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Breathing Life with Gary Howell

Sunday, March 2nd, 2014

Breathing Life with Gary Howell

KXXT 1010 AM

A detailed discussion on Iran, its people, the Islamic regime and its goals for the region and the world. Also discussing my story as a CIA spy in the revolutionary Guards.

March 01, 2014

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Iranian commander: We have targets within America

Monday, February 3rd, 2014

The Daily Caller

FEB 01, 2014

By: Reza Kahlili

A top commander of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards boasted Saturday that his forces have plans in place to attack the United States from within, should the U.S. attack the Islamic Republic.

“America, with its strategic ignorance, does not have a full understanding of the power of the Islamic Republic,” Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said in a televised interview. “We have recognized America’s military strategy, and have arranged our abilities, and have identified centers in America [for attack] that will create a shock.”

Reports indicate that terrorist Hezbollah forces — allies of Iran — have infiltrated the U.S. and have mapped out targets.

“We will conduct such a blow in which they [America] will be destroyed from within,” Salami said.

This is the second warning by a high-ranking officer of the Guards in two weeks. The chief commander of the Guards, Maj. Gen. Mohammad Jafari, addressing Secretary of State John Kerry, said on Jan. 24 that a direct conflict with America is the “strongest dream of the faithful and revolutionary men around the world.”

Kerry had previously said that if Iran did not live up to the agreement reached in Geneva on its nuclear program, “all options are on the table.”

“Your threats to revolutionary Islam are the best opportunity,” Jafari had said. “Muslim leaders for years have been preparing us for a decisive battle.… Do you know how many thousands of revolutionary Muslims at the heart of the Islamic revolutionary groups around the world are awaiting for you to take this [military] option from the table into action?”

Gen. Salami went further, saying the Revolutionary Guards have taken into consideration America’s military ability and different scenarios under which the U.S. could attack Iran via a limited missile or air strike, or even a ground attack.

“All operational bases of the enemy in the region in whatever capacity and location are within our firepower,” Salami warned. “The American military option does not make a difference for us, and they can use this option, but they will have to accept the responsibility of devastating consequences.”

Salami asked whether America could control the spread of any war with the Islamic Republic: “Can they preserve their vital interest in the region in the face of endless attacks by Iran? Can they keep their naval assets and the Zionist regime [Israel] secure?”

Salami said that with the U.S. economy and debt, America is in no position to engage Iran militarily.

The general then taunted Washington, citing Iran’s political and cultural influence in Iraq. “The current has changed for the Americans so much so that they invest [by invading Iraq] and others [Iran] benefit.”

Regarding Syria, Salami said the United States does not have the ability to interfere in a country that has been engaged in a civil war for several years.

“The Americans cannot even conduct a military operation there,” Salami said. “[T]he conditions and the factors that facilitate the exercise of military power for them have for years been destroyed and today they (the Americans) are in an erosion of political, cultural and military power.”

The general said there are thousands of brigades ready to confront America both within the Islamic Republic and outside the country. He then warned Iran’s politicians to remain strong during the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program and — based on the might of the country — not give in to U.S. demands.

Iran and the 5+1 world powers (the five permanent U.N. Security Council members plus Germany) reached an interim agreement in Geneva in November over the regime’s illicit nuclear program. Under the six-month agreement, Iran, in return for billions of dollars in sanctions relief, will keep much of its nuclear infrastructure, is limited to enriching uranium at the 5 percent level for six months, will convert its highly enriched uranium of 20 percent to harmless oxide, and will allow more intrusive inspections of its nuclear plants by the International Atomic Energy Agency, which will be limited to searching only agreed-on facilities.

Iran, which has started to implement the first phase of the Geneva agreement, acknowledged receipt of the first installment of released funds and that over $500 million has been deposited into the country’s bank account in Switzerland.

The Islamic Republic spends billions of dollars supporting the terrorist group Hezbollah, its network of terror cells around the world and the Assad regime in Syria solidifying his grip on the country.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guard and author of the award-winning book “A Time to Betray” (Simon & Schuster, 2010). He serves on the Task Force on National and Homeland Security and the advisory board of the Foundation for Democracy in Iran (FDI).

Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures

Monday, November 11th, 2013

SUPREME LEADER: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, shown at a 2009 clerical gathering, oversees an organization called Setad that has assets estimated at about $95 billion. REUTERS/Khamenei.ir/Handout

Reuters

By Steve Stecklow, Babak Dehghanpisheh and Yeganeh Torbati
Filed 

Part 1: A Reuters investigation details a key to the supreme leader’s power: a little-known organization created to help the poor that morphed into a business juggernaut worth tens of billions of dollars.

