Saturday, June 24, 2017

Iran’s Hegemony n Syria

Iran’s Khamenei ordered missile strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria: Guards

FILE PHOTO - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran, Iran, June 4, 2017. TIMA via REUTERS
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei delivers a speech during a ceremony marking the death anniversary of the founder of the Islamic Republic Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in Tehran Thomson Reuters
BEIRUT (Reuters) – Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ordered weekend missile strikes on Islamic State targets in Syria, Revolutionary Guards said, contradicting a previous report that they were authorised by the country’s security council.
The Guards fired six mid-range surface to surface missiles from western Iran into Syria’s Deir al Zour province on Sunday night, the first attack of its kind carried out by the Islamic Republic in years.
The Guards statement, published on Wednesday by Sepah News, ran counter to a statement by President Hassan Rouhani who said earlier that the strikes were authorised by the Supreme National Security Council, which includes the heads of the three branches of government as well as the head of the Guards and other ministers.
Senior Guard commanders said on Monday that the missile strikes were intended to send a message to “terrorists” who carried out attacks in Tehran two weeks ago as well as their regional and international supporters, a reference to Saudi Arabia and the United States.
Khamenei’s personal directive for the missile strikes, as reported by the Guards, highlighted their symbolic importance.
The complex attacks in Tehran included shootings and at least one suicide bombing at the Iranian parliament and the mausoleum of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic, south of the capital. Eighteen people were killed.
Islamic State claimed responsibility for these attacks but senior Iranian officials pointed a finger at Saudi Arabia, the Islamic Republic’s biggest regional rival.
Tensions between mostly Shi’ite Iran and Saudi Arabia, which is predominantly Sunni, have ramped up in recent months as both countries compete for power and influence across the region. The two countries support opposite sides in the conflicts in Syria and Yemen.
Field operatives from the Quds Force, the branch of the Guards responsible for operations outside Iran’s borders, gathered intelligence on the targets inside Syria before the strike, the Guards’ statement said.
More than 170 “terrorists” including some commanders were killed in the missile strike, their statement said. Reuters could not independently verify the claim.
(Reporting By Babak Dehghanpisheh; Editing by Richard Balmforth)

Friday, June 23, 2017

New York’s Fukushima Back in Service

Indian Point 3 Nuclear Power Plant Returns to Service
Jerry Nappi
Buchanan – Indian Point’s Unit 3 nuclear power plant returned to service Thursday, generating electricity. Control room operators removed the plant from service on June 12 for a planned maintenance shutdown to replace two water seals that sit between the lid of the reactor and the reactor vessel. The seals were replaced prior to returning the plant to service.
Indian Point Unit 2 continues to operate at full power and has been online for 351 continuous days.
Indian Point Energy Center, in Buchanan, N.Y., is home to two operating nuclear power plants, Unit 2 and Unit 3, which generate approximately 2000 megawatts of electricity for homes, business and public facilities in New York City and Westchester County.
Entergy Corporation is an integrated energy company engaged primarily in electric power production and retail distribution operations. Entergy owns and operates power plants with approximately 30,000 megawatts of electric generating capacity, including nearly 9,000 megawatts of nuclear power. Entergy delivers electricity to 2.9 million utility customers in Arkansas, Louisiana, Mississippi and Texas. Entergy has annual revenues of approximately $10.8 billion and nearly 13,000 employees.

The Sixth Seal Is Overdue (Revelation 6:12)

 Is New Jersey overdue for major earthquake?
Devin Loring, @DevinLoring
17 hours ago
One of the most noticeable earthquakes in New Jersey measured a 5.30 on the Richter scale — a moderate quake – and was felt throughout Pennsylvania and New Hampshire.
But that was in 1783, before colossal bridges connected New Jersey and New York, and cities were pre-skyscraper and modern infrastructure.
What would happen if New Jersey was rocked by a strong, or even moderate, earthquake today?
New Jersey may well soon find out. The New Jersey Department of Environmental Protection said 10 years ago that we’re due for at least a moderate earthquake.
The region is not really well prepared for any level of shaking,” said Vadim Levin, an associate professor in the earth and planetary sciences department at Rutgers University. “The population density is so extremely high. … Look at earthquake-related disasters. They don’t link to the large size of earthquakes, but the confluence of how close they are to people.”
There are earthquakes in Jersey?
It has been over 200 years since New Jersey experienced that historic quake in 1783, and almost 100 years since Asbury Park experienced a quake – in 1927 – that toppled chimneys and knocked items off shelves
That means New Jersey is overdue for an earthquake, at least according to a brochure published by the NJDEP, in 2005.
The agency’s data indicates that intense quakes are likely to happen in New Jersey every 100 years or less.
“Long overdue for how long, that’s the question,” said Levin. “Once in ten generations is very difficult to study. That’s the biggest challenge (because) we live inside a stable plate.”
A “stable plate,” describes New Jersey’s tectonics. Here, the Earth’s crust “fits together and doesn’t deform very much,” Levin said.
Despite the stability of New Jersey’s crust, earthquakes are felt throughout New Jersey frequently.
In fact, earlier this month, a light earthquake was very noticeable to residents in and around Morristown. It was felt as far south as Jackson, and as far north as Suffern, New York.

