Category Archives: Iran

Please join us for this timely presentation on….

ROUHANI, THE REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS,

AND

A NEW SHIA REGIONAL ORDER

with

Dr. Eliot Assoudeh

The Ramada, Thursday, June 29, 2017, 9:00 a.m.

Iran’s population is one of the best educated in the world, and certainly in the Middle East. No wonder then that the ruling elite continues to struggle in its desire to impose an Islamic political culture and system following strict Shia dictates. And that the Mullahs face more serious confrontations outside of Iran, especially against the Sunni Muslim states such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the Persian Gulf Emirates.

Dr. Eliot Assoudeh will discuss internal Iranian political conflicts, with a focus on Ayatollah Khamenei’s dictate to impose a “Cultural Revolution” in Iran. Assoudeh, who just received his doctorate from UNR, will discuss Khamenei’s vision of “Cultural Engineering” in Iran, and compare that to President Rouhani’s role in this attempt to impose more religious discipline. And, what is the stance of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), as well as the Basij?

Dr. Assoudeh was born in Iran and speaks Farsi fluently. He has written and spoken extensively on Iran’s regional policies and what he describes as “Shia expansionism”.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $10 for students with ID and military personnel in uniform; free for WWII Veterans). We recommend that you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some breakfast, coffee and conversation.

Please RSVP by clicking HERE For your convenience, we accept cash, check and credit card payments for both the breakfast and membership fees.

THE IRANIAN “ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS CORPS”

The National Security Forum presents

THE IRANIAN “ISLAMIC REVOLUTIONARY GUARDS CORPS” (IRGC)

 Power and Violence in Iran, Syria & Beyond

 

With Eliot Assoudeh

PhD Candidate, University of Nevada, Reno

The Ramada, Thursday, January 9, at 9:00 am

The Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) maintains a major role not only in Iran’s politico-military areas, but is a dominant factor in the economy as well. The Revolutionary Guards oversee the Quds force and its activities in neighboring countries, directs the Basij in domestic oppression, conducts religious indoctrination internally, and owns a significant part of the Iranian economy—including the agro, industrial and military sectors.

How powerful is the IRGC in Iranian politics? Can they sabotage the temporary agreement with the West halting the Iranian nuclear weapons program?  It would seem that while the Guards are enormously powerful, and indeed oppose the nuclear agreement, President Rouhani seems to have the overwhelming support of the populace who want relief from the impact of sanctions, from the incessant propaganda, and from the “national fatigue” after eight years of rule by Mahmoud Ahmandinejad. Can the IRGC and its allies continue to hold the “commanding heights”? Can the U.S. influence events in Iran?

Iranian born Eliot Assoudeh is focusing his research as a PhD candidate on the structures of Iranian political, religious and military elites.

Assoudeh will analyze the current role of the IRGC in Iranian society, the economy, intelligence agencies and the politico-military sectors. A key question will also revolve around the relationships between the IRGC and President Rouhani, and more importantly with the Supreme Ruler, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $5 for students with ID; free for WWII veterans), so recommend you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some coffee and conversation.

Kindly RSVP on our website by clicking here or you may RSVP by phone (775) 746-3222 or email twcobb@aol.com. We are also now accepting credit cards at the door for your convenience.

 

Colonel Pick’s Presentation on “Iran Under Rouhani”

IRAN UNDER ROUHANI:

IMPLICATIONS FOR U.S. POLICY

 

Colonel Dino Pick gave one of the most insightful and riveting talks to our National Security Forum last Friday, entitled, “Iran Under Rouhani: Implications of the Election of the new Iranian President for U.S. Policy Toward Iran”.

The election of a relative moderate to succeed Ahmadinejad as President of Iran has created a torrent of advice for American and Western policy makers. Does Rouhani’s impressive victory signify that Iran may demonstrate more flexibility on the nuclear weapons issue and on supporting global terrorism? Or will this veteran of Tehran’s political establishment serve only as eye wash for a regime dominated by the Mullahs and the Military, one that won’t adopt any significant policy changes?

COL Pick noted that US-Iranian relations are at a crossroads. Some experts believe that the election of Rouhani will bring fundamental change within Iran and consequently with respect to its foreign relations. Certainly what we have seen come out of the President’s office recently is encouraging. At the same time, we know that the power of the ruling Mullahs, along with the military and the Revolutionary Guards, remains very entrenched. Should the US and the West seek a secret channel with Rouhani? Should the US/West be prepared to relax sanctions in exchange for tangible changes in Iranian nuclear and domestic policies?

COL Pick’s presentation is attached. I am sure you will find it both insightful and informative.

Ty

Click here:  Colonel Pick on Iran Under Rouhani


September 13 Meeting Announcement

 

 The National Security Forum presents

 

IRAN AFTER ROUHANI:

 IMPLICATIONS OF THE ELECTION

FOR U.S. POLICY TOWARD IRAN

With

 COLONEL DINO PICK

COMMANDANT, THE DEFENSE LANGUAGE INSTITUTE

 The Ramada, Friday, September 13 at 9:00 am

The election of a relative moderate to succeed Ahmadinejad as President of Iran has created a torrent of advice for American and Western policy makers. Does Rouhani’s impressive victory signify that Iran may demonstrate more flexibility on the nuclear weapons issue and on supporting global terrorism? Or will this veteran of Tehran’s political establishment serve only as eye wash for a regime dominated by the Mullahs and the Military, one that won’t adopt any significant policy changes?

