Posts Tagged ‘Iran’

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Cartoon: ‘Bama’s Response to Iran Threat

February 9, 2010

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IRAN: Treasury, Justice Target Iranian Regime Assets

November 16, 2009

Treasury, Justice Target Iranian Regime Assets

IPT News
November 13, 2009

http://www.investigativeproject.org/1513/treasury-justice-target-iranian-regime-assets

On November 12, 2009, the Justice Department dealt a major blow to Iranian nuclear ambitions and terrorist financing efforts. The announcement of an amended civil forfeiture complaint against the Alavi Foundation has the potential to cut off a significant source of funding to the Iranian government—funding which is absolutely essential as Iran continues to defy international efforts at curbing nuclear proliferation.

The amended complaint in United States v. ASSA Corp., now the largest civil forfeiture claim ever filed, is the latest in a series of moves taken by the United States government aimed at closing front companies funneling money to the Iranian government. The complaint, filed in the Southern District of New York, alleges, among other things, that the “Alavi Foundation has been providing numerous services to the Iranian Government,” including funneling money to Bank Melli, an institution which has been designated for its role in funding terrorism and nuclear proliferation.

Bank Melli was designated under ***Executive Order 13382—aimed at freezing the assets of proliferators of weapons of mass destruction—on October 25, 2007. At the time of its designation, the Treasury Department explained that:

Bank Melli provides financial services, including opening letters of credit and maintaining accounts, for Iranian front companies and entities engaged in proliferation activities. Further, Bank Melli has facilitated the purchase of sensitive materials utilized by Iran’s nuclear and missile industry, and has handled transactions for other designated Iranian entities, including Bank Sepa, Defense Industries Organization, and the Shahid Hammas Industrial Group.

Following the designation of Bank Melli, the Iranian government began setting up front companies to hide its identity and continue sponsoring terrorism. Through these layers of front companies Bank Melli provided banking services to the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corp (IRGC) and the Qods force, a branch of the IRGC that has been designated under Executive Order 13224 for providing support to terrorist groups including the Taliban, Hizballah, Hamas, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Among the companies set up to mask Iranian activities were the ASSA Corporation and the Alavi Foundation, the two defendants in the recently amended civil forfeiture proceeding.

Assa Corporation is owned by Assa Company Limited, a UK entity which is wholly owned and operated by Iranian citizens who represent the interests of Bank Melli. Shortly after ASSA’s creation, on December 17, 2008, the Treasury Department designated ASSA as a terrorist financier, and the Justice Department filed a civil forfeiture complaint over ASSAs financial interests in the United States. At the time, senior Treasury official, Stuart Levey, explained “this scheme to use a front company set up by Bank Melli—a known proliferator—to funnel money from the United States to Iran is yet another example of Iran’s duplicity.”

Similarly, the Alavi Foundation has served as a front for Iran’s financing of terrorism. It began as the Pahlavi Foundation, a non-profit organization operated by the Shah of Iran and was later renamed the Mostazafan Foundation of New York and then finally the Alavi Foundation. Through each of these incarnations, the company has been used by Bank Melli and the Iranian government to finance terror, as detailed in the complaint. Along with ASSA Corporation, the Alavi Foundation maintains control over substantial assets and property within the United States. All would be forfeited should the government prevail at the upcoming trial in Manhattan.

The government’s action, undertaken under the International Emergency Economic Powers Act, seeks forfeiture of more than $500 million in assets, including:

With Iran continuing to move forward in its plans to develop nuclear weapons, the U.S. government must use every tool at its disposal to dry up funding. The steps taken by the Justice Department this week are a strong indication that they are doing so. By closing down and seeking forfeiture of the assets of front corporations working on behalf of Iran, the U.S. can effectively curb not only the regime’s nuclear weapons program but also its continued support for terrorist organizations.

