Pakistani Horn Ready for First Nuclear War: Revelation 8

FILE - Pakistan's former Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, addresses during an anti-government rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, Aug. 20, 2022.
FILE – Pakistan’s former Prime Minister Imran Khan, center, addresses during an anti-government rally in Islamabad, Pakistan, Aug. 20, 2022.

Ex-PM Khan Says Pakistan ‘Ripe for Soft Revolution,’ Set to Lead March for Elections

October 26, 2022 11:04 AM


Pakistan’s populist former prime minister, Imran Khan, says his scheduled march on the capital, Islamabad, starting Friday could trigger a “soft revolution” in the country through the ballot box and warned of chaos if authorities try to block the protest.

Khan made the remarks Tuesday during a virtual debate organized by Britain’s Oxford Union. He said the long-promised march will start in the eastern city of Lahore and draw people from across Pakistan to converge on the capital and press the government into holding early elections.

“This march will show where the people of Pakistan stand. And I feel that it will be one of the biggest protest movements in Pakistan’s history,” said the 70-year-old leader of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) opposition party. “It will be peaceful within our constitutional rights.”

FILE - Supporters of Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan's Tehreek-e-Insaf party attend a rally, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sept. 6, 2022.
FILE – Supporters of Pakistani opposition leader Imran Khan’s Tehreek-e-Insaf party attend a rally, in Peshawar, Pakistan, Sept. 6, 2022.

Khan’s PTI runs several regional governments, including the most populous Punjab province, of which Lahore is the capital, and the northwestern province of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa.

The cricket-star-turned politician accused Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif’s government of unleashing a crackdown on political dissent and media freedom since taking office. He said it has led to a “mixture of depression and hatred” in Pakistan.

“There are two ways of changing. You can have a soft revolution through ballot box or it the other way, which causes destruction in a society,” Khan argued. “But I just believe that we are now on the brink. Either we are going to change peacefully or I’m afraid it will lead to chaos in our country.”

Critics often point to the Pakistani military as the arbiter of power in the nuclear-armed and world’s fifth most populous country.

“The Pakistani army has never been neutral, in the sense that it has never stayed out of politics,” said Michael Kugelman, a South Asian affairs expert at Washington’s Wilson Center. “From its legacy of coups to its more recent role of serving as a back room political powerbroker and policy influencer, the army has always played an outsize role in Pakistani politics.”

Surging popularity amid inflation, floods

Sharif has repeatedly dismissed Khan’s demand for immediate elections as unconstitutional, saying they will be held in October or November of next year, in line with the constitution.

Khan held an anti-government march on Islamabad in May but police and paramilitary forces broke it up with heavy tear gas shelling. Several protesters were killed and scores of others injured.

Khan’s popularity has surged since then and tens of thousands of his supporters have turned out at PTI-organized rallies to call for snap polls, helping his party win recent by-elections for national and provincial legislatures.

FILE - Supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party run with batons amid the tear gas smoke fired by police to prevent them from attending the protest march planned by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, May 25, 2022.
FILE – Supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party run with batons amid the tear gas smoke fired by police to prevent them from attending the protest march planned by ousted Prime Minister Imran Khan in Islamabad, in Rawalpindi, Pakistan, May 25, 2022.

The political tensions and looming elections have fueled economic uncertainty in cash-strapped Pakistan as Sharif’s government struggles to contain rising inflation and tackles a balance of payments crisis while foreign exchange reserves dwindle.

The economic challenges have worsened since mid-June, when catastrophic flooding hit the South Asian nation, killing more than 1,700 people and inflicting infrastructure losses estimated to be more than $30 billion.

Khan has also targeted the military leadership in his rally speeches for allegedly facilitating Sharif’s Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) and its major coalition partner, the Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), to return to power.

The two family-run parties have ruled the country successively for years and long accused each other of widespread corruption and mismanagement of the economy until they joined hands this year and removed Khan from office.