The big one

Researchers don’t really understand why earthquakes happen on the East Coast, especially because in New Jersey, small earthquakes happen over a diffuse area and do not form an easily identifiable zone of action, Levin said.
“What makes us slightly more nervous these days is the recent Virginia earthquake,” Levin said. “That event was rather large, there was serious damage, and of course, no prior history of such events recorded.”
In 2011, the 5.8 magnitude earthquake in Virginia was felt from Georgia to Maine, in Michigan and Illinois, and in Canada according to the United States Geological Survey.
“That (2011 earthquake) damaged a nuclear power plant — not severely, only to the extent that it had to shut down operations,” said Arthur Lerner-Lam, deputy director of the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University.
It points out the issue of fragility on our infrastructure,” Lerner-Lam said. “The resiliency or vulnerability of our bridges, tunnels, power lines, pipelines, is a very important feature of the overall vulnerability of the metropolitan region.”
What makes East Coast quakes all the more unpredictable is that quakes here differ from those on the West Coast, where they are more frequent. Because the earth on the East Coast has different properties than the west, shakes from quakes are transmitted farther here than they are in California, Levin said.
Getting protection
Standard homeowner, renter, and business insurance policies typically do not cover earthquake damage, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Only 7 percent of homeowners that responded to an Institute survey in 2014 said they had earthquake insurance.
Only about 2 percent of homeowners in the Northeast have earthquake coverage, the survey revealed.
Levin said he declines to have earthquake coverage, saying hurricanes and flooding are a much greater risk in New Jersey.
“If an event is extremely unlikely, how much money is worth investing in safeguarding from it?” Levin said.
Although there is no reliable way to predict a major earthquake, let’s just say experts don’t think whole cities will crumble or be consumed by the ocean, as depicted by Hollywood.
“I’m planning to take my class to see ‘San Andreas.’ Oh my God, that’s such overkill,” Levin said.
Devin Loring; ;

Iran Continues to Develop Nuclear Missiles Regime’s Continuing Missile Development Revealed by MEK
News : Iranian opposition
Published: 21 June 2017
By INU Staff
INU – In a press conference on Tuesday at its Washington DC office, the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) presented new information gathered by MEK about missile development and testing in the Islamic Republic of Iran.
Officials of the NCRI reported that Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, ordered the acceleration of missile expansion from relevant institutions after the nuclear agreement went into effect last year, in January.
Iranian ballistic missile testing has caused an ongoing dispute among those who are attempting to keep the nuclear deal enforced. These tests are alleged to be in violation of United Nations Security Council resolutions that call on the Islamic Republic to avoid work on weapons that are nuclear capable. However, several tests of such missiles have taken place since negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 concluded in July 2015.
According to the NCRI, statements that seem to underscore the defiant policies, attributed to Khamenei, accompany these tests.
Although Iranian President Hassan Rouhani is described as a ‘moderate’ by Western media, he has stated that the ballistic missile program will continue to grow because “the Iranian nation has decided to be powerful.”
At the press conference, the NCRI stated that the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps Aerospace Force has been given the task of executing Khamenei’s mandate for accelerated missile work. Members of the IRGC have gone so far as to paint the words “Israel must be wiped out” in Hebrew on two of the pre-test missiles.
Intelligence gathered from sources inside of Iran by the NCRI’s main constituent group, the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran (PMOI/MEK), has identified 42 centers for the development, manufacture, and testing of missiles by the IRGC. It also found that one of these centers, located in Semnan Province, was actively collaborating with the Organization of Defensive Innovation and Research (Persian abbreviation: SPND), previously identified as the institution in charge of nuclear weapons-related work in the Islamic Republic.
The existence of SPND was revealed by the NCRI in 2011, three years before the United States placed the institution on its sanctions list. SPND’s involvement in ongoing weapons development casts doubt in regards to Tehran’s commitment to the nuclear agreement.
These new revelations from the NCRI come while the US Congress and President Donald Trump are reviewing policy toward the Islamic Republic of Iran. The Trump administration’s response to a ballistic missile test that occurred early in Trump’s presidency, was to issue a statement putting Tehran “on notice”.. Following that occurrence, the White House imposed new sanctions on entities with alleged ties to the Iranian ballistic missile program. The American legislature has done so as well, and has moved to extend terrorism-related sanctions to the entirety of the IRGC.
In a move that met with praise from the NCRI and other opponents of the Iranian regime, President Trump ordered the State Department to review the possibility of designating the IRGC as a Foreign Terrorist Organization. During Tuesday’s press conference, NCRI officials also called for the expulsion of IRGC forces and proxies from Syria and Iraq, and stressed the value of unrelenting sanctions.

