Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran

Iran Escalation (21)


Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

Iran’s pompous attitude is disgusting and will harm them, eventually.

In my opinion, the US has been more than patient with Iran.  Calling off an airstrike on Iran is yet another indicator of such.  It certainly was not a result of Iran’s words, capabilities, or actions.

The Karim Sadjadpour article about the Iranian Hedgehog vs. the American Fox in the Atlantic is excellent! It is well worth reading!

</end editorial>



POTUS tweets on Iran – not ruling out that the airstrikes will be authorised. More gloating, puffery and threats from Tehran, while oil exports drop to less that 20% compared to a year ago. NATSECADV Bolton tells Tehran not to “mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness” [that they have done already]. POTUS states more sanctions to be imposed tomorrow.

Reports US performed multiple cyber attacks on Iran, while Iran conducts cyber attacks on the US. Iran claims to have killed an Agency asset. A deluge of OpEds and analysis essays, many simply toxic trolling – interesting item by Sadjadpour highlighting the fundamental differences between thinking in DC and Tehran.

NATSECADV Bolton arrives in Israel.


Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “Iran cannot have Nuclear Weapons! Under the terrible Obama plan, they would have been on their way to Nuclear in a short number of years, and existing verification is not acceptable. We are putting major additional Sanctions on Iran on Monday. I look forward to the day that…..”

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “….Sanctions come off Iran, and they become a productive and prosperous nation again – The sooner the better!”

Donald J. Trump on Twitter: “I never called the strike against Iran “BACK,” as people are incorrectly reporting, I just stopped it from going forward at this time!”

Revolutionary Guard officials celebrate Iran’s downing of US drone | The Times of Israel

Sources tell New York Times that elite military unit was surprised by success of operation and had only attempted it to see if it was possible

Iran warns war would spread across Gulf, threaten U.S. troops – Iran – Haaretz.com

Iranian lawmakers also chanted ‘Death to America’ during a parliament session on Sunday after a speaker accused the United States of being the ‘real world terrorist’

Iranian General Warns ‘Firing One Bullet at Iran’ Will ‘Set Fire’ to US Interests – Sputnik International

The reported remarks come shortly after President Donald Trump called off a military strike on Iran in response to the downing of an American UAV earlier this week, just minutes before it was set to be launched upon learning that some 150 people would die in the attack.

Fear and frustration in Iran’s capital after aborted US attack

Fear of a potential war and frustration over biting sanctions are high in Iran's capital, after a last-minute decision by the US to pull back from attacking the Islamic Republic. On the surface, it was business as usual on Saturday in Tehran's bustling Karim Khan street, a hub for printing parts

Iran’s Oil Exports Plunge To 400,000 Bpd In May | OilPrice.com

After the U.S. ended all sanction waivers for Iranian oil customers on May 2, Iran’s crude oil exports have been significantly down this month compared to April and more than 2 million bpd off their 2.5-million-bpd peak in April 2018, just before the U.S. withdrew from the Iran nuclear deal and moved to re-impose sanctions on Iran’s oil industry. According to industry sources and tanker-tracking data cited by Reuters on Wednesday, Iran’s oil exports this month have plummeted to 400,000 bpd, which is less than half of Iranian oil exports last month. The United States had given eight countries six-month waivers to continue buying oil from Iran after the U.S. re-imposed sanctions on the Iranian oil industry in November. The United States, however, pursued a maximum pressure campaign against Iran last month and put an end to all sanction waivers for all Iranian oil buyers, beginning in May. Most of the Iranian oil shipments are going this month to Asia, according to tanker tracking data from Refinitiv Eikon and to two industry sources. One of the sources told Reuters they expected Iran’s average oil shipments this month to be around 400,000 bpd, but the other source noted that exports could hit 500,000 bpd.

Iran vows response to any US threat | TheHill

Iranian officials on Saturday promised to respond to any threats from the U.S. amid rising tensions between the two countries.

Iran says it will respond ‘firmly’ to US aggression amid retaliatory cyberattack, aborted military strike | Fox News

Iran cautioned Saturday that it will “firmly” respond to any aggression or threat by the U.S., a warning that comes after President Trump aborted a military attack while U.S. cyber team carried out a retaliatory digital strike against the regime.

