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Russia and Iran Edge Closer

The opening of a $5 billion credit line provided by Russia to Iran signals rapidly strengthening ties.

Alexander Mercouris

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Though it has received minimal world attention, there is now confirmation that Russia has granted Iran a $5 billion credit line.

This is a credit line rather than a loan (earlier media reports referred to it as a loan). 

That Russia was willing to lend $5 billion to Iran was confirmed during President Putin’s visit to Iran last November.  Completion of the loan was however then delayed due to unspecified legal reasons.  However in April it was confirmed that the legal problems – whatever they were – had been resolved and that Russia was pressing ahead with the loan.

The fact that the loan takes the form of a credit line rather than cash may be the clue to the delay. Though part of Iran’s nuclear deal was the lifting of sanctions on Iran, the US is dragging its heels in doing that so that the bulk of the estimated $30 billion of Iranian funds frozen in Iranian  accounts in Western banks have still not been released to Iran.

Possibly Russian banks involved in the loan were worried they might be targeted by the US with further sanctions if they became involved.  By substituting for the loan a credit line – presumably guaranteed by the Russian state – such concerns would have been allayed.

A credit line also tends to allow the borrower more flexibility in how the funds are used.  Iran might therefore have preferred a credit line to an outright loan, which would have come with more stringent conditions.

At least half the $5 billion will be used to upgrade Iran’s infrastructure, which has suffered badly from neglect because of the sanctions.  Modernising and electrifying the Iranian railway system will be the major priority.  Money will however be also used to upgrade Iran’s ports and oil industry.

By today’s standards the amount involved is relatively small.  However it should be seen as a first step in an evolving relationship. 

A common condition for such lending is that the borrower imports any necessary technology or equipment from the lender.  It is a virtual certainty that this is so in this case.  The credit line will therefore give Russia a stake in the Iranian railway and oil industries and in other parts of Iran’s infrastructure.

Historically Iran and Russia have not been close friends.  During the Cold War the Shah of Iran aligned Iran closely with the West.  Following the Shah’s overthrow Iran also kept a certain distance from Russia.  Russia – or more properly the USSR – for its part during the Iran Iraq war of the 1980s sought to maintain a certain balance between Iran and Iraq, increasing supplies of arms to whichever side appeared to be losing as it sought to force the two sides to compromise.

Going back before the Cold War, there is a long history of conflict between Iran and Russia, with the two countries often in conflict with each other in the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and with the Russians seeking to establish zones of influence in northern Iran prior to the First World War and during and immediately after the Second World War.

Iran and the USSR even fought each other briefly in a short and bloody though now largely forgotten war in the summer of 1941.  This war, which was fought following the German attack on the USSR and which should be treated as a part of the Second World War, resulted in Iran’s decisive defeat by the USSR and the Soviet occupation of northern Iran.

Over the last decade Russia and Iran have however grown significantly closer, though not without serious setbacks along the way.  The Iranians were for example incensed by the Russian decision to cancel delivery of S300 surface to air missiles previously bought by Iran from Russia.  This happened following the imposition of UN sanctions on Iran for which Russia had actually voted.  What infuriated the Iranians especially is that these sanctions did not in fact prevent Russia from supplying the S300 missiles to Iran since they were not covered by the sanctions.  The Russians actually cancelled delivery of the S300 missiles following intense US and Israeli lobbying, using the sanctions as a cover.

Some Iranians are also known to feel that Russia unduly and deliberately protracted work in completing the nuclear reactor at Bushehr, though the sheer complexity of that project – which involved grafting Russian technology onto a reactor originally designed and partly built with German help during the rule of the Shah – actually makes that unlikely.

Russia and Iran have however more recently found themselves in close agreement on the Syrian conflict with both countries providing strong support to the embattled government of President Bashar Al-Assad.  Their two militaries have been cooperating closely with each other in Syria – with the Russians providing air cover and the Iranians ground troops – in a way that can only increase the level of contacts between them.

Russia also played a key role in brokering the nuclear deal, which led to at least some of the sanctions on Iran – and crucially those sanctions which limited development of the Iranian oil industry – being lifted. 

A key event in the lead up to the nuclear deal was a provisional “oil-for-goods” agreement between Russia and Iran – a barter deal whereby Russia agreed to supply goods to Iran in return for Iranian oil.  That agreement threatened the sanctions regime the UN had imposed on Iran to such a degree as to threaten to make it unviable, and was a major factor in forcing the US to agree to the nuclear deal.

Since the nuclear deal Russia has reversed its decision to cancel sale of the S300 missiles to Iran and it seems these missiles have now been delivered.  There is also talk of further arms sales by Russia to Iran, including of T90 tanks and of SU27 fighters, though such talk regularly elicits denials from both sides.  The sensitivity of further arms sales may however explain the denials, and they should not be taken as conclusive.

