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Nov. 17: FDI joins
Larry Klayman and Freedom Watch to examine policy options for the
incoming 112th Congress toward Iran.
From left to right: FDMI President Kenneth R. Timmerman,
FDI Advisory board member Reza Kahlili, Larry Klayman (speaking), FDI
advisory board member R. James Woolsey
FDI briefs incoming House intelligence
committee member Rep. Michele Bachmann on Iran.
(l-to-r: FDI president Kenneth R.
Timmerman, FDI Sec/Treasury Bill Nojay, Rep. Bachmann, FDI Advisory
board member R. James Woolsey)
| Jan. 22, 2015: State Department #2 says
U.S. has no intention of stopping Iran nuclear program. The
former Chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Sen. Robert
Menendez (D, NJ), blasted
Deputy Secretary of State Tony Blinken yesterday over the
administration's positions on Iran's nuclear program. In a blistering
exchange, Mendenez accused Blinken and the administration for failing
to take any steps to eliminate Iran's nuclear program and using
"talking points that come straight out of Tehran."
ì[I]snít it true that even the deal that you are striving towards is
not to eliminate any Iranian [nuclear] breakout capability, but to
constrain the time in which youíll get the notice of such breakout
capability?î Menendez asked Blinken. ìIs that a fair statement, yes or
ìYes, it is,î Blinken responded.
Blinken was confirmed in party line vote on Dec. 16, 2014, after
Senator John McCain had vowed to block his nomination over statements
Blinken had made praising Iraq as stable and secure as the U.S.
prepared to end its military presence.
Meanwhile, more details emerge of the U.S. concessions to Iran,
lifting of economic sanctions, without any Iranian counter-part.
This comes after President Obama vowed to veto new Iran sanctions
legislation, and called on British Prime Minister David Cameron to
directly lobby U.S. Senators last week to vote block a sanctions vote.
Jan. 21, 2015: More on Nisman death: Claudia Rossett
reports in Forbes that Nisman had been warning for years that Iran's
terrorist penetration of Latin America wasn't limited to Argentina, and
that his superiors
banned him in 2013 from testifying befor the U.S. Congress on
Iranian terror networks in the Western hemisphere. (h/t Banafsheh Zand)
- FDI Director Kenneth Timmerman's recollection
of Nisman in FrontPage magazine.
Jan. 20, 2015: Jan. 20, 2015: FDI, Public
Enemy #1. Itís not the first time, but today's
article in the IRGC-controlled Mashregh
News website, FDI once again makes the hit parade of IRGC enemies
in the West.
repeats oft-cited claims that FDI is spearheading a U.S. government
effort to overthrow the Islamic regime in Iran, and was reproduced
verbatim in more than a dozen regime-controlled websites, most of them
controlled by the IRGC or MOIS.
But in a break with previous such attacks, this one contained a special
twist, blasting FDI for opposing (and exposing) the National Iranian
American Council (NIAC), and its founder, Swedish-Iranian national,
Trita Parsi. The author praised NIAC and Parsi for opposing regime
change in Iran, supporting negotiations between the U.S. and Iran, and
more generally for defending the Islamic Republic in the United States.
The author claimed that a recent poll showed that 96% of
Iranian-Americans saw Parsi as a "lobbyist" for the Islamic Republic.
The timing of this latest broadside against FDI
is worth noting. On
Sunday morning, helicopters Israeli
reportedly killed a Hezbollah operational team in Syria that included
Jihad Mugniyeh, son of the former Hezbollah military commander.
The elder Mugniyeh was identified by Argentinean prosecutor Alberto
Nisman as the logistics coordinator of the 1992 attack on the Israeli
embassy in Buenos Aires, and the July 1994 truck bombing of the AMIA
Jewish Center that killed 86 people.
Half a world away, Nisman himself was found dead in his apartment that
same night, an
FDI CEO and president Kenneth R. Timmerman had been an expert witness
in the AMIA case and was cited by Nisman in his 2006 indictment more
than a dozen times. Timmerman was also instrumental in laying out the
elder Mugniyeh's involvement in recruiting the al Qaeda terrorists who
carried out the 9/11 attacks on America.
side note on the picture of Timmerman that appears in
the Mashregh News broadside: it was grabbed from a video taken at a
campaign event at the B'nai Israel synagogue in Maryland in October
2012óbut from a portion of the video that the campaign never posted
Stay tuned for more as this story develops. Permalink
Jan. 17, 2015: Standing up for press
freedom... in Iran. Blogger Banafsheh Zand reminds
us that journalists in Iran continue to face persecution, arrest,
and torture from the regime. Where is the outrage from the West?
Jan. 16, 2015: Kerry-Zarif meet in Paris. After talks in
Geneva on Wednesday, Secretary of State John Kerry and his Iranian
counterpart take their traveling circus to Paris for the second time
this week on Friday, as the pro-Tehran lobby once again peddled the
fanciful notion that the regime is divided
over making concessions to the West - so therefore Washington
should be making all the concessions!
Jan. 15, 2015: White House calls nuclear deal separate from hostage
negotiations. White House spokesman Josh Earnest told
that the U.S. could conclude a nuclear agreement with Islamic Republic,
even as the regime continues to hold American citizens hostage.
Jan. 14, 2016: U.S. negotiating goals shrink. Former
Asst Secretary of State Robert Einhorn argues in
an insider's account of the nuclear negotiations that the U.S.
goal has shrunk so very small that the best we can hope for is an
agreement that delays the time Iran would need to produce weapons-grade
uranium from 4-6 weeks to 10-12 months.
January 6, 2015: FDI Director in Frontpage mag: What do
Iranian defectors, the Iranian opposition, and the underground house
church all have in common? The CIA has mishandled or misunderstood them
all. Read Ken Timmerman's column, Carrying
His Cross to Elam.
Jan. 3, 2015: Iranian American pastor begins 3rd year of prison
sentence. Pastor Saeed Abedini, arrested during a visit
to Iran in September 2012 was sentenced in January 2013 to eight years
in jail because of his faith. American supporters have called on
believers to join in a
vigil of prayer and fasting to call for his release.
Nov. 22, 2014: A bad nuclear deal in the
offing. Secretary of State Kerry and others continue to
say that no deal is better than a bad deal with Iran, but do they
really mean it?
Criticism is mounting among
Democrats as well as Republicans of the entire negotiation process,
let alone any potential ìdealî with the Islamic Republic. 17 Democrats
signed onto the bi-partisan Mendendez-Kirk ìNuclear
Weapons Free Iran Billî last December, before the White House came
down on them like a ton of bricks. Among other things, the bill would
have held the White House and the State Department to their repeated
pledges to ìdismantleî Iranís nuclear program by explicitly denying
Iranís ìrightî to enrichment (a ìrightî the Islamic Republic forefeited
when the United Nations Security Council condemned
them in 2005 and 2006 for cheating on the Non-Proliferation
Last Wednesday, 43 of the 45 Republicans in the U.S. Senate wrote to
President Obama, demanding that the President bring any agreement
before the Senate for approval.
And at a House Foreign Affairs subcommittee hearing on Thursday, Nov.
Ted Deutch of Florida led the charge, saying that any deal ìmust
cut off all of Iranís pathways to a nuclear weapon,î including the
dismantling of its centrifuge program and the Arak heavy water reactor,
and full transparency on Iranís Past Military activities.
Iranian regime negotiators, parliamentarians and other commentators
have explicitly rejected all of these restrictions, claiming that the
only issue on the table is lifting U.S. and international economic
It is our view that the regimeís nuclear program will spark a regional
nuclear arms race and endangers the security of ordinary Iranians and
should be entirely dismantled.
Nov. 19, 2014: Mobile billboard campaign in
A coalition of Iranian human rights groups and
Justice Through Music launched a mobile billboard campaign in the U.S.
capitol on Wednesday, to bring attention to stepped up repression of
women inside Iran. The execution last month of Reyhaneh Jabbari, a
26-year old woman accused of stabbing to death a former intelligence
ministry official who was raping her, has
generated worldwide indignation, as have a spate of acid-throwing
attacks against unveiled women in Iranian streets.
here for more photos from the billboard campaign:
Nov. 13, 2014: Voice of America TV now
promoted by Iranian state media! Members of Congress
might think that taxpayer funding for the Voice of
America's Persian language service is aimed at providing Iranians an
alternative to the propaganda they receive daily from the state run
media. But some VOA shows have become favorites of the Iranian regime
Such is the case of "Ofogh" (Horizon), a news show hosted by Siamak Dehghanpour. In this photo,
taken at the booth of the official Fars News booth at this week's Media
fair in Tehran, Dehghanpour can be seen on the set of "Ofogh" with the
VOA logo in both Farsi and English behind him. Dehghanpour apparently
was so proud of being accepted by the state-run media in Iran that he
posted the photo on Ofogh's
In the comments section below, a viewer using the screen name Al Noori
called him, "Voice of Ayatollah in VOA." Sara Safiri commented that it
was "no surprise" to see Dehghanpour featured at the Tehran media fair
since he already boasted of taking part in a closed door dinner in New
York this September during the United Nations General Assembly hosted
by Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that gathered regime supporters
in the United States.
Nov. 7, 2014: Iranian activist honored as "hero" by
California Senate. California State Senator Joel
Anderson (R, El Cajon) took the unprecedented step of honoring Iranian
activist Roozbeh Farahanipour as a "California Hero" in a ceremony in
his district office today. California Senate Concurrent Resolution 97,
authored by Sen. Anderson, officially declares September as "California
Heroes Month," and Farahanipour was one of the first nominees. "You
have set yourself apart by showing concern for others in need, and take
action to help others without expectation of reward," Sen. Anderson
said. Farahanipour, a leader of the 1999 student uprising in Tehran who
came to the United States in 2002 after he was released from an Iranian
prison, has become a local watchdog in Los Angeles in exposing Islamic Republic agents. (For a larger
photo of the certificate, click
Oct. 10, 2014: New satellite photos confirm
Parchin explosion. An analysis of before and after
satellite photographs by the Institute for Science and International
Security concludes that two buildings were destroyed and four others
damaged in the events that reportedly occurred on October 5. The
photographs also showed trucks present at the site of the damage
that appeared to be either fire trucks or debris haulers. Some sources
are claiming that a ìforeign powerî sabotaged the site, and that Iran
may have ordered Hezbollah to make a reprisal attack against Israeli
positions in the disputed Shebaa farms area near the Golan.
Hat-tip to Jerry Gordon at The
Oct. 8, 2014: Pro-regime activists try to sway Westwood Council. In
a display of force that shocked the Americans present, Hezbollah-style
thugs invaded the hearing chambers of the Westwood Neighborhood Council
tonight, in an effort to get the Council to rescind its resolutions
banning Islamic regime signs in Westwood. Local attorney Guita Tahmesseb had
emailed and phoned Council chairman Jerry Brown and other members,
claiming that the resolutions were ìdiscriminatory against the Iranian
community,î despite the fact that the resolutions were introduced by
the Councilís only Iranian-American member. Despite pressure in the
room from bearded pro-regime activists, Council members reaffirmed the
resolutions when it came time to vote.
Oct. 6, 2014: Explosion at Parchin. A
powerful explosion rocked Iran's oldest military production plant at
Parchin on Sunday night, killing at least two workers, Reuters
reported, citing Iranian government media sources. The ensuing fire
could be seen nine miles away.
Parchin is a sprawling military facility that includes the oldest
gunpowder plant in the Middle East and today is suspected by the IAEA
of having been used for
secret nuclear weapons tests. Built initially by Nazi Germany, it was
expanded and modernized in the 1970s by SNPE of France to make a wide
variety of explosives and solid missile
propellants. Israel's minister of intelligence, Yuval Steinitz, recently
reiterated longstanding claims by the IAEA that Iran had tested
internal neutron initiators at Parchin in 2000-2001. These
polonium-beryllium devices have no other purpose than to trigger a
Washington,DC-based Institute for Science and International Security,
ISIS, has been tracking construction and concealment activities at
Parchin for many years using
commercial satellite imagery.
Oct. 5, 2014: Three Christian
converts arrested in Iran. Security officers raided the
home of a Christian actor in Esfahan on Sept. 27, arresting him and two
other recent converts to Christianity. Shahran Gaedi, 27, was arrested
and released already earlier this year, reportedly
because of his involvement in the ìIranian Jesus Film Project.î
Oct. 1, 2014: Former
Deputy CIA Director
turns blind eye to Iranian involvement in Benghazi attacks. In a recent
speech in Florida, former deputy CIA director Mike Morell denied that
Iranian government operatives or Hezbollah operatives were on the
ground in Benghazi during the Sept. 11, 2012 attacks that cost the
lives of four Americans. FDI director Kenneth R. Timmerman's latest
Forces: the Truth About What Happened in Benghazi, details Iran's
on-the-ground involvement in the uprising against Qaddafi and in the
his website, Timmerman offers additional information on the Iranian
involvement, including photographs of the
Iranian Red Crescent team allegedly "kidnapped" in Benghazi on July
31, 2012 as part of an elaborate intelligence ruse by the Quds Force
aimed at tricking the CIA into thinking the threat to the U.S.
compounds in Benghazi were over. According to Timmerman's account, the Iranian
regime was seeking to drive the Americans out of Libya and thrust that
nation into chaos, two goals that have been met.
Timmerman reports on Morell's recent speech, his Iran denial, and
Senator Lindsay Graham's own accusations against Morell in the October
edition of the New
Since leaving government, Morell has gone to work for Beacon Global
Strategies, a recently established consulting firm jointly owned by
several Hillary Clinton confidants, including her "enforcer," Philippe
was interviewed on the book, Morell, and the U.S.-sanctioned arms
smuggling operation being run out of Benghazi on the John Bates "Middle
East Round Up" on Sept. 16, which the New English Review has
Also today: Read Ryan Mauro's excellent article on
sanctioned Iranian businesses that continue
to operate in Los Angeles.
Former DIA analyst Dr. Lawrence Franklin writes on the efforts of
"Iranian-American patriot" Roozbeh Farahanipour to drive
the IRI out of Westwood.
And from Roozbeh, FDI has learned that at least one Westwood business,
worried by the possibility of law enforcement action against him for
sanctions violations, has changed his
Farsi-language sign so it no longer offers his services on behalf
of the non-existent Iranian "embassy" in Washington, DC.
Sept. 29, 2014: "New Iran" opposition group reveals that IRI killed
nuclear scientist. The sister of Iranian nuclear
scientist Dr. Ardeshire Hosseinpour, who was
murdered in 2007, now claims he was murdered by the regime for refusing
to cooperate with the nuclear weapons program. In video
conference calls with the California-based opposition group, The New
Iran, Mahboobeh Hosseinpour said her brother was contacted by three
special agents of the regime's Defense ministry "with a direct message"
from Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, who was seeking Dr. Hosseinpour's
help. When Dr. Hosseinpour turned down repeated offers, including a
senior rank in the IRGC and part ownership of several factories as
perks, regime thugs assassinated him, Mahboobeh told the
Media Line, in a call arranged by Dr. Iman Foroutan of New Iran.
Sept. 26, 2014: "Moderate" Rouhani says jailing American pastor for his
faith shows Iran's "fairness and justice." Regime
president Hassan Rouhani once again showed his spots in
an interview with CNN's Christian Amanpour on the 2nd anniversary of
the jailing of visiting American pastor, Saeed Abedini. In a rambling
response to her question on prisoners of faith and political prisoners,
Rouhani said they had all received a fair trial and received adequate
legal representation. But as Jordan Sekulow points out, Pastor Saeed
"wasnít made aware of the charges brought against him until a week
before trial. He was not allowed to meet with his attorney until
24 hours before trial. He and his attorney were barred from
attending the second day of his trial as evidence was brought against
him with no opportunity to defend himself. That's not
Justice. That's not fairness," Sekulow
Sept. 25, 2014: Westwood Neighborhood Council vs. the Islamic Republic
of Iran. In an interview with FrontPage magazine,
Roozbeh Farahanipour explains the significance of the recent motions
passed by the Westwood Neighborhood Council to limit the IRI presence
in Los Angeles. "Westwood was once the safe-haven of Iranian refugees
fleeing the Islamic RepublicÖSadly, however, drizzled in-between those
seeking safety and a better life, are businesspeople and other
individuals closely-tied to the ruling regime back in Tehran, sent here
with an agenda, a goal and a mission." Breaking their strangle hold on
the community was his goal in passing resolutions to enforce U.S.
sanctions in Westwood, Farahanipour
In a separate article with the Jewish Journal, reporter Karmel Melamed interviewed
local businesses and activists about the Council resolutions.
Sept. 11, 2014: Westwood
Council passes resolutions banning IRI business in Los Angeles. In
a historic move, the Westwood Neighborhood Council, an elected body in
a heavily Iranian-American neighborhood of Los Angeles, voted 17-1 last
night to approve two resolutions banning local businesses from
deceptive activities in violation of U.S. sanctions on Iran.
resolutions were the result of an
investigation by Council member Roozbeh Farahanipour, a pro-freedom
activist involved in organizing the 1999 student protests in Iran, who
found that local businesses were advertising visa, passport, and
notarial services on behalf of the Iranian regime. (Click images).
Farahanipour presented photographs of storefront signs advertising Iran
Air, which is banned from doing business in the United States because
of its ties to terrorism. He also showed photographs of signs that
appeared innocuous in English, but which in Farsi advertised services
in violation of U.S. sanctions.
is a great victory for the pro-freedom movement," Farahanipour told
FDI. "Westwood is the heart of the Iranian community in the United
States, and in recent years the opposition has not been very active.
This shows that the opposition is still alive and well in Westwood."
In the first resolution, aimed at enforcing U.S. sanctions on Iran,
noted that Iranian "service" bureaux in Westwood used same word
"Khatamaat" as al Qaeda used in the 1980s and 1990s when it was
recruiting jihadis to its cause in Afghanistan. It also called on Los
Angeles City Councilman Paul Koretz to review Farahanipourís evidence
and to presaent a plan within 30 days "to safeguard the neighborhood
against possible terrorist infiltration and illegal economic
activities." (Read the full
The second resolution gave Westwood neighborhood businesses three weeks
notice to remove "illegal signs, street
banners, symbols and advertisements" promoting relations or business
with the Islamic Republic of Iran "and its related institutions
Most significantly, the resolution also banned the display of the flag
of the Islamic Republic, as well as advertisements for Iran Air, and
accused some local businesses of "benefiting financially by conducting
illegal business with the IRI, facilitating its presence in Westwood
and establishing an atmosphere of fear among Iranian Americans in our
area." (Read the full
California State Senator Joel Anderson (R-San Diego) flew in from
Sacramento to speak in support of the resolutions at Wednesdayís
"Roozbeh is right to be outraged that in a post 9/11 America, any local
business would advertise themselves as agents of the Islamic Republic
of Iran, we all should be outraged, too," Anderson said. "The Islamic
Republic of Iran is a well-recognized sponsor of terrorism around the
In his presentation to the Council,
Farahanipour cited recent statements by David Cohen, Undersecretary of
Treasury for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence, warning businesses
that selective sanctions relief under the Joint Program of Action with
the Iranian regime is not an invitation by the U.S. government
suggesting that Iran is "open for business."
He also presented a broad selection of photos of local shopfronts
advertizing travel, shipping, and other services with Iran.
(Farahanipourís Powerpoint is available here).
April 9, 2014: Extraordinary admissions
from former director of Iran's nuclear agency: we hid information from
IAEA. Fereydoon Abbasi headed Iran's Atomic Energy
Agency under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. In an
astonishing interview with the Iranian daily Khorassan, he revealed
that Iran hid design information it was required to provide to the IAEA
on the Arak heavy water reactor because Western intelligence agencies
were using that information to sabotage Iran's nuclear programs.
For example, he explained, if Iran reported that a certain pump had not
yet reached Iran, Western intelligence agencies would "search the globe
for companies that make the pump, and pressure them. They would pressure that
country or company not to transfer the parts or equipment to Iran, or
would allow them to do so [only] after sabotaging [the parts]... For
instance, if it was an electronic system, they would infect it with a
virus, or plant explosives in it, or even alter the type of components,
in order to paralyze [Iran's] system.
these events [actually] happened?
I said happened..." Read the
full interview at MEMRI.
March 31, 2014: Former hostage says U.S. should deny visa to hostage-taker 'ambassador.' Barry
Rosen, one of the 54 U.S. embassy personnel held hostage for 444 days
in Tehran by Iranian "students" from 1979-1981, urged the State
Department to deny a visa to President Rouhani's pick to become the
Islamic Republic's top diplomat in the U.S. Allowing Hamid Aboutalebi to become the
regime's Permanent Representative to the United Nations in New York
would be "an outrage" and a "disgrace," Rosen
Update April 7: State Department
spokesperson Marie Harf, after dodging questions on Aboutalebi, said
the State Department found his nomination "extremely troubling" and had
our concerns" with Tehran.
March 15, 2014: UN human
says little change under Rouhani. Ahmed Shadeed releases
his annual report, blasting Rouhani for taking only "baby
steps" to improve the human rights in Iran, while regime forces
continue are actively "working to suppress the rights of the people."
Predictably, the regime still won't allow Shadeed or any of his staff
Shadeed admirably lists the names and alleged "offenses" of hundreds of
political prisoners in Iranian jails, including Baha'is and Christians
persecuted for their faith, human rights advocates, political
activists, and Ethnic minorities. Download the full report.
March 14, 2014: Former U.S. intelligence
officer says Kerry may be compromised. A former Iran
analyst at the Defense Intelligence Agency is asking tough questions
about Secretary of State John Kerry's relationship to his Iranian
counter-part, Javad Sharif, as rumors fly that Sharif's son was the
best man at the wedding of Kerry's daughter to an Iranian national.
Larry Franklin also questions why Kerry did not disclose his daughter's
recent marriage to an Iranian until after he was confirmed by the
Senate as Sec/State. Read
the full story.
Jan. 14, 2014: Hassan Rouhani, nuclear
cheat. Now itís official: for Iranian president Hassan
Rouhani, the nuclear deal struck with the West in Geneva in November
was just an excuse to get sanctions relief, and Iran has no intention
of scaling back its nuclear ambitions. îOur relationship w/the world is
based on Iranian nationís interests,î Rouhani tweeted on Jan. 14. ìIn
Geneva agreement world powers surrendered to Iranian nationís will.î
The Islamic Republicís ìmoderateî clerical president expanded on what
he meant by the Westís ìsurrenderî in a speech in the oil-rich province
of Khuzestan today. ìThe Geneva agreement means the wall of sanctions
has broken. The unfair sanctions were imposed on the revered and
peace-loving Iranian nation,' he said (with
translation by the Associated Press). 'It means an admission by the
world of Iran's peaceful nuclear program.'"
The Iranian side has a very different view on what they agreed to in
Geneva than does Secretary of State John Kerry. Iranian negotiator
Abbas Araqchi revealed that the two sides would be bound by a 30-page
ìnon-paper,î which bore all the hallmarks of a secret side agreement ñ
something the State Department was quick to deny.
Araqchi was crystal clear that Iran believes the deal means the
continuation of all Iranian nuclear research programs and facilities.
ìNo facility will be closed; enrichment will continue, and qualitative
and nuclear research will be expanded,î he told
the Iranian Students News Agency on Monday. ìAll research into a
new generation of centrifuges will continue."
gloated over fooling the West in his last nuclear negotiation when he
ran for president last year. In
a televised interview, he
explained in detail how he tricked the EU-3 negotiators in talks from
2003 to 2005. Instead of shutting down or even slowing its nuclear
development, Rouhani boasted that centrifuge production actually
increased, and Iran managed to finalize its Uranium Conversion Facility
in Isfahan, all the while pretending it has "suspended" its enrichment
program. without the conversion plant (often known as the "hex" plant,
since that's where Iran transforms uranium yellowcake into Uranium
hexafluoride for gaseous enrichment), there could be no enrichment. Permalink.
Jan. 5, 2014: Heshmatollah Tabarzadi sent back to prison. Former
student leader and human rights activist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi has
been ordered to return to prison, effective Jan. 6, after a year-long
"furlough." In a letter explaining his reason for returning to jail,
Tabarzadi said his temporary release was continent upon his silence,
but that "the situation of the people and my country is such that I
could no longer keep quiet." He blasted so-called pro-freedom activists
who have embraced the new government of mullah Hassan Rouhani. With his
forced return to prison, "
These hypocrites can no
longer claim to the international community that after the
emergence of President Hassan Rouhani, Iran's human rights situation
has improved," he wrote.
h/t Banafhsheh Zand.
Jan. 2, 2014: Assyrian church in Iran
pressured to close doors to Farsi-speaking Christians. The
Iranian regime, working through Quislings in the Assyrian community,
has forced St. Peter's Church in Tehran to ban Farsi-speaking
Christians from attending worship services, Mohabat
News reports. As happens regularly where Christians are a tiny
minority in Muslm lands, the Iranian regime appears to have used its
"pet Christian," Assyrian Majles member Yonatan Betkolia, to enforce
this ban, aimed at identifying and persecuting former Muslims who have
come to Jesus. Betkolia has family members living in the United States,
and is well known within the Assyrian community as the Secretary
General of Assyrian Universal Alliance (AUA). "He will do whatever the
Iranian regime orders him to do," a prominent Assyrian activist told
Jan. 1, 2014:Anti-Israel Lobby Teams up
with NIAC to oppose Iran sanctions. Anti-Israel
conservatives, including the National
Interest, are making common
cause with NIAC and the Obama White House to oppose the latest Iran
sanctions legislation being pitched by a bi-partisan group of U.S.
Senators led by Democrats Menendez (NJ) and Chuck Schummer (NY), and
Republican Mark Kirk of Illinois. They argue that the latest sanctions
are being driven by the pro-Israel lobby and have essentially ìout-sourcedî
Americaís decisions of war or peace to Israel.
While this is a meretricious argument on its face (the U.S. Congress
decides questions of war and peace, when it decides to assert its
Constitutional authority), it reveals the panic that has gripped the
pro-Tehran lobby over the new sanctions legislation.
The Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2013 is significant because this is
the first time prominent Democrats have bucked a veto threat from the
Obama White House. It also is significant because it closes a major loophole in the petroleum
sanctions that has allowed countries such as China to continue
importing Iranian oil in the form of fuel oil, while cracking down on
the oil-mixing trade sponsored by sanctions-busters such as Babak Zanjani, who has been running
cargoes of Iranian oil to Labuan, Malaysia where he blends the Iranian
oil with oil from other countries and then sells it as non-Iranian oil.
The new bill amends previous sanctions legislation by replacing the ban
on ìcrude oil purchases from Iranî with an ban on ìpurchases of
petroleum from Iran or of Iranian origin,î a new definition aimed to
capture blended oil as well as fuel oil, condensates, and other forms
of petroleum exported by Iran. It also expands sanctions beyond the
current energy, shipping and shipbuilding to include certain ports and
free economic zones, as well as any economic sector the President deems
to be ìstrategic.î
The new bill also prevents the President from cutting staff or
appropriations to the Treasury Departmentís Office of Foreign Assets
Control, the primary U.S. government agency involved in sanctions
enforcement, as happened during the brief government shutdown last
the latest draft here).
The authors of the bill clearly see the measure as a means of
ìputting teethî into the ongoing diplomatic negotiations with the
Iranian regime over its nuclear program, not as a means of impeding or
prohibiting those negotiations. But Iranian foreign Minister Javad Sharif warned that if the bill
passed, the negotiations were over and Iran would back out of the
Joint Plan of Action.