Friday, April 28, 2017

Report: Detroit Muslim FGM-Doctor Mutilated Girls Far Worse Than She Admits

Report: Detroit Muslim FGM-Doctor Mutilated Girls Far Worse Than She Admits


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Savagery. This is the second FGM doctor arrest this week. Obviously these Muslim doctors skipped the part about the Hippocratic Oath. Perhaps that’s because of hakimiyyah – the principle of Allah’s exclusive power and right to govern, legislate, and pass judgement.
The gruesome practice of female genital mutilation is at record highs and on the rise in America, due to the influx of Muslim immigrants.
Last week, two Muslim doctors were charged with mutilating the genitalia of little girls — the first arrests of this kind. Finally. Barbaric sharia practices are not being sanctioned with silence and avoidance.
Next — Islamic honor violence and murder.

Report: Detroit FGM-Doctor Mutilated Girls Far Worse Than She Admits

Breitbart, April 27, 2017:
The Detroit Free Press reported Thursday that documents obtained by the paper show much more serious mutilation of Dr. Jumana Nagarwala’s alleged victims’ genitals than the doctor admitted to.
The arrests of Dr. Nagarwala and two others last week represents the first federal female genital mutilation(FGM) investigation in United States history. FGM is common in the Islamic world, particularly in Africa. According to UNICEF, 98% of Somali girls and 87% of Egyptians have endured the procedure. FGM involves removing varying amounts of the victim’s — usually a pre-pubescent girl — clitoris, labia majoria, and labia minora. In its most extreme form, the victim is “infibulated,” having virtually all her external genitalia removed and being sown up, leaving her with only a tiny hole from which to urinate and menstruate.
Nagarwala’s attorney, Shannon Smith, claimed in her initial court hearing that no cutting of the seven-year-old alleged victims took place and that excess skin was simply scrapped off to be buried in a religious ceremony. The Free Press, however, reports that documents they reviewed show the injuries to the two Minnesota girls’ genitals were “much more severe” than Nagarwala is claiming.
Previously unheard of in the United States, the criminal complaints against the three suspects in this Michigan-based conspiracy to commit FGM — Nagarwala, Dr. Fakhruddin Attar, and his wife, Farida Attar — describe them as members of a “particular religious and cultural community.” That community has since been revealed as the Dawoodi Bohra Muslim sect, a branch of Shi’ite Islam popular in India, Pakistan, and East Africa. The worldwide leader of that sect, Syedna Mufaddal Saifuddin, has repeatedly called for the tradition of FGM to continue, describing it, according to a State Department report, as an “act of religious purity” and “a religious obligation for all women and girls.”
According to the complaints, the alleged victims in this case were brought by their parents, in what was described to them as a “special girls trip,” all the way from Minnesota to Dr. Attar’s Burhani Medical Center in Livonia, Michigan. The girls, who are not related, were allegedly told the cutting was needed to “get the germs out” and that they were not to tell anyone about what happened to them.
One of the victims told the FBI she screamed in pain as she Dr. Nargawala operated between her legs and that she was barely able to walk as she left the clinic. According to the complaint, Doctors working with the FBI found that both seven-year-olds’ genitals were “abnormal looking” with “scar tissue” and “small healing lacerations.”
Authorities believe many more than these two girls have been mutilated by this suburban Detroit FGM operation. Evidence suggests girls have been being brought to Michigan from around the midwest to undergo the gruesome operation since at least 2005. According to the complaint, several Michigan girls have complained to authorities that they were mutilated by Dr. Nargawala in Dr. Attar’s clinic. Authorities believe Nargawala came on weekends to the Burhani clinic to perform FGM separately from her weekday job as an emergency room doctor at Detriot’s Henry Ford hospital. In her interview with the FBI, Farida Attar, the clinic owner’s wife, claimed Nargawala came to their clinic to see six to nine girls a year.
The defendants will face up to five years in federal prison for each count of FGM in this first case, in a wider push to eradicate the barbaric Islamic practice from America.

