White House Already Making Plans for War

An oil tanker is on fire in the sea of Oman, Thursday, June 13, 2019. Two oil tankers near the strategic Strait of Hormuz were reportedly attacked on Thursday, an assault that left one ablaze and adrift as sailors were evacuated from both vessels and the U.S. Navy rushed to assist amid heightened tensions between Washington and Tehran. (AP Photo/ISNA)

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — The U.S. blamed Iran for suspected attacks on two oil tankers Thursday near the strategic Strait of Hormuz, denouncing what it called a campaign of “escalating tensions” in a region crucial to global energy supplies.

The U.S. Navy rushed to assist the stricken vessels in the Gulf of Oman off the coast of Iran, including one that was set ablaze. The ships’ operators offered no immediate explanation on who or what caused the damage against the Norwegian-owned MT Front Altair and the Japanese-owned Kokuka Courageous. Each was loaded with petroleum products, and the Front Altair burned for hours, sending up a column of thick, black smoke.

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. assessment of Iran’s involvement was based in part on intelligence, as well as the expertise needed for the operation. It was also based on recent incidents in the region that the U.S. also blamed on Iran, including the use of limpet mines — designed to be attached magnetically to a ship’s hull — to attack four oil tankers off the nearby Emirati port of Fujairah and the bombing of an oil pipeline in Saudi Arabia by Iranian-backed fighters in May, he said.

Taken as a whole, these unprovoked attacks present a clear threat to international peace and security, a blatant assault on the freedom of navigation and an unacceptable campaign of escalating tension by Iran,” Pompeo said. He provided no evidence, gave no specifics about any plans and took no questions.

At the United Nations, the United States asked for closed Security Council consultations on the tanker incidents later Thursday.

Iran’s U.N. Mission said the government “categorically rejects” the U.S. claim that it was responsible for the attacks and condemned it “in the strongest possible terms.”

A statement from the mission issued Thursday evening said Iran “stands ready to play an active and constructive role in ensuring the security of strategic maritime passages.” It warned of “U.S. coercion, intimidation and malign behavior” and expressed concern “over suspicious incidents” involving the two tankers on Thursday.

Iran denied being involved in the attacks last month and its foreign minister questioned the timing of Thursday’s incidents, given that Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe was meeting Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in Tehran.

Pompeo noted that Abe had asked Iran to enter into talks with Washington but Tehran “rejected” the overture.

“The supreme leader’s government then insulted Japan by attacking a Japanese-owned oil tanker just outside Iranian waters, threatening the lives of the entire crew, creating a maritime emergency,” Pompeo added.

Iran previously used mines against oil tankers in 1987 and 1988 in the “Tanker War,” which saw the U.S. Navy escort ships through the region. Regardless of who is responsible, the price of a barrel of benchmark Brent crude spiked as much as 4% immediately after the attack, showing how critical the region remains to the global economy.

Two oil tankers near the Strait of Hormuz were damaged in suspected attacks on Thursday, an assault that left one ablaze and adrift as sailors were evacuated from both vessels and the US Navy rushed to assist. (June 13)

“The shipping industry views this as an escalation of the situation, and we are just about as close to a conflict without there being an actual armed conflict, so the tensions are very high,” said Jakob P. Larsen, head of maritime security for BIMCO, the largest international association representing ship owners.

The suspected attacks occurred at dawn Thursday about 40 kilometers (25 miles) off the southern coast of Iran. The Front Altair, loaded with the flammable hydrocarbon mixture naphtha from the United Arab Emirates, radioed for help as it caught fire. A short time later, the Kokuka Courageous, loaded with methanol from Saudi Arabia and Qatar, also called for help.

The U.S. Navy sent a destroyer, the USS Bainbridge, to assist, said Cmdr. Joshua Frey, a 5th Fleet spokesman. He described the ships as being hit in a “reported attack,” without elaborating.

In Washington, senior U.S. officials said the U.S. had photographed an unexploded mine on the side of one of the tankers. The officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive matter, said the U.S. will reevaluate its presence in the region and is considering a plan to provide military escorts for merchant ships.

Frontline, the firm that operates the Front Altair, told The Associated Press that an explosion was the cause of the fire. Its crew of 23 — from Russia, the Philippines and Georgia — was safely evacuated to the nearby Hyundai Dubai vessel, it said.

