The Iranian Horn In Iraq (Daniel 8:4)

US officials: Up to 100,000 Iran-backed fighters now in Iraq
By Lucas Tomlinson
Published August 16, 2016
As many as 100,000 Iranian-backed Shiite militia are now fighting on the ground in Iraq, according to U.S. military officials — raising concerns that should the Islamic State be defeated, it may only be replaced by another anti-American force that fuels further sectarian violence in the region.
The ranks have swelled inside a network of Shiite militias known as the Popular Mobilization Forces. Since the rise of Sunni-dominated ISIS fighters inside Iraq more than two years ago, the Shiite forces have grown to 100,000 fighters, Col. Chris Garver, a Baghdad-based U.S. military spokesman, confirmed in an email to Fox News. The fighters are mostly Iraqis.
Garver said not all the Shia militias in Iraq are backed by Iran, adding: “The [Iranian-backed] Shia militia are usually identified at around 80,000.”
According to some experts, this still is an alarmingly high number.
The effect of the Obama administration’s policy has been to replace American boots on the ground with the Iranian’s. As Iran advances, one anti-American actor is being replaced with another,” Thomas Joscelyn, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said in a recent phone interview.
Garver said other Popular Mobilization fighters also consist of Sunni tribal fighters from Anbar and Nineveh provinces in Iraq.
Whether the force size is 80,000 or 100,000, the figures are the first-known estimates of the Iranian-backed fighters. The figure first surfaced in a recent Tampa Bay Times article and marks the latest evidence of Tehran’s deepening involvement in the war against ISIS, with the U.S. military also confirming that Russian bombers are now flying into Syria from a base in Iran. The growth also could create greater risk for Americans operating in the country, as at least one Iran-backed group vowed earlier this year to attack U.S. forces supporting the Iraqis.
Even more troubling to the U.S. military are reports that Qassem Soleimani, an Iranian general who commands the Islamic Revolutionary Guard’s Quds Force, is now on the ground outside Mosul ahead of an expected operation to retake Iraq’s second-largest city which has been under ISIS control for the past two years.
According to the Long War Journal, a spokesman for the Iranian-backed forces said earlier this month that Soleimani is expected to play a “major role” in the battle for Mosul.
When asked about Shia militias participating in the liberation of Sunni-dominated Mosul, the top U.S. military commander in Iraq said last week, “The government of Iraq is in charge of this war. We’re here to support them. So, who they [want in] the campaign is really their decision.”
A U.S. military official could not confirm Soleimani’s presence in Mosul, but said Soleimani had been seen throughout Iraq and Syria in the past two years coordinating activities.
Garver stressed Tuesday there is no coordination between the U.S. and Iranians. “We are not coordinating with the Iranians in any way, we are not working with them in any way,” he said during a press conference, adding: “However the government of Iraq comes up with the plan, we are supporting [their] plan for the seizure of Mosul.”
Last August, Fox News first reported Soleimani’s visit to Moscow 10 days after the landmark nuclear agreement in July to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and top Russian officials to plan Russia’s upcoming deployment to Syria in late September.
Soleimani is banned from international travel through United Nations Security Council resolutions. He was first designated a terrorist and sanctioned by the U.S. in 2005. In October 2011, the U.S. Treasury Department tied Soleimani to the failed Iranian plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador to the United States at a popular restaurant in Washington, D.C. Soleimani’s Quds Force is the special forces external wing of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, responsible for supporting terrorist proxies across the Middle East.
At his confirmation hearing last year, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joseph Dunford was asked how many Americans were killed by Iranian-backed forces under the command of Soleimani.
“The number has been recently quoted as about 500. We weren’t always able to attribute the casualties we had to Iranian activity, although many times we suspected it was Iranian activity even though we didn’t necessarily have the forensics to support that,” Dunford said.
The threat to American troops remains. Last month, firebrand Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — responsible for attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq a decade ago – once again called for his supporters to kill American troops.
“[U.S. forces] are a target for us,” he said on his website.
In March, one Iranian-backed group said it would attack U.S. forces after the Pentagon announced that hundreds of U.S. Marines were supporting Iraqi forces with artillery fire.
“If the U.S. administration doesn’t withdraw its forces immediately, we will deal with them as forces of occupation,” Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) said on its TV channel.
The Iranian-backed group has claimed responsibility for over 6,000 attacks against U.S. forces in Iraq since 2006 and operates under the supervision of Soleimani, according to a report by the Institute for the Study of War.
Meanwhile, there are more indications that Russia and Iran are expanding their military ties. The U.S. military has confirmed that Russian bombers flying from a base in Iran have bombed three areas in Syria.
In addition to the up to 100,000 Iranian-backed forces in Iraq, there are thousands of Iranian-backed forces in Syria as well in support of President Bashar al-Assad. Some of these Iranian-backed forces come from as far as Afghanistan and hundreds have recently died fighting Syrian rebels in the city of Aleppo, according to recent reports.
Lucas Tomlinson is the Pentagon and State Department producer for Fox News Channel. You can follow him on Twitter: @LucasFoxNews

Iran Continues Its Hegemony In Iraq (Daniel 8:3)

Tehran Is Launching Attacks on Iranian Dissidents in Iraq

Raymond Tanter | July 10, 2016

On July 4, 2016 (8:35 pm Iraqi time), over 50 missiles were fired against Camp Liberty. Because of the proximity of Tehran’s militias in range of Camp Liberty, it appears as if they were launched by those affiliated with the Quds Force of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. Damage assessment reveals that parts of the camp were completely destroyed. As many as 40 residents were injured, and astonishingly no one was killed during this massive attack.

Nevertheless, each time the oppressors of Liberty get away with attacking the camp it increases the likelihood of even more hostile assaults in the future.

Once several opponents of Iran left for safety in Iraq, Tehran sought to destroy them there. Several factors coincide to explain why Tehran is assaulting its dissidents in Iraq—members of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK), the main resistance group that rejects clerical rule, and espouses a secular, democratic, and nonnuclear Iran.

The regime is using the upcoming anniversary of the nuclear deal with Iran on July 14, 2016, as a time to crack down on its opponents. Washington has placed the deal with Tehran over the security of those aligned with the United States and have the capacity to place pressure on the regime on behalf of the Iranian people.

