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Hypocrites rising: Why are so many in the faux Resistance silent on Trump’s Iran warpath? – Salon

This article originally appeared on AlterNet.

There are roughly two categories of resistance to President Donald Trump that have emerged over the past few months. Theres the grassroots, earnest resistance marked by mass protests, populated by everyone from radicals to liberals to nonprofits to immigration rights groups to antifascists to the occasional Democratic politician with the backbone to stand up to the administration. Then theres the Resistance, a loose confederation of media careerists who nominally oppose Trump but do so often for the most cynical and ideologically incoherent reasons. The Resistance consists of, among others, David Frum, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann andEvan McMullin.

These men comprise the worst of the Resistance. Their attacks on Trump, such as they are, are marked by Cold War-mongering, gendered insults, career revampingand a dislike of a foreign policy they view as inadequately bellicose toward Russia, Syria and Iran.

Stop with the purity tests! is a common rejoinder to these criticisms. We must, given the stakes, welcome all who oppose Trump, some might say.

But what use is that opposition when it stops at the waters edge; when it cares only for Trumps excesses at home but ignores if not welcomes excesses abroad? Consider this not an indictment on the whole of their ideology, but an honest question from a potential anti-Trump ally: Why does the Resistance not seem to care about Trumps Iran war path?

Since he was sworn in just a month ago, Trump has signaled a radical departure from the Obama White Houses already hostile (though mild in relative terms) approach to Iran. Trump has surrounded himself with anti-Iran hawks like Michael Flynn (since departed for unrelated reasons) and his Secretary of Defense General James Mattis. Flynn stated time and again that Iran was intent on having a nuclear weapon despite all evidence to the contrary. Gen. Mattis, who, as Politico put it, has a 33-year grudge against Iran, insists the Iranian regime . . . is the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East.

In their short time in office, Trump has put Iran on notice and leveled new sanctions nominally for firing a ballistic missile in January an act that, according to NPR, did not violate the terms of the relevant U.N. resolution.

Trump has also surrounded himself with radical pro-Israel voices whose antipathy for Iran dovetails with their staunch loyalty to Israels far right. Trumps nominee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, once compared the Iran deal to the Dreyfus Affair, the infamous anti-Semitic persecution of a Jewish army captain in 1890s France, saying of the deal, the blatant anti-Semitism emanating from our president and his sycophantic minions is palpable and very disturbing.

The relationship between America and Iran, Saeid Golkar, an Iran expert at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, recently told Al Jazeera, is getting very dangerous.

One would hardly have noticed if they were only listening to high-status Resistance pundits.

Former Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote a much-praised 8,000-word piece warning of Trumps authoritarianism, but didnt mention Trumps hostility toward Iran, his alliance with Israels far right or any of his foreign policy aggressions once. The only time foreign countries were brought up, whether it was Russia or Honduras or Venezuela, was when Frum needed to use them as examples of backwaters Trump would turn us into, not targets of Trumps hothead foreign policy.

For Frum, the vaguely defined concept of authoritarianism seems to apply only stateside. This is an exceedingly self-serving definition given that Frum worked in the Bush White House and is to this day anadvocatefor the devastating Iraq war leveled by his former boss.

Limiting criticism of Trump to the damage he will inflict domestically isnt just bad politics, its also a convenient get-out-of-jail-free card for Frum and his neoconservative friends who helped turn Iraq and the Levant into a hellscape less than a generation ago. To this extent, Frum is far more concerned with protecting the GOP brand both in the future and down-ballot than he is with resisting Trump. This is why Frum is silent on Trumps Iran war path and his increasingly close relationship with Netanyahu; Trumps vision of power in the Middle East, sans perhaps Syria, is entirely in line with Frums.

Evan McMullin, who has been calling for the United States to bomb the Syrian government and overthrow Assad for years, routinely discusses how Trumps posture on Russia will help Iran rather than reading the words the president actually states on the subject. On actual policy, on actual statements threatening Iran and ratcheting up tension, McMullin has little to say. McMullin even lavished praise on Trumps selection of Gen. Mattis as Defense Secretary, largely because, again, Trumps policy on Iran dovetails with what McMullin actually believes.

Keith Olbermann, who isnt nearly as vile as other members of the Resistance, rants and raves about Trump being a Russian whore, but cant take five minutes out to note Trumps gutting of Obamas hard-fought Iran deal. Nor does Olbermann have anything to say on Trump cozying up to the worst elements of the Israeli far right. Olbermann never tweets about or discusses Iran, Israel or Palestine on his GQ web series. Like Frum, he limits his outrage over Trump to purely domestic issues.

Glenn Beck has used the anti-Trump sentiment to try to rebrand himself as a moderate, principled, conservative crusader, even given validation and airtime by liberal late-night comedian Samantha Bee for a much publicized anti-Trump campaign. Beck (as well as Bee) has been entirely silent on Trumps anti-Iran rhetoric. Beck, showing the nebulous nature of the Resistance, has even praised Trumps far-right Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and has gone back to blaming Black Lives Matter for entirely unrelated crimes against whites.

The Washington Post, which raised money saying it would hold Trump accountable, publishes op-eds on Trumps Iran policy ranging from praise (Jennifer Rubin) to procedural handwringing (David Ignatius), but never offers any meaningful criticism. Liberal media watchdog Media Mattersand Mother Jones have not covered Trumps ramped-up hostility with Iran once. Not only has MSNBCs Joy Ann Reid ignored Trumps surly Iran posture, she even praised Gen. Mattis as the man preventing Trump from dragging us into bed with Russia. A pro-Russia stance is, as a matter of dogma, always assumed to be worse than potential war with Iran.

The reason, if history is any guide, is that if someone in the media has three topics to choose from, and two of those topics dont upset American national security orthodoxy, those two topics will always rise to the top of the press heap. This is why foreign policy, especially as it relates to Palestine, Iran and Muslim countries in general, always gets lowest priority. Its moral hazard is seen most explicitly during the early Obama years when issues like drone killings, extrajudicial assassination and a sprawling war on terror largely went unquestioned. This is a bipartisan consensus of executive power that, predictably, later came back to haunt liberals after Trump was elected.

Just the same, because Trumps hostility in the Middle East largely serves the bipartisan consensus on Iran and Israel, it is of extremely low importance to most high-status liberals and centrists who are far more concerned with scoring points and winning the latest 24-hour news cycle than building an ideologically sustainable opposition to the Trump regime and the Republican Party it serves. This myopia is understandable for party flacks and media hangers-on, but it doesnt mean thinking adults should indulge it or its longer-term implications.

Its important that the resistance to Trump, such that it is, highlight the clampdown on domestic opposition and liberal programs. But its equally important for the resistance not to lose sight of those outside the United Stateswho will suffer greatly from Trumps eagerness to ramp up tensions in Iran and the Middle East as a whole.

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Hypocrites rising: Why are so many in the faux Resistance silent on Trump’s Iran warpath? – Salon

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February 26, 2017   Posted in: Iran  Comments Closed

Palestinian terror leader urges Iran to join ‘all-out war’ on Israel, then Jordan – The Times of Israel

The head of a Palestinian terrorist group in Lebanon said he would like to see Iranian soldiers take part in an all-out war to liberate Palestine, and that the future Palestinian conquest would include an invasion of both Israel and Jordan.

Ahmad Jibril, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, told Hezbollahs Al-Mayadeen TV on February 17 that his group wants to see the revolutionary fighters from [Iran] in the Galilee. His remarks were translated by watchdog group MEMRI on Friday.