BSM Ship Management said the Kokuka Courageous sustained hull damage and its 21 Filipino sailors had been evacuated, with one suffering minor injuries. All 21 were placed aboard the Bainbridge, according to Lt. Col. Earl Brown, a spokesman for the U.S. Central Command.

Earlier, Iranian state television said 44 sailors from the two tankers were transferred to an Iranian port in the southern province of Hormozgan. The discrepancy could not be immediately reconciled.

The Front Altair had been bound for Taiwan, the Kokuka Courageous for Singapore, according to the data firm Refinitiv.

According to a U.S. official, initial evidence suggested the attack against the Kokuka Courageous was conducted by Iran with a mine similar to what was used against oil tankers off the UAE last month. The official, who declined to provide additional details or evidence, spoke on condition of anonymity in order to discuss initial findings that have not been made public.

Like in Fujairah, dozens of ships ranging from massive oil tankers to smaller pleasure boats, traditional dhows and cargo vessels ply the waters of the strait and the Gulf of Oman. The navies of Iran, Oman, the UAE and the U.S. regularly patrol, but the waters are vast and lit only by the moonlight at night, allowing small vessels to approach without warning.

Tensions have escalated in the Mideast as Iran appears poised to break the 2015 nuclear deal with world powers, an accord that President Donald Trump repudiated last year. The deal saw Tehran agree to limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of crippling sanctions. Now, Iran is threatening to resume enriching uranium closer to weapons-grade levels if European nations don’t offer it new terms to the deal by July 7.

Already, Iran says it quadrupled its production of low-enriched uranium. Meanwhile, U.S. sanctions have cut off opportunities for Iran to trade its excess uranium and heavy water abroad, putting Tehran on course to violate terms of the nuclear deal regardless.

The Escalating Risk of Nuclear War (Revelation 8)

June 12 at 4:10 PM

UNITED NATIONS — Former U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon warned Wednesday that the risks of nuclear conflict “are higher than they have been in several decades” and said it is past time for the five nuclear powers to take steps toward disarmament.

Ban told the Security Council the failure of the U.S., Russia, China, Britain and France to make progress on disarmament risks undermining the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, the world’s single most important pact on nuclear arms.

The treaty is credited with preventing the spread of nuclear weapons to dozens of nations since entering into force in 1970 and it has succeeded in doing this via a grand global bargain. Under the treaty, nations without nuclear weapons committed not to acquire them, those with nuclear weapons committed to move toward their elimination, and all nations endorsed everyone’s right to develop peaceful uses of nuclear energy.

Treaty members include every nation but India, Pakistan and North Korea, all of which possess nuclear weapons, as well as Israel, which is believed to be a nuclear power but has never acknowledged it.

Ban said it is in the interests of the five nuclear powers, which are the permanent veto-wielding members of the Security Council, “to get serious about disarmament if they wish to maintain the near universal international commitment to preventing nuclear proliferation, particularly in the lead up to next year’s NPT review conference.”

“The consequences of failure do not bear contemplation,” he said.

Ban, who is a co-chair of the group of prominent world leaders founded by Nelson Mandela known as The Elders, spoke at a Security Council meeting on conflict prevention and mediation.

He reiterated that his group believes nuclear weapons and climate change “pose two of the most severe existential threats to life on Earth as we know it.”

When it comes to nuclear nonproliferation, Ban said, “the international community is confronted with two serious challenges, namely the Iranian nuclear development programs and securing the complete denuclearization of North Korea.”

He expressed deep concern at the United States’ withdrawal from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal with six world powers, saying that “it not only weakens the regional stability of the Middle East, but also sends the wrong signal to ongoing negotiations over North Korea’s nuclear issue.”

As for negotiations between the U.S. and North Korea, Ban said that unfortunately they “have come to a deadlock since the failure of the Hanoi summit last February” between President Donald Trump and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un.

Ban, a former South Korean foreign minister, expressed support for U.S. efforts to achieve the complete denuclearization of North Korea and urged all countries to implement U.N. sanctions against Pyongyang.

He expressed hope that U.S.-North Korean negotiations will resume “as soon as possible.”