In 2014, Washington agreed to a four-month extension of ongoing nuclear talks until Nov. 24. This period was a time of peril for opponents of Iran because they were and are of great value in revealing intelligence about its nuclear cheating.

Contrary to Iran’s disingenuous offers to be transparent in nuclear talks of Jan. 17, 2005 and Mar. 23, 2005, MEK intelligence revealed in late 2005 that Iran may have been engaged in nuclear-related work at an underground site near the city of Qom.

Three Western allies disclosed on Sept. 25, 2009 intelligence about the Qom site during a G-8 economic summit in Pittsburgh, implicitly validating a resistance disclosure of the same site four years earlier. And by January 2012, Iran acknowledged it had begun enrichment at that heavily fortified site, now known as the Fordow Fuel Enrichment Plant.

A case of retaliation as it relates to nuclear revelations came on September 1, 2013. The organization had in previous years uncovered a number of undeclared nuclear sites and announced them in a series of press conferences, e.g., in Washington during July.

Tehran retaliated to take advantage of ongoing secret nuclear talks with Washington, which let the regime off the hook by saying very little about the assault. Yet in October 2013, the resistance disclosed additional intelligence about suspect weaponization activities by Iran. Another missile attack was waged on Camp Liberty in December 2013, killing four and wounding dozens.
On top of the upcoming nuclear anniversary, there are the deteriorating political-military situation in Iraq and Tehran’s increasing problems with its discontented population. Iran uses such moments as times to crack down on its opponents at home and abroad.

In June of 2009, the regime put down country-wide demonstrations in which dissidents tied to the MEK participated. Iraqi forces acting on behalf of Tehran then attacked MEK members located at that time in Camp Ashraf, Iraq during July of that year. Iraqis killed 13, held 36 as hostages, and only released them in October under intense international pressure.

On April 8, 2011, a day after a major nuclear revelation in Washington by the dissidents, Camp Ashraf came under a major assault by the Iraqi Security Forces, leaving 36 dead, and hundreds wounded, in what was described as “Massacre” by then Senate Foreign Relations chair, John Kerry.
A year after moving to Camp Liberty, on Feb. 9, 2013, rocket and mortar shells fell on the dissidents, killing 9 and wounding over fifty. The United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees called these attacks, “a despicable act of violence,” describing residents as asylum seekers entitled to international protection.

The Way Forward

Hark back to the nuclear deal with Iran agreed on July 14, 2015. Senators Robert Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) introduced legislation to extend the sanctions law for 10 years. Other members are exploring the possibility of introducing bills that focus on the Iranian regime’s financial infrastructure involved in terrorism, missile development, and human rights abuses.

Democrats and Republicans are unhappy with the lack of change in the behavior of the Iranian regime, are considering tougher measures. A Democratic senator who voted for the Iran deal said it is not America’s responsibility to promote foreign investment in Iran, despite efforts by Secretary of State Kerry to encourage investment there. Delaware Senator Chris Coons said on June 23, 2016, “I don’t think it’s our job to act as the chamber of commerce for Tehran.”

Nearly a year after the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement, Iranian dissidents in Iraq are more vulnerable than ever to Tehran-sponsored assaults by its militias in Iraq. To prevent them from intensifying attacks on Camp Liberty, Washington could use its diplomatic leverage with Baghdad to protect Iranian oppositionists and expedite their resettlement out of Iraq to Albania. On June 29, 2016, Senator John McCain introduced a bill (S.3114), which calls for the safety and security of Camp Liberty residents as well as their safe and the expeditious resettlement to Albania. Absent political pushback against Iranian militias from the executive branch, such congressional initiatives are a welcome path forward.

The Large Horn Continues To “Help” Itself To The Smaller Horn (Daniel 8:3)

