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Author: Subject: Iran and it's Policies and Machinations

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[*] posted on 9-5-2018 at 10:52 AM

Trump says he’s withdrawing US from Iran nuclear accord

By: Josh Lederman, The Associated Press and Catherine Lucey, The Associated Press   6 hours ago

President Donald Trump delivers a statement on the Iran nuclear deal from the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Tuesday, May 8, 2018, in Washington. (Evan Vucci/AP)

WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump announced Tuesday the U.S. will pull out of the landmark nuclear accord with Iran, dealing a profound blow to U.S. allies and potentially deepening the president’s isolation on the world stage.

“The United States does not make empty threats,” he said in a televised address.

Trump’s decision means Iran’s government must now decide whether to follow the U.S. and withdraw or try to salvage what’s left of the deal. Iran has offered conflicting statements about what it may do — and the answer may depend on exactly how Trump exits the agreement.

Trump said he would move to re-impose all sanctions on Iran that had been lifted under the 2015 deal, not just the ones facing an immediate deadline. This had become known informally as the “nuclear option” because of the near-certainty that such a move would scuttle the deal.

Supporters of fixing the agreement had hoped Trump would choose a piecemeal approach that could leave more room for him to reverse himself and stay in the deal if he could secure the additional restrictions that European nations tried unsuccessfully to negotiate with him.

Still, the administration planned to allow a grace period of at least three months and possibly up to six months so that businesses and governments can wind down operations that will violate the re-imposed U.S. sanctions.

A slower withdrawal process could allow more room for Trump to reverse course later and decide to stay — if he secures the additional restrictions on Iran that European nations tried unsuccessfully to negotiate to prevent him from withdrawing.

Indeed, as administration officials briefed congressional leaders about Trump’s plans Tuesday, they emphasized that just as with a major Asia trade deal and the Paris climate pact that Trump has abandoned, he remains open to renegotiating a better deal, one person briefed on the talks said.

The agreement, struck in 2015 by the United States, other world powers and Iran, lifted most U.S. and international sanctions against the country. In return, Iran agreed to restrictions on its nuclear program making it impossible to produce a bomb, along with rigorous inspections.

In a burst of last-minute diplomacy, punctuated by a visit by Britain’s top diplomat, the deal’s European members gave in to many of Trump’s demands, according to officials, diplomats and others briefed on the negotiations. Yet they still left convinced he was likely to re-impose sanctions.

Macron was to have a conference call with British Prime Minister Theresa May and German Chancellor Angela Merkel about half an hour before Trump’s announcement.

Trump spoke with French President Emmanuel Macron and Chinese leader Xi Jinping about his decision Tuesday. Macron vigorously supports the deal and tried to persuade Trump to stay committed to it during a visit to Washington last month.

The British Foreign Secretary traveled to Washington this week to make a last-minute pitch to the U.S. to remain in the deal, according to a senior British diplomat. The diplomat, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said the British objective will remain to uphold and maintain the deal.

Hours before the announcement, European countries met to underline their support for the agreement. Senior officials from Britain, France and Germany met in Brussels with Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Political Affairs, Abbas Araghchi.

If the deal collapses, Iran would be free to resume prohibited enrichment activities, while businesses and banks doing business with Iran would have to scramble to extricate themselves or run afoul of the U.S. American officials were dusting off plans for how to sell a pullout to the public and explain its complex financial ramifications, said U.S. officials and others, who weren’t authorized to speak ahead of an announcement and requested anonymity.

Building up anticipation, Trump announced on Twitter he would disclose his decision at 2 p.m. at the White House.

In Iran, many were deeply concerned about how Trump’s decision could affect the already struggling economy. In Tehran, President Hassan Rouhani sought to calm nerves, smiling as he appeared at a petroleum expo. He didn’t name Trump directly, but emphasized that Iran continued to seek “engagement with the world.”

“It is possible that we will face some problems for two or three months, but we will pass through this,” Rouhani said.

Under the most likely scenario, Trump would allow sanctions on Iran’s central bank — intended to target oil exports — to kick back in, rather than waiving them once again on Saturday, the next deadline for renewal, said individuals briefed on Trump’s deliberations. Then the administration would give those who are doing business with Iran a six-month period to wind down business and avoid breaching those sanctions.

