Information operations · Information Warfare · Iran

Iran Escalation (22)

Anonymous expert compilation, analysis, and reporting.

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More threats and bluster from Tehran, as one would expect. Excellent interviews by LtGen Ashley and LtGen Deptula (Rtd). Sanctions yet to be announced, POTUS suggests US should be compensated for costs of protecting sea lanes. DHS warns of destructive Iranian cyber attacks, Iran denies US cyber attacks. NATSECADV Bolton in Israel to discuss Iran with Israel and Russia. Iranian proxies attack Saudi Arabia again.

The media debate continues to be predominantly toxic.

Iranian general warns any conflict in region could spread uncontrollably | The Times of Israel

Major general says no country would be able to control scope or timing of conflict, and US must act responsibly

Iranian official warns more US spy drones can be blown out of the sky | Fox News

An Iranian military official said Monday that Tehran is capable of shooting down more American spy drones as tensions between the two countries continue to simmer, according to a report out of the country.

Iran warns U.S. it could down more drones as Pompeo arrives in Persian Gulf – The Washington Post

Iran’s navy chief made the remarks amid a diplomatic push by the Trump administration to rally regional allies in an anti-Iran coalition.

Pompeo in Saudi Arabia, Iran Threatens More US Drone Attacks |

Iran’s naval commander warned Monday that Iranian forces would not hesitate to act again with a “crushing response,” shooting down more U.S. surveillance drones that violate Iranian airspace. His remarks came as U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo held talks with the Saudi king and crown prince. The U.S. denies its $100 million drone, shot down last week, violated Iranian airspace. President Donald Trump said he backed away from planned strikes after learning that 150 people would be killed but that military action remained an option. On Monday, Pompeo held separate talks with King Salman and Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman in the Saudi port city of Jiddah to discuss the escalation with Iran. Pompeo wrote on Twitter that he had a “productive meeting” with King Salman and discussed “heightened tensions in the region and the need to promote maritime security” in the Strait of Hormuz near the Persian Gulf, through which roughly a fifth of the world’s traded oil passes.

Chances of US-Iran tensions escalating are very high: ex-Tehran advisor

Tensions between the U.S. and Iran will likely escalate in the near future, a former adviser to the Iranian government said on Monday.

Iran: Decision to Decrease Commitment to Nuke Deal Irreversible |

Iran said on Sunday it would not back down from its decision to scale back some of its commitments under 2015 nuclear deal with major powers, state TV quoted Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi as saying. “The European signatories of the deal lack the will to save the deal. Our decision to decrease our commitment to the deal is a national decision and it is irreversible as long as our demands are not met,” Araqchi said after meeting the British minister for the Middle East in Tehran.

Iranians say their ‘bones breaking’ under US sanctions

TEHRAN, Iran (AP) — As the U.S. piles sanction after sanction on Iran, it’s the average person who feels it the most. From a subway performer’s battered leather hat devoid of tips, to a…

Iran likely at ‘inflection point,’ launching attacks to change ‘status quo,’ Defense Intelligence Agency director tells Fox News | Fox News [LtGen Ashley]

EXCLUSIVE – Iran is likely at “an inflection point,” and the recent attacks on tankers and the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone appear to be part of an effort to change “the status quo,” the director of the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) told Fox News exclusively. “I’d say that they’re probably at an inflection point right now,” the director, Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley Jr., explained in his first national TV interview as the leader of the nearly 17-thousand strong agency. Director Ashley said, based on their activity over the last several years, the Iranians would probably say they were in a “favorable” position with their influence over the Iraqi government and the likelihood their longtime regional ally — Syrian President Bashar al-Assad — will remain in power. But, Director Ashley — whose agency’s mission is to understand foreign militaries and the operational environment — said the United States’ withdrawal from the Iran deal and subsequent sanctions made a major impact on the regime. Later this year, DIA expects to release an unclassified military study on Iran, which follows similar reports on China and Russia.

Iran drone and tanker attacks a ‘move to push back on US sanctions | Daily Mail Online

Lt Gen Robert Ashley Jr said the recent US drone and oil tankers attacks by Iran were a bid to change the ‘status quo’ as the US-imposed sanctions have started to hit the Iranian economy.

Congressional leaders set to be briefed on situation in Iran | Fox News Video [LtGen Deptula Interviewed]

Retired Lt. Gen. David Deptula says Pentagon leaders are ‘masters’ at putting together plans of action.

Tensions rising between Iran and US | Fox News Video [LtGen Deptula Interviewed]

FAA warns of ‘potential for miscalculation or identification’ after Iran shoots down drone.