07/06/2016 10:23 am ET | Updated 7 hours ago
  • Amb. Marc Ginsberg Fmr. U.S. Ambassador to Morocco; White House Middle East Adviser
  • As Henry Kissinger once said, Iran needs to decide whether it is “a nation or a cause.” The Ayatollah Khamenei stubbornly prefers Iran remain a “cause.”
    The record of meddlesome, terror-laden interference throughout the Middle East by Tehran is growing longer by the day. The oppressive military dictatorship may be fronted by a so-called “moderate” President Rouhani, but Iran is undeniably under the control of the Revolutionary Guards and their political hacks within the Ayatollah Khamenei’s clerical politburo. As it stubbornly clings to the cause of belligerence and revolution the regime has been resuscitated and emboldened by a nuclear agreement that has imposed nary a speed bump on its road to fulfilling its regional ambitions.
    Cases in point: the incendiary and venomous anti-Israel/anti-Semitic rhetoric emanating from the highest reaches of the regime have become more dangerous and more provocative than ever. The terror-funding money laundered cash flowing into Hezbollah and Hamas coffers has accelerated, fueled in part, from U.S. and European unfrozen asset transfers and sanctions relief. Elie Weisel’s passing was met with another Holocaust-denying tirade from several high level hardliners. The number of Iranians hanging from the gallows under President Rouhani has reached tallies higher than under his predecessor: the notorious Ahmadinejad. Oppression has escalated against average Iranians as the regime stomps hard on any effort to leverage assets relief for fear of breathing new life into Iran’s suppressed democratic movement.
    In the Middle East, Iran is waging a proxy war in Yemen against the U.S. and Saudi-backed government. Its provocative and destabilizing ballistic missile tests — intended to directly threaten Israel and our Sunni Arab allies — are deemed by the UN to be in violation of existing Security Council resolutions. And let us not forget, the “atomic ayatollahs” have never ever given up on their ambition to build a bomb; the nuclear agreement merely postpones its capacity for doing so for ten years, and will have all arms sanctions lifted against it in about 7 years.
    Ground zero on Iran’s revolutionary menu is Syria and Iraq. It is the Ayatollah’s “front line” against all of the real and imagined foes of the regime. The Revolutionary Guard is massively deployed inside Syria defending fellow Shiite Bashar al Assad, and Iranian-backed Shiite militias are deployed in ISIS battle zones in northern Iraq. If only those deployments were for the cause of peace and stability in the Middle East. They are not. On the contrary, those deployments are part and parcel of Iranian designs to prevent the emergence of a stable Iraq and to prevent a restoration of a durable UN-sponsored cease-fire in Syria.
    The Iranian government’s propaganda arm is running at warp speed warning Iranians that should Assad’s regime fall ISIS will soon be on Tehran’s doorstep. The Farsi-language media is relentlessly pounding this nonsense into every crevice of Iranian society. Iran, in other words, is figuratively and literally getting away with murder in both Iraq and Syria “in defense of Iran.”
    The regime’s apologists demand patience and excoriate those who question any effort to hold Iran accountable for these actions. Soon the regime, they argue, will inevitably bend to the winds of globalization and confront the exigencies required of a “proper” nation state. After all, Boeing just signed a major deal with Iran. More such deals will surely follow. Isn’t that evidence, they assert, that the Ayatollah’s iron grip will weaken under the weight of western investment.
    Hope springs eternal.
    A new, more moderate regime, the Iranian amen choir chant, will surely emerge. Just give it time. The great Iranian gamble is buttressed by U.S. assurances that it is doing everything possible to challenge Iran’s expansionism. Not true! What are we to make then of Secretary of State’s recent comments that Iran’s presence in Iraq to be “helpful” to American attempts to beat back the threat of ISIS, given their common enemy?
    It appears that Mr. Kerry, whose inclination is to sugar-coat anything that may give rise to criticism of Iran, has turned a blind eye to what U.S. commanders in Iraq are reporting up their chains of command to the Pentagon. Moreover, Mr. Kerry’s limited interest in the future of Iraq’s independence and integrity reflect the Obama Administration’s own indifference to Iraq’s long term future.
    Time will tell whether U.S. national security interests can sustain the gamble, but given Iran’s international and regional conduct in recent months, Mr. Kerry may need to adjust his assessment if Iraq’s future stability is of consequence to the U.S.
    U.S. commanders stationed on the ground in both the battles to liberate Falluja and Ramadi from ISIS forces have expressed alarm that rogue Iranian-commanded Shiite militias (aka The Popular Mobilization Units (PMUs)) are moving into these towns after their liberation and committing sectarian abuses against Sunnis, thus making refugee and displaced persons more sympathetic to the remnants of ISIS operatives in the region. The New York Times reported a few weeks ago that a Shiite militia leader, in a widely circulated video, was seen rallying his men with a message of revenge against the imprisoned civilians of Falluja, whom they accuse of being sympathizers of ISIS: “Falluja is a terrorist stronghold,” said Iranian-backed militia leader Aws al-Khafaji, the head of the Abu Fadhil al-Abbas militia.
    Make no mistake about it, the awful, painstaking battles being waged to liberate Iraqi territory from ISIS are intended eventually by Iran to gain more control north of Baghdad at the expense of Iraqi sectarian reconciliation and U.S. national security interest. Incorporating Iraq and Syria (as well as Lebanon) into a Shiite Crescent under the thumb of Tehran is so evident it’s as if the Ayatollah has hung out a neon light declaring it so. Is this Shiite Crescent an outcome which Mr. Kerry considers an acceptable consequence of U.S. retrenchment, inadequate strategy, and Iranian expansionism?
    As Iraq reels from a grave escalation of ISIS-inspired terrorism across the country in recent days, Iran-backed Shiite militiamen (often with the connivance of the Iraqi leadership) have used the growing chaos inside Iraq to launch a series of attacks against Iranian adversaries in Iraq, including a heinous attack yesterday against innocent civilian Iranian dissidents imprisoned against their will at Camp Liberty, wounding more than 40 residents. There is no doubt that this attack, as previous ones on Camp Liberty, are the work of Iranian controlled forces operating virtually at will, both covertly and overtly in Iraq. All the while, Iran is doing everything possible to fallaciously present itself as the ultimate and only reliable savior of the truncated Iraqi state.
    Iran’s meddling in Iraq is incessant, albeit with mixed results. Tehran’s goals are overt and evident: subjugate the central government to its whim while marginalizing the minority Sunni population without driving it back into the hands of whatever remnants of ISIS remains after it is driven from the all-important city of Mosul. A balancing act? Surely. But isn’t Iran really interested in having Iraq disintegrate – leaving it gobble up as much of Iraq’s territory as possible up to the very frontier of the Sunni heartland?
    Iran is determined to resist a revitalized and reinvigorated American effort to politically, militarily, and financially stabilize a pro-secular, reform-minded Iraqi central government. Iran takes an extraordinarily dim view of national Iraqi reconciliation, and will apparently do everything possible to sabotage that goal – a goal 180 degrees opposite to U.S. policy.
    Who wins in the end from Iran’s deviousness in Iraq? ISIS, or whatever remnants there are of ISIS. Tehran’s machinations, intended to force Baghdad and the south to fall directly under its sway, will doom any hope for national reconciliation among Iraq’s three major sects (Sunnis, Kurds, and Shiites) – giving rise to ISIS 2.0 inside of Iraq. That is the hope of any future ISIS leadership…living to fight another day to restore the Caliphate in northern Iraq…and the cycle of terror will find yet another home from which to reconstitute itself.
    The next president faces an extraordinary challenge again in Iraq, and it all goes back to Iran and its loathsome, meddling regional militant strategy to stir as much terrorism and instability as possible to thwart any semblance of normalcy and stability.
    The people of Iran deserve a government that is democratic, transparent, and willing to be a nation, rather than a cause. Unfortunately, as we see in Iraq, in Syria, in Yemen, and in Palestine, the regime in Tehran is determined to break our will, and the will of the Iranian people in the bargain, to create its vaunted “Shiite Crescent” any cost, no matter the how many innocent lives perish in the bargain.
    The next president will have to reconstruct that very missing regional strategy, but at a severe disadvantage given how much the Obama Administration intentionally dropped the ball – brushing aside all the warnings to avoid empowering Iran to at the expense of core American national security interests in the Middle East.

    Iranian Hegemony In Iraq (Daniel 8:4)

    The Iranian Fingerprints on Iraq’s Fallujah Plan

    Disunity from abroad, tensions at home allowed Tehran to pressure Baghdad into a dramatic departure from the American war strategy.

    By Paul D. Shinkman | Senior National Security Writer
    June 2, 2016, at 5:00 a.m.

    Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s decision to engage the Islamic State group in Fallujah is about more than defeating the terrorist network. It’s about more than establishing safety in Baghdad, and it’s even about more than securing his own political future.
    His abrupt departure from America’s script for the war against the Islamic State group, which prioritizes above all else the liberation of Iraq’s second-largest city, Mosul, shows the strength of the other major international influence in Iraq, and its sway on Baghdad.
    Iran has reportedly been pressuring Abadi for weeks, if not months, to prioritize Fallujah. But now domestic tensions in Baghdad and disunity among the world powers that have involved themselves in the conflict have cleared the way for the Islamic republic to have more potency than the U.S., Russia, Turkey or any other world power involved in the conflict.
    “Tehran has more influence on Abadi’s focus, whether on Fallujah or anywhere else, than Moscow, Washington and Ankara combined,” says a former U.S. combat commander with extensive experience working with Iraq’s senior leaders. “The political disarray in Baghdad, the strangely wandering American political strategy, and the opaque rationale for what American forces we will commit to what tasks in the worst form of gradual escalation, combine to leave decisions open to a host of inputs from military and civilian policy makers from Baghdad to Tehran, before even considering the enemy’s vote.”
    The U.S. has spent the week since Abadi announced his new battlefield priorities downplaying the sudden shift, despite reports that the Iraqis provided only scant notice of the campaign to their American military counterparts. Reports have also emerged that U.S. officials privately don’t agree and are concerned about what opening a new front might mean for the overall success of the war if Iraqi forces get bogged down in a protracted battle.
    It became immediately clear this week the fight would not mirror previous liberations of some Iraqi towns where disenfranchised Islamic State group presence almost immediately fled. As Pentagon officials point out, Fallujah serves as the extremist network’s last haven in Iraq’s massive Anbar province, and they won’t withdraw easily.
    Iraqi forces began capturing villages on the outskirts of Fallujah soon after the fighting began on Monday but have since been met with fierce resistance from the extremist group’s fighters.
    “They intend to put up a fight for it, and we definitely have seen intense fighting for those two days,” Pentagon spokesman Navy Capt. Jeff Davis said Tuesday.
    After acknowledging before the effort began that Fallujah offers no tactical benefit in recapturing Mosul, U.S. officials have since publicly backed the new campaign and minimized inconsistencies with the larger strategy. Defense Secretary Ash Carter said last week “we are obviously supportive of this operation” and that the U.S. was very much aware of Iraq’s intentions to shift toward Fallujah, despite claims to the contrary from defense officials who spoke to U.S. News.
    Marine Gen. Joseph Dunford, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, insisted the Iraqi military could continue preparing for the Mosul operation and simultaneously pursue a detour in Fallujah. Army Col. Steve Warren, speaking from the coalition’s headquarters in Baghdad’s Green Zone on Friday, confirmed that the need to retake Fallujah is driven by “political calculus for the civilian leadership of Iraq” and said success there would ease political pressure on Baghdad before refocusing on Mosul.
    That pressure, however, is intense. Shiite protesters loyal to powerful cleric and militia leader Muqtada al-Sadr have stormed the central Green Zone where the Iraqi government and most foreign embassies are based. Outraged by a lack of reform, protesters in April capped months of popular street demonstrations by occupying and ultimately ransacking the parliament building amid fears the government could collapse.
    “We often tend to underestimate the degree of threats to Abadi, particularly from other Shiites,” says Stephen Biddle, formerly an adviser to Gens. Stanley McChrystal and David Petraeus who is now with the Council on Foreign Relations. “For most governments like Iraq, internal threats loom larger than external threats, and you can’t just ignore them and treat them as electoral noise. Because that’s how you get killed in a coup d’etat.”
    Underscoring concerns that the political instability could hamper the fight against the extremists, the Islamic State group in recent weeks has staged a series of car bombs and suicide attacks in Shiite neighborhoods that marked the group’s return to the terror tactics of its roots, as al-Qaida in Iraq, and exacerbated sectarian tensions.
    The long-stalled Mosul operation optimistically appears months away, so targeting Fallujah provides a temporary quick-fix for Abadi politically, using the urgency of the campaign to prove to Iraqis he’s acting to keep them safe. Successfully liberating Fallujah, which is predominantly Sunni, could also earn Abadi some good faith among that constituency nationwide.
    But some say that, tactically, his attention is likely misplaced. Fallujah, about 40 miles west of Baghdad, is indeed an Islamic State group haven and source of much of its bomb-making capabilities. However, most of the recent attacks on Baghdad have originated from the north, not the west as would be the case if they came from Fallujah, according to the Institute for the Study of War, which regularly analyzes battle rhythms in Iraq.
    Other forces are also at play behind the decision, including influences from Tehran that would like the Shiite majority in Iraq’s government to protect Baghdad from what it sees as the threat posed by the proximity of Sunni extremists, like the Islamic State group, while also solidifying its hold on power.
    “Iran does not see a government of Iraq that has a Sunni presence in it,” says Scott Mann, who retired as a lieutenant colonel after 18 years as a U.S. Army Special Forces officer with deployments to Iraq and Afghanistan. “This is a way to further divide those ethnicities, between Persians and Arabs, and between Sunni and Shiite, and create a more polarized environment around that conflict.
    “They know it, and they’re going to seize any opportunity they can to do that. And ISIS is going to do exactly the opposite. They’re going to create those situations, because they know how Iran is going to play it.”
    The overwhelmingly Sunni Muslim city of Fallujah has long been associated with combat in Iraq. It served as a headquarters for al-Qaida in Iraq during the last war and witnessed some of the most gruesome fighting, as U.S. forces in two separate campaigns in 2004 engaged in bloody, door-to-door combat to clear the town of the extremist presence.
    Complicating the campaign, the Iraqi government has had to rely on overwhelmingly Shiite Muslim militia forces, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, in part due to the the U.S.-led coalition’s limitations on providing ground forces, which leaves Baghdad with few other options for the sheer numbers of fighters it needs. These forces are supposed to remain outside the city, where they help prevent extremists’ lines of escape or reinforcement.
    Pictures emerged last week of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps’ Qassem Soleimani’s meeting with leaders from the local Shiite militias, one of the first times he had appeared in public media since his visit to Aleppo, Syria – another central focus of Iran’s fight against enemy forces in the region. That the shadowy Quds Force commander would publicize his whereabouts further emphasizes the degree to which Iran now prioritizes Fallujah.
    Iranian proxy forces, like some of the militias, are a critical component to any chance of success in defeating the Islamic State group. They have contributed to most of the fighting to secure the area around Fallujah, particularly to the north, clearing the way for Baghdad’s announcement late Monday that its U.S.-trained counterterrorism commandos had begun the arduous work of actually entering the city to clear it of the Islamic State group presence. This use of various kinds of military forces has produced a winning combination in the past, like for the liberation of Ramadi. But now it faces its most serious challenge as the few hundred Islamic State group fighters in Fallujah dig in and and use the estimated 50,000 local residents held there as human shields.
    The U.S. military argues none of the conventional forces used for the Fallujah campaign would be needed in Mosul. Most experts agree, but that doesn’t mean the sudden detour won’t affect America’s fundamental plans for the battlespace.
    “Operations like this chew through resources,” says Patrick Martin, research analyst for Iraq with the Institute for the Study of War. “It’s just going to delay everything.”
    He cites reports that the U.S.-trained Counter Terrorism Service – considered the most effective Iraqi fighting force on the ground – has grown exhausted by the continuous demand for troops to lead the way in clearing Islamic State group positions.
    And fundamental questions about the future of Fallujah remain, Martin says, particularly following widespread concerns that the Shiite militias wish to exact revenge on Sunni populations for their perceived complicity toward the Islamic State group – a key reason why the U.S. refuses to provide air support to ground operations involving the militias. Shiite militias also have reportedly prevented Sunnis from returning to homes they helped liberate.
    “We shouldn’t kid ourselves,” Martin says. “This is what pushes the Mosul operation into delaying it indefinitely, because there are still other questions that haven’t been answered yet.”
    All sides agree that liberating Fallujah is simply a matter of time. The effect, though, of an Iranian sponsored victory may only further complicate the total war against the Islamic State group.
    The heavy presence of Shiite militia encircling Fallujah provide prime fodder for the extremist network to convince their fellow Sunni Muslims that the Iraqi government is beholden to Iran and has no intention of including them among the ruling classes.
    “All they have to say is, ‘Look who’s coming. This is your government that is allowing this to happen, backed by the American Air Force. Only we can help you.’ And they do this brilliantly,” says Mann, the former special forces lieutenant colonel.
    “In the short term, will it be effective? Probably. It will force ISIS to go to ground. It may kill some and displace some of them,” Mann says. “In my assessment, this is nothing more than mowing the grass.”
    At this point, it isn’t clear how much say the U.S. will have in that.

