Iran Is Sending Elite Fighters Into The U.S. and Europe

Quds Force 01The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the country’s elite military force, is sending assets to infiltrate the United States and Europe at the direction of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, according to recent Farsi-language comments from an Iranian military leader.

 “The whole world should know that the IRGC will be in the U.S. and Europe very soon,” Salar Abnoush, deputy coordinator of Iran’s Khatam-al-Anbia Garrison, an IRGC command front, was quoted as saying in an Iranian state-controlled publication closely tied to the IRGC. He said that these forces would operate with the goal of bolstering Iran’s hardline regime and thwarting potential plots against the Islamic Republic.

 The military leader’s comments come as Iran is spending great amounts of money to upgrade its military hardware and bolster its presence throughout the Middle East and beyond. Iran intends to spend billions to purchase U.S.-made planes that are likely to be converted for use in its air force.

 Congressional leaders and others suspect that Iran has used a large portion of the cash windfall it received as a result of last summer’s nuclear agreement to upgrade its fighting capabilities war machine.

iranian-revolutionary-guard-1 “The IRGC is the strong guardian of the Islamic Republic,” Abnoush was quoted as saying. “The Fedayeen of Velayat [fighting force] are under the order of Iran’s Supreme leader. Defending and protecting the Velayat [the Supreme Leader] has no border and limit.”

 Iranian military and government officials have continued to advocate violence against the U.S. and its allies, despite the nuclear deal and several secret side agreements that gave Iran $1.7 billion in cash.

iran_rel_2001 Iran accuses the U.S. of violating its end of the agreement by not helping the Islamic Republic gain further access to international banks and other markets.

Iran’s frustration over this has led to further accusations about a U.S. plot to foster unrest in the country.

 “Our enemies have several projects to destroy our Islamic revolution, and have waged three wars against us to execute their plans against our Islamic Republic,” Abnoush said. “The IRGC has defeated enemies in several fronts. The enemy surrendered and accepted to negotiate with us.”

 “And now all of our problems are being solved and our country is becoming stronger in all fronts. Some believe the holy defense ended,” the military leader added. “They are wrong; the holy defense continues, and today, it is more complicated than before.”

 Congressional sources and experts involved in tracking Iran’s increased aggression in the region and elsewhere told media sources that these most recent comments are troubling given Iran’s very public efforts to assassinate political enemies and others across the globe.

 “If we look at Iran’s previous terror attacks and assassination campaign around the world, such a statement is alarming,” Saeed Ghasseminejad, an Iran expert at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said. “The Islamic Republic has killed hundreds of Iranians and non-Iranians around the world in a coordinated campaign of terror. Iran may decide to restart the project now that many western companies are going to Iran and Iran feels its action in Europe may not be punished strongly.”

 Another source who advises congressional leaders on Iran sanctions issues said that the Obama administration is blocking Congress from taking action to stop this type of infiltration by Iranian forces.

 “Iran is ideologically, politically, and militarily committed to exporting the Islamic revolution through terrorism, which is why even the Obama administration says they’re the world’s foremost state sponsor of terrorism,” the source said. “Congress wants to act, but Obama officials keep saying that new laws are unnecessary because the U.S. has enough tools to block Iranian terror expansion. Instead of using those tools, though, they’re sending Iran billions of dollars in cash while Iran plants terror cells in Europe and here at home.”

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Iranian Revolutionary Guard unveils its 1st ‘suicide’ drone

Iran’s ‘suicide’ drone
Iran’s ‘suicide’ drone

On Wednesday, the Iranian Revolutionary Guard unveiled a drone that was built for combat targets and to execute suicide missions. The Iranians have reported that the tiny aircraft can fly a distance of 1,000 km for four straight hours. 

According to reports out of Iran, the “suicide” drone is equipped with advanced military-grade cameras that enable day-time and night-time espionage missions. It should be able to fly from a height of half a meter to 914 meters, allowing the drone to hit any target on land or at sea.

Furthermore, the Iranian drone can fly at a maximum speed of 250 km per hour and is also able to land on water. Although missiles cannot be loaded onto the drone, it can be filled with a large amount of explosives in order to carry out suicide missions.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards warn Saudis over Gulf war games

Straight of HormuzSaudi Arabia began live-fire drills on October 4, with manoeuvers also taking place in the sea of Oman and the narrow Strait of Hormuz

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards warned regional rival Saudi Arabia to stay away from Iranian waters during its military exercises in the Gulf.

“The naval forces of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps believe this military exercise is a clear instance of creating tensions and undermining the stable security of the Persian Gulf,” it said in a statement published by Iranian newspapers on Thursday.

