Ahmadinejad: Iran likes to boost ties with all countries excluding US, Zionist regime

From the Islamic Republic News Agency

Tehran, Jan 1, IRNA – President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Sunday underlined Iran’s resolve to boost relations with all countries except the US and Zionist regime.

He made the remark in a meeting with the Cabinet members and Iranian Ambassadors and diplomatic representatives abroad.

Ahmadinejad called for a boosting in Iran’s relations with other states in various economic, political and cultural fields and underlined the necessity of interaction between the diplomatic representatives and the cabinet members in this regard.

“Iran must expand its relations with all countries except the illegal Zionist regime and the US administration because of their arrogant nature,” he said.

U.S. Delusional about Arab Spring, Iran Insists

The Arab Spring is turning into an American Winter, Iran’s supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, believes. Countries from Tunisia and Egypt to Yemen and Bahrain, he insists, are struggling to overthrow ties to the West and embrace Islamist movements, which in the end will look to Iran for leadership.

And the leadership Iran would provide in such a scenario could bring on Armageddon as it amasses nuclear weapons in its quest for Islamic world domination.

“The developments currently unfolding in the world are different than those of the past since they are anti-U.S. and popular in nature,” Khamenei said recently, according to MehrNews, the mouthpiece of the Islamic regime in Iran. “Some assume that the United States is stage-managing these developments behind the scenes, but it is sheer delusion. … Today what we hear in the Arab streets are the same slogans that the Islamic nation of Iran has been saying for the past 30 years.” he said.

“The fact that Western media outlets have predicted and acknowledged that Islamists will emerge victorious in the elections that will be held in countries in transition also prove the Islamic nature of regional revolutions,” Khamenei said.

The Iranian dictator also criticized the U.S. for adopting a double standard toward the developments occurring in Egypt and other countries, adding that any popular, democratic and patriotic person who comes to power in one of those countries will definitely oppose the United States and the Zionist regime of Israel.

In recent months, many Iranian clerics have issued statements of admiration for Khamenei, calling him the deputy of the last Islamic messiah, Mahdi, the Shiites’ 12th Imam, and even going so far as announcing that disobeying the supreme leader is equivalent to “apostasy from God.” According to Shiite belief, Mahdi will reappear after great world chaos and destruction, and Islam will rule the world.

One prominent ayatollah, Mesbah Yazdi, one of Iran’s leading advocates of Islamic end times’ ideology, has stated that Khamenei ascends to the sky every year for five hours to meet with Imam Mahdi and to consult about what action to take next. It is said that Khamenei has been told by Imam Mahdi to continue full speed with the Iranian nuclear program and not to fear anyone or any threats.

That fanatical belief could become a self-fulfilling prophecy should Revolutionary Guard forces launch a nuclear attack against Israel. Iranian leaders have often stated their goal is to destroy the Jewish state.

The radicals ruling Iran believe that Khamenei is the mythical figure who will pave the way for the Mahdi’s return. They believe the current uprisings in the Middle East — as they call it, an “Islamic awakening” — are another sign that the end is near and that Khamenei is on a righteous path for the final destruction of Israel, America and the infidels.

According to an Iranian secret documentary revealed back in April, titled “The Coming Is Upon Us,” the current unrest in the Middle East is a divine signal that Iran will soon help usher in the end of days and the return of their messiah, Mahdi.

Khamenei, since being appointed the supreme leader of the regime, has shown to be a vengeful and cruel dictator, ordering the assassination of opposition figures outside the country, and the arrest, torture and execution of thousands of Iranians inside the country who voiced their resentment against the injustices of the Islamic regime. Khamenei was responsible for the fraudulent elections of 2009 in selecting President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to a second term and ordering the suppression of the Iranians with their uprising against the regime.

Iran’s Crown Prince Reza Pahlavi, the son of the late Iranian Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, recently announced that he plans to ask the United Nations to bring Iran’s supreme leader before the International Criminal Court on charges of crimes against humanity.

Reza Pahlavi is among the exiles working for regime change in Iran. He said at a Paris news conference recently that Khamenei must be held responsible for the executions, jailing and torture of political dissidents.

Pahlavi said he will submit a complaint about Khamenei to the five permanent U.N. Security Council members along with a report of the cleric’s alleged crimes.

It is time for the world community to stand on the side of justice and condemn the crimes done by the Islamic regime in Iran and hold its leaders responsible, for if we remain silent, we are complicit.

And silence could very easily lead to that self-fulfilling prophecy.

Reza Kahlili is a pseudonym for a former CIA operative in Iran’s Revolutionary Guards and the author of the award winning book, A Time to Betray. He is a senior Fellow with EMPact America and teaches at the U.S. Department of Defense’s Joint Counterintelligence Training Academy (JCITA).



Shia, Sunni to battle for regional supremacy in 2012

The Region: No one should misunderstand the situation. This is fundamentally a struggle for political power and wealth.

