Friday, November 11, 2022

From Ian:

How to defeat the PLO and UNRWA
Below is a list of doable steps that will make all the difference:
1. Recognize the new paradigm: Fatah can no longer be defined as a "partner for peace."
2. Neutralize COGAT (Israel's Civil Administration), and its blind protection of the PA and UNRWA.
3. Present PA and UNRWA Indoctrination as a primary factor in the war on Israel.
4. Since the PBC (Palestine Broadcasting Corporation) continues to incite, close all Israeli government frequencies used by the PBC.
5. Define PA and UNRWA schools as warlike entities that deserve no support.
6. Reinstate? oversight of all texts and teachers? in PA/UNRWA education.
7. Advocate the repeal of "Pay for Slay" legislation as a condition for aid
8. Disarm all Palestinian Arab entities, including the PSF, trained by US and Israel.
9 Arrest anyone who pays killers who have ?carried out acts of murder.
10. Encourage confiscation of all funds set aside by the PA to pay salaries for life to anyone who kills a Jew.
11. Organize conference of the descendants of the Dalal Mugrabi 1978 terror attack, where 35 Jews were murdered. Dalal is lionized by the PA and in UNRWA education.
12. Advocate harsh conditions in jails for terrorists, because current terror cells have turned into summer camps and universities.
13 Commission new films of UNRWA and PA SCHOOLS. Seeing is believing.
14. Oversee all funding to PA and UNRWA: Demand accountability for cash allocations ?to PA and UNRWA. Hold all PA funders criminally responsible for PA transgressions (NGOs have no diplomatic immunity).
15. Create a new think-tank to monitor and fight Arab terror.
16 Hire a community organization social worker to create a new Arab health and social welfare system, one that is independent of ?the corrupt PA and UNRWA. 17. Transform "victims of terror" into an effective organization to present the human face of those who have suffered the consequences of Arab violence. 18. Launch inquiry into private investments in the PA. 19. Foster an effort for UNRWA policy change - Counter "Right of Return by Force of Arms". Instead, advance the resettlement of Arab refugees from 1948 and their descendants.

That's all it takes, folks.
Israel's democracy is its strength over Gaza -opinion
A good friend drew my attention to the article by the Palestinian publicist Dr. Ibrahim Abrash. A resident of the al-Breij refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, formerly the Minister of Culture in the Palestinian government.

Abrash has an education in law and lectures on law and political science. He is a veteran Fatah member, who lives and operates in the ruling districts of Hamas, and despite this, he is known for his independent views and his critical writing.

On Sunday, he published on one of the Palestinian news sites his take on the election results for the 25th Knesset. "You can talk at length about Israel as an imperialist, racist and terrorist entity. You can also talk about the right-wing tendency of Israeli society, and say that the election contest is mainly conducted within the extreme right. Benjamin Netanyahu's return to the prime ministership, in a coalition with extremists like him, portends difficult times."

"But we must recognize that in everything related to the organization of internal politics and the management of the affairs of the regime and the government, a positive thing happened that must be credited to them: the insistence on returning to the public five times over the course of four years to decide who will rule the country, and this without Netanyahu or another political leader, not even the army, contemplating a coup or casting doubt on the election results," Dr. Abrash continued.

In the opinion of the Gazan writer, democracy is one of the reasons for Israel's strength and advantage over others in the region. "This is a card they use to promote themselves in the world," Dr. Abrash explained.
JPost Editorial: Israel's defense diplomacy is just what the Jewish state needs
Reports emerged Wednesday afternoon that the United States has given Israel its approval in principle to export the advanced Arrow-3 ballistic missile defense system to Germany. America has asked – as it has for years – that some battery production be in the US.

These talks came just one week after Defense Minister Benny Gantz held discussions with his American counterpart, US Secretary of Defense Lloyd Austin, to discuss the deal.

The Arrow 3, developed by Israel Aerospace Industries as a joint Israeli-US program, is one of Israel’s most advanced air-defense systems. It is capable of intercepting ballistic missiles at altitudes of over 100 kilometers, with a reported range of up to 2,400 kilometers.

This deal – and the hype surrounding it internationally – represents something far greater than any previous defense deal for Israel.

