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Supreme Leader on Chemical Weapons

            Iran’s supreme leader has taken to social media to condemn chemical weapons used against Iran nearly three decades ago. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s office released an infographic on the 27th anniversary of Iraq’s use of mustard gas and nerve agents near the village of Sumar, Iran. The infographic on Khamenei's Facebook page states:

•Iraq launched more than 570 chemical attacks on Iran from 1983 to 1988.
•Some 1 million people exposed to chemical fumes.
•Some 100,000 Iranians still suffer from acute complications as a result of exposure.
•Western companies provided Saddam Hussein with the material to produce the weapons.


           
War is tough and unfavorable but even war has its own rules.
 #Islam orders us to observe human values during wars.
            In 1980-88 war, #Iran was bombarded with Saddam’s chemical weapons for about 6 years and the UN was only a bystander to this crime.
           
Which countries provided Saddam’s arsenals with chemical weapons which he used against the Iranians for several years? 
             The arrogants knew Saddam would use chemical weapons on Iranian women and kids but they armed him with illegal weapons.
             Ayatollah Khamenei, 7/23/1997             

             The following is a list of instances of chemical weapon use by Iraq from the U.S. government*:
 
Use in Iran-Iraq war, 1983-1988 
 
  • August 1983 Haij Umran
 
Mustard , fewer than 100 Iranian/Kurdish casualties
  • October-November 1983 Panjwin
 
Mustard, 3,000 Iranian/Kurdish casualties
  • February-March 1984 Majnoon Island
 
Mustard, 2,500 Iranian casualties
  • March 1984 al-Basrah
 
Tabun, 50-100 Iranian casualties
  • March 1985 Hawizah Marsh
 
Mustard & Tabun, 3,000 Iranian casualties
  • February 1986 al-Faw
 
Mustard & Tabun, 8,000 to 10,000 Iranian casualties
  • December 1986 Um ar-Rasas
 
Mustard, 1,000s Iranian casualties
  • April 1987 al-Basrah
 
Mustard & Tabun, 5,000 Iranian casualties
  • October 1987 Sumar/Mehran
 
Mustard & nerve agent, 3,000 Iranian casualties
  • March 1988 Halabjah& Kurdish area
 
Mustard & nerve agent, 1,000s Kurdish/Iranian casualties
  • April 1988 al-Faw
 
Mustard & nerve agent, 1,000s Iranian casualties
  • May 1988 Fish Lake
 
Mustard & nerve agent, 100s or 1,000s Iranian casualties
  • June 1988 Majnoon Islands
 
Mustard & nerve agent, 100s or 1,000s Iranian casualties
  • July 1988 South-central border
 
Mustard & nerve agent, 100s or 1,000s Iranian casualties
*Numerous other smaller scale chemical weapons attacks occurred.
 

 

Report: Iran’s Evolving Rockets & Missiles

             Iran is developing more advanced rockets and missiles to compensate for shortcomings in its conventional forces, according to a new report by the Center for Strategic and International Studies. Most of Tehran’s current arsenal suffers from poor accuracy and reliability. But Iran is improving its guidance systems. Future development of booster systems “might give Iran the ability to strike at targets throughout Europe and even in the US,” warns Anthony Cordesman. The following are excerpts from the report.

             Iran’s rocket and missile forces serve a wide range of Iranian strategic objectives. Iran’s forces range from relatively short-range artillery rockets that support its ground forces and limit the need for close air support to long-range missiles that can reach any target in the region and the development of booster systems that might give Iran the ability to strike at targets throughout Europe and even in the US.
 
             They are steadily evolving. While the lethality of most current systems is limited by a reliance on conventional warheads, poor accuracy, and uncertain reliability; Iran is developing steadily improved guidance systems, attempting to improve the lethality of its conventional warheads, and has at least studied arming its missiles with nuclear warheads.
 
The Broader Strategic Value of Iran’s Short Range Rockets and Missiles
             Iran has shown that even short-range artillery rockets can have a strategic impact and be used in irregular warfare and as an indirect form of power projection. Iran has played a major role in helping Hamas and the Palestinian Islamic Jihad create a major pool of steadily improving rockets that it can conceal, disperse and fire against Israel, and that Israel cannot easily seek out and destroy even in a land invasion.
 
