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When North Korea Tests a Nuke, Assume It’s Iran’s as Well

North Korea briefly reclaimed the global press’ attention again by claiming to have tested a hydrogen bomb. While coverage focused on whether that was an exaggeration, the press missed a much more important question: Was this test only for Kim Jong-Un or was it also for the Iranian regime?

The North Korean and Iranian nuclear and ballistic missile programs should be seen as a single entity, as should be their shared cyber warfare programs. The advance of one is an advance of the other. Differences in their activity should be seen as a common-sense division of labor. Gordon Chang, a prominent expert on Asian affairs, has written about the likelihood that this is the case.

Last May, an Iranian opposition group that has accurately identified hidden nuclear sites in the past reported that it had specific intelligence about North Korean nuclear and missile experts secretly visiting Iran. Intelligence analyst Ilana Freedman said in January 2014 that her sources said a relocation of major parts of Iran’s nuclear program to North Korea began as early as December 2012.

For Iran, it is best to let the North Koreans put the finishing touches on the most provocative nuclear and missile work. Whereas the Iranian regime does suffer from sanctions and must always keep the 2009 Green Revolution in the back of its mind, North Korea thrives off isolation and international provocation.

North Korea has nothing to lose and can only gain by such an arrangement. Kim Jong-Un’s regime has already crossed the nuclear pariah threshold, so it might as well let its Iranian allies take the lucrative deal offered by the West. It has been content to spend $1.1-$3.2 billion each year on it. Plus, the deal puts Iran in a moreadvantageous position  and its economic improvements can help it invest more in North Korea’s activity.

The good news is that this latest test—North Korea’s fourth— does not appear to be more powerful than its last one, indicating no significant advance in technology. RAND Corporation analyst Bruce Bennett says North Korea is still working on the “basics” of a nuclear fission bomb.

It is hard for some to accept that an Islamist theocracy like that in Iran would work with a cultish communist dictatorship like North Korea, but there is nothing in either one’s ideology that would prevent such cooperation. In fact, North Korea’s success in building a nuclear arsenal actually encourages Iran to see nuclear weapons as a key lesson for the Islamic Revolution.

“The entire world may well consider North Korea a failed state, but from the view point of [Iran], North Korea is a success story and a role model: A state which remains true to its revolutionary beliefs and defies the Global Arrogance,” Ali Alfoneh, an expert on the Iranian regime, told the Washington Free Beacon.

Given the spotty record of U.S. intelligence assessments (to say the least), the West must operate under the assumption that there isn’t an Iranian WMD problem and a North Korean WMD problem, but an Iranian-North Korean WMD problem.

ABOUT RYAN MAURO

Ryan Mauro is ClarionProject.org’s national security analyst, a fellow with Clarion Project and an adjunct professor of homeland security. Mauro is frequently interviewed on top-tier television and radio. Read more, contact or arrange a speaking engagement.

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EDITORS NOTE: The featured image is of a previous nuclear Test made by North Korea. Photo: Video screenshot.

Stop Iran Rally in Washington, D.C.: Remarks by Hispanic Pastor Mario Bramnick

End the Iran Deal rally on September 8th, 2015 in Washington, D.C. at the Capitol West Lawn. Remarks by Pastor Mario Bramnick, President of the Hispanic Israel Leadership Coalition.

RELATED ARTICLE: The Iran deal bait-and-switch – The Boston Globe

A Genocidal Obsession Against America and Israel

Certainly you read about the six-year-old from Colorado Springs who got suspended from school for sexual harassment, specifically for kissing his little classmate on the hand.  It was his second suspension, the first for kissing the same little girl on the cheek when he was five.

Think of what “the authorities” would have done to this menace if he had told his teacher he hated her, or worse, that he wished she were dead. Permanent exile? Reform school? Mandatory psychotherapy? Banishment to Siberia?