Linda Sarsour Caught Lying about Female Genital Mutilation in Islam

He just silenced every Muslim apologist

Thursday, April 27, 2017

The Long War Journal (Site-Wide)

The Long War Journal (Site-Wide)



Posted: 27 Apr 2017 07:05 AM PDT
Bill Roggio testifies before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, Nonproliferation, and Trade on terrorist groups in Afghanistan and the threat posed to the United States and its allies.
Posted: 26 Apr 2017 03:29 PM PDT
The photos confirm the report released last week that while it withdrew from a Malian base after French intervention, it captured large amounts of weapons and equipment.
Posted: 26 Apr 2017 10:10 AM PDT
The UK Parliament's Intelligence and Security Committee has released its investigative report on the Aug. 21, 2015 drone strike that killed UK national Reyaad Khan. The bombing was "the first time outside participation in a military campaign that the UK had conducted a lethal drone strike against a terrorist target." Khan was one of the Islamic State's most prolific cyber planners.

Hamas Wants Quiet As It Prepares For Next Assault on Israel


Steven Emerson, Executive Director
April 27, 2017

Hamas Wants Quiet As It Prepares For Next Assault on Israel

by Yaakov Lappin
Special to IPT News
April 27, 2017
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Strategically, Hamas remains as committed as ever to its objective of destroying Israel and toppling the Fatah-run Palestinian Authority in the process. Tactically, however, Hamas exhibits pragmatism and won't rush into wars with Israel when conditions are ill suited.
Hamas looks at the long run, and remains convinced that it can eradicate Israel, even if it takes decades or centuries. Yet it would prefer to bide its time, and build up its force until the next clash while working to decrease its acute regional isolation. For this to happen, Hamas needs to avoid plunging Gaza into a new war any time soon. Yet it remains far from clear that it will be able to do this.
Should a war erupt in the near future, it likely will be triggered by unplanned dynamics of escalation.
Gaza's woeful living standards and infrastructure are among those factors. Crises such as the ongoing electricity supply problem plaguing the Strip could facilitate an early conflict, as Hamas may try to distract the population's frustrations from its failings, and divert them to Israel.
The Palestinian Authority (PA) is threatening to make matters worse by cutting off cash for Gaza's power plant. It's part of the ongoing feud between the Fatah-run PA in Ramallah and Hamas in Gaza. Gazans now receive electricity only four to six hours a day due to this feud. In January, Gazans took the unprecedented step of protesting power cuts, making Hamas extremely nervous.
In addition to tensions over the electricity crisis, a Hamas-run terror cell could spark conflict if it carries out a mass casualty attack that spawns Israeli retaliation.
The sheer scope of such plots that Israel thwarts every year is enormous.
Last year, 184 shooting attacks, 16 suicide bombings, and 16 kidnapping plots were foiled, Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman testified last month before the Knesset's Foreign Affairs and Defense Committee. Hamas had "significantly increased" efforts to pull off attacks in the West Bank and in Israel, he said, adding that Israeli security forces arrested more than 1,000 Hamas members in the West Bank last year and broke up 114 cells.
These are risks Hamas is prepared to take, since the day that it ceases all attempts to carry out jihadist terrorism against Israel is the day that it stops being Hamas.
Yet Hamas is also a government now, and it must consider the Gazans it rules. Hamas is keenly aware of Palestinian sentiment. Its leaders grew up in Gaza's refugee camps and always have their finger on the pulse of Gazan society.
Hamas leaders seem to understand that the public opposes a new damaging war with Israel. They recognize that the Palestinian public cannot stomach a war with Israel every two years. The reconstruction program in Gaza following the 2014 conflict is far from complete. There are still Gazans whose homes haven't been repaired from the damage inflicted in 2014.
The general population, despite being exposed to Hamas's daily propaganda diet of jihadist rhetoric, would likely be reluctant to be again be used as human shields by the military wing, barely three years since the end of the last clash.
The price of Hamas's policy of embedding its rocket launchers and fighters in Gaza's civilian areas also is not alluring to many Gazans.
On the flip side, one of Hamas's worst fears is of being perceived as weak. After one of its senior operatives was mysteriously killed recently, it executed three people it accused of collaborating with Israel.
Hamas also responded to Mazen Fuqaha's murder by sending threatening messages to Israel promising vengeance. Hamas videos suggest it will target senior Israeli security officials for assassination.
Fuqaha was a key figure in the Izzadin Al-Qassam Brigades, and reportedly in charge of setting up multiple terrorist cells in the West Bank. His bullet-ridden body was found last month outside of his Gazan apartment building.
The Israeli defense establishment takes these Hamas threats seriously. Despite the noise, however, Hamas has not rushed to respond just yet – underlining the fact that Hamas is aware of the restraints factors that it is under.
Since the end of the 2014 war with Israel, the Islamist regime has shied away from escalating the security situation with Israel.