Something far greater than any previous defense deal for Israel
Germany began to eye Arrow-3 earlier this year in March, just as the Russian invasion of Ukraine was in full swing and it therefore increased its budget for defense spending. The concern in Berlin, and in much of Europe, is that the missiles landing on Ukraine could one day land in Germany.

In September, just a few months later, Prime Minister Yair Lapid met in Berlin with German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and said that “the future possible deal [on the Arrow 3] has to do with our total commitment to the safety of Germany.”

Although no deal has been signed yet, Germany has requested that the first Arrow system be operational in the country by 2025.

The deal is supposedly still on the table and being negotiated, as both Israel and the US have to approve it in order to move forward.

Nevertheless, the fact that this has reached an advanced stage shows, above all else, that Israel has made itself a leader of the pack in terms of the development of defense systems.

Pro-Israel watchdog alleges ‘sham hearings’ by controversial UN commission
The pro-Israel organization NGO Monitor is accusing the United Nations commission investigating Israel of ignoring the group’s research in favor of pro-Palestinian testimony that fits the commission’s biases.

The U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva created the three-person commission last year following an 11-day conflict between Israel and terrorist groups in Gaza. The COI was given a unique, open-ended, permanent mandate. It is charged with investigating any Israeli human rights violations both inside and outside its sovereign territory.

The commission immediately came under fire after the appointment of its three members, all with a history of anti-Israel advocacy and rhetoric. Last month at an open hearing at the U.N. in New York, a broad range of countries publicly criticized the commission’s structure, the biases held by the commission members and the anti-Semitic comments that some of the countries allege two of its members have made.

This week, the commission conducted investigative hearings in Geneva, gathering testimony intended to discount the justification behind Israel’s designation of seven Palestinian NGOs as terror organizations, due to their links to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine, an internationally designated terror organization itself. Evidence for the designations was gathered in part by NGO Monitor.

“In practice, this was a forum for Commission members and NGO representatives to join in attempts to silence NGO Monitor’s independent research,” NGO Monitor said in a statement. “The hearings were a carefully manipulated kangaroo court. The commissioners and NGOs sought to create a tendentious record endorsed by the U.N. and to be shared with other actors to bolster further whitewashing of the evidence as well as to silence legitimate debate.”

NGO Monitor, which did not receive an invitation to appear, complained of the short notice given by the COI, which announced the hearings less than a week in advance. It also said that “the only groups chosen to participate were those that would support the COI’s predetermined conclusions and would deny the overwhelming evidence of links between the NGOs and the PFLP.”

Multiple NGO officials from the network of Palestinian organizations designated by the Israeli government told the COI that NGO Monitor influenced government decisions to end funding for PFLP-linked actors. NGO Monitor cited a representative from Health Workers Committees (HWC), who said it 35 of its 40 institutional donors had stopped funding it as a result of the terror designation. Officials representing HWC, Addameer and Al-Haq accused NGO Monitor of a smear campaign based on guilt by association.

Labor’s reversal of Australia’s recognition of West Jerusalem represents a failure of policy & process
After its election loss in 2019, Labor went quiet on the subject. Those who had opposed Australia’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital had issued a chorus of dire warnings that such recognition would imperil Australia’s diplomatic and trade relationships with Muslim majority countries — especially the pending trade agreement with Indonesia — and lead to mass street protests and violence among Palestinians and in the wider Middle East. None of these predictions came to pass. On the contrary, from 2020 onwards, five Arab countries signed normalisation agreements with Israel. The deal with Indonesia went ahead in March 2019.

It was against this background that the ECAJ’s pre-election survey in 2022 asked the candidates: “Please outline your party’s policies on the recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, including any additional measures it would take if elected to government.”

Labor’s answer this time was:
Labor believes the status of Jerusalem should be resolved as part of any peace negotiations and two-state solution — this is the position of successive Australian governments. We note that in recent years, Israel and some of its neighbours have taken positive steps to normalise their relations which Labor has strongly supported as further building blocks towards regional peace and stability.

There was no statement provided, as previously, that would indicate Labor’s intention to reverse the Morrison government’s decision. Was this misleading? It was certainly less than full disclosure.