    Iran Horn Continues To Influence Iraq (Daniel 8:3)

    Iraqi Shiite militia promotes training camp named after Qods Force general

    BY BILL ROGGIO AND CALEB WEISS | September 19, 2015 | |
    Saraya al Khorasani, an Iranian-backed Shiite militia that operates alongside the Iraqi military, released a short video advertising one of its training camps. The location of the facility is unknown, however, the beginning of the video includes an aerial shot in Iraq’s western province of Anbar.
    The training camp is called the “Sheikh Hajj Hamid Taqavi training center.” It is named after Hamid Taqavi, an Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps – Qods Force general who was killed by an Islamic State sniper late last year. Taqavi served as a military adviser to Saraya al Khorasani when he was killed.

    Taqavi was lauded by the Shiite militia after his death. Ali al Yasiri, the group’s leader, described Taqavi as “an expert at guerrilla war” and said that “People looked at him as magical,” Reuters reported. The militia also put up billboards praising Taqavi throughout Baghdad and published videos online to commemorate the Iranian general.

    The latest video released by the group also includes appearancea by al Yasiri, as well as Hamid al Jaza’iri, who has been identified as the “deputy secretary general” of Saraya al Khorasani and the commander of its “18th Brigade.” In one shot, Yasiri and Jaza’iri are shown walking with an unidentified figure. The producers of the video attempt to distort his face to prevent him from being identified, however he can be seen for a split-second.

    Saraya al Khorasani was one of several Iranian-backed Shiite militias that were involved in the operation that captured the central Iraqi city of Tikrit from the Islamic State earlier this year.
    The Iraqi government has relied on Iranian-supported militias to oppose the Islamic State. In addition to Tikrit, these militias, many of which are led by US-listed Specially Designated Global Terrorists, have helped eject the Islamic State from Amerli, Jurf al Sakhar, and smaller towns and villages in Diyala and Salahaddin province. The Shiite militias are currently involved in the fighting in Fallujah and Ramadi in Anbar province, and Baiji in Salahaddin.

    The Shiite militias fall under the command of the Popular Mobilization Committee, or Popular Mobilization Forces, which was created after the Islamic State took control of vast areas of northern and central Iraq in June 2014. The Popular Mobilization Committee is directed by Muhandis, who is closely tied to Iran and Soleimani. Many of the largest and most powerful Shiite militias in the Popular Mobilization Committee, such as Hezbollah Brigades, Asaib al Haq (the League of the Righteous), Saraya al Salam (Muqtada al Sadr’s Peace Brigades), Harakat Nujaba, and the Imam Ali Brigades remain actively hostile to the US to this day.

    Qods Force has been instrumental in supporting Shiite militias inside Iran, and has done so since the US invaded Iraq in 2003. Qods Force, with the help of Hezbollah, helped establish militias such as the Mahdi Army, Asaib al Haq, and Hezbollah Brigades between 2003 and 2006. These militias, which the US military previously described as the “Special Groups,” are responsible for killing hundreds of US soldiers between 2004 and 2011. [See LWJ report, Iran’s Ramazan Corps and the ratlines into Iraq.]

    Obama Sets Up The Shia Horn (Daniel 8:3)


    15 Sep 2015

    You may not like ex-Vice President Dick Cheney and you may not miss former President George W. Bush but you have to give them credit. They did not do things halfway.
    They didn’t just nudge over a vicious dictator in Iraq and then scurry away. They didn’t just encourage an uprising and then pretend they had nothing to do with it. They didn’t inspire insurrections across several continents and then waltz away like innocent bystanders.

    No, Mr. Bush announced that he would depose Iraqi strongman Saddam Hussein. Then he deployed the most ferocious military campaign ever assembled. He conquered the country and eventually found Hussein, who was then hanged.

    Even then, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney were not finished. They spent massive amounts more of political and monetary capital rebuilding the country they had just annihilated. And whenever mayhem seeped back in, Mr. Bush and Mr. Cheney threw more and more troops against it to stand the country up.

    They never gave up. Never quit. And if they were still in power, they would still be fighting that war.
    Sure, it wasn’t easy. Not for them, not for voters. And, most of all, not for the soldiers and their families.