Depending on how Trump sells it — either as an irreversible U.S. pullout, or one final chance to save it — the deal could be strengthened during those six months in a last-ditch effort to persuade Trump to change his mind. The first 15 months of Trump’s presidency have been filled with many such “last chances” for the Iran deal in which he’s punted the decision for another few months, and then another.

Other U.S. sanctions don’t require a decision until later, including those on specific Iranian businesses, sectors and individuals that will snap back into place in July unless Trump signs another waiver. A move on Tuesday to restore those penalties ahead of the deadline would be the most aggressive move Trump could take to close the door to staying in the deal.

Even Trump’s secretary of state and the U.N. agency that monitors nuclear compliance agree that Iran, so far, has lived up to its side of the deal. But the deal’s critics, such as Israel, the Gulf Arab states and many Republicans, say it’s a giveaway to Tehran that ultimately paves the path to a nuclear-armed Iran several years in the future.

Iran, for its part, has been coy in predicting its response to a Trump withdrawal. For weeks, Iran’s foreign minister had been saying that a re-imposition of U.S. sanctions would render the deal null and void, leaving Tehran little choice but to abandon it as well. But on Monday, Rouhani said Iran could stick with it if the European Union, whose economies do far more business with Iran than the U.S., offers guarantees that Iran would keep benefiting.

For the Europeans, a Trump withdrawal would also constitute dispiriting proof that trying to appease him is futile.

The three EU members of the deal — Britain, France and Germany — were insistent from the start that it could not be re-opened. But they agreed to discuss an “add-on” agreement that wouldn’t change the underlying nuclear deal, but would add new restrictions on Iran to address what Trump had identified as its shortcomings. Trump wanted to deter Iran’s ballistic missile program and other destabilizing actions in the region. He also wanted more rigorous nuclear inspections and an extension of restrictions on Iranian enrichment and reprocessing rather than letting them phase out after about a decade.

Negotiating an add-on agreement, rather than revising the existing deal, had the added benefit of not requiring the formal consent of Iran or the other remaining members: Russia and China. The idea was that even if they balked at the West’s impositions, Iran would be likely to comply anyway so as to keep enjoying lucrative sanctions relief.

Although the U.S. and Europeans made progress on ballistic missiles and inspections, there were disagreements over extending the life of the deal and how to trigger additional penalties if Iran were found violating the new restrictions, U.S. officials and European diplomats have said. The Europeans agreed to yet more concessions in the final days of negotiating ahead of Trump’s decision, the officials added.

Associated Press writers Matthew Lee, Jill Colvin, Zeke Miller and Ken Thomas in Washington and Amir Vahdat and Nasser Karimi in Tehran, Iran, contributed to this report.
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[*] posted on 9-5-2018 at 11:17 AM

Iran deal: Trump breaks with European allies over 'horrible, one-sided' nuclear agreement

President says he will impose ‘highest level of economic sanctions’ on Iran as Tehran vows: ‘We won’t allow Trump to win’

Julian Borger in Washington, Saeed Kamali Dehghan in London and Oliver Holmes in Jerusalem

Wed 9 May 2018 06.47 AEST
First published on Wed 9 May 2018 05.40 AEST

Donald Trump has announced he will impose “the highest level of economic sanctions” on Iran, violating an international nuclear agreement and a UN resolution, breaking decisively with US allies in Europe, and potentially triggering a new crisis in the Gulf.

In a statement at the White House, Trump said this decision meant that the US would “exit the Iran deal” agreed with other major powers in 2015, and warned that “any nation that helps Iran in its quest for nuclear weapons could be strongly sanctioned”.

He then signed an executive order reimposing sanctions on any foreign company that continues to do business with Iran. The order gives companies 90-day or 180-day grace periods to extract themselves from existing Iranian contacts or face punitive US measures.

The leaders of the UK, France and Germany, who are also parties to the agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA, issued a statement soon after Trump’s declaration expressing their “regret and concern” and emphasising their “continuing commitment” to the deal.

“We urge the US to ensure that the structures of the JCPOA can remain intact, and to avoid taking action which obstructs its full implementation by all other parties to the deal,” the statement said.

