The Indian Point Nuclear Disaster (Revelation 6:12)

Letters to Editor

Letter: Indian Point Pipeline

By Site Editor

March 06, 2020

Every step of the fossil-fuel process, from extraction, transportation to its end use, burning it, and releasing carbon is destroying our planet and putting our health and lives at risk.

A report released by the Office of the Inspector General of the Nuclear Regulatory Commission on Feb. 26 showed how agency staff misled the public and others about the safety of building a massive, 42-inch, high-pressure gas pipeline under the property of Indian Point to carry fracked gas to Canada for export. It’s yet another gross example in a long list of fossil-fuel companies putting their profit before our lives — 20 million lives to be precise — and our government failing to protect us.

In the words of NRC Commissioner Jeff Baran, the inspector general “found multiple significant problems with how the NRC staff analyzed the safety of siting a new natural gas pipeline underground near the Indian Point nuclear power plant. That’s totally unacceptable. The staff needs to explain how they are going to make this right.”

While Gov. Andrew Cuomo, U.S. Sens. Chuck Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand and U.S. Rep. Nita Lowey each opposed construction of the Algonquin Incremental Market (AIM) Pipeline expansion in 2015, none took decisive action to stop it. Now, what elected officials, safety experts and grassroots environmental organizations have been saying for years has been proven true.

Enbridge Energy Partners, the company that operated the pipeline, cannot be allowed to put our safety in jeopardy for its profits. The pipeline must be shut down immediately until public safety can be ensured. Enough is enough.

Gov. Cuomo should direct the relevant agencies to exert their powers to protect the people of New York state by seeking an injunction to halt the flow of gas under Indian Point.

Krystal Ford, Garrison

In a statement, Sandy Galef, whose state Assembly district includes Philipstown, called for the pipeline to be shut down and the NRC to hold public hearings. “Such reckless behavior demands accountability,” she said.

The Antichrist’s Men Are Getting More Aggressive in Iraq

The PMU Is Getting More Aggressive in Iraq

Since the assassination of Qassem Suleimani, Shiite militias like the PMU have taken on a new role in Iraq.

Seth J. FrantzmanApril 7, 2020, 10:50 AM

Protesters chant slogans as they walk past a pro-Kataib Hezbollah billboard during an anti-government demonstration in Basra, Iraq, on Jan. 17. Hussein Faleh/AFP/Getty Images

In January, Muqtada al-Sadr, the leader of Iraq’s largest political party, traveled to Iran’s holy city of Qom to meet with representatives of several Iraq-based paramilitaries from the hugely influential Popular Mobilization Units (PMU). That visit was part of an attempt by Sadr to position himself as the face of public anger directed against the United States over the assassination of Iranian military commander Qassem Suleimani.

Sadr is an important figure in Iraq not only because of his ties to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei but also because members of his Saraya al-Salam militia turned out in significant numbers to protect anti-government protesters against Iraqi security forces, including the PMU, last year. The death of Suleimani caused pro-Iranian paramilitaries to flex their muscles by clashing more openly with U.S. troops, which could be a sign that the PMU is reimagining its future role in Iraq. Sadr’s intervention now makes the PMU’s ascendance undeniable. While he tried to navigate the wave of popular protest last year, he has hedged his influence with the PMU this year, illustrating that the organization cannot be sidelined.

The PMU’s engorged status is rooted in the war against the Islamic State. At the outset of the conflict, the powerful Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali Sistani issued a fatwa that rallied more than 100,000 young men to join the organization. Most of the volunteers were Shiites, but groups of Sunnis, Christians, and Yazidis also formed their own units under the PMU umbrella. At its core, the PMU is a sectarian organization whose leaders see themselves as allies in Iran’s broader geopolitical ambitions.Sadr’s intervention now makes the PMU’s ascendance undeniable.

Many of the PMU militias have roots in older organizations, such as the Badr Organization, led by Hadi al-Amiri. Amiri had served alongside Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in the 1980s fighting Saddam Hussein’s regime. Like Sadr, Amiri and his organization were seen as more moderate than other Shiite militias. For instance, the more radical Asaib Ahl al-Haq split from Sadr’s movement and targeted U.S. forces after 2006.