    But the unwavering commitment of the commander in chief, at least, ensured that the sacrifices were made on behalf of a grateful and somber nation.

    Compare that unshakable commitment to their own world vision and America’s role in it to that of President Obama.

    The most charitable view possible of Mr. Obama’s deal with the devil in Iran is that he simply doesn’t care anymore.

    He doesn’t care about the Middle East. He certainly doesn’t care about Israel. He has no hope that the Islamofascist networks spreading like cancer throughout the world can be brought to heel to live peaceably among civilized people.

    The most charitable view possible is that Mr. Obama wants to take the entire squalidess and hand it all over to the powerful and brutal mullahs of Iran. Let them sort it all out.

    Give them all the power they need to once and for all deal with Israel, which they insist they want to see wiped off the map. Let them deal with the civil war in Syria. Let them deal with the Islamic State and all their human roastings.

    Let the mullahs deal with the slaughtering of Christians and women in North Africa. Let them deal with the child murderers and rapists.

    In other words, Mr. Obama wants the United States of America to recede from the world stage and allow that vacuum be filled by the Islamic Republic of Iran. That is the MOST charitable explanation for this dastardly deal with one of the most heinous regimes on the planet today.

    Why would a president who swore an oath of allegiance to America trade away her most hard-won influence around the world? Why would a president care so little about protecting the country against enemies who want to destroy us? Why would a world leader so callously give up hope on the rest of the world?

    Is the man dumb? Is he evil? Or, is he so in love with himself that he cannot see the madness he wreaks?

    Hard to say. But he is certainly a man who is not capable of more than half answers to very serious problems.

    Don’t like war? Okay, then just pull the troops from Iraq and Afghanistan. See how that work out.
    The problem with half-answers to perilous problems is that they are like half-bridges over perilous seas. Just a highway to sure suicide.

    Charles Hurt can be reached at and on Twitter via @charleshurt.

    The Inevitable: A Nuclear Iran (Daniel 8:3)

    NY Times: Nuke Deal Will Allow Iran to “Produce Uranium on an Industrial Scale” in 15 Years

    by Staff | 08.24.15 1:09 pm

    The nuclear agreement between Iran and the P5+1 powers, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will provide Tehran with the means to produce [enriched] uranium on an industrial scale” after fifteen years, according to an analysis of the deal published yesterday in The New York Times. This would give Iran a breakout time close to zero, as President Barack Obama acknowledged in April.

    The analysis also emphasized other shortcomings of the deal, including its erosion of American leverage over Iran, its failure to account for Iran’s past nuclear research, and its flawed inspections regime, which allows Iran at least 24 days before it’s required to grant inspectors access to suspicious sites.

    But the flip side is that after 15 years, Iran would be allowed to produce reactor-grade fuel on an industrial scale using far more advanced centrifuges. That may mean that the warning time if Iran decided to race for a bomb would shrink to weeks, according to a recent Brookings Institution analysis by Robert J. Einhorn, a former member of the American negotiating team.

    Critics say that by that time, Iran’s economy would be stronger, as would its ability to withstand economic sanctions, and its nuclear installations probably would be better protected by air defense systems, which Iran is expected to buy from Russia.

    In 15 years, when Iran has a more robust nuclear program and is less politically and economically isolated, Washington will have also lost a significant amount of the leverage it currently has over Tehran. According to the Times, President Barack Obama is trying to assure Congress “that he and his successors will create that leverage.” The Times cites experts who say Washington must warn Iran that any attempts to increase its stockpile of enriched uranium after the terms of the deal expire would be treated as a sign that Tehran has chosen to pursue a nuclear weapon, which “could trigger an American military strike.” Others have advocated providing Israel with the “bunker buster” bombs that could penetrate Iran’s hidden nuclear facilities, or sanctioning a long-term congressional “authorization to use military force” in case of an Iranian violation of the deal.

    The Times further reported that Secretary of State John Kerry gave up on forcing Iran to come clean on its past nuclear activities in order to obtain a stronger inspections regime. Instead of demanding a full accounting of previous nuclear work, the deal now requires the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to “certify on Oct. 15 that Iran is complying with a “road map” for cooperation and report in December on the agency’s conclusions.” Many of the details of this arrangement remain secret. Behrouz Kamalvandi, the spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), suggested that “harm” could befall IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano if he divulged details of the agreement.

    The Associated Press (AP) published the text of a reported side agreement between Tehran and the IAEA last week, which revealed that Iran, rather than the IAEA, will be allowed to collect evidence for inspectors from the Parchin military base, where Tehran is suspected of having conducted research on detonators for nuclear weapons. Kerry, in a separate article in the Times, was quoted as saying that dropping the demand for a full accounting of Iran’s past nuclear work allowed the United States to secure an inspections regime of current and future nuclear sites that is “the most stringent in history.” However, experts believe that Iran’s failure to fully account for its nuclear work will mean that the United States will not have sufficient knowledge of the extent of Tehran’s illicit nuclear research, making any deal effectively unverifiable.

    Kerry maintains that the United States has “perfect knowledge” of Iran’s past nuclear work. However, shortly after the JCPOA was announced, it was reported that despite a deal to rid his country of chemical weapons, President Bashar al-Assad of Syria had maintained a small stockpile. The CIA, according to The Times of Israel, “believed Syria’s account of its stockpile” of chemical weapons at the time the deal was initially made.

    The final weakness addressed in the Times analysis is the 24 day advance notice Iran would have before it must grant international inspectors access to suspicious sites. The Times observed that, for a while, members of the administration insisted that Iran would have to agree to “anytime, anywhere” inspections. However, under the JCPOA, the process of gaining access to a suspected nuclear site includes a request by the IAEA and an Iranian response that could take up to 24 days. While the administration insists that any illicit activity would still be detectable at that point, the Times observed that “some experts say that Iran could cover up smaller-scale illicit activities” within that time frame. It is also possible that the prohibited activity may not be identifiable after 24 days, even if a trace remains.

