Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Saudi Arabia is Not Our Friend

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Saudi Arabia is Not Our Friend

by Tarek Fatah
The Toronto Sun
September 29, 2015
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Liberal leader Justin Trudeau (left), Prime Minister Stephen Harper (center), and NDP leader Tom Mulcair leave the stage following the Munk Debate on Canada's foreign policy in Toronto on September 28.
At the vigorous foreign affairs debate between the major Canadian national party leaders at the Munk Centre Monday night, one subject was conspicuous by its absence — Saudi Arabia.
A week earlier, during the French-language debate, when prodded by Bloc Quebecois Leader Gilles Duceppe to explain why Canada was arming a country that many political and military strategists consider our enemy, Prime Minister Stephen Harper sheepishly claimed, "Saudi Arabia is our ally."
That remark was met by a sarcastic rebuke from Duceppe, who shot back, "So Saudi Arabia is your ally. Oh good, I've taken note."
Harper's explanation is cause for concern. He could have said, "in trade sometimes one has to deal with the devil," or that, "we traded with the USSR as well," but he stuck to his "ally" rhetoric.
Defending Canada's $15 billion military deal with Saudi Arabia to supply light armoured vehicles, Harper told reporters, "This is a deal, frankly, with a country (that), notwithstanding its human rights violations, which are significant ... is an ally in the fight against the Islamic State."
Saudi Arabia is not our ally in the fight against Islamic State.
In fact, Saudi Arabia is not our ally in the fight against Islamic State.
Indeed, it would not be an exaggeration to say, Saudi Arabia is, metaphorically speaking, the ultimate "Islamic State."
As early as 2002, Laurent Murawiec, the late French-born geostrategist with the Rand Corporation, warned an advisory committee to the United States Department of Defence that the "Saudis are active at every level of the terror chain, from planners to financiers, from cadre to foot soldier, from ideologist to cheerleader ... Saudi Arabia supports our enemies and attacks our allies."
Raif Badawi
Murawiec resigned from his job at Rand shortly after. While he insisted at the time he wasn't fired, many suspected the parting was an example of the lobbying power of the Saudis in the George W. Bush administration, one that continues with President Barack Obama today.
To my astonishment, neither Liberal Leader Justin Trudeau nor NDP Leader Thomas Mulcair were willing to criticize the Saudi government or promise to tear up the deal with the Saudis.
Perhaps they were not well briefed on the subject when it first came up, I thought, so I waited for the Munk foreign affairs debate on Monday for the subject to emerge.
It didn't. Neither the moderator nor the leaders themselves brought up the subject of Saudi Arabia, the arms sale, the case of political prisoner Raif Badawi, whose wife, Ensaf Haider, is now a resident in Canada, or anything critical of the Saudi kingdom.
There is something clearly wrong when no Canadian leader dares to censure Saudi Arabia.
Instead, we witnessed Trudeau mounting an unabashed defence of the rights of convicted Islamic terrorists to hold on to their Canadian citizenship; jihadis who share the same political worldview propagated by many in Saudi Arabia. Trudeau's self-righteous rant seemed to suggest revoking Canadian citizenship was a racist act against immigrants.
This prompted Harper to give the following retort:
Are you seriously saying, Mr. Trudeau, we should never be able to revoke citizenship from somebody? We revoke the citizenship already of war criminals, and why would we not revoke the citizenship of people convicted of terrorist offences against this country?
There is something clearly wrong with Canadian politics when no leader dares to censure Saudi Arabia, let alone call for sanctions against it.
Where are the Bernie Sanders and Donald Trumps of Canadian politics?
How long will we have to suffer the mediocrity in Canada of puppeteer consultants, Teleprompters, contrived rage and fake self-righteousness?
Tarek Fatah, a founder of the Muslim Canadian Congress and columnist at the Toronto Sun, is a Robert J. and Abby B. Levine Fellow at the Middle East Forum.
Related Topics:  Saudi Arabia  |  Tarek Fatah

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Daniel Greenfield's article: Election 2048 - Under the Peace of Islam

Daniel Greenfield's article: Election 2048 - Under the Peace of Islam

Link to Sultan Knish

Posted: 29 Sep 2015 09:51 PM PDT
Election Coverage 2048 - Al-CNN

As the election of 2048 approaches, the candidates from both parties continue to exchange strong views on the issues that affect the lives of Americans. The Party of Democracy and Justice (Hezb-Al-Dimukratie-Wa'al Adalah) continues to maintain that the election will come down to social justice issues.