Iran is ready for any threat to its territory, the foreign ministry says – CNN

Iran showed no sign of backing down Saturday in its standoff with the United States over this week’s downing of a US drone, insisting it was ready to counter any threats or aggression against its territory.

Bolton to Iran: Don’t mistake ‘US prudence and discretion for weakness’ | Fox News

U.S. national security adviser John Bolton had a message for Iran on Sunday during his visit to Israel: He advised the leaders of the Islamic nation not to “mistake U.S. prudence and discretion for weakness.”

The Latest: Bolton says US ‘prudence’ on Iran isn’t weakness – ABC News

Get breaking national and world news, broadcast video coverage, and exclusive interviews. Find the top news online at ABC news.

U.S. sanctions on Iran are biting: Bolton – Reuters

Iran is feeling the effects of existing U.S. sanctions as President Donald Trump prepares to impose more of them from Monday, his National Security Adviser John Bolton said on Sunday during a visit to Israel.

Iran can never have nuclear weapons, says Bolton ahead of summit with Russia, Israel – Israel News – Haaretz.com

U.S. army is ‘ready to go,’ American national security adviser says ahead of expected summit with Russian, Israeli counterparts

It was a mistake for Iran to attack the drone, US envoy to Iran says | Capital Connection – YouTube

CNBC International TV Published on Jun 22, 2019 Brian Hook discusses the tensions between the U.S. and Iran in the Persian gulf.

Trump says US will impose ‘major’ sanctions on Iran starting Monday | Fox Business

The president also confirmed in a tweet that he would discuss Iran at Camp David this weekend.

Trump tweets: U.S. to impose “major” new sanctions on Iran – Axios

The announcement comes days after Trump abruptly aborted a plan to launch airstrikes against Iran.

US-Iran: Trump announces ‘major’ sanctions amid tensions – BBC News

The additional measures are intended to stop Iran obtaining a nuclear bomb, President Trump says.

Trump Says Major Sanctions on Iran Monday After Drone Downed – Bloomberg

President Donald Trump said the U.S. will impose major new sanctions on Iran Monday, days after he abruptly called off a plan for airstrikes against the Islamic Republic based on the concept of proportionality after Iran shot down a U.S. Navy drone.

Trump says new sanctions on Iran to start Monday, dials back rhetoric – Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump said on Saturday he would impose fresh sanctions on Iran but that he wanted to make a deal to bolster its flagging economy, an apparent move to defuse tensions following the shooting down of an unmanned U.S. drone this week by the Islamic Republic.

US envoy says ‘we are going to increase our sanctions on Iran’

U.S. special representative to Iran, Brian Hook, told CNBC on Saturday that the U.S. is going to increase sanctions on Iran.

Trump warns Iran of ’obliteration like you’ve never seen before’ – POLITICO

But the president says he’s willing to talk to Iran.

Trump says no preconditions to talks with Iran; warns war would lead to ‘obliteration’ | Fox News

President Trump has expressed his willingness to open talks with Iranian officials without any preconditions – saying that he doesn’t want a war with the Islamic Republic, but if it comes down to an armed conflict it will be “obliteration like you’ve never seen before.”

Trump approved cyber-strikes against Iran’s missile systems – The Washington Post

Operation comes as the administration tells industry to be on alert for Iranian cyberattacks.

US ‘launched cyberattacks on Iran weapons’ after drone downing | USA News | Al Jazeera

US officials say the attacks on Iranian military computers disabled systems that control missile and rocket launchers.

U.S. Carried Out Cyberattacks on Iran – The New York Times

The operation went forward because it was intended to be below the threshold of armed conflict — using the same shadow tactics that Iran has used.

With Trump’s approval, Pentagon launched cyber strikes against Iran – To Inform is to Influence

Ellen Nakashima is a first class reporter, she researches, networks, and has developed a world class network of sources.  I worked extensively with Ellen in the past, she has proven herself absolutely trustworthy. She will not publish unless she verifies and/or corroborates.  If Ellen writes it, I believe it.  </end editorial> Ellen Nakashima President Trump…

US retaliated against Iranian spy group’s cyberstrike – CNNPolitics

US Cyber Command launched a retaliatory cyberstrike last week against an Iranian spy group, according to a US official and a former US intelligence official familiar with the matter.