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Iran Ramps Up Her Nuclear Horn (Daniel 8:4)

US provokes Iran’s radical steps on nuclear deal – Russian diplomat

June 12, 17:17UTC+3

Mikhail Ulyanov diplomat noted that the US has not just pulled out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program, but it seeks to undermine it

MOSCOW, June 12. /TASS/. Washington is inciting Tehran to take radical steps on the Iranian nuclear deal, Russia’s Permanent Representative to International Organizations in Vienna Mikhail Ulyanov said in a statement, published on the Russian Foreign Ministry’s website.

The diplomat noted that the US has not just pulled out from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action on the Iranian nuclear program, but it seeks to undermine it by blocking the implementation of this agreement’s economic part.

„By using the methods of blatant blackmail and intimidation, the US seeks to force other countries to curtail legitimate trade and economic ties with Iran, primarily in the oil and banking sectors,“ the diplomat said. Actually, Washington is trying to limit their sovereignty and force them to abandon their assistance in implementing the JCPOA in line with the UN Security Council’s Resolution 2231, Ulyanov said.

Moreover, since May, the United States has extended such a destructive policy to certain elements of the nuclear part of this agreement, threatening with sanctions for exporting excessive amounts of enriched uranium and heavy water from Iran, he noted.

„In fact, Washington pushes Tehran out of a nuclear deal and provokes it to take radical retaliatory steps,“ the Russian permanent representative stressed. „We urge the US to reconsider its line towards torpedoing the major nuclear non-proliferation achievement, allowing the international community to be confident in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.“

According to him, Moscow understands Iran’s decision to stop implementing some its commitments under the JCPOA, but at the same time it urges Tehran „not to succumb to provocations and refrain from further escalation, with the understanding that the remaining participants of the deal will make every effort to restore the balance between the nuclear and economic elements of this agreement.“ „For our part, we will continue practical work in this direction,“ the diplomat said.

„We are also calling on other economic partners of Iran not to succumb to external pressure, bearing in mind that in current circumstances commercial ties with Iran also have an important political dimension as a contribution to the implementation of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231, strengthening the nuclear non-proliferation regime and also preventing the growing threat of destabilization in the Middle East region,“ he noted.

On May 8, 2018 US President Donald Trump announced that Washington was withdrawing from the JCPOA on the Iranian nuclear program, a 2015 deal that limited Iran’s nuclear development in exchange for the cancellation of the UN, US and EU sanctions. A year later, Tehran declared that it would stop complying with the deal’s terms on the limits of low-enriched uranium and heavy water. Iran also announced plans to stop modernizing the Arak heavy water nuclear reactor if the nuclear deal’s participants failed to offset the US sanctions within 60 days.

The Iraq Horn Helps the Iran Horn (Daniel 8:8)

Treasury Sanctions Iraqi Firm Accused of Smuggling Arms for Iran

Move is part of broader pressure campaign against Tehran

Treasury’s blacklisting of the South Wealth Resources Company, or Manabea Tharwat al-Janoob General Trading Company, is part of the Trump administration’s broader pressure campaign against Tehran that the White House says is meant to coerce the government into a nuclear and regional security pact. The latest sanctions also affect two Iraqi men the U.S. accuses of aiding the IRGC’s weapon imports.

“Treasury is taking action to shut down Iranian weapons smuggling networks that have been used to arm regional proxies of the IRGC Qods Force in Iraq, while personally enriching regime insiders,” said Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin. The secretary said Iraq’s financial system must bolster efforts to counter illicit Iran-directed activity.

The sanctions block any property the firm and men may own within U.S. territory, and the exposure of the alleged activities could hinder the operations going forward.

The Trump administration, which withdrew from the nuclear agreement between Iran and other world powers, says Iran is a source of regional instability and has used sanctions to bolster its effort to persuade reluctant allies to join it in pressing for a new nuclear accord and security pact.

Iran’s mission to the United Nations didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment. The Iraqi firm, whose details are listed on the website for the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, couldn’t be immediately reached for comment.

The U.S. Treasury said the Iraqi company is a front for the Quds Force, Iran’s elite military unit that directs Tehran’s interventions in conflicts throughout the Middle East. Washington accuses the Quds Force of orchestrating terrorist attacks across the world.