Jibril spoke of spoke of creating an axis of resistance against Israel that would include Syria, Iraq, Iran and Hezbollah all devoted to the liberation of Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River.

Afterwards, he said, we will enter Jordan, whether King Abdullah likes it or not.

He added that The war with this enemy will be an all-out war in the Golan, in South Lebanon, in the Galilee[and] will be waged from Rosh Hanikra to Aqaba.

Hezbollah is getting read for it, and so are we.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Monday doubled down on his recent saber-rattling against Israel and warned that his terror group would not hold back from attacking sensitive Israeli targets if the Jewish state goes to war with Lebanon.

During a television interview with Irans state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, the terror chief repeated a previous threat to fire rockets at Israels nuclear reactor in Dimona and at a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa.

Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatening to strike Israels Dimona nuclear reactor in the south of the country in a televised address on February 16, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube)

Hezbollah will not keep to any red lines in a future war with Israel, Nasrallah cautioned.

In the face of Israels threats to destroy Lebanons infrastructure, we will not abide by red lines, especially regarding Haifas ammonia and the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Hezbollah possesses the full courage for this, he said, according to an English translation of his comments reported by the Naharnet website.

We are not advocates of war. We are in the defense position, Nasrallah said.

On Thursday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sai during a visit to Lebanon that Palestinian factions were committed to preserving security in refugee camps around Lebanon.

Stuart Winer and AP contributed to this report.

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February 25, 2017   Posted in: Iran  Comments Closed

Netanyahu urges Australia to take more aggressive tone on Iran – Jerusalem Post Israel News

SYDNEY – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the 11 Australian ministers he met with on Thursday at the equivalent of Israel’s Security Cabinet to take a more aggressive position toward Iran. With this message, Netanyahu continued lobbying efforts on the matter he began in London just over two weeks ago when he met British Prime Minister Theresa May

Following the 2015 Iran nuclear deal championed by former US president Barack Obama, Australia was among the countries that began a normalization process with Teheran. With current President Donald Trump opposed to the deal and using much more aggressive rhetoric when talking about the Iranians, Netanyahu is trying to get allies to pull back from the normalization process.

There is a degree of openness to this, one senior diplomatic official said, but it is still a work in progress.

Meanwhile Netanyahu, in his meetings with various Australian leaders, continued to speak out against the 2015 deal, saying that it allows no bombs today, but a hundred bombs a decade from now.

Iran’s presence in Syria, according to diplomatic officials, will be at the top of the agenda when the premier travels to Russia in some two weeks for a one-day visit to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin.

One of the issues Netanyahu is expected to raise with Putin is the formalization of concessions that Syrian President Bashar Assad has given the Iranians that could bring Iranian forces and not just proxies such as Hezbollah directly to Israels borders. This, the official said, very much troubles us.

During the meeting with the Australian ministers, discussions also centered on how to increase security cooperation between Jerusalem and Canberra.

In order to facilitate this process, the Defense Minister’s Director-General Udi Adam is scheduled to hold talks in Australia in June. And then, before Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is scheduled to visit Israel at the end of October to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, a delegation from the Australian Defense Ministry is scheduled to hold talks in Israel.

Australia, increasingly alarmed by signs of growing Islamic radicalism in Malaysia and neighboring Indonesia, is expected to spend $25 billion to upgrade its military capabilities over the next few years.

Netanyahu is scheduled on Friday to meet Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten, whom he met in Jerusalem just over a month ago.

Just as inside the US Democratic Party there is a growing faction on the Australian Left that is increasingly pro-Palestinian and critical of Israel, the same dynamic is at work inside Australia’s Labor Party. Israel, according to diplomatic officials, is keen on retaining good relations with the Labor Party, to keep the element very critical of Israel from growing ,and and to maintain support for Israel among both of Australia’s main parties.

Shorten gave a strongly pro-Israel address on Wednesday at a luncheon with Netanyahu, Turnbull, and 400 Israeli and Australian businessmen.

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February 23, 2017   Posted in: Iran  Comments Closed

Parly delegation in Iran – The Herald

Adv Mudenda

Herald Correspondent A two-day international conference in support of Palestine opened here yesterday, with Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda condemning Zionist Israel for its continued violation of a series of United Nations resolutions, including the regimes ongoing construction of illegal settlements within the Palestinian territory.

The conference, dubbed Together Supporting Palestine was sponsored by the Iranian government with more than 500 delegates from over 60 countries in attendance.

Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, officially opened the 6th conference.

The relationship between the people of Palestine and the people of Zimbabwe is deeply and firmly rooted in our comradeship forged in our common struggles for independence and sovereignty, driven by the humanitarian motive force against oppression and ethnic supremacist misdirected political ideology, said Adv Mudenda.

Zimbabwe fully supports the just cause of Palestine to be a sovereign State and Zimbabwe upholds the principle that only a two-state solution is the open sesame to the current apartheid arrangement where Israel has usurped the right to self-determination of Palestinians.

Advocate Mudenda is leading a three-member parliamentary delegation, which includes the chairman of the portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs Cde Kindness Paradza and committee member Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga.

Among the countries represented at the conference, whose focus is to support Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, are super powers Russia and China, including North Korea and a host of other pro-Palestine militant groups like Hezbollah and Hamas.

Adv Mudenda said efforts to resolve the Palestinian crisis should now go beyond just UN resolutions or conferences, but must include a concrete plan of action to deal with the 70-year-old crisis once and for all.

He reminded the delegates of President Mugabes speech at the UN General Assembly on the 12th of September 2002, when he stated that the Palestine question should be resolved without further delay as it caused untold suffering to the people in occupied territories.

Adv Mudenda paid tribute to Iran for its unwavering support for the Palestinian cause, a move that has led Tehran to endure a cocktail of sanctions imposed by the United States and its European allies.

He narrated several attempts that were made, over the years, at international level to resolve the Palestinian crisis, which failed as succeeding Israeli governments continued to ignore or violate the agreements.

The greatest tragedy is not the manner in which Israel has conducted itself with respect to Palestinian occupied territory, but the double standards demonstrated by some Western powers with respect to Israel, said Adv Mudenda.

We all know how the United States government has constantly defended Israel at international fora, protected the besmirched reputation of this gory State and prevented multilateral efforts to indict Israel for what it is an atavistic colonial State.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the same conference that the Palestinian issue was the root cause of the current conflicts among Arab countries in the Middle East.

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February 22, 2017   Posted in: Iran  Comments Closed

What we can learn from the fall of the Shah of Iran – The Hill (blog)

During his troubled final days, the Shah of Iran was interrupted during a state dinner for China’s leader by an urgent phone call. Guests were stunned when he left the banquet table, later returning to summon two of his officials.

Saddam Hussein was on the phone, the Shah quietly told them, and he wanted the Shah’s consent for liquidating Ayatollah Khomeini, then exiled in Iraq and a nuisance to both their secular regimes. The Shah plaintively asked them both how he should respond. But they demurred, prompting the sometimes passive monarch to remark that it seemed wrong.

There are many such exasperating moments inAndrew Scott Cooper’s “The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran,” an amazing new account of how a modernizing monarch of 37 years led his country from impoverished obscurity into prosperity and power, only to be toppled by reactionary and murderous Islamists, whose theocracy still torments the Iranian people and the world.

Cooper is a New Zealander who became fascinated as a boy by the Shah’s stunning collapse and later devoted years to interviewing the Shah’s surviving family and staff, including the Empress, who quietly lives outside Washington, D.C.