“With 34 percent unemployment and the price of goat so far out of range of most working families that they have been forced to switch to chicken, it is time that our opponents stopped dodging the issues and took a serious look at the economic consequences of their policies,” Bashar Mohammed Hussein Al-Hamdani, said during a campaign stop at a HalalBurger in Peoria, Illinois.

However the ruling Freedom and Religion Party (Hezb Al-Hurriyah Wa'al Allah) denounced this as class warfare. Still preoccupied with the ongoing occupation of the Netherlands and Greece, the party has taken criticism for ignoring the economic problems of the United States while being preoccupied with waging foreign wars in the name of Islam.

Nevertheless President Mohammed Al-Thani, fresh off a pilgrimage from Mecca, vigorously defended his record while conducting a photo op at a San Diego Madrassa. “The Freedom and Religion Party believes in creating opportunities, rather than offering hand outs. Our subjugation of infidel nations has opened up new territories to be dominated by the believers and our vigorous drive for national morality has revived the family unit as an economic force. Our program of heavily fining women who go out with their naked hair exposed and raising the Jizya tax on the People of the Book has also raised billions of dollars that will go toward repaying the nation 93 trillion dollar debt.”

The high Jizya tax has provoked outrage in some parts of the United States, but the continuing decline of the nation’s non-Muslim population has made the Christian vote much less of a factor in the election. Hamdani has promised to cut the Jizya tax by 20 percent if elected, but it is unclear whether conservative elements in his own party will allow him to do it. National surveys show that since making the proposal, Hamdani’s ratings have gone down 9 points in Illinois and 14 points in California.

President Al-Thani’s advisors view the 2 million conversions to Islam since the Jizya tax was tripled as a major benefit to the party which lost its Christian support during the Great Transition. Since then the Freedom and Justice Party has picked up a Christian and Jewish bloc vote, but the value of that bloc has not held up well over the last two elections.

Christian rights activists attribute the decline of American Christians to the Jizya tax which has made it impossible for many Christian families to earn a living. They also blame the bloody 2045 Riots which marked the end of the Christian presence in former strongholds such as Nashville and Cedar Rapids, as well as rumors about the kidnapping and forced conversion of Christian girls. 

However popular talk show host and pundit, Abdul Greene countered that the decrease was best explained by the large scale immigration of Christians out of the country. “The Christians are too bigoted to live in the same country with us, just like their parents and grandparents. If they can’t control the country, they refuse to live here and accept our laws.”

Christian rights activists have accused Greene of playing a major role in stirring up the 2045 Riots which torched Christian areas in major cities across the United States after a Christian man was accused of having an intimate encounter with a Muslim woman. Greene however insists that the Christians are the ones to blame. Greene's support of the Freedom and Religion Party has been controversial, but President Al-Thani has refused to disavow him.

The latest round of attacks by Greek guerrillas on liberation forces in Athens led to smaller attacks on Christian businesses in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles last month. They also accentuated the debate over the continuing occupation of Greece which began in 2031 when the United States government intervened to protect the territorial claims of the Turkish Republic of Cyprus. Much as in the Netherlands, the intervention to protect a Muslim community turned into a full blown occupation and a war against an insurgency that is believed to be backed and supplied by rogue states such as the breakaway Arctic Republic and the Zionist Entity.

The Freedom and Religion Party under President Al-Thani continues to take the position that American prosperity is closely linked to the welfare of the rest of the Muslim world. In the State of the Union address the president stated that, "We cannot repeat the folly of the Americans of the pagan period who believed that they could have material wealth without religion. Our prosperity comes from Allah and it is only by spreading the way of Allah and conducting our Jihad in the way of Allah on behalf of our endangered brothers and sisters in Europe and Asia that we will be deserving of Allah's bounty."

Hoping to exploit the widespread economic dissatisfaction, Hamdani, a former Wisconsin governor, has promised to withdraw troops from Greece within two years and the Netherlands within five years with the majority of remaining liberation forces being drawn from other Muslim countries. "We can best aid our fellow believers in the Muslim world by being a model of stability and a beacon of tolerance."