Hamas's leadership sees unfavorable regional conditions. They lack any powerful regional backer following the 2013 downfall of Muhammad Morsi, the Muslim Brotherhood president in neighboring Egypt, in whom Hamas staked so many of its hopes.
In the past, Hamas enjoyed many partnerships, enjoying arms support and funding from the Shi'ite axis (Iran and Hizballah) – and forming relationships with Sunni powers.
But the Middle Eastern regional upheaval, which pits Sunnis against Shiites, and Islamists against non-Islamists, forced Hamas to make choices. It could no longer be on the same side of both Shi'ite Iran and Sunni Saudi Arabia, who are locked in a transnational proxy war. In the same vein, Hamas cannot be on the same side as both the Assad regime and the Sunni rebels fighting to remove him.
Worst of all from Hamas's perspective, Morsi's departure means it cannot rely on its primordial impulse to attach itself to a Sunni Muslim Brotherhood-led backer.
Five years ago, there were initial signs of a regional wave of Muslim Brotherhood successes. The Brothers rose to power in Egypt, Turkey, Tunisia, and had Qatari backing. Morsi's 2013 fall changed Hamas's fortunes for the worse. The rise of Egyptian President Abdel Fattah El-Sisi, a leader who identifies Hamas as a Gazan branch of his domestic arch-enemy, the Egyptian Muslim Brotherhood, guaranteed Hamas's isolation.
Relations with Cairo remain rocky despite recent Hamas attempts to improve ties. Egypt may open its Rafah border crossing a few days a week, but this does not change its core view of Hamas as a true enemy, to be held at bay, weakened, and deterred.
Hamas has also fallen out with Saudi Arabia. And Hamas and Iran do not get along very well either, despite Iran continuing to be the chief sponsor of the military wing, paying it $50-$60 million a year, according to various estimates.
This leaves Hamas with just two stalwart friends: Qatar and Turkey, neither of which can back them substantially. Turkey is not an Arab state, meaning that its role in the Arab world is limited, and its desire to lead the Arab world will always be met with suspicion. A failure by Turkey to infiltrate the region means that it can only do so much to assist Gaza. Qatar, though wealthy, is politically weak, and geographically distant.
New Hamas leader Yihyeh Sinwar, despite his fundamentalist inclinations, must consider these constraints and see that his Islamist-run enclave has little real backing.
To compound its problems, Hamas also has serious financial issues. It has three main sources of income: Donations from states, donations from private individuals, and Hamas's network of investments.
Hamas gets far less money than it used to from its donors, according to Israeli assessments. Only Qatar and Turkey donate on a regular basis, while Iran continues to finance the military wing, but not the entire movement.
Hamas is a large organization, with operations in the West Bank, Qatar, and Turkey in addition to Gaza. In the Strip, it needs to pay salaries, and prepare for its next clash with Israel. Hamas also seeks to export terrorism to the West Bank and build up political support among West Bank Palestinians. All of this costs money. It is has offices and headquarters in multiple states overseas that require annual budgets.
Private Gulf State donors are drying up. Wealthy Saudis are more interested in supporting Syrian rebels. Hamas's cause has moved to the back of the line.
Its investments, meant to be saved for a rainy day, now must be tapped.
So what can Hamas do? First and foremost, it continues its domestic military build-up, mass producing rockets, mortar shells, variants of shoulder-fired missiles, drones, and digging tunnels – all at the expense of the welfare of the 2 million Palestinians it rules.
That's because Hamas drew many operational lessons from its last conflict with Israel, and is keen on rebuilding its terrorist-guerrilla army without interruptions.
One lesson was to focus on a perceived Israeli vulnerability through short-range strikes. To that end, it is building new rockets that carry 200 kilogram warheads - significantly larger than past rockets made in Gaza.
These projectiles are not accurate, but would cause enormous damage if they slammed into a southern Israeli town or village.
Hamas weapons factories produce simple RPGs as well.
Second, Hamas is trying to becoming more 'acceptable' to the region and to the world. It is about to unveil a new charter which will be an attempt to obfuscate its jihadist ideological leanings and ties with the Muslim Brotherhood, and present itself as being merely a national "resistance" organization.
In the long run, Sinwar and his regime plan to continue to prepare for the 'grand' destiny they have chosen for Gaza. So long as Hamas rules Gaza, it will be the base of unending jihad against Israel, buffered by tactical ceasefires, until conditions are ripe for a new assault.
Yaakov Lappin is a military and strategic affairs correspondent. He also conducts research and analysis for defense think tanks, and is the Israel correspondent for IHS Jane's Defense Weekly. His book, The Virtual Caliphate, explores the online jihadist presence.
The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, or from any governmental agency or political or religious institutions. Your support of The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical in winning a battle we cannot afford to lose. All donations are tax-deductible. Click here to donate online. The Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation is a recognized 501(c)3 organization.  