The PMU’s presence in Iraq ballooned during the war against the Islamic State, giving it large numbers of armed men and some 50 brigades that wanted to play a major role in the social, military, and economic life of the country. I saw this on the roads around Mosul in 2017. As the city’s environs were liberated from the Islamic State, the flags of various Shiite militia groups went up at checkpoints outside the city, a typical sight across Iraq. The groups had their own munitions warehouses as well and allegedly had their own prisons.

The PMU reached a turning point in 2017 and 2018, when it was integrated into the Iraqi security forces as an official paramilitary force. That could have meant standardizing its units and blurring the line between the various militias and the regular armed units, but instead the PMU solidified its status as a distinct organization within the country. The brigades preserved their sectarian and political links to various former militias. Then-Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi defended the role of the PMU in 2017 when U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson urged the militias to return home. He said they would become the hope for the future of Iraq.

As tensions between Iran and the United States escalated beginning in May 2019, so too did those between U.S. troops in Iraq and the PMU. Both sides traded attacks, including more than a dozen PMU rocket attacks targeting important bases such as Camp Taji, Ayn al-Assad, Q-West, and K-1 near Kirkuk, where a U.S. contractor was killed. The latter action sparked a U.S. airstrike on five Kataib Hezbollah positions in Iraq and Syria and the strike that killed Suleimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, the deputy chief of the PMU. Further rocket attacks eventually led to an attack on March 11 that killed three members of the U.S.-led coalition and led directly to a U.S. retaliatory strike on a series of PMU-controlled warehouses on March 13. In late March, the United States withdrew from many of the bases targeted by rocket attacks, including Q-West and K-1, as various PMU group continued to make threats to remove the U.S. troop presence.The anti-government protests opened an opportunity for the PMU to test its own clout in the country.

Coinciding with these events has been an outburst of tension between protesters and the Iraqi government. In late November, after numerous protesters were killed in clashes with local authorities, Sadr called for the next prime minister to be chosen by popular referendum. He issued several further statements in support of the protesters, all of which helped lead to the ouster of Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi in November. Sadr has since rescinded his support for the protesters, but his influence during that critical moment is still felt.

The anti-government protests also opened an opportunity for the PMU to test its own clout in the country, and it was openly implicated in suppressing the protests. Its opposition to the protests likely stemmed from its belief that they represented a fundamental threat to its newfound power. The PMU was in the ascendant after the war against the Islamic State, and it hoped to entrench itself in Iraqi society thereafter, but the protests were broadly reflective of a younger generation that wanted sweeping change to a system that, by that time, served the PMU’s interests. Protesters targeted PMU offices as well as some Iranian consulates and other symbols linked to the PMU.

The increasing role of Sadr and the PMU during the protests is a significant development in Iraqi politics because it signals a gradual shift in power away from the civil government and toward actors that are not only unaccountable to the public but also feel they owe more allegiance to Iran’s broader ambitions than to the Iraqi government, as is the case with many factions in the PMU.

In the aftermath of the Suleimani and Muhandis killings, the PMU chose to temporarily restrain its activities in the country, but Sadr continued to foment trouble by calling for large protests against U.S. troops in Iraq.

Sadr’s politicking is one of several challenges the PMU must reconcile with. Suleimani’s death signaled the loss of a key ally in Iran that could jeopardize the organization’s unity and relationship with Tehran. Further, Muhandis’s death resulted in the loss of a significant degree of institutional and tactical knowledge that will be difficult—if not impossible—to replace. With the specter of social and political unrest in Iraq growing and the PMU’s future in the country in doubt, the organization has important decisions to make regarding its future.The PMU could choose to continue to channel the groundswell of popular anger against the United States over its own role in Iraq.

The PMU could choose to continue to channel the groundswell of popular anger against the United States over its own role in Iraq. This might convince the Trump administration to pursue a political arrangement incorporating the varied interests in Iraq (which would include a troop withdrawal), similar to the deal it recently struck in Afghanistan. Alternatively, it could cause Washington to dig in as part of its efforts to counter Iran, which could serve as part of a broader effort by the PMU to take a greater stake in Iraq’s political and military affairs.

