Maxim A. Suchkov‏ @MSuchkov_ALM 50 minutes ago – 12 Nov 2018 – JUST IN:#Iran/ian central bank disconnected from SWIFT which makes it more difficult for Iran to settle import & export bills. #SWIFT came under pressure from #US to do so,Washington says the move is “the right decision to protect integrity of international financial system” – More via



  • 6 Nov 2018 – Two Kurdish women were executed on Monday for “sexual intercourse.” The Islamic regime laws prohibits sexual relations without marriage. The Islamic court in West Azerbaijan Province sentenced the women after they were arrested in 2017.

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French prosecutors have issued international arrest warrants for three top Assad regime officials over war crimes since Syria’s uprising began in March 2011.

The prosecutors named Bashar al-Assad’s security chief Ali Mamlouk; head of Air Force Intelligence Jamil Hassan, who reportedly oversaw the killing of thousands of detainees and already faces a German warrant; and senior Air Force Intelligence official Abdel Salam Mahmoud, who heads the detention facility at Mezzeh military airport in Damascus.Charges include collusion in torture, forced disappearances, crimes against humanity, and war crimes. The three defendants may be tried in absentia. The warrants were spurred by the arrest in November 2013 and disappearances of two French-Syrian nationals, prominent activist Mazen Dabbagh and his son Patrick.The Dabbagh family’s attorneys say documents indicate Patrick died in custody in January 2014 and Mazen in November 2017.

Syria Daily: French Arrest Warrants for Top Assad Regime Officials


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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS : INVOLVED OR NOT INVOLVED – ITALY ! – Iraq Not Among Countries to Receive a Wavier from Iran Sanctions


BasNews – 05/11/2018 – 18:40 –  ERBIL – The US has announced eight countries on Monday which will be allowed to continue to do business with the Islamic Republic of Iran for a certain period of time, while Iraq is not on the list. The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said that China, India, Greece, Italy, Taiwan, Japan, Turkey, and South Korea will receive a waiver from the Iran sanctions.

Pompeo noted that serious measures will be taken towards any countries trying to assist Iran. He explained that the restrictions will carry on until Tehran has changed its “destabilizing behavior.” “Treasury’s imposition of unprecedented financial pressure on Iran should make clear to the Iranian regime that they will face mounting financial isolation and economic stagnation until they fundamentally change their destabilizing behavior,” the Jerusalem Post quoted the US official. More  via



Fox News ist jetzt live. 5 Nov 2018 – The Washington Foreign Press Center holds a briefing with Secretaries Pompeo and Mnuchin regarding Iran policy and sanctions.

Right this moment. ..  WATCH ALL


Iran’s Top Spy Is the Modern-Day Karla, John Le Carré’s Villainous Mastermind

What the head of Iran’s Quds Force has in common with the greatest Soviet spy who never existed. –  Michael Weiss – THE DAILY BEAST – 07.02.14 5:45 AM ET

“[Qassem] Suleimani is the single most powerful operative in the Middle East today, and no one’s ever heard of him.” — John Maguire, former CIA officer in IraqThey call him “Keyser Soze.” That’s the nickname the most influential spy in the Middle East has earned among regional hands and Arab officials—likely because no one, apart from them, has ever heard of him. Like the spectral villain who haunts The Usual Suspects—and is said to have murdered his own wife and children in cold blood just to prove a point—Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani is a lethal international man of mystery, a man perfectly suited to the age of Vladimir Putin, where crime boss and covert operative are denizens and custodians of the same shadow-world. But Suleimani doesn’t concern himself with botched drug deals—or I should say, he doesn’t only concern himself with botched drug deals, given his role in orchestrating a Mexican cartel’s (unsuccessful) assassination of the Saudi ambassador to the United States in 2011. No, he’s into the fate of nations. And he just so happens to be the hardest-working spook on the planet.