“We’re replaced by a government where 60 percent of the cabinet is on bail on corruption cases and the two families that had been calling each other crooked and putting each other in jail and corruption cases unite against me are brought into power,” Khan said at Tuesday’s event.

He asserted that while in power he was trying to enforce the law in Pakistan by bringing the two former ruling families to justice for laundering billions of dollars “to build places overseas.”

Khan went on to allege that the federal anti-corruption autonomous body was being “controlled by the establishment,” an allusion to the military.

“For some reason the establishment’s views on corruption were completely different to mine. They did not take that seriously. I kept telling them that no country can prosper if the ruling elite is siphoning off money outside the country.”

PM, FM denounce Khan as liar

Last week, the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) disqualified Khan from his seat in the National Assembly, the lower house of parliament, accusing him of concealing his assets. The ruling alleged that the former prime minister had made a “false statement and incorrect declaration” about his assets before the ECP. Khan and his party denounced the decision as politically motivated and a high court is looking into the complaint.

Supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party chant slogans as they gather, after Pakistan Election Commission disqualifies former Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges of unlawfully selling state gifts, during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan, Oct. 21, 2022.
Supporters of the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) political party chant slogans as they gather, after Pakistan Election Commission disqualifies former Prime Minister Imran Khan on charges of unlawfully selling state gifts, during a protest in Karachi, Pakistan, Oct. 21, 2022.

Sharif rejects Khan’s allegation of corruption, calling him a “fraudster” and the “biggest liar in Pakistan’s history” at a recent news conference in Islamabad.

“Instead of challenging the law and bringing stick-waving riotous groups, you need to bow your head before the law. No one is above the law,” Sharif said in a statement last week referring to Khan’s proposed protest march.

Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, who heads the PPP, has also criticized Khan for leveling unfounded allegations against political rivals.

“[The] election commission of Pakistan has found Imran Khan guilty of corrupt practices. He now stands disqualified. He who would spread lies about alleged corruption of his political opponents has been caught red handed,” he said on Twitter shortly after the election panel announced its ruling against Khan.

The Wilson Center’s Kugelman believes Pakistan’s leaders would be making a mistake if they try to further sideline Khan.

“When you sideline a populist who enjoys mass popularity, you ultimately end up strengthening them. It’s as simple as that,” Kugelman said.

The Saudi Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Military truck carrying intermediate-range ballistic missile of Pakistani army, November 27, 2008 (Courtesy SyedNaqvi90)

Military truck carrying intermediate-range ballistic missile of Pakistani army, November 27, 2008 (Courtesy SyedNaqvi90)

And What If Saudi Arabia Were The Owner Of Nuclear Missiles? – OpEd

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By Jonathan Power

In any body politic there will be a group of powerful people who, if not in the inner circle of the president or prime minister, can win access to it at regular intervals. Security is their profession, and they can be met at discrete academic conferences where they tend to stand out as rather earnest, if sombre, figures.

It is they who bend the ear of those in authority, consistent in their solicitations even as governments change, arguing that their country will only have true security if they possess a nuclear deterrent and that if their advice is not heeded one day there will be an enemy who will take advantage of their country’s naiveté.

The politicians whose ears they bend have won their authority not by knowing about the world outside their own country and its discontents but by climbing the ladder in domestic politics, perhaps becoming expert in one or two things e.g. tax law, civil rights, transport, climate change or the economy, very rarely in military and geo-political matters. They are often putty in the hands of these would-be nuclear strategists and nuclear bomb makers.

One of these I knew reasonably well, the erudite and charming nuclear physicist, the late Dr Munir Khan, one of the fathers of Pakistan’s nuclear bomb, who, it was said—although no proof was ever forthcoming—had used his previous position as a high official in the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to build clandestine contacts for Pakistan’s bomb makers. He explained to me, long after he was retired, how he and his fellow nuclear scientists manipulated the civilian leadership.

