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US Assesses Threat of Iran

(Photo: wikicommons/Mohammad Agah)

(Photo: wikicommons/Mohammad Agah)

Long before the questionable and dangerous international nuclear deal with Iran was made last fall, those who stand for freedom and peace were aware of the threat that the Islamic Republic poses. Now, Algemeiner’s Eliezer Sherman reports that American intelligence is saying the same thing:

Iran already has the largest ballistic-missile arsenal in the Middle East, Director of National Intelligence Jonathan Klapper told the members of the Senate Armed Services Committee and the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence on Tuesday.

Additionally, “Iran’s progress on space launch vehicles — along with its desire to deter the United States and its allies — provides Tehran with the means and motivation to develop longer-range missiles, including ICBMs,” Klapper said, in a Worldwide Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community.

He said the ballistic missiles would be Iran’s likely preferred method of delivering nuclear weapons, should the country’s government decide ultimately to build them.

The report came as Iran’s Defense Ministry announced it would test the long-range Emad ballistic missile, which was shown stored away in an underground warehouse by the Revolutionary Guards in the Iranian press last month…

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Thursday, February 11th, 2016 at 7:25 AM  | Stand For Israel

Iran Infiltrates West Bank

IranBackedJihadFlagWhile Iran has now verified that it is still funding Gaza-based Hamas, it is encroaching on the West Bank, as well. Gatestone Institute’s Khaled Abu Toameh reports on Al-Sabireen, the Iran-backed terrorist group now threatening Israel in the West Bank:

Emboldened by its nuclear deal with the world powers, Iran is already seeking to enfold in its embracing wings the Arab and Islamic region.

Iran’s capacity for intrusions having been starved by years of sanctions. Now, with the lifting of sanctions, Tehran’s appetite for encroachment has been newly whetted — and its bull’s-eye is the West Bank…

Al-Sabireen, Iran’s new ally, first popped up in the Gaza Strip, where they recruited hundreds of Palestinians, many of them former members of Hamas and Islamic Jihad. Palestinian sources report that Al-Sabireen has also succeeded in enlisting many disgruntled Fatah activists who feel betrayed by the Palestinian Authority (PA) and its president, Mahmoud Abbas. This sense of betrayal is the fruit of the PA’s failure to pay salaries to its former loyalists. In addition, anti-Israel incitement and indoctrination in mosques, social media and public rhetoric has radicalized Fatah members and driven them into the open arms of Islamist groups…

Iran’s infiltration of the West Bank should serve as a red flag not only for Israel, but also for the U.S. and other Western powers. At the moment, there is little to be done to combat Iran’s presence in the Gaza Strip. But Iran on Israel’s West Bank doorstep is a flag of a different color.

An Israeli pullout, leading to a Hamas takeover of the West Bank, has been a subject of concern. Now, a growing number of Israelis and Palestinians are wondering if such a vacuum will provide an opening for Iran.

The future of the Middle East and Europe would be shockingly different if any Palestinian state were to fall into the hands of Iran’s Islamic extremists and their allies…

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Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 at 8:04 AM  | Stand For Israel

Iran Still Funding Hamas in Order to Fight Israel

(Photo: youtube)

(Photo: youtube)

Recently, Hamas made the claim that it no longer receives funding from Iran – a claim that few who stand against the terror group, and for Israel, believe. But today, The Times of Israel reports that Iran, itself, says it is still funding Hamas in order to support the fight against the Jewish state:

An Iranian official on Monday rejected reports that Tehran has ceased funding the Palestinian terror group Hamas, and stressed that supporting the fight against Israel remains a “principled policy,” the semi-official Tasnim news agency said.

Speaking at his weekly press conference in Tehran, Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari rejected media reports that funding for the Gaza-based group ceased in 2009.

Ansari said that supporting “Palestinian resistance movements” is part of Iran’s foreign policy, according to the state-run Islamic Republic News Agency.

He called the Palestinian issue “pivotal and basic” for Muslims, according to the agency.

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Tuesday, February 9th, 2016 at 7:26 AM  | Stand For Israel

IAF Keeps Eye on Iran Despite Nuclear Deal

(Photo: USAF)

(Photo: USAF)

After Western powers completed the nuclear agreement with Iran, the world’s media felt content that the Islamic Republic would no longer be a global threat. But The Jerusalem Post’s Yaakov Lappin reports that since then – and especially after the recent release of $100 billion after sanctions were lifted – Israel’s military has kept tabs on Iran, as it still remains a current and future threat:

“Hezbollah in Lebanon remains the main threat,” a senior military source said.