Because the PMU is both part of the security forces and is linked to prominent religious and political leaders, it now plays a key role in many aspects of Iraqi civil society. The role that some factions of the PMU played in suppressing the protests, its attempt to force U.S. troops out of the country, and its attempt to influence the appointment of a new prime minister show that it has become a central force in Iraq’s political and security fabric. As the PMU takes on a greater role in Iraqi society, it could eventually expand its influence to resemble that played by the IRGC in Iran. Its role already surpasses the one played by Hezbollah in Lebanon because it has been officially incorporated into the security forces.

As this happens, the PMU must also decide if it will take a more independent path or if it will continue to implement policies that serve Iran’s interests. This is a critical crossroads because if the PMU serves only Iran’s interests, it will rub up against large sections of the public and potentially come into conflict with either the United States or other groups in Iraq. As the country looks to an uncertain future, it is unlikely that the PMU will be content with settling into a role subservient to the security forces and disentangled from politics or, more importantly, from Iran.

Seth J. Frantzman is the author of After ISIS: America, Iran and the Struggle for the Middle East. He has covered the Middle East for the Jerusalem Post, Defense News, and other publications. Twitter: @sfrantzman

Diplomacy Won’t Happen (Revelation 8 )

Diplomacy is the key

Ashok K Mehta

Surgical strikes after Uri and at Balakot have not ended terrorism and infiltration has increased despite lockdown. The post-COVID-19 environment may provide a window to restart process

For Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the use of surgical strikes has become the new-normal in resolving intractable problems like cross-border terrorism, black money and Jammu & Kashmir. After Balakot, the airstrikes appear to have turned the page in terrorism but in real terms, little has changed. Black money has altered the “colour” and “terrorism” is just on “pause.” The new invisible enemy is COVID-19. Not even a nuclear strike will conquer this pandemic, which only time, more human lives and a vaccine can cure. Preliminary studies are showing how Coronavirus will change the way we live and cohabit. One can only hope that our existential difficulties with Pakistan will ease and end.

The Government and the Indian Air Force (IAF) celebrated February 26 as the first anniversary of Balakot. Exaggerated claims were made to perpetuate the ones made last year without new evidence and factoring the Pakistani perspective. It is too early to begin rewriting the doctrine and call the airstrikes as “game-changer.” Claims on behalf of the IAF have been made mainly by former Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal BS Dhanoa, through interviews and parts of an internal IAF report that were leaked to the media. His successor, Air Chief Marshal RKS Bhadauria, simply reinforced Dhanoa’s claims through the same medium at a public event titled, ‘Air Power in No War No Peace Scenario,’ organised by the Centre for Air Power Studies, which was presided by Defence Minister Rajnath Singh.

The Pakistan Air Force (PAF)’s perspective came from a conference held at the University of Lahore, which was jointly organised by the Centre for Security Strategy and Policy Research and the Centre for Aerospace and Security Studies (CASS). The event was attended by former PAF Chief of Air Staff, Air Chief Marshal Kaleem Saadat. A report was published in the British Air Force magazine by Alan Warnes through his interviews with retired PAF officers. The PAF’s response to the IAF air strikes was called “Operation Swift Retort.”

On the most provocative, emotional and in India even anti-national question of hitting the target, the IAF has stuck to its claim that it hit the target, though the Crystal Maze 142M missile, which was to produce battle damage assessment, could not be fired. Last year, among others who expressed doubts whether the IAF missiles were on target, was Ashley Tellis of the US’s Carnegie Endowment and Christine Fair of Johns Hopkins University. The Air Force magazine was more direct: Bombs aimed at a religious boarding school at Balakot…hit wooded area a few hundred metres away…all bombs overshot their targets. The CASS report refers to the mishit as “tactical error and technical inadequacy.” Even so, this was the first time after the 1971 war that the IAF bombed Pakistan at Balakot. Perhaps carried away, Bhadauria described the bombings as “the most significant air action of the IAF in over four decades.” That was a bit unkind to the IAF veterans, who took part supporting the Indian Peace Keeping Force (IPKF) in Sri Lanka for 22 months, and the sterling precision IAF bombings at Kargil for over three months.

Bhadauria further said that Balakot has shown that you can use the IAF and still have “escalation control.” He was backed by Army Chief, Gen MM Naravane, who said: “For years we were told that if and when air (force) crosses the International Border (IB), it would escalate to a full-fledged war. Balakot demonstrated that if you play the escalatory game with skill, military ascendancy can be established in short cycles of conflict that do not necessarily lead to war.” Elementary, my dear Watson?