The late Olof Palme, prime minister of Sweden for many years, told me of how he had to “de-fang” the nuclear bomb establishment that was well under way with its plans when he came to power. It is not easy to roll back the nuclear lobby even when one is prime minister—there is always the danger, if you don’t take the scientists along with you, that they, believing they love the country more than the prime minister does, will conduct their future researches clandestinely or, if not in secret, under the guise of using it for “peaceful purposes” and await for the political currents to turn in their favour. This happened in white-ruled South Africa.

This is also in essence what happened in India. An authoritative study, The Politics of Nuclear Weapons in India and Pakistan” (Praeger) written by Haider Nizamani makes clear that their nuclear bomb programmes did not originate in response to specific security problems. Adversaries were not the cause. Rather, they had to be found. This explains India’s remarkable decision to put its bomb development on ice after its successful “peaceful” nuclear test in 1974. The “threat” from China had gone quiet and Pakistan, for all the acrimony, did not seem a real threat.

Only in the 1990s, by arguing that China with its nuclear weapons was becoming an enemy, were the bomb advocates able to win the ear of the politicians and alterative voices were gradually marginalized as “unpatriotic”. One of the pivotal figures was the strategic thinker K. Subrahmanyam who by sheer doggedness transformed a minority opinion into a mainstream assumption.

His calculation, correct as it turned out, is once a certain threshold has been crossed popular opinion, invariably nationalistic, will succumb to the call of patriotism. With the rise of the Hindu-nationalist party, the BJP, the bomb became inevitable.

We now see the same process afoot in Saudi Arabia. A couple of dozen years ago in this column I tried to draw attention to Saudi Arabia’s purchase of Chinese CSS-2 rockets. I wrote then that there could be no question these had not been purchased for conventional military activity, as they were unnecessarily powerful and, moreover, inaccurate with a normal explosive warhead. Their sole real purpose was to carry a nuclear weapon.

The Saudi military and strategists in effect hoodwinked the king and the ruling princes, persuading them that these rockets were the best deal on the market and the fact they could carry nuclear warheads was at that time irrelevant since they worked well with conventional warheads

For years, Western nuclear powers have connived to keep this, if not secret, quiet. Saudi Arabia has been a strategic ally, most important and long-standing, in the oil business. As successive administrations in Washington have viewed it, discretion has been the better part of valour, even though one of the targets for a Saudi bomb could be the Middle East’s other nuclear-bomb power, Israel, America’s staunch friend.

An article by Richard Russell in Survival, the quarterly of the influential International Institute for Strategic Studies, argued that whilst Saudi Arabia has not yet put nuclear warheads on these rockets it is probably only a matter of time before it does. Self-serving security issues are far more important in such decision-making that “an innate friendship” with the U.S.

For the desert kingdom with its small population and army but huge territory, nuclear weapons appear a sensible option.

After Washington belatedly discovered the purchase of the CSS-2s from China, 31 senators called on the Reagan Administration to suspend American arms sales to Saudi Arabia. But the Saudis were not intimidated. Requests by Washington to inspect the missiles have been refused. Saudi Arabia this year has become even more self-assertive, linking up with Russia to keep oil prices high. These days Saudi Arabia seems not to care a hoot what Washington wants of it.

As Israel long has, Saudi Arabia will always deny the intention to build a nuclear armoury. But common sense and much circumstantial evidence suggest that this is the way it will go. It is not the so-called “rogues” who pose the threat of uncontrolled nuclear proliferation; it is some of the Western powers’ “nearest and dearest”.

With Saudi Arabia now being led by the quite unscrupulous, not to say amoral, Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, I would not be surprised to see him making the decision to go nuclear. A warhead would be easily purchasable from Saudi Arabia’s friend, Pakistan, a country that also likes to keep its distance from America.

What is Washington going to do about that?