 Yusuf Al-Amiriki, a member of Hamdini's foreign policy defense team and a first generation convert descended from two American presidents, courted controversy with a proposal to set up a coalition government of Muslim and moderate Christian groups in the Netherlands. Such governments had been tried in Europe before during the 2030's, but invariably fell apart. Leading Senators from the Freedom and Justice Party accused Hamdani of selling out Muslim interests in order to court the Christian vote. Hamdani's spokeswoman, Aisha Zubedi, has refused to comment on the Amiriki proposal except to say that Hamdani was open to any solution that would restore peace to the people of the Netherlands and protect the rights of European Muslims.

Hamdani courted further controversy by appearing at the funeral of former President Bob Thompson. Thompson had served two terms and while his administration had worked hard on outreach to the Muslim world, he also engaged in the targeted murder of Muslim religious leaders and provided aid to the Zionist entity. For these reasons, President Al-Thani chose not to appear at his funeral even though President Thompson had been a member of the pre-transition Freedom and Religion Party, which was then known as the Republican Party.

Despite the official disapproval, Thompson was viewed positively by many in the Muslim community. Tens of millions of Pakistani-Americans remember how after the India-Pakistan war, the Thompson Administration generously opened its borders to victims of the nuclear fallout in Pakistan. Without that step it might have taken decades more before America achieved a Muslim majority.

During the beginning of his second term, Thompson became the first president to take the oath of office on both a Bible and a Koran declaring that he wanted to make no separation between the books of god. At the Thompson funeral, Hamdani appeared to promise that he would repeat that gesture, but his spokeswoman quickly disavowed any notion that he would ever take an oath on a text that was not the Koran.

"No American president has taken an oath on a bible in over a decade, all that the governor meant was that he would keep both Christians and Muslims in mind as the people of Allah when he takes his oath to protect and defend the Sharia," Aisha Zubedi said.

While the Democracy and Justice Party has often appealed to the poor, its missteps have raised concerns in traditional Muslim communities that Hamdani is going too far in pandering to non-Muslims. "Next thing you know he'll say we should let the Jews come back to America," Congressman Mohammed Mogabe declared. "If Hamdani wants votes out of Cleveland then he is going to show he will fight for us, not for the enemies of the prophets."

Hamdani has hurriedly scheduled an upcoming visit to the Ground Zero Mosque, but it may not be enough to improve his image in the eyes those who have accused him of flirting with apostasy. While the Mosque is a traditional stop for presidential candidates, Hamdani is unlikely to pay tribute to the souls of the 19 martyrs as Al-Thani did during the previous election.

Hoping to refocus attention on his economic program, Hamdani called for higher corporate taxes and accused some corporations of abusing Islamic banking, in particular Hibah payments, to avoid paying taxes. Such charges are not new, but particularly galling at a time when over half the country is out of work and tycoons like Ahmed Shalafi and Sheikh Johnson have used their connections with the Al-Thani government to become billionaires.

To counter Hamdani, Al-Thani's economic advisers have offered up a stimulus plan that raises the Jizya tax on infidels for the second time in a year and vowed to cut spending even further without affecting subsidies to Islamic schools or military preparedness for the Global Jihad. Though the election is still some time away, the Al-Thani campaign has also rolled out a series of ads targeting poor communities which accuse Hamdani of plotting with Jewish and Christian tycoons to subvert the Islamic system of finance through freemasonry and Communist class warfare tactics.
Adding further drama to the election is the possibility of a third party campaign. Andrew McMillan who has been running as an independent in elections for almost twenty years without appealing to anyone but the same racist groups who have been disavowed even by most Christians and Jews, but there is talk that McMillan's America Party might consider replacing the eccentric millionaire with sports star Ted March. As leading goalscorer who helped the United States win the 2042 World Cup, March is one of the most admired non-Muslims in the country. With him on the ticket, the America Party might be able to adopt a new moderate image that is no longer associated with bigotry and intolerance.

But frustrating his own party members, the septuagenarian McMillan appeared to an event commemorating the 2045 riots and gave a rousing speech which hit on many of the same old themes. "For thirty-six years I've been involved in politics and the only thing that I can tell you about politics is that it's all bunk. We weren't talking about the things that mattered thirty-six years ago and we aren't talking about them now."
Daniel Greenfield is a New York City based writer and blogger and a Shillman Journalism Fellow of the David Horowitz Freedom Center.