“That’s where things are happening that we may not fully grasp. If a third Lebanon war breaks out, we may not fully be aware of the scope and intensity of that event. Hezbollah in the north is the main thing,” the source told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

But Iran remains a very significant potential theater in the future, he said.

Despite the historic nuclear agreement last year, “We always have to be ready. Iran heads an axis that threatens Israel. Who said that on the twelfth day of a [potential] war with Hezbollah, we won’t get an order from the prime minister to punish Iran [which sponsors and arms Hezbollah]?” Iran could build its confidence over the next three to five years, and then, in eight to 10 years, it could “lift its heads” and seek a nuclear breakout capability, the source said.

Meanwhile, Iran still “nourishes” the area with malicious terrorism and weapons, the source added.

“The IAF and Military Intelligence have to be ready,” he said.

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Friday, February 5th, 2016 at 7:47 AM  | Stand For Israel

Iran Gets Its Blackmail Money

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of State)

(Photo: U.S. Dept. of State)

This past week, sanctions against Iran have been lifted – per last year’s nuclear agreement – and the Islamic Republic has now received $100 billion in frozen assets. This money, which can now be used to support Iran’s terrorist proxies and cause further unrest across the Middle East, was had by what the always eloquent Michael J. Totten calls blackmail:

The United States, as the world’s sole remaining superpower, should have had the Iranian rulers for breakfast. We should have eaten their lunch, too, while we were at it, but nope. Iran gets 100 billion dollars and we get…nothing.

Oh, sure, we get “promises” from the Iranian government that it won’t build nuclear weapons, and inspectors get limited access to old nuclear facilities, but even if Iran never cheats and never builds a bomb, the best we can say is that we paid Iran off so it wouldn’t do something horrible.

The word for that is blackmail. Blackmail is a crime for a reason—because the blackmailed person or party gets robbed.

A good deal with Iran would have required the government—at minimum—to cease and desist all funding of international terrorist organizations. Instead, this deal enables the regime to dramatically increase its support for international terrorist organizations…

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Tuesday, February 2nd, 2016 at 3:06 PM  | Stand For Israel

Persecution of Iranian Christians Rages On

(Photo: flickr/polandmfa)

(Photo: flickr/polandmfa)

One of the American prisoners recently released by Iran was an evangelical pastor who had been imprisoned for starting home churches. While Pastor Saeed Abedini’s freedom is something to rejoice, JNS’ Shalle’ McDonald reports that Iran’s persecution of Christians continues:

“While Iranian officials allowed Pastor Abedini to board the plane and put this horrible ordeal behind him, they continue to hold dozens of Iranian Christians on vague and overly broad national security charges like ‘propaganda against the system.’ These detentions clearly violate not only Iran’s obligations under international law, but their own constitution,” Heiner Bielefeldt, the United Nations special rapporteur on freedom of religion or belief, said in a statement.

Christians in Iran have been persecuted on various fronts since the 1979 rise of the country’s theocratic Shi’a Muslim government, whose primary goal is to root out all Western influences that threaten Islamic identity. When Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected president in 2005, the threat of death, lashing, and torture intensified for Christians. Under Rouhani’s leadership, the U.N. has reported that religious oppression is even greater than it was under Ahmadinejad. Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in 2010 that Iran’s underground house churches “threaten the Islamic faith and deceive young Muslims…”

The Iranian regime will sometimes levy criminal charges against Christians relating to the very factors that have aided the church’s growth, such as the use of “religious propaganda” and forming house churches that exceed the maximum allowance of 12 people. But usually, a typical conviction in Iran will imprison Christians on crimes against national security, espionage, or trying to overthrow the government. It is widely known that these charges are euphemisms for committing the apostasy of leaving Islam to become a Christian.

“Iran has been escalating its internal persecution of Christians in recent months. The growing numbers of Iranians rejecting Islam and turning to Christianity is considered a serious political threat by the state. This is a symptom of the widespread disillusionment and sense of hopelessness felt by many Iranians after 37 years of the Iranian…

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Monday, February 1st, 2016 at 8:18 AM  | Stand For Israel

Iran Awards Medals to Generals Who Detained US Sailors

(Photo: screenshot)

(Photo: screenshot)

Immediately after Iran captured American sailors a couple weeks ago, the Islamic Republic began using the incident for propaganda, even though the U.S. naval crews were released. Now, CNN’s Mariano Castillo reports that Iran has awarded medals to the generals in charge of the capture:

Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, on Sunday awarded Fath medals to five commanders of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps naval forces for the detention of 10 American sailors who trespassed into Iranian waters, according the official state news agency Press TV…

The Fath (Victory) medal is among the highest honors that Iran’s supreme leader can bestow on a military leader. It is rarely awarded.

Khamenei praised the generals as “brave” and commended them for bringing the Americans ashore.