The Iraqi firm and the two sanctioned men, the U.S. said, helped the Quds Force covertly access Iraq’s financial system and funnel arms to Iraqi militias backed by Iran.

Iran Unbending Toward Babylon the Great

img_5589TEHRAN (Tasnim) – The deputy commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Force highlighted Iran’s preparedness to counter foreign threats and said if enemies dared to take military action against the country, the Armed Forces would give a crushing response with an “iron fist”.

Addressing a conference in Marivan in the western province of Kurdistan on Wednesday, Brigadier General Ali Akbar Pourjamshidian shrugged off foreign threats and warmongering remarks against the Islamic Republic.

If the enemies “cast a mischievous eye” toward Iranian borders, cities, and villages in the west and northwest and southeast of the country, they will face “the iron fist” of the Iranian Armed Forces, he stated.

The commander further described “sustainable development” as a key to achieving “lasting security” and emphasized that sustainability of security depends on the Iranian administration because it needs to provide welfare for the people so that they can actively contribute to security.

Iranian officials have on various occasions underlined the readiness of the Armed Forces to respond to any action against the country.

In comments in May 2017, Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei cautioned the adversaries about the “harsh reaction” they will have to suffer in case of any offense against Iran, stressing that the era of hit and run is over.

“The enemies should know that if they come up with the idea of an act of aggression against Iran, they will face a harsh reaction,” Ayatollah Khamenei said, reminding the enemies that they might begin a war against Iran, but the decision to end it would not be theirs.

Babylon the Great is Threatening War with Iran

U.S., not Iran, is threatening war

Once again, the U.S. is threatening war against a smaller and weaker nation, this time on Iran. Have we learned nothing from Washington’s catastrophic wars since 2001? Are we going to study, think about the issues, and stop a war on Iran?

The Brown University Costs of War Project (2018) has estimated the human cost of these U.S. wars: between 480,000 and 507,000 people killed in Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Iraq; some 500,000 killed in Syria, where Obama supported alleged rebels who were mostly al-Qaida/ISIS terrorists. Through 2017, the number of displaced people, external refugees and asylum seekers was nearly 13 million.

U.S. deaths in these wars total more than 7,000 U.S. soldiers and 8,000 military contractors. In addition, although the Congressional Research Service “has stopped releasing regular updates on U.S. military casualty statistics,” its most recent report in 2015 found “that more than 300,000 troops have suffered traumatic brain injuries.”

Trump, Pompeo, and Bolton threaten Iran, aided by Democrats. Presidents simply involve us in endless wars that violate the Constitution and the U.N. Charter, which states, “All Members shall refrain in their international relations from the threat or use of force against the territorial integrity or political independence of any state, or in any other manner inconsistent with the Purposes of the United Nations.” Since the Charter was ratified by the Senate, it is the law of the land and binding on our representatives.

The escalating U.S.-Iranian crisis comes without detail or public evidence; Iran allegedly poses an increasing threat to U.S. forces and facilities in the Middle East. A similar scenario was used to soften us up for the 2003 invasion of Iraq. Now, as then, lies and distortions are peddled by the corporate media. We know how the invasion turned out — a war crime that killed a half million Iraqis and created the virulent al-Qaida/ISIS terrorist franchise.

Recent history provides the context for the present crisis: the CIA-British 1953 coup against Iran’s democratically elected prime minister that put the Shah in power; an uprising in 1979 that overthrew him; and in 1980, the U.S.-supported Iraqi invasion of Iran that left 1 million people dead. Saddam’s forces “regularly employed poison gas to attack Iranian formations [and] … U.S.-supplied satellite imagery allowed Iraq to better calibrate these illegal, immoral, chemical attacks.” The U.S. Navy also waged an undeclared war in the Persian Gulf (Danny Sjursen, Truthdig, June 6).

What is unfolding, award-winning Alternative Radio producer David Barsamian writes, “are hyped-up threats” that are “never spelled out” but involve “Israel and the feudal, fundamentalist monarchies of Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and the [United Arab Emirates].” These U.S. threats “are never qualified as alleged, possible, supposed, rather they are stated as fact and are attributed to anonymous sources. The [corporate] media with few exceptions [parrot] the official line” (Counterpunch, May 17).