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  • In a meeting with families of Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) fighters killed in Syria and Iraq, the Supreme Leader of Iran once again justified Iran’s military involvement in the region. He declared that if it were not for the Iranian fighters who enthusiastically joined the campaign, Iran’s enemies would have reached locations only a few kilometers away from the holy Shi’ite sites in Iraq.
  • Senior IRGC commanders condemned the decision of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to designate the IRGC, the IRGC’s Qods Force and the Qods Force Commander, Qasem Soleimani, as sponsors of terrorism. According to the Iranian officials, the designation was intended to deflect attention away from the murder of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
  • Iranian, Russian and Turkish delegations met in Moscow for another round of talks concerning the settlement of the war in Syria, and particularly the issue of Idlib. Meanwhile, some in Tehran voiced displeasure about the decision not to invite Iran to a summit in Istanbul on developments in Syria attended by leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Turkey.
  • A Syrian opposition website reported that Iran began the construction of a military base in the Lajat region in Daraa governorate, intended to serve pro-Iranian militias in the region. According to the report, the construction work is carried out by fighters of Hezbollah and the Iraqi militia Asaeb al-Haqq, while the IRGC oversees the transfer of materiel to the militias in the area.
  • Following the establishment of the new government in Baghdad, senior Iranian officials congratulated the incoming Iraqi leadership and called for deepening of ties between the two countries. Last week, hundreds of thousands of Iranians took part in pilgrimage to Shi’ite holy sites in Iraq held forty days after the Ashoura’ fast (Arbayeen).
General Information
  • The Supreme Leader of Iran, Ali Khamenei, once again justified Iran’s military involvement in Syria and Iraq and declared that if it were not for the Iranian fighters, Iran’s enemies would have reached a few kilometers away from the Imam Hussein shrine in Karbala, preventing the commemoration of Arbayeen, the pilgrimage to Shi’ite holy sites held forty days after the fast of Ashoura’. In a meeting with families of IRGC fighters killed in Syria and Iraq, Khamenei boasted that there was no need to encourage Iranian youth to join the campaign, as they did so with enthusiasm and even begged to be allowed to go to the front due to a desire for self-sacrifice (Mehr, October 24).Senior IRGC commanders condemned the decision of Saudi Arabia and Bahrain to designate the IRGC, the Qods Force and some of its commanders, chief among them Qasem Soleimani, as organizational and individual sponsors of terrorism. The Deputy Commander of the IRGC Tharollah Camp in Tehran, Esma’il Kowsari, alleged in an interview to the Mehr news agency (October 23) that the Saudis wish to deflect international public attention away from the affair of the Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi, and get it to focus on Iran, but they will fail to do so and will be unable to cleanse themselves of their crimes.
  • The Deputy Commander of the IRGC on Political Affairs, Yadollah Javani, also declared that the Saudi decision is intended to distract public attention from Khashoggi’s case, and change the public atmosphere by issuing anti-Iranian declarations. He claimed that the world knows very well that the IRGC stands at the forefront of fighting terrorism in Syria and Iraq, while Saudi Arabia has always supported terrorist groups (Mehr, October 24).
Iranian Involvement in Syria and Lebanon
  • On October 23-24, delegations representing Iran, Russia and Turkey met in Moscow for a round of talks regarding the settlement of the war in Syria. Upon arrival in Moscow, the Senior Adviser to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hossein Jaberi Ansari, expressed hope that Idlib governorate would return to regime control without a loss of life. He claimed that in the summit between the presidents of Iran, Russia and Turkey, held in September in Tehran, disagreements arose regarding priorities in Syria and the issue of Idlib, but eventually, an agreement was reached based on an Iranian proposal regarding the reestablishment of Syrian government sovereignty over Idlib without bloodshed. According to him, the summit in Moscow was convened to discuss the latest developments in Idlib and complete the implementation of the understandings reached between the three countries (ILNA, October 23).
  • At the end of his meeting with the Russian Foreign Minister, Sergey Lavrov, Jaberi asserted that the U.S. policy, which intends to push Iran out of the negotiations process concerning Syria, is destined to fail. He claimed that Iran supported Syria over recent years and acted to promote a political solution to the crisis in the country as part of the Astana process; he added that Iran is determined to maintain its role in this process (Fars, October 24).
  • Iranian media criticized the decision not to invite Iran to a summit held in Istanbul on October 27 regarding developments in Syria attended by leaders of Russia, Germany, France and Turkey. A report, published in the reformist daily Ghanoon (October 29) under the headline “Erdoğan and Putin Bypassed Iran,” stated that there was no reason not to invite Iran to the summit, after it had invested so much blood and money in Syria in recent years. The report argued that presidents Erdoğan and Putin should have kept their promise to President Rouhani to refuse to attend meetings concerning Syria without Iranian participation. The report mentioned that this is not the first time that the Russians have treated Iran this way, and that it would have behooved President Erdoğan, who publicly lauded his friendly relationship with Iran, to invite it for a summit held in his country.
  • Tehran previously expressed dissatisfaction with unilateral moves by its two partners in the negotiations process concerning Syria. In mid-September 2018, the Russian and Turkish presidents met in Sochi and reached an agreement concerning the fate of rebel-held Idlib. Despite the positive response of Iran to the agreement reached between the two leaders, it was evident that Iran was concerned by the Russian-Turkish deal, which was apparently not coordinated with it.
  • On October 20, 2018, the Syrian jihadist group Hayat Tahrir al-Sham published a video showing a captive IRGC officer it is holding. The captive was identified as Colonel Abu al-Hassan Soleiman Bayati. Bayati, who spoke in Persian, stated that he has been serving in the IRGC for 29 years. He reported that he was injured and asked that efforts be made to secure his release. He added: “I call on Iran’s leadership, including Qasem Soleimani [the Qods Force Commander] to make an effort to release me” (Hayat Tahrir al-Sham, October 20). Reports on social media indicate that Bayati was captured in 2016 in southern Aleppo. Iranian media quoted the video, but Iranian sources avoided confirming its veracity.
  • A Syrian opposition website reported that following the occupation of Daraa by the Syrian regime in July 2018, Iran began constructing a military base in the area of Lajat in Daraa governorate, southwestern Syria. According to the report, the forces involved in constructing the base are mostly Hezbollah members, alongside Iraqi Shi’ite militiamen with Asaeb al-Haqq. These forces have destroyed about 650 homes and cleared several villages in the Lajat region ahead of beginning the construction of the base, which be built on approximately 30 square kilometers of land. The base is intended to serve pro-Iranian militias. In early October, weapons and ammunition began reaching the militias in the region; the weapons were transferred from Syria to Iraq through the al-Qaim border crossing. According to the report, the IRGC itself supervises the transfer of weaponry to the Lajat area, and particularly the warehouses located along the highway connecting Damascus to Amman, Jordan. The report also claimed that throughout October, a number of meetings were held between IRGC officers and local commanders of militias to discuss the provision of weaponry to the militias and the establishment of the military base in the region (al-Souria Net, October 28).
  • The Commander of the IRGC’s Aerospace and Missile Force, Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, announced recently that the IRGC and the Iranian Ministry of Defense have developed a special missile with a range of 23 kilometers that has been used in Syria in the past two years. The Iranian news website, Mashregh News, quoted (October 20) Hajizadeh as saying that during the Syrian civil war, he had met with the Commander of the IRGC’s Qods Force, Qasem Soleimani, and asked him why missiles are not being used against ISIS targets in Syria. Soleimani responded by saying that the missiles the IRGC possesses are only appropriate for long ranges, while the campaign against ISIS in Syria requires missiles with a short range of only ten kilometers. Six months later, the IRGC and Ministry of Defense developed a missile with a range of 23 kilometers, which has since been used in the Syrian battlefield.
Iranian Involvement in Iraq
  • On October 25, Iranian Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, spoke on the phone with the incoming Iraqi Foreign Minister, Mohamed Ali al-Hakim, and congratulated him for the appointment. Zarif expressed hope that the strong relationship between the two countries will deepen in all spheres. Zarif also thanked the Iraqi government for hosting the Iranian pilgrims who arrived in Iraq on the occasion of Arbayeen, the Shi’ite holy day that is marked forty days after the fast of Ashoura’ (Mehr, October 26).
  • On October 28, the First Deputy of the Iranian President, Eshaq Jahangiri, spoke with the incoming Iraqi Prime Minister, Adil Abdul Mahdi, and congratulated him for assuming the position. Jahangiri stated that Iran will continue to support Iran and called for expanding the consultation between the two countries to further their relationship (IRNA, October 28).