The capture of the U.S. sailors “was in fact an act of God, who brought the Americans into our waters so they would be arrested with their hands on their heads through your timely measure,” Khamenei said, according to Press TV.

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Monday, February 1st, 2016 at 7:22 AM  | Stand For Israel

Khamenei Airs Holocaust Denial Video on Remembrance Day

(Photo: Presidential Press and Information Office)

(Photo: Presidential Press and Information Office)

While much of the world observed International Holocaust Remembrance day yesterday, honoring the memory of those who perished at the hands of the Nazis, Iran once again set itself apart in a particularly disturbing manner. The Times of Israel reports that Iran’s supreme leader marked the occasion by airing a video denying that the Holocaust happened:

In a video titled “Are the Dark Ages Over,” a series of photos showing killed or injured Palestinian children is displayed on screen, while a Farsi-speaking man, presumably Ayatollah Ali Khamenei himself, can be heard condemning the nations of the world for offering support to Israel.

“It is Western powers headed by America that are [supporting Israel],” the narrator says. “This is while they say in their slogans that they are opposed to terrorism and [the Islamic State terrorist group].”

The speaker goes on to accuse European nations of silencing any view that does not conform to the historically accepted account of the genocide against the Jews by Nazi Germany.

“No one in European countries dares to speak about the Holocaust, while it is not clear whether the core of the matter is reality or not,” the narrator continues. “Even if it is reality, it is not clear how it happened. Speaking about the Holocaust and expressing doubts about it is considered to be a great sin. If someone does this, they stop, arrest, imprison and sue him. This is why they claim to be supporters of freedom.”

The video was uploaded as Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani visited Europe, with trips to Italy, where he met with the pope on Tuesday, and France. Before leaving Rome for Paris on Wednesday, Rouhani charged that the “Zionist lobby” in the US was preventing warmer Iran-US ties.

 

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Thursday, January 28th, 2016 at 8:38 AM  | Stand For Israel

The Unbalanced Iran Deal

(Photo: wikicommons/ Farzaaaad2000)

(Photo: wikicommons/ Farzaaaad2000)

When the Iran nuclear agreement was made last fall, we had many worries about how it would play out. And now that it is starting to play out, those worries are proving to be well-founded. Writing at American Thinker, Shoshana Bryen looks at the imbalance of the Iran deal so far:

There is a pattern emerging on the Iran deal: we got and they got. That’s how it’s supposed to work — something for something — right? Okay.

We got:

  • Iranian ballistic missile tests in violation of UN resolutions;
  • Missiles fired near a U.S. aircraft carrier sailing in international waters; and
  • Ten American sailors illegally captured, whose rights under the Geneva Convention were violated when they were photographed for propaganda purposes…

They got:

  • Sanctions relief going forward;
  • A closed book on prior defense related activity;
  • A minimum, according to secretary of State Kerry, of $55 billion in frozen funds, and perhaps as much as $150 billion;
  • An extra $1.3 billion “interest payment” on previously impounded funds; and
  • The sincere and fulsome thanks of the U.S. Secretary of State for Iran’s gracious behavior toward the kidnapped American sailors…

In the meantime, Secretary Kerry on CNN dismissed Saudi Arabia’s fears of Iranian nuclear capability and other potential Iranian aggression with a warning and a slap…

In the meantime, the U.S. slapped at Israel on the subject of EU labeling of Israeli products from the West Bank…

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Thursday, January 28th, 2016 at 7:22 AM  | Stand For Israel

American Evangelical Pastor Released from Iran

(Photo: ACLJ)

(Photo: ACLJ)

This weekend, four Americans were released from prison in Iran. The Washington Post’s Sarah Pulliam Bailey tells the story of one of those released, Saeed Abedini, an evangelical pastor from the United States who had been jailed for acting on his faith:

Abedini, 35, of Boise, Idaho, is a convert from Islam to Christianity and pastor who had been imprisoned since 2012 for organizing home churches. His case was the most high-profile religious persecution for Christians in recent years, regularly mentioned by evangelical pastors in pulpits across the country.

His case put a face on the issue of persecution, especially in the Middle East, for Christians across the globe, and his release comes on “religious freedom day” in the U.S.

His wife, Naghmeh Abedini, who grew up in Boise and lives there with the couple’s two children, Rebekka, 9, and Jacob, 7, told the Washington Post on Saturday that she woke her two children up early at 7:30 a.m. to tell them of the news that their father had been released.

“They were shocked,” she said. “You can probably hear them now, jumping up and down, asking ‘When are we going to see him?’ It’s been a time of rejoicing.”

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Thursday, January 21st, 2016 at 7:28 AM  | Stand for Israel