The latest credit line agreement now seals what is likely to be a burgeoning economic and trade relationship underpinning the still sometimes prickly but nonetheless growing political and military relationship that is evolving between the two countries.

For the future some Iranian and Russian officials – including especially former Iranian President Ahmadinejad – have spoken of forging even closer relations, with talk of Iran even joining such Russian-led institutions as the Eurasian Union and the CSTO. 

Whether relations ever develop to that point remains to be seen.  In the meantime Russia and Iran, whilst not exactly allies or even partners, are moving closer together.  Perhaps one day they may become partners or even allies.

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“Foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails (Video)

Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx): Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails was hacked by foreign actor, and it was not Russia.

Alex Christoforou

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A stunning revelation that hardly anyone in the mainstream media is covering.

Fox News gave Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) the opportunity to explain what was going on during his questioning of Peter Strzok, when the the Texas Congressman stated that a “foreign entity, NOT RUSSIA” hacked Hillary Clinton’s emails.

Aside from this segment on Fox News, this story is not getting any coverage, and we know why. It destroys the entire ‘Russia hacked Hillary’ narrative.

Gohmert states that this evidence is irrefutable and shows that a foreign actor, not connected to Russia in any way, intercepted and distributed Hillary Clinton’s cache of 30,000 emails.

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Via Zerohedge

As we sift through the ashes of Thursday’s dumpster-fire Congressional hearing with still employed FBI agent Peter Strzok, Luke Rosiak of the Daily Caller plucked out a key exchange between Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Tx) and Strzok which revealed a yet-unknown bombshell about the Clinton email case.

Nearly all of Hillary Clinton’s emails on her homebrew server went to a foreign entity that isn’t Russia. When this was discovered by the Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG), IG Chuck McCullough sent his investigator Frank Ruckner and an attorney to notify Strzok along with three other people about the “anomaly.”

Four separate attempts were also made to notify DOJ Inspector General Michael Horowitz to brief him on the massive security breach, however Horowitz “never returned the call.” Recall that Horowitz concluded last month that despite Strzok’s extreme bias towards Hillary Clinton and against Donald Trump – none of it translated to Strzok’s work at the FBI.

In other words; Strzok, while investigating Clinton’s email server, completely ignored the fact that most of Clinton’s emails were sent to a foreign entity – while IG Horowitz simply didn’t want to know about it.

Daily Caller reports…

The Intelligence Community Inspector General (ICIG) found an “anomaly on Hillary Clinton’s emails going through their private server, and when they had done the forensic analysis, they found that her emails, every single one except four, over 30,000, were going to an address that was not on the distribution list,” Republican Rep. Louie Gohmert of Texas said during a hearing with FBI official Peter Strzok.

Gohmert continued..

“It was going to an unauthorized source that was a foreign entity unrelated to Russia.”

Strzok admitted to meeting with Ruckner but said he couldn’t remember the “specific” content of their discussion.

“The forensic examination was done by the ICIG and they can document that,” Gohmert said, “but you were given that information and you did nothing with it.”

According to Zerohedge “Mr. Horowitz got a call four times from someone wanting to brief him about this, and he never returned the call,” Gohmert said – and Horowitz wouldn’t return the call.

And while Peter Strzok couldn’t remember the specifics of his meeting with the IG about the giant “foreign entity” bombshell, he texted this to his mistress Lisa Page when the IG discovered the “(C)” classification on several of Clinton’s emails – something the FBI overlooked:

“Holy cow … if the FBI missed this, what else was missed? … Remind me to tell you to flag for Andy [redacted] emails we (actually ICIG) found that have portion marks (C) on a couple of paras. DoJ was Very Concerned about this.”

Via Zerohedge

In November of 2017, IG McCullough – an Obama appointee – revealed to Fox News that he received pushback when he tried to tell former DNI James Clapper about the foreign entity which had Clinton’s emails and other anomalies.

Instead of being embraced for trying to expose an illegal act, seven senators including Dianne Feinstein (D-Ca) wrote a letter accusing him of politicizing the issue.

“It’s absolutely irrelevant whether something is marked classified, it is the character of the information,” he said. Fox News reports…

McCullough said that from that point forward, he received only criticism and an “adversarial posture” from Congress when he tried to rectify the situation.

“I expected to be embraced and protected,” he said, adding that a Hill staffer “chided” him for failing to consider the “political consequences” of the information he was blowing the whistle on.

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Donald Trump plays good cop and bad cop with a weak Theresa May (Video)

The Duran – News in Review – Episode 55.

Alex Christoforou

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US President Donald Trump’s state visit to the UK was momentous, not for its substance, but rather for its sheer entertainment value.