A critical New York Times review accusing Cooper of “reflexive hostility toward Islamism” prompted a global social media campaign against Cooper and his sympathetic account of the Shah as a benevolent autocrat.

But if Cooper is hostile, he is also justified, not just by the mass murder and torture of Iran’s ruling Islamistswhose crimes exponentially surpass the Shah’sbut by their regime’s ongoing war against America, Israel, and its Mideast neighbors.

Cooper is fair and factual, portraying the Shah as smart but often indecisive, a micromanager who didn’t fully trust subordinates, an ardent devotee of Persia’s glorious history that he hoped to revive, and a reluctant authoritarian who tried to democratize Iran when too much of his nation preferred an Islamist totalitarian.

The Shah’s Islamist and leftist critics have always portrayed him as a corrupt and grandiose tyrant who brutalized his nation at the behest of the CIA, which helped restore him to power in 1953. He was actually a reluctant but fastidious ruler, obsessed with monitoring the rainfall of his arid nation. Incapable of small talk, Queen Elizabeth privately complained he was dull. He lacked humor, spoke quietly, rarely showed anger, and was unfailingly polite to fellow monarchs as well as servants and hotel staff.

He’s recalled now for losing his throne, but the Shah was also his nation’s fifth longest serving monarch across millennia who took Iran to unprecedented greatness. Thanks partly to the oil price shock he engineered against the Western powers whose puppet he allegedly was, he molded Iran into a regional economic and military power on track towards Western living standards. His modernization included mass education, the near elimination of extreme poverty, the celebration of art and culture, and equal rights for women and religious minorities.

The latter displeased theocratic clerics like Ayatollah Khomeini who had initially supported the Shah against secular nationalists like the overthrown Premier Muhammad Mossadegh and his Marxist allies. Unlike Khomeini, most of Iran’s Shiite clerics were quietist and opposed politicized clergy. They also feared Khomeini, a lower-ranked ayatollah, whom they knew was bloodthirsty and luciferian. Iran’s senior ayatollah privately urged SAVAK, the Shah’s notorious police agency, to assassinate Khomeini, even offering a fatwah for Islamic absolution. SAVAK declined.

SAVAK and the Shah were slow to see Islamism as a threat, instead obsessing over leftists. So too the Shah’s American allies, who until the very end imagined the Ayatollah would at least be an anti-Soviet partner. Although video cassettes of Khomeini’s anti-American and anti-Semitic harangues were sold in Teheran’s street’s outside the American embassy, diplomats and policy makers remained clueless.

President Carter lavishly praised the Shah as an “island of stability” during his notorious 1977 New Year’s Eve visit to Iran. While the CIA was assuring Carter that Iran was not even in a pre-revolutionary stage, Israel was more presciently evacuating the last of its citizens from Iran.

Pro-Khomeini mobs and saboteurs during the revolution of 1978-1979 attacked Baha’i and Jewish businesses, threw acid at women in Western dress, and burned theaters, in one calamity incinerating over 400 cinema goers. Paranoid Shah critics claimed it was SAVAK provocations. Many such critics would later end up in Khomeini’s jails or before his executioners.

The Carter administration pushed the Shah to liberalize, which he willingly did, freeing prisoners, opening jails to international inspection and plotting free elections, while jailing some of his own officials. Islamist opponents, armed and funded by Yasir Arafat’s PLO and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, were encouraged by this perceived weakness. The Shah’s generals and SAVAK urged a crackdown to defeat the revolution. Jordan’s King Hussein offered personally to lead Iran’s large army against the mobs.

A visiting Ronald Reagan, whom the Shah enjoyed, said shooting the head of a riot would disperse the rest.

Concerned about his international image, and averse to confrontation, the Shah restrained his forces from decisive actionnot wanting a blood-soaked crown that would discredit the monarchy for his heir. Many of his supporters among the military, middle class, moderate clergy and non-Islamist laborers either surrendered or fled the country whenthe Shahfailed to rally them.

The formidable Empress and other intimates imploredthe Shah himself not to flee, but the Shah and his family left their country in early 1979, to become geopolitically unwanted nomads. Khomeini returned from exile to erect his reign of terror, which included taking captive U.S. embassy staff.

Cooper’s mesmerizing story of the Shah’s defeat doesn’t specifically offer counsel for addressing Islamist political threats today. But any appearance of retreat or appeasement in the face of revolutionary terror only stimulates and encourages further terror. Promises of liberal democracy will be treated contemptuously. Mideast republics generally aren’t prone to moderation, and the region’s monarchies are always replaced by far worse, from Afghanistan to Iran, from Iraq to Libya.

Near the Shah’s end, Saddam Hussein told the Empress to tell the Shah that killing one thousand was bad, but better than the deaths of one million. Unlike the well intentioned but often feckless Shah, the brutal and clear-eyed Iraqi dictator saw what was to come.

Mark Tooley, author of “The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War,” is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy and editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy.

The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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Teenage Iranian chess master banned from national team for refusing to wear a headscarf – Washington Post

To most observers, nothing stood out about DorsaDerakhshani last month when she competed at theTradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. The 18-year-old female grand masterfaredfine on the board, twice using the Four Knights defense, and looked like any other teenager you might see in the British territory that borders southern Spain.

But to the head of the Iranian Chess Federation, Derakhshani practically committed an act of treason.

Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh didnt have a problem withDerakhshanis play, but her headwear.Derakhshani wore a simple headband in her long hair, instead of a hijab, Irans traditional headscarf, which became a compulsory accessory for women after the 1979 revolution. As a result,Pahlevanzadeh announced on Monday that Derakhshani would be kicked off the national team.

Derakhshanis younger brotherBorna, 15, who also entered the tournament, was also kicked off the team. His offense was agreeing to playan Israeli opponent, a strict no-no in the country that doesnt recognize Israel as a state.

Unfortunately, what shouldnt have happened has happened, Pahlevanzadeh told the semiofficial Fars News Agency on Monday (via Radio Free Europe). Our national interests have priority over everything.

As a first step, these two will be denied entry to all tournaments taking place in Iran, he continued, And, in the name of Iran, they will no longer be allowed the opportunity to be present on the national team.

Neither sibling has commented publicly on the news.

That the two young chess masters received such a harsh punishment is not a surprise. Sports in Iran and other parts of the Middle East have long been affected by the regions strict cultural norms and precarious political stance.

Lastyear, American chess masterNazi Paikidze did not compete in the chess world championships in Iran because of the countrys requirement that she don a hijab.

[I will NOT wear a hijab: U.S. chess star refuses to attend world championships in Iran]

Some consider a hijab part of culture, Paikidze said in an Instagram post announcing herdecision. But, I know that a lot of Iranian women are bravely protesting this forced lawdaily and risking a lot by doing so. Thatswhy I will NOT wear a hijab and support womens oppression.

The hijab made different headlines earlier in the year, however, when U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad becamethe first American to win a medal wearing the traditional headscarf.Muhammad earned a bronze in the team saber event alongside hijab-less athletes Monica Aksamit, Dagmara Wozniak and Mariel Zagunis.

[A fencing mask hid her hijab. Now, this U.S. Olympian wants to be heard, and seen]

I have to challenge this idea that in some way we dont belong because of our race or our religion, Muhammad, whose parents converted to Islam before Muhammed was born, said last year.

She added: Like within any religion, Muslims have conservatives, we have liberals, and we have everything in between. To paint all Muslims with one broad stroke can be frustrating.

This article was updated to correct an error about Ibtihaj Muhammads heritage.

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Iran Supreme Leader calls on Palestinians to pursue intifada against Israel – Reuters

BEIRUT Irans Supreme Leader called on Palestinians on Tuesday to pursue an uprising against Israel, suggesting the Israeli government was a “cancerous tumor” that should be confronted until Palestinians were completely liberated.

“… by Allahs permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, according to his website.

The Supreme Leaders bellicose comments, made during a two-day conference in Tehran focused on its support for the Palestinians, come at a time of increasingly heated rhetoric between Iran, Israel and the United States.

While on a visit to Washington last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News that Israel and the United States had a “grand mission” to confront the threat of a nuclear Iran.

U.S. President Donald Trump has already been highly critical of a deal hammered out between Iran and world powers, including the United States, in 2015 intended to partially lift sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program.

Iran says its program is for purely peaceful means.

When Iran carried out a ballistic missile test in late January, Trumps then national security adviser Mike Flynn said the administration was putting Iran “on notice”.

Ordinary Iranians have been posting their concerns about a possible military confrontation between Iran and the United States on social media.

Khamenei did not mention any Iranian military attack against Israel in his comments on Tuesday and was focused on gains that Palestinians could make in any confrontation with Israel, which he described as tumor developing into “the current disaster”.

“The Palestinian intifada continues to gallop forward in a thunderous manner so that it can achieve its other goals until the complete liberation of Palestine,” he said, according to the transcript of the speech posted on his website.

(Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Alison Williams)

SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq/BAGHDAD U.S.-backed Iraqi forces closing in on the Islamic State-held western half of Mosul prepared on Tuesday to storm the airport and a nearby military base on its southern outskirts to create a bridgehead for a thrust into the city.

BEIRUT French far-right National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen canceled a meeting on Tuesday with Lebanon’s grand mufti, its top cleric for Sunni Muslims, after refusing to wear a headscarf for the encounter.

SYDNEY Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered a staunch defense of Israel on Wednesday, criticizing the United Nations and vowing never to support “one-sided resolutions” calling for an end to Israeli settlement building on occupied land.

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Steinitz: Trump’s test is to expel Iran from Syria – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Iranian Revolutionary Guard members in Tehran carry the casket of Iran Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Mohsen Ghajarian, who was killed in the northern province of Aleppo , Syria . (photo credit:ATTA KENARE / AFP)

If US President Donald Trump fails to expel Iran from Syria and prevent its expansion, there will be a very negative impact on the United States, Israel and the world, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Monday.

Steinitz, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus security cabinet, said the world is getting more dangerous and the global order has been under attack since the so-called Arab Spring began.

The most urgent issue and the first big challenge of the Trump administration is Syria, Steinitz said. The mission of Iran is to make Syria into an Iranian stronghold and an extension of the Islamic Republic. The last thing we want is to have Iran on our northern border, and it is not a theoretical possibility.

Steinitz said that if Trump manages to prevent such a disaster, it would be an important step that would lead to other initiatives in the region and beyond.

Since world powers made a deal with Iran, he said, the Islamic Republic had expanded operations all over the region.

In Washington there were hopes Iran would moderate itself after the deal, but it only became more dangerous, he said. We had hoped the Iranian nuclear structure would be completely dismantled forever. Instead it was partially dismantled for 10 years.

Steinitz said the most dangerous threats to global order are Iran and North Korea.

While it seems we are much more disturbed by Iran than North Korea, there actually is very strong linkage between the behavior and ambitions of North Korea and Iran, he said. If you fail to contain North Korea, you will have to deal with Iran. If you let North Korea develop more, Iran will follow.

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Iran: Israelis and Saudis coordinating on certain issues in region – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (L) and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir address the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 19, 2017. (photo credit:ARIEL HERMONI/DEFENSE MINISTRY/REUTERS)

Iran on Monday rejected Israeli and Saudi claims that the Islamic Republic was a destabilizing force in the region, saying that it came as no surprise that Jerusalem and Riyadh share the same views.

Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi made the comments after both Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir each said at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday that Iran constitutes a threat to each of their countries, has not moderated its behavior in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal and should face renewed economic pressure from the international community.

While the Israeli and Saudi ministers stopped short of saying they would cooperate to thwart Iran, Qassemi said that Jerusalem and Riyadh are already working “hand in glove” in the Middle East and their matching assessments given on Sunday came as no surprise.

The parallelism between the positions of the Saudi foreign minister and the Israeli war minister on Iran is not coincidental. Many instances of evidence indicate coordination between the two regimes in regional cases, Iranian official news agency Press TV quoted Qassemi as saying.

The Iranian official said that Liberman’s and Jubeir’s claims against Iran reflected their countries’ “painful desperation.”

Both regimes think they should stir the international atmosphere against Iran as a means of making up for their multitudinous defeats and frustrations in the region, he charged.

Qassemi said that Israel’s attempts to enlist a Muslim country in its efforts against Iran were “pathetic.”

In addition to Liberman and Jubeir, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif also spoke at Sunday’s Munich Security Conference. While Liberman called for an alliance with Sunni states, Jubeir did not directly respond when asked if he envisions a coalition with Israel against Tehran.

Jubeir, who spoke after Liberman and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlet Cavusoglu, pointedly rejected a new Iranian call for a dialogue with Sunni Arab Gulf states, telling the conference that the Islamic Republic is trying to upend the order in the Middle East and seeks the destruction of Saudi Arabia.

The Iranians speak of wanting to turn a new page, wanting to look forward, not backward. This is great, but what about the present? he asked. We cant ignore what they are doing in the region. We cant ignore their constitution which calls for the export of the revolution. How can one deal with a nation whose intent is to destroy us?

Liberman, meanwhile, accused Iran of trying to undermine Saudi Arabia and termed Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, the No.1 terrorist in the world.

If you ask me, What is the biggest news in the Middle East? I think that [for] the first time since 1948 the moderate Arab world, Sunni world, understands that the biggest threat for them is not Israel, not Jews and not Zionism, but Iran and Iranian proxies, Liberman said, pointing to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and the Houthi militia in Yemen.

Ben Lynfield and Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.

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Hypocrites rising: Why are so many in the faux Resistance silent on Trump’s Iran warpath? – Salon

This article originally appeared on AlterNet. There are roughly two categories of resistance to President Donald Trump that have emerged over the past few months. Theres the grassroots, earnest resistance marked by mass protests, populated by everyone from radicals to liberals to nonprofits to immigration rights groups to antifascists to the occasional Democratic politician with the backbone to stand up to the administration. Then theres the Resistance, a loose confederation of media careerists who nominally oppose Trump but do so often for the most cynical and ideologically incoherent reasons. The Resistance consists of, among others, David Frum, Glenn Beck, Keith Olbermann andEvan McMullin. These men comprise the worst of the Resistance. Their attacks on Trump, such as they are, are marked by Cold War-mongering, gendered insults, career revampingand a dislike of a foreign policy they view as inadequately bellicose toward Russia, Syria and Iran. Stop with the purity tests! is a common rejoinder to these criticisms. We must, given the stakes, welcome all who oppose Trump, some might say. But what use is that opposition when it stops at the waters edge; when it cares only for Trumps excesses at home but ignores if not welcomes excesses abroad? Consider this not an indictment on the whole of their ideology, but an honest question from a potential anti-Trump ally: Why does the Resistance not seem to care about Trumps Iran war path? Since he was sworn in just a month ago, Trump has signaled a radical departure from the Obama White Houses already hostile (though mild in relative terms) approach to Iran. Trump has surrounded himself with anti-Iran hawks like Michael Flynn (since departed for unrelated reasons) and his Secretary of Defense General James Mattis. Flynn stated time and again that Iran was intent on having a nuclear weapon despite all evidence to the contrary. Gen. Mattis, who, as Politico put it, has a 33-year grudge against Iran, insists the Iranian regime . . . is the single most enduring threat to stability and peace in the Middle East. In their short time in office, Trump has put Iran on notice and leveled new sanctions nominally for firing a ballistic missile in January an act that, according to NPR, did not violate the terms of the relevant U.N. resolution. Trump has also surrounded himself with radical pro-Israel voices whose antipathy for Iran dovetails with their staunch loyalty to Israels far right. Trumps nominee for ambassador to Israel, David Friedman, once compared the Iran deal to the Dreyfus Affair, the infamous anti-Semitic persecution of a Jewish army captain in 1890s France, saying of the deal, the blatant anti-Semitism emanating from our president and his sycophantic minions is palpable and very disturbing. The relationship between America and Iran, Saeid Golkar, an Iran expert at the Chicago Council on Global Affairs, recently told Al Jazeera, is getting very dangerous. One would hardly have noticed if they were only listening to high-status Resistance pundits. Former Bush speechwriter David Frum wrote a much-praised 8,000-word piece warning of Trumps authoritarianism, but didnt mention Trumps hostility toward Iran, his alliance with Israels far right or any of his foreign policy aggressions once. The only time foreign countries were brought up, whether it was Russia or Honduras or Venezuela, was when Frum needed to use them as examples of backwaters Trump would turn us into, not targets of Trumps hothead foreign policy. For Frum, the vaguely defined concept of authoritarianism seems to apply only stateside. This is an exceedingly self-serving definition given that Frum worked in the Bush White House and is to this day anadvocatefor the devastating Iraq war leveled by his former boss. Limiting criticism of Trump to the damage he will inflict domestically isnt just bad politics, its also a convenient get-out-of-jail-free card for Frum and his neoconservative friends who helped turn Iraq and the Levant into a hellscape less than a generation ago. To this extent, Frum is far more concerned with protecting the GOP brand both in the future and down-ballot than he is with resisting Trump. This is why Frum is silent on Trumps Iran war path and his increasingly close relationship with Netanyahu; Trumps vision of power in the Middle East, sans perhaps Syria, is entirely in line with Frums. Evan McMullin, who has been calling for the United States to bomb the Syrian government and overthrow Assad for years, routinely discusses how Trumps posture on Russia will help Iran rather than reading the words the president actually states on the subject. On actual policy, on actual statements threatening Iran and ratcheting up tension, McMullin has little to say. McMullin even lavished praise on Trumps selection of Gen. Mattis as Defense Secretary, largely because, again, Trumps policy on Iran dovetails with what McMullin actually believes. Keith Olbermann, who isnt nearly as vile as other members of the Resistance, rants and raves about Trump being a Russian whore, but cant take five minutes out to note Trumps gutting of Obamas hard-fought Iran deal. Nor does Olbermann have anything to say on Trump cozying up to the worst elements of the Israeli far right. Olbermann never tweets about or discusses Iran, Israel or Palestine on his GQ web series. Like Frum, he limits his outrage over Trump to purely domestic issues. Glenn Beck has used the anti-Trump sentiment to try to rebrand himself as a moderate, principled, conservative crusader, even given validation and airtime by liberal late-night comedian Samantha Bee for a much publicized anti-Trump campaign. Beck (as well as Bee) has been entirely silent on Trumps anti-Iran rhetoric. Beck, showing the nebulous nature of the Resistance, has even praised Trumps far-right Supreme Court nominee Neil Gorsuch and has gone back to blaming Black Lives Matter for entirely unrelated crimes against whites. The Washington Post, which raised money saying it would hold Trump accountable, publishes op-eds on Trumps Iran policy ranging from praise (Jennifer Rubin) to procedural handwringing (David Ignatius), but never offers any meaningful criticism. Liberal media watchdog Media Mattersand Mother Jones have not covered Trumps ramped-up hostility with Iran once. Not only has MSNBCs Joy Ann Reid ignored Trumps surly Iran posture, she even praised Gen. Mattis as the man preventing Trump from dragging us into bed with Russia. A pro-Russia stance is, as a matter of dogma, always assumed to be worse than potential war with Iran. The reason, if history is any guide, is that if someone in the media has three topics to choose from, and two of those topics dont upset American national security orthodoxy, those two topics will always rise to the top of the press heap. This is why foreign policy, especially as it relates to Palestine, Iran and Muslim countries in general, always gets lowest priority. Its moral hazard is seen most explicitly during the early Obama years when issues like drone killings, extrajudicial assassination and a sprawling war on terror largely went unquestioned. This is a bipartisan consensus of executive power that, predictably, later came back to haunt liberals after Trump was elected. Just the same, because Trumps hostility in the Middle East largely serves the bipartisan consensus on Iran and Israel, it is of extremely low importance to most high-status liberals and centrists who are far more concerned with scoring points and winning the latest 24-hour news cycle than building an ideologically sustainable opposition to the Trump regime and the Republican Party it serves. This myopia is understandable for party flacks and media hangers-on, but it doesnt mean thinking adults should indulge it or its longer-term implications. Its important that the resistance to Trump, such that it is, highlight the clampdown on domestic opposition and liberal programs. But its equally important for the resistance not to lose sight of those outside the United Stateswho will suffer greatly from Trumps eagerness to ramp up tensions in Iran and the Middle East as a whole.

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Palestinian terror leader urges Iran to join ‘all-out war’ on Israel, then Jordan – The Times of Israel

The head of a Palestinian terrorist group in Lebanon said he would like to see Iranian soldiers take part in an all-out war to liberate Palestine, and that the future Palestinian conquest would include an invasion of both Israel and Jordan. Ahmad Jibril, leader of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine-General Command, told Hezbollahs Al-Mayadeen TV on February 17 that his group wants to see the revolutionary fighters from [Iran] in the Galilee. His remarks were translated by watchdog group MEMRI on Friday. Jibril spoke of spoke of creating an axis of resistance against Israel that would include Syria, Iraq, Iran and Hezbollah all devoted to the liberation of Palestine from the Mediterranean Sea to the Jordan River. Afterwards, he said, we will enter Jordan, whether King Abdullah likes it or not. He added that The war with this enemy will be an all-out war in the Golan, in South Lebanon, in the Galilee[and] will be waged from Rosh Hanikra to Aqaba. Hezbollah is getting read for it, and so are we. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah on Monday doubled down on his recent saber-rattling against Israel and warned that his terror group would not hold back from attacking sensitive Israeli targets if the Jewish state goes to war with Lebanon. During a television interview with Irans state-run Islamic Republic News Agency, the terror chief repeated a previous threat to fire rockets at Israels nuclear reactor in Dimona and at a huge ammonia storage tank in Haifa. Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah threatening to strike Israels Dimona nuclear reactor in the south of the country in a televised address on February 16, 2017. (Screen capture/YouTube) Hezbollah will not keep to any red lines in a future war with Israel, Nasrallah cautioned. In the face of Israels threats to destroy Lebanons infrastructure, we will not abide by red lines, especially regarding Haifas ammonia and the nuclear reactor in Dimona. Hezbollah possesses the full courage for this, he said, according to an English translation of his comments reported by the Naharnet website. We are not advocates of war. We are in the defense position, Nasrallah said. On Thursday Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas sai during a visit to Lebanon that Palestinian factions were committed to preserving security in refugee camps around Lebanon. Stuart Winer and AP contributed to this report.

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Netanyahu urges Australia to take more aggressive tone on Iran – Jerusalem Post Israel News

SYDNEY – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu urged the 11 Australian ministers he met with on Thursday at the equivalent of Israel’s Security Cabinet to take a more aggressive position toward Iran. With this message, Netanyahu continued lobbying efforts on the matter he began in London just over two weeks ago when he met British Prime Minister Theresa May Following the 2015 Iran nuclear deal championed by former US president Barack Obama, Australia was among the countries that began a normalization process with Teheran. With current President Donald Trump opposed to the deal and using much more aggressive rhetoric when talking about the Iranians, Netanyahu is trying to get allies to pull back from the normalization process. There is a degree of openness to this, one senior diplomatic official said, but it is still a work in progress. Meanwhile Netanyahu, in his meetings with various Australian leaders, continued to speak out against the 2015 deal, saying that it allows no bombs today, but a hundred bombs a decade from now. Iran’s presence in Syria, according to diplomatic officials, will be at the top of the agenda when the premier travels to Russia in some two weeks for a one-day visit to meet Russian President Vladimir Putin. One of the issues Netanyahu is expected to raise with Putin is the formalization of concessions that Syrian President Bashar Assad has given the Iranians that could bring Iranian forces and not just proxies such as Hezbollah directly to Israels borders. This, the official said, very much troubles us. During the meeting with the Australian ministers, discussions also centered on how to increase security cooperation between Jerusalem and Canberra. In order to facilitate this process, the Defense Minister’s Director-General Udi Adam is scheduled to hold talks in Australia in June. And then, before Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull is scheduled to visit Israel at the end of October to mark the 100th anniversary of the Battle of Beersheba, a delegation from the Australian Defense Ministry is scheduled to hold talks in Israel. Australia, increasingly alarmed by signs of growing Islamic radicalism in Malaysia and neighboring Indonesia, is expected to spend $25 billion to upgrade its military capabilities over the next few years. Netanyahu is scheduled on Friday to meet Australian opposition leader Bill Shorten, whom he met in Jerusalem just over a month ago. Just as inside the US Democratic Party there is a growing faction on the Australian Left that is increasingly pro-Palestinian and critical of Israel, the same dynamic is at work inside Australia’s Labor Party. Israel, according to diplomatic officials, is keen on retaining good relations with the Labor Party, to keep the element very critical of Israel from growing ,and and to maintain support for Israel among both of Australia’s main parties. Shorten gave a strongly pro-Israel address on Wednesday at a luncheon with Netanyahu, Turnbull, and 400 Israeli and Australian businessmen. Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin Prev Article Interview: Russia and Israel cooperation on counterterrorism Netanyahu says he favors pardon for Hebron shooter Elor Azaria Next Article

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Parly delegation in Iran – The Herald

Adv Mudenda Herald Correspondent A two-day international conference in support of Palestine opened here yesterday, with Speaker of Parliament Advocate Jacob Mudenda condemning Zionist Israel for its continued violation of a series of United Nations resolutions, including the regimes ongoing construction of illegal settlements within the Palestinian territory. The conference, dubbed Together Supporting Palestine was sponsored by the Iranian government with more than 500 delegates from over 60 countries in attendance. Irans Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, officially opened the 6th conference. The relationship between the people of Palestine and the people of Zimbabwe is deeply and firmly rooted in our comradeship forged in our common struggles for independence and sovereignty, driven by the humanitarian motive force against oppression and ethnic supremacist misdirected political ideology, said Adv Mudenda. Zimbabwe fully supports the just cause of Palestine to be a sovereign State and Zimbabwe upholds the principle that only a two-state solution is the open sesame to the current apartheid arrangement where Israel has usurped the right to self-determination of Palestinians. Advocate Mudenda is leading a three-member parliamentary delegation, which includes the chairman of the portfolio committee on Foreign Affairs Cde Kindness Paradza and committee member Priscilla Misihairabwi-Mushonga. Among the countries represented at the conference, whose focus is to support Palestinian resistance to Israeli occupation, are super powers Russia and China, including North Korea and a host of other pro-Palestine militant groups like Hezbollah and Hamas. Adv Mudenda said efforts to resolve the Palestinian crisis should now go beyond just UN resolutions or conferences, but must include a concrete plan of action to deal with the 70-year-old crisis once and for all. He reminded the delegates of President Mugabes speech at the UN General Assembly on the 12th of September 2002, when he stated that the Palestine question should be resolved without further delay as it caused untold suffering to the people in occupied territories. Adv Mudenda paid tribute to Iran for its unwavering support for the Palestinian cause, a move that has led Tehran to endure a cocktail of sanctions imposed by the United States and its European allies. He narrated several attempts that were made, over the years, at international level to resolve the Palestinian crisis, which failed as succeeding Israeli governments continued to ignore or violate the agreements. The greatest tragedy is not the manner in which Israel has conducted itself with respect to Palestinian occupied territory, but the double standards demonstrated by some Western powers with respect to Israel, said Adv Mudenda. We all know how the United States government has constantly defended Israel at international fora, protected the besmirched reputation of this gory State and prevented multilateral efforts to indict Israel for what it is an atavistic colonial State. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told the same conference that the Palestinian issue was the root cause of the current conflicts among Arab countries in the Middle East.

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What we can learn from the fall of the Shah of Iran – The Hill (blog)