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IPT Blog: Congressional Caucus Seeks New Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict


Steven Emerson, Executive Director
April 27, 2017

Congressional Caucus Seeks New Approach to Israeli-Palestinian Conflict

by IPT News  •  Apr 27, 2017 at 1:41 pm
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The Congressional Israel Victory Caucus (CIVC) was launched on Thursday in an effort to revitalize US. engagement with the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, building on perspectives espoused by the Middle East Forum (MEF).
The caucus calls for the need to put the onus of peace on the Palestinians, to give up their rejectionist claims about Israel's right to exist as Jewish state. The initiative also calls for the U.S. to cease pressuring Israel to make major concessions that often lead to more Palestinian violence and terrorism.
Co-chairs, Reps. Ron DeSantis, R-Fla., and Bill Johnson, R-Ohio, expressed strong support for Israel and its right to defend itself at Thursday's launch event, which featured several other Republican congressmen.
"Israel is not the problem in the Middle East; it is the solution to many of the problems that bedevil the region. American policy must ensure that Israel emerges victorious against those who deny or threaten her existence," DeSantis said in a statement announcing the initiative.
The caucus wants the Palestinian Authority (PA) to stop its violent incitement against Jews and Israelis. It aims to help reverse one sided, anti-Israel United Nations resolutions and oppose efforts to delegitimize Israel through initiatives such as the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign.
Palestinian incitement prevents peace from materializing, Johnson said, specifically calling out the widespread practice of naming Palestinian institutions and schools after terrorists responsible for murdering innocent Israelis.
DeSantis also blasted the PA for continuing to pay terrorists' families after they committed attacks against Israelis.
"Any financial assistance to the Palestinian Authority by American taxpayers cannot continue so long as the PA continues to pay pensions and salaries for families of terrorists. It's a simply inappropriate use of taxpayer money and it's not fair to the American taxpayer," DeSantis said at Thursday's event.
The Taylor Force Act, a bill named after a 28-year-old American tourist killed by a Palestinian terrorist in Israel last year, would prohibit U.S. assistance to the PA until terrorist salaries and payments cease.
"If you die as a terrorist, as a 'martyr,' your family will get an annual stipend greater than the average Palestinian earns. In this case, the terrorist who killed Taylor Force...was hailed as a hero, was basically given a state funeral, and his family was given money by the state," says sponsor Sen. Lindsey Graham, R-S.C.
The IPT accepts no funding from outside the United States, or from any governmental agency or political or religious institutions. Your support of The Investigative Project on Terrorism is critical in winning a battle we cannot afford to lose. All donations are tax-deductible. Click here to donate online. The Investigative Project on Terrorism Foundation is a recognized 501(c)3 organization.  