About the author: The writer was for 17 years a foreign affairs columnist and commentator for the International Herald Tribune, now the New York Times. He has also written dozens of columns for the New York Times, the Washington Post, the Boston Globe and the Los Angeles Times. He is the European who has appeared most on the opinion pages of these papers. Visit his website:

China Hates the S Korean Nuclear Horn: Daniel 7

Beijing doesn’t ‘condone’ talk of South Korea developing nukes: Chinese envoy

Beijing doesn’t ‘condone’ talk of South Korea developing nukes: Chinese envoy

China’s top diplomat in Seoul calls for ‘denuclearization and peaceful negotiation’ after North Korean missile tests

Ethan Jewell October 26, 2022


Then-South Korean president-elect Yoon Suk-yeol on April 10, 2022 (left) and Chinese leader Xi Jinping | Images: Yoon’s campaign team; Kremlin

China does “not condone” talk of South Korea developing nuclear weapons as North Korea prepares for a possible seventh nuclear test, Beijing’s ambassador to Seoul said Wednesday. 

“Whenever there is trouble on the peninsula, there are nuclearization talks,” Chinese Ambassador to South Korea Xing Haiming told reporters Wednesday. “China’s position on this has always been denuclearization and peaceful negotiation.” 

Xing’s statement came after conservative lawmakers called earlier this month for Seoul to deploy tactical nuclear weapons and amid increasing talk about South Korea starting its own nuclear program, partially in response to North Korea’s preparations for a seventh nuclear test.

“Therefore, we also oppose recent discussions in South Korea about acquiring nuclear weapons, and I am not the only person opposed to this,” Xing added.

Polling has long shown strong support in South Korea for an indigenous nuclear weapons program.

In recent years, Beijing has defended much of North Korea’s military actions as legitimate measures to counter what the country sees as U.S. aggression in the region. This includes vetoing a recent U.S.-led resolution at the U.N. to impose additional sanctions on North Korea for testing multiple long-range missiles capable of striking major population centers. 

The ambassador’s reference to “trouble,” however, appears to be an increasingly rare acknowledgment from Beijing that North Korea’s artillery and missile drills contribute to regional tensions.

The last few weeks have seen both Koreas flaunt their military might in tit-for-tat fashion. According to NK Pro’s Missile Tracker, North Korea has conducted nine missile tests since late September; South Korea, meanwhile, has responded with a host of military drills with the U.S. and Japan. 

Just this week, ROK and DPRK forces traded warning shots after a North Korean merchant vessel entered disputed waters west of the peninsula.

During China’s 20th party congress last week, General Secretary Xi Jinping delivered a two-hour speech in which he decried “interference in other countries’ internal affairs” and the “Cold War mentality,” though he did not mention any countries by name.

In a letter congratulating Xi for securing a third term, North Korean leader Kim Jong Un said he sees a “beautiful future” for ties between their countries. A seventh nuclear test would likely strain bilateral relations, however, as they did in 2017 when the DPRK last tested a nuclear device. 

Yeji Chung contributed to this article. Edited by Arius Derr.

Israeli occupation kills six Palestinians outside the Temple Walls

Israeli occupation kills six Palestinians, Hamas strongly condemns

Israeli occupation forces killed at least six Palestinians and injured nearly 21 others after storming densely populated areas in the occupied West Bank, Palestinian Ministry of Health reported.

In a pre-dawn raid, dozens of Israeli occupation soldiers raided Nablus city in the occupied West Bank and were spotted by Palestinian freedom fighters before the former opened fire on them killing at least five.

The Palestinian Ministry of Health identified the martyrs as Hamdi Ramzy, 30, Ali Khaled Antar, 26, Hamdi Sharaf, 35, Wadi Houh, 31, and Mishal Baghdadi, 27.

The Ministry later reported that Israeli occupation forces killed another Palestinian youth, Qusay Al-Tamimi, in the Al-Nabi Saleh village near the city of Ramallah, in the occupied West Bank.

The Palestinian Red Crescent Society said the Israeli occupation forces prevented its medical staff from evacuating the injured.