Pentagon launched secret digital strike on Iranian spy group: report | TheHill

U.S.

Pentagon secretly struck back against Iranian cyberspies targeting U.S. ships – AOL News

U.S. Cyber Command launched a retaliatory digital strike against an Iranian spy group that supported last week’s limpet mine attacks on commercial ships

Iran Increases Cyberattacks on the U.S. Amid Tensions, DHS Says – Bloomberg

State-backed Iranian hackers have stepped up cyberattacks on the U.S., according to the Department of Homeland Security’s cyberagency.

Iran executed a former defense ministry contractor for ‘spying for the CIA,’ state media says – CNN

A former Iranian Department of Defense contractor has been executed for spying for the US government, reported IRNA, a state-run news outlet.

Iran executes ‘defence ministry contractor’ over spying for CIA | News | Al Jazeera

ISNA news agency says Jalal Haji Zavar confessed to spying for the US spy agency in return for money.

Iran executes ‘CIA spy in airforce’ just days after shooting down US drone

With memories fresh of MH17 downing over Ukraine, airlines divert around hot spot near Persian Gulf – The Washington Post

There is no international body that closes airspace over conflict zones, so it’s up to the airlines — and they are being more careful.

Airlines reroute flights after Iran downs US military drone

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Airlines rerouted flights Friday to avoid airspace near the Strait of Hormuz after Iran shot down a U.S. military surveillance drone there and American aviation…

Why Trump didn’t bomb Iran – POLITICO

Pompeo, a Steadfast Hawk, Coaxes a Hesitant Trump on Iran – The New York Times

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has expanded his power during a vacuum in the Pentagon, but his hard-line policies on Iran are running into President Trump’s isolationist instincts.

Douglas MacKinnon: Iran decision is Trump’s most ‘presidential’ moment (so far) | Fox News

President Trump is not looking for his “Wag the Dog” moment to look more presidential.

Gen. Jack Keane praises Trump’s pressure campaign on Iran: ‘First rate’ | Fox News

Despite provocations in the Middle East, President Trump was implementing an effective, “first rate” pressure campaign on the Iranian regime.

Will Trump Triumph in Iran? | The National Interest

Several members of Congress worried about the possibility of a wider war, and that the Trump administration would use the 2001 Authorization for Military Force to circumvent congressional war-making powers.

We Hold All the Cards in the Showdown with Iran – American Greatness

Iran, of course, is not always a rationale actor. A haughty Tehran always magnifies its own importance and discounts the real dangers that it is courting. It harkens back to its role in the 2003-2011 Iraq War, a conflict that proved that U.S. efforts could be subverted, hundreds of American soldiers could be killed, public support for war could be eroded, and a more malleable American government could be transitioned in. But what worked then may not work now. The United States is not only the world’s largest producer of oil and natural gas, but soon to become the largest exporter of energy—and without getting near the Iranian coast. Likewise, American allies in the Middle East such as Israel are energy independent. America’s Arab friends enjoy seeing competing Iranian oil all but off the market. Time, then, is on the Americans’ side. But it is certainly not on the side of a bankrupt and impoverished Iran that either must escalate or face ruin. If Iran starts sinking ships or attacking U.S. assets, Trump can simply replay the ISIS strategy of selective off-and-on bombing. The United States did not lose a single pilot to enemy action. Translated, that would mean disproportionately replying to each Iranian attack on a U.S. asset with a far more punishing air response against an Iranian base or port. The key would be to avoid the use of ground troops and yet not unleash a full-fledged air war. Rather, the United States would demonstrate to the world that Iranian aggression determines the degree to which Iran suffers blows from us. Of course, Tehran may try to stir up trouble with Israel through its Syrian and Palestinian surrogates. Iran may in extremis also stage terrorist attacks in Europe and the United States. And it may lie that it has already developed enough fissionable material to launch a nuclear missile. But the truth is that America has all the cards and Iran none in its game of chicken. Because Iran is losing friends and money, it will have to escalate. But the United States can respond without looking weak and without going to war—and without ensuring the return to power of the political party responsible for giving us the disastrous nuclear deal that had so empowered Iran in the first place.

