Tuesday, February 28, 2012


To draw Iran into nuclear talks, Obama avoids ousting Assad

DEBKAfile Exclusive Report 

Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal did not hide his anger before marching out of the Friends of Syria conference attended by 70 nations in Tunis Friday, Feb. 24 after they fell in behind US plans for avoiding direct action against Syria’s Bashar Assad.

AbdullaFilmed sitting with US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the Saudi minister told a reporter that arming the Free Syrian Army was an “excellent idea” because they needed to defend themselves. Clinton remained frostily aloof on this obvious bone of contention.

Alan Note: for some time now, and Saudi King Abdullah has refused to take calls from Obama because of the latter's support of Iran's clerics, including operations in Syria,  and thus Obama taking sides AGAINST long time ally Saudi interests and well being. Similarly to his taking sides and overthrowing our allies in several Moslem countries to increase the Moslem Brotherhood's (terrorist organization) power and influence in those countries.

As one of the world’s richest oil and financial powers, Saudi Arabia could buy and sell Iran several times over, and after seeing the ayatollahs get away with insulting America time and time again, the Saudi foreign minister did not pull his punches when he faced his US colleague.

He was frank about Riyadh and the Obama administration being miles apart in their perceptions of current Middle East events; resentment over the US role in the overthrow of Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak remains a constant irritant.

This dissonance came to the fore when Saudi al Faisal accused Washington of reducing Assad’s butchery of his opponents to the level of a humanitarian issue and so saving his regime.

Riyadh is no happier with Moscow than it is with Washington.

Saudi King Abdullah is reported by Middle East sources to have banged down the telephone on Russian President Dmitry Medvedev Wednesday, Feb. 22, when he called to invite the oil kingdom to align with Russia’s Syrian strategy against the West.

Tariq Alhomayed, the talented editor of the London-based Asharq Al-Awsat, who is regarded as having a direct line to the king, wrote later: “This was undoubtedly a historic and unusual telephone call.” He reported that Abdullah rejected out of hand Moscow’s proposal of a two-hour ceasefire in Homs, the Syrian city bombarded now for three weeks. He retorted that this would give Bashar Assad’s killing machine a 22-hour day carte blanche.

Alhomayed did not refer directly to the clash of wills between the Saudi foreign minister and the US secretary of state, except for a snide dig: “He [the Saudi king] is also the one who, during the Arab summit in Riyadh, first described the US army in Iraq as an army of occupation.”

Israel’s Binyamin Netanyahu’s is of one mind with Saudi rulers in his aversion to big power policies for handling the Assad regime: Washington though horrified by the Syrian ruler's violence is yet shy of taking the final steps for his removal, while Moscow showers arms and intelligence on the Syrian despot to preserve him from his enemies.

It may be said that the Saudis and Israelis share a distrust of President Barack Obama and Vladimir Putin, suspecting them both of keeping Bashar Assad in power to promote their divergent interests in Iran.

The Saudi king faults the “safe havens” plan under air force protection – the sum total of foreign intervention taking shape between Washington, Turkey, some European powers and Gulf emirates - because it excludes what he regards as the key component: Bombardment of the presidential palace in Damascus and the crushing of the Syrian army, the same treatment meted out to Muammar Qaddafi in Libya.

The Saudis therefore sees this plan as actually protecting Assad’s regime and not only his victims.

Underlying Obama’s restraint is his indefatigable quest for nuclear negotiations with Iran, which is impelling him to show Tehran he is even prepared to keep its ally Assad in power – albeit with clipped wings - for the sake of a negotiated nuclear accord.

Alan Note: it is unbelievable that any sane, or at best unbiased person, can still believe that Iran is williing to negotiate giving up their nuclear technology progress, so Obama is putting up weird smoke screens to protect the Mullahs.

The Saudis think the US president is dreaming if he reckons Iran’s rulers will be so grateful for Assad’s escape that they will be willing to give up their aspirations for a nuclear weapon.

They also think Obama misguided in aiming for Russian collaboration in making its political, military, technological and nuclear clout in Tehran available at some point for them to arrive together at agreed accommodations in both Syria and Iran.

Riyadh regards its case as proven beyond doubt by events of the past week.