The Near-Term Impact of the Iranian Missile Threat
             Iran’s existing missile forces give it the capability to attack targets in the Gulf and near its border with conventionally armed long-range missiles and rockets, and Iran can attack targets in Israel, throughout the region, and beyond with its longest-range ballistic missiles. However, the shortterm risks posed by Iran’s current conventionally armed rockets and missiles should not be exaggerated.
 
Shaping the Future Threat: Nuclear Warheads vs. Precision Conventional Warheads
             The Iranian missile threat may become far more serious in the future. Left to its own devices, Iran would probably deploy both nuclear-armed missile and highly accurate missiles with conventional warheads. Iran has powerful military incentives to deploy nuclear weapons, and Iran’s missile forces give it the potential ability to develop a major nuclear strike force.
 
Missiles, Political and Psychological Warfighting, and Wars of Intimidation
             At a minimum, Iran’s growing missile forces increase its deterrent and defensive ability to deter attack on Iran and compensate for its weaknesses in airpower. More broadly, Iran can use its missiles politically and strategically, and not simply to damage targets. Selective firings and “volleys” of conventionally armed, unguided long-range missiles and rockets can be used as political symbols or terror weapons.
 
Putting Iran’s Missile and Nuclear Programs in Perspective
             It is difficult to predict how aggressive Iran would become in exploiting its nuclear capability if Iran did acquire nuclear-armed missiles. Iran has so far been cautious in initiating any use of force that might threaten the survival regime. Its best strategy would be to limit its use of nuclear missile forces to pressure, deter, and intimidate.
             Iran is, however, clearly involved in an active competition with the US and with its Arab neighbors in an effort to win strategic influence and leverage. Iran faces US and Arab competition for influence and control over Iraq, the emerging threat of the Islamic State, and growing uncertainty over the future of its alliance with the Assad regime in Syria and the Hezbollah in Lebanon. Iran also still seems to see American influence behind all of these steadily growing pressures.
 
The Mid and Longer Term Risk of an Iranian Nuclear Weapon and a Nuclear-Armed Missile Threat
             It must be stressed that Iran cannot deploy either nuclear-armed missiles or precision strike missiles in a military vacuum where its neighbors and the US do not respond. If Iran does go nuclear, this decision will impact on a region that is already involved in a nuclear arms race. The prospect of combined Iranian missile and nuclear threat has already posed risks that have affected every aspect of US, Arab, Israeli and other military competition with Iran for at least the last decade. This competition has increasingly focused them on responding with on options like preventive strikes, proliferation, and extended deterrence as Iran has made enough progress towards a nuclear weapons capability so that there is a real prospect that Iran could acquire nuclear weapons and arm its missiles and aircraft with nuclear weapons within the next three to five years.
 
Click here for the full text.
 
Anthony H. Cordesman holds the Arleigh A. Burke Chair in Strategy at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
 
Click here to read his chapter on Iran’s conventional military.
 

Rouhani Calls for Academic Freedom

      On October 7, President Hassan Rouhani warned that restrictions on academic freedom stifle innovation and lead to brain drain. “Let's let people express themselves,” he said at Tehran University during a ceremony marking the start of the new academic year. The president also highlighted the importance of expanding interaction with the outside world for the sake of scientific progress. Rouhani's efforts to open up universities have been stymied by hardliners in parliament, which impeached the reformist minister of higher education in August. Another reformist has been appointed in the interim. The following are quotes from Rouhani’s address.

            “Irrelevant restrictions will lead to lack of tolerance, the departure of honest, competent individuals and the promotion of ingratiating people.”
            “Let's not create a climate of flattery in the university… We should not be concerned about the expression of diverse views by university professors.”
            “I am here to listen, not to make a speech. It is a matter of regret that there was no speech by a student association representative in today's program.”
            “Governing and administering the country is not possible without tolerance. Let's let people express themselves.”
            “The interaction with the world is not limited to the foreign policy. It should also include economy as well as science and technology.”
            “Some people say that if we have contact with the outside world, if our teachers go abroad and their professors come here, maybe someone will be a spy among them. Stop making excuses!”
            “Our universities have empty seats in certain subjects. We either have to make them smaller or invite foreign students.”
            “I’m not saying let's start from those places that are scary to some people. I mean let's just start with our neighbors.”
            “Let our students go abroad for a term. At least create one university that has English as the main language so that we can attract foreign students.”
            “The administration is not subject to any constraints on funding research activities, either in the field of applied research needed by the country or in the field of research at the boundary of knowledge, which is necessary for the country.”
 