WEDNESDAY Security Update: Obama surrenders the Middle East to Russia, and it matters

Click below for today's....

FSM Must Reads + 2012 site
Obama just doesn't get it. There are no freedom fighters or prodemocracy plays in that region.

The timing of President Barack Obama's meetings with Pope Francis and Chinese President Xi Jinping could not have been worse.

"But I don't want to go among the mad people," Alice remarked. "Oh, you can't help that," said the [Cheshire] cat, "We're all mad here. I'm mad, you're mad."

The promise of a lessening of tensions in the Mideast has fallen flat. The expectation of compromise and moderation has proved an illusion.

Obama and Secretary of State Kerry have conceded that some portion of the money released to Iran through the lifting of sanctions will result in "bad behavior," a euphemism for terrorism.

"Any U.S. airbase whose airplanes can reach the Iranian airspace as well as their aircraft carriers can be targeted by Iran's unique high precision striking ballistic missiles and drones."

And here's the knife in the heart of the Echo Housing bubble: declining household income.

Don't miss out on the latest

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Deceit, not Justice: Palestinian Lies Peddled Again

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Deceit, not Justice: Palestinian Lies Peddled Again

by Denis MacEoin  •  September 30, 2015 at 5:00 am
  • Ali Kazak knows perfectly well that his narrative is deceitful in the extreme. Kazak's fantasy about a Greater Israel is false, yet he does not mention a word about the most popular slogan used by Palestinians and their supporters: "Palestine will be free From the river to the Sea." All Palestinian maps show this same thing: a Palestine stretching from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean. The slogan and the maps show one thing: no Israel. To call for the extinction of a people and country is a threat of genocide, something the Jews of all people have never called for and will never urge.
  • "The Jewish settlement is not designed to undermine the position of the Arab community; on the contrary, it will salvage it from its economic misery, lift it from its social decline, and rescue it from physical and moral degeneration. Our renaissance in Palestine will come through the country's regeneration, that is: the renaissance of its Arab inhabitants." – David Ben Gurion, 1906, later to become Prime Minister of Israel.
  • Why does Kazak not address the genuine threats of extremist Muslim sheikhs and organizations that say Islam will conquer the world, Muslims will dominate, and the earth will become a single umma [community]?
  • In 1947, the United Nations decided to partition the land. One slender part was given to the Jews, who accepted the space allotted to them without grumbling, but the Arabs rejected the arrangement, refused to establish a state of their own, and have gone on since then fighting, turning down generous peace offers, using terrorism on a vast scale, and doing all in their power to destroy Israel. That is why they do not have a state today.
  • The "occupation" of the West Bank and Gaza was not an occupation of Palestinian territory. It simply retook these two areas from the Jordanians and the Egyptians, who had been occupying them since 1948. Today, Gaza has been wholly restored to the Palestinian people. The Israeli administration of the West Bank is totally legal under international law and is endorsed by UN Resolution 242 (1967), and which makes it clear that Israel has to move out from only some of the territory, and that only once the Palestinians have agreed to secure final and secure borders for Israel and recognized the state of Israel -- something they have never done. It is also legalized under the Israel-Jordan peace treaty of 1987 and the 1993 and 1995 Oslo Accords.
Palestinian Authority leaders, official television, schools and media outlets often display maps showing Palestine stretching from the River Jordan to the Mediterranean. The maps do not show the existence of Israel.
A revelation of Palestinian diplomatic tactics came to light recently in the form of a diplomatic response to an article that opposed the formal acceptance of a Palestinian state, at least at this time.