Iranian Terrorism is Here to Stay
Military Intelligence head: Terrorism is here to stay
Arutz Sheva Staff, 22/06/17 19:11
The head of the IDF’s Intelligence Directorate, Major General Hertzi Halevi, spoke at the Herzliya Conference and addressed the security threats to Israel.
“Terror is here to stay,” Halevy said. “ISIS has lost territory and shrunk, but instead of an Islamic Caliphate, we see a virtual Caliphate. There is a clear connection between the pressure on Mosul and al-Raka and the wave of terrorism in Europe.”
According to him, the likelihood of an initiated war against Israel is low. “Power-building processes, especially in Gaza and Lebanon, transfer military power into irresponsible hands.Our enemies, who seek to deter Israel, are liable to bring upon themselves the next war.”
Today, Halevi said, wars begin and end differently. “These are wars with organizations. They do not start with a decision, but rather with a deterioration between the organizations. They do not end with a unilateral decision by paratroopers at the Western Wall.”
The head of Military Intelligence said that Iran, the Assad regime and Hezbollah constitute the main threat to the region, “with global funding and a major danger to the State of Israel. Iran is problematic not only because of the nuclear issue. It is in Iraq, Syria and Yemen.”
We see clearly that Hezbollah is building a military industry with Iranian knowledge, producing weapons and transferring them to southern Lebanon.
He said the terrorist attacks in Europe would continue for the foreseeable future.
Maj. Gen. Halevi said that Iran has been working in the past year to establish an infrastructure for the production of precise weapons in Yemen and in Iraq. “The nuclear agreement prohibits Iran from creating a certain weapon, but it produces other weapons. 20 countries are threatened by the deployment of Iranian Zelzal missiles.”
Addressing the recent Iranian missile strikes on ISIS targets, he said: “We saw it from medium range missiles. I think ISIS was hit hard. I ask myself: if Iran is so involved in Syria – why did not they strike from there? If it’s a show, it’s not clear it was so successful and it’s still disturbing.”
He also said that Israel has allowed more than seven million tons of construction material into Gaza in the three years since Operation Protective Edge. “How much of this has gone to the benefit of the civilians in Gaza? Do the children in Gaza receive a better education system? The answer is usually no. This is really a dilemma, since Israel has an interest in not having a crisis in Gaza.”
“The electricity dilemma reflects this well. On the one hand, the oxygen masks in the hospitals are connected to electricity, but the digging machines in the Hamas tunnels are connected to the same electricity. We have to let Hamas choose. We cannot let Hamas build an army so easily.”

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Iran’s Nuclear Program Continues (Daniel 8)

Despite nuclear deal, Iran’s ballistic missile program continues unabated

by Amir Basiri, contributor | Jun 21, 2017, 2:08 PM
Iran’s missile program has accelerated since the signing of the nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers in 2015, a new report by the National Council of Resistance of Iran revealed.
According to NCRI’s findings, which were made public at a press conference held at the council’s Washington office on Tuesday, the scope of Iran’s missile program is much more extensive than was previously thought.
The report indicates that the Revolutionary Guards, which is in charge of Iran’s ballistic missile program, has been carrying out operations at 42 locations, 12 of which were previously unknown. One of the reported missile complexes is tied to SPND, the organization in charge of pursuing the building of nuclear bombs.
The information disclosed by the NCRI were obtained by the People’s Mojahedin of Iran (PMOI/MEK), the group that first revealed Iran’s illicit nuclear program.
In an interview with Fox News, Alireza Jafarzadeh, deputy director of the NCRI’s U.S. office, said, “The findings show the first full picture of the missile program of the Iranian regime, which is very extensive and costly. It also shows a close tie between the nuclear weapons program and the missile program.”
This latest report comes against the backdrop of the Iranian regime facing setbacks at home, in the region and across the world.
“Tehran has accelerated its missile program to make up for its domestic impotence and increasing regional isolation,” Jafarzadeh said. “The missile program of the regime is essential for its survival. Unfortunately the missile program of the Iranian regime has remained primarily unchecked.”
The nuclear accord, also known as the JCPOA, failed to address a range of threats posed by the Iranian regime, including its terrorist meddling in countries of the region, its ballistic missile program and its abysmal human rights record.
The Obama administration, which spearheaded the negotiations that led to the hammering of the deal, believed the incentives provided by the JCPOA would dampen Iran’s evil ambitions. Tuesday’s revelations proved once again how wrong-placed those hopes were.
Iran has largely taken advantage of the appeasement policy and hands-off approach adopted by the previous administration to pursue its illicit agendas, marked by several ballistic missile tests and launches since signing the JCPOA.
Recent developments, however, show that the tide is shifting against the Iranian regime.
Last week, the U.S. Senate passed a bill that, if approved by the House and signed by President Trump, will slap new sanctions against the Iranian regime for its ballistic missile development, arms transfers, support for terrorism, and human rights violations.
Also, at a recent summit in Riyadh, leaders of major Arab nations underlined the dangerous nature of Iran’s ballistic missile program and expressed their commitment to confront Tehran’s subversive and destructive activities inside their countries.
The NCRI representatives reiterated that the Iranian people deeply oppose the regime’s nuclear and missile program and its interference in the region, and called for the enactment of further sanctions against the Iranian regime’s missile program and all entities that are affiliated to it. They also called for the expulsion of Iran’s forces and proxies from Syria and Iraq, and the terrorist designation of the Revolutionary Guards, a measure that will be crucial to curbing Iran’s nefarious deeds in the region.
Amir Basiri (@amir_bas) is a contributor to the Washington Examiner’s Beltway Confidential blog. He is an Iranian human rights activist.
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Khamenei Encourages the Shia Horn

