egyptian president Mohammed Morsi and his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad meet in Tehran in 2012. AFP file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
The Intercept revealed on Monday that the Quds Force of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) held a summit with the Muslim Brotherhood in Turkey in 2014 in an attempt to join forces against Saudi Arabia.

The disclosure that two sides held a summit is included in a leaked archive of secret Iranian intelligence reports obtained by the American news organization.

One of the most important things the two sides shared was considering Saudi Arabia “the common enemy” of the Muslim Brotherhood and Iran, said The Intercept.

The Muslim Brotherhood was represented in the meeting by three of its most prominent leaders in exile: Ibrahim Munir Mustafa, Mahmoud El-Abiary, and Youssef Moustafa Nada, according to the document.

What neither side knew was that there was a spy in the summit. Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security, MOIS, a rival of the Revolutionary Guards within the Iranian national security apparatus, secretly had an agent in the meeting who reported everything that was discussed.

The Muslim Brotherhood delegation opened the meeting with a boast, pointing out that the outfit “has organizations in 85 countries in the world.”

“Differences between Iran as a symbol and representative of the Shiite world and the Muslim Brotherhood as a representative of the Sunni world are indisputable,” the Brotherhood members noted, according to the MOIS cable. But they emphasized that there “should be a focus on joint grounds for cooperation.”

Perhaps, the Brotherhood delegation said, the two sides could join forces against the Saudis. The best place to do that was in Yemen.

“In Yemen, with the influence of Iran on Houthis and the influence of the Brotherhood on the armed tribal Sunni factions, there should be a joint effort to decrease the conflict between Houthis and Sunni tribes to be able to use their strength against Saudi Arabia,” the Brotherhood delegation argued.

There were public meetings and contacts between Iranian and Egyptian officials while Muslim Brotherhood-backed Mohammed Morsi was president of Egypt from 2012 to 2013, said The Intercept.

The Iranian intelligence cable about the 2014 meeting provides an intriguing glimpse at a secret effort by the Muslim Brotherhood and Iranian officials to maintain contact — and determine whether they could still work together — after Morsi was removed from power.

Iran’s Khamenei defines Iran’s goal of ‘wiping out Israel’

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE TIMES OF ISRAEL)

 

‘Not anti-Semitic’: Khamenei defines Iran’s goal of ‘wiping out Israel’

Belying Tehran’s relentless threats to ensure ‘nothing left’ of Jewish state, ‘raze’ Tel Aviv and Haifa, leader says aim is to abolish ‘regime,’ get rid of ‘thugs’ like Netanyahu

In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with thousands of students in Tehran, Iran, November 3, 2019. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

In this picture released by the official website of the office of the Iranian supreme leader, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei attends a meeting with thousands of students in Tehran, Iran, November 3, 2019. (Office of the Iranian Supreme Leader via AP)

When Iran speaks of wiping Israel off the map, it doesn’t mean the mass slaughter of the country’s Jews but rather eliminating the Jewish state’s “imposed regime,” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday.

“The disappearance of Israel does not mean the disappearance of the Jewish people, because we have nothing against [Jews],” Khamenei said, speaking alongside senior Iranian officials at the so-called 33rd International Islamic Unity Conference.

“Wiping out Israel means that the Palestinian people, including Muslims, Christians and Jews, should be able to determine their fate and get rid of thugs such as [Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu,” Khamenei continued, according to Iranian media.

Khamenei further argued that “had the Islamic world been committed to unity, there would have been no tragedy in Palestine.” He lamented that Muslims couldn’t even adhere to what he called the lowest level of unity — non-aggression between Muslims.

“We are not anti-Semitic. Jews are living in utmost safety in our country. We only support the people of Palestine and their independence,” he said.

“Our position on the case of Palestine is definitive,” he said. “Early after the victory of the [1979 Islamic] revolution, the Islamic Republic gave the Zionists’ center in Tehran to the Palestinians. We helped the Palestinians, and we will continue to do so. The entire Muslim world should do so.”

A Shahab-3 surface-to-surface missile is on display next to a portrait of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei at an exhibition by Iran’s army and paramilitary Revolutionary Guard celebrating “Sacred Defense Week” marking the 39th anniversary of the start of 1980-88 Iran-Iraq war, at Baharestan Square in downtown Tehran, Iran, September 25, 2019. (AP Photo/Vahid Salemi)

Iran regularly threatens to annihilate Israel, viewing the country as a powerful enemy allied with the United States and Sunni countries in the region against Tehran and its nuclear ambitions.

