Iran and China complete orbital launches

Iran's launch December 6, 2023
Iran’s Salman rocket lifting off today.
The launch site itself was not disclosed.

According to the official state-run press of each country, both Iran and China yesterday completed successfully launches, both of which appeared to test new capabilities of some note.

First Iran announced that it had used its Salman rocket to put a 500-kilogram capsule that it said was carrying biological samples, and was also “has the ability to carry a human,” though the mass of this capsule makes that highly unlikely. Little other information was provided. Nor has this orbital launch as yet been confirmed by the orbital monitoring services of the U.S. military. The image to the right is a screen capture from the launch video at the link, and appears to show that this rocket has only one stage, thus making an orbital launch impossible.

Assuming this orbital launch is confirmed, it was Iran’s second orbital launch in 2023 and will therefore not show up on the launch race leader board below. If further information is obtained I will update this post appropriately.

China in turn announced the successful launch today of a test satellite, using its new Smart Dragon-3 solid-fueled rocket lifting off from a barge in the South China Sea 1,300 nautical miles off the coast of Guangdong province, where Hong Kong is located. To arrive at this ocean launch location took five days. The launch thus tested the use of this mobile floating platform from remote ocean locations.

The leaders in the 2023 launch race:

89 SpaceX
56 China
16 Russia
7 Rocket Lab
7 India

American private enterprise still leads China in successful launches, 101 to 56, and the entire world combined 101 to 90. SpaceX by itself now trails the rest of the world (excluding other American companies) 89 to 90, though it has another launch planned for tonight, with the live stream here.

Very bad things are on the verge of happening

Cry havoc and let loose the dogs of war!

Yesterday I wrote about how I thought the public might finally be awakening to the evil that now controls so much of American cultural and political life.

I noted several positive developments, and then added that the window of opportunity for freedom and the rule of law however was quickly closing. Without strong action these positive developments will mean nothing, to be quickly overrun by the immoral actions of the power-hungry, who will not take losing their power kindly.

Today I am far more pessimistic. I sense deeply that very very bad things are about to happen, on all fronts. The right is divided and weak, and too often unwilling to stand up to the worst behavior of the left. It is so divided that it can’t even elect a speaker in the House of Representatives.

The left meanwhile is united and angry, and willing to use that anger forcefully at all times. For example, for the last week decent people on the right found themselves being forced by the left to debate the absurd question of whether Hamas terrorists beheaded babies or merely killed them, as if that distinction mattered.

And in Gaza the destruction of a hospital by a missile is immediately being used as a propaganda weapon against Israel. First the claim by the Hamas-run Gaza Health Ministry that “500+” people were killed is immediately accepted without question, without evidence. Second, it is immediately accepted that the missile likely came from Israel, though there is evidence otherwise.

You need to read the AP report at the link to grasp the full flavor of this anti-Israeli propaganda. Somehow only Israeli is killing civilians, while Gazans huddle in fear and helplessness against that evil empire throwing bombs and missiles at them.
» Read more

Iran launches spy satellite

Iranian officials today confirmed the successful launch of its Qased rocket, placing a classifed Noor spy satellite into orbit.

The Space Force confirmed this announcement, tracking two objects (one likely the satellite and the other the upper stage) in a 442 by 456 kilometer orbit with a 60.0 degree inclination. That steep inclination will allow the satellite to cross over two thirds of the Earth’s surface.

This was Iran’s first launch in 2023, and third launch of this type spy satellite and rocket since 2020. The leaders in the 2023 launch race remain the same:

68 SpaceX
44 China
13 Russia
7 Rocket Lab
7 India

SpaceX has about 100 Starlink terminals working in Iran

Though the Iranian government opposes their use, according to a tweet by Elon Musk SpaceX now has almost 100 Starlink terminals working in Iran.

Elon Musk announced that SpaceX has almost 100 Starlink terminals active in Iran. SpaceX activated Starlink services in Iran in September, supporting the United States’ stance on providing internet freedom and free flow of information to Iranians.

Unlike Ukraine, SpaceX does not have the cooperation of the Iranian government to expand Starlink services in the country. In Ukraine, President Volodymyr Zlenskyy and the Minister of digital transformation Mykhailo Feorov have actively supports Starlink connection during the war with Russia.

In contrast, the Iranian government is actively trying to limit its citizens’ internet access. The United States government has taken a stance against the Iranian government’s decision regarding internet access for its people.

SpaceX has routinely cooperated with foreign governments before selling terminals, likely because to do otherwise would get it in trouble with the U.S. State Department. In this case however the State Department appears to have approved this action, and SpaceX then made it happen.

Iran test launches first stage of new solid-fueled rocket

According to Iran’s state-run press, on November 5, 2022 it successfully completed a test launch of the first stage of its new Ghaem-100 solid-fueled rocket.

