The kings of the earth take their stand and the rulers gather together against the LORD and against his Anointed One. Psalms 2:2
Picture source unknown - but appears in multiple sites
Nobody should have been unaware of President Ahmadinijad and his oft repeated threat to wipe Israel off the map once he has acquired his nuclear weapons.
However many people continued in denial about his sincerity or Iran's capability - even as the missile test launches were blatantly televised and the International Atomic Energy inspectors were given the run-around.
Ahmadinijad has been replaced by new President, Hasan Rouhani, who said of his predecessor
"Ahmadinijad was stupid enough to be a wolf in wolf's clothing, to expose his teeth and nails and alert the west. I can be a wolf in sheep's clothing. I have all the diplomatic and rhetoric skills to do so."
A man "may smile, and smile, and be a villain," to quote a play of some renown called "The Tragedy of Hamlet" (Act I, Scene V). This suave new "moderate" president of Iran smiles and smiles, too. Experienced and worldly diplomat that he is, His Excellency Hassan Rouhani dispenses ever more rhetorical soft-soap, the kind guaranteed to ease and smooth, all the while winning time.
The Jewish Chronicle Online (UK), 10/3/2013Melanie Phillips
Everyone is acting precisely according to the script. The fanatical Ayatollah Khamanei, the sole real power in Iran, has manoeuvred the West into the end-game. Just as foretold, his cipher, the new Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, has presented himself falsely as the voice of moderation.
Also just as foretold, Western leaders and media have swallowed this pretence as true. The US is talking to Iran for the first time since the 1979 Iranian revolution. President Obama is presenting this as a breakthrough for diplomacy and peace. The reality, since the absence of dialogue is because the Iranian regime has been waging war against the West for more than three decades, is that talking to this unreformed terror outfit is an act of surrender. Iran, moreover, can rely on the Western media to parrot its propaganda and mislead the public. Thus Rouhani was reported as having reversed the regime’s record of Holocaust denial. In fact, he did nothing of the kind; as Iranian sources revealed, CNN and other US media mistranslated his remarks, which had carefully sidestepped the issue.
Indeed, it was beyond belief that Rouhani could have acknowledged the attempted genocide of the Jews. Holocaust denial is not only the signature motif of visceral Jew-hatred, but also of a second such attempted genocide to which the Iranian regime is indissolubly wedded.Rouhani was a founder of the Iranian Islamic revolution and is a declared Israel-hater. To think such a person can suddenly become “moderate” is fundamentally to misunderstand the derangement of the mind which constitutes Jew-hatred. This does not mean the regime isn’t cunning. Indeed, it has a sophisticated strategic grasp second to none. And it has now got the West just where it wants it.
The purpose of Rouhani’s “charm offensive” in New York was to pretend Iran’s nuclear programme is designed solely for peaceful civil purposes.As the International Atomic Energy Authority and others have indicated, this is clearly untrue. The nature of Iran’s uranium enrichment programme only makes sense if it is intended to manufacture nuclear weapons — not to mention Iran’s pursuit of nuclear warheads for ballistic missiles, which are a bit of a giveaway. What the regime needs above all is time to reach its nuclear threshold. Obama has already bestowed upon it that priceless gift. Now, his proposed dialogue with Iran means he will give it yet more time. Behind Netanyahu’s diplomatic demeanour in the US earlier this week, Israeli anxiety is clearly visible. Shortly before Bibi went to Washington, Israel revealed it had arrested a businessman of Iranian descent for spying on Israel and gathering intelligence on possible terrorism targets — including the US embassy. This was thought to be a warning to the US that Iran speaks with forked tongue. If so, the crudity of such a manoeuvre suggests a measure of desperation in Jerusalem. Who can be surprised? Responsibility for stopping the Iranian genocide bomb rests with Obama — the man who helped put the Muslim Brotherhood into power in Egypt; the man who draws a moral equivalence between Israel and its Palestinian aggressors; and the man who is manufacturing an utterly spurious linkage between the Iranian nuclear threat and the Palestinian issue, presumably so he can blame Israel when Iran gets the bomb on his watch.
Obama is Chamberlain at Munich saying to Netanyahu: “Trust me, this time I know this really will work”. But Obama is in la-la land, and Israel risks paying the ultimate existential price.