Khamenei Warns Iraq Against Relying On U.S., Weakening Shi’ite Militia
June 21, 2017 01:43 GMT
Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has warned Iraq’s leader against weakening Shi’ite paramilitary groups and relying on the United States in the battle against the Islamic State (IS) extremist group..
At a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in Tehran, Khamenei said the Shi’ite militias were the main forces pushing back against the Sunni extremist group in Iraq, and Baghdad should not trust the United States, Iranian state media reported.
The Shi’ite militias, known as the Popular Mobilization Forces, helped Baghdad defend the country against IS when Iraqi military and police divisions deserted en masse in 2014.
Since then, the Iran-backed militias, estimated to comprise more than 60,000 fighters, have been engaged in the battle to recapture swathes of northern and western Iraq from IS.
But Sunnis in areas freed from IS control have accused the Shi’ite militias of looting, abductions, and murder.
Some Arab leaders in northern Iraq have asked Baghdad to dissolve the Shi’ite militias or expel them from their Sunni-majority provinces — moves that drew objections from Iran’s leader.
“Daesh is retreating from Iraq and that is thanks to the government’s trust in these young devoted forces,” Khamenei said, using an Arabic acronym for IS.
“The Americans are against Popular Forces because they want Iraq to lose its main source of strength,” he said.
Khamenei accused the United States and its ally Saudi Arabia of creating IS and said he opposed the presence of U.S. forces in Iraq.
“We should remain vigilant of the Americans and not trust them. The Americans and their followers are against Iraq’s independence, unity, and identity,” Khamenei said.
Iranian President Hassan Rohani, who also met with Abadi on June 20, joined Khamenei in claiming credit for recent gains by U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in recapturing IS’s northern stronghold of Mosul.
“The liberation of Mosul is the symbol of the end of terrorism and a victory for Iran, Iraq, Syria, and all the countries of the region that are fighting against terrorism,” Rohani said.
The Iranian leaders’ comments highlight the balancing act faced by Abadi as he strives to hold together a coalition of forces fighting IS in Iraq, including the Iraqi government’s own soldiers, the Shi’ite militias as well as Sunni tribal forces and Kurdish Peshmerga forces, all backed by U.S. trainers and special forces.
While Iran said its forces deserved credit for gains made against IS, the United States and its anti-IS coalition of Western forces have also claimed credit for helping Iraqi ground forces recapture Ramadi and other cities liberated from IS in the past two years, as well as for the recent gains in Mosul.
Abadi faces a balancing act not only at home but in the broader Persian Gulf region. His meeting with Iran’s leaders came one day after a visit to Saudi Arabia, Iran’s regional rival, in what he said was a tour aimed at promoting reconciliation between the region’s Sunnis and Shi’a.
Iraq lies on the fault-line between Shi’ite Iran and the mostly Sunni Arab world.
Abadi belongs to the Dawa party, a Shi’ite group with close ties to Iran. But analysts say he has managed relations with Iraq’s Sunni minority better than his predecessor, Nuri al-Maliki, and also improved Baghdad’s ties with Saudi Arabia.
Khamenei told Abadi that Iran was opposed to the referendum on independence scheduled by leaders of Iraq’s autonomous Kurdish region for September, saying such a separatist move threatens Baghdad’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.
Iran has its own Kurdish minority in the west of the country.
With reporting by AP, AFP, and Reuters