“None of the naval vessels participating in this drill are permitted to trespass into Iranian waters and under no circumstances should they approach Iranian territorial waters,” it added.

“Any such trespassing will not be considered a harmless aberration.”

saudi-arabia-vs-iran-flag-on-mapSaudi Arabia began live-fire drills in the Gulf on Tuesday, with manoeuvers also taking place in the Sea of Oman and the narrow Strait of Hormuz that links the two — the primary route for oil exports from the region.

The Guards’ naval forces “will take proportionate and immediate action against any kind of movement, attempt or action to disrupt the peace and security of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman,” the statement added.

Sunni-dominated Saudi Arabia and Shiite Iran — which lie on opposite sides of the Gulf — severed diplomatic relations earlier this year and back opposing sides in the civil wars in Syria and Yemen.

In the past, Iran has threatened to block the Strait of Hormuz during periods of tension with Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies.

In recent months, Washington has repeatedly accused Tehran of dangerous encounters with US naval forces in and around the strategic waterway.

Christians in Iran Face Lashes for Drinking Communion Wine

A lashing is carried out in Iran.
A lashing is carried out in Iran.

Three Christian converts in Iran face a possible sentence of 10 to 100 lashes for drinking communion wine during a mass, as reported by the UK Express.

Drinking alcohol of any kind is forbidden in the Islamic Republic, which follows strict sharia law, even though it is believed that a significant percentage of the population does drink alcohol at home.

Yasser Mossayebzadeh, Saheb Fadaie and Mohammad Reza Omidi were arrested with the pastor and his wife. While the latter two were released, the three remain in prison and have been charged with “acting against national security.”

The three, who were arrested in May, are scheduled to appear in court next week and may face punishment immediately in a police station if convicted. Lashing in Iran is carried out with a three-foot long whip across the back. It is said that many people faint after eight lashes due to the pain.

Iranian Revolutionary Guards killed 2 Kurdish Peshmerga

Mohammed Alizadeh, a Kurdish rebel who is part of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan.
Mohammed Alizadeh, a Kurdish rebel who is part of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan.

According to a report by the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, 2 Kurdish Peshmerga were killed during renewed clashes with the Iranian Revolutionary Guards in the Kurdish city of Sardasht. Mohammed Alizadeh, a Kurdish rebel who is part of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan, noted that the Peshmerga defeated an ambush by the Iranian regime in Sardasht: “After the detonation of an explosive trap which consisted of some mines and mortar shells, the regime bombed the venue by artillery. The Peshmerga thwarted their bombing and the Peshmerga were distanced from the area.”

However, due to the detonation of the explosive trap, Azad Ali and Amir Qadrian, two Iranian Kurdish Peshmerga, were killed. Nevertheless, Alizadeh stressed that the Peshmerga managed to repel the Iranian regime’s shelling while they were retreating: “The Iranian regime’s casualties have not yet been confirmed. The political and legal commission of the Kurdistan Democratic Party asserts that they will continue on the path of the two sincere and valiant Peshmergas Azad Ali and Amir Qadrian.”

The Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan stresses that Iran has increased their activities along the Iran-Iraq border and has put pressure on Iraqi Kurdish groups in order to pressure Iranian Kurds to end their struggle against the Ayatollah’s regime.

Saudi Arabia and Iran accuse each other of not really being Muslim

 

Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, Islam's holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Sept. 7
Muslim pilgrims circle the Kaaba, Islam’s holiest shrine, at the Grand Mosque in the Muslim holy city of Mecca, Saudi Arabia, on Sept. 7

The Middle East’s two great geopolitical adversaries entered into a war of words ahead of the annual hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, which starts this weekend. Their rivalry, shaped by sectarian Sunni-Shia divisions, can be seen in numerous bloody proxy conflicts across the region. But it also flares up in heated rhetorical broadsides.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei
Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

The latest round began with comments from Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who in full bluster condemned the Saudis for prohibiting Iranian pilgrims from joining the hajj after talks about security and logistics collapsed. Last year’s pilgrimage was marred by the deaths of hundreds of pilgrims caught in a stampede with more than 2,000 killed, according to one unofficial tally, although the Saudis say the death toll is lower.

Khamenei ventured that the slain devotees, including many Iranian nationals, lost their lives either because of Saudi complicity or incompetence. (He errs toward the former.)

“Saudi rulers … who have blocked the proud and faithful Iranian pilgrims’ path to the Beloved’s House, are disgraced and misguided people who think their survival on the throne of oppression is dependent on defending the arrogant powers of the world, on alliances with Zionism and the U.S.,” Khamenei said in a statement posted on his official website Monday.