The point is that this child’s totally benign, even sweet, behavior was taken with dead seriousness by the [idiotic] powers-that-be, and if he had verbalized any angry feelings, you know the punishment would have been even more draconian.

Contrast this with the behavior of the man who occupies the Oval Office when listening over the past decades to the bellicose chants of the mad mullahs in Iran––“Death to America, Death to Israel”––with the man who apparently thinks it’s okay for Israel’s enemies today to chant: “Israel must be obliterated!”

For this man, Barack Obama, no problem.

In fact in an interview in The Atlantic in May, writer Jeffrey Goldberg asked Mr. Obama how he squares his admission that the Iranian regime represents “venomous anti-Semitism” with his eagerness to sell them nukes, Obama––incredulously––responded in the following way:

“Well the fact that you are anti-Semitic, or racist, doesn’t preclude you from being interested in survival. It doesn’t preclude you from being rational about the need to keep your economy afloat; it doesn’t preclude you from making strategic decisions about how you stay in power; and so the fact that the supreme leader is anti-Semitic doesn’t mean that this overrides all of his other considerations.”

Uh huh. And it clearly doesn’t preclude Iran from carrying out a nuclear attack on a state and a people that has obsessed this lowly species of “clerics” for a lifetime of all-consuming hatred. The same self-interests didn’t stop Hitler! But Mr. Obama knows all this.

He is acutely aware that just this week, Iranian, ahem, “Supreme Leader,” Ali Khamenei, called for the destruction of the “barbaric, wolf-like and infanticidal regime of Israel” and the dispersal of the Jews who had emigrated to Israel from some other place.

But so obsessed is Mr. Obama with helping the chief purveyor of terrorism in the entire world gain a fast-track to nuclear bombs that he and his laughably impotent Secretary of State, John Kerry, caved on virtually every issue––on more than 12 key issues, also listed here ––that might have kept both America and Israel if not safe, than safer.

Then we learn of secret talks in which the Obama regime agreed and approved––in 2011, no less, behind the backs of every American––that Iran had a “right” to operate a nuclear program.

Of course, sane people pushed back immediately on Obama’s genocidal agreement. Within weeks, a majority of Americans of every political affiliation rejected the deal, as did every Republican member of the House and Senate––and also increasing numbers of Democrats.

Again, Obama showed the sentiments he simply can’t conceal, using all the anti-Semitic code words  that Jews have heard for centuries. His words “dredge up the [forgery of] “The Protocols of the Elders of Zion,” said the esteemed political science professor and Ford Foundation fellowship recipient Abraham Ben-Zvi of Haifa University––accusations about Jewish “money” and “lobbyists” opposing the Iran deal, all of which dredge up the toxic canard of dual loyalty.

In the news at the same time that the deadly deal with Iran was struck was an announcement that a Manhattan Federal Court awarded an immense amount of money––in the billions––to the families of American victims who were wounded or killed in the Palestinian Liberation Organization (PLO) bombings and shootings that killed 33 and injured hundreds between 2001 and 2004. And as day follows night, Mr. Obama went to bat for––drum roll here––the terrorists! He insisted that the court lower the judgment so the extant Palestinian terrorists wouldn’t go broke.

Brings a tear to your eye, doesn’t it?

A child barely older than a toddler gets slammed for kissing his cute little girl crush, but a thug regime totally dedicated to murdering Jews and Americans gets a pass from Mr. Hope and Change.

And people wonder why a billionaire candidate who is pro-American, pro-Israel, pro-military, pro-capitalist, pro-taking out ISIS, is galloping toward a presidential nomination and why a doddering, lying, pro-Obama candidate is not only going down, but probably to Leavenworth!

Open Letter from Iranian Human Rights Activists: ‘Do Not Appease the Iranian Regime’

iran_woman

Unidentified Iranian woman protesting.

In the past few weeks, some Iranian activists have vocally supported the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (China, Russia, France, United Kingdom, United States and Germany). While we deeply respect the experience and views of these men and women, it is important to hear all perspectives.