In his paper on air escalation control circulated by the US’ Stimson Centre in 2003 after Operation Parakram, IAF’s Air Commode, Ramesh Phadke, argued that limited air operations against Pakistan in Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (PoK) were possible with minimal escalation. Reason: IAF to PAF air balance ratio at that time was nearly 2.5 to 1. Today, that ratio has declined to less than 1.3 to 1 (IAF 28 squadrons versus PAF 21 squadrons). The CASS report further says that the probability of crisis recurrence between India and Pakistan is high and during a crisis, neither side will be able to guarantee controlling or dominating the escalation ladder.

PAF Air Chief Marshal Mujahid Anwar Khan told the Air Force magazine that one lesson for India is not to use air power “flippantly.” He said  Operation Swift Retort was inevitable to demonstrate both the resolve and restraint and was designed to de-escalate. Pakistan has found wriggle room in explaining its nuclear bluff being called. The CASS report titled, “Deconstructing Balakot” reads: “Pakistan’s carefully calibrated response strategy served well in dampening the fears in policy analysis that portray that any attack inside Pakistan’s territory would invoke Pakistan’s nuclear threshold. However, Pakistan, through its retaliation, Operation Swift Retort after Indian strikes in Balakot, demonstrated that it has valid conventional means of deterrence to raise the cost of aggression.”

As someone who has studied Pakistan’s military and strategic thought, I do not recall Pakistan seriously threatening the use of nuclear weapons against an enemy airstrike. The four conditions for that were clearly codified by Lt Gen Khalid Kidwai, the intellectual custodian of Pakistan’s nuclear arsenal. He had said — and that has not changed till  date — that Pakistan would use its nuclear weapons as weapons of ultimate resort in four eventualities: Loss of large territory, especially in Punjab; crippling military attrition; economic blockade; and largescale political destabilisation. None of these conditions was violated by the Balakot airstrikes.

One year on, AFM has said  that PAF will be outnumbered but will innovate to outmanoeuvre the IAF. It does not matter what technology the IAF gets, the PAF will have the capacity to defeat it. CASS has said that for the foreseeable future, it will be in retaliatory mode but the threat of the use of force is essential when Pakistan’s support for Kashmir will go beyond political, diplomatic and moral paradigm. Kashmir has been made central to crisis and conflict.

Balakot airstrikes had the potential to escalate and spin out of control. One single factor that enabled the daring and risky operation was a strategic surprise. This is not likely to be replicated. Airstrikes are not the new-normal but a one-off like the ground surgical strikes. Surgical strikes after Uri and at Balakot have not ended terrorism. Infiltration has increased despite lockdown and unprecedented troop density in Jammu & Kashmir.

Pakistan’s support for Kashmir will not cease and despite the internal constitutional changes in Jammu & Kashmir, the dispute will ultimately have to be resolved politically. The post-COVID-19 environment may provide a window to restart the process.

(The writer, a retired Major General, was Commander IPKF South, Sri Lanka and founder member of the Defence Planning Staff, currently the Integrated Defence Staff.)

The French Nuclear Horn Puts Pressure on Iran (Daniel 7)

French President Macron asks Iran to respect nuclear obligations – Republic World

April 07, 2020 16:38 IST

Suspected activities

In December 2019, IAEA Director-General Mariano Grossi had said that the nuclear watchdog will take “firm and fair” approach towards inspection of nuclear facilities in Iran. “An inspector is not a friend. He’s someone who comes and needs to ascertain the facts without bias, without agenda, in an objective and impartial way,” said Grossi.

IAEA is seeking access to sites which has been referred by Israel as the “atomic archive” of information on Iran’s nuclear program. In November 2019, Iran’s nuclear program head Ali Akbar Salehi declared that Tehran had been producing more low-enriched uranium on a daily basis after it restarted an underground lab in Fordow.

Salehi, who heads the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), had said that Iran was producing at least 5.5 kilograms of low-enriched uranium, which is almost 12 times what the country had been producing before the underground lab started. Iran had claimed that its nuclear program was for peaceful purposes as it has been facing severe sanctions on the economic front after US President Donald Trump pulled out of the JCPoA

The Bowls of Wrath Still Tick (Revelation 16)

The Bomb Still Ticks

A review of Fred Kaplan, “The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War” (Simon & Schuster, 2020).