In a separate tweet, the French president Emmanuel Macron warned: “The nuclear non-proliferation regime is at stake.”

Iran’s president, Hassan Rouhani, said he believed the agreement could still survive if other negotiating partners defied Trump.

But Rouhani warned that he has instructed the country’s atomic energy agency to prepare to restart enrichment of uranium at an industrial level in a few weeks’ time should the deal collapse completely.

“This is a psychological war, we won’t allow Trump to win. I’m happy that the pesky being has left the [agreement],” the Iranian president said.

In his White House remarks, Trump called the Iran agreement “a horrible one-sided deal that should never, ever have been made”. He said: “It didn’t bring calm, it didn’t bring peace, and it never will.”

Even before Trump made his announcement at the White House, tensions were visibly rising. The Israeli military warned of “irregular activity of Iranian forces in Syria” and ordered bomb shelters to be readied in the Golan Heights. Moments after the president’s declaration, explosions were heard near Damascus and Syrian official media claimed government positions had come under Israeli air strikes.

In reintroducing sanctions, Trump referred to claims by Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu that Israel had documents detailing past Iranian work on nuclear weapons development.

Netanyahu, who has been a vocal critic of the deal and called for Trump to “fix it or nix it”, said on Tuesday: “Israel fully supports President Trump’s bold decision today to reject the disastrous nuclear deal with the terrorist regime in Tehran.”

He said Israel opposed the deal as it “paves Iran’s path to an entire arsenal of nuclear bombs”.

The “removal of sanctions under the deal has already produced disastrous results,” Netanyahu said. “Israel thanks President Trump for his courageous leadership,” he added.

Both Trump and Netanyahu are under significant domestic pressure. Trump is under scrutiny for possible collusion with Russia during the presidential election campaign, and for paying hush money to a porn actor who claims to have had sex with him. The Israeli prime minister is the subject of several police corruption inquiries.

John Bolton, Trump’s national security adviser, said the sanctions would apply immediately to new deals, but that companies would have three or six-month grace periods to get out of existing contracts.

The US Treasury issued a factsheet providing a timetable of restoration of sweeping sanctions against global companies trading or investing with Iran.

Bolton said that the US would also cease to abide by the UN security council resolution that endorsed the July 2015 deal. He said: “We are not using the provisions of UNSC 2231 because we are out the of the deal.”

The announcement marks a decisive break from the nuclear deal that the US agreed in July 2015 with its main European partners along with Russia, China and Iran, in which Tehran agreed to significant curbs on its nuclear programme in return for sanctions relief. The deal was endorsed by a UN security council resolution soon afterwards.

Barack Obama, whose administration negotiated the deal, described Trump’s violation of the agreement as “a serious mistake”.

“Without the JCPOA, the United States could eventually be left with a losing choice between a nuclear-armed Iran or another war in the Middle East,” he said in statement.

Trump’s unilateral and dramatic withdrawal is likely to raise tensions rapidly in the Middle East, already inflamed by conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen.

Much will now depend on reaction in Tehran, where hardliners have campaigned against the agreement and pressed for Iran to revive a full range of nuclear activities and throw out UN inspectors.

The other parties to the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran have said they will try to keep the deal alive, but it is far from clear that will be possible in the face of the sanctions that Trump has reintroduced, targeting companies around the world for doing business with Iran.

The decision represents a rejection of repeated, concerted entreaties by Washington’s European allies to keep faith with the nuclear deal. Trump made his announcement a day after the UK foreign secretary Boris Johnson, returned home after an abortive round of last-minute lobbying for the JCPOA in Washington.

The French president, Emmanuel Macron, and Germany’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, had come to the White House in the weeks before. Their failure to sway Trump was a striking measure of how little influence Europe has on this White House, which has sided instead with Israel, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates on a major strategic decision.

“There is a question now about how aggressive Europe wants to be to keep the deal alive,” said Peter Harrell, a former senior state department sanctions official now at the Centre for a New American Security. “Without an active effort by the EU to keep European companies in Iran and resist US pressure, you will see big companies leaving.”