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Palestinians: This is How We Intimidate Journalists

In this mailing:
  • Bassam Tawil: Palestinians: This is How We Intimidate Journalists
  • Lawrence A. Franklin: The Pope's Pilgrimage to Al-Azhar
  • Majid Rafizadeh: Sanction Iran's Regime, Add IRCG to Terrorist List

Palestinians: This is How We Intimidate Journalists

by Bassam Tawil  •  April 27, 2017 at 5:00 am
  • In the world of the Palestinian Authority (PA) leadership, a journalist's loyalty to his leaders and their cause supersedes his loyalty to the truth. In a word, it is the truth vs. Abbas's security forces.
  • As the international media relies heavily on Palestinian journalists and "media assistants" in covering Palestinian affairs, this intimidation of Palestinian journalists heavily colors the reporting of Western journalists. The stories Palestinian journalists tell their Western colleagues are limited to ones that will not endanger their own lives. This censorship, whether by the Abbas's security forces or self-imposed, explains why one rarely reads or sees a story in Western mainstream media about negative things happening in the PA-controlled territories.
  • Even when their Palestinian colleagues are beaten and arrested by Abbas's security forces, these "journalists" fail to report such incidents. This makes some sense: should they open their mouths with the truth, Abbas and his cohorts might indeed stop inviting them to press conferences and banquets in the fancy restaurants of Ramallah, Bethlehem and Jericho.
Palestinian Authority police assault journalists at a protest in Ramallah, on March 12, 2017. (Image source: Roya News video screenshot)
Seven Palestinian journalists are the latest victims of the Palestinian Authority's (PA) continued crackdown on the media.
The repressive measures are aimed at silencing critical voices among the journalists and deterring others from reporting stories that reflect negatively on the Palestinian leadership in particular and Palestinians in general.
In the view of President Mahmoud Abbas and his PA, Palestinian journalists exist to write stories slamming Israel or praising PA leaders. Media, for them, is defined as a mouthpiece for Abbas, the PA leadership and the Palestinian cause.
Any journalist who dares to think outside this checkpoint is subject to severe punishment. Under Abbas and the PA, there is no room for an independent media.
The three major Palestinian newspapers -- Al-Quds, Al-Ayyam and Al-Hayat Al-Jadeeda -- are controlled, directly and indirectly, by the PA.