Ardeshir Zahedi and Ali Vaez: The U.S. should strive for a stable Iran. Instead, it is suffocating it. – The Washington Post

Iranian people want democracy. U.S. belligerence could turn their hope to grief.

US-Iran military conflict will be a ‘lose-lose situation’: Analysts

Tensions between the United States and Iran escalated rapidly after an American drone was shot down by Iranian forces in the Middle East on Thursday — but experts are not expecting it to lead to an outright military conflict.

Trump says he still has confidence in John Bolton after scrapping Iran strike

President Trump indicated on Saturday that he still has faith in his national security adviser after calling off a strike on Iran minutes before it was set to happen.

Opinion | Trump Plays Chicken With the Ayatollah – The New York Times

The United States and Iran remain on a collision path. Here’s what President Trump should do.

Iran’s Nuclear Standoff Is About to Enter a Perilous New Phase – Bloomberg

Iran is set to breach a cap on its enriched-uranium stockpile within days, potentially pushing its conflict with the U.S. into a dangerous new phase.

Karim Sadjadpour | The Iranian Hedgehog vs. the American Fox – The Atlantic

The escalation between the two countries is being driven by the clashing temperaments of their leaders. Though few citizens of the United States or Iran seek conflict, the two countries are on a dangerous trajectory that has less and less to do with the diverging interest of two nation-states. More and more, the escalation is being driven by the clashing temperaments of two cynical elderly men. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the 80-year-old Iranian supreme leader, has been steadfast, even monomaniacal, in opposing the United States. In contrast, the 73-year-old Donald Trump has employed a flurry of strategies—from flattering Iran to coming within minutes of military strikes—to bring Tehran to heel. The Oxford University philosopher Isaiah Berlin’s seminal 1953 essay, “The Hedgehog and the Fox,” offers a simple dichotomy to explain recent dynamics between the United States and Iran—or, rather, between Trump and Khamenei. Borrowing a line from the ancient Greek poet Archilochus, Berlin divided human beings into two different categories: “The fox knows many things,” he wrote, “but the hedgehog knows one big thing.” Hedgehogs have a grand theory of the world, while foxes employ a different cunning for every circumstance. He cites Shakespeare and Aristotle as examples of foxes, while “Karl Marx was the most implacable hedgehog of them all.” Among world leaders today, few hedgehogs are more implacable than Ayatollah Khamenei. Hedgehogs, Berlin argued, “relate everything to a single central vision … a single, universal, organizing principle in terms of which alone all that they are and say has significance.” In this spirit, Khamenei’s organizing principle throughout his 30-year rule as supreme leader has been “resistance” against America. Rather than calming Iranian national anxieties about the prospect of war with the United States, Khamenei used the word resistance more than 65 times in a recent speech—sometimes more than once in a sentence. “Today in our region,” he said, “the common word among nations is resistance. Everyone agrees with resistance … The recent defeats that the Americans suffered in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, Palestine and other such countries were an outcome of the resistance of Resistance groups.” For Khamenei, “resistance” against “global arrogance”—his moniker for American imperialism— is both an ideology and a strategic doctrine. “Resistance,” he said, “unlike surrender, leads to the retreat of the enemy. When the enemy bullies you, if you take a step back, he will undoubtedly advance. The way to stop him from advancing is to resist.” Consistent with Khamenei’s philosophy, Iran has not responded to Trump’s “maximum pressure” campaign with concessions, but rather by sowing chaos in the region and threatening to restart its nuclear program. Berlin contrasted the dogmatism of hedgehogs with foxes, who, he wrote, “pursue many ends, often unrelated and even contradictory, connected, if at all, only in some de facto way, for some psychological or physiological cause, related to no moral or aesthetic principle.” Even sympathetic observers of Donald Trump’s presidency would likely concur that he pursues contradictory ends motivated by an unknown psychological cause for no clear moral principle. But while Khamenei is the quintessential hedgehog, Trump is a variation on the prototypical fox; he does not know many things as much as he says many things. Unlike Khamenei’s sole strategic doctrine, Trump’s Iran strategy—sometimes to the left of Glenn Greenwald, and sometimes to the right of Sean Hannity—has had the coherence of a Jackson Pollock painting. Days after angrily tweeting that “If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran,” Trump proclaimed that Iran “has a chance to be a great country with the same leadership.” After Iran shot down a U.S. drone over the Persian Gulf this week, Trump ominously tweeted “big mistake.” Moments later, he assessed it may have just been a big misunderstanding. Hours later, he claimed to call off military strikes against Iran 10 minutes before they were to happen. Trump’s erratic approach—provoking an escalation cycle while simultaneously making clear his aversion to conflict—only increased Tehran’s appetite for risk. As Suzanne Maloney from the Brookings Institution has pointed out, Trump is learning the same hard lesson as six U.S. presidents before him. If Tehran is willing to subject its population to economic hardship and use the entirety of its energy wealth to promulgate an antiquated ideology that advocates “Death to America” rather than “Prosperity for Iranians,” the United States has limited ability—using either engagement or coercion—to dissuade it. Indeed, despite the imbalance of power between Tehran and Washington, Khamenei has been the one to consistently refuse Trump’s offer of dialogue, not vice versa. While many have declared this a failure of Trump’s maximum-pressure campaign, the reality is that Iran is in a much greater bind. A U.S. military strike on Iran might have been averted for now, but Iran’s deteriorating economic circumstances cannot likely be reversed absent an accommodation of the United States. In this context, for Trump the best option is not to respond militarily to Iranian acts of aggression and sabotage, but to use them to build more robust international support, all while keeping the door of diplomacy open. While the deteriorating Iranian economy probably won’t make the regime implode, Iranian popular pressure will grow on Khamenei to justify his opposition to negotiations, and will increasingly expose him as the obstacle that stands between Iranians and a better future. Tehran already shows signs of frustration with Khamenei’s intransigence, including President Hassan Rouhani’s recent admission that he has no authority over Iran’s foreign affairs. When and if Tehran is ready to talk, the differences between Trump and Khamenei present further obstacles. Trump prefers public pageants about broad topics; Khamenei prefers private discussions about narrow topics. Reaching a deal—or at least averting a conflict—will require Khamenei to acquire the flexibility of a fox, and Trump to adopt the strategic patience and resolve of a hedgehog. While two men with a combined age of 153 surely lack the psychological and ideological agility to change who they are, the possibility of a devastating war will encourage a little more deftness.