Trump started his trip to the United Kingdom blasting Theresa May for her inability to negotiate a proper Brexit deal with the EU.  Trump ended his visit holding hands with the UK Prime Minister during a press conference where the most ‘special relationship’ between the two allies was once again reaffirmed.

Protests saw giant Trump “baby balloons” fly over London’s city center, as Trump played was his own good cop and bad cop to the UK PM, outside London at the Chequers…often times leaving May’s head spinning.

Even as Trump has left London, he remains front and center in the mind of Theresa May, who has now stated that Trump advised her to “sue” the European Union to resolve the tense negotiations over Brexit.

Trump had mentioned to reporters on Friday at a joint press conference with Theresa May that he had given the British leader a suggestion that she found too “brutal.”

Asked Sunday on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show what that suggestion was, May: “He told me I should sue the EU. Not go into negotiation, sue them.” May added…

“What the president also said at that press conference was `Don’t walk away. Don’t walk away from the negotiations. Then you’re stuck.”‘

The Duran’s Alex Christoforou and Editor-in-Chief Alexander Mercouris summarize what was a state visit like no other, as Trump trolled the UK PM from beginning to end, and left London knowing that he got the better of a weakened British Prime Minister, who may not survive in office past next week.

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Via CNBC

It wasn’t exactly clear what Trump meant. The revelation came after explosive and undiplomatic remarks Trump made this week about May’s leadership — especially her handling of the Brexit negotiations — as he made his first official visit to Britain.

In an interview with The Sun newspaper published Thursday — just as May was hosting Trump at a lavish black-tie dinner — Trump said the British leader’s approach likely “killed” chances of a free-trade deal with the United States. He said he had told May how to conduct Brexit negotiations, “but she didn’t listen to me.”

He also praised May’s rival, Boris Johnson, who quit last week as foreign secretary to protest May’s Brexit plans. Trump claimed Johnson would make a “great prime minister.”

The comments shocked many in Britain — even May’s opponents — and threatened to undermine May’s already fragile hold on power. Her Conservative government is deeply split between supporters of a clean break with the EU and those who want to keep close ties with the bloc, Britain’s biggest trading partner.

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Deep State poster boy Peter Strzok gives bizarre testimony that goes viral (Video)

The face of the Deep State.

Alex Christoforou

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If you were not convinced that the Deep State exists, then look no further than Peter Strzok’s bizarre, yet revealing, congressional testimony, showcasing the arrogance and smugness of a powerful FBI agent who worked diligently to push a fake Trump-Russia narrative onto the American public.

Via Zerohedge

While Peter Strzok’s marathon Congressional testimony was full of bickering, chaos and drama – mostly between members of the House Judiciary and Oversight committees – a clip of the disgraced FBI agent’s seemingly giddy reaction after answering a question is creeping people out.

Some have suggested that Strzok’s reaction was “Duper’s delight” – a hidden smirk that slips out at an inappropriate moment when a liar celebrates a successful manipulation.

Watching Peter Strzok, its hard, if not impossible to believe that this man is not a psychopath, who hated Trump so much that he was willing to forward a collusion story that has cost American taxpayers millions, and torn American society apart.

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The video clip even had Donald Trump Jr retweeting it, as he labeled Strzok “the creepiest person in America.”

Via RT

One particular moment from Peter Strzok’s raucous congressional hearing left Twitter users confounded and disturbed, even prompting Donald Trump Jr to label the FBI agent “the creepiest person in America.”

Strzok faced the House Judiciary and Oversight Committees on Thursday to answer questions about his conduct during the 2016 investigations into Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump.

The lengthy hearing quickly descended into a partisan shouting match, as Republicans and Democrats interrupted each other’s questions, heckling or applauding Strzok.

Strzok’s peculiar reaction to one question caught the eye of viewers and many took to Twitter to confirm that their eyes weren’t deceiving them.

Strzok’s facial expressions were also noticed by the congressmen in the room and prompted one of the most dramatic moments of the hearing when Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-Texas) accused Strzok of outright lying.

“I can’t help but wonder when I see you looking there with a little smirk; how many times did you look so innocent into your wife’s eyes and lie to her about Lisa Page,” Gohmert told Strzok, referring to the agent’s extramarital affair with his former colleague Lisa Page, with whom he exchanged anti-Trump text messages. Gohmert’s comment sparked vociferous objections from Democrats.

The hearing evoked a significant reaction, with many describing it as a farce. Former New York mayor and current attorney to US President Donald Trump, Rudy Giuliani, labelled it a “disgrace” and said it “taints the entire Mueller witch hunt.”

“President Trump is being investigated by people who possess pathological hatred for him. All the results of the investigation are ‘fruit of the poison tree’ and should be dismissed,” he added.

Democrats seemed to agree with that sentiment, as California Congressman Ted Lieu said it was “a stupid and ridiculous hearing.”

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