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Iran Escalation (4)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

As one friend and colleague pointed out, if the press does not stop beating the war drums over Iran, body bags are going to be filled. The press should be held accountable.

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More threats from Tehran, IRGC briefs proxies for war against US, insurers assess IRGC likely hit tankers, Congress briefed. War hysteria appears mostly confined to POTUS-bashing media, and Rhodes, a key architect of the Iran debacle, joins the chorus in the WashPost. Israeli and conservative media correctly identify the Iranian campaign as an effort to distract the public in Iran, who are deeply unhappy about the collapsing economy.

As noted earlier, the hysterical media campaign in the West will encourage the Iranian regime to escalate further and will eventually result in bodybags, making these media players complicit.

In Tehran, specter of war met with more defiance than fear – CNN

People in Tehran speak in hushed tones about what the coming days may bring. As geopolitical tensions crank up, talk of imminent conflict with the United States is widespread on the streets of Iran’s capital.

Iran FM denounces ‘unacceptable US escalation’ of tensions | USA News | Al Jazeera

Javad Zarif says Tehran will show ‘maximum restraint’ as Washington maintains its own ‘maximum pressure’ campaign.

Iran blames ‘unacceptable’ US sanctions for spike in tensions as White House advisors push for forceful response | The Independent

Iran’s foreign minister has hit out at “unacceptable” sanctions imposed by the US as an international deal to curb Tehran’s nuclear ambitions continues to unravel amid a spike in tensions. Mohammad Zarif defended Iran’s right to respond to the US pullout from the nuclear deal last year.

Iran’s Revolutionary Guards says missiles can hit US ships

Mohammad Saleh Jokar, a deputy head of Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards, told news outlet Fars that even short-range Iranian missiles could reach US warships in the Gulf and that the United States could not afford a new war.

Iran’s top general tells Iraqi militias to prep for ‘proxy war’ amid US-Iran tensions | Fox News

A top Iranian general has told Iran-backed militias in Iraq to “prepare for proxy war” in the wake of heightened tensions between Iran and the U.S., which accused the militias of moving missiles toward American forces.

Iran tells Middle East militias: prepare for proxy war | World news | The Guardian

Top military leader delivers message at Baghdad meeting as tensions rise

Exclusive: Insurer says Iran’s Guards likely to have organized tanker attacks – Reuters

Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are “highly likely” to have facilitated attacks last Sunday on four tankers including two Saudi ships off Fujairah in the United Arab Emirates, according to a Norwegian insurers’ report seen by Reuters.

US photos showed anti-ship missiles on Iranian boats – ABC News

U.S.intelligence photos showed anti-ship missiles on Iranian boats, one of the new Iranian threats that led the U.S. to deploy an aircraft carrier to the Middle East.

Photos of Iranian missiles sparked US response in Gulf: report | TheHill

The White House ramped up its warnings about a threat from Iran after intelligence showed pictures of small boats in the Persian Gulf that Iranian paramilitary forces had outfitted with missiles, according to

New York Times: Intelligence officials declassify photo of boat with Iranian missile – CNNPolitics

Intelligence officials have declassified a photograph of an Iranian missile on a small boat in the Persian Gulf in their efforts to help show the increasing threat from Iran as divisions grow within the Trump administration about what the intelligence means, the New York Times reported.

Iran: Trump White House warned nation after missile photos, report says

U.S. officials told The New York Times they escalated their warnings to Iran because of intelligence showing photographs of missiles loaded onto small boats in the Persian Gulf.

Iran Threat Debate Is Set Off by Images of Missiles at Sea – The New York Times

The photographs fueled fears that Iran would fire missiles at U.S. naval ships in the Persian Gulf. But some said the moves could be defensive acts against Washington provocations.

An Exclusive With Secretary of State Mike Pompeo | Guy Benson

On the heels of their trip to Russia, FOX News Talk’s Guy Benson sat down with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo for an exclusive interview.  The two discussed possible new threats from Iran, former Secretary of State John Kerry & more. BENSON:  Mike Pompeo is the U.S. Secretary of State and h

Mac Thornberry: Intelligence reports on Iran show ’cause for greater concern’

As members of both parties in Congress complain they’re not being briefed on escalating tensions with Iran, one top congressman who has seen the intelligence said it shows Iran’s aggressive behavior goes beyond its normal harassment as the rogue regime threatens to target Americans.

Iran threat is ‘cause for greater concern,’ top defense Republican warns

The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee said he has received a briefing on hostile moves by Iran, and he is worried.

Key Republican ‘convinced’ Iran threats are credible | TheHill

The top Republican on the House Armed Services Committee says he is “convinced” there is cause for concern around Iran’s activists following a pair of briefings on the Gulf nation.