Trump's decision on Iran is not as black and white as it seems

The JCPOA, agreed in Vienna in 2015, led to a rapid and drastic reduction in Iran’s nuclear programme. It reduced its stockpile of low-enriched uranium by 98% to just 300lbs, far below what would be required if it attempted to make enough fissile material for a single bomb.

Iran also took down about 13,000 of its centrifuges, leaving just over 5,000 of its oldest-model machines in place. It ceased all enrichment at its underground facility at Fordow, which – like other Iranian nuclear sites - was put under continuous international monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The IAEA had repeatedly confirmed that that Iran was in compliance with the restriction it had agreed to in 2015.

Karim Sadjadpour, a senior fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, warned: “By withdrawing from the JCPOA, Trump hastens the possibility of three disparate but similarly cataclysmic events: an Iranian war, an Iranian bomb or the implosion of the Iranian regime.”

“Iran looms large over major US national security concerns including Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, cyber, energy security, terrorism, & obviously nuclear proliferation,” Sadjadpour said in a tweet. “The opportunities for direct conflict are numerous.”

After announcing the abrogation of the Iran deal, Trump insisted he would press ahead with his bid to reach a nuclear agreement with the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, at a summit due to take place in the coming way.

He revealed that the secretary of state, Mike Pompeo, was on the way to Pyongyang, apparently to finalise arrangements.
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[*] posted on 12-5-2018 at 03:52 PM

Mattis Says U.S., Allies Must Deal with Range of Iranian Malign Activities

(Source: US Department of Defense; issued March 09, 2018)

WASHINGTON --- The United States will continue to work with other nations to address the range of Iranian malign influences, Defense Secretary James N. Mattis told the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee today.

Mattis and Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, testified before the panel on the fiscal year 2019 defense budget request. The secretary also discussed President Donald J. Trump’s withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action that the United States and European allies negotiated with Iran in 2015.

The pact was aimed at limiting Iran’s nuclear program.

“Yesterday, President Trump announced the administration's decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, terminating U.S. participation, and re-imposing sanctions on the Iranian regime,” Mattis told the subcommittee. “We will continue to work alongside our allies and partners to ensure that Iran can never acquire a nuclear weapon, and we'll work with others to address the range of Iran's malign influence. This administration remains committed to putting the safety, interests and well-being of our citizens first.”

Iran’s Influence

Iran is a prime disturber of the peace throughout the Middle East, defense officials have said, and the plan, as it stands, does nothing to curtail the Iranian regimes malign activities. “[Syrian strongman Bashir] Assad is still in power today, still murdering his own people and still creating refugee flows that we've not seen before based on the support out of Iran,” Mattis said.

But Iran’s activities are not limited to Syria as their influence extends into Lebanon, Yemen and Bahrain, defense officials have said. The Houthi movement in Yemen, a Shiite group, has fired missiles made in Tehran at Saudi Arabia, defense officials have said.

“We have not seen any drawdown or reduction in Iran's malicious activities and malign activities across the region,” the secretary said.

The secretary stressed that the United States will continue to work with allies to “try to bring Iran back into more responsible behavior.”

Iran needs to be confronted not just for its nuclear program, Mattis said, but for its development of ballistic missiles, support for terrorism, launching of cyberattacks and threats to international commerce.

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[*] posted on 22-5-2018 at 01:05 PM

Pompeo Declares Economic War on Iran

By Krishnadev Calamur
The Atlantic

2:23 PM ET

AP / Jose Luis Magana

The U.S. secretary of state vowed “unprecedented financial pressure in the form of the strongest sanctions in history.”

The Trump administration’s new strategy on Iran essentially amounts to economic war. In a speech on Monday, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo vowed “unprecedented financial pressure in the form of the strongest sanctions in history” unless the Islamic Republic renounced all its nuclear activities, its ballistic missile program, and its support of regional proxies.

“The [Iranian] regime has been fighting all over the Middle East for years,” Pompeo said at the Heritage Foundation, a Washington, D.C., think tank. “After our sanctions come in force, it will be battling to keep its economy alive. Iran will be forced to make a choice: Either fight to keep its economy off life support at home or squandering precious wealth on fights abroad. It will not have the resources to do both.”