We represent another collection of Iranian activists who share the world’s hope for a better future but believe that appeasing the Iranian regime will lead to a more dangerous world.

We have spent our lives advocating for peace, justice and freedom in Iran. We represent a diverse array of Iranians who hope to warn the world of the danger of this regime regardless of how many centrifuges spin in Iran.

This deal will provide up to $150 billion windfall of cash into the bank account of our tyrants and theocrats. This money will not be spent on the Iranian people but rather to enrich a repressive regime.

Sadly, the world has not demanded real improvements in human rights. Thousands of activists continue to languish behind bars (including several Americans) and it is tragic that their release was not included in these discussions.

We are sounding the alarm bells before it is too late. Those who care about peace should help restore focus to the Iranian regime’s brutal human rights records, its support for global terror and role in destabilizing the Middle East. More pressure should be applied to the regime, not less.

One day when the Iranian people are finally free, they will hold an accounting of who stood on their side and who stood on the regime’s. It is not too late to hold the Iranian regime accountable for their continued human rights violations.

Today in Iran, political prisoners are tortured. Bloggers, journalists and teachers remain behind bars. Sexual and religious rights are trampled. Women are treated as second class citizens.

Western apologists and appeasers of Iranian theocracy do no favors to the Iranian people. They distance the likelihood of positive change and undercut the hopes of the Iranian people.

When the Iranian regime no longer fears its people, then the world will no longer have a reason to fear the Iranian regime.

Signed by:

Mahvash Alasvandi (two sons executed)
Bijan Fathi (two sons executed)
Sayeh Saeedi Sirjani (father jailed, died in custody)
Banafsheh Pourzand (father jumped to death under house arrest)
Ahmad Mostafalou (jailed, tortured, escaped execution)
Shadi Paveh (father executed) 
Borzumehr Toloui (uncle executed)
Soheila Dorostkar (brother executed, his body was never recovered)
Shabnam Assadollahi (jailed and tortured)
Afshin Afshin-Jam (jailed and tortured)
Ahmad Batebi (jailed and tortured)
Kaveh Taheri (jailed and tortured)
Marina Nemat (jailed and tortured)
Shiva Mahbobi (jailed and tortured)
Salman Sima (jailed and tortured)
Roozbeh Farahanipour (jailed and tortured)
Abbas Khorsandi (Jailed and tortured)
Abazar Nourizad (father jailed and tortured, out on bail, prohibited from leaving Iran) 
Nima Rashedan (jailed)
Alireza Kiani (jailed)
Amir Hossein Etemadi (jailed)
Siavash Safavi (jailed)
Saeed Ghasseminejad (jailed)
Behzad Mehrani (jailed)
Roya Araghi (Jailed) 
Marjan Keypour 
Sheema Kalbasi 
Majid Rafizadeh 
Youhan Najdi
Masood Masjoodi
Liuna Issagholian
Ahmad Eshghyar 
Daniel Jafari
Ashkan Monfared
Hossein Ladjevardi 
Avideh Motamen Far
Afshine Emrani
Bahram Bahramian
Sirus Malakooty
Babak Seradjeh
Shahla Abghari 
Siavash Abghari
Majid Mohammadi
Damon Golriz 
Hassan Dai
Keyvan Kaboli
Sam Yebri
Elham Yaghoubian
Shayan Arya 
Peter Kohanloo
Amir Khosrow Sheibany
Soheila Nikpour
Reza Taghizadeh 
Setareh Yavari
Mansoureh Nasserchian 
Maryam Moazenzadeh
Parviz Sayyad
Farrokh Zandi
Partow Nooriala
Alireza Saghafi
Manda Zand Ervin
Fati Mohammadi
Akhtar Ghasemi (jailed)
Maryam Namazie
Aynaz Anni Cyrus (Jailed and tortured)

A Strange Turn of History: The ‘Risk of a Nuclear Attack has gone up’ by Michael Devolin

“In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.” –President Barack Obama, 2009