Translations via Reuters, AP and President.ir

Journalists Criticize Rouhani in Letter

            In a letter to President Hassan Rouhani, 135 journalists held his administration accountable for not fulfilling his campaign promise to create a more secure working environment for the media. The signers wrote that “it is unethical, unprofessional and insulting to deny the fact that, today, many journalists remain in prison in Iran for doing their jobs.”
            The group wrote the letter in reaction to Rouhani’s response to CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, who inquired about the detention of Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian in a recent interview. “I do not believe that an individual would be detained or put in prison for being a journalist,” the president told Amanpour. Rezaian, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, and his Iranian wife Yeganeh Salehi, a correspondent for the Emirates-based paper The National, were detained in late July. Salehi was released on bail during the first week of October but Rezaian remains in prison. The following is a translation of the letter by Iran Wire’s Maziar Bahari.

 
President Hassan Rouhani of Iran
 
Your Excellency, When you came to power in June 2013, you promised that you would create a more secure working environment for journalists and the media in our country.
 
Once again, in February 2014, you reminded the citizens of Iran of your election promises, stating that journalists should be entitled to greater security while doing their jobs. You said that shutting down a newspaper is not the right way to warn those who may have infringed on the law. 
 
We, the undersigned, expected you to take serious and practical measures to fulfill your promises.
 
Yet more than a year after resuming office, the demands and expectations of journalists have not been realized. In fact, in an interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, you denied that there was anyone in jail in Iran for their work as a journalist.
 
You were once critical of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s administration and its habit of concealing and denying the truth. Your recent denial that a problem even exists echoes this sentiment, and remind us of its impact.
 
We, the undersigned journalists, believe that it is unethical, unprofessional and insulting to deny the fact that, today, many journalists remain in prison in Iran for doing their jobs. In fact, a number of journalists have been imprisoned during your presidency.
 
In our country, security agents regularly imprison journalists, denying them their basic rights simply for carrying out their duty: to inform the public. As the head of the executive branch, and as the second highest official of the land, whose responsibility includes supervising the execution of the constitution by different branches of the government, it is your duty to improve the situation of Iranian journalists.
 
At the very least, we expect you to correct your false statement concerning imprisoned journalists in Iran. But we hope for more, and we ask you to fulfill your promises to create a more secure environment for journalists in our country.
 
Signatories:
- Aida Ghajar
-  Ahmad Rafat
- Alieh Motalebzadeh
- Ali Asghar Ramezanpour
- Ali Shirazi
- Ali Mazrouei
- Alireza Latifian
- Amirhossein Mossala
- Arash Bahmani
- Arash Ashourinia
- Arash Azizi
- Behdad Bordbar
- Behrouz Samadbeygi
- Bijan Farhoudi
- Darioush Memar
- Delbar Tavakoli
- Ehsan Mehrabi
- Elnaz Mohammadi
- Ershad Alijani
- Fatemeh Jamalpour
- Farshad Ghorbanpour
- Fereshte Ghazi
- Farshid Faryabi
- Farahmand Alipour
- Fariborz Soroush
- Farid Haeinejad
- Farideh Ghaeb
- Firouzeh Ramezanzadeh
- Hamid Eslami
- Hamidreza Ebrahimzadeh
- Hanif Mazrouei
- Homayoun Kheiri
- Hossein Alavi
- Javad Heidarian
- Isa Saharkhiz
- Kamyar Behrang
- Kaveh Ghoreishi
- Khatereh Vatankhah
- Ladan Salami
- Lida Ayaz
- Lida Hosseininejad
- Leila Sa'adati
- Leili Nikounazar
- Maziar Bahari
- Maziar Khosravi
- Mana Neyestani
- Mani Tehrani
- Mahrokh Gholamhosseinpour
- Mojtaba Najafi
- Majid Saeedi
- Mohammad Aghazadeh
- Mohammad Tangestani
- Mohammad Hossein Nejati
- Mohammad Rahbar
- Mohammad Ghadamali
- Mohammad Kassaeizadeh
- Mohammadreza Nassababdollahi
- Mahmoud Farjami
- Morteza Kazemian
- Marjan Tabatabaei
- Maryam Amiri
- Maryam Jafari
- Maryam Shahsamandi
- Maryam Majd
- Mazdak Alinazari
- Masoud Behnoud
- Masoud Safiri
- Masoud Kazemi
- Masoud Lavasani
- Mostafa Khalaji
- Maliheh Mohammadi
- Mansoureh Farahani
- Mahdi Tajik
- Mehdi Jami
- Mehdi Ghadimi
- Mehdi Mahmoudian
- Mehdi Vazirbani
- Mehdi Mohseni
- Mehran Faraji
- Mehraveh Kharazmi
- Mehrad Abolghassemi
- Mehrdad Hojati
- Mehrdad Mashayekhi
- Mitra Khalatbari
- Meisam Youssefi
- Milad Beheshti
- Minou Momeni
- Nazanin Kazemi
- Nazanin Matin'nia
- Nasrin Zahiri
- Naeimeh Doustdar
- Negin Behkam
- Noushabeh Amiri
- Noushin Pirouz
- Nikahang Kowsar
- Nima Dehghani
- Niousha Saremi
- Omid Montazeri
- Parvaneh Vahidmanesh
- Panah Farhadbahman
- Pourya Souri
- Reza Ansarirad
- Reza Haghighatnejad
- Reza Rafiei
- Reza Shokrollahi
- Rouzbeh Mirebrahimi
- Roya Maleki
- Reihaneh Mazaheri
- Sara Damavandan
- Saghi Laghaei
- Sam Mahmoudi Sarabi
- Sanaz Ghazizadeh
- Sepideh Behkam
- Sahar Bayati
- Soroush Farhadian
- Saeid Shams
- Saeideh Amin
- Soulmaz Eikder
- Siamak Ghaderi
- Seyyed Mojtaba Vahedi
- Sina Shahbaba
- Shabnam Shabani
- Shahram Rafizadeh
- Shahrzad Hemati
- Shohreh Asemi
- Shirzad Abdollahi
- Shirin Famili
- Shima Shahrabi
- Saba Sherdoust
- Sadra Mohaghegh
- Tahereh Rahimi
- Tara Bonyad
- Taraneh Baniyaghoub
- Touka Neyestani
- Youssef Azizi Banitorof
 
Click here for the letter in Farsi. 
 

Carter on Hostage Crisis 34 Years Later

            On October 1, former President Jimmy Carter told NBC that he could have been re-elected if he had taken military action against Iran or been able to rescue the American hostages in 1980. "I think I made the right decision in retrospect [to not attack Iran], but it was not easy at the time," he said.
           
In October 1979, Carter reluctantly allowed Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi, then ill with lymphoma, to seek medical treatment in the United States. Mobs of students angry with Washington took over the U.S. Embassy in Tehran November 4 and took the 52 American occupants hostage.
          
On the night of April 24-25, the United States mounted a complex rescue mission that ended in failure. A massive dust cloud caused mechanical problems in the helicopters involved and the mission was aborted. But on the way back, one helicopter clipped the wing of a transport aircraft and the both aircraft burst into flames, killing eight servicemen. Carter announced the failure in the morning on the radio, which was a blow to his administration.
           
The hostages were only freed 444 days after the embassy takeover, just as Ronald Reagan was sworn into office in January 1981. The revolutionary regime did not want to return the American hostages to the same president who gave sanctuary to the shah.
           
The following are excerpts from Carter’s recent interview with CNBC on the hostage crisis.

 
            I think I would have been re-elected easily if I had been able to rescue our hostages from the Iranians. And everybody asks me what would do more, I would say I would send one more helicopter because if I had one more helicopter we could have brought out not only the 52 hostages, but also brought out the rescue team, and when that failed, then I think that was the main factor that brought about my failure to be re-elected. So that's one thing I would change.
 
            Um, well I could've been re-elected if I'd taken military action against Iran, shown that I was strong and resolute and, um, manly and so forth. But, er, I think if I, I could have wiped Iran off the map with the weapons that we had, but in the process a lot of innocent people would have been killed, probably including the hostages and so I stood up against all that, er, all that advice, and then eventually my prayers were answered and every hostage came home safe and free. And so I think I made the right decision in retrospect, but it was not easy at the time (laughs).
 

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