Amir Ali Hajizadeh, head of the Revolutionary Guard’s aerospace division which developed the Ghaem 100, said the rocket would be used to launch Iran’s Nahid satellite for the telecommunications ministry, state media reported.

Saturday’s operation tested the first sub-orbital stage of the rocket, the reports added.

There are so many unknowns about this story it would be foolish to speculate.

Iran claims it has completed a second suborbital test of new rocket

According to Iran’s state-run press, it yesterday successfully completed the second suborbital test of its new Zuljanah rocket.

The announcement said nothing about where or when the launch took place. According to this Iranian report, the rocket “has two solid propulsion phases and a single liquid propulsion phase.”

The rocket had completed a suborbital test in January 2021. In March 2022 satellite imagery suggested a second test had exploded on the launchpad sometime in late February.

Since the video of the launch provides no specific information about where or when, it is quite possible it is simply footage from the January 2021 launch. It will require orbital imagery to confirm this claim.

Iran launches military satellite

The new colonial movement: It appears that Iran has successfully launched a small military satellite into orbit, Noor-2, though exactly when remains unclear.

IRGC [Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps] said the Noor-2 satellite reached a low orbit of 500km (310 miles) above the Earth’s surface on the Ghased satellite carrier, state-run Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) reported. It described the Ghased as a three-phase, mixed-fuel satellite carrier.

IRGC did not immediately release photos or video of the launch. Putting the second satellite in space would be a major advance for Iran’s military.

The Ghased or Qased rocket uses a mobile launcher design, and was used for Iran’s previous successfully launch in 2020.

In confirming the launch, U.S. Space Command officials called the satellite nothing more than “a tumbling webcam in space,” suggesting it is not very sophisticated. At the same time, the first stage of Qased is essentially a ballistic missile. To be able to use this mobile launcher to get anything into orbit means that same mobile launcher, without the upper stage, could deliver missiles anywhere on Earth, and do so in a manner that is undetectable prior to launch.

This launch, the first for Iran in 2022, does not change the 2022 launch race leader board:

9 SpaceX
5 China
2 Russia

The U.S. leads China 14 to 5 in the national rankings.

Satellite photos suggest Iran had a launch failure with rocket explosion on launchpad

Based on new satellite photos, it appears that an attempt by Iran to launch a satellite failed this week when the rocket exploded on the launchpad.

Before and after images taken by imagery satellites from two different private companies, Maxar and Planet Labs, suggest the incident likely occurred around February 26th.

Satellite images from Maxar Technologies seen by The Associated Press show scorch marks at a launchpad at Imam Khomeini Spaceport in Iran’s rural Semnan province on Sunday. A rocket stand on the pad appears scorched and damaged, with vehicles surrounding it. An object, possibly part of the gantry, sits near it.

Successful launches typically don’t damage rocket gantries because they are lowered prior to takeoff. Iran also usually immediately trumpets launches that reach space on its state-run television channels, and it has a history of not acknowledging failed attempts.

The news reports claims that the failed rocket was Iran’s Zuljanah rocket, which uses solid rocket motors for its lower stages. Zuljanah has never made orbit, having been unveiled one year ago after a single suborbital test flight.

Iran finally admits rocket launch on December 30th was a failure

One day after implying that the test launch of Iran’s Simorgh orbital rocket on December 30th was actually a suborbital flight and was a success, that same official admitted yesterday that this was not true, that the plan had been to put three satellites in orbit, and that the launch was a failure.

Ahmad Hosseini, an Iranian defense ministry spokesman, revealed that the rocket failed to put its three payloads into orbit after the rocket was unable to reach the required speed, according to the news agency.

“For a payload to enter orbit, it needs to reach speeds above 7,600 (meters per second). We reached 7,350,” he said in a documentary broadcast on state TV.

It was Hosseini who claimed the launch was a success the day earlier, implying that the low speed was because the flight was intended to be suborbital. Either he knows nothing about rocketry (very likely), or is merely a mouthpiece who was ordered to change his story when the first story was laughed out of the room (also very likely).

The article at the link focuses on France’s condemnation of the launch, claiming it was a ballistic missile.

France’s foreign ministry said the launch was in breach of UN Security Council resolutions, Reuters reported. “We call on Iran not to launch further ballistic missiles designed to be capable of carrying nuclear weapons, including space launchers,” the ministry said.

Simorgh however is not a ballistic missile. Everything I have read about it suggests it is designed to put payloads in orbit, not deliver bombs to other parts of the globe. A ballistic missile is technically a very different thing. It usually uses solid rockets which can be stored for long periods and launched at a moment’s notice. Simorgh uses hypergolic fuels which — though they can be used on ballistic missiles — are rarely used for that purpose because of their toxic nature.