While reading Philip Taubman’s book The Partnership, a story about “five Cold Warriors and their quest to ban the bomb,” I was amazed by how he mentions President Obama in glowing terms—as a politician concerned and speaking out about the dangers nuclear weapons pose to the world at large—but refers to Iran as a one of those countries whose “nuclear program” the same world should regard as suspect and a veritable kindle stick to what has always been a volatile and preponderantly Muslim Middle East. He quotes President Obama who, during a visit to Prague in 2009, remarked, “In a strange turn of history, the threat of global nuclear war has gone down, but the risk of a nuclear attack has gone up.”

Surprisingly, in light of the “Iran deal” recently orchestrated by Obama’s shamelessly sycophantic John Kerry, Taubman tells that it was the view of William Perry (one of the Cold Warriors) way back when that, “the intersection of terrorism and the weapons programs in North Korea and Iran will push nuclear threats out of control. ‘If Iran and North Korea cannot be stopped from building nuclear arsenals,’ he said, ‘I believe that we will cross that tipping point, with consequences that will be dangerous beyond most people’s imagination.’ ” He recounts that in 2008, during a presidential debate, Obama said that “…the biggest threat to the United States is a terrorist getting their hands on nuclear weapons.” So, I am not so perplexed by Philip Taubman’s blind and salivating support of Barack Obama as I am by President Obama’s complete repudiation of his professed convictions then about the dangers of nuclear weapons and the absence of what should have been, to date, a corresponding foreign policy as regards Iran. His recent imbecility, or, as it has become known, “the Iran deal,” has not only evoked the choler of his Republican opponents but also that of some of his fellow Democrats, including Robert Menendez and Chuck Schumer.

What kind of leader wilfully enables a professed enemy of the USA to produce nuclear weapons? Certainly not a leader known for patriotic rhetoric, and certainly not a leader known for telling the truth. This is the same Barack Obama who, during his first term as President, condemned Iran unreservedly, as though there was never any doubt that Iran was a rogue nation and a danger to the security of the entire world, let alone the Middle East: “I state clearly and with conviction America’s commitment to seek the peace and security of a world without nuclear weapons.” But now he’s given the green light to Iran to continue its “nuclear program,” as though Iran were a trusted friend and not a sworn enemy of the United States of America—as though the Republic of Iran has no intention of developing nuclear weapons. “I’m not naïve,” said President Obama back in 2009. Oh, but yes you are, Mr. President.

In his book World War IV, Norman Podhoretz pointed out back in 2007 that many members of the “foreign-policy elites” were coming to the conclusion that making compromises with the Republic of Iran was not a viable option simply because of the fact that this regime, even then, showed nothing but contempt for Western diplomacy and goodwill. “You can’t piss through an Ironwood tree,” as they say up here in Canada, and you can’t expect an Islamist regime like Iran to give up its enthralling dream of hegemony over all other nations in the Middle East when that same dream can only be realized by means of nuclear weapons capability. And you can’t expect Iran’s religious madmen to give up their lust for killing Jews when they’ve proudly ingeminated their public support of terrorists bent on the annihilation of the State of Israel for so many years now that it’s become an Islamic custom. Think Al Quds Day. Podhoretz recounts that even his unflattering political opponents eventually had to acknowledge his astute ascertainment about the religious madmen of Iran: “As one who had long since rejected the faith in diplomacy and sanctions, and who had been excoriated for my heretical views by more than one member of the foreign-policy elites, I never thought I would live to see the day when these very elites would come to admit that the carrot-and-stick approach would not and could not succeed in preventing Iran from getting the bomb.”

Mr. Podhoretz goes on to tell that, even though his opponents acknowledged his wisdom and foresight regarding Iran, “the lesson they drew from this new revelation was, however, a different matter.” Instead of “drawing the logical conclusion—namely that military action had now become necessary,” they opted for the “complacent idea that we could live with an Iranian bomb.” Promoting military action against Iran, Podhoretz argued that “deterrence could not be relied upon with a regime ruled by Islamofascist revolutionaries who not only were ready to die for their beliefs but cared less about protecting their people than about the spread of their ideology and their power. If the mullahs got the bomb, I said, it is not them who would be deterred, but us.”

