Festivities included ‘Death to Israel’ banners
Iran has showcased its latest locally-developed anti-aircraft missiles together with S-300 air defense systems at an annual Army Day parade. Some of the trucks carrying the weapons were decorated with banners featuring anti-Israeli slogans.
The Army Day parade was held in the Iranian capital, Tehran, on Tuesday, with troops from all branches of the armed forces taking part. The ceremony also included tanks, armored vehicles, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), fighter jets, radar systems and air defense systems.
Certain parts of the parade drew particular attention, including anti-Israeli banners that read ‘Death to Israel’ in Persian and showed a fist punching through the Jewish Star of David.
Attending the massive military parade was President Hassan Rouhani, who said in his address that Iranians “should always maintain our alertness against conspiracies by others and should enhance our deterrent power day by day,” as cited by Press TV.
Rouhani said that Iranian forces defend the whole of the “important and sensitive” region of the Middle East, and promised a “vigorous and determined” response to potential aggressors. He also accused “some of the world’s armies” of spearheading “intervention in other countries’ internal affairs, genocide, terrorism sponsorship, coups d’état, and lack of regard for the people’s opinion and law.”
According to Fars news agency, Iranian-made Sayyad (Hunter) 3 anti-aircraft missiles were showcased during the parade for the first time, accompanying Russian-made S-300s.
Brigadier General Farzad Esmayeeli, commander of Iran’s Air Defense Forces, told the outlet that the new missile would be mounted on the Soviet-built S-200 systems still operated by the Iranian military.
The Sayyad 3 can also be mounted on the Bavar 373, Iran’s locally-developed long-range air defense system. The development of the Bavar 373 was announced in September 2011, shortly after Russia canceled a contract to supply Iran with S-300 systems, according to UK military think tank Jane’s.
Though Russia reversed the decision in 2015 and began delivery of S-300s in 2016, the Bavar program continued.
Israel’s relations with Iran have been strained for decades. Benjamin Netanyahu, the Israeli firebrand leader, vehemently opposes the landmark 2015 nuclear deal that imposed limits on Iran’s nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions.
In previous public statements, the Israeli PM repeatedly claimed Tehran is seeking to annihilate Israel and poses a threat to Europe and the West.
Earlier this week, US President Donald Trump, who previously referred to Iran as the “number one terrorist state,” ordered a review of the nuclear deal. Russia earlier voiced concern over Washington’s policy towards Iran, saying it disagrees over labeling it a “terrorist state.”
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Wednesday stunned the country by unexpectedly filing to run in the May presidential election, contradicting a recommendation from the supreme leader to stay out of the race.
Ahmadinejad’s decision could upend an election many believed would be won by moderate President Hassan Rouhani, who negotiated the nuclear deal with world powers. Though Rouhani has yet to formally register, many viewed him as a shoe-in following Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recommendation in September for Ahmadinejad to stand down and conservatives’ inability to coalesce around a single candidate.
Ahmadinejad’s firebrand style could prove appealing for hard-liners seeking a tough-talking candidate who can stand up to U.S. President Donald Trump. His candidacy also could expose the fissures inside Iranian politics that linger since his contested 2009 re-election, which brought massive unrest.
Associated Press journalists watched as stunned election officials processed Ahmadinejad’s paperwork on Wednesday. Asked about Ahmadinejad’s decision, one Tehran-based analyst offered a blunt assessment.
“It was an organized mutiny against Iran’s ruling system,” said Soroush Farhadian, who backs reformists.
Ahmadinejad previously served two four-year terms from 2005 to 2013. Under Iranian law, he became eligible to run again after four years out of office, but he remains a polarizing figure, even among fellow hard-liners.
Two of his former vice presidents have been jailed for corruption since he left office. Iran’s economy suffered under heavy international sanctions during his administration because of Western suspicions that Tehran was secretly pursuing nuclear weapons. Iran insists its nuclear program is for peaceful purposes.
Ahmadinejad’s disputed re-election in 2009 sparked massive protests and a sweeping crackdown in which thousands of people were detained and dozens were killed.
Internationally, Ahmadinejad is more known for repeatedly questioning the scale of the Holocaust, predicting Israel’s demise and expanding Iran’s contested nuclear program.
The memory of the 2009 unrest likely sparked Khamenei’s comments in September. At that time, he recommended an unnamed candidate not seek office as it would bring about a “polarized situation” that would be “harmful for the county.”
Ahmadinejad described comments by the supreme leader suggesting he not run as “just advice” in a news conference shortly after submitting his registration.
“His advice does not prevent me from running,” he said. “There is extensive pressure on me from dear people of different walks of life as their small servant to come to the election.”
There was no immediate reaction from the supreme leader’s office.
Ahmadinejad said his decision to run was intended to help former Vice President Hamid Baghaei, a close confidant. Baghaei, who was imprisoned for seven months after he left office, registered alongside Ahmadinejad on Wednesday. So did Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, another of the former president’s close allies.
More than 120 prospective candidates submitted their names as candidates on the first day of registration Tuesday, including six women and seven clerics. Registration remains open until Saturday.
Under Iran’s electoral system, all applicants must be vetted by the Guardian Council, a clerical body that will announce a final list of candidates by April 27. The council normally does not approve dissidents or women for the formal candidate list.
The May 19 election is seen by many in Iran as a referendum on the 2015 nuclear agreement and other efforts to improve the country’s sanctions-hobbled economy. Under the nuclear deal, Iran agreed to curb its uranium enrichment in exchange for the lifting of international sanctions.
Since the deal, Iran has signed multi-billion-dollar contracts with airplane manufacturers Boeing Co. and Airbus. The benefits have yet to trickle down to the average Iranian, however, fueling some discontent.
TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — In a climactic battle at sea, an Iranian commander orders his forces to open fire on a much larger U.S. fleet, obliterating it with a barrage of rockets, some of which tear American flags from their masts.
The scenario unfolds in “Battle of the Persian Gulf II,” a new Iranian animated film more than four years in the making that imagines a devastating response to an American attack on the country’s nuclear program.
It might have seemed out of date this time last year, when a nuclear accord reached with world powers had lifted sanctions and raised hopes for a broader rapprochement between Iran and the West.
But now tensions are rising again. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the nuclear deal, and his administration put Iran “on notice” last month after it tested a ballistic missile. Iranians were meanwhile angered over Trump’s travel ban, which temporarily barred their entry to the United States before it was blocked by the courts.
Director Farhad Azima says the timing of the film’s release is purely coincidental. The movie has begun showing in the city of Mashhad, where it was produced, and will open in other cities in the coming weeks.
The nearly 90-minute film, a sequel to a production about the 1980s Iran-Iraq war, begins with a U.S. attack on an Iranian nuclear reactor. Washington has long warned it would take military action to prevent Iran from developing an atomic weapon, while Iran insists its nuclear program is entirely peaceful.
That sets up a showdown in the Persian Gulf, where the real-life U.S. Navy has accused Iranian forces of harassing its vessels in recent months.
In the film, a character who closely resembles Gen. Qassem Soleimani, head of Iran’s elite Quds Force, leads a single vessel against more than a dozen American warships. When a U.S. commander orders him to surrender or die, he replies: “”General, I am not a diplomat, I am a revolutionary!”
He warns that any American soldiers taking part in an attack on Iran “should order their coffins,” before his forces destroy the whole U.S. fleet.
The U.S. Navy’s 5th Fleet, which is based in Bahrain and is responsible for naval operations in the Persian Gulf, declined to comment on the film when contacted by AP.
The real-life Soleimani has directed Iranian-backed forces in Syria, where they are aiding President Bashar Assad, and Iraq, where they are helping the government battle the Islamic State group. In recent years he has gained near-mythic status in Iran, where he is seen as resisting U.S. hegemony in the region.
Azima says his film cost $250,000 to make, and that producers raised the funds from ordinary people. He said there was no government involvement in the project.
“This is a response to hundreds of (anti-Iranian) American movies and video games,” he said. “We are saying that if you fire one bullet against Iran, a rain of hot lead will be poured on your forces.”
Iran Deploys Navy To Sea Despite U.S. Notice, Tensions High As Iran Destroyers Fill Strait Of Hormuz
When a nation is an open sponsor of terrorism and is called out for their evil on the world stage, it is not shocking in the least that the nation in question would lash out like a child upon being (rightfully) humiliated. When the same nation, and yes we are talking about Iran, breaks a deal just as openly as they condone murder in their religions name and are exposed without reservation for all to hear, then they will likely do things like conduct military drills, which they are. For that matter, when Trump put the nation “on notice” for repeated provocations, rather than take it as signs that Trump is striving for peace, it is still not that shocking that they would provoke even more.
However when one of the nation’s that forbids women to drive, move about at will, may not even study certain topic areas in college, and condemn (admittedly, even) crude comments from Trump, then they are not only dangerous, but hilariously hypocritical. Blind to how mandating that women dress like the angel of death is worse than flirting – even crudely – with women, Iran’s Ahmadinejad said that he “welcomes his criticisms of the political system but takes issue with his visa ban and attitudes towards women,” in a letter.
While Iran also states that they agree that the U.S political and media system is corrupt (a stab at attempting to use Trump’s words against him), Iran is missing the point that if threatened, history has shown that America can come together. Vietnam was not a threat, Libya was not at threat, so America was, and is still, tremendously divided over such actions. However, when America is threatened, history has shown that even visceral division can heal with vision blurring speed and unity. As Iran conducts these tests with various degrees of attention towards any blocking of the Strait of Hormuz (an act that many have practically proven would lead to nuclear war), the eyes of the world rest upon Trump’s reactions to such constant saber rattling.
Due to these exercises, Yahoo News reports that Trump has stated prior that Iran “was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table.” The United States president, which has been accused of being for war by the media that even Iran sees as corrupt, has actually been doing nothing but warning the terrorist funding nation, but this could change overnight if Iran continues.
What is also alarming is that just like Hitler promised to fight evil while conquering nations like Poland who did not want them invading, so it is that Iran promises to fight terror by conducting these drills. Iran has been found guilty by virtually every nation in the world of sponsoring groups who bomb children and longs for the death of the U.S. and Israel even during times of (what passes for) peace. That means that these drills are only for planned use against those who Iran considers terrorists, which may or not be terrorist cells at all. Though certain groups that threaten Iran are also enemies of America, more often than not, Iran is prone to attack those who are trying to oppose Iran’s terror.
Therefore, when Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says, “Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy,” it may sound like a noble set of drills. Since Iran is the stated enemy of every ideal and influence that is not Sharia Islam however, what they consider “terror” will be anyone who allows a woman to drive a car or opposes the oppressive Iranian regime.
Trump has not moved to topple or change any leader in any country, but if it grows to a point to where he has no choice, no one should be surprised if he does at some point act. He has, after all, called himself a counter puncher, by nature. The reason that he may be forced to act is because America has allowed itself ever so foolishly and at great potential peril to every citizen to trust our energy needs to madmen in nations that detest us. While enough oil sits under Texas (and Alaska) to fuel America for quite some time, we tie our own hands with restrictions and lies about climate change instead. It seems that the planet only warms if America drills for oil, not when Iran does it, so we buy from them.
Millions and millions of barrels of oil coast through the Strait of Hormuz every day, having a direct result on both the United States and most of Asia. These are deals and travel rights that Iran has made with the world, and like their nuclear deal, defied the terms therein. Navy vessels, helicopters, and underwater subs will take part in the war games, which will cover an almost unimaginable 772,000 square miles. It will demonstrate the prowess of the Iranian skill, according to state news agency IRNA.
There is no word yet on how this will affect The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet, which is in these waters protecting the shipping lanes. While piracy is still far more active than one would expect in 2017, America has already proven itself quite valuable in fighting piracy, so this drill would likely include America. It is also recalled that last month the United States were forced into firing upon fast attacking Iranian ships that closed in with a high rate of speed, much like Russia buzzing American warships.
As this carries onward, Iran would be wise to not mistake the president’s “quick with words and slow to action” response as lackadaisical of overly slow handed. Donald Trump will at some point be forced to do something, especially if this carries to the point to where energy issues become apparent. If we do avoid military actions with Iran then this should be seen as the dodging of a bullet from a machine gun. The time to start drilling and producing our own energy was about ten years ago, at least. The time to start making up the oversight is now.
Iran has staged a large scale military drill over a 2 million sq. kilometre area along the country’s southeastern coast.
The final phase of operation “Velayat-e 95” began Sunday, with Iranian naval forces staging war games from the mouth of the Persian Gulf to the north of the Indian Ocean.
It comes at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump has put Iran “on notice” by telling the Islamic Republic to stop “playing with fire,” while U.S. naval deployment has been concentrated more on dealing with China.
Zero Hedge reports:
Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, quoted by Reuters. Today’s drill marks the last phase of war games that started in 2016, Iran’s Tasnim news agency reported. The exercise, codenamed ‘Velayat 95’, kicked off in Iran’s south following an order from Iranian Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari.
Apart from the main drills, Iran’s Navy commando units are conducting special operations in the southeastern Makran region. Last June, Sayyari said that Tehran was planning to carry out 20 military drills before March 2017. Iranian officials insist that the war games do not violate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) – the nuclear deal between Iran and the Group 5+1 signed in January of 2016.
The UN nuclear watchdog said on Saturday that Iran has been found to be in full compliance with the nuclear deal, but the report comes against a backdrop of rising tensions between Tehran and Washington.
Earlier this month, then-US National Security Advisor Michael Flynn said that “Iran had been put formally on notice” after Tehran fired a ballistic missile. Later in February, President Trump tweeted that “Iran is playing with fire,” promising that he won’t be as “kind as [former President] Obama” and warned the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table.
In response, Iran’s foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, blasted the US, saying Tehran remains “unmoved” by threats, but will use weapons “only in self-defense.” Last month, a US Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian military ships that were allegedly approaching them at high speed near the Strait of Hormuz.
The latest US naval deployment shows that while the South China Sea has been a recent focus of the US navy, the only US ship in the region is the LHD 8 Makin Island Amphibious Ready Group, although the George H.W. Bush aircraft carrier is currently headed for the region.
Iran launched naval drills at the mouth of the Gulf and the Indian Ocean on Sunday, a naval commander said, as tensions with the United States escalated after U.S President Donald Trump put Tehran “on notice”.
Since taking office last month, Trump has pledged to get tough with Iran, warning the Islamic Republic after its ballistic missile test on Jan. 29 that it was playing with fire and all U.S. options were on the table.
Iran’s annual exercises will be held in the Strait of Hormuz, the Gulf of Oman, the Bab el-Mandab and northern parts of the Indian Ocean, to train in the fight against terrorism and piracy, Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said, according to state media.
Millions of barrels of oil are transported daily to Europe, the United States and Asia through the Bab el-Mandab and the Strait of Hormuz, waterways that run along the coasts of Yemen and Iran.
Navy ships, submarines and helicopters will take part in the drills across an area of about 2 million square kilometers (772,000 square miles) and marines will showcase their skills along Iran’s southeastern coast, the state news agency IRNA said.
The U.S. Navy’s Fifth Fleet is based in the region and protects shipping lanes in the Gulf and nearby waters.
Last month, a U.S. Navy destroyer fired warning shots at four Iranian fast-attack vessels near the Strait of Hormuz after they closed in at high speed. The vessels belonged to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards which are not participating in the current war games.
Trump said earlier this month that “Iran has been put formally put on notice” for firing a ballistic missile, and later imposed new sanctions on Tehran.
(Reporting by Dubai newsroom; Editing by Sami Aboudi/Keith Weir)
Israel considers Iran to be its biggest Middle Eastern enemy. Because Iran has maintained that Israel should end its aggression and grant the people of Palestine their freedom, the Israelis claim Iran is interfering in their internal affairs.
The protracted conflict between the Israelis and the Palestinians is an international concern. Therefore, speaking against aggression on behalf of the Palestinians is in no way interfering in the internal affairs of the country, nor is it committing heinous crimes.
Since Donald Trump took office, tension has mounted between Iran and Israel, and Iran and the United States. The tension, some say, is because Israel wants to influence Trump into starting a war between the United States and Iran.
Before the Obama administration left office, it reached a nuclear deal, together with five other world powers and Iran. As part of the deal, Iran agreed to reduce the number of its centrifuges by two-thirds, cap its uranium enrichment below the level needed for weapons-grade material, reduce its enriched uranium stockpile by 98% from around 10,000kg to 300kg for 15 years, and allow international inspections.
In return, international sanctions against Iran, due to its nuclear activities, would be lifted. Although Israel and the United States are close allies, the latter years of the Obama administration policies with Israel left the nations tense. The Obama administration demanded that Israel end its illegal occupation on Palestinian lands without any conditions, nearly halting the relationship between the two countries.
When the Iranian nuclear deal was reached, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu openly called it a “bad deal.” The Israelis, knowing they had lost the Obama administration’s support, switched sides to help Trump secure the White House – since they believed Hillary Clinton was likely to follow the foreign policy left by Mr Obama.
Trump himself also criticized the Iran nuclear deal when he campaigned for the presidency, promising to tear it up if elected. He called it “disastrous” and the “worst deal ever negotiated.”
Speaking at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee conference during his campaign, Trump said his number one priority was to dismantle the deal once he got into office.
Having Trump on their side, the Israelis are now planning to use the United States to spark a war with Iran. Israel’s influence on the Trump administration is so great that it has set the United States at odds with Iran.
In February, James Mattis, the United States Defense Secretary, called Iran the single biggest state sponsor of terrorism in the world. President Trump added Iran to his ban, which was later reversed by a unanimous vote in the courts.
Among these threats, name calling and trying to ban Iranian citizens from entering the United States; the Iranians believe Israel might succeed in misleading Trump into starting a Middle Eastern war. According to the Iranians, this United States war would primarily target their country.
In response to these concerns, Iran issued a stern warning to Israel, to be careful with how it is pushing their agenda on Trump to start a conflict.
The Iranian Defense Minister, Hossein Dehghan, told state media that Trump’s election as President of the United States has led to “unease” between Iran and the United States. Mr Dehghan blamed Israel for fanning the flame of war between Iran and the United States, warning that if Trump does attack, it would allow Iran to destroy Israel with advanced weapons. He admitted this could lead to World War III.
“Enemies may want to impose a war on us based on false calculations and only taking into consideration their material capabilities. If such a war were to occur, it would mean the destruction of the Zionist regime [Israel]…and will engulf the whole region and could lead to a world war,” Dehghan said.
Mr Netanyahu and his government reportedly met to deliberate on the statement, but refused to publicly comment. Already, Israel firmly believes that Iran has developed a nuclear weapon. The warning sounded by Iran will lead to more verbal attacks from Trump. It seems clear that the Israelis have firmly secured the White House. Don’t forget that Trump’s daughter Ivanka is married to Jared Kushner—who has a Jewish decent. Kushner is now serving as a senior to his father-in-law, President Trump. He practices Modern Orthodox Judaism, and has converted Ivanka to his faith.