Up until Monday, Feb. 20, Washington was bucked up by Iranian signposts apparently pointing to resumed talks with world powers on an eventual nuclear standstill and a freeze on uranium enrichment past five percent.

Iranian emissaries in backdoor exchanges were forthcoming on US requests for gestures to confirm that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei was serious about entering into diplomatic dialogue.

A rude awakening was not long coming.

Ten days ago, the Obama administration asked and received from Tehran final proof of goodwill, a promise that International Atomic Energy Agency inspectors would be allowed to view the Parchin military facility.

US National Security Adviser Tom Donilon, when he first met Israeli leaders in Jerusalem Thursday and Friday (Feb. 16-17), accordingly informed them that since Tehran had agreed to open this suspect site to UN inspection and nuclear negotiations were soon to begin, Israel had no cause to attack its nuclear facilities.

Tuesday, Feb. 21, the UN inspectors arrived in Tehran, certain they would be admitted to Parchin – only to run into their second Iranian refusal this month. Their visit was cut short by IAEA Vienna headquarters.

Every attempt by Washington to find out what had gone wrong drew a blank. Iranian officials withdrew into total hush and let the entire diplomatic edifice so painstakingly constructed by Washington start falling apart.

But Obama the "eternal optimist" (deceiver) has not given up (blowing smoke).

He is treating Tehran’s latest spell of intransigence as no more than a hiccup symptomatic of the run-up to parliamentary elections on March 2, after which Khamenei will revert to the track leading to negotiations.

This approach is what put Saudi backs up. They accuse the US and Russia through their different polices of granting the Syrian ruler a license to keep on massacring his people, regardless of any safe havens or “no kill” zones the West may be planning.

Netanyahu is likewise opposed to the Obama administration’s interconnected policies on Syria and Iran. His White House meeting with Obama on March 5 is not expected to put this dispute to rest.



Friday, February 17, 2012


Treasury Designates Iranian Ministry of Intellligence and Security for Human Rights Abuses and Support for Terrorism


Ministry Targeted for its Role in Facilitating Abuses by the Iranian and Syrian Regimes


WASHINGTON – The U.S. Department of the Treasury today announced the designation of the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS), Iran's primary intelligence organization, for its support to terrorist groups as well as its central role in perpetrating human rights abuses against the citizens of Iran and its role in supporting the Syrian regime as it continues to commit human rights abuses against the people of Syria.

Today’s actions were taken in consultation with the Department of State and other agencies, as applicable, pursuant to Executive Orders (E.O.) 13224, 13553 and 13572, which target terrorists and their supporters and those responsible for human rights abuses in Iran and Syria, respectively. Any property or property interests in the United States or in the possession or control of U.S. persons in which the MOIS has an interest are blocked, and U.S. persons are prohibited from engaging in transactions with it. As a result of today’s action all members of the MOIS are also ineligible to receive visas from the Department of State.

“Today we have designated the MOIS for abusing the basic human rights of Iranian citizens and exporting its vicious practices to support the Syrian regime’s abhorrent crackdown on its own population,” said Under Secretary for Terrorism and Financial Intelligence David S. Cohen. “In addition, we are designating the MOIS for its support to terrorist groups, including al Qa’ida, al Qa’ida in Iraq, Hizballah and HAMAS, again exposing the extent of Iran’s sponsorship of terrorism as a matter of Iranian state policy.”

The United States first exposed Iran’s assistance to the Syrian government in its violent crackdown against the Syrian population when, on April 29, 2011, President Obama identified Iran´s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps - Qods Force (IRGC-QF) as subject to sanctions pursuant to E.O. 13572.

The IRGC-QF serves as a conduit for Iranian material support to the Syrian General Intelligence Directorate (GID), the overarching civilian intelligence service in Syria.

On May 18, 2011, Treasury imposed sanctions on two IRGC-QF senior officers, Qasem Soleimani, the Commander of the IRGC-QF, and Mohsen Chizari, a senior IRGC-QF officer who serves as the Commander of IRGC-QF Operations and Training.

A little over a month later, on June 29, 2011, Treasury designated Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), which is commonly referred to as Iran’s national police.