Iranian aggression is all about the economy –

The recent escalation with Iran coincided with the anniversary of the U.S. decision to pull out of the 2015 nuclear deal with the Islamic republic. Iran, it appears, is trying to create a crisis in reaction to its worsening economy and its unsuccessful effort to overcome U.S. sanctions. U.S. President Donald Trump’s National Security Adviser John Bolton recently revealed that the administration was sending an aircraft carrier to the region, as well as strategic bombers, because of “troubling and escalatory indications” suggesting that Iran was planning to attack U.S. interests or its allies in the region. Hours after Bolton made that statement, the Iranian media reported that the regime would announce its pullout from the nuclear deal. President Hassan Rouhani did exactly that several days later with a televised speech to the nation. In his speech, he warned that the Islamic republic would resume high-level enrichment of uranium unless its European trade partners found a way to bypass U.S. sanctions. This latest behavior underscores the changing Iranian strategy for coping with the debilitating sanctions, which have dealt a crushing blow to Iran’s economy. According to the International Monetary Fund, Iran’s economy will likely contract by 6% in 2019, compared with 4% in 2018. Inflation is set to climb to 40%. These figures do not take into account the economic impact of the Trump administration’s decision not to renew the waivers it gave eight nations so that they could continue buying oil from Iran. Meanwhile, the local currency is nosediving against the dollar, exacerbating the discontent. Iran plans to use pro-Iranian allies to do its bidding by staging provocations that would complement its combative rhetoric. This new approach was already on display this week, when oil tankers were sabotaged near the Strait of Hormuz, including two Saudi vessels. Another example was the drone attack on Saudi oil installations near the capital of Riyadh. The attack was claimed to be carried out by the Houthis, a militia rebel group in Yemen backed by Iran. According to reports in the U.S. media, the administration believes that Iran was responsible for sabotaging the tankers. After all, the incident took place not long after Bolton’s announcement about troubling” intelligence showing that pro-Iranian groups were planning to attack American troops in the region. One of those indications was the transfer of Iranian missiles through the area. Bolton’s announcement may have helped deter Iran from targeting the U.S. but it did not stop it from engaging in other forms of aggression.

Kenneth Pollack: Is war with Iran imminent? – Here’s the real truth | Fox News

Should the U.S. be looking to pick a fight with Iran?

The Trump administration isn’t aiming for war with Iran — but that doesn’t mean we should relax – The Washington Post

The White House strategy toward Tehran is fraught with risk.

Obama Advisor: Beware Bolton’s ‘Manufactured Crisis’ With Iran – The National Memo

“Trump’s administration has made every effort to manufacture a crisis with Iran,” warns former Obama deputy national security advisor Ben Rhodes.

Ben Rhodes | Trump’s Iran policy is rooted in lies — the kind that got us into the Iraq War – The Washington Post

Failing to see his dishonesty for what it is could have devastating consequences.

Jonathan S. Tobin | Panic Over War With Iran Is An Info Operation To Preserve The Iran Deal

Obama’s media echo chamber is hyping Iran’s bluster about U.S. sanctions. But their insistence that the only options are appeasement or war offers a false choice.

Who Wants This War With Iran?

Pat Buchanan: Speaking on state TV of the prospect of a war .05/17/2019 7:36:09AM EST.

U.S. House speaker: Congress has not approved war against Iran

The Trump administration does not have congressional authorization to go to war against Iran, the Democratic leader of the U.S. House of Representatives warned on Thursday amid escalating tensions in the region. U.S. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi told reporters that she backed what appeared to be U.S.

Congressional leaders receive classified Iran briefing | TheHill

Congressional leaders emerged tight-lipped Thursday from a classified briefing on Iran amid concerns about new tensions in the Gulf escalating to war.

Congressional leaders get classified briefing on Iran | The Spokesman-Review

Congressional leaders are receiving a classified briefing on Iran as members of both parties demand more information on the White House’s claims of rising threats in the Middle East.

Administration’s uneven handling of Iran intel leaves some in Congress fuming – CNNPolitics

Republican Sen. Jim Risch of Idaho, who chairs the powerful Senate Foreign Relations Committee, has been briefed by the Trump administration about the escalating tensions with Iran.

Liberal media bent on destroying John Bolton, former aide says – Washington Times

The former chief of staff for White House national security adviser John Bolton says the press is trying to destroy his ex-boss with a “false narrative” from anonymous sources.

Rand Paul Calls John Bolton ‘Malignant Influence’ |

According to The Hill, Paul — one of President Donald Trump’s allies on Capitol Hill — is against the administration’s increased military activity regarding Iran.

World War 3 fears as Iran warns of ‘PROXY WAR’ with US urged to launch ‘surgical strikes’ | World | News |

WORLD War 3 fears were heightened today after Iran’s top general told Iraqi militias to “prepare for a proxy war” as the US was urged to launch “surgical strikes” against Tehran.