The historical status of West Jerusalem
On the substantive issue concerning the status of Jerusalem, the government’s stance was equally problematic. The rationale given by the federal government for its decision was that Australia’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital had pre-empted the outcome of peace negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians on a key (“final status”) issue, and thereby undermined the prospects for reaching agreement.

In reality, West Jerusalem has not been the subject of negotiations between Israel and the Palestinians for the simple reason that West Jerusalem has been a part of Israel’s sovereign territory since the founding of the State in 1948, and its official capital since January 1950. The territory of West Jerusalem lies outside the scope of UN Security Council and General Assembly resolutions concerning Jerusalem that have been passed since 1967, which are expressly limited in their application to the parts of Jerusalem occupied by Israel since 1967. No UN resolution has ever called on Israel to withdraw from West Jerusalem.

West Jerusalem is the location not only of the Knesset, Supreme Court official residences of the President and Prime Minister, and key organs of government, but also of other institutions fundamental to the State — including Mount Herzl, the national war cemetery, the Holocaust Memorial (Yad Vashem) and the Israel Museum.

Since the conquest of the city by King David and the Israelites three millennia ago, Jerusalem has not been the capital of any State other than Jewish States — the ancient Kingdoms of Israel and Judah and the modern State of Israel. Over the last three thousand years, when it has not been the capital of a Jewish State, Jerusalem has been under foreign rule.

Leaving aside its deleterious effect on the relationship between the federal government and the Jewish community, the reversal of Australia’s recognition of West Jerusalem as Israel’s capital does not bode well for the future of Australia’s relations with Israel. This is no way to treat an ally whose intelligence-sharing with Australia has prevented at least one terrorist attack against Australians that we know of. Worse still, the decades of bipartisanship on key questions having to do with the Israel-Palestinian conflict will now most likely give way to a perpetual cycle of partisan contestation.

In the meantime, we will continue to express the community’s opposition forcefully to the government about both the substance of Australia’s changed policy and the process, such as it was, that led to it. And we will work to undo this appalling political decision.
Herzog blasts Arab lawmaker over pro-terrorist remarks
President Isaac Herzog on Friday lashed an Arab Israeli parliamentarian over her statements expressing support for terrorist attacks against Israel.

"You published statements to the effect that supported criminal terrorists that we and the IDF fight against," Herzog said to the Aida Touma-Sliman of the Hadash-Ta'al faction.

"As you you know, that was at the height of the election campaign," Herzog went on. "You supported terrorism and this is something that is unacceptable to the Israeli public."

Last month, Touma-Sliman faced a wave of criticism after referring to five slain members of a Palestinian terrorist Lion's Den group as "martyrs" and asserting that their "resistance" came as retaliation against "the occupation."

"Nablus bid farewell to our martyrs today," the parliamentarian wrote on Facebook. "The Palestinian people bid farewell to their martyrs. The more the occupation increases its crimes, the resistance escalates. An important lesson in the history of nations."

Herzog made the statement during a meeting where the Hadash-Ta'al faction was offering their recommendation for prime minister.
US lambasts Ben-Gvir for 'celebrating terrorism'
The United States expressed concern Thursday after far-Right Israeli lawmaker Itamar Ben-Gvir attended a memorial for an extremist rabbi assassinated in 1990.

"Celebrating the legacy of a terrorist organization is abhorrent," US State Department spokesperson Ned Price said of the event honoring Meir Kahane. "We urge all parties to maintain calm, exercise restraint, and refrain from actions that only serve to exacerbate tensions and that includes in Jerusalem."

Ben-Gvir has long admired Kahane whose anti-Arab ideology banned him from parliament and whose party was listed by the United States as a terrorist group. He was assassinated by an Arab assailant in New York 32 years ago.

The prospect of Ben-Gvir's appointment to a key position in the new government has worried the Biden administration, which issued a stinging rebuke of his appearance at Kahane's memorial.

Ben-Gvir, whose ultra-nationalist Otzma Yehudit ("Jewish Power") party emerged as the second biggest group in Netanyahu's bloc and the third largest in the country, praised Kahane in his speech at the memorial in Jerusalem.

"I think that the main characteristic of Kahane was love. Love of Israel without compromise and without any other considerations," he said.