President Trump says the US response to Iran will be ‘strong’ | Fox News Video [LtGen Deptula Interviewed]

Retired Air Force Lt. Gen. David Deptula says military force is one element in President Trump’s national security set of alternatives to meet his long term objectives.

U.S. Plans New Iran Sanctions as Europe Tries to Defuse Tensions – WSJ

President Trump and his aides have indicated they are prepared to wait for the economic vise on Tehran to tighten further, but didn’t elaborate on what additional sanctions would look like.

Trump’s new sanctions could deal blow ‘right to the heart’ of Iranian economy, Rep. Turner says | Fox News

President Trump has promised new sanctions against Iran on Monday on top of what has already been a crippling “maximum pressure campaign,” and Rep. Mike Turner discussed just how bad it could get for the Islamic nation’s economy.

Trump Warns of More Iran Sanctions Yet Few Targets Left – Bloomberg

President Donald Trump is threatening Iran with additional sanctions on Monday, but there’s not much left for the U.S. to target because most of the Islamic Republic’s economy has been crippled by earlier penalties.

Trump suggests U.S. will stop protecting international shipping in Strait of Hormuz – POLITICO

Trump’s tweets follow several weeks of escalating brinkmanship between Washington and Tehran.

Trump Suggests Other Countries Pay US for Protecting Tankers |

President Donald Trump is suggesting the United States should not protect ships in the strategic Strait of Hormuz without compensation from other countries. The U.S. blamed Iran for attacks on two oil tankers this month near the Strait of Hormuz, denouncing what it called a campaign of “escalating tensions” in a region crucial to global energy supplies. Trump says most of the oil China and Japan import goes through “the Straight,” adding, “All of these countries should be protecting their own ships on what has always been a dangerous journey.” Trump said Monday the U.S. doesn’t “even need to be there” because of its vast oil supply. He tweets the U.S. request for Iran is simple: “No Nuclear Weapons and No Further Sponsoring of Terror!” Iran calls allegations of its involvement in the oil tanker attacks “a lie.”

Michael McCaul on “Face the Nation”: GOP rep says U.S. should cripple Iranian economy – CBS News

Rep. Michael McCaul said crippling sanction will force the Iranian government to the negotiating table

Iran is in a dangerous economic position as US prepares new sanctions

On Saturday, Trump said he would impose additional sanctions against Iran in a bid to prevent the country obtaining nuclear weapons.

Steve Hilton: Trump’s economic pressure on America’s foes has been working — but our allies undermine him | Fox News

Steve Hilton: Our so-called allies are undermining Trump – and America

Power Up: Trump stepped back from the brink with Iran. Now here come the sanctions and covert ops. – The Washington Post

The president is trying to avoid all-out conflict.

Russia says it will counter new U.S. sanctions on Iran: reports – Reuters

Russia and its partners will take steps to counter new sanctions that Washington has said it will impose on Iran, Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov was quoted as saying by Russian news agencies on Monday.

US Agency Warns of Destructive Iranian Cyber-Attacks – Infosecurity Magazine

CISA boss says “wiper” raids may be on their way

DHS CISA warns of Iranian hackers’ habit of deploying data-wiping malware | ZDNet

CISA also warns against other Iranian hackers’ favorite techniques: password spraying, credential stuffing, spear-phishing.

AP sources: US struck Iranian military computers this week

WASHINGTON (AP) — The cyberattacks — a contingency plan developed over weeks amid escalating tensions — disabled Iranian computer systems that controlled its rocket and missile launchers, the officials said. Two of the officials said the attacks, which specifically targeted Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps computer system, were provided as options after Iranian forces blew up two oil tankers earlier this month. The IRGC, which was designated a foreign terrorist group by the Trump administration earlier this year, is a branch of the Iranian military. The action by U.S. Cyber Command was a demonstration of the U.S.’s increasingly mature cyber military capabilities and its more aggressive cyber strategy under the Trump administration. Over the last year U.S. officials have focused on persistently engaging with adversaries in cyberspace and undertaking more offensive operations. There was no immediate reaction Sunday morning in Iran to the U.S. claims. Iran has hardened and disconnected much of its infrastructure from the internet after the Stuxnet computer virus, widely believed to be a joint U.S.-Israeli creation, disrupted thousands of Iranian centrifuges in the late 2000s.

US launches cyber-attack aimed at Iranian rocket and missile systems | ZDNet

Attack took place last week, after President Trump backed off from using conventional weapons to strike Iran.