The Abbas "Bombshell"

by Barry Shaw  •  September 30, 2015 at 4:00 am
  • If one person can stand at the UN and unilaterally declare a state, I advise the leader of the Kurds, the Catalans, the Druze and any other ethnic groups that feel entitled to have their independence to make their way to the building and do so.
  • It is, therefore, the European Union and several European governments, including France and the Netherlands, that are complicit with the Palestinian Authority (PA) in knowingly and purposefully violating their own, signed agreements. Moreover, according to the Oslo Accords, the PA was designated as an interim body, not a permanent one.
  • If one really wants to help the Palestinians, one will try to help rid them of their corrupt and repressive leaders; not reinforce them. The Palestinian people deserve better than this.
Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas addresses the United Nations General Assembly, on September 26, 2014. (Image source: UN)
The "bombshell" that Palestinian Authority (PA) President Mahmoud Abbas threatened he was going to drop on the United Nations during his speech did not materialize.
This bombshell turned out to be a planned announcement of a Palestinian state "under Israeli occupation."
If one person can stand at the podium of the UN and unilaterally declare a state, then I advise the leader of the Kurds, the Catalans, the Druze and any other ethnic groups that feel entitled to have their independence to make their way to the building and do so.
Apparently the U.S. Administration advised Abbas against the announcement, and Abbas backed down.

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Eye on Iran: Iran's Leader Condemns Saudi Arabia over Haj Crush, Demands Bodies of Iranian Pilgrims

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Reuters: "Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei on Wednesday accused Saudi Arabia of hampering the transfer of bodies of Iranian pilgrims killed in a crush at haj last week, adding fuel to a growing spat over the disaster in which nearly 800 people died. Iran has been the most vocal in its criticism of Saudi Arabia for the disaster last Thursday, in which at least 239 Iranians were killed. Tehran says 200 of its pilgrims are still missing. Iranian officials say Saudi Arabia has not done enough to identify and transfer the bodies of the victims to Iran. Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said on Wednesday that Iran will not allow a single Iranian to be buried in Saudi Arabia. 'Saudi Arabia failed to help the injured and are causing trouble in transfer of the bodies to Iran ... the slightest disrespect to Iranians will be met with a harsh reaction from us,' Khamenei told graduates of the Iranian Army's military academies in the city of Noshahr. 'We have shown self-restraint so far, but the Saudis should know Iran is more powerful and has more capabilities and they cannot compete with us in any front,' he added."

AFP: "The Saudi-led coalition said on Wednesday it had seized an Iranian fishing boat in the Arabian Sea loaded with weapons destined for Shiite rebels it is fighting in Yemen. A coalition statement said that the vessel was intercepted on Saturday and that 14 Iranians and weapons including anti-tank shells were found on board. It said that papers found on board the boat showed that it was registered to an Iranian and was licensed for fishing by the Iranian authorities. It listed the weapons seized as 18 anti-armoured Concourse shells, 54 anti-tank BGM17 shells, 15 shell battery kits, four firing guidance systems, five binocular batteries, three launchers, one launchers' holder and three batteries. The vessel was seized 150 nautical miles off the Omani port of Salalah, the coalition statement said."

Guardian: "The Iranian government is earning more from tax than oil for the first time in almost half a century as the country shifts its traditional reliance on crude to taxation revenues in the face of plummeting oil prices. President Hassan Rouhani's economic strategy is to significantly reduce the government's dependency on oil and instead collect tax more systematically, according to Ali Kardor, the deputy managing director of the national Iranian oil company (NIOC). 'For the first time in 50 years, the government's share of the oil revenue is less than what it is earning from tax, including VAT,' he told the Guardian on the sidelines of the second Europe-Iran forum in Geneva. 'Only around 10% of Iran's GDP is currently dependent on oil.' Almost 20% of oil income goes into a sovereign wealth fund, which is reserved for development purposes."

Nuclear Program & Agreement

Fars (Iran): "Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani underlined the end of inspections and visits to the country's military site in Parchin. 'No other visits will be paid to Parchin at any level,' Shamkhani told FNA on Wednesday. Asked about Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano's visit to Parchin, he said, 'No inspection was carried out and Amano's presence at Parchin was just visit different from inspection.'"