Twenty Threats made to wipe out Israel since Rouhani became president
"Israel will not allow Iran to get nuclear weapons. If Israel is forced to stand alone, Israel will stand alone. Yet, in standing alone, Israel will know that we will be defending many, many others.”
An apparent desire on the part of several European governments to move towards dismantling the regime of sanctions against Iran's renegade nuclear program and normalize relations with the clerical regime in Teheran is viewed with alarm by Israeli officials.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has made room in his schedule over the next few days to conduct several interviews with prominent European media outlets in an effort to sway public opinion against this course of action. Press reports ahead of next week's nuclear talks in Geneva indicate that Teheran will demand a loosening of sanctions in exchange for what Israel calls "cosmetic changes" to their nuclear efforts, and many EU governments have indicated they will give the deal serious consideration.
Yuval Steinitz - 24/09/13
Israel voiced concern over a potential meeting of the US and Iranian presidents, saying Tehran's conciliatory overtures to world powers masked an acceleration of its disputed nuclear program.
"We are certainly warning the entire international community that Iran may want an agreement, but it is liable to be the Munich agreement," Strategic Affairs Minister Yuval Steinitz said in an Army Radio interview, referring to the 1938 appeasement of Nazi Germany.
An official Israeli assessment said Iran now had centrifuges for quickly turning low-enriched uranium into bomb fuel, putting it on a fast track to atomic arms even if it gave up uranium of mid-level purity which had previously been Israel's focus.
Iran's new government has gone on a charm offensive timed for the annual UN General Assembly, agreeing to international nuclear negotiations that would include its foreign minister seeing US Secretary of State John Kerry.
US officials also said a meeting was possible this week between President Barack Obama and Iranian counterpart Hassan Rouhani - a landmark after more than three decades of hostility.
Israel sees a mortal menace in an Iranian bomb it says could be six months from production and is wary of any let-up in Western pressure, backed by stringent sanctions, for a nuclear rollback by Tehran. Iran denies seeking atomic weapons.
Asked if there would be an Obama-Rouhani handshake, Steinitz, the cabinet minister now representing Israel at the UN forum in New York, said: "I hope not. I don't know."
"But really the important thing is not just words and appearances. The important thing is the actions. The important thing is the resolutions," Steinitz told Army Radio.
At last year's UN General Assembly, Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu set a "red line" beyond which Israel would attack Iranian nuclear sites. He drew that line across a cartoon-style bomb representing the scope of the Islamic Republic's enrichment of uranium to 20 percent purity, close to military grade.
An Israeli government estimate leaked to the Washington Post said Iran's new centrifuges were capable of turning stores of 3.5 percent pure uranium directly into bomb fuel "within weeks". Thus any "agreement to hand over all of its existing stockpile of highly (20 percent) enriched uranium would be insufficient".
The document, whose authenticity was confirmed by an Israeli official, presented such a handover as among "minor concessions" it said Iran hoped might lead to a deal with world powers and allow it to "build a nuclear weapon at a time of its choosing".
The last UN nuclear agency report, issued on Aug. 28, showed Iran further expanding its uranium enrichment capacity by installing both new- and old-generation centrifuges. Independent experts say the new machines could refine uranium several times faster than the older versions, but that it is still unclear how well they will work and when Iran will switch them on.
Before then Joel c Rosenberg wrote
"President Barack Obama is expected to build on diplomatic opportunities and signal his willingness to engage with the new Iranian government if Tehran makes nuclear concessions long sought by the US and Western allies,"
"Obama, in a planned address to the United Nations General Assembly on Tuesday morning, also will call on UN Security Council members to approve a resolution that would mandate consequences for Syria if it fails to cooperate with a plan to turn its chemical weapons stockpiles over to the international community."
But how seriously will Iran take Obama after he had to climb down from taking action he had promised over Syria's chemical weapons?
by Jonathan Spyer - PJ Media - July 31, 2015
An Iranian stealth takeover of Iraq is currently under way. Tehran's actions in Iraq lay bare the nature of Iranian regional strategy. They show that Iran has no peers at present in the promotion of a very 21st century way of war, which combines the recruitment and manipulation of sectarian loyalties; the establishment and patient sponsoring of political and paramilitary front groups; and the engagement of these groups in irregular and clandestine warfare, all in tune with an Iran-led agenda.
With the conclusion of the nuclear deal, and thanks to the cash about to flow into Iranian coffers, the stage is now set for an exponential increase in the scale and effect of these activities across the region.