At the same time, Ben-Gvir has sought to portray himself as more of a moderate since entering politics, saying on Thursday that it's "no secret that today I am not Rabbi Kahane."

But the audience was not having it on Thursday. The crowd booed as Ben-Gvir told them he does "not support the expulsion of all Arabs."

Belgium terror stabbing suspect was on list as potential Islamic extremist
Belgian authorities said Friday that the lone assailant who killed one police officer and wounded another in a stabbing attack had been on a counterterrorism list of potential extremists.

The Belgian suspect, who had served six years in prison for common-law crimes, had gone to a police station early Thursday to express hatred for them, but couldn’t be arrested before he launched his stabbing attack on two police officers that evening.

“The man was on the list of OCAD,” said federal prosecution magistrate Eric Van Der Sypt, referring to the organization that assesses the terrorism threats in Belgium.

Van der Sypt said the suspect shouted “Allahu akbar,” the Arabic phrase for “God is great,” during the stabbing attack, which occurred around the usually busy Brussels Nord station just after evening rush hour.

The suspect was identified as Yassine M, born in Brussels in 1990. His common-law crimes put him behind bars between 2013 and 2019.

On Friday, he faced charges of “murder and attempted murder within a terrorist context,” Van der Sypt said.

Family, colleagues of Abu Akleh tell UN probe Israel deliberately killed journalist
Family members and colleagues of slain Palestinian-American journalist Shireen Abu Akleh told UN investigators Thursday she had been deliberately targeted as part of Israel’s “wide-scale war” on Palestinian media workers.

The killing of the veteran Al Jazeera reporter, who was wearing a bulletproof vest marked “Press” and a helmet when she was shot in the head while covering a gun battle between Israeli forces and Palestinian terrorists that broke out during an IDF raid near the northern West Bank city of Jenin on May 11, is the subject of one of the first in a series of rare public hearings at the UN.

“We want complete accountability. We want justice,” the slain journalist’s niece Lina Abu Akleh told AFP after testifying at what she said was a “historic” hearing at the UN in Geneva.

The hearings, which have been harshly criticized by Israel, are being hosted by the Commission of Inquiry (COI) created by the UN Human Rights Council last year to probe the root causes of the decades-long Middle East conflict.

Speaking to the investigators, Lina Abu Akleh said it was “painful beyond words” to think about how her aunt died, insisting there was no doubt Israeli soldiers “were deliberately targeting my aunt.”

‘In cold blood’
Abu Akleh’s colleague Ali Sammoudi, an Al Jazeera producer who was also shot that day but survived, agreed.

He said the group was “wearing full journalist attire” and that there had been no militant activity nearby.
MEMRI TV: Al-Aqsa Address by Palestinian Islamic Scholar: Palestinian Nationalism Is a “Heretical Innovation”
Palestinian Hizb ut-Tahrir-affiliated Islamic scholar Issam Amira said in a sermon at the Al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem that any form of Arab nationalism, including Palestinian nationalism, is a “colonial heretical innovation” that is the product of the Sykes-Picot Agreement. He said that all Arab states are “null and void” and were created by infidels on the ruins of the Islamic caliphate. He stressed that the only valid identity is the Islamic identity and that the only valid political system is an Islamic caliphate, and he said that the Palestinians will not be ushered into Paradise on Judgment Day simply because they are Palestinian. He further said that colonialism has filled Arabs’ heads with such “filth” and “garbage” in order to prevent the rise of Islam. The video of Amira’s sermon was posted to the Aqsa Call YouTube channel on October 25, 2022. It is noteworthy that Amira recently gave a recorded speech at the Hizb ut-Tahrir conference in Britain (see MEMRI TV Clip No. 9749).

Tens of thousands attend rare Fatah rally in Hamas-controlled Gaza Strip
Turning a huge park in Gaza City into a sea of yellow flags, tens of thousands of Palestinians on Thursday commemorated the anniversary of the death of Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat — a rare public show of support for the Fatah faction in the heartland of its Islamist rival Hamas.

The rally passed without incident, though Gaza’s Hamas rulers have in the past blocked and violently dispersed demonstrations in solidarity with Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah party. The Palestinian parties have been bitterly divided between the West Bank and the blockaded Gaza Strip for 15 years.