***

“Nuclear books don’t sell,” a New York book editor advised not long ago. “To have a chance, you would have to feature a really interesting central character.” Fred Kaplan’s excellent new volume, “The Bomb: Presidents, Generals, and the Secret History of Nuclear War,” will test this proposition. Plenty of characters (nearly all male) abound in his fast-paced easy-to-follow narrative: from Curtis LeMay, Robert McNamara, John Kennedy, Henry Kissinger, Richard Nixon, and so on to Barack Obama and Donald Trump. But what drives the story is an unresolvable dilemma: “[h]ow to plan a nuclear attack that [is] large enough to terrify the enemy but small enough to be recognized unambiguously as a limited strike, so that, if the enemy retaliated, he’d keep his strike limited too” (p. 120).

This question introduces Kaplan’s other protagonist: the rabbit hole. To convince an adversary that you really would nuke him, you had to convince yourself that you would keep fighting after he hit you back, until he gave up or you destroyed each other (and maybe the rest of the world). “The compelling, and frightening, thing about the logic was that once you bought into its premises, you fell into the rabbit hole; there seemed no exit” (p. 298).

This can be dismal and dense stuff, but Kaplan’s narration is so brisk and keen that you speed through it. A longtime reporter at Slate, and the author of the seminal 1983 study of nuclear deterrence and war planning, “The Wizards of Armageddon,” Kaplan knows this story well. The earlier chapters come to life through quotations from recently released White House audio files and declassified documents. The chapters on the George H.W. Bush, Obama and Trump administrations benefit vividly from extensive interviews with key aides and policymakers.

Several themes stand out.

Successive presidents are briefed about extant nuclear war plans. They are shocked by the scale of destruction and death they would cause. Presidents—via their civilian advisers—then order changes. Often they believe these changes really make a difference. Yet their successors arrive and discover that operational plans still call for more weapons to be detonated over more targets with more destruction than the new president can abide.

Henry Kissinger wrote several (famous, though overrated) books and articles on nuclear strategy before he became national security adviser in Nixon’s first term. After receiving his initial briefings on nuclear war plans, he demanded changes. Four years later, in a meeting with 15 officials from the relevant military and civilian agencies, Kissinger grumbled: “We have come to no conclusions …. What … does ‘control of escalation’ mean? … To have [as] the only option that of killing 80 million people is the height of immorality” (pp. 114-116).

Nearly 15 years later, in the Reagan administration, two young Defense Department policymakers—Franklin Miller and Gil Klinger—scrubbed the nuclear war plan in a similar attempt at reform. Klinger “drew a fifty-mile circle around [Moscow] and counted the number of weapons that were aimed at targets within the circle,” Kaplan writes. “There were 689 of them, many releasing more than a megaton of explosive power” (pp. 186-187).

Many presidents have turned to arms control to limit or reduce the costs and destructive risks of nuclear enterprise. But from Nixon onward they found that militarists in Congress, officers in the logrolling Navy and Air Force, and scientists in the logrolling nuclear weapons laboratories demanded more spending for new nuclear weapon systems in return for supporting Senate ratification of treaties. For Democratic presidents, the price was usually higher. Carter and Clinton could not secure enough senatorial votes to get the Strategic Arms Limitation Talks (SALT II) treaty and the Comprehensive Test Ban Treaty (CTBT) ratified. (The U.S. and Russia still abided by SALT II until 1986 and agreed on the Strategic Arms Reduction Treaty [START I] five years after that. The U.S. continues to abide by the CTBT’s terms today, with little prospect of ratifying it or violating its terms—a strange type of rationality).

Even Ronald Reagan and (less surprisingly) Mikhail Gorbachev could not overcome the gravitational force of the rabbit hole. At Reykjavik, in 1986, the two leaders agreed to each cut their ballistic missile stockpiles by 50 percent within five years, followed by elimination of the rest over the next five years. The catch was that the Soviets wanted the U.S. to confine testing of ballistic missile defenses (the Strategic Defense Initiative) to the laboratory for 10 years. No testing in outer space. Reagan could not agree to that; Gorbachev’s military would not let him accept anything less. And so 34 years later, the United States still does not have a reliable defense against intercontinental ballistic missiles and has entered a renewed missile arms race with Russia.

