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Iran News Digest- July 13, 2014

Helping Hamas

An article on the Time magazine website repeated news that had come out earlier in the week indicating that rockets recently fired into Israel are of the same type as rockets that were seized in transit between Iran and the Gaza Strip. The article also points out that Iran has been the primary source of help in Hamas’s development of its domestic weapons manufacturing. This program of supplying and supporting Hamas has helped the militant group’s rockets to reach one third farther into Israel in the past two years.

Furthermore, The Tower reports that at least one Iranian official has actually admitted to this involvement in providing the weapons to attack Israel. A Revolutionary Guard Twitter account credited “the shahid Tehrani Moghaddam, father of the missile program of the Revolutionary Guard” with the bombardment of Ben-Gurion Airport and with the missiles that are “falling on Tel Aviv every morning.”

The fact of Iranian involvement in the current Iran-Hamas conflict has led to multiple commentaries this week on the extent of that involvement, its motives, and its goals. An article at WND claims that Iran is encouraging “mass casualties” in Israel, using Islamic Jihad and other groups to push Hamas into a deeper conflict than it wants for itself. Meanwhile, an editorial in the Jerusalem Post suggests that Iran supports attacks on Israel and would even attack it with a nuclear weapon because all actions against the Jewish state facilitate the unity of militant groups in the Muslim world, contributing to Iran’s goal of dominating all such groups and Islamic states.

But at the same time that Iran is contributing to Palestinian actions against Israel, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has been tasked with attempting to convince the West to make Israel stop its airstrikes on Hamas targets. His remarks on the topic will be carried on NBC’s Sunday news program, Meet the Press, but a portion of them have been released on the NBC News website. While claiming that the West has a “legal and moral responsibility” to restrain Israel, Zarif explicitly refuses to condemn Hamas for its rocket attacks.

“A Difficult Phase”

Of course, the oil issue is only a very small portion of the complications confronting the prospects for a nuclear deal. An in-depth column in the Huffington Post looks at some of those complications, particularly including those originating with Iran’s own policies. The article points out that Iran is committed to obtaining a short “breakout period” for a nuclear weapon, which the West obviously finds unacceptable. But more than that, Iran is making demands of the Obama administration that the American executive cannot grant without congressional approval. Specifically, it wants economic sanctions to be removed immediately upon the conclusion of negotiations.

At the same time, the changing situations in Iraq and Syria, as well as the Israel-Hamas conflict, help to make this a “difficult phase for Iranian aspirations,” according to the article, which also points to American policy as a source of further complexity. It says that Iran had almost succeeded in courting Western partnerships in Iraq, but that the West has since realized that moderate Sunnis are a much better source of support in the fight against the Islamic State.

Ecological Devastation

While the Iranian regime remains focused on salvaging that situation, there are domestic issues on which it consistently fails to taken action. France24 has a unique article detailing ecological changes that have taken place in the province of Sistan and Baluchestan. Once home to an oasis, the province’s Hamoun Wetlands dried up 15 years ago, due in large part to damming projects in Afghanistan that have not been seriously challenged by the Iranian government.

The drying has destroyed the livelihoods of many residents in the area. The article quotes one of them as complaining that the government does nothing to convince Afghanistan to release water, and has taken no measures to control the severe dust storms that have resulted. He also blames the trafficking of fuel between Iran and Afghanistan for some of the drying.

Anti-Resistance Propaganda

Amidst such problems, Iran would apparently have its people believe that there is no viable alternative government. This requires spreading propaganda against organized Iranian resistance groups, as it managed to do through the medium of the USA Today on Friday. The paper ran an op-ed by Hamid Babaei, counselor for Iran’s Permanent Mission to the UN, in which he repeated long-established and long-since debunked claims about the People’s Mojahedin Organization of Iran.

The article suggests that American politicians who showed support for the group at the June 27 All for Freedom rally were bribed. However, many of those politicians have been supporters of the group for years, along with approximately 4,000 other lawmakers and dignitaries from Europe and across the world.

Babaei also made non-specific assertions to the effect that the PMOI is a terrorist group, when in fact investigations by 20 high courts from the US, UK, and EU found the organization to be innocent of all such charges. Thus, virtually all of the 120,000 PMOI members and supporters who have been executed in Iran over three decades were simply victims of political repression and state terrorism

 

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