    The Two Shia Horns of Prophecy (Daniel 8:3)


    Iran Deal Is Shaping the Iraq War
    12 AUG 19, 2015 11:54 AM EDT
    By Noah Feldman

    Iraq’s prime minister, Haider al-Abadi, is taking severe steps to rid himself of his troublesome predecessor, Nuri al-Maliki. On the heels of a government shakeup, the latest move is a parliamentary report blaming Maliki and many of his political and military leaders for the fall of Mosul to Islamic State last summer. The report is going to be referred to a public prosecutor — which means Abadi may be plotting a criminal prosecution. Maliki is fighting back, issuing a public statement repudiating the report.

    Given that Maliki had more domestic support than Abadi when the U.S., with grudging Iranian acquiescence, forced Maliki out of office, it’s no surprise that Abadi would like to consolidate his authority by purging Maliki completely.

    But beyond an interest in the Byzantine manipulations of Iraqi politics, why should the rest of the world care about Abadi’s move or Maliki’s displacement?

    The answer lies in the effects of the U.S.-Iran deal, which is now before Congress but is being treated by regional actors as a fait accompli. Abadi’s move on Maliki reflects, through a glass darkly, the realignment of regional politics in light of the Iran deal. Where once Maliki was perceived as pro-Iran by Iraqi Sunnis and the U.S., today Abadi is pursuing a new approach in which, he is betting, U.S. and Iranian interests will be closely aligned, and maintaining a multi-sectarian, unified Iraq is no longer an inviolable goal. And the Iranians, having abandoned Maliki to his fate, seem to be on board.

    To see what’s going on, consider the challenge that Maliki faced, and failed at, in dealing with Islamic State. The fall of Mosul is emblematic. The Iraqi army, a mixed Shiite-Sunni force, collapsed disastrously, as the parliamentary report emphasizes.

    The reason for that failure was more than technical. Shiites in the army might have been loyal to Maliki, but they didn’t relish the idea of dying in defense of the mostly Sunni city. As for Sunnis in the army, they’d become so disillusioned by the impression that Maliki was running Iraq on Iran’s behalf that they were unwilling to stand and fight against Sunni attackers from Islamic State. In the end, the failure to defend Mosul was a failure of Maliki’s leadership, and of his plan to keep Iraq unified under Shiite control.
    To be sure, Abadi hasn’t yet done any better than Maliki in resisting the jihadists. In May, under Abadi’s prime ministership, Ramadi fell, just as ignominiously and easily as Mosul the previous year. But Abadi seems to be contemplating a different way of addressing the problem than that adopted by Maliki. His strategy appears to have two prongs, both of them premised on growing U.S.-Iran cooperation.

    First, Abadi embraces the deployment of Iranian-trained and -led Shiite militias supported by U.S. air strikes against Islamic State. It’s been a slow process getting the Americans and the Iranians on the same page, given the mutual distrust. But Abadi seems to think, with some reason, that the U.S.-Iran nuclear deal makes cooperation more likely. In June, Abadi went to Iran to urge Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to continue supporting the fight against Islamic State — and he also went to the G-7 meetings in Austria to lobby Barack Obama for more support. He’s urged the U.S. to do more to train Iraqi army units, and welcomed the deployment of U.S. advisers, who might even coordinate with Iranian-led forces.

    It’s optimistic to think that combined U.S. and Iranian efforts would actually defeat Islamic State in Iraq. That can’t be done without Sunni Arab ground troops, and Abadi has no clear way to create such a force.

    But Abadi, unlike Maliki, plans to avoid taking the blame if the fight against the jihadists falters — because he is striving to show both sides, the U.S. and Iran, that he’s trying to get them all to help him in the war. In other words, Abadi, hedging against continuing failure to beat Islamic State, is relying on a deepening alignment of U.S.-Iranian interests.

    Abadi has another thing Maliki lacked: a fallback strategy for what to do if Islamic State is here to stay in the medium-term in Iraq. Abadi is signaling to Iraqi Shiites, as well as to Iran and the U.S., that he can govern a rump state of Iraq, one that effectively excludes the jihadist-controlled Sunni areas and recognizes the de facto autonomy of Iraqi Kurdistan.

    Abadi’s reform efforts of the last few weeks, in which senior Sunni politicians lost their positions, signaled as much. The position of vice-president of which there were three — including Maliki himself — was eliminated. The parliamentary report assigning blame for the fall of Mosul named two more prominent Sunni politicians, Saadoun al-Dulaimi, the acting defense minister under Maliki, and Atheel al-Nujaifi, the former governor of the Nineveh province and brother of Osama al-Nujaifi, one of the fired vice-presidents.

    The message is that Abadi is done with Maliki’s strategy, adopted under intense U.S. pressure, of incorporating Sunni leaders into the central Iraqi government. This change may anger the U.S., since it’s hard to see how else to placate Sunnis and keep them committed to holding the country together. But it makes sense if Iraq is acknowledged as divided already by the presence of Islamic State in the Sunni-majority areas of the country.

    In the past, an Iraqi prime minister might have worried about how the U.S. would feel about a Shiite-dominated rump Iraq, which would be something close to an adjunct of Iran. Abadi must be calculating that, having made its own deal with Iran, the U.S. can live with this result as the least-bad outcome — because it’s less threatened by Iran after the nuclear deal.

    The U.S. would like to defeat Islamic State, and we assume Iran would, too. The big change, however, is that the U.S. may no longer be as committed to a multi-denominational, unified Iraq as a buffer against Iran. That’s the result of a regional change – brought about by the nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran.

    The Iranian “Large” Horn Taking Over The Iraq “Little” Horn (Daniel 8:3)

    Exclusive: On the Ground in Iraq, the Stealth Iranian Takeover Becomes Clear

    In June, I traveled among the militias and discovered who they really take orders from.
    by Jonathan Spyer

    July 31, 2015 – 6:45 am

    In late June, I traveled to Iraq with the purpose of investigating the role being played by
     the Iranian-supported Shia militias in that country.

    Close observation of the militias, their activities, and their links to Tehran is invaluable in understanding what is likely to happen in the Middle East following the conclusion of the nuclear agreement between the P5 + 1 powers and Tehran.

    An Iranian stealth takeover of Iraq is currently under way. Tehran’s actions in Iraq lay bare the nature of Iranian regional strategy. They show that Iran has no peers at present in the promotion of a very 21st century way of war, which combines the recruitment and manipulation of sectarian loyalties; the establishment and patient sponsoring of political and paramilitary front groups; and the engagement of these groups in irregular and clandestine warfare, all in tune with an Iran-led agenda. With the conclusion of the nuclear deal, and thanks to the cash about to flow into Iranian coffers, the stage is now set for an exponential increase in the scale and effect of these activities across the region. So what is going on in Iraq, and what may be learned from it?