Congressional Action

Free Beacon: "House Republicans are still considering a lawsuit and other measures to prevent the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal and the provision of billions of dollars in sanctions relief to Tehran, according to one of the leading lawmakers opposed to the agreement. Rep. Peter Roskam (R., Ill.) told the Washington Free Beacon in an interview that the Obama administration still needs to address a 'serious legal question' about the nuclear deal and the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act, which allowed Congress to evaluate the agreement before it was fully implemented. According to the review act, lawmakers were supposed to be granted access to the text of the agreement as well as 'any additional materials related thereto, including annexes, appendices, codicils, side agreements, implementing materials, documents, and guidance, technical or other understandings, and any related agreements.' However, Roskam and other lawmakers have said that they have been prohibited from viewing the 'side deals' that govern the International Atomic Energy Agency's (IAEA) inspections of Iran's nuclear facilities. Agency officials have said that such inspection deals typically remain confidential... House Speaker John Boehner (R., Ohio), is 'actively considering' a legal challenge against the administration for violating the review act, Roskam said. 'That will ultimately be a legal decision based on consultation, but I know that the appetite for litigation is there,' he said. A lawsuit against the administration could have a couple of effects, he said. A federal judge could issue an injunction against the implementation of the nuclear deal until the administration provides all side agreements, delaying sanctions relief for Tehran. The prospect of litigation could also deter Western companies from investing in Iran as the sanctions are lifted. 'If [companies] get the sense that this is an unsettled question-there's litigation, and there's a majority in the House against it, and a majority in the House has already spoken and said that [the review act] hasn't been complied with-if you're that company, are you that anxious to jump into the Iranian market if you think it might jeopardize your relationship to the American market?' he said."

Free Beacon: "Iran is refusing to pay more than $43 billion in court judgments issued to U.S. victims of the Islamic Republic's terror operations, prompting two leading senators to back an effort that would prohibit the Obama administration from unfreezing more than $150 billion in Iranian assets until that country has settled its debts. The $43 billion in damages to American terror victims were assessed as a result of some 50 U.S. court cases in recent years, according to official government estimates. As the Obama administration prepares to release more than $150 billion in unfrozen cash assets to Iran, Congress is demanding that these terror victims finally be awarded their money. Sens. Pat Toomey (R., Pa.) and Mark Kirk (R., Ill.) on Tuesday unveiled a bill that would prevent the Obama administration from lifting economic sanctions on Tehran until these U.S. terrorist victims are paid for the crimes committed by Iranian-funded terrorist proxy groups, such as Hezbollah, according to a copy of the legislation obtained by the Washington Free Beacon. 'Iran-sponsored terrorists have killed more Americans than the Islamic State,' Kirk told the Free Beacon. 'Families of Americans killed by Iranian-backed terrorism have used U.S. laws to take Iran to court and lawfully win approximately $43.5 billion in unsatisfied damages, so if the United States fails to ensure Iran fully pays these judgments before Iranian terror financiers get over $100 billion in sanctions relief, we risk emboldening Iran and other state sponsors of terror to continue targeting and killing more Americans.' ... Toomey and Kirk have teamed up to sponsor legislation that would legally prohibit the Obama administration from providing Iran with sanctions relief, as is mandated under the recent nuclear deal, until these victims receive payment. Rep. Patrick Meehan (R., Pa.) has sponsored a companion version of the legislation in the House."

AFP: "US Republicans said Tuesday they were introducing legislation that would use frozen Iranian assets to pay American victims of Iranian terrorism before billions of dollars are returned to Tehran as part of the nuclear deal. Congressional Republicans are furious over President Barack Obama's landmark accord with world powers that aims to rein in Iran's nuclear program, in exchange for an easing of sanctions that have crippled the Islamic republic's economy. They see the Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act as a way to stall the deal, or at least take a major bite out of funds that would be returned to Tehran. The bill will be introduced this week, according to its sponsor, House Republican Pat Meehan. 'There are some $43.5 billion in judgments which have been rendered under American law for victims of acts of Iranian terror,' with more than 80 lawsuits successfully prosecuted through US courts, Meehan told reporters. 'Despite this, not one cent has been paid by Iran,' he said. 'This is an opportunity to change that dynamic.' In backing the bill, House Speaker John Boehner said it would be unfair for Obama to 'provide Iran with about $100 billion of their assets locked up in Western banks, without first paying the victims of Iranian terrorism.' Meehan said he had virtually unanimous support in his caucus, and expected the measure also to be introduced this week in the Senate, where its fate remained less certain."