Like the IRGC-QF, the LEF provided material support to the Syrian GID; it also dispatched personnel to Damascus in April to assist the Syrian government in its efforts to suppress the Syrian people.

Ismail Ahmadi Moghadam, the chief of Iran’s LEF, and Ahmad-Reza Radan, the deputy chief of Iran’s LEF were also designated at that time.

In April 2011, Radan traveled to Damascus, where he met with Syrian security services and provided expertise to aid in the Syrian government's crackdown on the Syrian people.

Executive Order 13224 (Terrorism)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today designated MOIS pursuant to E.O. 13224 for its support to Hizballah, HAMAS and al Qa’ida.

MOIS provides financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to Hizballah, a terrorist organization designated under E.O. 13224. MOIS has participated in multiple joint projects with Hizballah in computer hacking.

MOIS provides financial, material, or technological support for, or financial or other services to HAMAS, a terrorist group also designated under E.O. 13224.

MOIS has facilitated the movement of al Qa’ida operatives in Iran and provided them with documents, identification cards, and passports.

MOIS also provided money and weapons to al Qa’ida in Iraq (AQI), a terrorist group designated under E.O. 13224, and negotiated prisoner releases of AQI operatives.

Executive Order 13572 (Syria Human Rights Abuses)

The U.S. Department of the Treasury today also designated MOIS pursuant to E.O. 13572 for providing support to the Syrian regime’s violent repression of dissent in Syria. MOIS, like the IRGC-QF, and the Iranian LEF, has provided financial, material, or technological support to the Syrian GID, whose property and interests in property are blocked pursuant to E.O. 13572. MOIS has provided substantial technical assistance to the Syrian GID for the purpose of assisting the Syrian regime in its violent crackdown on protesters.

Executive Order 13553 (Iran Human Rights Abuses)

The U.S. Departments of the Treasury and State also today imposed sanctions against MOIS pursuant to E.O. 13553 for being responsible for or complicit in the commission of serious human rights abuses against the Iranian people since June 12, 2009. MOIS agents are responsible for the beatings, sexual abuse, prolonged interrogations, and coerced confessions of prisoners, particularly political prisoners, which occurred in Ward 209 of Evin Prison, which is controlled by MOIS, following the June 2009 elections in Iran.

More generally, MOIS is known to have used abhorrent methods of interrogation such as mock executions and forms of sexual violence. MOIS agents have also arrested and detained members of the Bahai religion without charges.

Alan Note: It has taken Marxist-Islamist Obama till NOW  (over 2 years later) to level any kind of opposition to Islamic Iran's horrible, lethal treatment of opponents. Why now? Because Iran has achieved nuclear weapon status and cannot be stopped so this is an Obama farce for USA election purposes!

He is trying to offset his TOTAL inactive failure while in office - (except for destroying America)  with a "anti-terror" profile. Perhaps with some photo-shopped photos of Osama bin Laden like his forged birth certificates of various flavors.

Also perhaps because MOIS has infiltrated AN ESTIMATED 3,000-plus agents into the USA through relaxed visas - often as false, life-long students - sent to our universities across the country to oversee and promote Iranian interests and recruit followers to Islamic causes.
Their latest RECENT project was a huge infiltration of some 250,000 people as religious refugee families, where one or more members were in REALITY a MOIS trained agent planted into the family, who were both promised a decent life in the USA and/or were forced to go along as other members of their families still in Iran would no longer be safe and become subject to abuse, arrest and torture.

Too much for even Hillary Clinton to stomach? Though she has been using/abusing the State Department to carry out Obama's bidding and facilitate Islamic terrorists to infiltrate with multiple visas, no longer a need to register and get fingerprinted on arrival and removing the number of countries (Islamic) who were formerly covered by increased surveillance and entry conditions.

Identifying Information:


AKA: MOIS (in English)


AKA: VEVAK (in Persian/Farsi)

Address: Headquarters located in Tehran, Iran; bounded roughly by Sanati Street on the west, 30th Street on the south, and Iraqi Street on the east.

Address: Ministry of Intelligence, Second Negarestan Street, Pasdaran Avenue, Tehran, Iran.