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In a related news item, the Alavi-owned Islamic Education Center of Houston has featured its own support for Iran. In a speech for the “Anniversary of the Islamic Revolution” of 1979, speaker Ghulam Hur Shabbiri prays for the victory of Islam all over the world:

This is just an opening. May Allah (swt) bless us all and forgive all sins of all life. And may Allah (swt) give Islami-Inqilab [Islamic Revolution] victory in [sic] all over the world. And may Allah give us UI that we may make this Inqilab [revolution] successful and we can join with the Imam of the age… to have a complete victory in the world and Islam, then Islam is going to be a ruling authority in the whole world and we can see the flag of Islam in the top places in this world.


VIEW THE VIDEO RECORDING @: http://www.investigativeproject.org/1513/treasury-justice-target-iranian-regime-assets#video

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Cartoon: Iran’s Nuclear Program

November 13, 2009

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Israel vs. Iran: Iran Positions Israel In Its Cross Hairs

November 9, 2009

Iran Positions Israel In Its Cross Hairs

IBD: 9 Nov. 2009

Mideast: Iran tests an advanced warhead design as it gets caught shipping weapons to Hezbollah. Syria is reported to give the group operational control over Scud missiles. It’s five minutes to midnight.

Tyranny abhors a vacuum. While the U.S. and the West dither in Hamlet-like fashion over whatever we shall do in places such as Afghanistan and Iran, the Axis of Evil is in full swing in its plans to destroy Israel and threaten Europe and America.

Israel last week seized what it said was the largest arms cache ever intercepted in the region. Israeli navy commandos boarded the Francop, a commercial ship with an Antiguan flag and sailing near Cyprus, presumably on course for Syria or Lebanon.

Israeli defense officials said the arms were destined for Hezbollah — the Lebanese Shiite terrorist group founded, financed and controlled by Tehran — and that documents found onboard showed that they originated in Iran. The officials said the arms cache would have given Hezbollah, which fought a monthlong war against the Jewish state in 2006, enough firepower to sustain a full month of fighting on the scale of that conflict.

Iran is supposed to be forbidden from exporting arms, and two U.N. resolutions call for disbanding and disarming Hezbollah, a group that has effectively neutered the Lebanese democracy in which it now participates with veto power over any action by Beirut.

In Lebanon, these U.N. resolutions also forbid arms depots south of the Litani River as part of the deal that halted the 2006 war. In July a massive explosion in the area revealed the existence of a huge Hezbollah weapons cache in the border area north of Israel. U.N. Res 1701 says the area must be “free of any armed personnel, assets and weapons.”

Clearly Hezbollah and Iran have not obeyed a single U.N. resolution or diplomatic pledge for a single day. In any conflict with Israel, southern Lebanon would be Iran’s second front with the Jewish state. Syria, which was both a supplier of and transit point for arming Hezbollah in 2006, is also busy again.

Arab media in the Persian Gulf have been reporting that Syria, apparently at the request of Iran, has turned over about 300 long-range ballistic missiles to Hezbollah control on Syrian territory. Hezbollah personnel are being trained to operate the Scuds.

Israel launched Operation Orchard in September 2007 to destroy a North Korean built, Iranian-financed nuclear plant at Damascus’ al-Kibar complex in eastern Syria. The Washington Post noted that the timing of the raid was related to the arrival three days earlier of a ship carrying North Korean materials labeled as cement but suspected of concealing nuclear equipment.

After all this comes previously unpublished documentation in a dossier compiled by the International Atomic Energy Agency, the U.N. nuclear watchdog that does not bark. As the U.K.’s Guardian newspaper reports, the Iranians have tested a sophisticated nuclear warhead design that lets them pack a nuclear warhead into a smaller package able to fit nicely on the Shahab-3 and other Iranian missiles.

The sophisticated technology, once perfected, allows for the production of smaller and simpler warheads than older models. It reduces the diameter of a warhead and makes it easier to put a nuclear warhead on a missile designed to fulfill Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s pledge to wipe Israel off the map and usher in the age of the 12th Imam.

The very existence of this technology is supposed to be an official secret in the U.S. and Britain.