Of course, there is nothing new about the conflict between Sunni and Shia Muslims, but it is indeed new as a feature on the regional level in modern times. After all, as long as there were secular-style regimes preaching an all-inclusive Arab nationalist identities, differences between religious communities were subordinated. Once there are Islamist regimes, theology becomes central again, as it was centuries ago.

However, no one should misunderstand the situation. This is fundamentally a struggle for political power and wealth. When Sunni and Shia states or movements battle they are acting as political entities with strategies, tactics and goals.

The growing power and influence of Iran’s Islamist regime posed a tremendous problem for Arab Sunni Islamists. They generally did not like Iran because it was Persian and Shia, yet it was the only Islamist game in town. Thus, Arab Sunni Islamist Hamas became an Iranian client. The Iran-Iraq war reflected these antagonisms, as best seen in Iraqi propaganda. Yet Iraq’s regime was also able to keep the Shia majority there under control.

Saddam Hussein’s removal by a US-led international force opened up the question of communal relations in Iraq. Iraqi Shias are a three-to-one majority over their Sunni neighbors, so they will automatically win any election, especially with Iraqi Kurds opting out for what is, de facto if not de jure, their own state in the north. Despite the anti-American and al-Qaida elements of the Sunni insurgency, it was essentially a last-ditch attempt by the Sunnis to reclaim power. It failed and while violence continues, now the main Sunni emphasis will be on negotiating the best possible division of power.

In Lebanon, too, the Shia triumphed, led by Hezbollah and aided by Syria and Iran. But all of this was prelude to the year 2011. The “Arab Spring” was an overwhelmingly Sunni affair, their own equivalent in some ways of Iran’s 1979 revolution. Only in Bahrain, where they were repressed, did the Shia take the offensive.

Egypt, Tunisia and Libya all had Sunni insurgencies against Sunni Arab governments. The situation in Syria is far more complex with an Alawite non-Muslim regime that pretends to be Shia Muslim and is allied with Iran, opposed by a variety of groups. Nevertheless, in this context, the upheaval is a Sunni-led (though far from just Islamist) revolt against a “Shia” regime.

HERE’S THE bottom line: Sunni Arab Islamists no longer need Iran or even Turkey because they now have their own power. What is likely to emerge is at least a loose Sunni Arab and largely Islamist-flavored bloc consisting of Egypt, the Gaza Strip, Libya and Tunisia along with the Muslim Brotherhood elements in Jordan and Syria.

The key element here is the Muslim Brotherhood, an organization that doesn’t like Shia Muslims in general and Iran in particular. Little events, like Brotherhood guru Yusuf al-Qaradawi’s support for the Sunni regime in Bahrain against the Shia opposition, show the direction of their thinking.

The even more radical Salafists – a term now used for the small revolutionary Islamist groups, are even more anti-Shia. One factor here is the continued unwillingness of the majority of Arab states to welcome Shia-ruled Iraq into their ranks. Iraq is not going to become a satellite of Iran. It certainly feels more comfortable in a Shia bloc but will probably continue to be relatively uninvolved in regional affairs.

Note, too, that to a large extent this situation leaves the Palestinian Authority an orphan. While the PA can depend on general Arab, Iranian and Turkish support, it has no regional patron, and Hamas is currently the group enjoying the Sunni Islamists’ warm support. This, of course, encourages the Palestinian Authority’s (Fatah’s) alliance with Hamas while also weakening its leverage toward that Islamist partner. (And that means a continued disinterest in negotiating with Israel, much less reaching a negotiated solution with it.)

Thus, despite appearances, 2011 was a defeat for Iran and Turkey because Sunni Arab Islamists are far less receptive to Tehran’s influence and view it as a rival, while Arab Islamists don’t want leadership from Turks either.

Can these blocs unite effectively against the United States, the West or Israel? In a word: No.

Their struggles for regional power and for control of individual states (Bahrain, Lebanon, Syria, and to a far lesser extent Iraq) will keep them in conflict. Even on the anti-Israel consensus they will each seek to exploit it for their own interests.

By the same token, however, the hope for moderation is minimal. In a region where regimes and movements are competing to prove their militancy and loyalty to a radical interpretation of Islam, nobody is going to want to make peace with Israel. And regimes will only work with the United States if they feel believe America can and will protect them, a rather forlorn hope with an Obama administration eager to make friends with Islamists.

There is also another aspect to this Sunni-Shia rivalry, the formation of blocs, the competition in militancy and the battle for control of individual states. The region will continue to waste lives, time and resources in political strife as the lure of ideology and power rather than pragmatism and economic productivity still rule even if the old regimes have fallen.

[The writer is director of the Global Research in International Affairs (GLORIA) Center and a featured columnist at Pajamas Media. His new book, Israel: An Introduction, will be published by Yale University Press in January.]

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