Contrary to Khamenei’s claims, those threats commonly refer to the physical destruction of Israeli cities, rather than of just the regime.

In September, Abbas Nilforoushan, the deputy commander of operations of the IRGC, threatened that if Israel attacks Iran, it will have to collect “bits and pieces of Tel Aviv from the lower depths of the Mediterranean Sea.”

“Iran has encircled Israel from all four sides. Nothing will be left of Israel,” said Nilforoushan in an interview with the Iranian news agency Tasnim.

“Israel is not in a position to threaten Iran,” he said according to a translation published by Radio Farda, the Iranian branch of the US government-funded Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty.

Iranian senior cleric Ahmad Khatami delivers his sermon during Friday prayer ceremony in Tehran, Iran, on January 5, 2018. (AP Photo/Ebrahim Noroozi)

Last year, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, a key leader of weekly Muslim prayers in Iran, reacted to reports that Israel viewed a war with Iran-backed Lebanese terror group Hezbollah as likely by saying: “If you want Haifa and Tel Aviv to be razed to the ground, you can take your chance.”

In September, the commander of Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps said that destroying Israel was now an “achievable goal.”

Four decades on from Iran’s Islamic revolution, “we have managed to obtain the capacity to destroy the impostor Zionist regime,” Major General Hossein Salami was quoted saying by the IRGC’s Sepah news site.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander Maj. Gen. Hossein Salami speaks at Tehran’s Islamic Revolution and Holy Defense museum, during the unveiling of an exhibition of what Iran says are US and other drones captured in its territory, on September 21, 2019. (Atta Kenare/AFP)

“This sinister regime must be wiped off the map and this is no longer … a dream [but] it is an achievable goal,” Salami said.

Iran has lately been on edge, fearing an attack on the country over a drone-and-missile strike on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry in September attributed to Tehran. Yemen’s Iranian-backed Houthi rebels claimed the attack, but the US and others allege Iran was behind it.

The attack in Saudi Arabia was the latest incident following the collapse of Iran’s nuclear deal with world powers, over a year after US President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew his country from the accord. The nuclear deal was meant to keep Tehran from building atomic weapons — something Iran denies it wants to do — in exchange for economic incentives.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu was a sharp critic of the nuclear deal negotiated under the administration of former US president Barack Obama, and welcomed Washington’s pull-back from the accord, urging further pressure on Iran.

Agencies contributed to this report.

Iran Marks 40th Anniversary of US Embassy Seizure

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT) 

 

Iran Marks 40th Anniversary of US Embassy Seizure

Tuesday, 5 November, 2019 – 12:30
A woman walks in front of new murals of the former US embassy in Tehran, Iran November 2, 2019. (Reuters)
London, Tehran – Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran marked the 40th anniversary of the seizure of the mission of the US Embassy in Tehran with dozens of rallies in several cities across the country chanting against the US.

State television showed footage of crowds packed in the streets surrounding the former embassy building, dubbed the “den of spies” after Iran’s 1979 revolution. The building is currently under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

State television broadcast live footage of similar gatherings in several cities, including Mashhad, Qazvin and Tabriz in the north; Ilam, Bushehr, Ahvaz and Shiraz in the south; Isfahan in the center, as well as Zahedan in the southeast.

According to the Mehr news agency, “millions are taking part in these gatherings” across the country.

In Tehran, men, women and children waved placards in English and Farsi, reading: “Down with USA.. Death to Israel..Victory to Islam.” They carried effigies mocking US President Donald Trump.

In 1979, hard line students stormed the embassy soon after the fall of the US-backed Shah Mohammad Reza, and took 52 US citizens hostage. The protesters demanded Washington hand over the Shah for persecution inside Iran in exchange for releasing the hostages. They released them after 444 days when the Shah died in Egypt.

On Sunday, Iran’s supreme leader Ali Khamenei criticized French President Emmanuel Macron for trying to promote talks between the United States and Iran.

“The French president, who says a meeting will end all the problems between Tehran and America, is either naive or complicit with the US,” he said in remarks reported by state television.

He warned Iranian officials against holding talks with the US unless it returns to the 2015 nuclear deal and lifts reimposed sanctions. “Those who believe that negotiations with the enemy will solve our problems are 100 percent wrong,” he said.