And this, alas, this reversal of roles, from having some measure of control over our destiny to placing our destiny into the hands of our sworn enemies—is the irremissible fate foisted on us (and our children) by President Barack Obama and his Secretary of State John Kerry. I am very distressed by the fact that the present government of the greatest superpower in the world (USA) has now given legitimacy (cheap though it may be) to a vicious regime whose mullahs have had ties to what Neil Kressel referred to as “worldwide holy war network,” to such Islamist savages as Sheikh Omar Abdel Rahman and Ramzi Yousef, and all because President Barack Obama obdurately insists that the West can “live with an Iranian bomb.”

This certainly is a strange turn of history, President Obama, but not because the “threat of global nuclear war has gone down,” nor because “the risk of nuclear attack has gone up,” but because you, in every grandiloquent speech you gave back in 2009, promised you would work toward creating a world free of the threat of nuclear war. Instead, because of your underhanded dealings with Iran, beyond the gaze of those who actually love and cherish the freedoms and security we enjoy here in the Western hemisphere, have made the world a much more dangerous place.

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Obama’s Dangerous Iran Nuke Deal

The February 10th Wall Street Journal editorial asked “Has the U.S. already conceded a new era of nuclear proliferation?” and concluded that “Mr. Obama is so bent on an Iran deal that he will make any concession to get one.”

As we should know by now, President Obama has no negotiating skills and even less understanding of the world the U.S. used to lead by virtue of its military power and democratic values.

If he succeeds in getting a deal, absent Congress doing anything about it, the Wall Street Journal says it will result in “a very different world than the one we have been living in since the dawn of the nuclear age. A world with multiple nuclear states, including some with revolutionary religious impulses or hegemonic ambitions, is a very dangerous place.”

Yes, but. We already live in such a world and the real question is whether, absent their “revolutionary” rhetoric, shouting “Death to America!” and “Death to Israel!” do those at the top levels of the Iranian ruling structure want to risk having their nation destroyed if they were ever to use nuclear weapons?

No nation on Earth has done so since the U.S. ended the war with the Japanese Empire with two atom bombs rather than put at risk the lives of our troops in an invasion. Why do we think Iran would use their nukes if they acquired them?

The short answer is that the United Nations has passed six resolutions to deny Iran the capability of developing a military nuclear program and the current negotiations, the P5+1, while led by the U.S., are joined by Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom and Germany.

Cartoon - Iran Threat to US

For a larger view click on the image.

Nations in the Middle East and around the world are inclined to think the Iranian leadership would use such weapons. Obama is intent on ignoring their judgment.

If you want to know why Iran continues to be involved in negotiations to restrict its nuclear weapons agenda, you need to know that the U.S. will release $11.9 billion to Iran by the time the talks are concluded in June. That’s the figure cited by our own State Department.

On January 21, the U.S. released $490 million, the third such payment since December 10. For sitting at the negotiations table, Iran will secure $4.9 billion in unfrozen cash assets via ten separate payments by the U.S. It had received $4.2 billion in similar payments under the 2013 interim agreement with the U.S. and was given another $2.9 billion by the Obama administration last year in an absurd effort to get them to agree to end their effort to become a nuclear power.

In a sense there are several Iran’s. There is the Iran of the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guard, both committed to the Islamic revolution that brought the present day Iran into being in 1979. They value having a nuclear weapons capability no less than the U.S. or other nations do.

Then there are the Iranian realists who would far prefer a detente between the U.S. and Iran because they believe it would be in both our interests. These are the voters who elected Hassan Rouhani in 2013 to replace Mahmoud Ahmadinejad who has served in office from 2005. They represent some 70% of its citizens would want peace, trade and normal relations with the U.S. Their leaders, however, have thoughts of hegemonic power in the Middle East to advance Shiite Islam.

