PHOTO: Supreme Leader with head of Palestine’s Islamic Jihad, Ramadan Abdullah


UPDATE 1430 GMT: The Supreme Leader has told an audience of teachers, “The Persian Gulf coast and much of the coasts of the Sea of Oman belong to this powerful nation, therefore we have to be present in this region, [stage] maneuvers and show off our power.”

Ayatollah Khamenei said he was rejecting the US Government’s demands that Iran should not hold military drills in the Gulf:

It is the Americans who should explain why they have come here from that corner of the world to mount exercises. This is how bullying powers must be countered….

When we hesitate and refrain from showing off the principles and elements of our power to the enemy or if we are scared, the enemy will grow brazen>

ORIGINAL ENTRY: Meeting leaders of Palestine’s Islamic Jihad on Sunday, Iran’s Supreme Leader declared that the US and Western Governments have started a war against “the Islamic front” to dominate the Middle East.

Ayatollah Khamenei told Ramadan Abdullah, Islamic Jihad’s head, “The developments in the region must be studied and analyzed from such a viewpoint, and within this framework, the issues of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Hezbollah are part of this large-scale confrontation.”

Khamenei added, “From the very beginning, the Islamic Republic of Iran considered supporting Palestine as a duty, it will continue to fulfill its obligation in the future as well.”

Referring to Syria’s civil war, where Iran has sharply escalated its military involvement since October, the Supreme Leader said Tehran would continue to back President Bashar al-Assad “because those standing against Syria are in fact hostile to Islam in principle and are serving the interests of the US and the Zionist regime”.

He also depicted the strength of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, which is fighting alongside Iran in Syria, saying Israel is now more “fearful” of Hezbollah.

Khamenei also spoke of the rising tension with the US over implementation of the July 2015 nuclear deal, declaring that Washington has undermined the agreement with new sanctions. He repeated his promise of the Islamic Republic’s triumph:

But they failed to realize their objectives and they will not reach their results in the future either.
Based on divine promise, we believe that we will be triumphant in this extensive confrontation and we have been the winner to date because not only does the Islamic establishment continue to exist but has also been making progress in different sectors and taken deeper root from day to day.

Rouhani Appeals for Foreign Investment During South Korean President’s Visit

President Rouhani has used a visit by South Korean counterpart Park Geun-hye to appeal for foreign investment.

Park is accompanied on her three-day visit by more than 230 business executives.

The Presidents are expected to discuss energy, banking, and infrastructure as well as declaring deals worth more than $11.5 billion. At a ceremony for signing of agreements, Rouhani said trade between the two countries will triple from $6 billion to $18 billion per year.

Park will also attend a conference on promotion of Tehran-Seoul economic ties and investment in Iranian projects by South Korean companies.

South Korea has been one of Iran’s four major Asian customers during US and European sanctions from 2012. Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh declared on Sunday that exports have quadrupled to 400,000 barrels per day since the implementation in January of Iran’s nuclear deal with the 5+1 Powers.

Bodyguard of Iran’s Supreme Leader Killed on Syrian Battlefront?

The Revolutionary Guards have confirmed that a high-ranking officer, who served as a bodyguard for the Supreme Leader, has been killed.

However, the Guards did not confirm last week’s reports that Hassan Akbari died on the battlefront south of Aleppo city.

Instead, Sepah News said Akbari died because of “weapon malfunction during a training mission”.

Akbari will be buried on Monday morning in southern Tehran.

Syrian opposition sources claim that the officer was killed while visiting the south Aleppo front to prepare a report about the fighting for the Supreme Leader.

Akbari with the head of Iran’s armed forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi, and the Supreme Leader:


(Cross-posted from Syria Daily)