Sanctions Relief

Bloomberg: "Iran expects about $29 billion of funds to be unfrozen and repatriated to its central bank by January 2016 at the latest as economic sanctions are eased after July's nuclear deal, a senior central bank official said. 'It'll be around that time,' Gholamali Kamyab, central bank vice governor for foreign exchange affairs, said in an interview Friday on the sidelines of an investment conference in Geneva... The funds are currently being held in different countries and the sum could eventually exceed $29 billion, Kamyab said. 'There could be other figures, but that's most of it,' he added. The holdings include $23 billion in foreign exchange belonging to the central bank and another $6 billion of government money, according to a recent report on state television. Iran has no gold held overseas, Kamyab said."

Reuters: "Oil sales have allowed Iran to start emptying oil stored onboard tankers. Starla, the first Iranian supertanker used for floating storage, sailed for Asia in mid July after the nuclear deal was signed. Since then, a further six Very Large Crude Carriers (VLCCs) - each capable of carrying a maximum of 2 million barrels of oil - have sailed, a tanker tracking source said. The source said one of the tankers - Derya - had conducted a ship-to-ship transfer with a foreign tanker in September with at least 1 million barrels of condensate, which was delivered to a terminal in the United Arab Emirates... U.S. headquartered broker Poten & Partners estimated 14 VLCCs were storing Iranian oil, down from 17 in June. Other sources said up to 20 tankers were still currently storing oil. Windward, a Tel Aviv operated maritime data and analytics company, estimated this week that Iran was storing 43.098 million barrels of crude and condensate on vessels at sea, down from 54 million barrels in early July."

Shana (Iran): "Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh said on Saturday the main conference on introducing Iran's new oil contracts will convene in the near future in Tehran. 'The new oil contracts and the projects to be developed within their scope will be introduced to foreign investors in a conference in Tehran in month of Aban (Oct 23 - Nov 21),' he told Shana. Saying that venue of the main event which was due to be held in London has been shifted to Tehran, the minister added, 'The companies that cannot make it in Tehran, can participate in the subsequent London conference.'"

Tehran Times: "Etihad Airways, the national airline of the United Arab Emirates, will increase its flights between Abu Dhabi and Tehran, the capital of Iran, to ten flights a week from currently seven, beginning on Friday October 2. The airline increased on April 15 its flights from three flights a week to a daily service, the IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday."

Shana (Iran): "President Hassan Rouhani said in the post-sanction era, Italian companies have the advantage of a better ground for presence in Iran's oil and gas industry considering their past record of activity. 'In the new conditions, considering that some Italian firms have had cooperation with Iran in oil, gas and heavy industries, the ground is more prepared for their operation in Iran's economy,' he said in a meeting with Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in New York on Monday. There are numerous areas of investment in Iran from the oil and gas sector to the petrochemical, transport, industries and mine sectors, the president added, 'In the new era, in addition to investment by the premier Italian companies, we are interested in transferring  of technology and the joint production of goods.' ... Renzi also welcomed President Rouhani's upcoming visit to Italy as a move which can further develop the existing bilateral ties and said, 'Iran and Italy are treasuries of human civilization and such an infrastructure should be employed to build a better future.'"

Trend: "The Italian gas infrastructure company Snam has not taken a decision so far to accompany the Italian delegation to Iran in November, Davide Sempio, head of media external relations at Snam told Trend Sept. 28. Italy's Deputy Minister of Economic Development Carlo Calenda will lead a delegation of over a hundred representatives from various companies and banks to Iran from November 28 to 30. 'We have not taken a decision on this so far, as the organization of the visit still needs to be defined on several levels,' Sempio underlined."


Guardian: "The United States did not invite Iran to Tuesday's UN summit on combating Islamic State and other violent extremist groups because it still designates Iran itself as a state sponsor of terrorism... US State Department officials confirmed that Iran's designation as a state sponsor of terrorism was the reason for its exclusion from the countering Isis summit being chaired by Obama on Tuesday."

Syria Conflict

AFP: "Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad must leave office or face being turfed out by force, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir said, rejecting Russia's bid to build support for its ally. Speaking in New York after meeting Saudi Arabia's allies, Jubeir on Tuesday dismissed Russia's call for a coalition to defend Assad against the Islamic State group as a 'non-starter.' He warned that other countries would step up support for rebels from Syria's moderate opposition, leaving Assad with no choice but to step down or face what he called the 'military option.' And he scorned Iran's involvement in Russia's putative alliance, describing Tehran as an 'occupying power' in Syria and accusing it of fomenting terrorism and extremism across the region... As to Iran, Jubeir said, the only way it can help is to withdraw. 'Iran is part of the problem and cannot be part of the solution,' he said. 'It should withdraw its forces from Syria and withdraw the Shiite militias that it inserted into Syria and then it can talk about a diplomatic solution,' Jubeir declared. 'But what we're looking at now is Iran is a occupying force in Syria.' And, asked whether Russia and Iran might support a transition away from Assad's rule, he admitted: 'Hope is not that great.'"