Barack Obama understood the problem. “Let’s stipulate that this is all insane,” he said at the beginning of a National Security Council meeting on nuclear policy, Kaplan writes (p. 243). But Obama also knew he lacked the political capital to overcome the resistance in Washington and Moscow and concluded he could not achieve more than was done in the 2010 Nuclear Posture Review and the New START Treaty of the same year.

Kaplan reports from the rabbit hole; he does not try to guide readers out of it. But the documents and people he quotes provide at least two clues for deciding how much nuclear weaponry and war would be too much.

When the aforementioned Franklin Miller and Gil Klinger were doing their targeting review in the late 1980s, Klinger quipped to Miller: “If (God forbid) there’s a nuclear war, and if (God forbid) you and I survive it, and if (God forbid) the Russians win, we’re going to be put on trial at Nuremberg” (p. 180). (Presumably they would have been just as guilty if the U.S. won but would not have faced trial.)

Fast forward 30 years. The Trump administration’s 2018 Nuclear Posture Review (like the Obama administration’s before it) affirms the United States’s commitment to “adhere to the law of armed conflict [in any] initiation and conduct of nuclear operations.” Yet U.S. officials never detail how this would be done. (The other eight nuclear-armed states, nota bene, are even less forthcoming.) Kaplan recounts how numerous war-planning documents declare obligatorily that these weapons are not aimed “at population per se,” or that operations would spare urban areas “to the degree practicable,” but nevertheless call for hundreds of detonations on cities (p. 176).

To move beyond false legal consciousness, we might ask whether compliance with the law of armed conflict (or at least less unnecessary human and environmental destruction) would be more likely with a smaller arsenal of lower-yield weapons that were not meant to be used in a first strike against Russian or Chinese nuclear deterrents. Of course, the U.S. would not unilaterally change its arsenal this way. But the question could guide a way out of the rabbit hole, prompting the U.S. to seek reciprocal moves from Russia, and an agreement from China not to expand its smaller and more restrained nuclear posture.

The second clue, like the dog that doesn’t bark, is the silence of nuclear policy-makers regarding the environmental consequences of nuclear war. The larger the yield and the more urban the target, the greater the risk that soot from fires will be chimneyed up into the stratosphere where it can persist and block sunlight, reducing evaporation and rain on which agriculture depends. This prospect—“nuclear winter”—was widely reported and publicly debated in the early 1980s. Kaplan ignores it because the U.S.’s (and other nuclear countries’) nuclear policy-makers have ignored it. They would reckon with it only if they were pressed to answer the question: How much is too much?

The science of nuclear winter is uncertain, so an obvious move would be for the U.S. and other states to commission scientific bodies to model the most plausible nuclear war scenarios and assess the climatologic (and other) effects. These studies could then be made available for international experts to analyze and debate. If some types of arsenals and targeting plans are not so threatening to the global food chain, this finding should be used as a benchmark for making deterrents more accountable to the interests of all humankind. (Advocates of nuclear prohibition could still make other arguments for complete disarmament.)

For all the new, often vivid details “The Bomb” offers, it brings the reader—at least this one—back to two old observations and a conclusion. First, nuclear deterrence is rational. Second, escalatory nuclear war would be murderous, suicidal and irrational. Therefore, as long as states retain nuclear weapons, the physical potential for escalation must be severely limited.

Kaplan shows in this book that the Americans and Russians who built the doomsday machine will not allow it to be dismantled. The more pertinent question is whether they could be motivated to meaningfully downsize and constrain it, as the United Kingdom and France, arguably, have done. Don’t hold your breath, but don’t look away either. Your future may depend on it.

Plague and pestilence continue to kill Iranians

Iran: Coronavirus Death Toll Rises to 19,500 in 242 Cities

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI)

6th April 2020

Over 19,500 dead of coronavirus (COVID-19) in Iran-Iran Coronavirus Death Toll per PMOI MEK sources

Regime’s aid package to 3 million impoverished families is equivalent to 12 to 36 dollars

Maryam Rajavi: The token aid given by Khamenei and Rouhani to three million deprived families is less than a day’s salary of Iraqi and Afghan mercenaries of the terrorist Quds force. The insulting gesture reflects regime fear of an uprising Khamenei controls hundreds of billions of dollars of the nation’s wealth plundered by the IRGC and other major economic institutions and can easily pay the expenses of the impoverished so that they could be quarantined.