During his troubled final days, the Shah of Iran was interrupted during a state dinner for China’s leader by an urgent phone call. Guests were stunned when he left the banquet table, later returning to summon two of his officials. Saddam Hussein was on the phone, the Shah quietly told them, and he wanted the Shah’s consent for liquidating Ayatollah Khomeini, then exiled in Iraq and a nuisance to both their secular regimes. The Shah plaintively asked them both how he should respond. But they demurred, prompting the sometimes passive monarch to remark that it seemed wrong. There are many such exasperating moments inAndrew Scott Cooper’s “The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Final Days of Imperial Iran,” an amazing new account of how a modernizing monarch of 37 years led his country from impoverished obscurity into prosperity and power, only to be toppled by reactionary and murderous Islamists, whose theocracy still torments the Iranian people and the world. Cooper is a New Zealander who became fascinated as a boy by the Shah’s stunning collapse and later devoted years to interviewing the Shah’s surviving family and staff, including the Empress, who quietly lives outside Washington, D.C. A critical New York Times review accusing Cooper of “reflexive hostility toward Islamism” prompted a global social media campaign against Cooper and his sympathetic account of the Shah as a benevolent autocrat. But if Cooper is hostile, he is also justified, not just by the mass murder and torture of Iran’s ruling Islamistswhose crimes exponentially surpass the Shah’sbut by their regime’s ongoing war against America, Israel, and its Mideast neighbors. Cooper is fair and factual, portraying the Shah as smart but often indecisive, a micromanager who didn’t fully trust subordinates, an ardent devotee of Persia’s glorious history that he hoped to revive, and a reluctant authoritarian who tried to democratize Iran when too much of his nation preferred an Islamist totalitarian. The Shah’s Islamist and leftist critics have always portrayed him as a corrupt and grandiose tyrant who brutalized his nation at the behest of the CIA, which helped restore him to power in 1953. He was actually a reluctant but fastidious ruler, obsessed with monitoring the rainfall of his arid nation. Incapable of small talk, Queen Elizabeth privately complained he was dull. He lacked humor, spoke quietly, rarely showed anger, and was unfailingly polite to fellow monarchs as well as servants and hotel staff. He’s recalled now for losing his throne, but the Shah was also his nation’s fifth longest serving monarch across millennia who took Iran to unprecedented greatness. Thanks partly to the oil price shock he engineered against the Western powers whose puppet he allegedly was, he molded Iran into a regional economic and military power on track towards Western living standards. His modernization included mass education, the near elimination of extreme poverty, the celebration of art and culture, and equal rights for women and religious minorities. The latter displeased theocratic clerics like Ayatollah Khomeini who had initially supported the Shah against secular nationalists like the overthrown Premier Muhammad Mossadegh and his Marxist allies. Unlike Khomeini, most of Iran’s Shiite clerics were quietist and opposed politicized clergy. They also feared Khomeini, a lower-ranked ayatollah, whom they knew was bloodthirsty and luciferian. Iran’s senior ayatollah privately urged SAVAK, the Shah’s notorious police agency, to assassinate Khomeini, even offering a fatwah for Islamic absolution. SAVAK declined. SAVAK and the Shah were slow to see Islamism as a threat, instead obsessing over leftists. So too the Shah’s American allies, who until the very end imagined the Ayatollah would at least be an anti-Soviet partner. Although video cassettes of Khomeini’s anti-American and anti-Semitic harangues were sold in Teheran’s street’s outside the American embassy, diplomats and policy makers remained clueless. President Carter lavishly praised the Shah as an “island of stability” during his notorious 1977 New Year’s Eve visit to Iran. While the CIA was assuring Carter that Iran was not even in a pre-revolutionary stage, Israel was more presciently evacuating the last of its citizens from Iran. Pro-Khomeini mobs and saboteurs during the revolution of 1978-1979 attacked Baha’i and Jewish businesses, threw acid at women in Western dress, and burned theaters, in one calamity incinerating over 400 cinema goers. Paranoid Shah critics claimed it was SAVAK provocations. Many such critics would later end up in Khomeini’s jails or before his executioners. The Carter administration pushed the Shah to liberalize, which he willingly did, freeing prisoners, opening jails to international inspection and plotting free elections, while jailing some of his own officials. Islamist opponents, armed and funded by Yasir Arafat’s PLO and Libya’s Muammar Gaddafi, were encouraged by this perceived weakness. The Shah’s generals and SAVAK urged a crackdown to defeat the revolution. Jordan’s King Hussein offered personally to lead Iran’s large army against the mobs. A visiting Ronald Reagan, whom the Shah enjoyed, said shooting the head of a riot would disperse the rest. Concerned about his international image, and averse to confrontation, the Shah restrained his forces from decisive actionnot wanting a blood-soaked crown that would discredit the monarchy for his heir. Many of his supporters among the military, middle class, moderate clergy and non-Islamist laborers either surrendered or fled the country whenthe Shahfailed to rally them. The formidable Empress and other intimates imploredthe Shah himself not to flee, but the Shah and his family left their country in early 1979, to become geopolitically unwanted nomads. Khomeini returned from exile to erect his reign of terror, which included taking captive U.S. embassy staff. Cooper’s mesmerizing story of the Shah’s defeat doesn’t specifically offer counsel for addressing Islamist political threats today. But any appearance of retreat or appeasement in the face of revolutionary terror only stimulates and encourages further terror. Promises of liberal democracy will be treated contemptuously. Mideast republics generally aren’t prone to moderation, and the region’s monarchies are always replaced by far worse, from Afghanistan to Iran, from Iraq to Libya. Near the Shah’s end, Saddam Hussein told the Empress to tell the Shah that killing one thousand was bad, but better than the deaths of one million. Unlike the well intentioned but often feckless Shah, the brutal and clear-eyed Iraqi dictator saw what was to come. Mark Tooley, author of “The Peace That Almost Was: The Forgotten Story of the 1861 Washington Peace Conference and the Final Attempt to Avert the Civil War,” is president of the Institute on Religion and Democracy and editor of Providence: A Journal of Christianity & American Foreign Policy. The views of contributors are their own and are not the views of The Hill.

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Teenage Iranian chess master banned from national team for refusing to wear a headscarf – Washington Post

To most observers, nothing stood out about DorsaDerakhshani last month when she competed at theTradewise Gibraltar Chess Festival. The 18-year-old female grand masterfaredfine on the board, twice using the Four Knights defense, and looked like any other teenager you might see in the British territory that borders southern Spain. But to the head of the Iranian Chess Federation, Derakhshani practically committed an act of treason. Mehrdad Pahlevanzadeh didnt have a problem withDerakhshanis play, but her headwear.Derakhshani wore a simple headband in her long hair, instead of a hijab, Irans traditional headscarf, which became a compulsory accessory for women after the 1979 revolution. As a result,Pahlevanzadeh announced on Monday that Derakhshani would be kicked off the national team. Derakhshanis younger brotherBorna, 15, who also entered the tournament, was also kicked off the team. His offense was agreeing to playan Israeli opponent, a strict no-no in the country that doesnt recognize Israel as a state. Unfortunately, what shouldnt have happened has happened, Pahlevanzadeh told the semiofficial Fars News Agency on Monday (via Radio Free Europe). Our national interests have priority over everything. As a first step, these two will be denied entry to all tournaments taking place in Iran, he continued, And, in the name of Iran, they will no longer be allowed the opportunity to be present on the national team. Neither sibling has commented publicly on the news. That the two young chess masters received such a harsh punishment is not a surprise. Sports in Iran and other parts of the Middle East have long been affected by the regions strict cultural norms and precarious political stance. Lastyear, American chess masterNazi Paikidze did not compete in the chess world championships in Iran because of the countrys requirement that she don a hijab. [I will NOT wear a hijab: U.S. chess star refuses to attend world championships in Iran] Some consider a hijab part of culture, Paikidze said in an Instagram post announcing herdecision. But, I know that a lot of Iranian women are bravely protesting this forced lawdaily and risking a lot by doing so. Thatswhy I will NOT wear a hijab and support womens oppression. The hijab made different headlines earlier in the year, however, when U.S. fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad becamethe first American to win a medal wearing the traditional headscarf.Muhammad earned a bronze in the team saber event alongside hijab-less athletes Monica Aksamit, Dagmara Wozniak and Mariel Zagunis. [A fencing mask hid her hijab. Now, this U.S. Olympian wants to be heard, and seen] I have to challenge this idea that in some way we dont belong because of our race or our religion, Muhammad, whose parents converted to Islam before Muhammed was born, said last year. She added: Like within any religion, Muslims have conservatives, we have liberals, and we have everything in between. To paint all Muslims with one broad stroke can be frustrating. This article was updated to correct an error about Ibtihaj Muhammads heritage.