Known as a two-point implosion device, it’s being developed and tested by the Iranians and is being described by nuclear experts as “breathtaking.” It means, as we have discovered repeatedly, that our estimates of Iranian capabilities and intentions are dead wrong again.

There may soon be no choice but for Israeli pilots to light the fires and kick the tires.

The time for dithering on Iran is over.

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MOP + UON Spells Trouble For Iran

October 9, 2009

MOP + UON Spells Trouble For Iran

IBD: 9 Oct. 2009

Security: After Iran admits building a second enrichment facility inside a mountain, the Pentagon shifts money from other programs to urgently fund the mother of all bunker-buster bombs. Why the need for speed?

At the G-20 Summit in Pittsburgh last month, President Obama announced, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has been building a covert uranium enrichment facility near Qom for several years.”

U.S. officials said they knew for some time that the facility existed. The announcement was made after U.S. officials learned Iran had told the International Atomic Energy Agency of Qom’s existence.

Our knowledge of the facility built in a mountainous area may explain why back in 2007 there was tucked inside an Iraq/Afghanistan emergency war funding request some $88 million to rush the development of a 30,000-pound bunker buster called the Massive Ordnance Penetrator (MOP).

As we reported in August, Defense Department Comptroller Robert Hale sent a formal request to four congressional committees asking permission to shift about $68 million in the Pentagon’s slashed budget to accelerate our bunker buster bomb program by three years so that at least four 30,000-pound bombs could be mounted on B-2 stealth bombers by July 2010.

In his July 8 letter to Congress, Hale said there was “an urgent operational need (UON) for the capability to strike hard and deeply buried targets in high-threat environments. The MOP is the weapon of choice to meet the requirements of the UON. ”

The request noted that it was endorsed by Pacific Command (which has responsibility over North Korea) and Central Command (which has responsibility over Iran).

The request has been quietly approved and, last Friday, McDonnell Douglas was awarded a $51.9 million contract to provide “Massive Ordnance Penetrator Integration” on B-2 stealth bombers.

The MOP, developed by Northrop Grumman and Boeing, is designed to destroy deeply buried and reinforced bunkers and tunnels of the type North Korea and Iran have been building for years.

Iran’s Natanz facility, where Tehran is enriching uranium and producing weapons-grade material, is thought to be protected by several yards of concrete and as much as 75 feet of dirt.

Before the Qom facility was disclosed, John Pike of Global Security explained the “urgent operational need” the Pentagon was so reluctant to reveal:

“You’d use it on Natanz,” Pike said. “And you’d use it on a stealth bomber because you want it to be a surprise. And you put it in an emergency request because you want to bomb quickly.”

Certainly the Israelis are feeling a sense of urgency and have been making their own preparations for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities. The Jerusalem Post reported that the Israeli Air Force has purchased more than 100 Laser Joint Direct Attack Munition kits. The first LJDAMs were delivered to the U.S. Air Force in 2008.

Retired Lt. Col. Bob McGinnis says this new technology could be used in a possible strike against Iran’s nuclear sites.

“It would appear as if Israel is certainly assembling the pieces for a strike, should they decide to do it,” said McGinnis.

The Israeli Navy recently took delivery of two more German-built Dolphin-class submarines, bringing their total to five. According to Jane’s Defence Weekly, the submarines, called U212s, are capable of launching cruise missiles carrying nuclear weapons.

It could be the bunker buster contract is just a bargaining chip, a message to Iran. It could be that it is a recognition that Israel will attack anyway and might need some help and backing that only we can provide.

Or it could be that Secretary of State Hillary Clinton was serious when she said on July 26 on NBC’s “Meet The Press” that “it is unacceptable for Iran to have nuclear weapons” and that “we’re not going to let that happen.”

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The Real ElBaradei Unleashed

October 7, 2009

The Real ElBaradei Unleashed

IBD: 6 Oct. 2009

Nuclear Proliferation: Watchdogs often bark loudest at those who pose no threat at all, such as the mailman. Mohamed ElBaradei, self-styled “nuclear watchdog,” is now barking at Israel.