The Pope's Pilgrimage to Al-Azhar

by Lawrence A. Franklin  •  April 27, 2017 at 4:30 am
  • During a meeting between the former Papal Nuncio to Cairo, Archbishop Jean-Paul Gobel, and Grand Imam Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb, the Grand Imam warned Gobel that "speaking about Islam in a negative manner was a 'red line' that must not be crossed." If there are any condemnations of violence against the Coptic Christians, they are likely to be articulated only by the Grand Imam and the Egyptian President.
  • If the Pope's humble bearing is excessive, however, it might be interpreted even by peaceable Muslims as a submission. If Francis is asked by the Grand Imam to pray at al-Azhar's mosque, that is a piety that el-Tayeb would not likely reciprocate in a Coptic Church in Egypt.
  • Facilitating the establishment of an Islamic-Christian relationship that excludes Judaism can only serve the Islamist goal of isolating Jews and Israel. Although relations between the Vatican and al-Azhar will improve in the near future, the honeymoon will not. The Grand Imam will doubtless protect his own theological power base and keep his distance from both the Vatican and the Egyptian regime.
Catholic Pope Francis greets Egyptian Coptic Pope Tawadros II at the Vatican, on May 10, 2013. (Image source: News.va Official Vatican Network)
The twin Palm Sunday bombings at Coptic Christian Churches by Islamic terrorists in Egypt, which killed 44 worshipers, draws attention to what is probably the principal reason for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis to Cairo on April 28-29. The Pontiff will likely seek the assistance of Egypt's Muslim hierarchy to help protect Egypt's Coptic Christians, the indigenous inhabitants of the country who now number about 9 million and constitute at least 10% of the population.
During his stay, Francis will meet with the Grand Imam of Cairo's al-Azhar Mosque, Sheikh Ahmed el-Tayeb. Al-Azhar's theological complex, which houses Islam's oldest university, is considered the most influential center of Sunni Islam.

Sanction Iran's Regime, Add IRCG to Terrorist List

by Majid Rafizadeh  •  April 27, 2017 at 4:00 am
  • It would seem that sanctions should be enforced and the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) placed on the U.S. list of Designated Foreign Terrorist Organizations -- to show that the U.S. stands for human rights, protects the innocent and tries to save the lives of those sentenced to death by Iran's corrupt government.
  • Bills to sanction Iran that are being presented in Canada or other Western countries are, in fact, receiving scant attention. Canada has been talking about reopening its Iranian embassy, and pro-Iran advocates, such as the Iranian Canadian Congress, are pushing back against legislation that condemns Iran.
  • Would any modern Western country really wish to appear to be on the side of this barbaric regime, or in any way to assist it?
Mahmoud Alavi, Iran's Minister of Intelligence, recently stated that many Westerners with a dual citizenship "have a lobby group for the Islamic Republic of Iran... Many who live in Canada, London, or the United States [are devoted] to the [Islamic] revolution and the supreme leader." (Image source: Mohammad Ali Marizad/Wikimedia Commons)
A subtle, but dangerous force is spreading throughout the West. It has been seeping into the United Kingdom, Canada, Australia, the Middle East, the United States, South America and much of Europe.
Who are they?
They are pro-Iran regime advocates. They appear to be Westerners, but pursue a unique agenda. Under the guise of being average Western citizens, they have been infiltrating the social, political, economic and religious sectors of most Western societies.
These are not my words. They came directly out of the mouth of Iran's Minister of Intelligence, Mahmoud Alavi. In a rare, recent interview on Iran's state media, he stated that many Westerners with a dual citizenship "have a lobby group for the Islamic Republic of Iran."
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Eye on Iran: Hard-Line Iranian Candidate Says US Should Fear Iran


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A hard-line candidate in Iran's upcoming presidential election says the United States should be made to fear Iran so that it will back off on sanctions and threats. Ebrahim Raisi told a state TV talk show Wednesday that "today Americans are afraid of the word 'Iran,'" saying: "This is the solution. The solution is not backing down. We must force them to retreat." Raisi is challenging the incumbent, Hassan Rouhani, a moderate who has tried to improve relations with the West and whose government reached a landmark nuclear agreement with world powers. Iran's hard-liners criticized the deal, saying Rouhani gave too much away.


Israel struck an arms supply hub operated by the Lebanese group Hezbollah near Damascus airport on Thursday, Syrian rebel and regional intelligence sources said, targeting weapons sent from Iran via commercial and military cargo planes. Video carried on Lebanese TV and shared on social media showed the pre-dawn airstrikes caused a fire around the airport east of the Syrian capital, suggesting fuel sources or weapons containing explosives were hit. Syrian state media said Israeli missiles hit a military position southwest of the airport, but did not mention arms or fuel. It said "Israeli aggression" had caused explosions and some material losses, but did not expand on the damage.