Thousands of Palestinians turned out to mourn the death of the six Palestinian martyrs, raising the Palestinian flag and chanting anti-occupation slogans.

For its part, the Hamas movement praised the martyrs of Nablus and called on Palestinians to escalate resistance against the Israeli occupation and colonial settlers’ recurrent attacks.

Commenting on the heinous crime against defenceless Palestinians, Hamas chief said the “Israeli occupation’s crimes will plunge Palestine into escalation.”

Head of Hamas Political Bureau Abroad Khalid Meshal mourned the death of the Palestinian martyrs and confirmed that the Israeli occupation tries to boost election support by attacking Palestinians.

He added that killing Palestinians only strengthens the resistance’s front notwithstanding the Israeli occupation’s cold-blooded execution, large-scale detention raids, and the illegal blockade on the cities of Jenin and Nablus.

Extremism and repression are key to the Iranian Horn: Daniel 8

Extremism and repression are key to Khamenei’s succession in Iran

October 26, 2022Three analysts and a pro-reform official told Reuters that by tightening restrictions on women’s rights, Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi is strengthening his credentials as a hardline, and perhaps the possibility that Iran’s next supreme leader will succeed Ali Khamenei, too. if that comes at the cost of provoking mass protests and rumors The split between many Iranians and the ruling elite.

A year after Raisi’s election, which marked the end of an era seen by many Iranians as more pragmatic and tolerant, his government’s strict veiling in the weeks leading up to Mahsa Amini’s death in custody on September 16 led to a complete reassertion of hardliners’ influence.

And now, as tens of thousands of protesters call for the fall of the Islamic Republic in In response to Amini’s death, hardliners are consolidating their power, advocating massive use of force against protests, even though political issues are firmly in the hands of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

Analysts and sources close to the decision-making process in Iran believe that Khamenei, 83, is determined to support the pillars of the Islamic Republic, which he has led since the death of its founder, Ruhollah Khomeini, in 1989.

Iranian communists, foreign and religious experts see Raisi as a rival candidate to succeed Khamenei, even if he has not expressed this ambition. The Supreme Leader has not adopted a successor, and there are others in the arena as well, in particular Mojtaba, the son of Khamenei.

“Raisi truly believes in the supreme leader’s list of revolutionary priorities. He is an uncompromising believer in a stricter application of social and political restrictions, “a pro-reform official said, speaking in condition of anonymity for political considerations.

“I am not aware of his personal ambitions to become the next Supreme Leader, but whether or not he happens, let me point out that my own president is an anti-Western cleric who does not believe. in a freer society, “he said.

Reuters was not in able to contact officials in my main offices and Khamenei for comment.

Raisi, who is under the patronage of Khamenei, was elected president in June 2021, in a race to bring all branches of the state under extremist control, after years of more pragmatic rule under former president Hassan Rouhani.

Raisi enjoys the confidence of the Revolutionary Guards, an uncompromising military force that the state has used to suppress political unrest for decades and seen by Iranians as an influential factor in choosing Khamenei’s successor.

After Khamenei appointed him to the post of chief of the judiciary, a prominent position in 2019, Raisi was subject to US sanctions a few months later, for the role he is believed to have played in the execution of thousands of political prisoners in 1988. Iran has never acknowledged the killings. Asked about the killing of political prisoners in At a press conference in June 2021, Raisi replied that the judge or prosecutor who defended the safety of the people should be commended.

hijab and chastity

Raisi’s July order that authorities must enforce Iran’s “veil and chastity law” led to further restrictions such as barring women from entering in some banks, government offices and some public transport.

On September 13, Tehran’s moral police arrested Amini, an Iranian Kurd, for “inappropriate clothing”. Three days later, Amini died in a hospital in the capital after falling in coma. Referring to the day in which Amini has lost consciousness in custody, the coroner said he regained consciousness briefly but that “CPR was not effective in the critical first minute, resulting in brain damage.”