Meanwhile, Iran’s parliament gave initial approval to a measure requiring schoolbooks to inform students about “America’s crimes”, as lawmakers attending the session chanted “Death to America”.

Relations between the two countries have been deeply strained since President Trump abandoned in 2018 the 2015 pact between Iran and world powers under which it accepted curbs to its nuclear program in return for lifting sanctions.

The United States has reimposed sanctions aimed at halting all Iranian oil exports, saying it seeks to force it to negotiate to reach a wider deal that includes Iran’s ballistic missile program and its regional activities.

Iran State Television Airs ‘Confession’ of Exiled Journalist

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iran State Television Airs ‘Confession’ of Exiled Journalist

Wednesday, 16 October, 2019 – 11:45
Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) march during an annual military parade (File photo: Reuters)
London – Asharq Al-Awsat
Iranian state television aired Monday footage showing Rouhollah Zam, editor-in-chief of the Paris-based Amadnews website, after he was arrested by the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as part of a “complicated intelligence operation.”

A short video showed a man blindfolded and handcuffed to the back seat of a car, which the television claimed to be taken after Zam’s arrest, according to Agence France Presse (AFP).

After that, the same man appeared sitting in an armchair next to the flags of Iran and IRGC.

The man identified himself as Zam and “the founder of Amadnews”, a Telegram channel that the Iranian authorities accuse of having played a major role in the protests that broke out in December 2017.

Zam said he regrets “what has happened in the past three or four years,” and admitted he was wrong to have trusted other governments, namely the French government.

In another clip, Zam does not appear to be handcuffed and avoided looking directly at the camera, indicating that it is not right to trust governments, especially governments that show they do not have good relations with Iran, including the US, Israel, Saudi Arabia and Turkey. He then apologized to the whole Iranian political regime, reported AFP.

The Revolutionary Guard announced Monday the arrest of Zam describing him as a “counter-revolutionary” who was directed by France’s intelligence service.

IRGC didn’t specify when or where Zam had been arrested. He had been reportedly living in exile in Paris.

Telegram shut down Amadnews which had around 1.4 million followers after Iranian authorities demanded the messaging application remove the account for inciting “violence.”

Amnesty International has repeatedly urged Iranian authorities to stop broadcasting “confessions” of suspects, saying they violate the “defendants’ rights.”

Khamenei Demands that IRGC Develop More Advanced, Modern Weapons

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Khamenei Demands that IRGC Develop More Advanced, Modern Weapons

Sunday, 13 October, 2019 – 11:15
FILE PHOTO: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei gives a speech to a group of scholars and seminary students of religious sciences in Tehran, Iran September 17, 2019. Official Khamenei website/Handout via REUTERS
Asharq Al-Awsat
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards on Sunday to develop more advanced and modern weapons, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported.

“The Guards should have advanced and modern weapons … Your weapons should be modern and updated. It should be developed at home. You need to develop and produce your weapons,” Khamenei said.

The Iranian leader’s statement come after months of tension between Washington and Tehran in the wake of sanctions against Iranian oil exports, after US President Donald Trump pulled out in May 2018, from the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran.

On Thursday, Chief Commander of the IRGC General Hossein Salami also said his naval forces were fully prepared to defend Iran in case an armed conflict with “enemies” breaks out.

Speaking at conference on “speedboats” in the northern port of Anzali, he further questioned the enemies’ ability to confront Iran’s naval unit if armed maritime conflict erupts.

According to Reuters, in response to Washington’s “maximum pressure” policy, Iran has gradually reduced its commitments under the nuclear pact and plans further breaches if European parties fail to keep their promises to shield Iran’s economy from US penalties.

Iran: IRGC Commander: Iran Test Fires New Missile

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

IRGC Commander: Iran Test Fires New Missile

Saturday, 24 August, 2019 – 10:15
Iran launches a ballistic missile in a Reuters file photo
Asharq Al-Awsat
Iran has test fired a new missile, the commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, Major General Hossein Salami, said on Saturday, according to the Tasnim news agency.

“Our country is always the arena for testing a variety of defense and strategic systems and these are non-stop movements towards the growth of our deterrent power,” Salami said. “And yesterday was one of the successful days for this nation.”

He did not provide any additional information about the missile.

Iran displayed what it described as a domestically built long-range, surface-to-air missile air defense system on Thursday.

