Saturday, June 3, 2017

Slow Saturday Special: Ayatollah Mike

The New York Times heard the call of the CIA's minarets:

"CIA turns to new Iran chief in a sign of Trump’s hard line" by Matthew Rosenberg New York Times   June 03, 2017

WASHINGTON — He is known as the Dark Prince or Ayatollah Mike, nicknames he earned as the CIA officer who oversaw the hunt for Osama bin Laden and the US drone strike campaign that killed thousands of Islamist militants and hundreds of civilians.

Now the official, Michael D’Andrea, has a new job. He is running the CIA’s Iran operations, according to current and former intelligence officials, an appointment that is the first major sign that the Trump administration is invoking the hard line the president took against Iran during his campaign.

So that is what was underneath all the pomp and circumstance of his recent trip.

D’Andrea’s new role is one of a number of moves inside the spy agency that signal a more muscular approach to espionage and covert operations under the leadership of Mike Pompeo, the conservative Republican and former representative, the officials said.

Not good news for the rest of the world, knowing the CIA is going to escalate its destabilization campaigns.

The agency also recently named a new chief of counterterrorism, who has begun pushing for greater latitude to strike militants.

Iran has been one of the hardest targets for the CIA. The agency has extremely limited access to the country — no US embassy is open to provide diplomatic cover — and Iran’s intelligence services have spent nearly four decades trying to counter US espionage and covert operations.

This has been known for a long time, and think that through for a moment. 

That means US embassies are in fact COVER for CIA STATIONS! That means under Clinton and Kerry diplomacy was really a cover for sabotage and subversion. No wonder nobody likes seeing a US entourage coming.

Also keep this knowledge in mind every time the US government is hollering about some diplomat being abused. He's being abused because he's a spy! And diplomat isn't the only cover they use. Business person, reporter, aid worker, religious missionary, you name it.

The challenge to start carrying out President Trump’s views falls to D’Andrea, a chain-smoking convert to Islam, who comes with an outsize reputation and the track record to back it up: Perhaps no single CIA official is more responsible for weakening Al Qaeda.

After CIA went to such great lengths to build them up.

“He can run a very aggressive program, but very smartly,” said Robert Eatinger, a former CIA lawyer who was deeply involved in the agency’s drone program.

The CIA declined to comment on D’Andrea’s role, saying it does not discuss the identities or work of clandestine officials. 

See what I mean? So when they call Assange a liar or respond to something, they are lying. Otherwise we would get that.

The officials spoke only on the condition of anonymity because D’Andrea remains undercover, as do many senior officials based at the agency’s headquarters in Langley, Va. Eatinger did not use his name.

Well, NOT NOW, NYT!!!! 


The New York Times is naming D’Andrea because his identity was previously published in news reports, and he is leading an important new administration initiative against Iran.

Oh, so the cat was out of the bag already, okay.

Trump called Iran “the number one terror state” and pledged throughout the campaign to dismantle or revise the landmark deal between Iran and six world powers in which Tehran agreed to limit its nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief.

The president has not gone through with that threat, and his administration has quietly recertified Iran’s compliance with the deal. But he has invoked his hard line on Iran in other ways. 

I would just like to thank him for that. It's a small thing, but a measure of fairness and the need to keep ones word is important in the world of espionage, 'er, diplomacy.

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has described the deal as a failure, and Trump has appointed to the National Security Council hawks eager to contain Iran and push regime change, the groundwork for which would most likely be laid through CIA covert action.


Alarm bells just went offers we see that REGIME CHANGE in IRAN -- the last component of the PNAC plan -- is in motion and being laid by covert CIA action. Good thing they are not INTERFERING in an ELECTION (Iran just had one) or anything!

Maybe I should be applauding the Times. By outing this spy and blowing his cover they may have forestalled the effort and brought the operation to a halt -- and they are admitting the U.S. engages in covert action to overthrow governments.

In D’Andrea, the director has found a workaholic to be his Iran sentinel. D’Andrea grew up in Northern Virginia in a family whose ties to the CIA span two generations. He met his wife, who is Muslim, on a CIA posting overseas, and converted to Islam to marry her, though he is not known to be particularly observant.

So SHE is also an AGENT. It's Mr. and Mrs. Smith, and he only converted as a cover!!

Asked whether D’Andrea’s appointment was a sign that the CIA planned to take up a more aggressive line toward Iran, Eatinger said, “I don’t think it’s the wrong read.” 

Okay, confirmation of skullduggery against Iran. Remember that the next time Jundallah blows up a bus or some nuclear scientist is assassinated.

D’Andrea’s personal views on Iran are not publicly known. It is also not his job to make policy but to execute it, and he has demonstrated that he is an aggressive operations officer.


I heard the call so I began to march back to Iran:

"Trump under pressure to resolve disappearance of American in Iran" by Barry Meier New York Times   March 06, 2017

WASHINGTON — Last year, when the United States and Iran exchanged prisoners, Secretary of State John Kerry announced that the Tehran government had also pledged to help in the search for a long-missing American who had disappeared in Iran in March 2007.

To bolster that promise, Iranian officials secretly informed the Obama administration that they had received intelligence that the remains of an American had been buried in Balochistan, a rugged, lawless region in western Pakistan that borders Afghanistan and Iran.

Now if it had been Trump and the Russians.... hearings.

The remains, it was assumed, were that of the missing man, Robert A. Levinson of New York, a private investigator and former FBI agent who was also a part-time consultant for the Central Intelligence Agency.

Then he was a spy!

But when the Pakistani authorities went to the supposed burial site, they did not find any remains. American officials concluded that the report, rather than a gesture of goodwill, was a gambit by Iran to further cloud its role in Levinson’s fate.

Why? What would they have to gain?

Today, a decade after Levinson vanished, the Trump administration faces a decision about what steps to take, if any, to bring a resolution of his case.

As a candidate, President Trump vowed in 2015 to bring Levinson home, and the Levinson family has asked to meet with him in hopes he will take a more aggressive stance toward getting answers than Barack Obama did.

While some US officials fear that Levinson died in captivity, his family remains convinced that he is alive and that officials in Iran know where he is.

“Iran knows exactly what is going on with Bob, and they need to tell the US,” his wife, Christine Levinson, said in an interview last month.

A spokeswoman for the National Security Council, Jennifer Arangio, said in a statement that administration officials had contacted Levinson’s family to assure them that his case was a priority.

Of course it is; he's Jewish.

“The US government will never cease its efforts to bring back our citizens who are unlawfully detained or missing overseas,” the statement said.

Levinson traveled to an Iranian island on a rogue mission to recruit an intelligence source for the CIA on March 7, 2007. He has been seen since then only in a hostage videotape made in 2010 and a series of photographs. Levinson was 59 when he disappeared and had health problems.

For the past decade, Iranian leaders have repeatedly denied knowing anything about Levinson. But US intelligence and law enforcement authorities have long been convinced that elements of Iran’s political, religious, or intelligence hierarchy such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps were involved in his detention and, possibly, his death.

They were convinced Saddam had WMD, too.

While the 2010 videotape showing Levinson as a prisoner gave no hint about who was holding him, FBI investigators concluded that the video was so artfully staged that it was probably made by a state-sponsored intelligence group such as a unit of the Revolutionary Guards Corps.

OMFG, like all the beheading videos and other staged and scripted slop served up by the ma$$ media!

That videotape was also routed through Pakistan. Investigators believe the information about the burial of an American there was part of a continuing Iranian intelligence narrative meant to distance that country from Levinson’s case, according to US officials.

Looks more like CIA to me.

Levinson’s fate may have become entangled with that of a top Iranian spy who reportedly defected to the West in late 2006, not long before Levinson vanished.

On two occasions last year, Iranian diplomats, when pressed by their US counterparts about Levinson, asked for information about the Iranian operative, Ali Reza Asgari, former US officials familiar with those talks said. Iran has long been seeking to locate Asgari, who reportedly took secrets about Iran’s nuclear program to the West with him.

A nuclear program they never had, or at least ended in the early 2000s.

A former top officer in the Revolutionary Guards, Asgari went missing while on a trip to Istanbul. There was speculation at the time of Levinson’s disappearance that he was seized in revenge for Asgari, but intelligence officials have played down that link. Nonetheless, Iranian officials have long been hunting Asgari and for years have mentioned his name in connection with Levinson.


Same time last year?

"US hostage has been missing for 3,288 days, and no one knows where he is" by Adam Goldman and Carol Morello Washington Post  March 09, 2016

Nine years after former FBI agent Robert Levinson went missing on the Iranian island of Kish, US officials say there is disagreement over his whereabouts.

Former and current FBI agents say they think that Levinson, if he is alive, remains in Iran. But others in the US government think he may be elsewhere, after the family was sent a hostage video in late 2010 that officials say came from Pakistan. The family also received from Afghanistan pictures of Levinson in an orange jumpsuit, officials say.

The debate over Levinson’s location comes nearly two months after an agreement with Iran led to the release of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and four other Americans. Levinson’s family hoped that he would be among those freed, but after the deal was announced, the White House said that Levinson may not be in Iran after all.


Iran president urges action on detainees 

Theirs, not ours.

UN asked to help reporter held in Iran
Jailed journalist’s kin asks UN to aid in release from Iran
Iran says verdict reached on US reporter
Iranian court convicts detained US reporter
Iran, US swap prisoners on a day of deal making
Hingham man freed as part of US-Iran prisoner swap
Hingham man detained in Iran is back in Mass.

If I recall correctly, as soon as he set foot here, sanctions were renewed, an act the Iranian Foreign Ministry said was “devoid of any kind of legitimacy and ethical values.”

No swap set for jailed Post reporter in Iran
Washington Post reporter’s health fading
Resolution sought in reporter’s case
Brother of imprisoned reporter accepts BU award on his behalf
Man held hostage in Iran seeks quick release of compensation

"Detained Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian will appear in an Iranian court Monday for what probably will be the last hearing in his closed-door espionage trial, his lawyer said Saturday. Lawyer Leila Ahsan said Monday’s court session will be devoted to her defense of Rezaian, the Post’s Tehran bureau chief. Ahsan did not elaborate on her defense strategy (AP)." 

A woman lawyer? In Iran?

"In a separate initiative, the Post submitted a petition to a UN panel on arbitrary detention that outlines what the Post described as Rezaian’s mistreatment. Two other American citizens are held by Iran. Saeed Abedini, a Christian pastor, has been in Iranian custody since September 2012. He was later convicted of security-related charges that include claims of proselytizing. Amir Hekmati, a former Marine, was detained in August 2011 while on a family visit to Iran. He was convicted in early 2012 on espionage and other charges. An original death sentence was later reduced to 10 years in prison, according to the family’s website. A former FBI agent and CIA contractor, Robert Levinson, was last seen publicly in March 2007 on the Iranian resort island of Kish, where he was investigating cigarette smuggling on behalf of a client. Iran denies knowledge of Levinson’s location or any involvement in his disappearance."

Iran wraps up Post journalist’s trial, with ruling likely within a week

He's laughing and looks good!

Iran must free journalist Jason Rezaian
Iran sentences unnamed two for spying
Kidnapped Americans freed in Iraq
Iran sentences US journalist to prison

Yup, it's all a big joke!

"Some analysts who closely follow Iran and its regional proxies suggested Sunday that the abduction of American citizens, apparently contractors, in Baghdad may have been a projection of Iranian power, in particular by hard-liners who opposed the prisoner deal with the United States over the weekend. Iran released four dual Iranian-American citizens and another American being held in Iranian prisons; the United States offered clemency to seven Iranians charged or imprisoned for sanctions violations. American authorities also dismissed charges against 14 Iranians outside the United States. Previous kidnappings in Iraq have been carried out by the Islamic State and Shi’ite militias as well as criminal gangs demanding ransom payments. There were no immediate claims of responsibility. Both Sunni and Shi’ite militants are present in the Iraqi capital, but Shi’ite militias operate as powerful auxiliary forces. Many of those militias are backed by Iran....

The three were abducted last Saturday in Dora, a mixed neighborhood that is home to both Shi’ites and Sunnis. It was the latest in a series of kidnappings undermining confidence in the Iraqi government’s ability to control state-sanctioned Shi’ite militias, which have grown as Iraq battles the Islamic State group. One of the militias is backed by Iran, a key ally of Iraqi Prime Minister Hayder al-Abadi’s government. Abadi said on Thursday that he doubts that there is an Iranian link to the kidnapping, adding: ‘‘We don’t know if they have been kidnapped . . . they just went missing.’’ The US Embassy in Baghdad has confirmed that several Americans are missing and believed kidnapped. Their identities were not released. Two Shi’ite militias are suspected.....

News of the Americans’ disappearance emerged late Sunday night, but officials said they were probably taken two days before in Dora, a neighborhood in the southern part of the capital with a mixed population of Sunni and Shi’ite Muslims along with some Christians. The area was once a haven for Al Qaeda in Iraq, before the arrival of the Islamic State, the militant group that controls territory in northern and western Iraq. But these days, parts of the neighborhood are under the sway of powerful Shi’ite militias with ties to Iran. US and Iraqi officials were scrambling Monday to find the missing Americans. Officials said no group had yet come forward claiming to have abducted them. Kidnappings for ransom by criminal gangs are common in Baghdad and elsewhere in Iraq, but so are politically motivated abductions." 

Who is trying to kidnap prospects for peace?

Arrest of Homa Hoodfar in Iran Shines Light on Dangers for Dual Citizens

Iran doesn't like spies, unlike the NYT.

Speaking of dual citizens: 

Convicted spy Pollard could be freed from prison soon

"Israeli spy Jonathan Pollard to be released after 30 years in US prison; Case created tension; officials deny link to Iran deal" by Greg Miller and Spencer S. Hsu Washington Post  July 29, 2015

Fellow students at Stanford University recalled that Pollard had ‘‘bragged about his role as a Mossad agent,’’ according to the CIA report, which said Pollard’s espionage-related fantasies continued after he was hired by US naval intelligence in 1979.

Pollard cooperated extensively with US investigators after his guilty plea, providing insights into Israeli espionage programs and priorities.

The case was a major embarrassment to Israel, whose spy services have long been deeply dependent on their US counterparts — but also suspicious enough of US motives in the Middle East to regard America as an intelligence target.

I thought we were friends?!!

The CIA, the FBI, and other national security agencies fought off repeated attempts by the Israeli government to secure Pollard’s release. In the 1990s, then-CIA Director George Tenet threatened to resign if President Bill Clinton agreed to such a request.

But the intensity of that opposition has waned as Pollard, who is said to suffer health problems, approaches three decades behind bars. If denied, he would have been required to serve an additional 15 years at the North Carolina prison.


So how many lives was he worth?

Related: Report: NSA Spied on Former Iran President 

Why not? They spied on every other foreign leader.

Also see:

Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, 82, pragmatic Iranian leader
Mourners pay respects to former Iranian leader Rafsanjani
As protests flare, Iran bids farewell to Rafsanjani

Iran’s president links media, arrests Five activists and journalists are accused of being “pens for hire” and that they had been working — some unwittingly — for the CIA.

Doing what, making movies?

"An award-winning Iranian filmmaker whose work focuses on the travails of modern life and political expression in the Islamic Republic has been sentenced to six years in prison and 223 lashes. The conviction of Keywan Karimi follows similar punishments for other artists and journalists in Iran, even as its moderate government moves toward detente with the West over its nuclear program. The case underscores both the murky limits of expression in Iran and the power hard-liners still maintain in the country. Karimi is free for the time being. The case against Karimi comes as hard-liners have accused President Hassan Rouhani, a moderate, of failing to stop the spread of Western culture in Iran. In May 2014, authorities arrested young Iranian men and women for a video of them dancing to Pharrell Williams’s song ‘‘Happy.’’ While the arrests drew widespread criticism, those involved each received suspended sentences."

Try living under Zionist rule.

Back to looking for Levinson:

Iranian officials have insisted that the government does not know what happened to Levinson, who was also working as a CIA contractor at the time of his disappearance.

On Wednesday, Secretary of State John F. Kerry marked the ninth anniversary of Levinson’s disappearance with a statement that vowed ‘‘to locate Bob and bring him home.’’

‘‘As the president has said, and as I have told the Levinson family when I have met with them, we will never forget Bob, and we will not rest until the Levinson family is whole again,’’ said Kerry, who repeatedly raised Levinson’s disappearance during negotiations with Iran.

Kerry noted that the FBI has a $5 million reward for information leading to the safe return of Levinson, who turns 68 on Thursday.

‘‘The US government in its entirety will continue all efforts to locate Bob and bring him home,’’ he said in a statement. ‘‘The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran has committed to cooperating with the United States to determine the whereabouts of Mr. Levinson, and we are holding Iran to its promise.’’

Levinson’s wife, Christine, implored Washington and Tehran to dig into her husband’s disappearance and to keep pushing for his freedom.

‘‘These past nine years — 3,288 days — have been harder for our family than anyone could ever imagine,’’ she said. ‘‘But, as difficult as it has been for us, we know that Bob is living a nightmare that is 100 times worse. We need the United States government and the country of Iran to work together to resolve what happened to Bob and return him safely to his family.’’

In a statement, FBI Director James B. Comey said, ‘‘We are encouraged by recent cooperation between the government of Iran and the United States and believe that our ability to locate Bob and reunite him with his family requires a shared commitment by the Iranian government.’’


Nice outfit!


Spies Playing Reporter
Khamenei Sees Things Clearly
Kishing Off Peace With Iran

John Kerry broke a leg looking for him, and that is the end of looking back.

I'm divesting the deal down to 60 or so links and I don't see the harm. It's a smart and challenging time as the experts get down to arguing for its benefits to Israel in meetings with Jewish leaders and a foreign policy group, the Council on Foreign Relations, in New York where the Conference of Presidents of Major Jewish Organizations didn’t respond to requests for comment on its meeting with Kerry, and a spokesman for the American Jewish Committee said Kerry met with the group for about 90 minutes but didn’t elaborate on the discussion.

It later leaked out that $100 billion can buy a lot of nuclear weapons and that Iran was dragging its feet regarding the deal. Thus, Army General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, advised the Senate Armed Services Committee against reducing US military force presence in the Middle East. Obama began courting allies to uphold a veto, but Schumer, a top Senate Democrat, opposed the deal and openly broke from Obama. The jabs went back and forth, and the American Israel Public Affairs Committee, a pro-Israel lobby, dispatched hundreds of its members to prod lawmakers to disapprove the deal. On the other side of the issue, seven former US diplomats and State Department officials sent a letter Monday to leaders in Congress urging them to support the pact. A key ally in the House was the retiring Sander M. Levin, Democrat of Michigan, the longest-serving Jewish member of Congress, along with young firebrand Seth Moulton. Even Elizabeth Warren said she’ll back the deal, although she never saw it in print

The Persian Gulf states endorse the deal. Even Congress was lobbied to approve despite Mike Huckabee’s assertion that Obama had agreed to a nuclear deal that would ‘‘take the Israelis and basically march them to the door of the oven,’’ a reference to crematoria in Nazi concentration camps during the Holocaust. It's the new wedge issue, says Richard North Patterson, an advisory council of J Street (otherwise known as AIPAC-lite) and a member of the Council on Foreign Relations. That's why I cut it short and stifled debate. Just listen to the experts and support the Iran deal. Who cares who is opposed (what is he doing wearing a suit)?

The lobbying of Democrats as the UN was to let Iran self-inspect an alleged nuclear site (a COMPLETE LIE, but there it is leading my world section) was fierce and gaining momentum. Senator Claire McCaskill, Democrat of Missouri, became the latest to declare her backing, saying in a statement: ‘‘This deal isn’t perfect and no one trusts Iran, but it has become clear to me that the world is united behind this agreement with the exception of the government of Israel,’’ and I can think of no better reason to be for it (wow, that web version from the New York Times was a lot more hopeful the deal can be killed than was the AP pos I saw in my printed paper). 

The votes kept adding up. A leading Jewish Democrat was also under pressure from segments of the Jewish community to turn down the deal, which is ardently opposed by Israel, and he said his loyalty lies with Israel and his concerns go beyond the nuclear deal. Only two Democratic senators have come out against the agreement, and in the House, Joe Kennedy, who is known for his love of getting deep into the weeds of complicated issues, was clearly aware of the political volatility of the issue. In a brief interview after announcing his decision, he noted the virulent reaction that his Democratic colleague Representative Jerrold Nadler of New York City has faced from constituents, including personal attacks questioning his loyalty to Israel (they called him a devil). I thought he was a U.S. Congre$$man not a member of the Knesset, although Joe is surrounded by Jews.

Then Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz said said the Energy Department has developed computer simulations and laboratory technology to ensure the reliability of the US nuclear arsenal without test explosions and those abilities helped structure the Iran deal and will help monitor it. ‘‘Science also underpins everything the United States does to counter nuclear proliferation and nuclear terrorism,’’ Moniz said. He cited previous successes in helping Russia convert 500 tons of high enriched uranium into fuel for US nuclear reactorsIran will even give you a tour if you like.

The deal needs protecting because it is too important for politics as usual. Secretary of State John Kerry, in a letter to his former colleagues in Congress, outlined the administration’s willingness to increase US funding for Israel’s missile defense system and beef up defense cooperation in the Gulf. Some of the nation’s leading foreign policy thinkers advocate such a course of action. Brent Scowcroft, national security advisor to two Republican presidents, has urged Congress to approve the deal, while at the same time countering Iran’s military influence in the region. Michael Hayden, CIA director under President George W. Bush, is “no fan” of the nuclear deal, but says Congress ought to pass it anyway — with similar conditions" because "nothing has been more corrosive to the stability and modernization of the Arab world, and the Muslim world at large, than the billions and billions of dollars the Saudis have invested since the 1970s into wiping out the pluralism of Islam [and] imposing in its place the puritanical, anti-modern, anti-women, anti-Western, anti-pluralistic Wahhabi Salafist brand of Islam promoted by the Saudi religious establishment. . . . And we, America, have never called them on that — because we’re addicted to their oil, and addicts never tell the truth to their pushers. The New York Times, September 2, on Saudi Arabia’s destabilizing influence in the Middle East. (source)"

Looks like no more holding hands since the moment has arrived for Washington to reassess its bonds with Saudi Arabia, which have long ceased to serve US interests, even as John Kerry stands by them, comparing the current regional instability to Saddam Hussein’s invasion and occupation of Kuwait in 1990. He said the U.S. and Saudi Arabia would deal with the challenges so they better get smart!

They do know they are last on the invasion list, right?

Btw, did you know the Saudis have 9 US nationals in jail?

So what do voters have to say about the accord. There were protests against and threats made as a path was cleared. With the deal protected, the next fight awaited. Irans are not excited because, well, customers resent being conned in a bait and switch move. The move to block failed to derail the deal and Iranian engineers started dismantling nuclear facilities. The pact formally took effect with Iran preparing for ‘tsunami’ of tourists even as the ayatollah balks and gives initial approval before the final OK. That set in motion other costs of the pact that are inconclusive, yet Secretary of State John Kerry called it “one of the most significant steps Iran has taken toward fulfilling its commitment,” and US officials say that it may now be only weeks before the deal reached in July will go into effect. On “implementation day” roughly $100 billion in Iranian assets will be unfrozen, and the country will be free to sell oil on world markets and operate in the world financial system. Iran no longer has the fuel to create a nuclear weapon — should it want to — but.... the Jewi$h War Pre$$ is acting as if they do.

Sanctions were to soon be lifted and ended, but that was before the missile incident, however, as tensions between the United States and Iran have risen. Iran denounces, Khomeini’s grandson seeks seat on Iranian assembly (all the more reason to go to war, right?) and even if Iran frees 10 detained US sailors after they apologized for their boats "straying" into Iranian waters because of mechanical problems (pffft) and navigational error in a sign of warmer relations it still is not good enough:

"Also Monday, the Defense Department released a timetable of events surrounding the capture of 10 Navy sailors by Iran last week, but the account was spare on new details and left several fundamental questions unanswered. The timetable did not explain why the crews of two patrol boats — which the military said were supposed to remain in international waterways — deviated from their course and strayed into Iranian territorial waters. Nor did it explain why they allowed Iranian sailors to board their boats or why the boats’ communications equipment apparently failed, cutting them off from their superiors. Senior Pentagon officials said the timetable contained limited new information because the Navy is reviewing the actions of the sailors, who could face stiff judicial and administrative punishment for the episode. The Navy does not want to prejudice the outcome of that inquiry by offering too many details, the officials said. The capture was highly embarrassing for the Navy. It came just hours before President Obama’s last State of the Union address and while US and Iranian diplomats were in the final stages of negotiating the prisoner swap. The Iranian government also was taking its last measures to comply with the nuclear deal, which allowed economic sanctions against the country to be lifted Saturday."

They got caught in an act of attempted sabotage to scuttle the deal and foment regime change as the 10 US sailors captured and humiliated by Iran after mistakenly steering their boats into Iranian waters in January were beset not just by poor judgment and faulty equipment. They also showed a remarkable lack of curiosity about potential dangers in one of the world’s more dangerous waterways, according to an in-depth Navy investigation.

That's the core of the problem, a new economic reality: the strengthening hand of Iran’s reformers even as oil prices sink as Iran prepares to ramp up production (another, you know, coincidence). That's a warning regarding the Iranian champagne known as black gold. Yes, the money will go to terrorists but they are barred from power. The new era of friendlier relations is about to be unfurled. The dancing at Disneyland is all the proof you need. The oil is on its way out not even a U.S. cyberattack that was a leftover from Friday could stop it.

Only one nation is in their way:

"Israel’s defense minister on Wednesday accused Iran of building an international terror network that includes ‘‘sleeper cells’’ that are stockpiling arms, intelligence and operatives in order to strike on command in places including Europe and the U.S. Moshe Yaalon said Iran aims to destabilize the Middle East and other parts of the world and is training, funding and arming ‘‘emissaries’’ to spread a revolution. He said Tehran is the anchor of a ‘‘dangerous axis’’ that includes Baghdad, Damascus, Beirut, Sanaa and other cities in the region. The Israeli defense minister offered no direct evidence of such sleeper cells existing in the U.S. or Europe, but...."

The dangerous axis is the U.S., Saudi Arabia, and Israel. The Israelis always accuse others of conduct which they are guilty, and you can $ee why there is such hate for them.


Iran launches ballistic missiles during military exercise
Iran fires 2 missiles marked with ‘Israel must be wiped out’ 

The tests, however, don’t violate the accord.

Israel demands world powers punish Iran for missile tests

 "Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out at Iran on Sunday for staging a Holocaust-themed cartoon contest that mocked the Nazi genocide of 6 million Jews during World War II and said the Islamic Republic was busy planning for another one. Iran has long backed armed groups committed to Israel’s destruction and its leaders have called for it to be wiped off the map. The denial or questioning of the genocide is widespread in the Middle East, where many regard it as a pretext Israel used for its creation and to excuse its actions toward the Palestinians. ‘‘Holocaust means mass killing,’’ said contest organizer Masuod Shojai Tabatabaei. ‘‘We are witnessing the biggest killings by the Zionist regime in Gaza and Palestine.’’ 

Wiped off the map was a mistranslation, but that last linked phrase is all too real.

The oddest thing is: 

"In contrast to Iranian Jews, Christians, and Zoroastrians, tolerated minorities who even have their own representatives in Parliament, the Bahais have been persecuted in Iran ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Their belief in another prophet after Muhammad is anathema to Shi’ite Muslim clerics, who consider Muhammad the final messenger of God. There are five million to seven million Bahais worldwide. Their headquarters is in Haifa, Israel, another reason Iran’s establishment distrusts them. “The leader of their cult is Zionism,” the head of Iran’s paramilitary Basij organization, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, said Monday. “Supporting them means being a lackey of the Zionists,” because they are considered impure."

Subversive anyway.

Iran announces delivery of Russian S-300 missile defense system
Iran’s president says he wants to resolve tensions with Saudi Arabia

Well, it's citizens were barred from traveling to Mecca for hajj, and can you blame them after the  terror and tower crash from a year earlier??

The elections in Iran showed a landslide victory for reformist and moderate allies of President Hassan Rouhani in Iran’s parliamentary elections as state television Sunday reported a nationwide triumph for hard-liners. I'm confused

"An Iranian court has sentenced a well-known tycoon to death for corruption linked to oil sales during the rule of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, the judiciary spokesman said Sunday. Babak Zanjani and two of his associates were sentenced to death for ‘‘money laundering,’’ among other charges. Zanjani was arrested in 2013 during a crackdown on alleged corruption during Ahmadinejad's rule. Iran’s Oil Ministry said Zanjani owes more than $2.25 billion for oil sales he made on behalf of Ahmadinejad's government. Zanjani is one of Iran’s wealthiest businessmen, with a fortune worth an estimated $14 billion."

I guess they felt they had to take a stand against corruption corruption -- including handing out money to well-connected politicians

Nevertheless, the deal appears to be working so far, but the report by the International Atomic Energy Agency did not specifically say that Iran was honoring its commitments, but that conclusion could be drawn from the report. The  UN says Iran’s role in nuclear inquiry meets standards, and the head of the UN nuclear agency paid what Iran’s official news agency described as a ceremonial visit Sunday to an Iranian nuclear site that he suspects may have been used to develop explosive triggers for nuclear weapons.

It's like they are still looking for something they know isn't there, huh?

Looks like Boeing has almost as much clout as the Zionist lobby, maybe more. Ultimately, opponents of the Boeing sale are rejecting the very premise of diplomacy — the notion that a certain measure of give and take, even with largely hostile foreign regimes, can promote a peace that’s in every party’s mutual interest. Boeing’s sale to Iran should go forward not because of the jobs it provides in the United States — though that certainly helps — but because it would signal that the US government keeps its commitments and lets reality, not ideology or wishful thinking, guide its policies toward the world (Iranians don't like Chevys though). Britain has already reopened its embassy (still urging caution) in a bid to get back some of the oil contacts for BP, while Italy signed several deals regarding natural gas, infrastructure, and cars.

Interestingly enough, the "energy hungry" South Korean president came calling and during the visit Iran called for a nuclear-free Korean Peninsula. Within a year, she would be impeached!

It's the disruption that is shaking things up. President Barack Obama regards the deal as his crowning foreign policy achievement, solving perhaps the most serious security challenge of our day: a nuclear-armed Iran. We’d all love a perfect deal, not to mention one that removed a threatening, nondemocratic state sponsor of terrorism. But guess what.... the United States has continued to thwart Iran’s economic relations with other countries despite the landmark accord (including its nuclear program).

Time for a magic carpet ride....

"Iran’s carpet makers relish prospect of US trade; Exports declined by 20 percent during sanctions" by Ali Akbar Dareini Associated Press  August 11, 2015

TEHRAN — The Islamic republic was once the world’s biggest carpet exporter but the industry has been hampered by the sanctions and competition from cheaper Indian, Pakistani, and Chinese copies of traditional Iranian patterns.

In 2000, Iran shipped a giant hand-woven carpet to the sultan of Oman worth $5.2 million. In 2006, Iran produced the world’s largest hand-woven floor covering, worth $8.5 million, for Sheikh Zayed Mosque in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates.

Iran is also seeking to resume exports of pistachios, another major Iranian commodity.

However, in recent decades, the United States itself has become a major pistachio producer and Iranian imports face 300 percent duties. The tax was imposed to protect American producers, according to Mohsen Jalalpour, head of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce.

He is confident, though, that Iranian pistachios have a special advantage....


Now THAT is something worth going to war over!

"The scene unspooled as if in a disaster film: As firefighters fought to control a blaze in one of Tehran’s most prominent high-rise buildings on Thursday, the structure suddenly collapsed in a smoldering heap of wreckage reminiscent of the scene in New York on Sept. 11, 2001 — all while millions watched on Iranian state television. People at the scene were visibly upset, and the police were required to control angry crowds who yelled at security forces who they said had arrived too late. “My friend is calling me from under the rubble, help him,” one man was heard shouting. In the chaotic aftermath of the collapse, ambulances had to fight their way through onlookers drawn to the scene, some taking selfies in front of the rubble. Army conscripts had to be deployed to clear paths for the emergency vehicles. The high-rise, the 17-story Plasco Building in the center of Tehran, housed a shopping center and garment manufacturers and was as familiar to most residents as the Empire State Building in New York...."

“The building just suddenly collapsed” from that little fire at the top, huh?

"Already angered over the Trump administration’s visa ban, Iran warned the United States on Tuesday not to escalate tensions over tests of Iranian missiles. The warning, made by Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, came a day after US and Israeli officials accused Iran of having conducted a missile test that they said had violated a UN Security Council resolution. The United States requested an urgent meeting of the Security Council for later Tuesday to discuss the issue. The US and Israeli accusations have created what amounts to an early test of the Trump administration’s toughness on Iran....."

RelatedTensions ease as US carrier enters, then leaves strait

Is it heading back that way, Mike?