Maryam Rajavi

@Maryam_Rajavi

· 23h

Fearing the eruption of another uprising, the regime’s supreme leader and president have considered paying subsidies to some 3 million impoverished households, a flagrant mockery in the face of the devastating blow dealt to them in the #Coronavirus outbreak #Iran

Maryam Rajavi

@Maryam_Rajavi

The amount of this subsidy is less than one day of the salary the regime pays to their Iraqi and Afghan mercenaries hired by the terrorist Quds Force. #Iran

147

12:05 PM – Apr 6, 2020

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The People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI / MEK) announced on Monday, April 6, 2020, that the Coronavirus death toll has shockingly risen to 19,500 in 242 cities across Iran. The number of victims in Tehran is 2,430, Gilan 1,700, Isfahan 1,660, Mazandaran 1,630, Khuzestan 870, Golestan 860, Alborz 730, Zanjan 370, Fars 360, Qazvin 320, East Azerbaijan 315, Ilam 160, South Khorasan 55, and Hormozgan 42.

Rouhani’s criminal instructions to send people back to work have fueled infighting among the regime’s rival factions. The Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi,  pretending (to care about people’s health), used the opportunity to attack Hassan Rouhani,   saying: “Among all, the people’s health and well-being are what matters most, and in managing (the crisis), the priority must be given to that”!

Today, Ahmad Moradi, a parliament deputy, told the state-run Mehr News Agency, “When I read the president’s remarks about labeling Hormozgan a clear (virus-free) Province, two hypotheses came to my mind, one that he was given the wrong information, and second that he made the remarks intentionally and carelessly. I think the second option is closer to reality … The president’s decision and argument are wrong a hundred percent.”

Parvaneh Salahshouri, another member of the regime parliament, told Arman state-run daily, “In the parliament, we allocated $200 million to the Quds Force in one day. Undoubtedly, in the current situation, maintaining people’s health is more important than other issues.”

Meanwhile, today, the IRGC Brigadier General Ali Shamkhani, the Supreme National Security Council Secretary, said, “The false argument of ‘economy versus health’ should not stop us. Physicians and workers are the two main pillars of the strategy to overcome the crisis.” Shamkhani’s remarks show that decision to send people back to work has been made by the entirety of the regime, including Khamenei.

On another development, today, Nahid Tajedin, a member of the regime’s parliament, warned of the labor movement’s uprising in the aftermath of the Coronavirus crisis. She said, “Coronavirus economic losses are estimated at $30 billion … Our biggest concern is that the government’s efforts to keep more than 11 million contract workers employed would not be enough … resulting in new labor movements that will endanger our economic security.”

The state-run Jahan Sanat daily wrote, “Today, the country is on the brink of collapse, and social unrest is behind the Coronavirus. The primary priority of the system should be to save the lives of millions of people and then save the economy.”

In such a situation, Rouhani announced that for three million families who make up “the impoverished and deprived sectors … We have considered four aid packages from 200,000 to 600,000 tomans [equivalent to $12 to $36].” He added that a loan of one million to two million tomans [equivalent to 60 to 120 dollars] will be given to four million low-income families but would be deducted from their subsidies in the next 24 months!

The shameful aid package is being touted while Parviz Fattah, the head of the Mostazafan (Abased) Foundation, Parviz Fatah told the state tv that Qassem Soleimani received funds from his foundation to pay 1,500 a month to the members of the regime’s Afghan proxy group Fatemiyoun in Syria.

In the meantime, today, Khamenei approved the allocation of One billion Euros from the National Development Fund. This was in response to Rouhani’s request 11 days ago to deal with the pressing situation. However, this is only a fraction of hundreds of billions of dollars owned by organizations controlled by Khamenei.