Peace activists Zeese and Flowers assert that the “root cause of the problems” between the United States and Iran “is not because [that nation] has oil, an Islamic government, nuclear weapons or [its] role in the Middle East — it is because in 1979, Iran ended 26 years of U.S. domination.” Iran’s crime is that it has successfully defied the U.S. and acted as an independent nation. Since then, “the U.S. has sought to dominate Iran using sanctions and threats of military aggression. Iran has responded by seeking negotiation with the U.S. … Although Iran fulfilled its side of the [recent] nuclear agreement, the U.S. did not relieve the sanctions, as promised, and under the Trump administration, increased the sanctions and left the agreement.” Instead of abiding by the agreement, the U.S. has engaged in a blatant aggressive move “to isolate [that country] politically and economically” (Counterpunch, March 13).

The U.S. has failed to live up to the carefully negotiated nuclear agreement between Iran, U.N. Security Council members, and Germany; Iran has complied with every requirement.

In such U.S. international crises, however, the very language we use becomes corrupted. Therefore, we must choose the right words in order to understand and end this danger. Washington is threatening war, not Iran. We must stop it.

John Marciano lives in Talent.

Even the IAEA Admits Iran is Nuking Up (Daniel 8:4)

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (3rd Left) is shown nuclear technology in Tehran, Iran (9 April 2019)
Image caption Iran said last month that it would quadruple its production of low-enriched uranium

Iran has increased production of enriched uranium – IAEA

The head of the global nuclear watchdog has confirmed Iran is increasing its production of enriched uranium.

But International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano said it was not clear when they will reach a limit set under a 2015 international deal.

Iran announced last month that it would suspend some commitments in retaliation for sanctions reinstated by the US.

Mr Amano also said he was worried about the current tensions over the Iranian nuclear issue and called for dialogue.

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif later said reducing tensions was only possible by stopping what he called the „economic war by America“.

„Those who wage such wars cannot expect to remain safe,“ he told a news conference during a visit to Tehran by his German counterpart, Heiko Maas.

Mr Maas warned that the situation in the region was „highly explosive and extremely serious“ and could lead to a military escalation between the US and Iran.

How have tensions risen?

US President Donald Trump abandoned the nuclear deal last year and reinstated sanctions that had been lifted in return for Iran limiting its nuclear activities.

Then last month, he ended exemptions from US secondary sanctions for countries that continued buying oil from Iran. This decision was intended to bring Iranian oil exports to zero, denying their government its main source of revenue.

Media captionThe BBC’s Paul Adams looks at the recent developments behind the US-Iran tensions

Days later, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said his country was rolling back some restrictions under the deal. This included no longer complying with caps on its stockpiles of enriched uranium and heavy water – set at 300kg and 130 tonnes respectively – and halting sales of surplus supplies overseas.

Enriched uranium is used to make reactor fuel but also nuclear weapons, while spent fuel from a heavy-water reactor contains plutonium that would be suitable for a bomb.

Mr Rouhani also gave the other five states still party to the nuclear deal – Germany, the UK, France, China and Russia – until 7 July to protect Iranian oil sales from US sanctions. Otherwise Iran will suspend its restrictions on the purity of enriched uranium.

At the same time, the White House sent an aircraft carrier strike group, B-52 bombers, and a Patriot missile defence battery to the Gulf because of „troubling and escalatory indications“ related to Iran.

A handout photo made available by the US Navy shows the Abraham Lincoln Carrier Strike Group and a US Air Force B-52H Stratofortress, assigned to the 20th Expeditionary Bomb Squadron and part of the Bomber Task Force deployed to the region, conducting joint exercises in the US Central Command area of responsibility, in the Arabian Sea (1 June 2019)
Image caption The US has deployed B-52 bombers and a carrier strike group to the region

Iran was subsequently accused by the US of being behind attacks on four oil tankers off the coast of the United Arab Emirates; two oil pumping stations in Saudi Arabia; and the Green Zone in the Iraqi capital Baghdad, where many foreign embassies are located. Iran denied the allegations.

Then, on 20 May, the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran announced that it would quadruple its production of low-enriched uranium and had informed the IAEA, which is tasked with monitoring Iranian compliance with the nuclear deal.