The problem is that many of the Iranian leadership do not speak in terms other than an utter contempt for the U.S. and with an outspoken enmity for any nation that opposes the expansion of Islam. In late January, one of its newspapers, Kayhan, reported that “Professors, students and employees at the Imam Sadeq University, condemning the insults against the prophet of Islam by Charlie Hebdo…demand closure of the French embassy in Tehran.”

The demonstrators carried placards read, “I am not Charlie, I am the innocent child of Gaza”, “Death to America”, “Death to Israel”, “Death to Britain”, “Death to France”, ‘Death to Wahabism” and comparable signs all indicative of Iran’s hostility to any response to the terrorism it has sponsored for decades since the Islamic Revolution was initiated there in 1979.

On January 23, Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, addressed the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland, saying “I do not believe that ten years of confrontation will have had any benefits for anyone. Ten years of sanctions has yielded 19,800 contrifuges, exactly that which the sanctions wanted to halt.”

There is no question that sanctions and the long negotiations have reduced Iran’s capacity to create nuclear weapons agenda. The current negotiations, however, are signaling an abandonment of that policy.

At Friday prayers in late January, Hojjat al-Eslam Zazem Sediqi told those in attendance “Our statesmen should know the enemy, should know with whom they are dealing and negotiating with…You are speaking with wild beasts which do not show mercy to (anyone) young or old, and who insult the Prophet, the most sacred of sacred.”

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDC) maintains a constant monitoring of Iranian news media and government outlets. The reported news out of Iran paints a picture of fire-breathing zealots against a moderate political class and population. The question is whether the zealots will have the final word.

On January 28, Ali Alfoneh, a FDC senior fellow, authored a policy brief that concluded that “Even in the unlikely event that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his negotiating team reach a nuclear agreement with international negotiators, its implementation may well fall to the Islamic Revolutionary Corps…The IRGC’s vociferous opposition to nuclear concessions and improving ties with the West raises serious questions over whether future Iranian governments will uphold any nuclear deal that the current one signs.”

There are two major power centers in Iran, the Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei, and the IRGC. Rouhani is routinely referred to as “a moderate.” As Alfoneh noted, “Meanwhile, Rouhani’s cabinet is torn between public demands for jobs and human rights, the creeping infiltration of the IRGC, and the Supreme Leader’s dogged attempts to maintain the status quo at all costs.”

In late January, the Democrats on Capitol Hill, led by Robert Menendez (D-NJ) gave Obama another two months to reach a deal before they vote for new sanctions. In the House, progressives are urging their colleagues to hold off moving any legislation that would tighten economic penalties on Iran. At this point, the only thing that has worked has been sanctions and the return of frozen funds, a form of bribery.

Meanwhile, Iran has taken credit for the training and arming of Shiite rebels who overthrew the leadership in Yemen. Iran also supports the Hezbollah in Lebanon that is threatening Israel from the area of the Golan. In reprisal for a recent attack, Israel responded with an air strike that killed an Iranian general. None of this helps position Iran as a potential peaceful partner.

This is why John Boehner, the Speaker of the House, has invited Israel’s Prime Minister, Benjamin Netanyahu, to address a joint session of Congress. He did so without consulting the White House, but we should keep in mind that Obama released five Taliban generals from Gitmo without consulting Congress.

Netanyahu will spell out what he has said in the past. A nuclear Iran is an existential and a potentially catastrophic threat to Israel. He will likely point out that it is a threat to Saudi Arabia and all the other nations in the Middle East and worldwide.

The question is whether we are dealing with rational people leading Iran or not. In the end, we are asked to assume that even the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards want to live, want their children and grandchildren to live, and want their nation to continue. That is what Obama is betting on. The problem with that is that Islam puts a high value on martyrdom.

© Alan Caruba, 2015