COL Dino Pick was a national security affairs fellow for 2009–2010 at the Hoover Institution. Before arriving at Hoover, he served as a special adviser to General Stanley McChrystal, commander of NATO and US Forces in Afghanistan. Pick’s military experience includes service with the 3/66 Armor Battalion in Desert Storm and the 10th Special Forces Group (Airborne) during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. He holds a BA from the University of Washington and an MA from Princeton in Near Eastern Studies, and has served on the OSD policy staff.

Please join us for what will be a very interesting discussion. A full breakfast will be served ($15 Members, $25 Non-Members, and $5 for students with ID; free for WWII veterans), so recommend you arrive by 8:30 to enjoy some coffee and conversation.

Kindly RSVP by clicking here or you may RSVP by phone (775) 746-3222 or email twcobb@aol.comWe are also now accepting credit cards at the door for your convenience.

 

Military Strike on Iran Should Be Last Resort

Nevada’s Washington Watch

Military Strike On Iran Should Be Last Resort
By Tyrus W. Cobb
Reno resident and former Special Assistant to President Reagan for
National Security Affairs

Does everyone believe that Tehran is hell-bent to develop and field a nuclear weapons arsenal? Many experts don’t. The Director of National Intelligence,  General James Clapper, testified that “We don’t believe they’ve actually made the decision to go ahead with a nuclear weapon”. CIA Director David Petraeus nodded concurrence.

Others note that the Iranian program is still under the supervision of IAEA inspectors and Iran has not moved toward “breaking out” and producing weapons-grade, highly enriched uranium. They add that Iran is a signatory to the Non-Proliferation Treaty, which it has not violated. By contrast, Israel is not a signatory to the NPT and has refused to provide any access to its nuclear facilities to the IAEA. Israel probably has 200+ nuclear weapons, and three means to deliver them, and nothing is controlled by any international treaty.

This does not mean that we should not worry about Iran having nuclear weapons. As President Obama has clearly warned, “The risks of an Iranian nuclear weapon falling into the hands of a terrorist organization are profound”.  So if sanctions and diplomacy fail, then a military strike intended to destroy Iran’s nuclear program could spare the region and relieve the world of a very real threat.

And we should have no illusions about the nature of the regime in Tehran. Iran is the major sponsor of global terrorism, and seeks hegemony in the Middle East. A nuclear Iran could intimidate its neighbors, and probably compel them to develop nuclear weapons themselves, Tehran might disperse nuclear devices to terrorist organizations, apart from any actions against Israel. Thousands of American soldiers have been killed or maimed by incendiary devices manufactured in Iran. The regime is an avowed enemy not only of Israel, but of the U.S.

Still, we must be extremely cautious about rushing toward a military strike on Iran. Many experts believe that the economic and financial sanctions that have been imposed on Iran, as well as covert actions, have had a very significant impact and caused severe degradation to the Iranian economy. This has weakened the position of the Mullahs and led to internal strife within the government’s top leadership. Thus, some argue, given time, the sanctions will force the Iranians to negotiate or abandon any nuclear weapons program.

How successful would an Israeli strike against Iran be?

Despite these words of caution, many anticipate that an Israeli strike against the Iranian nuclear facilities will occur soon. If so, how successful would such an attack be?

Most experts believe that any conceivable air campaign would at best only delay and damage the program. They point out that Iran has withered the attack by the Stuxnet virus, the assassinations of some of its nuclear scientists, and economic sanctions, and are now installing advanced uranium enrichment centrifuges. The elements of the program—principally the centrifuges– are being placed deep underground, too deep for any bunker busting bomb to penetrate.

An air campaign would stretch the Israeli air forces capabilities to the maximum. The key targets are located at the furthest range of its fighter-bombers. And the pilots would have to violate the airspace of at least Iraq, if not Jordan, Turley or Saudi Arabia. While it is not militarily a challenge now to fly over Iraq (Iraq does not have any air defense capability to speak of), it would, of course, further drive the Iraqi populace closer to a tighter relationship with Tehran.

American military experts have also pointed out that there is no such thing as a “surgical strike”, but warn that any conflict would involve extensive civilian casualties and be very messy. Former Vice-Chairman of the JCS James Cartwright testified that any strike would also “solidify domestic support for the regime”. He also agreed that the only way to prevent Iran from securing a nuclear weapons program was “to occupy the country”.

What would the Iranian response be? Perhaps it would encourage the Hezbollah in Lebanon to launch some of the thousands of rockets it has in the inventory, and push its new partner, Hamas in Gaza, to conduct incursions against Israel. It may take actions to close the vital Hormuz straits, through which flow much of the world’s oil supplies. And sensing that the U.S. is complicit, Iran would certainly send out swarms of its Swift boats against the U.S. Navy presence in the Gulf and likely employ numerous mini-drones to hamper U.S. activities.

Such an attack would at a minimum disrupt global oil markets and lead to a rapid escalation of petroleum prices and a global economic downturn.

What is unknown is what the global repercussions will be? Will this further drive China, and possibly Russia, into greater support for Iran? Would such a strike please the Saudis, or will it cause anger in the Muslim world? These questions also must be addressed.

The military option should not be taken off the table, but it must be the last resort should sanctions fail. This is what our professional Intelligence and Military leaders are saying—advice we should heed!

Tyrus W. Cobb, a Reno resident, served as a Special Assistant to President Reagan for national security affairs.