The world will soon be seeing and hearing less from International Atomic Energy Agency Director General Mohamed ElBaradei. Those seeking to spare Western cities from nuclear terrorism won’t miss the Egyptian career bureaucrat.

As former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations John Bolton noted in his book, “Surrender Is Not An Option,” ElBaradei “made excuses for Iran,” as it progressed toward building nuclear weapons “the entire time I was in the Bush administration.”

According to Bolton, Nobel Peace Prize-winner ElBaradei “was constantly hunting for ‘moderates’ in Iran’s leadership who did not want to pursue nuclear weapons, a nonexistent group, in our judgment, and more interested in trying to cut a deal than in faithfully reporting what IAEA inspectors were telling him.”

As early as mid-April 2003, as Bolton pointed out, ElBaradei’s IAEA knew that the centrifuges at Iran’s Natanz enrichment facility contained uranium hexafluoride, a compound used to make nuclear weapons fuel.

In less than two months, ElBaradei will be replaced as IAEA director general by Japanese diplomat Yukiya Amano. But as he packs up his office, is he giving the world a glimpse of the real motivations behind his softness toward Iran?

The Islamofascist regime in Tehran, with its illegitimately re-elected President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad repeatedly denying the Nazi genocide of the Jews and calling for the destruction of Israel, is one of the last governments on the globe that should be allowed to have weapons of mass destruction.

Yet speaking on Sunday in Tehran, the setting for talks with Iranian officials regarding their atomic program, ElBaradei said, “Israel is the No. 1 threat to the Middle East, given the nuclear arms it possesses.” In a joint press conference with Ali Akbar Salehi, the chief of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, ElBaradei complained about Israel’s 30-year refusal to allow nuclear inspections.

Of at least equal note, ElBaradei also remarked that President Obama “has done some positive measures for the inspections to happen” on Israel’s nuclear plants.

What are we to take from that? Has the president asked Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to allow IAEA inspectors into his country, or is he pressing him to admit that Israel has nuclear weapons? Is the argument that by doing either Israel would be advancing the Mideast peace process?

Contrary to ElBaradei’s outrageous accusation and the president’s increasingly intimidating policy toward the Netanyahu government, the most effective catalyst for Mideast peace has, in fact, been the nuclear arming of Israel.

The routine wars between Israel and Arab states have stopped since Israel reached nuclear capability in 1967. And Egypt’s frequent tit-for-tat threats to build its own nukes, made under both Presidents Gamal Abdel Nasser and Anwar Sadat, fizzled out once the Jewish state actually possessed the bomb. Indeed, would the Camp David accords between Sadat and Israeli Prime Minister Menachem Begin have been possible without a nuclear Israel?

Looking back on the past four decades, the Jewish state’s policy of refusing to confirm or deny its nuclear arsenal is, as the Old Testament proverb goes, a wisdom “more precious than rubies.” The only fully free, Westernized country in the Middle East has been able to let its surrounding enemies know that it will defend itself with the deadliest of force if its existence comes under direct threat.

And yet, despite its regional nuclear monopoly, Israel has refrained from using it on adversaries seeking its destruction.

In return for its restraint, as Netanyahu pointed out in his speech to the U.N. last month, “a democracy legitimately defending itself against terror is morally hanged, drawn and quartered, and given an unfair trial to boot” — a reference to the condemnation of his country by another U.N. agency, the Human Rights Council.

The London Times reports that a secret section of the IAEA’s account on Iran warns that Tehran “may already have tested a detonation system small enough to fit into the warhead of a medium-range missile.” Is there much doubt that what ElBaradei really wants is a Muslim member of the nuclear weapons club to offset the Jewish one? As he departs, and not a moment too soon, it’s an outrage to hear the nuclear “watchdog” bark in the wrong direction.

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Cartoon: Iran: The Watchdog

October 7, 2009