So what is going on in Iraq, and what may be learned from it?
Power in Baghdad today is effectively held by a gathering of Shia militias known as the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization). This initiative brings together tens of armed groups, including some very small and newly formed ones.
Nuclear status - 22/02/2013 www.bicom.org.uk
The latest quarterly report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) on Iran’s nuclear programme was circulated yesterday. It revealed that Iran has installed new advanced centrifuges at a key nuclear plant, triggering international criticism.
The report said that advanced next-generation equipment has been installed at the Natanz plant, capable of speeding up the enrichment of uranium which Western countries fear will be used to manufacture nuclear weapons. The report says, “The Agency observed that Iran had started the installation of IR-2m centrifuges and empty centrifuge casings.”
The move has drawn almost immediate global criticism, with Foreign Office minister Alistair Burt calling it, “another signal that Iran has no intention of providing the necessary reassurance… that its nuclear programme is for purely peaceful purposes.” Meanwhile, Israel’s Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called the IAEA report “very grave” and said that it “proves Iran is continuing to rapidly advance to the red line” which he set out at the United Nations in September, which if crossed could precipitate military intervention. US State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland called news of the equipment upgrade “yet another provocative step” by Iran.
The IAEA report also revealed that Iran is continuing to increase its supply of 20 per cent enriched uranium, with Tehran’s stockpile of such material having increased from 135g to 167g over the past three months. Uranium which is enriched to 20 per cent is considered just a small step away from weapons grade quality.
The IAEA report comes just days before Iranian negotiators meet in Kazakhstan with representatives of the P5+1 powers – United States, UK, China, Russia, France and Germany – who are tasked with leading the international effort to resolve concerns over Tehran’s nuclear programme through a diplomatic solution.
Amid Iran’s current political turmoil, the outgoing head of the International Atomic Energy Agency told the BBC on Wednesday that Iran is seeking the ability to build nuclear weapons to secure its place as a major power in the Middle East and also as an “insurance policy” against outside meddling in its internal affairs. "My gut feeling is that Iran definitely would like to have the technology... that would enable it to have nuclear weapons if they decided to do so," IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei openly admitted for the first time. "[Iran] wants to send a message to its neighbors, it wants to send a message to the rest of the world: Yes, don't mess with us, we can have nuclear weapons if we want it… [It’s] an insurance policy against what they heard in the pas t about regime change, axis of evil," he said. Meantime the US envoy to the IAEA, Geoffrey Pyatt, stated that "Iran is now either very near or in possession of sufficient low-enriched uranium to produce one nuclear weapon, if the decision were made to (further) enrich it to weapons-grade." Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election last week has cast doubt on Western powers' hope of a dialogue with Iran aimed at curbing its uranium enrichment program.
Did you notice the name of the IAEA chief at the time? - Mohamed ElBaradei. Could his origins be influencing the spin he was putting on this revelation?
Iran is seeking hegemony in the Gulf / Arab world by getting involved in various nations. One such is Yemen, but Iran's ambitions have been thwarted.
Jonathan Spyer - http://www.meforum.org/5557/yemen-iran - Originally published under the title "The Limits of Iranian Power." - excerpts
Events in Yemen are noteworthy because they counter the notion that as a result of the Obama administration's exit from the region and in the wake of the nuclear agreement, an unstoppable Iranian advance across the Middle East is inevitable.
In Yemen, what is taking place is the halting of an Iranian client by forces supported by the Arab Gulf states, most importantly Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.
The Iran-supported Ansar Allah movement, more popularly known as the Houthis, seized control of the Yemeni capital, Sanaa, in March. The government of President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi was forced into exile in Saudi Arabia. The Houthis and their allies then began a march to the south, intending to seize the Gulf of Aden and unite the country under their control.
Preventing this was a matter of strategic importance for the opponents of the Houthis and of their Iranian backers. Control of southwest Yemen would have given the Houthis (and hence the Iranians) the ability to choke off energy supplies making their way from the Persian Gulf to the Suez Canal via the narrow Bab el-Mandeb Strait.
Saudi and Emirati assistance to Yemeni government forces seeking to prevent this outcome began on March 26. Egypt, Morocco, Jordan, Sudan, Kuwait, Qatar and Bahrain also joined the coalition against the Houthis. These countries provided air support to government forces.