A congressional committee chairman has asked the Trump administration to revive criminal cases against Iranian weapons traffickers that the Obama administration "unwisely abandoned." In a letter obtained by The Post, House Foreign Affairs Committee Chairman Ed Royce called for a stepped-up law enforcement effort to target individuals assisting Iran's nuclear and missile programs. In addition, Royce wants to re-open criminal cases involving Iranians that the Obama administration scrapped in effort to make a nuclear deal with Tehran. "We hope you evaluate the feasibility of re-opening the cases that were wrongly hindered," Royce (R-Calif.) wrote Tuesday to Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Attorney General Jeff Sessions.

U.S.-IRAN RELATIONS


Relatives of U.S. citizens jailed in Iran are trying to press the Trump administration to secure their release as worries grow over the health of an imprisoned father and son. Baquer and Siamak Namazi, convicted of espionage in a secret trial six months ago, are being held in a section of Tehran's notorious Evin prison, according to a petition their lawyer filed this week with the U.N.'s Working Group on Arbitrary Detention. The section of the prison is known "for the use of cruel and prolonged torture of political opponents of the government," the petition by lawyer Jared Genser says.


In a wide-ranging interview with the Associated Press published last week, President Trump suggested that Iran had broken the "spirit" of a nuclear proliferation deal agreed under President Barack Obama. Asked if he believed the United States would stay in the deal, Trump replied: "It's possible that we won't." The comment seemed to offer another hint that Trump may plan to upend the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) approved in 2015. As a candidate, Trump repeatedly criticized the "horrible" nuclear deal, pledging to "tear up" the accord if elected. But Iran's top diplomat doesn't seem to be worried. According to reports in the Iranian news media, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters at the sidelines of a cabinet session on Wednesday that they shouldn't take Trump's comments seriously.

SANCTIONS ENFORCEMENT


A court in the United Arab Emirates has sentenced an Iranian businessman to 10 years in prison after being convicted of trying to bring an electric motor and other devices there to further Iran's nuclear program. A report by the state-run WAM news agency on Wednesday only identified the businessman by the initials S.M.A.R. It said he was convicted of "violating the international ban on nuclear weapons." It wasn't clear how the material the Iranian was convicted of trying to bring into the Islamic Republic would be used to manufacture an atomic bomb.

SANCTIONS RELIEF


Iran expects to sign its first oil deal under the new Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) model within a month, a senior Iranian official said on Thursday. "We expect that very soon, hopefully within a month we will have the first one to be signed," Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi told a conference in Paris. In January, Iran said 29 companies from more than a dozen countries were allowed to bid for oil and gas projects under the IPC, which Tehran hopes will boost production after years of sanctions. But the IPC model has been delayed several times due to opposition from hardline rivals of President Hassan Rouhani.

SYRIA CONFLICT


Israel is seeking an "understanding" with the Trump administration that Iran must not be allowed to establish a permanent military foothold in Syria, Israel's intelligence minister told Reuters on Wednesday. In an interview, visiting Intelligence Minister Yisrael Katz said he was also using his meetings with White House officials and key lawmakers to press for further U.S. sanctions on Iran and the Iranian-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah, which is supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. "I want to achieve an understanding, an agreement between the U.S. and Israel ... not to let Iran have permanent military forces in Syria, by air, by land, by sea," Katz told Reuters, saying this should be part of any future international accord on ending Syria's six-year-old civil war.

MILITARY MATTERS


Iran's special naval forces were equipped this weekend with new anti-ship cruise missiles capable of advanced precision and rapid deployment in the tense Gulf waters where occasional run-ins with the U.S. military have drawn international attention. A large quantity of the natively produced projectiles, known as Nasir, were handed over to Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Navy (IRGCN), the maritime branch of Iran's elite military forces that take command from the country's religious leadership rather than its political, in a formal ceremony held Saturday. The event was attended by the nation's top military brass including Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan and IRGCN Commander Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi.