by Elana DeLozier and Simon Henderson – PolicyWatch 3033 – October 31, 2018

 Trying to stop Iran’s nuclear proliferation is a task better suited to allied intelligence services than customs authorities and procurement channels.  

As described in Part 1 of this PolicyWatch, the U.S. sanctions scheduled to come back into force on November 5 will disrupt the procurement channel that was set up to regulate certain Iranian imports after the nuclear deal. Yet in the nearly three years since its creation, the channel has done nothing to convince doubters that Tehran ever abandoned its ambition to develop nuclear weapons. In fact, many fear that renewed sanctions will spur Iran to accelerate its efforts toward that end, whether by pursuing undeclared nuclear activities or stockpiling components in order to ramp up its declared program if the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action collapses entirely. If so, the regime would likely make use of clandestine channels, just as it did in the past when acquiring uranium enrichment equipment and other technology. 

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Saudi Arabia Ineffective against Iran THE SOUFAN CENTER – October 30, 2018 | cipher Intel Brief


  • The Trump Administration is seeking to minimize any U.S-Saudi rift over the killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in order to preserve Washington’s recently revitalized counter Iran strategy.
  • The policies of Crown Prince Mohammad bin Salman of Saudi Arabia (“MBS”) have set back, rather than advanced, the Trump administration’s efforts to roll back Iran’s regional influence in the Middle East.
  • The Saudi-led isolation of Qatar has fractured the Gulf Cooperation Council, which is a pillar of any U.S.-led Arab coalition to counter Iran.
  • MBS’s policies have failed to reduce Iranian influence anywhere in the region, including Syria, Lebanon, Iraq, or Yemen, while at the same time exacerbating already dangerous humanitarian crises in some of these countries.

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MESOPOTAMIA NEWS BY ASHARQ AL AWSAT – US Treasury Studies SWIFT Sanctions over Iran Dealings

Saturday, 27 October, 2018 – 10:30  – Washington – Atef Abdullatif

The United States Treasury Department is considering imposing sanctions on the Belgian-based financial messaging service SWIFT that facilitates the bulk of the world’s cross-border money transactions, days before the second wave of US sanctions on Tehran take effect.The move is meant to pressure SWIFT into disconnecting Iran from the network and forcing it to separate Iranian banks from the global banking system.

US Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin had confirmed that it will be harder for countries to get waivers on Iran oil sanctions than during the Obama administration and dismissed concerns that oil prices could rise, saying the market had already factored in the losses.

Mnuchin was adamant that countries would eventually have to cut imports to nil.

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