The U.S. outguns Iran, but it faces painful realities in the event of a war – The Washington Post

Despite inferior weapons, Iranian forces can still inflict harm.

Tom Basile: Iran tensions — Trump still cleaning up Obama’s mess (but Democrats won’t admit it) | Fox News

Critics would rather bash Trump than acknowledge Obama’s naïve strategy of Iranian appeasement was a failure.

‘Drums of war are beating’: Bernie Sanders says everything must be done to prevent US attack on Iran – Raw Story

Sanders: Trump taking credit for easing tensions he helped create | TheHill

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) knocked President Trump’s actions on Iran this week in an interview airing Sunday, accusing the president of pushing the U.S. to the brink of war and then taking credit for easing tensions.

Beware the Bolton path to US military strikes on Iran | TheHill

Great powers in history have run headlong into this region, only to later withdraw drained and exhausted.

The Observer view on heightened US tensions with Iran | Editorial | Opinion | The Guardian

Donald Trump’s White House farce once again takes the world to the brink of war

US finds itself isolated in Iran conflict | TheHill

The chickens of Trump’s unilateralism are all coming home to roost.

The Battle for the Soul of Trump Foreign Policy | The National Interest

Advisers and hanger-ons always squabble for the president’s ear; now, it’s a war.

US-Iran conflict could lead to ‘world war’: Malaysia PM Mahathir

The U.S. is provoking Iran and growing risks of miscalculation could lead to a “world war,” according to Malaysia’s Prime Minister Mahathir Mohamad.

Yemen escalation: Why Houthis ramp up attacks on Saudi Arabia | News | Al Jazeera

Houthi attacks on Saudi territory have markedly escalated, coinciding with increasing US pressure on Iran.

Bolton lands in Israel ahead of unprecedented security summit | The Times of Israel

US national security adviser to meet with Netanyahu, discuss Iran with Russian and Israeli counterparts

Bolton to meet Netanyahu ahead of unprecedented summit on Syria, Iran – Israel News – Haaretz.com

The meeting will attempt to further cement U.S., Israeli and Russian efforts in uniting against Tehran