Crowds marched to Gaza City’s Katiba park, waving the yellow flags of Fatah, which Arafat founded in the 1960s. They also raised photos of Abbas, Arafat’s successor.

Arafat died in 2004 at a hospital in France after two years of an Israeli siege on his West Bank headquarters. Palestinians accuse Israel of poisoning him but have offered no proof, adding to the mystery surrounding the death.

For Fatah, the ability to mobilize the masses serves as a referendum on its popularity in Hamas-run Gaza. In 2007, Hamas routed pro-Abbas forces and seized the territory after a bloody week of street fighting.

The reputation of Hamas, which administers Gaza under a crippling Israeli-Egyptian blockade and the threat of repeated destructive conflicts with Israel, has suffered among Palestinians in recent years. The group has hiked taxes on residents but struggled to provide even basic services. Four wars with Israel and the 15-year blockade have devastated Gaza’s economy.

‘Goodwill Gesture’: Lebanese Farmers Cross into Israeli Territory to Harvest Olives in Autumn Season
The Israeli army on Thursday announced that it opened its boundary to agricultural workers and farmers from a number of Lebanese villages to harvest olives as part of a goodwill gesture to help improve the country’s ongoing economic crisis.

“For over a decade, the IDF has been making the humanitarian effort of allowing Lebanese farmers to cross the Blue Line into Israeli territory for the seasonal olive harvest,” the IDF said in a statement. “These olive groves, which are located between the Blue Line and the Israeli security fence, prove a vital source of income for Lebanese farmers.”

The Blue Line is a 120-kilometre UN-drawn demarcation line, separating Israel and Lebanon, which was established as the IDF withdrew from southern Lebanon in 2000. It is often referred to as the line of withdrawal. The Blue Line is recognized by both Israel and Lebanon and is marked and observed by the United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL). Any unauthorized crossing of the Blue Line by land or by air from any side constitutes a violation of Security Council resolution 1701.

Israel said it opened its border to Lebanese farmers from the neighboring villages Al Jabal, Itaron and Balida.

“The direct and indirect economic damage caused to the people of Lebanon and their livelihood by the Hezbollah terrorist army is severe and substantial,” said an IDF official. “While Hezbollah destabilizes the area surrounding ​​the Blue Line and harms the citizens of Lebanon, the State of Israel works to alleviate the plight of the residents living along it.”

Europe Has an Easy and Effective Way to Sanction Iran—If It’s Serious about Doing So
In a recent interview, the French president Emmanuel Macron called for a tougher approach to Tehran, reflecting a growing sentiment in Europe, brought on both by the Islamic Republic’s violent response to mass protests and its support for Russia. The EU is already considering issuing new sanctions. But if it wants to have a significant impact on Iran, Richard Goldberg explains, Europe should take advantage of UN Security Resolution 2231, which ratified the 2015 nuclear deal and suspended previous sanctions:

UNSCR 2231 also came with a “snapback” mechanism: a way for the original state parties to the Iran deal—the five permanent members of the Security Council plus Germany—to force the return of all prior UN sanctions if Tehran violates its commitments. With Iran today spinning enough advanced centrifuges to produce high-enriched uranium for several nuclear bombs, any party could at any time notify the Security Council that Iran is breaking its nuclear deal commitments. This would trigger a 30-day clock before all prior resolutions—and their restrictions—come back into force. Russia or China would then have the opportunity to offer a Security Council resolution to block the snapback, but it would be subject to the veto held by the other permanent members Britain, France, and the United States.

Besides the strong signal it would send to the regime in Tehran, completing snapback would have other key benefits. Snapback means the UN arms embargo would return, and the missile embargo, [set to expire next year], would stay.

By contrast, reviving the deal and allowing remaining UN sanctions to lapse means throwing Iran a financial lifeline when it is most vulnerable. Under the proposed terms of the shorter, weaker nuclear accord the United States offered Iran in recent months, Tehran would receive an estimated $275 billion in revenue during the first year, rising to $1 trillion total by 2030. Iran would retain the ability to expand its nuclear-centrifuge program with an eye toward the deal’s full expiration in 2031.

In short, the regime could fortify its economy, quash the popular uprisings, and emerge with an unstoppable nuclear threshold capability simply by saying “yes” to the deal on offer.
Iran-born brothers indicted by Sweden over spying for Russia
Two Iranian-born brothers were charged in Sweden with aggravated espionage for allegedly spying for Russia and its military intelligence service GRU for around a decade, prosecutors said Friday. One of the men worked for Sweden’s domestic intelligence agency.

Authorities identified them as Peyman Kia, 42, and Payam Kia, 35. One of the brothers was also indicted for the alleged gross unauthorized handling of secret information. It wasn’t immediately clear which of them it was.

“It has been a complex investigation concerning a crime that is very difficult to investigate and the suspicion concerns very serious criminality directed against Sweden’s intelligence and security system,” National Security Unit chief prosecutor Per Lindqvist said.

“The information that has been obtained, transmitted and divulged could, by the fact that if it comes into the hands of a foreign power, result in detriment to Sweden’s security,” Lindqvist said in a statement.

He later told The Associated Press that the case involved “extremely sensitive topics,” but declined to elaborate.

According to the charge sheet obtained by the AP , the men have “jointly” passed information to the Russian military intelligence service GRU during the period September 28, 2011-September 20, 2021.
Iranians protest nationwide, mark "Bloody Friday"
Iranians protested in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan province on Friday to mark a September 30 crackdown by security forces known as "Bloody Friday," as nationwide demonstrations calling for the end of clerical rule persisted.

Amnesty International said security forces unlawfully killed at least 66 people, including children, in the incident after firing live ammunition, metal pellets and teargas at protesters in the provincial capital Zahedan, a flashpoint in the unrest gripping Iran.

Anti-government demonstrations erupted in September after the death of a Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini, who had been detained by morality police for allegedly flouting the Islamic Republic's strict dress code imposed on women.

The protests quickly turned into a popular revolt, with people ranging from students to doctors to lawyers to workers to athletes taking part.

The government, which has blamed Amini's death on preexisting medical problems, sees the protests as fomented by Iran’s foreign enemies including the United States, and has vowed to reestablish order.

It accuses armed separatists of perpetrating violence and seeking to destabilize the Islamic Republic.

Some of the worst unrest has been in areas home to minority ethnic groups with long-standing grievances against the state, including Sistan-Baluchistan and Kurdish regions.

Mosaic Podcast: Michael Doran on Iran's Growing Military Dominance in the Middle East
By developing an arsenal of attack drones, rockets, and cruise and ballistic missiles, Iran has achieved a decisive military advantage over its neighbors, including Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. What’s more, the Iranians have learned how to use these weapons in concert, in ways that might be able to overwhelm the most sophisticated American and Israeli defensive systems. The U.S., for its part, has shown itself reluctant to respond to Iranian aggression against its Gulf allies, or even against its own soldiers.

The result has been a loss of American deterrence, a subject discussed more generally on this podcast in March. A recent essay titled “Overmatch” describes in specific terms how Washington’s inaction has invited Iranian superiority, along with China’s pronounced presence in the Middle East. On this week’s podcast, Mosaic’s editor Jonathan Silver discusses the article with Michael Doran, one of its co-authors.

Musical selections in this podcast are drawn from the Quintet for Clarinet and Strings, op. 31a, composed by Paul Ben-Haim and performed by the ARC Ensemble.
MEMRI: The Islamic Republic Of Iran Will Collapse Only If Its Ethnic Minorities Are Supported
International media and most analysts observing Iran's protests have so far focused on the anti-theocratic sentiments and economic factors that drive mass grievances, leaving out the ethnic dimension.[1] However, understanding Iran's periphery and the grievances of its ethnic minorities is essential in explaining the recent revolution in Iran and the government's disproportionate use of force against ethnic minorities.

Iran's population is estimated at around 87,000,000, roughly half of whom are ethnic Persians that predominantly live in central Iran,[2] the rest being Kurds, Baluchis, Azeris, Arabs, Turkmen, Lurs, and Caspian ethnic groups. Although the successive regimes in Iran have succeeded in tackling ethnic uprisings, they lost the ideological and political war against minority ethno-nationalisms.

