With less than two weeks run-up to the ‘deadline’ for Iran and the P-5 + 1 to negotiate a final agreement, the ninth set of talks between the parties on the nuclear issue, Mossad has assassinated a team of five nuclear weapons specialists in Damascus, the leader of whom was Iranian.
This according to one of the authors of the just published Naame Shaam’s report: Iran in Syria: From an Ally of the Regime to an Occupying Force which levels many accusations against Iran’s leadership and accuses the Islamic Republic of ‘occupying” Syria in order to fill in its “Shia Crescent” trajectory from Yemen to Lebanon. The five engineers were reportedly being watched for weeks as they would arrive one at a time daily to their secured work quarters without guards and in plain clothes in order not to attract attention. Mossad, widely known to have many agents among the opponents of the regime across Syria as it watches Iranian projects. By its own admission, the Proverbs 24:6 “By Way of Deception, Thou Shalt Do War” organization has watchers up close at other nuclear facilities outside Iran where the Islamic Republic has sent specialized personnel in Syria and Iraq.
The US Intelligence Community, comprised of 16 intelligence agencies, nearly a year ago advised the White House that Iran is purposely stalling for time by issuing a series of ‘warm-cold’ assessments of the nuclear file talks while operating nuclear engineering facilities in both Iraq and Syria preparing to construct nuclear weapons. Offering his services for the effort to torpedo an agreement, enter one Matthew Levitt, a frequent “expert witness” at various US Congressional hearings, and the director Counterterrorism and Intelligence at the Zionist Washington Institute. This time appearing before the before the House Committee on Financial Services, formerly known as the House Banking Committee on 11/13/2014, Levitt scoffed at the 11/12/2014 denial by Iran to the Iranian public of a report that one of its nuclear scientists was killed. “There are no Iranian nuclear scientists in Syria,” said Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Ghashghavi, quoted by state news agency IRNA.
Following his testimony, Levitt reportedly expanded his comments with Congressmen and staffers, not on the supposed subject of his testimony which was how to degrade ISIS finances, but rather on Israel’s effort to scuttle the P + 1 talks, which he and many in Washington and Tehran reportedly hope will fail again. “The US and their close Israeli allies knew exactly what Iran was doing and also what it continues to do in Iraq and Syria to advance its bomb-building obsession. So Israel sent them a message to the Mullahs and there will be more messages and there will be more sanctions.”
All members of Congress attending the hearing favored President Obama’s Extending the National Emergency Act regarding Iran, a move pushed by Vice President Joe Biden and his potential adversary in the 2016 Presidential race, Hilary Clinton. The extension keeps sanctions against the Islamic Republic in place for at least another year, the 36th annual extension since Jimmy Carter declared a state of emergency concerning Iran in response to the takeover of the former US embassy in Tehran.
When asked about Iranian Presidents Rouhani’s statement this week that the US sanctions are “The rusted weapon of sanctions are no longer effective” as both sides employ a variety of psychological tactics to explain to their constituencies why a deal has failed, one hearing attendee was told by an aide to Committee Chair Jeb Hensarling (R-Tex): “it’s true that the sanctions have had modest political effects on the regime but they are taking a big toll and Rohani’s claim of US sanctions being no longer effective is not reflected in the economic statistics which the Iranian public grasps even as the Mullahs still live high on the hog”. It is true that Iranian officials generally tend to avoid blaming the sanctions or Iran’s foreign policy for economic hardship, as that might be interpreted as a victory for the West. Instead, they often focus on mismanagement, corruption and ‘unwise management’.
One of the handouts distributed after the hearing included recent statistics AIPAC sent to every Congressman backing up its assurances that the sanctions are doing a great job for America and her allies but need to be ratcheted up hard. Israel and its US Congressional partners want the US and its allies to intensify their strategy of not so slowly bleeding Iran and Hezbollah in Syria as to quickly advance the “Syria must become the Vietnam of Iran and Hezbollah” policy. This action is urged even though the people of Syria, and to a much lesser extent, the people of Iran, will continue to pay the price. But the White House is yet to publicly admit that it is actively involved in a proxy war against the Iranian regime, because Barack Obama wants to avoid Zionist lobby pressure to prematurely take concrete military steps to end the bloodshed.
The impact of US-led sanctions on the Iranian economy which the Congressional committee estimates at well over 120 billion US dollars as of June 1, 2014 rather than being “rusty” as Rohani claims is enormous according to the US Treasury Department’s Office of Financial Assets Control (OFAC). AIPAC photo handouts after the hearing included scenes of hundreds of Iranian citizens daily lining up for food supplies in Tehran.
According to AIPAC, as well as the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP), and Naame Shaam, one key indicator of the economic burden is the inflation rate, which has more than tripled in the last five years (from 10 per cent in 2009 to over 35 per cent in 2014) and has increased by about 11 per cent since the start of the war in Syria. Official reports also indicate that Iranian household purchasing power has decreased by about 27 per cent. BBC Persian, in March 2014 published a list of basic food items claiming that consumer prices in Iran had at least tripled in the past four or five years. According to a July 2014 report of the Iranian Ministry of the Economy, 31 per cent of all Iranians live below the poverty line. Three months before, in March 2014, Iranian MP Mousareza Servati declared that “15 million Iranians (about 20 per cent of the population) are living below the national poverty line. Seven million of them are not receiving assistance of any kind.”
A hand-out document at the hearing also emphasized the following:
*Despite Iranian media’s celebration of President Hassan Rouhani’s economic ‘achievements ‘the reality is that Iran’s economic problems are unlikely to go away any time soon unless there are fundamental shifts in its foreign policies which Washington and its allies do not believe will happen until regime change happens.
*In March 2014, The New York Times published an article entitled “Hopes fade for surge in the economy.” The article argued that people in Iran had voted for President Rouhani in the hope for a revival of the country’s ailing economy. But more than six months after he took office, “hopes of a quick economic recovery are fading, while economists say the government is running out of cash.” On taking office, he discovered that the government’s finances were in far worse condition than his predecessor, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, had ever let on. Now, with a lack of petrodollars and declining tax revenues, Mr. Rouhani has little option but to take steps that in the short-run will only increase the pain for the voters who put him into office. The article also quotes Saeed Laylaz, an economist advisor to President Rouhani, saying Iran is heading to a “black spring” and only a “miracle” could save it from political damage caused by the economic problems. “I am worried we might witness turmoil, civil unrest or worse,” he added.
*According to the UK Economist and other media reports Iran is so short of cash that the government has “no other option” but to take “painful steps” such as printing money (therefore pushing inflation further up) and cutting down on public spending. While phasing out energy subsidies and cutting back on social assistance payments to nearly 60 million poor Iranians (about 12 US dollars a month), Iran has been sending millions of tons of food and cash to Syria and increasingly the Iranian public is complaining.
Consequently the sanctions will remain and be intensified according to the House Committee on Financial Services. Meanwhile the Mossad is watching closely Iran’s activities in Iraq, Syria and now Lebanon and has once more telegraphed its intentions to continue its serial violations of those countries sovereignty while implementing other projects in order to eliminate what it sees as Iran’s threat to its existence.
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|Liaquat Ali Khan|