The family denied that Mahsa, 22, had heart problems.

Women took off their veils and set it on fire during protests, one of the boldest popular uprisings since the 1979 revolution and a symbolic blow to the Islamic Republic, which sought to impose conservative dress codes on women. in public.

“It is true that the caliphate has always been in the background of Iranian politics, but I think the strong emphasis on the veil, which began in earnest quest’summer, is a reflection of the unifying forces of the hardliners,’ said Henry Roma of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy, a think tank.

The strict application of the wearing of the veil in the Raisi era ends not only the Rouhani era, but also the presidency Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known for his toughness on many issues but who resisted the strict application of the dress code.

“Khamenei is preparing. He wants to leave a legacy and his legacy must support the Islamic Republic, which results in the strengthening of its internal fabric,” said Cornelius Adebehr, of the Carnegie Endowment. for International Peace.

The protests prompted some officials to raise questions about the mandatory headscarf policy. Interestingly, however, Ali Larijani, Khamenei’s adviser, wondered if the police should enforce the veil. But the hardliners remain on their positions.

Interior Minister Ahmed Wahidi, former commander of the Revolutionary Guards, accused the protesters of presenting “bad scenes” in name of women’s rights, stating that the protesters see “freedom in the nudity and indecency of women”.

Kisra Arabi, of the Iran Program Initiative at the Tony Blair Institute, said that the Revolutionary Guards should play an important role in choosing a successor, because the next supreme leader will rely more on the support of the Revolutionary Guards in the face of the anti – government opposition.

“My boss is out of his mind”

It is likely that the Revolutionary Guards will play an important role if Iran decides to crack down in full way the riots in more than 200 people have already been killed, according to human rights groups.

But three analysts and an official told Reuters in September that the succession issue added a complication to leadership thinking about the extent of the crackdown to follow, because the onset of the riots coincided with rumors of Khamenei’s ill health.

The ruling establishment – a system that combines religious authority with an elected president and parliament – has been concerned about succession-related maneuvers even as it balances security policy.

Analysts and the official said in September that some well-informed sources fear that using more force will expose the divisions within its ranks (the ruling establishment) and fuel more unrest, which could be unsustainable. in such a delicate moment.

Protesters expressed their anger at Raisi himself during his visit to a Tehran university this month (October), when female students sang: “My president is out of his mind” and “The mullahs are out of his mind. “.

Echoing Khamenei’s statements, Raisi has repeatedly blamed the West for the unrest, accused US President Joe Biden of wreaking “chaos, terror and destruction”, and cited Khomeini’s description of the United States as the “Great Satan”.

Under Raisi, months of indirect talks between Iran and the US stalled in Vienna to save the 2015 nuclear deal. Both sides say Tehran and Washington must make political decisions to resolve the remaining issues.

Sanctions on Iranian oil continue to put pressure on the Iranian economy, causing the currency to drop to levels record.

“Raisi takes such an extreme stance on women’s rights because she knows that’s what Khamenei wants,” said Meir Javidanfar, professor of Iran at Richman University. in Israel.

She added that “following Khamenei’s approach in her position on the issue of women will keep it in race to succeed Khamenei “.

Despite harsh stances, Antichrist still useful ally for Iran

A protester waves an Iraqi national flag in Tahrir Square on Oct. 25, 2022.

Despite harsh stances, Iraq’s Muqtada al-Sadr still useful ally for Iran

Iran sees Iraqi Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr as an ally worth keeping despite his harsh criticisms of Iran and its allies in Iraq.

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP via Getty Images

October 26, 2022

Hundreds of Sadrist protesters joined a demonstration today in Baghdad’s Liberation Square, marking the third anniversary of the start of the so-called October protest movement. On Oct. 25, 2019, massive protestors were confronted with a violent response from the then-government, leading to the resignation of Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi.