Bob Menendez: We don’t need another ‘weapons of mass destruction’ moment with Iran

Sen. Bob Menendez, D-N.J., warned the Trump administration Thursday that the U.S. must avoid the same miscalculations that led up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq as U.S. forces bolster a military presence in the Persian Gulf to counter Iran.

Pompeo slams Kerry over meeting with Iranians, undermining Trump administration: ‘It’s time to get off the stage’ | Fox News

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo slammed his predecessor John Kerry, telling him “it’s time to get off the stage” and stop inappropriately engaging with foreign leaders while undermining the Trump administration’s foreign policy.

Peace Fever

Whatever the opposite of a rush to war is—a crawl to peace, maybe—America is in the middle of one.

Iran Crisis or ‘Circus’? A Weary Middle East Wonders – The New York Times

A sudden profusion of incidents and warnings has stirred fears that the Trump administration is trying to gin up a flawed case for war, like the Bush administration did in Iraq in 2003.

Intelligence Suggests U.S., Iran Misread Each Other, Stoking Tensions – WSJ

Intelligence collected by the U.S. government shows Iran’s leaders believe the U.S. planned to attack them, prompting preparation by Tehran for possible counterstrikes, according to one interpretation of the information, people familiar with the matter said.

Trump Admin Moves Fueled Iran’s Aggression, U.S. Intel Says

‘Most of the activities that the Iranians are undertaking are in response to our very aggressive posture in the region,’ one member of the House Intelligence Committee said.

Trump curbs hawks rushing towards conflict with Iran | World | The Times

Donald Trump has been consulting outsiders from his administration for strategic advice on Iran amid fears that hawkish senior advisers were leading the United States into an unwanted war. President Trump has begun turning to the retired four-star General Jack Keane, former vice chief of staff of

Trump Tells Pentagon Chief He Does Not Want War With Iran – The New York Times

The president’s statement came during a briefing on the rising tensions with Tehran, and officials said he was firm in saying he did not want a military clash.

Trump administration pressure on Iran strains Bolton-Pompeo relationship – POLITICO

The Secretary of State has bridled at the seasoned national security adviser’s grip on the policy process, but is more in sync with the president they serve.

Iran policy: Donald Trump’s irritation with top aides grows – CNNPolitics

President Donald Trump has become irritated at an emerging impression his hawkish national security advisers are marching him closer to war with Iran despite his isolationist tendencies, according to people familiar with the matter.

US-Iran tensions are escalating at an alarming rate, thanks to the gunboat diplomacy of several states

A threat based on intelligence reports; deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Middle East with reports of ground troops to follow; a dramatic rise in diplomatic tensions and warnings of retribution from Washington. All this as the Iran crisis escalates may well seem like a reprise of what unfolded before the disastrous last Iraq war.

Are the winds of war beginning to blow between US and Iran? – YouTube

Fox News Published on May 16, 2019 Trump administration faces questions over Iranian threat; panel reaction and analysis on ‘Fox News @ Night.’

Iran War: Trump Sees Political Value in Attacking, But He’s Wrong – Bloomberg

History indicates that attacking Iran wouldn’t help the president politically, regardless of how the war goes.

Hardliners target Iran’s president as U.S. pressure grows – Reuters

Growing U.S. pressure on Iran has weakened pragmatic President Hassan Rouhani and made his hardline rivals more assertive at home and abroad, recent developments show.

More Democrats Accuse Trump of Inflating Iran Intelligence – Foreign Policy

A new congressional letter raises fears of stumbling into war.

US Allies Look to Stay Out of Possible War with Iran |

The U.S. would likely go it alone without allied support in a conflict with Iran.

The Hidden Sources of Iranian Strength – Foreign Policy

Iran’s ties with its proxies are far deeper than the Trump administration understands.

Saudi newspaper calls for US to launch ‘surgical strikes’ on Iran

A state-aligned Saudi newspaper on Thursday called for the US to launch “surgical” strikes on Iran, which Riyadh is blaming for a drone attack by Yemeni rebels.

Saudi Prince Says Iran Ordered Pipeline Attack as Tensions Rise – Bloomberg

Saudi Arabia accused Iran of ordering this week’s attack on key oil facilities, stoking concerns that the world’s largest oil-producing region is edging toward another war. Crude prices rose.

STRATFOR: Russia, Iran: Anticipating Moscow’s Next Move Amid Heightened U.S. Pressure – To Inform is to Influence

May 16, 2019 | 20:15 GMT Russia has been in diplomatic overdrive over the past two weeks following Iran’s announcement that it was suspending some of its commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Shortly after Tehran’s JCPOA announcement, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov met with his Iranian counterpart, Javad Zarif, during which Lavrov…


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