U.S. Attacks Iran With Cyber Not Missiles — A Game Changer, Not A Backtrack

The U.S. retaliated against Iran’s downing of a surveillance drone with a cyber offensive to “cripple” military control systems rather than a conventional missile strike, this is a game changer as cyber and physical warfare become inextricably linked as never before.

US cyber forces struck Iranian military: report | TheHill

U.S. cyber forces reportedly struck Iranian military computers last week.

US struck Iranian military computers this week

Operations targeting critical infrastructure by U.S. Cyber Command demonstrate the U.S.’s increasingly mature cyber military capabilities and its more aggressive cyber strategy under the Trump administration.

Iran denies being hit by US cyberattack | News | Al Jazeera

No successful attack has been carried out, although US is making an effort, Iran’s telecommunications minister says.

Iran Mum On Reports It Was Hit By US Cyberattack |

Tehran made no mention of reports that its military computers were hit by an American cyberattack after the Iranian military shot down a U.S. drone, USA Today reported on Sunday. “We have not been seeking war, but we will powerfully defend the interests of the honorable nation of Iran against any kind of threat and aggression,” Major General Gholam Ali Rashid told Islamic Revolution Guard commanders. “In the event of any conflict in the region, its scope and timing could not be managed by any country.” Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on Sunday also lashed out at the U.S., but did not address the cyberattack, saying “Most of the regional and international problems have been caused by dictatorship and bullying of certain countries especially the United States whose roots are in violating international law and moving on the path of unilateralism.” President Donald Trump said he decided against a retaliation strike against Iran at the last moment for its downing of the drone, but several officials, speaking on condition of anonymity, told the Associated Press that he did secretly authorize a cyber attack that disabled Revolutionary Guard systems connected to rocket and missile launches.

US officials express optimism negotiations with Iran possible | TheHill

U.S. officials expressed hope – and some optimism – Sunday that the escalation of tensions with Iran could be resolved without military conflict, though they said actions by leaders in Tehran would determine what happens next.

U.S. and Israel look to turn Russia against its Iranian ally – The Globe and Mail

The summit is expected to question if Moscow can be persuaded to turn against its ally – and at what price

Netanyahu hosting Russian victory lap while emasculated Bolton looks on – Israel News –

Israeli prime minister is leveraging his unique position on the world stage by hosting U.S. and Russian national security advisers, but secretly wishing the Americans held the upper hand in the Mideast

Jalal Hajizavar, Iran Defense Ministry staffer, hanged for spying for CIA – Washington Times

Iran’s state TV says authorities have executed a former staff member of the Defense Ministry who was convicted of spying for the CIA.

Yemeni Rebels Kill One and Wound Seven in Attack on Saudi Arabia Airport

The attack comes less that two weeks after the same airport was hit by a Houthi cruise missile.

1 dead, 7 wounded in attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport – Al-Arabiya T – Breaking News – Jerusalem Post

The Saudi-led military coalition engaged in Yemen said that the Iran-aligned Houthi movement launched a “terrorist” attack on Abha airport in southern Saudi Arabia on Sunday, killing one person and wounding seven others.

UAE condemns deadly Houthi attack on Saudi Arabia’s Abha airport – The National

Attack that killed one and wounded seven comes after Saudi Arabia, UAE, US and UK spoke against Iran’s role in Yemen

Israeli F-16s Smashed a Syrian Missile Complex (And Russia Held Its Fire)

“Due to the special nature of the system, and that the Russians are likely to have supplied only a few missiles to equip the launchers, I don’t think SAA will ever use it soon. The IAF has been using the tactic of saturating the attacked area with various kinds of missiles and bombs. It is not economical

Oil extends gains on U.S.-Iran tensions – Reuters

Oil prices rose on Monday, extending large gains last week that were prompted by tensions between Iran and the United States, as Washington was set to announce new sanctions on Tehran.

U.S., United Kingdom naval forces conducted mine countermeasures training in the Arabian Gulf – Defence Blog