“The world of Islam, including Muslim governments and peoples, must familiarize themselves with the Saudi rulers and correctly understand their blasphemous, faithless, dependent and materialistic nature,” the statement went on, asserting that the kingdom’s rulers were unfit to be the custodians of Islam’s holiest sites: “Because of these rulers’ oppressive behavior towards God’s guests, the world of Islam must fundamentally reconsider the management of the two holy places and the issue of hajj.”

Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh
Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh

A day later, Saudi Arabia’s top cleric, Grand Mufti Abdulaziz Al Sheikh, fired back, dismissing Khamenei’s criticism as a feature of supposed Iranian hatred toward Sunnis. Iran’s theocratic regime sees itself as the vanguard of Shia Islam, similar to how the Saudis, practitioners of a particular orthodox Wahabist brand of the faith, style themselves as the leaders of the Sunni world.

The grand mufti pointed to the pre-Islamic history of what’s now Iran, where the bulk of population were once monotheistic Zoroastrians, and suggested that this ancient legacy still shadowed the present.

“We must understand they are not Muslims, for they are the descendants of Majuws” — a term for Zoroastrians — “and their enmity toward Muslims, especially the Sunnis, is very old,” he said.

Such language has dangerous echoes. So much of the recent bloodletting in the Middle East has been justified on arguments of apostasy and treachery to the faith. Iran and Saudi Arabia’s governments find themselves on opposite ends of wars in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Yemen — battles where the most aggressive actors frame their campaigns in sectarian terms.

Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif responded to Al Sheikh’s remarks with a tweet, linking Saudi Wahabism to the fundamentalist terrorism of the moment.

saudi-arabia-vs-iran-flag-on-mapBut the Saudis themselves cast the Iranians as international pariahs, bent on fomenting armed struggle and terrorist plots around the world. Zarif’s Saudi counterpart, Adel al-Jubeir, said in a speech last week that the regime in Tehran “is behind some of the operations threatening national security of the region.”

He added: “We wish from Iran, a great nation with great history and great people, to be able to change its policies which it built in 1979 so it can be a new member in the international community, weaving new policies with it.”

Iran Satellite Launch Prompts Fear of Long Range Ballistic Missile Attack

Map-of-Iran-in-Iranian-flag-colorsIranian officials announced last Tuesday that the country is preparing to launch three new satellites into space, renewing concerns from defense experts about Iran’s ongoing research into long-range ballistic missile technology that could help it fire a nuclear weapon at Western nations.

Mohsen Bahrami, the director of Iran’s space agency— which has long been suspected of providing cover for weapons research—announced that Iran would launch its newest satellite, dubbed “Friendship,” later this year.

“The Dousti (Friendship) satellite built by experts at Sharif University of Technology is the first satellite which will be launched in the second half of this (Iranian) year,” which began on March 20, Bahrami was quoted as saying by the country’s state-controlled press.

Defense experts and former U.S. officials said that the test is likely cover for Iran to pursue illicit intercontinental ballistic missile technology, which could enable the Islamic Republic to fire a nuclear weapon over great distances.

Efforts are also being made to launch two other satellites within the next year, according to the announcement, which has raised concerns among Western defense experts about the Islamic Republic’s pursuit of technology that would enable it to fire nuclear weapons over great distances.

“Iran has always used its satellite program as cover for developing an intercontinental ballistic missile capability. Recently, however, the Defense Ministry has also bragged that it has made its UAVs [unmanned aerial vehicles] satellite-guided in order to extend their range and bypass the need for line-of-sight control,” said Michael Rubin, a former Pentagon official and expert on rogue regimes.

This photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry, claims to show the launching Safir-e Fajr satellite carrier in an undisclosed location in Iran in 2015.
This photo released by the Iranian Defense Ministry, claims to show the launching Safir-e Fajr satellite carrier in an undisclosed location in Iran in 2015.

Iran’s interest in this technology, combined with its newfound freedom under last summer’s nuclear agreement, should raise red flags on the international stage, Rubin said.

“Add to that mix that Iran can trade and sell both technologies with North Korea in exchange for inspection-proof nuclear laboratory space,” Rubin said. “In effect, in a three-fer for the Islamic Republic, all courtesy of the noxious mix of Obama’s ambition and [Secretary of State John] Kerry’s incompetence.”

Iranian officials further disclosed over the weekend that construction had begun on an advanced satellite with remote sensing capabilities.

U.S. officials have said that Iran’s space research could be applied to the construction of intercontinental ballistic missiles, work that is prohibited under United Nations resolutions governing the nuclear agreement.

Iran’s test firing of ballistic missiles has emerged as a hot button issue in recent months as the Obama administration has worked against claims that the tests violate the nuclear deal. The Obama administration has claimed that the tests violate the agreement in spirit only.