Senior Obama administration officials engaged in a secret meeting with Iran in 2018 as part of an effort to undermine the Trump administration’s diplomatic push to isolate the hardline regime, according to an internal State Department document.
As the Trump administration worked to increase economic pressure on Iran in 2018, a delegation of “U.S. former ambassadors held a secret, “off-the-record” meeting with former Iranian foreign minister Javad Zarif at his residence in New York City, according to a State Department memo unearthed this week as part of a lawsuit brought to compel the release of this information. The meeting took place around the same time John Kerry was reported to be working behind-the-scenes with Iranian officials to salvage the 2015 nuclear accord.
The internal memo, which is marked unclassified, details how these former U.S. ambassadors conducted shadow diplomacy with Iran’s top envoy surrounding “nuclear weapons, potential prisoner swaps, [the] Afghanistan withdrawal, and negotiations with the Taliban,” according to the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a legal advocacy group that sued the State Department to obtain the internal memo.
The document is the firmest proof to date that Obama-era officials were engaged in back-channel efforts to keep negotiations with Iran alive, even as former president Donald Trump and his administration worked to isolate the regime, former secretary of state Mike Pompeo told the Free Beacon in exclusive remarks. Pompeo, who was not aware of these meetings while leading the State Department, said the memo corroborates reports from the time about Kerry’s efforts to salvage the 2015 nuclear deal through back-channel powwows with Iranian officials.
As we’ve said before, the Biden administration has some mixed feelings about getting into a direct confrontation with Russia over its invasion of Ukraine. At first, the administration sanctioned everything but energy and continued buying oil from Russia, with the explanation that the United States imports only 10 percent of its oil from Russia. Then there’s climate envoy John Kerry, who’s counting on Russia to be a partner in things like the Paris Accords. And speaking of Kerry, there’s also his precious Iran nuclear deal to consider.
Adam Kredo of the Washington Free Beacon is reporting Wednesday that the Biden administration’s new Iran deal will remove sanctions so that a Russian energy firm can build Iran a nuclear power plant.
Russia’s top state-controlled energy company is set to cash in on a $10 billion contract to build out one of Iran’s most contested nuclear sites as part of concessions granted in the soon-to-be-announced nuclear agreement that will guarantee sanctions on both countries are lifted.
Families of victims of the September 11th attacks have asked the US government to seize Iranian oil that might be on a US-owned ship in Asia.
Even though Iran had nothing to do with the September 11th attacks, a US court has ordered Tehran to pay out more than $3 billion to the families of 9/11 victims. The ruling doesn’t make much sense since nobody has ever seriously accused Iran of being behind the attacks.
But the families are still seeking the money, and since Iran would never voluntarily pay, they are asking the US to seize and sell the Iranian oil.
The oil tanker Suez Rajan is under federal investigation for allegedly carrying oil placed on the ship by the National Iranian Oil Co. and the National Iranian Tanker Corp, which are both under US sanctions. The 9/11 families submitted a court filing on Thursday night asking for the oil to be taken.
Anti-imperialist commentator Richard Medhurst reports that Instagram has deleted some 20 images from his account and given him a warning that he could face a permanent ban if he continues making similar posts. The posts in question are screenshots from a Twitter thread Medhurst made to commemorate the two-year anniversary of the Trump administration’s assassination of renowned Iranian military leader Qasem Soleimani.
Go ahead and read the thread; here’s the hyperlink again. There’s nothing in there that comes anywhere remotely close to violating Instagram’s terms of service as they are written; Medhurst condemns the assassination and the bogus justifications provided for it, and discusses Soleimani’s crucial role in the fight against ISIS and Al Qaeda. The reason for Instagram’s censorship of Medhurst’s political speech is that Instagram’s parent company Meta (then called Facebook) determined after Soleimani’s assassination that anything which seems supportive of him constitutes a violation of US sanctions and must therefore be removed.
In 2019 the Trump administration designated Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) as a Foreign Terrorist Organization, which was as hypocritical and arbitrary as any other government designating any other branch of another government’s military a terrorist organization. Despite this completely baseless designation, both the Meta-owned social media platforms Facebook and Instagram have been actively censoring political speech about Soleimani, who was the commander of the IRGC’s Quds force when he was assassinated. Medhurst reports that he has been censored on Instagram under the same justification for posting about Hamas as well.
Iran‘s top nuclear scientist was assassinated by a killer robot machine gun kitted out with artificial intelligence and multiple cameras and capable of firing 600 bullets a minute, according to a new report.
Mohsen Fakhrizadeh, 62, dubbed the ‘father’ of Iran’s illegal atomic program, is said to have been killed in the November 27 ambush by a Mossad sniper who pulled the trigger from an undisclosed location more than 1,000 miles away thanks to the use of satellite.
The gun which fired the fatal shots was positioned in a camera-laden pickup truck lying in wait for his vehicle to come past the ambush point.
It was programmed with AI technology to compensate for a 1.6 second lapse between the intel from the kill site and the sniper’s actions, as well as movements caused by the shots being fired and Fakhrizadeh’s car driving.
This precision enabled the sniper to hit the desired target and leave Fakhrizadeh’s wife, who was in the passenger seat next to him, unscathed.
There was also a second disguised spy car positioned three-quarters of a mile earlier along the route in a spot where Fakhrizadeh’s car would make a U-turn to turn down the road toward his country home in Absard, a town east of Tehran.
Cameras fitted in this decoy vehicle positively identified Fakhrizadeh and pinpointed the scientist’s location in the car – in the driver’s seat with his wife in the passenger seat – sending this information back to the remote sniper.
The entire ambush was over within one minute of the first round being fired.
The US government has shut down multiple news media websites based in the Middle East, including Iran’s state-owned Press TV, and al-Masirah TV which is owned by the Houthi group Ansarullah in Yemen. The Department of Justice said on Tuesday it had seized 36 Iranian-linked websites, claiming without evidence that they were associated with “either disinformation activities or violent organizations” and were shut down for a violation of US sanctions.
This would be the same US government that is imprisoning Julian Assange for journalism which exposed US war crimes, the same US government which paid for the weapons used to destroy more than 20 Palestinian media outlets in Gaza last month, the same US government whose unipolar domination of the planet is made possible by the journalism-destroying propaganda of the media-owning plutocratic class in alliance with sociopathic government agencies.
This would also be the same US government which constantly pays lip service to the need to protect the freedom of the press, as part of the “rules-based international order” it purports to uphold in the world.