Sunday, February 12, 2012


Iran turns to barter for food as sanctions cripple imports

By Valerie Parent and Parisa Hafezi

PARIS/TEHRAN | Thu Feb 9, 2012

PARIS/TEHRAN (Reuters) - Iran is turning to barter - offering gold bullion in overseas vaults or tankerloads of oil - in return for food as new financial sanctions have hurt its ability to import basic staples for its 74 million people, commodities traders said Thursday.

Difficulty paying for urgent import needs has contributed to sharp rises in the prices of basic foodstuffs, causing hardship for Iranians with just weeks to go before an election seen as a referendum on President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies.

New sanctions imposed by the United States and European Union to punish Iran for its nuclear program do not bar firms from selling Iran food but they make it difficult to carry out the international financial transactions needed to pay for it.

Reuters surveys of commodities traders around the globe show that since the start of the year, Iran has had trouble securing imports of basic staples like rice, cooking oil, animal feed and tea. Grain ships have been held at its ports, refusing to unload until payment can be received for cargo.

With Iran's rial currency tumbling, the prices of rice, bread and meat in Iranian bazaars have doubled or more in dollar terms in recent months.

Iranian grain importers have in the past side-stepped sanctions by booking business through the United Arab Emirates, traders said, but this option was cut off by the UAE government in response to sanctions.

Iran has been trading oil in currencies like Japanese yen, South Korean won and Indian rupees, but such deals make it difficult to repatriate profits.

Deals revealed Thursday appear to be among the first in which Iran has had to result to offering cashless barter to avoid sanctions, a sign of new urgency as it seeks to buy food and get around the financial restrictions.

"Grain deals are being paid for in gold bullion and barter deals are being offered," one European grains trader said, speaking on condition of anonymity while discussing commercial deals. "Some of the major trading houses are involved."

Another trader said: "As the shipments of grain are so large, barter or gold payments are the quickest option."

Details of how the barter deals work are still unclear as the payments problem is so new, and traders did not disclose the exact size of such deals.


The economic hardship is being felt in Iran at a pivotal time in its domestic politics and its nuclear diplomacy with the West. The United States and Europe say the sanctions are needed to push Iran to the negotiating table before it produces enough nuclear material to build an atomic bomb.

Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful. Last month it began nuclear enrichment at a new facility deep under a mountain to make it secure from military strikes.

Iranian officials deny that sanctions are having a serious economic impact, while also saying that their people are willing to endure any hardship in support of the country's sovereign right to nuclear technology.

Officials in Israel, Iran's arch foe, openly say time is running out for air strikes to destroy the nuclear program if sanctions do not persuade Tehran to back down.

Iran's parliamentary election on March 2 will be its first vote since a presidential vote in 2009, when Ahmadinejad's disputed re-election against a reformist opponent triggered eight months of violent street demonstrations.

The Iranian government successfully put that uprising down by force, but since then the "Arab Spring" has revealed the vulnerability of authoritarian states in the region to popular anger fuelled by economic hardship.

Reformists are barely represented in next month's election, having been barred from standing or declaring boycotts. The vote will be hotly contested between Ahmadinejad's supporters and conservative opponents who blame him for economic disarray.

Children of Iranian opposition leaders called on the international community to help their voices reach the rest of the world, opposition leader Mirhossein Mousavi's website Kaleme reported Wednesday.

Reformists are planning a rally next week, which could be a rare test of whether the soaring food prices are increasing anger on the streets.

The February 14 rally would mark a year of house arrest for Mirhossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the candidates who opposed Ahmadinejad in 2009. It was announced on Mousavi's website, Kaleme.


The effect of Iran's difficulty processing payments on often opaque international commodities markets can be felt directly on the streets in the form of higher prices and shortages.

According to commodities traders in Asia, shipments of palm oil from both the top suppliers, Indonesia and Malaysia, have been halted to Iran because traders fear they cannot get paid. The two countries account for 90 percent of global supply of the oil, a staple ingredient for products from margarine to sweets.

"I can confirm that Singaporean firms have stopped. We don't want to go anywhere near Iran at this moment, it is too risky," said a trader with a listed Singaporean firm that ships Indonesian palm oil cargoes to the Middle East and Iran.