US President Donald Trump pulled out of an international agreement on Iran’s nuclear program last year and stepped up sanctions on Tehran in order to curb its development of ballistic missiles and its support for proxies in Syria, Yemen, Lebanon and Iraq. The two countries have been exchanging threats and warnings since then.

Iran shot down a US military surveillance drone in the Gulf with a surface-to-air missile in June, nearly setting off a conflict with the United States.

Iranian Militias on Alert after East Syria Deployment Maps Leaked

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

Iranian Militias on Alert after East Syria Deployment Maps Leaked

Saturday, 6 July, 2019 – 11:45
A picture taken on March 22, 2017 near the town of Latamneh in the countryside of the central Syrian province of Hama, shows a displaced Syrian family travelling with their belongings down a road as two rebel fighters on a motorcycle drive past them. AFP file photo
Damascus – Asharq Al-Awsat
“Eye of the Euphrates” has published on its social media sites maps and detailed locations of 13 key Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) positions in the strategic Syrian city of al-Bukamal.

The page, which was created last year and has more than 122,000 followers, published a video showing a truck transporting arms and ammunition from one base to another.

It noted that the Iranian militias have gone on high alert and were changing their deployment locations.

Fatemiyoun leader in al-Bukamal Salman al-Irani has pledged a financial award to whoever provides information on the persons monitoring and taking photographs of Iranian militia bases.

Such developments come amid unprecedented tension between Iranian and Russian forces in the wake of Russian measures east of the Euphrates to limit Iranian influence in the area.

Among the locations revealed by “Eye of the Euphrates” is a site on the banks of the Euphrates river on the other side of al-Baghouz village which now falls under the control of the Syrian Democratic Forces.

The site is a main base for Iranian militias, where 150 Fatemiyoun members are located.

Another map showed two key locations in Hay Jamiat, the first belonging to Hezbollah and the second to Harakat al-Nujaba.

This neighborhood also includes two headquarters for intelligence agents, one belonging to Hezbollah and the other to the IRGC.

According to “Eye of the Euphrates,” the headquarters of Zainebiyoun militias who are specialized in night patrols are widespread as well.

In Bukamal’s countryside, there is a base for the Fatemiyoun that constantly erects checkpoints to inspect civilians.

A meeting bringing together the national security advisers of Russia, the US, and Israel was held in Jerusalem last week to discuss Iranian presence in Syria and urged Moscow to engage in downsizing Iranian power.

Iran: IRGC Threatens to close Hormuz Strait

(THIS ARTICLE IS COURTESY OF THE SAUDI NEWS AGENCY ASHARQ AL-AWSAT)

 

IRGC Threatens to Close Hormuz Strait

Tuesday, 23 April, 2019 – 11:00
An Iranian warship and speed boats take part in a naval war game in the Arabian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz, April 22, 2010. REUTERS/Fars News
London – Asharq Al-Awsat
The Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has hinted that it would close the Strait of Hormuz if Iran is prevented from using it, in what appeared to be the first response to the US plan to end waivers on Iranian oil exports.

“If Iran’s benefits in the Strait of Hormuz, which according to international rules is an international waterway, are denied, we will close it,” IRGC Navy Commander Rear Admiral Alireza Tangsiri said after the Trump administration revealed Monday that it will no longer exempt any countries from US sanctions if they continue to buy Iranian oil.

Iran has previously threatened to close the strait.

“Don’t play with fire, or you will regret,”  Iranian President Rouhani cautioned Trump last July. Rouhani said that the Americans should come to realize that establishing peace with Iran is the mother of all peace and waging war with the country is the mother of all wars.

At the same time, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei agreed that Rouhani’s threats to close the international waterway expressed the regime’s policy.

Khamenei replaced chief commander of IRGC Mohammad Ali Jafari with Brigadier General Hossein Salami, seven days after the US designated the group a foreign terrorist organization.

Tangsiri added that replacing the IRGC commander-in-chief had nothing to do with Washington’s recent decision.

However, Iranian Armed Forces spokesman Brigadier-General Abu al-Fadl Shakarji said Monday that Salami’s appointment is a blow to the US.

The Iranian foreign ministry said Iran was in “constant talks with its international partners including the Europeans” on Washington’s ending of the exemptions. It added that an “important decision” will be announced later, without elaborating.

China, India, North Korea, Japan, Taiwan, Italy, and Greece will face US sanctions starting May in case they continue to purchase Iranian oil. In November, Washington reimposed strict economic sanctions against Tehran and all states that don’t abide by them, after its withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal.