Saturday, 20 July 2019

New scandal around empire of lies


July 19, 2019
On Thursday, U.S. President Donald Trump, who is also the commander in chief of the country’s armed forces, falsely claimed that a U.S. warship had downed an Iranian drone in the Strait of Hormuz.
Speaking at the White House, Trump said the USS Boxer shot down the drone after it got within 1,000 yards, “ignoring multiple calls to stand down and was threatening the safety of the ship and the ship’s crew.”
Also, the Pentagon announced the Iranian drone was within a “threatening range” of the Boxer.
“At approximately 10 a.m. local time, the amphibious ship USS Boxer was in international waters conducting a planned inbound transit of the Strait of Hormuz,” chief Pentagon spokesman Jonathan Hoffman said in a statement.
The interesting point here is that even the Pentagon did not bother to confirm Trump’s hallucination regarding downing of an Iranian drone, since its statement does not at all refer to the owner of the drone.
But regarding Trump’s false claim, which is an intelligence disaster for a country which boasts of the biggest and most modern army in the world, a few points should be noted:
1- More than approximating reality, Trump’s false and hallucinatory claim of having downed an Iranian drone is rather indicative of the great shock the U.S. suffered after Iran’s Revolution Guards forces downed the Global Hawk spy drone recently, which has become a bitter nightmare for the U.S. president. America’s inability to provide answer in kind to the IRGC’s firm action has severely marred the image of U.S. military power.
This is to say that resort to such false claims by the White House depart to the public mind nothing but desperation.
2- It seems that for Trump to make such a false claim is in fact the indication of the onset of a new era of media and propaganda campaign against the Islamic Republic, with the hope to realize on the political and media arena what has not been achieved in field, thus concealing a deep degree of military powerlessness of the U.S.
Although Trump’s recent move shows how deeply the U.S. has been impressed by a psychological vibe surrounding the ever-increasing military power of Iran, in case the U.S. Army’s decision-making processes are based on such sort of information we should expect increasing risk of U.S. military presence as well as unexpected moves that should ensue.
What should be noted regarding Trump’s claim, is that according to statements by Iranian authorities, all Iranian drones in the Persian Gulf and Strait of Hormuz, including the one mentioned by Trump, have returned home after their reconnaissance missions, and that the USS Boxer has been unable to engage in any sort of confrontation with the drone. This is why we should conclude that Trump has intended to take initiative and create a favorable media vibe for his administration.
3- Creating tension by resorting to false news making is a mechanism constantly tapped by the U.S. and its Western allies, which is especially used over the Persian Gulf with a number of objectives. One of the main objectives is to present Iran as a threat to other regional countries and those whose economy somehow depends on the security of the Persian Gulf. A great part of this hype is created especially to mild the backward Arab leaders, especially those of Saudi Arabia and the UAE.
4- The other noteworthy point is that based on the entire international rights, especially those concerning the rights governing seas, since a great part of the Persian Gulf waters are part of Iran’s territory, it is naturally Iran’s right to use whatever in its power to secure the region. This is while none of the international protocols allow U.S. presence in the Persian Gulf. This is why the White House, seeking help from its allies such as the UK, is trying to misrepresent the Persian Gulf as insecure, and thereby to justify its bullying presence in the region.
* Author: Mohammad Ghaderi , Tehran Times editor in chief and political commentator
His page on Twitter : @ghaderi62 – and Gmail address : m.ghaderi62@gmail.com
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NATO Terrorists Kill Soldiers in Daraa, Bomb Mill in Hasaka



NATO Terrorists Kill Syrian Soldiers in Daraa Roadside Car Bomb
NATO-ked savages in Syria today attacked a military vehicle on al Yadouda Road west of Daraa City. Five soldiers were martyred and 16 were injured. Other terrorists remotely detonated a vehicle in Hasaka, in an attempt to blow up a mill. Two civilians were injured.

NATO- and NATO media supported terrorists remotely detonated a vehicle in Hasaka. Two civilians were injured.
Video also available on Bitchute: https://www.bitchute.com/video/OG9btA5Wg586
Transcript of the English translation of the above report by Wafa Shabroni, RT’s correspondent in Syria:
A new explosion shook with it the cautious calm that has long prevailed in the province of Daraa during the first year of its liberation, but it was unable to break the bonds of reconciliation, which was the headline of the return of the south to the Syrian state.
A few months after the first targeting of the Syrian army checkpoint, an attack adopted by groups called the ‘Popular Resistance’, it turned some villages, especially in the northwestern countryside of Daraa, to a permanent theater for similar operations that targeted alongside the Syrian forces, former commanders of the southern factions who later joined the local settlement.
Political Analyst Mustapha Al-Mikdad: More than a year later, it is clear that there are dormant groups that are still operating, perhaps the remnants of the Khalid Army, which is basically an ISIS faction, and perhaps there are external interventions, as the areas are still open in more than one direction.
The (reconciliation) settlement deadline, which was extended for two consecutive terms and its last six months ended in last June, did not see the settlement of the statuses of all the young men of the province, some of whom are still out of sight and refuse to join the Syrian forces to perform military service, which observers attribute to the association of some of these groups in Daraa with those who left it to Idlib, and to try to escalate the situation in the south in conjunction with what is happening in the northern province.
Media Expert Yarub Khairbek: I think it is an attempt from the remnants of groups, some of them went to Idlib, these are remnants of them with whom they have a certain relationship, or attempts from other groups, some of which remained in Daraa to find obstruction or noise to reduce the pressure on Idlib to stop the advance of the army in Idlib because the Battle for Idlib If it didn’t commence yet, it’s on the verge to be fully launched.
Many measures taken by the Syrian government recently to absorb the anger of the people in the south from the release of detainees and amnesty for the wanted in the city and its countryside, but what these groups, which are called by military sources as sleeper cells, are doing is to keep the level of tension high, although remained in limited areas.
At a time when Syrian forces are engaged in repelling insurgent attacks and restoring areas out of their control in the north of the country, the breach against its soldiers in the south comes in attempts that may not exceed the boundaries of tension and insecurity, it does succeed each time, however, in stirring up confusion and claiming more lives in that Region.
From Damascus, Wafaa Shabroni, for RT.
End of English translation transcript.
Please refer to Syria News ‘ featured image. It is a screenshot of a hideous video uploaded to the internet in June 2017, showing the bodies of slaughtered Syrian Arab Army soldiers being mutilatedand taken to a dumpsite, in Daraa, by terrorists including those self-identifying as [Nusra] White Helmets. This degenerate, necrophiliac video disappeared upon it being shown to the monsters of Congress who were engaged in hashtagging their support of al Qaeda in Daraa.
The SAA continues to destroy dens and launching pads of armed killers, and the killers, themselves, in Hama and Idlib.
archive daraa savages
Syria News Featured Image – Archive, June 2017
In Quneitra, a large number of Syrians held a solidarity demonstration outside the governate building for their brothers and sisters under the occupation of illicit, illegal, colonial Israel occupiers of part of the Syrian Golan, where those war criminals plan to erect “wind turbines.” Follow us on Telegram: http://t.me/syupdates link will open Telegram app.
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An Alliance That Never Was