A trading source from Saudi Arabia whose firm runs a 16,000-tonne-a-year plant that refines food oil in Iran said the sector was barely operating. A margarine factory owner in Tehran told Reuters Wednesday he expected to halt production within months because of a shortage of raw materials.

The impact could be felt in a Tehran pastry shop.

"We are going bankrupt and probably will be closed within weeks," said the owner Thursday. "All my ingredients come from abroad. Either the prices suddenly doubled or they stopped being shipped. We are doomed."

While the United States and Europe lack the authority without the United Nations to ban dealings by other countries with Iran, their measures can raise the cost of doing business so much that it is no longer profitable for traders.

"The objective of current and likely sanctions is very simple: to raise the cost of having anything to do with the purchase or shipping of Iranian petroleum to such an extent that even such potential partners who are formally beyond the legal jurisdiction of the United States or its allies will nonetheless shun doing business with Tehran," said J. Peter Pham, with the Atlantic Council, a U.S. think-tank.

China, which bought a fifth of Iran's oil exports last year, has cut its imports this year in half, seeking a steeper discount which will hurt Iran's revenues.

In public, companies and countries say they will still trade with Iran as long as it remains legal to do so.

"Like all the international companies, we do business there, but you have to be very careful," Paul Conway, chairman of U.S. agribusiness giant Cargill told Reuters in an interview on Wednesday.

Rahul Khullar, trade secretary of India, one of Iran's main trade partners, said: "If the EU and the U.S. both want to stop exports to that country, please tell me why I should follow suit? Why shouldn't I take up that business opportunity?"

Under U.S. pressure, India shut down a payments system for trade with Iran last year. Under a new system, Indian firms are expected to pay for 45 percent of their Iranian oil imports in Indian rupees to avoid going through international banks. Implementing the system has been stalled while Indian authorities work out whether to subject such payments to tax.

Traders revealed to Reuters this week that Iranian buyers had defaulted on payments for Indian rice. Khullar said there were also payment problems in tea, although he did not give details. Indian tea exports to Iran fell by a third last year.

Azam Monem, director at McLeod Russel India, the world's largest tea producer, said exporters were waiting for a system to be set up so that Iranian buyers can pay in rupees.

Reza Hosseini, a food wholesaler in Tehran, said: "The price per regular package of tea has doubled.... Since Iran is a big importer of tea, the sharp rise in price means that there is a problem with its import."

International shipping firms are cutting back business with Iran. Last year the United States blacklisted major Iranian port operator Tidewater Middle East Co, which operates seven terminals in Iran including Bandar Abbas, Iran's only container port connected to the world's big shipping lines.

"I sense that many international shipping companies are challenged beyond what they find can be justified when looking at the potential earnings of trading with Iran," said Jakob Larsen, a maritime security officer with BIMCO, the world's largest private shipowners' association.

"Having said that, I think there are still some who are able to carry on their business in a way that does not breach sanctions and yet ensures a decent return on investment."

Danish shipping company A.P. Moller-Maersk told Reuters this week it had suspended new oil tanker deals with Iran due to the EU measures.

German container shipping group Hapag-Lloyd said Thursday it no longer offered limited services to Iran. It had already ended consignments last year to Tidewater-run ports.

Iran faces a bigger challenge if U.S. lawmakers pass sanctions on its main tanker group, the privately run National Iranian Tanker Company (NITC) with a fleet of 40 tankers, or on the state-owned National Iranian Oil Company.

"The measure ... would amount to de facto oil and shipping embargos," the Atlantic Council's Pham said. "The mere taint would also have a net negative effect on Iran, driving those fearful of the reach of sanctions to decide not to go through with transactions while giving Iran's remaining partners - one thinks, for example, of Chinese firms - the leverage to drive the price they pay down."

(Additional reporting by Mitra Amiri in Tehran, Niluksi Koswanage and Yantoultra Ngui in Kuala Lumpur, Yayat Supriatna and Neil Chatterjee in Jakarta, Matthias Williams and Manoj Kumar in New Delhi, Jonathan Saul and Michael Hogan in London; writing by Peter Graff, editing by Janet McBride)