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Iran Supreme Leader calls on Palestinians to pursue intifada against Israel – Reuters

BEIRUT Irans Supreme Leader called on Palestinians on Tuesday to pursue an uprising against Israel, suggesting the Israeli government was a “cancerous tumor” that should be confronted until Palestinians were completely liberated. “… by Allahs permission, we will see that this intifada will begin a very important chapter in the history of fighting and that it will inflict another defeat on that usurping regime,” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, according to his website. The Supreme Leaders bellicose comments, made during a two-day conference in Tehran focused on its support for the Palestinians, come at a time of increasingly heated rhetoric between Iran, Israel and the United States. While on a visit to Washington last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu told Fox News that Israel and the United States had a “grand mission” to confront the threat of a nuclear Iran. U.S. President Donald Trump has already been highly critical of a deal hammered out between Iran and world powers, including the United States, in 2015 intended to partially lift sanctions on Tehran in exchange for curbs on its nuclear program. Iran says its program is for purely peaceful means. When Iran carried out a ballistic missile test in late January, Trumps then national security adviser Mike Flynn said the administration was putting Iran “on notice”. Ordinary Iranians have been posting their concerns about a possible military confrontation between Iran and the United States on social media. Khamenei did not mention any Iranian military attack against Israel in his comments on Tuesday and was focused on gains that Palestinians could make in any confrontation with Israel, which he described as tumor developing into “the current disaster”. “The Palestinian intifada continues to gallop forward in a thunderous manner so that it can achieve its other goals until the complete liberation of Palestine,” he said, according to the transcript of the speech posted on his website. (Reporting by Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Alison Williams) SOUTH OF MOSUL, Iraq/BAGHDAD U.S.-backed Iraqi forces closing in on the Islamic State-held western half of Mosul prepared on Tuesday to storm the airport and a nearby military base on its southern outskirts to create a bridgehead for a thrust into the city. BEIRUT French far-right National Front presidential candidate Marine Le Pen canceled a meeting on Tuesday with Lebanon’s grand mufti, its top cleric for Sunni Muslims, after refusing to wear a headscarf for the encounter. SYDNEY Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull offered a staunch defense of Israel on Wednesday, criticizing the United Nations and vowing never to support “one-sided resolutions” calling for an end to Israeli settlement building on occupied land.

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Steinitz: Trump’s test is to expel Iran from Syria – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Iranian Revolutionary Guard members in Tehran carry the casket of Iran Revolutionary Guards Brigadier General Mohsen Ghajarian, who was killed in the northern province of Aleppo , Syria . (photo credit:ATTA KENARE / AFP) If US President Donald Trump fails to expel Iran from Syria and prevent its expansion, there will be a very negative impact on the United States, Israel and the world, Energy and Water Minister Yuval Steinitz told the Conference of Presidents of Major American Jewish Organizations on Monday. Steinitz, who is a member of Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahus security cabinet, said the world is getting more dangerous and the global order has been under attack since the so-called Arab Spring began. The most urgent issue and the first big challenge of the Trump administration is Syria, Steinitz said. The mission of Iran is to make Syria into an Iranian stronghold and an extension of the Islamic Republic. The last thing we want is to have Iran on our northern border, and it is not a theoretical possibility. Steinitz said that if Trump manages to prevent such a disaster, it would be an important step that would lead to other initiatives in the region and beyond. Since world powers made a deal with Iran, he said, the Islamic Republic had expanded operations all over the region. In Washington there were hopes Iran would moderate itself after the deal, but it only became more dangerous, he said. We had hoped the Iranian nuclear structure would be completely dismantled forever. Instead it was partially dismantled for 10 years. Steinitz said the most dangerous threats to global order are Iran and North Korea. While it seems we are much more disturbed by Iran than North Korea, there actually is very strong linkage between the behavior and ambitions of North Korea and Iran, he said. If you fail to contain North Korea, you will have to deal with Iran. If you let North Korea develop more, Iran will follow. Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin Prev Article Iran: Israelis and Saudis coordinating on certain issues in region Russian deputy FM to Post: Hezbollah will leave Syria when conflict is over Next Article

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Iran: Israelis and Saudis coordinating on certain issues in region – Jerusalem Post Israel News

Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman (L) and Saudi Arabia’s Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir address the 53rd Munich Security Conference in Munich, Germany, February 19, 2017. (photo credit:ARIEL HERMONI/DEFENSE MINISTRY/REUTERS) Iran on Monday rejected Israeli and Saudi claims that the Islamic Republic was a destabilizing force in the region, saying that it came as no surprise that Jerusalem and Riyadh share the same views. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Qassemi made the comments after both Defense Minister Avigdor Liberman and Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir each said at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday that Iran constitutes a threat to each of their countries, has not moderated its behavior in the wake of the 2015 nuclear deal and should face renewed economic pressure from the international community. While the Israeli and Saudi ministers stopped short of saying they would cooperate to thwart Iran, Qassemi said that Jerusalem and Riyadh are already working “hand in glove” in the Middle East and their matching assessments given on Sunday came as no surprise. The parallelism between the positions of the Saudi foreign minister and the Israeli war minister on Iran is not coincidental. Many instances of evidence indicate coordination between the two regimes in regional cases, Iranian official news agency Press TV quoted Qassemi as saying. The Iranian official said that Liberman’s and Jubeir’s claims against Iran reflected their countries’ “painful desperation.” Both regimes think they should stir the international atmosphere against Iran as a means of making up for their multitudinous defeats and frustrations in the region, he charged. Qassemi said that Israel’s attempts to enlist a Muslim country in its efforts against Iran were “pathetic.” In addition to Liberman and Jubeir, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif also spoke at Sunday’s Munich Security Conference. While Liberman called for an alliance with Sunni states, Jubeir did not directly respond when asked if he envisions a coalition with Israel against Tehran. Jubeir, who spoke after Liberman and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlet Cavusoglu, pointedly rejected a new Iranian call for a dialogue with Sunni Arab Gulf states, telling the conference that the Islamic Republic is trying to upend the order in the Middle East and seeks the destruction of Saudi Arabia. The Iranians speak of wanting to turn a new page, wanting to look forward, not backward. This is great, but what about the present? he asked. We cant ignore what they are doing in the region. We cant ignore their constitution which calls for the export of the revolution. How can one deal with a nation whose intent is to destroy us? Liberman, meanwhile, accused Iran of trying to undermine Saudi Arabia and termed Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Quds Force, the No.1 terrorist in the world. If you ask me, What is the biggest news in the Middle East? I think that [for] the first time since 1948 the moderate Arab world, Sunni world, understands that the biggest threat for them is not Israel, not Jews and not Zionism, but Iran and Iranian proxies, Liberman said, pointing to Hezbollah in Lebanon, Islamic Jihad in the Gaza Strip and the Houthi militia in Yemen. Ben Lynfield and Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report. Relevant to your professional network? Please share on Linkedin Prev Article Egypt’s top court upholds 10 death sentences over football violence Russian deputy FM to Post: Hezbollah will leave Syria when conflict is over Next Article

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February 20, 2017   Posted in: Iran  Comments Closed


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"Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances."

Under the 'fair use' rule of copyright law, an author may make limited use of another author's work without asking permission. Fair use is based on the belief that the public is entitled to freely use portions of copyrighted materials for purposes of commentary and criticism. The fair use privilege is perhaps the most significant limitation on a copyright owner's exclusive rights.

Fair use as described at 17 U.S.C. Section 107:

"Notwithstanding the provisions of section 106 and 106A, the fair use of a copyrighted work, including such use by reproduction in copies or phono-records or by any other means specified by that section, for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching (including multiple copies for classroom use), scholarship, or research, is not an infringement of copyright.

In determining whether the use made of a work in any particular case is a fair use the factors to be considered shall include:

  • (1) the purpose and character of the use, including whether such use is of a commercial nature or is for or nonprofit educational purposes,
  • (2) the nature of the copyrighted work,
  • (3) the amount and substantiality of the portion used in relation to the copyrighted work as a whole, and
  • (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for or value of the copyrighted work."