U.S. Naval Forces Central Command has announced on Monday that U.S. and United Kingdom naval forces conducted routine bilateral mine countermeasures training in the Arabian Gulf, June 10-20. This recurring series of maritime assurance exercises brings U.S. and UK mine countermeasures forces together for the third time this year. “Integrated training such as this exercise focuses on addressing mine warfare threats to the freedom of navigation and free flow of commerce in international waterways. Alongside our regional partners and allies we maintain a high-readiness force equipped and organized to perform this mission if called on,” said Capt. Andy Lamb, Royal Navy, deputy commodore of U.S. 5th Fleet’s Combined Task Force 52 (CTF 52). The defensive counter mine rehearsal exercise was conducted to practice mine countermeasures operations, focused on maintaining maritime access and free flow of navigation. Units from the United Kingdom included Commander UK Mine Countermeasures Force, RFA Cardigan Bay (L3009), minehunters HMS Ledbury (M30) and HMS Blyth (M111), and HMS Brocklesby (M33). U.S. forces included CTF 52, the fleet ocean tug USNS Catawba (T-ATF 168), Avenger-class mine countermeasures ship USS Sentry (MCM 3), two expeditionary mine countermeasures company dive units, the Mine Hunting Unit, and the Blackhawks of Helicopter Mine Countermeasures Squadron (HM) 15. The wide variety of drills provided a platform for the U.S. and U.K. to exchange techniques to enhance effective maritime security procedures. The simulations were performed to practice mission organization and assistance between the task forces. Similar mission trainings are regularly held in the region to evaluate and reinforce bilateral mine countermeasures teamwork. U.S. 5th Fleet area of operations encompasses about 2.5 million square miles of water area and includes the Arabian Gulf, Gulf of Oman, Red Sea and parts of the Indian Ocean. The expanse is comprised of 20 countries and includes three critical choke points at the Strait of Hormuz, the Suez Canal and the Strait of Bab al Mandeb at the southern tip of Yemen.

At Sunday School, Jimmy Carter Extends Praise To Trump For Restraint On Iran : NPR

“I agree with President Trump on his decision not to take military action against Iran” Carter said. The former president said peace was a choice.

Trump Bucked National-Security Aides on Proposed Iran Attack – WSJ

President Trump bucked most of his top national-security advisers by abandoning retaliatory strikes in Iran. In private conversations, the president reveled in his judgment, certain about his decision to call off the attacks while speaking of his administration as if removed from the center of it.

Trump told confidant that national security advisers ‘want to push us into war’: report | TheHill

President Trump reportedly told a confidant that his national security advisers want to push him into a war with Iran.

Trump: ‘I did not send’ message to Tehran warning of attack – AOL News

Iranian sources told Reuters that Trump had warned Tehran via Oman that a U.S. attack was imminent, but had said he was against war and wanted talks.

Trump: Neither ‘Warmonger’ Nor ‘Dove,’ ‘I’m a Man With Common Sense’ |

President Donald Trump said that Everybody was saying I’m a warmonger, and now they’re saying I’m a dove, but Trump said he is just a man with common sense, after the president broke from his own national security advisers in declining to carry out a retaliatory strike against Iran…

‘Obliteration’ could still come to Iran, Trump warns

Despite calling off a military strike against Iran, the U.S. is still poised to hit Iran hard after weeks of mounting tensions between the two countries, President Trump said on Sunday.

Trump’s Iran Reversal Raises Allies’ Doubts Over His Tactics, and U.S. Power – The New York Times

The public response of Western politicians has been largely cautious, sometimes confused. But some analysts also praised Mr. Trump’s restraint.

Rep. Waltz: ‘We Should Have Carried Out the Strike’ on Iran |

Rep. Michael Waltz, a combat-decorated Green Beret, said Monday it was President Donald Trump’s prerogative to pull back on strikes on Iran last week in response to the downing of a U.S. surveillance drone, but he does not agree with that decision. “To be clear, I think we should have responded, and I think we should have responded proportionately, whether that is oil platforms, some of the ships that have been attacking tankers, or the missile batteries,” the Florida Republican told CNN’s “New Day.” “Of course, it’s the president’s absolute right as commander in chief to pull that back. But I think what we are seeing from the Iranians today is that they’re going to continue to push. I think we should have carried out the strike, yes, I do.” Iran wants sanctions relief, said Waltz, and it wants to create controversy in the United States so it will back off its sanctions policy. Meanwhile, countries like Iran, North Korea, and Russia are seeing that Trump is “not a warmonger” after the pullback, said Waltz, but still, “Iran historically has been emboldened by perceived weakness or perceived latitude, and will continue to push like a schoolyard bully who will keep pushing and taking kids’ lunch money until they are faced with force.” Waltz said he does agree that the Iran nuclear agreement was incomplete, as it did not allow inspectors to check military sites. “It’s like having a search warrant on a criminals’ home, but you can’t check all of the bedrooms, and you have to give them a month’s notice that it’s coming,” said Waltz. “Second of all, it didn’t cover terrorism.” Related Stories:

Top Republican on Armed Services Committee says Iran story ‘not over’

Rep. Mac Thornberry, R-Texas, the ranking Republican member of the House Armed Services Committee, said during a Sunday interview with George Stephanopoulos that the story of Iran “is not over.”