Commenting on this decision, Mrs. Maryam Rajavi, the President-elect of the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), said: The money meager aid by Khamenei and Rouhani to cover the massive blow by Coronavirus to three million deprived families is less than a day’s wage paid to Iraqi and Afghan mercenaries of the terrorist Quds force. The insulting gesture reflects the regime’s fear of an uprising. Khamenei and Rouhani have left millions of helpless Iranians without protection in the face of Coronavirus outbreak, while the wealth of the country controlled by the IRGC and its affiliates, the Mostazafan Foundation, The HQ to Execute Khomeini’s Order, Khomeini’s Relief Committee, the Martyrs Foundation, Astan-e Quds Razavi Fund, as well as other major economic organizations can easily pay the wages of workers, office employees and unemployed so that they can be quarantined.

Maryam Rajavi

@Maryam_Rajavi

· 23h

Replying to @Maryam_Rajavi

The plundered wealth of the people of #Iran compiled by the regime’s various major economic conglomerates must be immediately made available to the Iranian people. #COVID19

Maryam Rajavi

@Maryam_Rajavi

The IRGC, the Khatam-ol Anbia Construction Garrison, the Mostazafan Foundation, the Executive Headquarters of Imam Khomeini’s Directive, Khomeini’s Relief Committee, the Martyrs Foundation and Astan Quds Razavi are among the institutes which have pilfered the people of #Iran

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12:05 PM – Apr 6, 2020

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Mrs. Rajavi added that people’s wealth usurped by corrupt mullahs must immediately be put at the disposal of the Iranian people.

Secretariat of the National Council of Resistance of Iran

Hamas Threatens to Suffocate Six-Million Israelis Outside the Temple Walls

Hamas Threatens to Suffocate Six-Million Israelis

By JNS April 6, 2020 , 3:19 pm

He shall be a wild ass of a man; His hand against everyone, And everyone’s hand against him; He shall dwell alongside of all his kinsmen.” Genesis 16:12 (The Israel Bible™)

Hamas terrorists in the Gaza Strip, May 2015. (Photo: Abed Rahim Khatib /Flash 90)

(April 6, 2020 / MEMRI) Hamas leader Yahya Sinwar threatened last week that if Gazans start dying of COVID-19 due to a lack of ventilators, the terrorist group would make “six million settlers unable to breathe.”

Speaking with Hamas’s Al-Aqsa TV and Shehab News Agency on April 2, Sinwar addressed Israeli Defense Minister Naftali Bennett, who he said had a “Merchant of Venice mentality” along with the rest of Israel. Bennett should read the prophecies contained in Chapter 17 of the Book of Ezekiel, which are “about to come true for the Zionist entity,” said the Hamas leader.

“I would like to use this opportunity to say a couple of words to Zionist Defense Minister Bennett: I refer you to the Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 17, to read what awaits you, and what awaits your filthy [Zionist] entity, because the kind of language that you use can be expected only from someone who has a Merchant of Venice mentality.

“The Merchant of Venice gave people loans, and when the time came and they could not repay their debts, he started to cut off their flesh as payment for the money he had given them. This is the common practice of Bennett, and of the entire Zionist system that has occupied our land. I refer him to the Book of Ezekiel, Chapter 17, about what awaits them from this pandemic and from other things.”

Sinwar emphasized that Hamas does not need any aid from Israel to cope with the coronavirus pandemic, and has been working “day and night” towards the liberation of Palestine. The coronavirus pandemic, he said, had been sent by God as retribution for the move of the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem and because God is “not pleased about the way the things in this world are run.”

“As for the question about whether we need them to give us anything—we don’t need anything from the occupation,” he said. “But I say this loud and clear: God forbid, if a time comes when we have no choice but to watch our citizens breathe their final breaths, and when there are no ventilators—I say to Bennett that we will make six million Israeli settlers unable to breathe.”

With regard to the United States, Sinwar said the pandemic was God’s punishment for U.S. President Donald Trump declaring Jerusalem the capital of Israel.

“When I saw Trump signing his decision to allocate $2.2 trillion for the coronavirus response, I recalled how he had signed in the same manner his decision to declare Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. I said then: You and the Americans will pay the price for this unjust and criminal decision. Today, our Lord, by means of this virus, which cannot be seen by many telescopes and microscopes … This virus can only be seen by a small number of them, but it has entered all the cities of the world, where curfews have been declared, because our Lord is not pleased about the way things in this world are run.”