DOMESTIC POLITICS

As Iran approaches its May 19 presidential elections, the conservative candidates - who are determined to unseat incumbent moderate Hassan Rouhani - are making new campaign pledges to attract votes. Opponents of Rouhani have been focusing on unemployment and people's livelihoods, saying Rouhani has been wholly unable to solve the economic hardships many ordinary Iranians are facing. Conservative Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who has registered to run for the presidency for the third time, has said that if elected, he would provide 2.5 million rials ($77 at the official exchange rate) a month to every jobless Iranian.
Ten Iranian border guards were killed by Sunni militants in a cross-border attack on the frontier with Pakistan on Wednesday, Tasnim news agency reported. The militant group called Jaish al Adl, or the Army of Justice, has claimed responsibility, the report said. "10 border guards of Mirjaveh county in Sistan and Baluchestan Province were martyred in an ambush by the terrorists in the Pakistani border's zero-point," Tasnim said. In a statement carried on state media, the Iranian police said the guards have been killed by long-range guns and "the Pakistani government bears the ultimate responsibility of the attack." Sistan-Baluchestan province in southeastern Iran has long been plagued by unrest from both drug smuggling gangs and separatist militants. The population of the province is predominantly Sunni Muslim; the majority of Iranians are Shi'ites.

OPINION & ANALYSIS


As the Trump administration nears its 100th day in office, it has taken much-needed steps internationally, particularly in Syria.  But while the latest U.S. military action retaliating for the gassing of Khan Sheikoun was long overdue, even more can be done. With over 400,000 deaths, five million registered Syrian refugees, and the continuation of Assad's scorched-earth tactics, Syria will not become an island of stability any time soon, and especially after ISIS is ousted from its Raqqa stronghold.  Rather, Syria will remain polarized, politicized, and perilous unless Assad and his enablers are removed from power. Over the last few weeks, we have heard some argue that President Donald Trump's 'America first' organizing principle is fundamentally incompatible with an 'Assad must go' strategy.  However, promoting 'America first,' while pursuing a future without Assad are not mismatched goals in the era of Trump.  One should look no further than the guideposts of the president's emerging agenda on the world stage: gutting ISIS; checking Iran; and toughening immigration controls.  Tackling any one priority successfully would necessitate Assad's removal.


The Trump administration last week endorsed a narrative long promoted by critics of the Iran nuclear deal: It's North Korea all over again. "An unchecked Iran has the potential to travel the same path as North Korea, and take the world along with it," Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said Thursday at a press availability. He was explaining why President Donald Trump had ordered a review of the Iran nuclear deal reached by his predecessor, Barack Obama. "The United States is keen to avoid a second piece of evidence that strategic patience is a failed approach," Tillerson said. "Strategic patience" is a rubbery term that critics have applied loosely to presidents - Republican and Democratic - who do not strike back swiftly at evidence of nascent rogue weapons-of-mass-destruction programs, instead preferring diplomatic and economic pressure.


On May 14, these seven people will mark the beginning of their 10th year in prison for the crime of being leading members of Iran's viciously persecuted and harmlessly devout Baha'i community. These seven people formed the entirety of the Yaran, the "Friends," in Persian, a group that that looked after the needs of Iran's Baha'is - in the Baha'i tradition there is no clergy. The Friends served as the successor group to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iran, an administrative group whose several members were "disappeared" during the Khomeinist revolution of 1979. The last eight members of the Spiritual Assembly were executed by firing squad on Dec. 27, 1981. Ten years ago, the seven Friends were arrested and held without charge for more than a year. In January 2010 they were tried in a charade of secret criminal prosecutions on a variety of preposterous allegations: espionage, insulting religious sanctity, collaboration with Israel, propaganda against the regime and "spreading corruption on Earth."






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