And if there were ever any doubts, Pompeo’s unambiguous remarks were complemented by the U.S. Defense Department, where a spokesman said the U.S. will take “all necessary steps to confront and address Iran’s malign influence in the region.”

Pompeo offered this outline weeks after President Trump withdrew the United States from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, as the nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic is officially known, ordered the reimposition of all sanctions on Iran, and gave companies with investments there varying periods to wind up their dealings or face penalties. He said the U.S. would now work with its international partners to deter “Iranian aggression” and “advocate for the Iranian people.”

Pompeo’s list of demands on Iran was long. If it wanted diplomatic and commercial relationships with the U.S., he said, it would have to end its ballistic missile program as well as its support for terrorist groups like Hezbollah and its regional malfeasance in places like Iran and Syria. The contours of the list were familiar; many of the demands echoed what the Iran deal’s critics said had been left out of the nuclear deal, rendering it in their view fatally flawed. All together, the number of Pompeo’s asks clocked in at 12. “If you look at it these are 12 basic requirements the length of the list is simply the scope of the maligning behavior of Iran,” he said. “We didn’t create the list, they did.”

Pompeo’s remarks also included elements of the presentation made on April 30 by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, a strident critic of the accord. At the time, Netanyahu had billed his speech as containing a major set of revelations, though he said little that wasn’t known publicly already. He did, however, insist that new intelligence showed how thoroughly Iran had lied about having had a nuclear program. (The skepticism of the world about Iran’s intentions was why the agreement was signed in 2015.)

But what’s the likelihood Pompeo’s vision will come to pass? “He’s not asking the leopard to change its spots,” Barbara Slavin, director of the Future of Iran Initiative at the Atlantic Council, told me regarding what Pompeo was demanding of Iran. “He’s asking it to become a lamb.” Slavin, a longtime supporter of the JCPOA, said the demands outlined by Pompeo were also the demands of Iran’s biggest adversaries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Israel, and the U.S. She said of Pompeo’s speech: “It’s audacious, it’s bold, and it’s totally unrealistic.”

Mark Dubowitz, the chief executive of the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, called Pompeo’s speech a “big plan and a big offer.” But, said Dubowitz, a critic of the JCPOA: “On the one hand, the administration is saying we’re going to put the regime under a world of hurt. On the other hand, the regime is winning in the region. So one of the things the administration has to be very careful about is a comprehensive agreement that locks in Iranian regional dominance. Iran would like nothing more than to reach some kind of armistice agreement based on its current position in the Middle East.”

Iran says it will abide by the agreement as long as the other signatories provide it with the kinds of foreign direct investment that will restart its economy, which was hobbled by years of international sanctions. Britain, France, and Germany, the three European countries that are also party to the agreement, said they will remain in the JCPOA, as did China and Russia. Last week, the European Commission, which is the European Union’s executive arm, said it would adopt regulations that would prevent European companies from complying with sanctions the U.S. will reimpose; though the largest European companies themselves have said the uncertainty caused by the U.S. withdrawal would all but ensure their withdrawal from Iran. U.S. sanctions on these companies would mean, among other things, they are blocked from doing business in the U.S. and lose access to the U.S. financial system. As I wrote last week: “For the largest European companies, the choice of doing business in the United States, a country with a $18 trillion economy, and Iran, one with a $400 billion economy, is simply no choice at all.”

Pompeo was clear Monday that European companies would not be granted special waivers to work in Iran. “We understand that our reimposition of sanctions and coming campaign on the Iranian regime will pose economic difficulties for a number of our friends—indeed, it imposes economic challenges to America as well,” he said. “These are markets our businesses would love to sell into as well. And we want to hear their concerns, but you know, we will hold those doing prohibited business in Iran to account.”

Dubowitz told me the Europeans were stuck between an “Iranian rock and a Trumpian hard place.” He said Pompeo’s strategy “gives Europeans a possible way out of possible Iranian and American escalation, but it may be a nonstarter for Europeans who are angry with the president who they see as unreliable and someone who they see as a threat to their economic and political sovereignty.”

Given the skepticism of traditional U.S. allies, then, the secretary of state finds himself looking further abroad in hopes of assembling a kind of coalition of the willing for a new Iran deal. Pompeo said the U.S. would work to include in a new arrangement, in addition to Europe “the Australians, Bahrainis, Indians, Japanese, Omanis, Saudi Arabia, South Korea, the U.A.E., and many, many others.”