The 82-year-old Iranian woman keeps the documents that upended her life in an old suitcase near her bed. She removes them carefully and peers at the tiny Persian script.

There’s the court order authorizing the takeover of her children’s three Tehran apartments in a multi-story building the family had owned for years. There’s the letter announcing the sale of one of the units. And there’s the notice demanding she pay rent on her own apartment on the top floor.

Pari Vahdat-e-Hagh ultimately lost her property. It was taken by an organization that is controlled by the most powerful man in Iran: Supreme LeaderAyatollah Ali Khamenei. She now lives alone in a cramped, three-room apartment in Europe, thousands of miles from Tehran.

The Persian name of the organization that hounded her for years is “Setad Ejraiye Farmane Hazrate Emam” – Headquarters for Executing the Order of the Imam. The name refers to an edict signed by the Islamic Republic’s first leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, shortly before his death in 1989. His order spawned a new entity to manage and sell properties abandoned in the chaotic years after the 1979 Islamic Revolution.

Setad has become one of the most powerful organizations in Iran, though many Iranians, and the wider world, know very little about it. In the past six years, it has morphed into a business juggernaut that now holds stakes in nearly every sector of Iranian industry, including finance, oil, telecommunications, the production of birth-control pills and even ostrich farming.

The organization’s total worth is difficult to pinpoint because of the secrecy of its accounts. But Setad’s holdings of real estate, corporate stakes and other assets total about $95 billion, Reuters has calculated. That estimate is based on an analysis of statements by Setad officials, data from the Tehran Stock Exchange and company websites, and information from the U.S. Treasury Department...

Read Full Story: Khamenei controls massive financial empire built on property seizures

In The Market with Janet Parshall

Tuesday, September 17th, 2013

In The Market with Janet Parshall

Detailed discussion on the role Iran is playing in the crisis in Syria, the Iranian nuclear program and the politics by the clerical establishment to relieve sanctions enforced by the West.

(From minute 9)

September 16, 2013

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Report: Syria transported chemical weapons to Iraq

Sunday, September 15th, 2013

By JPOST.COM STAFF

09/15/2013 10:37

Lebanese daily says 20 trucks crossed into Iraq last week, bearing equipment and material used for manufacturing chemical weapons.

Bashar Assad gives an interview to Russian TV

Bashar Assad gives an interview to Russian TV Photo: Reuters

Syria has moved 20 trucks worth of equipment and material used for the manufacturing of chemical weapons into neighboring Iraq, the Lebanese daily Al-Mustaqbal reported on Sunday.

The government in Baghdad has denied allegations that it is helping the Syrian government conceal chemical stockpiles.

The report came just a day after the United States and Russia struck a deal stipulating that Syrian President Bashar Assad’s regime would destroy its chemical arsenal to avert an American military assault.

The newspaper reported that the trucks crossed the boundary separating Syria with Iraq over the course of Thursday and Friday. Border guards did not inspect the contents of the trucks, which raises suspicions that they contained illicit cargo, according to Al-Mustaqbal.

Al-Mustaqbal, a publication that has long been affiliated with anti-Syrian political elements in Lebanon, quoted a spokesperson for Iraq’s interior ministry, Saad Maan, as saying that security forces were deployed along the border and were checking all vehicles coming into the country.

“Iraq today is not Saddam Hussein’s Iraq,” he said. “It is not an Iraq which resorts to the use of chemical weapons against its own people or against its neighbors.”

“These accusations are all rumors and are useless and no one believes them,” he said.

Last week, the head of the Free Syrian Army told CNN that opposition intelligence indicated Assad was moving chemical arms out of the country.

“Today, we have information that the regime began to move chemical materials and chemical weapons to Lebanon and to Iraq,” General Salim Idriss told CNN.

“We have told our friends that the regime has begun moving a part of its chemical weapons arsenal to Lebanon and Iraq. We told them do not be fooled,” Idris told reporters in Istanbul.

“All of this initiative does not interest us. Russia is a partner with the regime in killing the Syrian people. A crime against humanity has been committed and there is not any mention of accountability.”

Russia’s Putin warns West against one-sided action on Syria

Wednesday, September 4th, 2013

Putin described claims that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons as “ludicrous.” (Reuters)

Wednesday, 4 September 2013

Al Arabiya

Amid speculation that Russia may hike military assistance to Syria should the Unites States strike, Russian leader Vladimir Putin warned the West against taking action, in comments published on Wednesday.

In an interview with The Associated Press and Russia’s state Channel 1 television, Putin said that Moscow has provided some components of the S-300 air defense missile system to Syria but has frozen further shipments.

He said that Russia doesn’t “exclude” supporting a U.N. resolution on punitive military strikes, which is being called on by U.S. President Barack Obama, if it is proved that Damascus used poison gas on its own people.

Putin described claims that the government of President Bashar al-Assad – a staunch ally of Russia – had used chemical weapons as “ludicrous.”

“From our viewpoint, it seems absolutely absurd that the armed forces, the regular armed forces, which are on the offensive today and in some areas have encircled the so-called rebels and are finishing them off, that in these conditions they would start using forbidden chemical weapons while realizing quite well that it could serve as a pretext for applying sanctions against them, including the use of force,” he said.

The Obama administration says 1,429 people died in the Aug. 21 attack in a Damascus suburb.

Infographic: Alleged chemical weapons

(Design by Farwa Rizwan / Al Arabiya English)

But Putin compared the evidence presented by Washington to false data used by the Bush administration about weapons of mass destruction to justify the 2003 invasion of Iraq.

“All these arguments turned out to be untenable, but they were used to launch a military action, which many in the U.S. called a mistake. Did we forget about that?” Putin said.

Putin said he felt sorry that President Barack Obama canceled a one-on-one meeting in Moscow that was supposed to have happened before the summit.

“President Obama hasn’t been elected by the American people in order to be pleasant to Russia. And your humble servant hasn’t been elected by the people of Russia to be pleasant to someone either,” he said of their relationship.

“We work, we argue about some issues. We are human. Sometimes one of us gets vexed. But I would like to repeat once again that global mutual interests form a good basis for finding a joint solution to our problems,” Putin said.

Earlier, General Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military’s Joint Chiefs of Staff told a Senate hearing that Russia may hike military assistance to Syria should U.S. strike.

Dempsey added, however, that this was not a reason in his view to hesitate to act.

“There is some indication that they (the Russians) have assured the regime that if we destroy something, they can replace it.”

(With AP)

FRENCH INTEL: SYRIAN REGIME LED CHEMICAL ATTACK

Monday, September 2nd, 2013

AP

By SYLVIE CORBET

— Sep. 2 2:14 PM EDT

PARIS (AP) — A French intelligence report on Monday alleged that the Syrian regime launched an attack on Aug. 21 that involved a “massive use of chemical agents” and could carry out similar strikes in the future.

The government, on its Web site, published a 9-page intelligence synopsis about Syria’s chemical weapons program that found that at least 281 deaths could be attributed to the attack in rebel-held areas outside Damascus. The analysis based that count in part on dozens of videos culled by French intelligence services.

The extract said “the analysis of intelligence that we possess today leads us to estimate that on Aug. 21, 2013, the Syrian regime launched an attack on some areas of the Damascus suburbs held by opposition units, bringing together conventional means and the massive use of chemical agents.”

President Francois Hollande has backed a call from President Barack Obama for a military strike against Syrian President Bashar Assad’s government in retaliation for the chemical attack.

Prime Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault hosted lawmakers, his defense and foreign ministers and intelligence and security officials Monday to discuss Syria.

France is “determined to take action against the use of chemical weapons by the regime of Bashar Assad, and to dissuade it from doing so again,” Ayrault said after the meeting. “This act cannot go without a response.”

Ayrault added that France would not act alone and that Hollande was “continuing his work of persuasion to bring together a coalition as soon as possible.”

The intelligence estimate also said it didn’t appear to be the first time that chemical weapons were used in Syria this year. It said French intelligence services had collected urine, blood, soil and munitions samples from two attacks in April — in Saraqeb and Jobar — that confirmed the use of sarin gas.

“These past events and the simultaneous and massive use of chemical agents in the night of Aug. 21, 2013 in the Damascus suburbs confirm that the Syrian regime deliberately crossed a line,” it said. “Our services have information … leading us to believe that other actions of this nature could be carried out again.”

France’s parliament is to debate Syria on Wednesday but no vote is scheduled. The French constitution doesn’t require such a vote for Hollande to be able to authorize military action.

___

Eds: Jamey Keaten in Paris contributed to this report.

Iran boosts advanced uranium enrichment capacity: IAEA

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

By Fredrik Dahl

VIENNA | Wed Aug 28, 2013 9:25am EDT

(Reuters) - Iran has installed about 1,000 advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges and is set to test them, a U.N. nuclear report showed, a development likely to worry Western powers hoping for a change of course under the country’s new president.

The International Atomic Energy Agency’s quarterly report – the first since relative moderate Hassan Rouhani won Iran’s June presidential election – also said the Islamic state had started making fuel assemblies for a reactor which the West fears could yield nuclear bomb material. Iran denies any such aim.

On the other hand, Iran’s most sensitive nuclear stockpile has grown little – remaining below its arch-enemy Israel’s stated “red line” that could provoke military action – since the previous IAEA report in May. Iran’s possible restraint here could buy time for more negotiations with six world powers.

The report showed Iran continuing to press ahead with its disputed nuclear program at a time when the outside world is waiting to see if Rouhani will increase transparency and reduce confrontation in Iran’s foreign policy, as he has pledged.

However, envoys accredited to the IAEA had cautioned against reading too much into the latest inspectors’ report as it mainly covered developments before Rouhani took office on August 3, replacing the conservative hardliner Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

Iran says its nuclear energy program is for electricity generation and medical uses only. It has rejected Western accusations that it trying to develop the capability to produce nuclear bombs, despite having hidden sensitive activities from U.N. non-proliferation inspectors in the past.

Obtained by Reuters on Wednesday, the IAEA report said Iran had fully installed a total of 1,008 new-generation centrifuges at the underground Natanz complex and was planning to test their performance ahead of feeding them with uranium material.

Iran, it said, had further completed preparatory work for installing about 2,000 other advanced centrifuges, which experts say could boost the rate of refinement by two- or three-fold.

The report also said Iran had begun making nuclear fuel for its planned Arak heavy-water research reactor but had postponed its commissioning beyond the planned first quarter of 2014.

That delay could come as a relief to Western leaders as they are concerned the Arak complex could offer Iran a second path to weapons-grade fissile material by churning out plutonium.

Iran denies any such intention, saying the Arak facility is to produce isotopes for agriculture and medicine.

Israel has threatened to attack Iran if diplomacy fails to rein in its program and it amasses enough medium-enriched uranium to make a nuclear weapon, if processed further.

But the election of Rouhani, who served as chief nuclear negotiator under Ahmadinejad’s reformist predecessor, Mohammad Khatami, has raised cautious Western hopes of breaking the prolonged, increasingly volatile deadlock in the negotiations.

(Editing by Mark Heinrich)

The John Batchelor Show

Wednesday, August 28th, 2013

The John Batchelor Show

Reza Kahlili, author, A Time to Betray, information from Tehran on Syria, first that they think it’s propaganda; that at most several missiles will be launched, but they’re making serious threats: should this be for changing the regime or balance of power then Israel, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Turkey, are all on the table.  Also discussion on Rowhani and his coming trip to the US for the annual UN meeting.

August 27, 2013

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Former US Diplomat in Iran for Talks on Syria

Monday, August 26th, 2013

ABC News

TEHRAN, Iran August 26, 2013 (AP)

Former top U.S. diplomat Jeffrey Feltman has arrived in Iran for talks on Syria and Egypt, his second visit to Tehran in a year as top U.N. envoy.

Feltman is now the U.N. Under-Secretary-General for Political Affairs. He previously served as U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Near Eastern Affairs until May of last year.

Iran’s state TV showed Feltman meeting Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, saying the two discussed regional issues including Syria.

Feltman visited Iran last September, accompanying U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-Moon to a non-aligned movement summit in Tehran. He is the highest-ranking American diplomat to visit Iran since the 1979 Islamic revolution toppled the pro-Western Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi and brought clerics to power.

Al-Qaeda Vowed to ‘Change the Face of History’

Friday, August 23rd, 2013

Yemen’s president: A vow by Al-Qaeda to carry out an attack that would “change the face of history” led to closures of Western embassies.

israelnationalnews.com

By Elad Benari, Canada

First Publish: 8/24/2013, 12:05 AM

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri

Al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri
AFP photo

A vow by Al-Qaeda to carry out an attack that would “change the face of history” was behind this month’s closures of Western embassies, the president of Yemen revealed Friday, according to Reuters.

In the first public disclosure by a government leader of details of the intercepted call that prompted the U.S. alert,President Abd-Rabbu Mansour Hadi said that Nasser al-Wuhayshi, head of Al-Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula, made the pledge to al-Qaeda leader Ayman al-Zawahiri on July 29.

Many U.S. and other Western diplomatic missions in the Middle East, Africa and Asia closed temporarily as a precaution.

Wuhayshi spoke by phone with Zawahiri, who is believed to be based in Pakistan, while attending a meeting of 20 Al-Qaeda leaders in Yemen’s Maarib province, Hadi said.

“When I was in Washington, the Americans told us that they had intercepted a call between Ayman al-Zawahiri and Wuhayshi, in which Wuhayshi told Zawahiri that they would carry out an attack that would change the face of history,” the president told police cadets in remarks which state television aired on Friday.

“I told the Americans this would be in Yemen,” he said, apparently reflecting a belief among some analysts that AQAP lacks the ability to launch big attacks outside the country.

Hadi added that two cars, each carrying seven tonnes of explosives, were later identified in Yemen by security forces.

The first, intended to attack the Mina al-Dhabba oil terminal in southeast Yemen, was destroyed.

The second car was headed for the capital Sanaa and is still unaccounted for, though Hadi said authorities had arrested the cell which was in charge of smuggling it into the city.

“This made them (the Americans) scared and they closed their embassies in the whole region, because they heard Wuhayshi say he would carry out an attack that would change the course of history,” Hadi said.

The New York Times reported recently that the Obama administration’s decision to close the diplomatic missions resulted from intercepted electronic communications in which Zawahiri ordered Wuhayshi to carry out an attack a Middle East embassy.

U.S. sources have said that while some type of message between Zawahri and AQAP was intercepted recently, there were also other streams of intelligence that contributed to the security alert.

The U.S. embassy in Sanaa reopened on August 18. It was one of about 20 U.S. embassies and consulates that closed.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American Desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)

Mangalore Refinery Resumes Iran Oil Buying as Insurance Sought

Tuesday, August 20th, 2013

Bloomberg

By Debjit Chakraborty, Siddhartha Singh & Rakteem Katakey - Aug 20, 2013 3:40 AM PT

Mangalore Refinery & Petrochemicals Ltd. (MRPL) purchased its first cargo of Iranian crude since April as India prepared a 20 billion-rupee ($314 million) insurance fund to cover future imports.

The refiner, India’s biggest buyer of Iranian crude, received about 85,000 metric tons on Aug. 17, Managing Director P.P. Upadhya said in a phone interview today from Mangalore. The company has ordered three more shipments of a similar size, he said, without stating delivery schedules.

“This is the first cargo we’ve got from Iran this financial year and we’ll see how many more we can import in the rest of the year,” Upadhya said. “The same ship has returned to Iran and will bring the additional cargoes.”

The purchase follows comments from Finance Minister Palaniappan Chidambaram on Aug. 12 that India plans to import crude from Iran without breaching United Nations sanctions. The U.S. and European Union are seeking to curb global trade with the Persian Gulf nation to halt its nuclear program, which they say is aimed at producing weapons. Iran says the program is for civilian purposes.

India is planning the insurance fund to cover refiners buying crude from Iran, according to Financial Services Secretary Rajiv Takru. It will be managed by General Insurance Co. and an initial amount of 5 billion rupees will be offered soon, he said in an interview yesterday.

Local Insurers

Mangalore Refinery, a unit of Oil & Natural Gas Corp., India’s largest oil explorer, and Hindustan Petroleum Corp. (HPCL), the nation’s third-biggest state-refiner, halted crude purchases from Iran in April after Indian insurers declined to cover refineries that process the oil.

“We’ve haven’t started imports from Iran and we won’t until the insurance issue is fully resolved,” said B.K. Namdeo, the director for refineries at Hindustan Petroleum in Mumbai. The company hasn’t bought any of the 1 million tons, or 20,000 barrels a day, it planned to import this year, he said. It purchased 2.2 million tons in the year ended March 31.

Mangalore Refinery’s shares rose 5 percent to 28.55 rupees, the biggest gain since June 28, at the close of trading in Mumbai today. The benchmark S&P BSE Sensex index slid 0.3 percent.

Iran’s Asian customers, including China and South Korea, have won waivers from the U.S. allowing imports of Iranian crude because they were able to show purchases had been curbed. While India has abided by several rounds of UN sanctions on Iran, it has criticized unilateral American penalties as an infringement on the Persian Gulf nation’s sovereignty.

India Economy

India imports about 80 percent of its oil, swelling the country’s current-account deficit, which in turn is hurting efforts to revive economic growth from its slowest pace in a decade and weakening the rupee. The currency is the worst performer in the Asia-Pacific region this year, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

India imported about 7.2 percent of its crude from Iran in the past fiscal year, down from about 11 percent in the previous 12-month period, according to the oil ministry.

Iran has dropped to sixth place, from second a year ago, among the largest oil producers in the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries. It pumped 2.56 million barrels a day last month, according to data compiled by Bloomberg.

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