An Alliance That Never Was
TEHRAN (FNA)- The so-called alliance between the United States and Turkey is under threat after the first batch of equipment of Russian-made S-400 missile defense system arrived at Murted Air Base in Ankara on July 12.
The administration of US President Donald Trump has decided to slap sanctions on Turkey over its acquisition. Washington plans to announce economic sanctions against Ankara at the end of next week, pendingTrump’s final confirmation.
Under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act and after Monday’s anniversary of a 2016 coup attempt against Turkey’s President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, Trump and his necon team plan to swiftly put Ankara’s head in vice and “inflict varying degrees of pain” for receiving the Russian missile defense system.
NATO has also said it is concerned: “We are concerned about the potential consequences of Turkey’s decision to acquire the S-400 system, which is not compatible with allied weapons.”
We have no reason to assume it is any more substantial than the rubbish to declare Russian-made S-400 missile system incompatible or that it puts at risk the Pentagon’s costliest weapons program, the F-35 fighter jet built by Lockheed Martin Corp. But there is more to this new Mideast saga.
The truth is Turkey’s alliance with the US is written in the sands because of their differences in Syria and the fact that the US supports and arms separatist Kurds. As well, the delivery of the missile system will continue because Turkey says it is a strategic defence requirement. Ankara complains that Europe did not present a viable alternative either.
Translation: Sanctions – and not diplomacy – is still Washington’s usual mantra, a timeless American tradition. If we do that most difficult thing, stay back and take a cold, hard look at the White House, we will find that most US presidents do more or less the same thing to appease the cult of military-industrial complex. This is commonly done by way of scapegoating, sanctions, arms race and regime-change conflicts. The new Turkish case is not extreme, but it must not be seen in isolation.
It is true that Republicans and Democrats are a divided people in many respects. But let us not make too much of this, for they also display a striking unity in their tendency to blame Turkey, Russia and Iran for their difficulties, shortcomings and failures in Syria and the Middle East. It is that easy to extend their current outburst of frustration to their tweeter-in-chief too.
On balance, almost everyone on Capitol Hill gives in to flinching from failures that are all their own. Sooner or later, President Trump will sign off the new sanctions regime against Turkey, and will also assert that the decision to receive the advanced missile defence system from Russia has driven a wedge into the heart of the NATO military alliance.
We are on notice now. Just like Noble Peace Prize winner Barack Obama, the so-called “anti-establishment” Trump has failed to hold his ground and prevail in this ferocious fight of sanctions and who knows what else. Elements within the Pentagon, the CIA, the national-security apparatus, the NATO bureaucracy, and the military-industrial complex have apparently gone to any lengths to prevent whatever kind of détente with Turkey.
The War Party and the mere extras need a hostile world and the 45th president of the United States will also live in one until the American people and the international civil society insist otherwise. He will make a clear choice to destroy his diplomatic position in this regard. We will be watching this choice being made soon when he signs off sanctions against Turkey.
As is often the case, people like Obama and George W. Bush ran the US into the ground after invading Afghanistan, Iraq and Syria, while levelling the guns and sanctions at Iran and Russia. Trump should read the clock on history’s time. Close he is once again to this self-defeating trope and timeless tradition.
The only difference this time is that by failing to forge a diplomatic solution he is having it backwards. He and party officials at the White House might as well put the last nail in the coffin of the old alliance by sanctioning a NATO ally.

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A War to Remember in July: Stories Told by Al-Manar Reporter



Mohammad Qazan July War
Al-Manar reporter Mohammad Qazan tells his story in covering the Israeli aggression against Lebanon during July war in 2006.
Taking many risks along with Al-Manar team by moving from one town to another across the Lebanese south and under Israeli bombardment throughout 33 days was not easy.
13 years on the divine victory, the reporter wants to talk about his experience, which was etched on his memory, in order to show the Israeli brutality vs the Lebanese heroic steadfastness.
The First Strikes
Image result for ‫محمد قازان‬‎
Al-Manar Reporter Mohamamd Qazan in a photo taken in May 2018.
A day after he covered the press conference of Hezbollah Secretary General Sayyed Hasan Nasrallah in Beirut’s southern suburb (Dahiyeh), Mohammad Qazan headed to the south, he says. With the main Beirut-south highway was destroyed at Damour bridge following an Israeli strike, Al-Manar reporter took a minor road in a bid to reach Sidon, the Lebanese south’s gate.
Shortly after he crossed Sainiq bridge, Israeli warplanes carried out a raid, destroying the bridge which was a direct tie between Sidon and other southern towns. The strike threw the reporter’s car tens of meters away. Talking about that incident, Qazan says that several people were injured by that strike and he took some of them to a hospital in Sidon.
After rushing to hospital, Qazan had to continue his trip to the southern town of Nabatiyeh, where he was tasked with covering the Israeli aggression. As he crossed Sidon, Israeli warplanes carried out another strike, targeting the town of Ghaziyeh, near Sidon.
“I was in Ghaziyeh as the strike hit Al-Ghaziyeh. Pieces of smashed glass and shrapnel were scattered on my car due to the raid,”
Qazan says in an article talking about his experience in July War 2006, published by Al-Manar’s Arabic Website.
At Nabatiyeh
At Nabatiyeh, the situation was very dangerous. In the third day of the aggression, Al-Manar team became the only journalist staff in the southern town. All journalists who were delegated by other Lebanese channels left Nabatiyeh after receiving calls urging them to flee the area due to high risks there.
“Unlike the situation in Nabatiyeh, Journalists were allowed to stay in the southern city of Tyre, where they had access to secure places,” Qazan says.
In Nabatiyeh, Qazan and the accompanying team’s mission was duplicated. They had to find a secure place for them to sleep, and a place for the SNG vehicle.
“I was tasked with receiving messages from Al-Manar reporters in Sidon and in the border area. Nabatiyeh was the main point where Al-Manar was live streaming so we had to stay there in order to keep track of Al-Manar’s coverage.”
“We had spent our nights at garages, sometimes in the car or under a tree. But the most dangerous and touching incidents, I remember, are when we knew that the place where we had spent the earlier night was hit by an Israeli strike.”
Heroic Steadfastness
The journalistic mission was less difficult, according to Al-Manar reporter who emotionally talks about steadfastness of the Lebanese people who stayed in their houses despite the brutal aggression.
“In every time we entered a town in the south, we were overwhelmed by the people’s insistence to stay in their houses despite the strikes, the massacres, the destruction and all other risks. Those scenes were so encouraging to go ahead with our coverage despite all dangers.”
“I remember very well when we were surprised to see an elderly farmer watering his field in Kfarrumman, or a shepherd leading his cattle to cross the Jarmaq Bridge which was destroyed by Israeli strikes.”
Talking about the most dangerous incidents in July War, Qazan remembers when he and Al-Manar staff went to Zibdin town shortly after Israeli warplanes committed a massacre there.
“Just few seconds after we left Zibdin, Israeli warplanes carried out another strike.”
Qazan also narrates when he survived, along with Al-Manar cameraman, an Israeli drone attack as they infiltrated into an area close to Al-Ghandouriyeh and Al-Qantara villages where resistance fighters were engaged in fierce clashes with Israeli occupation forces.
“I survived, along with colleague Haidar Al-Jawahari, two missiles shot by an Israeli drone as we were trying to cover the Merkava battle in Wadi Al-Hujair.”
“City of Imam Hussein”
“We never knew how we survived such dangers! Is it because we were abiding by security measures or is it our luck?… Or is it because our love to this profession which is molded with our faith in the resistance? I don’t know… And I couldn’t believe what was really happening during those days. We were moving alone, the cameraman and me, from one town to another throughout 33 days. Surely we were encircled by the God’s providence… for we were in a city called ‘the City of Imam Hussein (a.s.)’,”
Al-Manar reporter says referring to Nabatiyeh city.
Cluster Bombs
Recalling a funny but a scaring story of July War, Mohamamd Qazan remembers when one Civil Defense officer gave him some cluster bombs in the lasts days of the war, saying they were exploded. However, it became clear then, that they were unexploded.
“The bombs appeared in one of my live messages on TV. I put them in my car and they stayed there for several days, thinking that they pose no threat. But when the cessation of hostilities took effect in August 14, we handed over the bombs to a resistance fighter to discover then that they were not exploded and that one of them was about to go off.”
“Our feelings at time were mixed between astonishment, laughter and fear. We were for days holding these explosive remnants in my car!”
Moments to Remember
Qazan speaks with passion about several incidents that he had passed through during July War.
“In the last week of the war we were working on our coverage with peace and calmness. I couldn’t know the secret behind such feeling. We appeared in several live messages with Israeli spy drones were clearly spotted, and sometimes strikes were hitting areas close to us.”
“Sometimes, and despite that we were in rush due to our work and other risks, we didn’t hesitate to provide a medicine for an elderly and to drive a civilian to a more secure place.”
According to Qazan, the most beautiful moments were when he and Al-Manar cameraman, Haidar Al-Jawahari, met resistance fighters.
“The resistance fighters were the reason behind our high morals. They also were facilitating our work. I hope that what we did during July War had offered some support to the resistance and imaged the heroic steadfastness of our country in face of the brutal Israeli aggression.”
“One day, we arrived in my hometown, Al-Taybeh, we got into a house where resistance fighters were gathering in the border village during the war. My colleague, Haidar Al-Jawahari, was surprised by his brother, who was a resistance fighter, in that house. That meeting was really memorable!”
Mohammad Qazan voices pride when talking about his experience in July war. He stresses that Al-Manar’s coverage during the 33-day war had contributed to the divine victory through media resistance and psychological warfare.
“After God, all thanks are to Al-Manar staff who was persistent. The team which included Haidar Al-Jawahari- who escorted me throughout 33 days-, technician Ibrahim Karaki and cameramen: Samir Iskandar, Mohammad Saleh and Ali Fahs. It was an experience of high risk for it was a decisive battle that thwarted a great scheme in our region.”
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Pandering to Christian Zionism: Trump Outreach on Display in Washington

Philip Giraldi
Christian Zionist involvement in American politics on behalf of the Washington’s relationship with Israel does not serve any conceivable US national interests unless one assumes that Israel and the United States are essentially the same polity, which is unsustainable.
In Washington on the weekend after the Fourth of July, Israel was praised and Iran was condemned in the strongest terms, with a bit of a call to arms thrown in to prepare the nation for an inevitable war. It might just seem like a normal work week in the nation’s capital, but this time around there was a difference. The rhetoric came from no less than five senior officials in the Trump Administration and the audience consisted of 5,000 cheering members from the Christian Zionist evangelical group called Christians United for Israel (CUFI).
Christian Zionism is not a religion per se, but rather a set of beliefs based on interpretations of specific parts of the Bible – notably the book of Revelations and parts of Ezekiel, Daniel, and Isaiah – that has made the return of the Jews to the Holy Land a precondition for the Second Coming of Christ. The belief that Israel is essential to the process has led to the fusion of Christianity with Zionism, hence the name of the movement. The political significance of this viewpoint is enormous, meaning that a large block of Christians promotes and votes for a non-reality based foreign policy based on a controversial interpretation of the Bible that it embraces with considerable passion.
It would be a mistake to dismiss CUFI as just another group of bible-thumpers whose brains have long since ceased to function when the subject is Israel. It claims to have seven million members and it serves as a mechanism for uniting evangelicals around the issue of Israel. Given its numbers alone and concentration is certain states, it therefore constitutes a formidable voting bloc that can be counted on to cast its ballots nearly 100% Republican, as long as the Republican in question is reliably pro-Israel. Beyond that, there are an estimated 60 million evangelical voters throughout the country and they will likely follow the lead of groups like CUFI and vote reflecting their religious beliefs, to include Trump’s highly visible support for the Jewish state.
Trump’s reelection campaign is reported to be already “…developing an aggressive, state-by-state plan to mobilize even more evangelical voters than supported him last time.” This will include, “voter registration drives at churches in battleground states such as Ohio, Nevada and Florida.” Without overwhelming evangelical support, Trump reelection in 2020 is unlikely, hence the dispatch of all available White House heavyweights to CUFI’s annual summit at the Washington Convention Center.
Though it is an organization that defines itself as Christian, CUFI makes no effort to support surviving Christian communities in the Middle East as most of them are hostile to Israel. The group also supports war against Iran as a precursor to total global conflict. Hagee has explained that “The United States must join Israel in a pre-emptive military strike against Iran to fulfill God’s plan for both Israel and the West… a biblically prophesied end-time confrontation with Iran, which will lead to the Rapture, Tribulation, and Second Coming of Christ.”
CUFI operates out of the Cornerstone Church in San Antonio Texas. It was founded at the church in 2006 and is headed by John Hagee, a leading evangelical who has been courted both by the Trump Administration and by Israel itself, which presented him with a a Lear business yet complete with a crew so he would be able to do his proselytizing in some comfort. He frequently appears at commemorations in Israel, is a regular at the annual AIPAC meeting and has been a guest at the White House. He was present at the Trump administration’s ceremony last year when it moved the US Embassy to Jerusalem and gave a speech. He has said that “there has never been a more pro-Israeli president than Donald Trump.”
Present at the CUFI summit were Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, National Security Advisor John Bolton, US Ambassador to Israel David Friedman, and US negotiator in the Middle East Jason Greenblatt. Lest there be any confusion, the White House was represented by two Christian Zionists, two Jewish Zionists and John Bolton, who has been variously described. All five have been urging a military response against Iran for its alleged “aggression” in the Middle East. Israeli Prime Minister also addressed the conference via videolink, with his similar “analysis” of the Iranian threat. There were also a number of Republican Senators present, to include Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Roy Blunt and Tim Scott.
The speeches were all pretty much the same but perhaps the most suggestive was the 2,000 word plus exhortation delivered by Pompeo. His presentation was entitled “The US and Israel: a Friendship for Freedom.” He asked, in a speech full of religious metaphors and biblical references, his audience to “compare Israel’s reverence for liberty with the restrictions on religious freedom facing Christians and people of all faiths throughout the rest of the Middle East,” where “if a Muslim leaves Islam it is considered an apostasy, and it is punishable indeed by death.”
Pompeo was more interested in stirring up his audience than he was in historical fact. He said “In Iraq, Syria, and other countries in the region, the last remnants of ancient Christian communities are at near-extinction because of persecution from ISIS and other malign actors. And just one example: before 2003, there were an estimated 1.5 million Christians living in Iraq. Today, sadly, almost a quarter of a million.”
Pompeo, whose grasp of current events appears to be a bit shaky, did not mention two of the principal reasons that Christianity has been declining in the region. First and foremost is the Iraq War, started by the United States for no good reason, which unleashed forces that led to the destruction of religious minorities. Second, he did not note the constant punishment delivered by Israel on the Palestinians, which has led to the departure of many Christians in that community. Nor did he say anything about the reverse of the coin, Syria, where Christians are well integrated and protected by the al-Assad government which Pompeo and Bolton are seeking to destroy to benefit Israel.
The Secretary of State also delivered the expected pitch for four more years of Donald Trump, saying “But thank God. Thank God we have a leader in President Trump – an immovable friend of Israel. His commitment, his commitment – President Trump’s commitment is the strongest in history, and it’s been one of the best parts of my job to turn that commitment into real action.”
But it has to be Pompeo’s conclusion that perhaps should be regarded as a joke, though it appears that no one in the audience was laughing. He said “Our country is intended to do all it can, in cooperating with other nations, to help create peace and preserve peace [throughout] the world. It is given to defend the spiritual values – the moral code – against the vast forces of evil that seek to destroy them.”
It was a reiteration of Pompeo’s earlier “America is a force for good” speech delivered in Cairo in January. Nobody believed it then and nobody believes it now, given what has been actually occurring over the past 18 years. It would be interesting to know if Pompeo himself actually thinks it to be true. If he does, he should be selling hot dogs from a food truck rather than presiding as Secretary of State.
So, the bottom line is that the Trump Administration pandering to Hagee and company is shameful. Christian Zionist involvement in American politics on behalf of the Washington’s relationship with Israel does not serve any conceivable US national interests unless one assumes that Israel and the United States are essentially the same polity, which is unsustainable. On the contrary, the Christian Zionist politicizing has been a major element in supporting the generally obtuse US foreign policy in the Middle East region and vis-à-vis other Muslim countries, a policy that has contributed to at least four wars while making the world a more dangerous place for all Americans. Christian Zionist promoted foreign policy serves a particularly narrowly construed parochial interest that, ironically, is intended to do whatever it takes to bring about the end of the world, possibly a victory for gentlemen like Pastor John Hagee if his interpretation of the bible is correct, but undeniably a disaster for the rest of us.

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IRGC says captures British oil tanker in Strait of Hormuz

Press Tv
1
Fri Jul 19, 2019 05:59PM
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has said that it has captured a British oil tanker for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.
The IRGC’s Public Relations Department said in a statement on Friday that the vessel named “Stena Impero” had been confiscated “at the request of Hormozgan Ports and Maritime Organization when passing through the Strait of Hormuz, for failing to respect international maritime rules.”
The oil tanker was transferred to the coast to undergo the required legal proceedings, the statement added.
(This item is being updated.)

IRGC Navy Seizes British Tanker in Persian Gulf

IRGC Navy Seizes British Tanker in Persian Gulf

TEHRAN (FNA)- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in a statement issued on Friday evening that its naval forces have seized British tanker ship, ‘Stena Impero’, for violating maritime rules and regulations in the Persian Gulf.
“UK tanker ship, Stena Impero, has been detained by the vessels unit of the IRGC Navy’s First Naval Zone at the request of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s office of Hormuzgan province for disregarding international maritime rules and regulations as it was passing through the Strait of Hormuz this afternoon,” the statement by the IRGCN public relations said.
The statement said the ship has been escorted to the Iranian coastal waters in Hormuzgan province and its control has been transferred to the Ports and Maritime Organization for further legal procedures and investigations.
A statement by Stena Impero shipping firm said there are 23 crew onboard the UK ship, adding that there has been no report on any harm or injury to the crew members since the vessel came under detention by the Iranian forces.
Media reports said the tanker was heading to Saudi Arabia’s port of Al-Jobail from the UAE port of Fujairah when it was detained by the IRGC.
Director-General of the Ports and Maritime Organization’s office in Hurmuzgan province said he filed a request for the seizure of the British tanker by the IRGCN after reports on its risky moves that made the vessel prone to accident.
Meantime, sources told FNA that “the British ship had switched off its tracking systems in violation of maritime rules and regulations and was making an entry from the exit point of the Strait of Hormuz in the South, disregarding the established procedures that require all entries be made through the Northern pass.
In early July, British marines and Gibraltar police seized an Iranian tanker off the Southern coast of the Iberian Peninsula. Gibraltar’s Chief Minister Fabian Picardo claimed that the ship was transporting crude oil to Syria “in violation” of the EU sanctions placed on Damascus. Washington has applauded the move, hailing it as a sign that Europe is on board with the US’ unilateral sanctions against Iran.
The Iranian Foreign Ministry condemned the “illegal move” of London and described it as “tantamount to piracy”. Tehran accused the UK of doing Washington’s bidding and helping the US attempt to stifle the Islamic Republic’s oil exports, rejecting London’s claim that the supertanker was carrying crude for Syria.
The attorney general announced on Friday that Gibraltar’s supreme court has ruled that the Iranian tanker seized by Britain’s Royal Marines can be detained for 30 more days. The court’s decision came a day after a senior Gibraltar’s official described as “constructive” talks with Iran, raising hopes that the tanker would be released imminently.
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei has slammed Britain’s illegal seizure of the oil tanker, warning London of a pending response to the seizure of the supertanker that he referred to as a case of “piracy”.
“They commit crimes and make it appear legal. The Islamic Republic and devout agents of the system will not leave such vicious acts without a response and they will respond in a proper opportunity and place,” Ayatollah Khamenei stressed.
On Thursday, naval forces of the IRGC seized a foreign ship smuggling fuel in the Persian Gulf, according to a statement by the public relations office of the IRGC Navy’s first zone. The foreign vessel was smuggling a million liters of fuel from Iran and was seized in Iranian waters South of Lark island.
Yet, a statement issued by the IRGC on Thursday denied that any other foreign ship had been seized during the last week as claimed by the western media.
The statement reiterated that the ship had been seized for “smuggling fuel from Iran”, and no other reason.
The recent moves by foreign powers in the Middle East such as US sanctions on Tehran’s oil, UK seizure of Iranian supertanker, as well as, “sabotage operations” on oil ships have intensified the turmoil in the region and the turmoil in the international energy market, affecting global crude prices in recent months.

IRAN SEIZES BRITISH TANKER IN STRAIT OF HORMUZ

19.07.2019
Iran Seizes British Tanker In Strait of Hormuz
Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) announced in the late hours of July 19 that its naval units had captured a British oil tanker in the Strait of Hormuz.
The Guards said in a press release that the tanker, Stena Impero, was seized for breaching international maritime law while crossing the Strait of Hormuz.
حرس الثورة يعلن أن الناقلة البريطانية لم تراع قوانين الملاحة البحرية
Stena Impero’s operator Clyde-based Northern Marine Group (NMG) confirmed in an offical statement that the tanker was taken over by force. The group said that 23 seafarers were aboard the tanker when it was captured.
“At approximately 1600 BST on 19th July UK registered vessel Stena Impero (built 2018, 49,683 DWT) was approached by unidentified small crafts and a helicopter during transit of the Strait of Hormuz while the vessel was in international waters. We are presently unable to contact the vessel which is now heading north towards Iran,” the NMG’s statement reads.
In its first response to the Iranian move, the UK’s Ministry of Defence said that it is looking for further information on the incident.
Stena Impero was likely captured by the IRGC as a response to the UK seizure of Iran’s supertanker, Grace 1, off the shores of Gibraltar, earlier this month. Senior Iranian officials, including the country’s Supreme Leader, had warned the UK that Iran will not tolerate such moves.
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Friday, 19 July 2019

Enemy Miscalculation to Turn Iran’s Defensive Strategy into Offensive: IRGC




Chief Commander of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami
Chief Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Hossein Salami

The chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has warned enemies against the possibility of a turn in the country’s military strategy from the current defensive strategy toward an offensive one.
“As far as the strategy is concerned, we act defensively, meaning that we will not be the ones to start or initiate any war,” Major General Hossein Salami said during an inspection of the level of preparedness of the country’s defensive forces in an area near the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf on Thursday.
The area, known as Naze’at comprises four islands in the Persian Gulf, which are of great importance to the country’s efforts to maintain the security of the strategic waterway.
“The situation is, however, completely opposite when it comes to [the country’s] tactical attitude, and should enemies commit any miscalculation, our defensive strategy would turn into an offensive one,” Salami added, noting the offensive transition would involve the Islamic Republic’s entire defensive capacities.
Salami also underlined the region’s significance for the country and the entire global economy, adding, “Using the pretext of the region’s sensitivity to enable extra-regional military presence here would only stoke insecurity and compromise standing security arrangements in the region.”
Salami asserted that the Islamic Republic enjoys perfect command over the waters lying in the northern part of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. The country maintains the command as means of defending its territorial integrity, naval superiority, and aerial security, he added.
“On behalf of the Iranian nation, we engage in defensive development in all areas,” he stated.
The United States has resorted to significant military buildup in the region, which has seen it sending over an aircraft carrier strike group, a bomber taskforce, an assault ship, and thousands of additional forces.
President Donald Trump and other US officials have, however, recurrently disowned any intention to engage in warfare with Iran, claiming that the American equipment and troops are actually meant to prevent one.
Elsewhere in his remarks, Salami cautioned enemy think tanks against plotting any adventurism or mischief against the Iranian nation.
He finally hailed the “infallible readiness” of the Iranian Armed Forces, especially the IRGC, for engaging in all-out defense of the country’s security and interests.

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