“Indeed, we welcome any nation which is sick and tired of the nuclear threats, the terrorism, the missile proliferation, and the brutality of regime which is at odds with world peace, a country that continues to inflict chaos on innocent people,” Pompeo said.

Slavin told me that while Europe would ultimately go along with the U.S. plan, the Europeans are “not going to be a willing participants in this strategy.” European officials, who had worked on the negotiations for 12 years, were upset over the U.S. withdrawal, because they believed the U.S. was ignoring Europe’s core national security interests.

(European officials say they are most at risk if Iran develops a nuclear program.)

European officials said the debate over the JCPOA, and Europe’s apparent inability to keep the U.S. in, meant that, in the words of German Chancellor Angela Merkel, “Europe must take its destiny in its own hands.”

And in that sense, the Iran debate is about much more than Iran. Dubowitz said: “The real question is whether the Europeans will play along with the Iranian regime strategy of driving a wedge between Europe and the United States.”
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[*] posted on 26-5-2018 at 12:47 PM

Iran likely to increasingly rely on China as major trading partner to withstand strengthening US sanctions

Nazanin Soroush - IHS Jane's Intelligence Weekly

25 May 2018

Key Points

- Pompeo’s speech makes clear that the US seeks a fundamental change in Iran’s behaviour, emphasising that Iran’s failure to do so has the potential for internal collapse, not least given widespread public dissatisfaction with the Islamic Republic’s economic performance.
- Although there is domestic consensus in Iran to avoid provocative actions that could jeopardise securing sanctions relief from Europe, Russia, and China, strengthening US sanctions will reduce Iran’s available options, contribute to expanding divisions within the political establishment over economic management and foreign policy, as well as embolden economically driven protests.
- Iran will probably become increasingly reliant on China, its largest trading partner; Chinese companies will likely be supported by the Chinese state in legally obviating US sanctions for Iranian business deemed strategically important.


On 21 May, United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech outlining the US policy toward Iran in the aftermath of US withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action – JCPOA).

In his speech, Pompeo reiterated President Donald Trump’s willingness to negotiate another agreement with Iran, and also outlined 12 US requirements before a ‘new’ deal could be implemented including, Iran agreeing to never pursue plutonium reprocessing, halting all development of nuclear-capable missile systems, essentially giving the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) unrestricted access to verify implementation, as well as retracting all support for US-designated ‘terrorist’ groups in the Middle East region, which includes Iran’s most capable proxy non-state armed group (NSAG), the Lebanese militant group Hizbullah. In exchange for meeting these demands, the US would end its web of sanctions, which drastically narrow Iran’s access to the global financial system, as well as allow the Iranian government to re-establish normal diplomatic and commercial relations with the rest of the world, and receive financial and other support to modernise the Iranian economy, including liberalising the transfer of advanced technology.

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[*] posted on 26-5-2018 at 09:32 PM

Much like North Korea, Iran will never walk away from nukes, the Mullah's like the Kims, see it the only way to secure the current ruling clique's survival.

It is by will alone I set my mind in motion.
It is by the juice of sapho that thoughts acquire speed,
the lips acquire stains,
the stains become a warning.
It is by will alone I set my mind in motion
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[*] posted on 31-5-2018 at 07:46 PM

Israel says Iran continues missile tests

Jeremy Binnie, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

30 May 2018

Iran carried out previously unreported ballistic missile tests in January that contravened UN Security Council Resolution 2231, according to Israeli ambassador to the UN Danny Danon.

“Last January they launched a Shahab-3 and a ‘Scud’ variant: both capable of delivering nuclear payloads hundreds of km from Iran,” Danon said on his Twitter account on 24 May. “The international community must hold the Iranian regime accountable and stop their attempts to threaten our region.”

Israeli newspaper The Jerusalem Post reported on the same day that Danon had submitted a letter to the Security Council that reported the launches.

“On 2 January 2018, Iran launched a Shahab-3 variant at the Chabahar firing range,” the newspaper quoted the letter as saying.

(142 of 400 words)
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