What have the IAEA said?

On Monday, the nuclear watchdog’s chief confirmed that Iran had increased its production rate. But Mr Amano declined to specify by how much and said it was not clear when the stockpile limit would be exceeded.

He told the IAEA’s Board of Governors it was essential that Iran fully implemented its commitments under the nuclear deal.

File photo showing International Atomic Energy Agency chief Yukiya Amano at the organisation's headquarters in Vienna on 22 November 2018
Image captionIAEA chief Yukiya Amano said he was worried about the tensions over the Iranian nuclear issue

„As I have constantly emphasised, the nuclear-related commitments entered into by Iran under the [deal] represent a significant gain for nuclear verification,“ he said. „I therefore hope that ways can be found to reduce current tensions through dialogue.“

Germany’s Foreign Minister stressed that European powers wanted to fulfil their obligations under the deal and were attempting to provide Iran with alternative ways to trade.

„We cannot work miracles, but we will try to avert a failure,“ Mr Maas said.

The Europeans have set up a „special purpose vehicle“ that would essentially allow goods to be bartered between Iranian and foreign companies without direct financial transactions. But the mechanism – known as Instex – is not yet operational.

Babylon the Great is About to be Crushed

Iran Warns U.S. Navy and ‚Zionist‘ Military: Prepare to Be Crushed

U.S. Navy forces now gathered in the Persian Gulf region will be hit with “unimaginable reciprocal blows” if any attack is made on Iran, a top military aide to the country’s leadership said Sunday.

Zionists” were also warned they face the same fate in the announcement.

General Rahim Safavi told the local Fars newsagency Iran has the ability to hit far beyond its borders and its enemies should take note. He said:

We are not the starter of any war and aggression against any country and this has several times been stated by Supreme Leader [Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei who is also commander-in-chief of the Iranian Armed Forces]. But if enemies, including the Zionists or the Americans, make a move against us at any level, we have a strong defense and deterrence power too and will hit unimaginable reciprocal blows on them and their interests and military bases.

He claimed Iran “is stronger than all its 15 neighbors, except Russia, in the military field,” and said Tehran and Moscow have joined together in a military alliance across the Middle East. Such is Iran’s claimed military might, the country “will inflict the most crushing and most surprising strikes on them not just in areas around the country but also beyond in the seas.”

This not the first time Iran has issued blood-curdling threats against its real and perceived enemies.

As Breitbart News reported, last month the U.S. military presence in the Middle East was dismissed as its “weakest in history” by a deputy commander of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards.

Admiral Ali Fadavi, a deputy Guards commander, made the accusation but failed to add any evidence to back his claim.

“The Americans have been present in the region since 1833 and they are now at their weakest in history in West Asia,” Fadavi is alleged to have said.

Tehran has previously described U.S. military moves as “psychological warfare” and a “political game”designed to hurt the Iran people.

The White House announced in May it would send the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers into the Persian Gulf to counter Tehran. The Lincoln is now on on station for its new assignment, as Breitbart News reported.

The USS Abraham Lincoln is a Nimitz-class, nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. Commissioned in 1989, it has berthing to carry over 6,000 officers and enlisted sailors. At 332 meters (1,092 feet), it is nearly as long as the Empire State Building is tall.

The carrier has a 4.5-acre flight deck that carries F-18 Super Hornet fighter jets, MH-60 Seahawk helicopters and other aircraft.

Two weeks ago a top commander in Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps. said the United States “wouldn’t dare to launch military action against us.”

He was backed by an Iranian cleric who alleged a U.S. Navy force in the Persian Gulf could be entirely destroyed with ease.

“Their billion [-dollar] fleet can be destroyed with one missile,” Ayatollah Yousef Tabatabai Nejad was quoted as saying by the ISNA news agency.

“If they attempt any move, they will… [face] dozens of missiles because at that time [government] officials won’t be in charge to act cautiously, but instead things will be in the hands of our beloved leader [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei]” added Nejad, who is the supreme leader’s representative in Isfahan.

Follow Simon Kent on Twitter: or e-mail to: skent@breitbart.com

Save the Oil and the Wine (Revelation 6:6)

Image result for oil iran

US sanctions Iran’s petrochemical holding group, subsidiaries & sales agents

The US Treasury Department has slapped sanctions on Iran’s largest and, according to Washington, “most profitable” petrochemical holding group, for allegedly supporting terrorism.

Announced by the Treasury Department on Friday, the sanctions punish Persian Gulf Petrochemical Industries Company (PGPIC) for allegedly providing financial support to Iran’s elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), formally designated as a “foreign terrorist organization” by Washington in April.

In addition, the sanctions target PGPIC’s “vast network” of 39 subsidiary companies and foreign sales agents. Altogether, these companies hold 40 percent of Iran’s total petrochemical production, and are responsible for 50 percent of the country’s petrochemical exports.

Reiterating familiar claims, the Treasury Department stated that “the profits from these activities support the IRGC’s full range of nefarious activities, including the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) and their means of delivery, support for terrorism, and a variety of human rights abuses, at home and abroad.”

Months before designating the IRGC a terrorist group, Washington had Iran’s oil industry in its crosshairs. The sector was sanctioned heavily after the US pulled out of the JCPOA, or Iran nuclear deal, last year, a move that dealt a severe blow to the country’s oil-dependent economy. Speaking in France on Thursday, President Donald Trump declared that Iran “is failing as a nation” due to the economic penalties.

US-Iran tensions have risen of late, with Washington beefing up its military might in the Middle East as a “warning” to Tehran. As the US cited unspecified “threats” from Iran, the Islamic Republic’s leadership traded verbal blows with Trump, but insisted that war would not break out.

Earlier this week, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that his country will continue to resist sanctions, and will not be brought to the negotiating table by economic pressure. „Standing and resisting the enemy’s excessive demands and bullying is the only way to stop him,“ Khamenei said.

US and France Try to Stop the Inevitable

US and France Agreed That Iran Should Not Obtain Nuclear Weapons

U.S President Donald Trump, left, talks to French President Emmanuel Macron during a meeting at the Prefecture of Caen, Normandy, France

London, 08 June – For a second day running, Donald Trump has called for talks between the US and Iran but has stressed that under no circumstances will Iran be allowed to develop nuclear weapons.

After a meeting with French President Emmanuel Macron in Caen, France, on Thursday, Trump said: „I understand [Iran] wants to talk, and we want to talk. That’s fine. We’ll talk. But the one thing that [Iran] can’t have is … nuclear weapons. And I think the president of France would agree with that very strongly.“

This came just one day after Trump told Britain’s ITV that he would prefer to talk to his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, but refused to take military action off the table.

He said: „Yeah, of course. I would much rather talk… [But] there’s always a chance [or military action]. Do I want to? No. I’d rather not. But there’s always a chance.“

Tensions between the US and Iran have been rising since Trump took power and began to exert pressure on Iran by pulling out of the 2015 nuclear deal, reimposing sanctions on Iran, labelling the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) as a terrorist organisation, among other things.

Trump said the nuclear deal didn’t do enough to stop Iran obtaining nuclear weapons or modify its other malign behaviour, so his pressure campaign was designed to get Iran to agree to a new comprehensive deal.

Recently. tensions escalated when the US sent an aircraft carrier and B-52 bombers to the Gulf in response to an as-yet-unspecified threat to the US, which was described as “imminent”.

On Tuesday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei suggested that Trump’s supposed openness to talks was a „cunning political ploy“ and Iran would not be deceived.

Tzvi Kahn, a senior Iran analyst at the Washington-based Foundation for Defense of Democracies, said: „Iran knows that the current situation is unsustainable as sanctions are tearing apart the country. So, we’re beginning to see cracks in the regime’s facade.“

Indeed, Iran’s currency has been weakened significantly since the sanctions and inflation rates have soared.

Following his address with Macron, Trump said: „[Iran is] doing very poorly as a nation. They are failing as a nation. And I don’t want them to fail as a nation.“

While Macron said that the US and France agreed that Iran should not obtain nuclear weapons, reduce its ballistic missile activity, contain its involvement in regional conflicts; and pursue peace in the Middle East.

He said: „I think the [message] pronounced by President Trump is that [negotiations] are very important. We need to open a new negotiation in order to build and to get these four objectives.“