At today’s protests, supporters of Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr — as usual — chanted harsh slogans against Iran and targeted the upcoming government led by incoming Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani.

Sudani was designated for the premiership earlier this month. He was nominated and is supported by the Coordination Framework, a coalition that consists of groups and parties close to Iran.

The Coordination Framework became the largest bloc in parliament after Sadrists withdrew from parliament at their leader’s request earlier this year.

Sadr had won the largest number of seats in last year’s elections, but he failed to form a government. He then withdrew from parliament, creating an opportunity for his rival, the Coordination Framework, to form the government.

Despite the Sadrists’ harsh attitudes toward Iran — in addition to their opposition to the Coordination Framework, which is considered Iran’s close ally — Tehran not only has taken no action against Sadr, it even still sees him as an ally worth keeping.

This is despite the fact that Sadrist-affiliated media platforms have been widely covering the anti-government protests in Iran, using the crudest terms to reference Iran’s leaders.

For example, Houze Al-Nateqe’, a Telegram channel that closely covers Sadr’s activities, recently spoke about the Iranian protests, writing: “Look at how the Iranian government forces collide with the Iranian people like occupying forces in countries like Israel. Where is the Western media to describe this awful criminal behavior?” In another post, it wrote: “The great Iranian people’s demonstrations against the Iranian regime.” Meanwhile, Jadar News, another Telegram channel allied with Sadr, heavily covered the killings of protesters in Zahedan in the southeast of Iran, airing multiple videos showing the burning of Basij headquarters

The Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance of Iran, which constantly sends “recommendations” to Iranian media outlets and asks them to cover certain events, has always stressed that media outlets not criticize and attack Sadr. In these recommendations, which have been viewed by Al-Monitor, the ministry has always asked outlets to never portray Sadr as an anti-Iranian figure. 

In the same vein, Tasnim News Agency, a media outlet close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), wrote in an analytical report that Sadr’s statements after the unrest in Iraq were effective in reducing political tensions in Iraq. In this report, it is also stated, “One should not forget that there is a branch in the Shiite Coordination Framework which believes it’s necessary to have decisive interaction with the Sadr movement and also believes that Sadr has a special place in the axis of resistance.” In another example, Alireza Majidi, an expert on Iraqi issues who works in the media and is close to the Iranian government, wrote that Sadr is from a noble Iraqi family who is a supporter of the resistance, and his dignity should be maintained and his capacities used, especially in rejection of US occupation.

Al-Monitor asked a prominent figure close to the IRGC about the reason behind Iran’s refraining from harsh criticism of Sadr despite the fact that he has adopted very anti-Iranian positions and the media attributed to him report the most severe criticisms and statements against Iran. The figure, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that Sadr has a history of being anti-American: “He still has an anti-American spirit and is against any kind of occupation, so it is not in our interest to be enemy with a person who has had anti-American feelings since the first day of the American occupation and still maintains this position. Especially since Sadr is from an authentic Shiite family in which the revolutionary spirit has always existed. Since the beginning of the revolution, the Islamic Republic of Iran has had a deep relationship with the Sadr family.”

Iran has always tried to maintain balance and unity among the Shiite political factions and not allow a split to arise among them. The existence of differences among Shiites has never been in the interest of Iran. Therefore, Iran tries to keep the Sadr movement connected with other Shiite political groups. Iran has always supported the approach of political Islam everywhere, including in Iraq, and one of the tools of power is to maintain the unity of pro-political Islam groups. Iraq is no exception to this rule. As long as Sadr believes in political Islam, Iran will not exclude him.

Furthermore, Sadr’s social influence in Iraq is unavoidable. Compared to other Iraqi political leaders, Sadr still enjoys high popularity among the public and has many loyal fans. That’s why Iranians think they can use the capacity of Sadr’s supporters. For example, in the demonstrations against the presence of American forces in Iraq and the call for their withdrawal from the country, the presence of Sadr’s supporters was significant, which was important for Iran.