Since the foundation of modern Iran in 1925, there has been little support for the central government or its ideology and politics in the ethnic regions of the country.[3] The state has therefore viewed ethnic minorities and their political struggle for survival as an existential threat to its integrity. Nevertheless, through their growing opposition to the regime's minority policies and systematic discrimination, ethnic groups across Iran have become a crucial force turning minority politics and ethnic mobilization into an important space of resistance and movement for political change in the country.

Balochi Leader Calls For A Referendum On Self-Determination
Since the early 2000s there have been signs of rising ethno-nationalism and increased alienation among Iran's ethnic and religious minorities, to the extent that some high Iranian officials have issued warnings. For instance, in late 2004, the minister of intelligence, Ali Younesi, reported that the nature of future crises in Iran will not necessarily be political but rather ethnic and social.[4] The Islamic Majlis Center for Research, an Iranian government think tank, warned in a 2005 report that the country will face more serious internal unrest unless the government would better address the needs of its ethnic minorities.[5]

In recent years, Tehran has faced serious security challenges in its border provinces as the ethnic minorities – particularly Kurds, Ahwazi Arabs, and Balochis – have engaged in direct armed clashes with the regime. Last year, Iran's intelligence ministry stated that the regime destroyed 100 "terrorist groups" operating in the border regions in the southern, southeastern, and western parts of the country, which are inhabited predominantly by ethnic minorities.[6]
Iran Is Making a Comeback in Latin America
On the run since 1997, Iranian cleric Mohsen Rabbani remains on Interpol’s most-wanted list for his role in two Iranian bomb plots targeting Israeli and Jewish sites in Buenos Aires. The 1992 Israeli embassy and 1994 Argentine Israelite Mutual Association (AMIA) bombings killed 115 people. Nonetheless, the cleric’s influence in the region is back in full force thanks to a new local network and an Iranian university that Canada targeted for sanctions last month.

Rabbani has been called “Iran’s principal proselytizer in Latin America.” His networks serve several purposes, including amplifying Iran’s propaganda in friendly countries like Venezuela, Bolivia, Nicaragua, and facilitating travel for Iranian agents posing as meat inspectors, airline crews, and clerics.

Emanuele Ottolenghi, a senior fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, told the Investigative Project on Terrorism (IPT) that “Rabbani’s current network in Latin America is the result of his meticulous strategy that began in the 1990s.”

“Thanks to substantial funding from Iran, Rabbani was able to establish a spreading hydra with a completely local leadership capable of operating freely throughout the region without Rabbani’s physical presence,” Ottolenghi said.

Rabbani serves as Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s personal representative to Latin America. In this capacity, he manages the Islam Oriente Cultural Institute, whose mission is to publish reading material in Portuguese and Spanish, and strengthen ties between Iran and the region. The institute is associated with Al Mustafa International University (AMU), which has become the center of Iran’s Latin American influence operations.

The AMU network helped two members of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard Quds Force agents travel to Colombia in 2021. They planned to murder a former Israeli agent living in Bogota, in retaliation for the assassination of Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh.
Outrage over Iranian regime’s arrest of sister of executed wrestler
Islamic Republic of Iran officials on Thursday arrested Elham Afkari, the sister of the executed Iranian national wrestling hero Navid Afkari, claiming Elham is an “agent” for the London-based Iran International news organization.

Iran International wrote on Twitter: “ [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] IRGC-affiliated media are falsely claiming that she was “an agent of @Iranint [Iran International].”

The US government has sanctioned the IRGC as a foreign terrorist organization.

Iran’s regime also arrested Afkari’s husband and their 3-year-old daughter. Iran International’s 24-hour reporting about the protest movement rocking the clerical state has deeply angered Tehran’s rulers.

The clerical regime’s intelligence minister, Esmail Khatib, on Tuesday termed the dissident news outlet a “terrorist” organization.

Iran International said "Iranian officials and government-controlled media have repeatedly accused foreign-based Persian media for fomenting the unrest, without presenting any credible proof...In desperation to prove foreign conspiracies, the Islamic Republic may arrest more people and activists, and accuse them of collaborating with Iran International or other media outlets."

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