Panetta: ‘Thankful’ Trump Didn’t Strike Iran |

Former Secretary of Defense and CIA Director Leon Panetta is questioning whether President Donald Trump was appropriately prepared on a strategy of retaliation against Iran — and doubted his “last minute” decision to cancel a strike was ever “thoroughly discussed.” In remarks Friday, Panetta said he was relieved a military strike didn’t take place. “I’m thankful he didn’t do it,” he said of Trump’s pullback. “But I wish they had been prepared for that decision rather than making it the last minute.” Yet Panetta chastised the administration for even letting the matter get to that point. “In most White Houses, that would be a decision that would be thoroughly discussed. I’m not sure that ’s the case with this one.” It wasn’t the first Panetta criticized Trump for the call. “Frankly, if you’re going to make a strike, at least in my experience, you ought to proceed with the strike, as opposed to suddenly having your planes in the air and having to pull them back,” Panetta told NBC’s “Today” on Friday. “That could result in even greater miscalculations.” Instead, he recommended that the United States strengthen its presence in the region and carry on further further diplomatic negotiations .

Trump Dodged An Ambush By Avoiding War With Iran

Assuming nothing happens between the time I write this and the time you read it, it appears that Donald Trump has refused to take the sucker’s bait and engage us in open war with Iran. And while I remain more hawkish than many of my fellow supporters of the Trump Revolt against the garbage liberal elite, it’s pretty clear that Trump was right. Some quality conservatives disagree with me in good faith, but whatever makes Fredocons like Bill Kristol upset is presumptively a good idea. Let’s clarify some things. Iran is our enemy – the notion that we might wish to avoid being drawn into open conflict today does not mean these mullah bastards don’t deserve to be hanged from the very cranes they use to murder gays, women who refuse hijab oppression and people who like freedom. We have been at covert war with them for four decades, and they’ve murdered our people from Lebanon to Iraq and elsewhere. We are morally justified in wiping out Iran’s scummy leadership and using as much force as we choose to prevent their obtaining the bomb that Obama and his coterie of collaborators tried to hand it. Don’t confuse the fact that it is not to our advantage to openly attack Iran (or at least its rulers) right this minute with the mistaken idea that Iran is not our enemy. We have every moral right to inflict ruthless payback.

The Night Donald Trump Became President | The American Conservative

It is utterly bizarre to hear people who believe Trump is unfit to lead seem disappointed that he isn’t taking us to war.

Former Joint Chiefs chairman: ‘The last thing in the world we need right now is a war with Iran’ | TheHill

Former Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Mike Mullen on Sunday stressed the importance of avoiding war with Iran, saying it “could spin out of control.”

Iran crisis could ‘spin out of control’: ex-US military aide

A former top US military advisor warned Sunday that tensions with Iran &quot;could spin out of control&quot; after President Donald Trump's last-minute cancelation of air strikes on the Islamic republic. Trump has labeled Iran a danger and in May last year pulled the US out of an international accord

With Iran, Trump needs to put up or shut up – The Washington Post

The world is quickly learning not to take the United States seriously. That’s dangerous for our foreign policy.

On Iran, It’s Trump Vs. Trump – Defense One

The president’s 2020 reelection campaign looms large over the decision whether to retaliate for a downed drone.

“Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran”

Was the U.S. spy drone that Iran shot down On Thursday, June 20th, in international airspace, or was it over Iranian airspace as Iran insists? Flight coordinates in strategic locations are easy to access, but that misses the point altogether. Here is the point: The U.S. has acted belligerently and violated the most basic tenets of the Geneva Conventions and the UN Charter by abrogating its responsibilities under the Iran nuclear deal, then punishing the Iranian people collectively with economic sanctions that affect their ability to live their lives in a nation not at war. The U.S. has sent masses of troops to the Middle East to ready for war against Iran and has made charges that are unproven that Iran attacked oil tankers. The U.S. has waged a propaganda war against Iran through the words of both Pompeo and Bolton. Donald Trump has added to the verbal assault by his mercurial threats of war (illegal under the UN Charter) and the reality of the economic sanctions that his administration has put in place against Iran.

Opinion | Susan Rice: How Trump Can Avoid War With Iran – The New York Times

His process of ordering and then canceling military strikes was a mess. But he now has an opening to restart talks on Iran’s nuclear program.

Trump learns it’s not always easy going it alone – POLITICO

The president’s unilateral actions on Iran, North Korea and China have often left him forging ahead alone on critical foreign policy issues.