AFP: "US Secretary of State John Kerry suggested Tuesday that Russia and Iran may persuade Syrian strongman Bashar al-Assad to stop indiscriminately dropping barrel bombs on his own people. Moscow and Washington disagree sharply about Assad's longer term role in efforts to end the Syrian war, but have begun cautiously to discuss efforts to defeat his Islamic State jihadist foes. In an interview with MSNBC News on Tuesday, Kerry suggested that the cooperation might go deeper than that and that Moscow and Tehran, Assad's staunch allies, might also help rein him in. He said that he had discussed the matter with Iranian officials and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov, whom he is to meet again this week on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly. 'And we raised that yesterday,' he said. 'I did talk with Lavrov about it and I talked with the Iranians about it.' Kerry went on to say 'they are both in a position, in exchange perhaps for something that we might do, they might decide to keep Assad from dropping barrel bombs.'"

Yemen Conflict

WSJ: "Yemeni President Mansour Hadi on Tuesday accused Iran of seeking his country's destruction by backing Houthi rebels in Yemen's civil war. In a speech to the United Nations General Assembly, Mr. Hadi blamed Iran for supporting what he called a 'military and political coup d'├ętat' by Houthi rebels to undermine a political transition. 'We find ourselves mixed in this battle, this fight for this country and the legitimacy of the state to ensure the country not fall into the hands of Iran, which would like to see the destruction of the country,' Mr. Hadi said. 'This was indeed a desperate attempt to impose the Iranian model through the use of force.'"

Domestic Politics

AFP: "The Iranian foreign minister's reported handshake with US President Barack Obama triggered chants of 'Death to America' in Tehran's parliament Wednesday and a warning against 'another kind of spying'. The foreign ministry has confirmed a 'completely accidental' encounter between Obama and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York on Monday, without denying there was a handshake as reported by Iran's semi-official ISNA news agency. But hardline lawmakers went on the offensive against Zarif. 'With whose permission have they met Obama?' deputy Bahram Biranvand asked angrily. 'Last time they talked to Obama on the phone and this time, with whose permission' did Iran's minister shake hands with the US leader? ... Zarif also came under indirect attack from Iran's ultraconservative judiciary spokesman, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejeie, Fars news agency reported. Without naming Zarif, Ejeie alluded to the Obama handshake and said: 'Some spies are paid but there is another kind of spying that we have to watch out for. He prepares the ground for the enemy. These people would say: Why not allow a friendly handshake with the enemy? What's wrong with shaking hands with Obama? What's wrong with sitting with them, chatting away and drinking with them?'"

Bloomberg: "Iranian hard-liners wasted no time labeling Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as 'unrevolutionary' for shaking hands with Barack Obama. It's the first gesture of its kind between a U.S. president and a high-ranking Iranian official in more than three decades. It took place at the United Nations General Assembly in New York and overnight caused a stir back in Tehran. Lawmaker Hamid Rasaee posted a picture of a handshake between a man and a red-skinned devil with long black nails on his Instagram account... 'Two years ago Rouhani spoke with Obama by chance, last year, Zarif and Kerry took a stroll without any prior intention in front of international media,' Rasaee said on his Instagram account. 'This year, Zarif accidentally bumped into Obama and had an exchange. History is full of these chance encounters,' Rasaee wrote on his page... 'This action took place even though serious warnings had been given to the negotiating team to not give the Americans the opportunity to display such show against the Islamic Republic,' wrote hard-line news website Rajanews... The symbolic act was 'an ugly thing to do and Zarif should apologize to the Iranian nation for this,' said Mansour Haghighatpour, deputy head of the parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, according to the Fars news agency. 'Shaking hands with the Americans and drinking Nescafe with them, this should only happen if they apologize to us.'"

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