The Houthi offensive, in which the Zaidi Shi'a tribesmen were supported by military elements loyal to the ousted dictator Ali Abdullah Saleh, stalled in the face of Saudi-supported resistance.
The Houthis came close to capturing Aden City in late March. But that was the furthest point of their advance. In the course of the summer, Saudi- and UAE-supported forces succeeded in driving the Houthis out of Aden, enabling Hadi to return to the city.
As of now, after the death of around 4,900 people in the conflict, the Houthis have agreed to adhere to a seven-point plan brokered by the UN at talks in Muscat, Oman. The plan includes a cease-fire and the return of the government to Sanaa.
It is not yet clear if the cease-fire will be implemented, and skepticism is justified. But if the reports are correct, the Houthi declaration follows a series of defeats they have suffered at the hands of the Saudi- led coalition in recent weeks.
The largely ignored events in Yemen reflect the reality of an ongoing Saudi-Iranian contest, which itself forms part of the broader Sunni-Shi'a conflict currently bisecting the Middle East. Success in restoring the Hadi government in Yemen, if it takes place, will be a major boost to the Saudis, who fear being encircled by pro-Iranian forces, given Iranian influence in Iraq and Yemen.
Other than the strategic issue of control of Bab el-Mandeb, why should events in Yemen matter outside of its immediate environs? They matter for the following reason: In the series of Saudi-Iranian proxy wars taking place across the region, the Iranians appeared to enjoy a clear advantage. Iran being a revolutionary republic, possessing an instrument specifically designed for the establishment and promotion of proxy political-military organizations (the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guards), their ascendancy seemed assured. Many rightly fear that once the Iranians begin to receive sanctions relief following the conclusion of the agreement on their nuclear program, they will be free to continue and increase their support for the long list of regional proxies they maintain.
But in Yemen, the Saudis appear to have held an Iranian proxy to a draw. The Houthis are not destroyed, but their victory and serious strategic gains for the Iranians have been prevented.
This process fits into a larger picture, in which Iranian interference - in Yemen, in Syria, in Iraq - appears more usually to lead to the division of countries and ongoing civil war rather than to a clear Iranian triumph.
Only in tiny Lebanon can an Iranian proxy (Hezbollah) be said to have established a position of acknowledged military superiority. But even there, Hezbollah does not seek to rule alone.
Thus, Iran finds itself in a position of involvement in a whole series of conflicts in the Middle East, supporting powerful players, while prevailing as yet in none. Events in Yemen this week offer further proof that any notion of an Iranian juggernaut sweeping over the Middle East as a result of US withdrawal from it is exaggerated.
The Iranians and their allies are powerful regional players, but inbuilt limitations are likely to prevent them from achieving the regional hegemony they dream of. Iranian regional machinations are set to continue exacerbating strife and division across the region, but without clear victories for Tehran.
Jonathan Spyer is director of the Rubin Center for Research in International Affairs and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Iran created a Gospel pulpit for Saeed Abedini and his courageous wife.
UN reports that there has been a steady rise in human rights violations, including political oppression and executions, since the "moderate" Rouhani took office.
Iran has one of the highest execution rates in the world and continues “to harass, arrest, prosecute and imprison members of civil society who express criticism of the government or who publicly deviate from officially sanctioned narratives.”
As Prime Minister Netanyahu said, "If Iran wants to be treated like a normal country, let it act like a normal country."
Finally a thought about modern day Iran being ancient Persia.
Daniel 10:12 Then he said to me, "Don't be afraid, Dani'el; because since the first day that you determined to understand and to humble yourself before your God, your words have been heard; and I have come because of what you said. The prince of the kingdom of Persia prevented me from coming for twenty-one days; but Mikha'el, one of the chief princes, came to assist me; so that I was no longer needed there with the kings of Persia. CJB
Daniel 12:1 "When that time comes, Mikha'el, the great prince who champions your people (Israel), will stand up; and there will be a time of distress unparalleled between the time they became a nation and that moment. At that time, your people will be delivered, everyone whose name is found written in the book. CJB
Is that same prince of Persia building up again (in the spiritual realm) for a big attack on God's people Israel?
Shouldn't we, therefore, be fervent in Daniel style prayer for the angel forces under Mikha'el to be available to protect Israel from Iran's leaders and the prince of Persia?
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