    Power in Baghdad today is effectively held by a gathering of Shia militias known as the Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization). This initiative brings together tens of armed groups, including some very small and newly formed ones. However, its main components ought to be familiar to Americans who remember the Iraqi Shia insurgency against the U.S. in the middle of the last decade. They are: the Badr Organization, the Asaib Ahl al-Haq, the Kataeb Hizballah, and the Sarayat al-Salam (which is the new name for the Mahdi Army of Muqtada al-Sadr). All of these are militias of long-standing. All of them are openly pro-Iranian in nature. All of them have their own well-documented links to the Iranian government and to the Revolutionary Guards Corps.

    The Hashed al-Shaabi was founded on June 15, 2014, following a fatwa by venerated Iraqi Shia cleric Ali al-Sistani a day earlier. Sistani called for a limited jihad at a time when the forces of ISIS were juggernauting toward Baghdad. The militias came together, under the auspices of Quds Force kingpin Qassem Suleimani and his Iraqi right-hand man Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.
    Because of the parlous performance of the Iraqi Army, the Shia militias have become in effect the sole force standing between ISIS and the Iraqi capital.

    Therein lies the source of their strength. Political power grows, as another master strategist of irregular warfare taught, from the barrel of a gun. In the case of Iraq, no instrument exists in the hands of the elected government to oppose the will of the militias.

    The militias, meanwhile, in their political iteration, are also part of the government.

    In the course of my visit, I travelled deep into Anbar Province with fighters of the Kataeb Hizballah, reaching just eight miles from Ramadi City. I also went to Baiji, the key front to the capital’s north, accompanying fighters from the Badr Corps.

    In all areas, I observed close cooperation between the militias, the army, and the federal police.
    The latter are essentially under the control of the militias. Mohammed Ghabban, of Badr, is the interior minister. The Interior Ministry controls the police. Badr’s leader, Hadi al-Ameri, serves as the transport minister.

    In theory, the Hashd al-Shaabi committee answers to Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi. In practice, no one views the committee as playing anything other than a liaison role.

    The real decision-making structure for the militias’ alliance goes through Abu Mahdi al Muhandis and Hadi al-Ameri, to Qassem Suleimani, and directly on to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
    No one in Iraq imagines that any of these men are taking orders from Abadi, who has no armed force of his own, whose political party (Dawa) remains dominated by former Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki and his associates, and whose government is dependent on the military protection of the Shia militias and their political support. When I interviewed al-Muhandis in Baiji, he was quite open regarding the source of the militias’ strength:

    We rely on capacity and capabilities provided by the Islamic Republic of Iran.

    The genius of the Iranian method is that it is not possible to locate a precise point where the Iranian influence ends and the “government” begins. Everything is entwined. This pro-Iranian military and political activity depends at ground level on the successful employment and manipulation of religious fervor. This is what makes the Hashed fighters able to stand against the rival jihadis of ISIS.Says Major General Juma’a Enad, operational commander in Salah al-Din Province:

    The Hashed strong point is the spiritual side, the jihad fatwa. Like ISIS.

    So this is Tehran’s formula. The possession of a powerful state body (the IRGC’s Quds Force) whose sole raison d’etre is the creation and sponsorship of local political-military organizations to serve the Iranian interest. The existence of a population in a given country available for indoctrination and mobilization. The creation of proxy bodies and the subsequent shepherding of them to both political and military influence, with each element complementing the other. And finally, the reaping of the benefit of all this in terms of power and influence.

    This formula has at the present time brought Iran domination of Lebanon and large parts of Syria, Iraq, and Yemen. Current events in Iraq form a perfect study of the application of this method, and the results it can bring. Is Iran likely to change this winning formula as a result of the sudden provision of increased monies resulting from the nuclear deal? This is certainly the hope of the authors of the agreement. It is hard to see on what it is based.

    The deal itself proves that Iran can continue to push down this road while paying only a minor price, so why change? Expect further manifestations of the Tehran formula in the Middle East in the period ahead.

    The Truth Of The Iranian Deal

    Tehran's Nuclear Program

    Tehran’s Nuclear Program

    Iran nuclear chief threatens new uranium enrichment

    BY: Charles Hoskinson April 10, 2015 | 10:15 am

    Iran can resume enriching uranium to higher levels at “any time” if the international community doesn’t live up to its commitments under a proposed nuclear deal, the head of Iran’s nuclear program said.

    Ali Akbar Salehi also said in a nationally televised speech Thursday night that foreign companies, including those from the United States, would be required to supply Iran what it needs for the Arak heavy water reactor under any deal.

    Salehi’s speech is the latest in a string of public remarks by top Iranian officials that have systematically unraveled what President Obama has called a “historic understanding” that was supposed to lead to a permanent deal limiting Iran’s nuclear program and preventing it from developing a nuclear weapon.

    “Regarding the 20-percent [enriched] uranium, any time that the opposite side does not live up to its commitments, we can join two cascades of centrifuges to produce more than five kilos of 20-percent uranium,” Salehi was quoted by state-controlled Press TV as saying.

    The U.S. fact sheet about the framework announced April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, between Iran and the P5+1 countries — the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China — says Iran has agreed not to enrich uranium beyond 3.67 percent for 15 years or build any new facilities to enrich uranium during that period.

    But the fact sheet also notes that Iran would not be required to destroy any of its existing infrastructure beyond the 6,104 centrifuges allowed to operate under a proposed deal. The rest would be placed in storage under monitoring by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    Keeping Iran from enriching uranium to 20 percent is crucial, because it exponentially increases the time needed to create a bomb-grade stock of the radioactive element. In a November 2013 interim deal, Iran agreed to stop enriching uranium to that level.

    The only thing Iran has agreed to destroy under the framework, according to the U.S. side, is the core of the reactor at Arak, which was the focus of concerns that it might be used to develop weapons-grade plutonium. The reactor is to be converted to a facility limited to peaceful research.

    Salehi’s threat to resume higher-level enrichment comes in the context of sharp disagreements between Iran and the United States on what, if anything, was agreed to at Lausanne.

    On Thursday, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the nation’s supreme leader, discounted the idea that any agreement was reached at all, and accused the United States of lying about the status of the talks.