At the same time, these facts about Simorgh should not make us think Iran is not a threat. If you can develop the manpower and technical know-how to built an orbital rocket, you will also have increased your ability to build missiles. Iran is without doubt working to develop both.

Iran launches orbital Simorph rocket, does not reach orbit

According to Iran’s state run press, it successfully launched its orbital Simorgh rocket on a test suborbital flight today, carrying three payloads to an altitude of 292 miles.

Ahmad Hosseini, an Iranian defense ministry spokesman, said the satellite-bearing rocket named Simorgh, or “Phoenix,” had launched the three cargoes at an altitude of 292 miles (470 km) and at a speed of 7,350 meters (4,5 miles) per second. “The intended research objectives of this launch were achieved,” Hosseini said, in comments broadcast on state television.

“This was done as a preliminary launch … we will have an operational launch soon,” the spokesman added, without further clarifying whether the devices had successfully entered Earth’s orbit.

In 2020 Iran completed an orbital launch using a mobile launcher, which probably used a different solid rocket instead of Simorgh.

However, since Simorgh is intended as an orbital rocket and it did did not reach orbit this time strongly suggests the rocket failed. Since the Iranian press provided images of the rocket in flight soon after launch, the failure possibly occurred at first stage separation followed by ignition of the second stage, a critical moment in a launch where failures often occur.

No matter. Whether it failed or functioned exactly as planned, this launch will provide Iranian engineers valuable information for that inevitable successful orbital flight.

As an orbital rocket designed to launch satellites, Simorgh actually poses less of a threat than that mobile launcher from 2020. Simorgh isn’t really a missile designed to launch bombs. It takes too long to fuel, and its launch site is vulnerable. The mobile launcher used in 2020, likely using solid rockets, is far more dangerous.

Israel’s Netanyahu meets with Saudi Arabia’s bin Salman

In a meeting that is essentially unprecedented, the leaders of Israel and Saudi Arabia met yesterday evening in Saudia Arabia.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu traveled to Saudi Arabia Sunday night to meet with Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman. The meeting is the first known encounter between senior officials from the enemy states. Yossi Cohen, Israel’s chief spy and head of the Mossad, also attended the meeting, as did U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Netanyahu reportedly kept his trip a secret from alternate Israeli Prime Minister Benny Gantz and foreign minister Gaby Ashkenazi.

Prior to the election, and at about the time that the UAE and Bahrain had signed peace accords with Israel, there were rumors that Saudi Arabia would follow suit, but only after the re-election of Trump. While the Arab country’s covert relations with Israel in recent years have been generally improving, such a public agreement would have signaled a major change, including a public admission that the Saudis were no longer tying their diplomatic relations to Palestinian demands.

I suspect the two leaders met to discuss whether that a public agreement now makes sense, given the strong possibility of an anti-Israeli and anti-Saudi American government under Joe Biden (who has already said he wishes to reinstate the Iran deal and reopen ties with that country).

In other words, as expected, a Joe Biden victory might very well cause the cancelling of this major peace deal. I hope not, but it would be understandable for Saudi Arabia, faced with an invigorated hostile Iran to the north, now getting aid from the U.S..

Iran launches its first military satellite

UPDATE: The U.S. military has confirmed that two objects reached orbit, one the satellite and the other likely the rocket’s upper stage.

Original post:
Iran yesterday claimed it had successfully completed its first military orbital launch.

Using a mobile launcher at a new launch site, the Guard said it put the “Noor,” or “Light,” satellite into a low orbit circling the Earth. While the U.S., Israel and other countries declined to immediately confirm the satellite reached orbit, their criticism suggested they believed the launch happened.

There is no doubt Iran is aggressively trying to raise its presence as a space power. However, until this launch is firmly confirmed as successful, we must be skeptical of any claims they make, as they have lied repeatedly about previous launches.

At the same time, the use of a mobile launcher to attempt to get a satellite into orbit indicates they are developing very dangerous capabilities. With a mobile launcher, there is no need to build a complex launch facility. You can launch from practically anywhere, which makes it just about impossible to destroy the rocket facility beforehand.

More evidence Iran is about to launch a satellite

Images from space of Iran’s rocket launch site appear to confirm their recent claims that they are about to launch a satellite, showing the kind of activity that usually presages a launch.

Satellite photos taken on January 26 by the San Francisco-based commercial company Planet Labs Inc. and shared via the Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey show work at a launchpad at the Imam Khomeini Space Center.

The images also show more cars and activity at a facility at the space center, located about 230 kilometers southeast of Tehran. “It looks pretty clearly to us like Iran is going to try and put a satellite into space,” Jeffrey Lewis, a professor at the Middlebury Institute who tracks Iran’s space program.

If they do launch and successfully get their satellite into orbit, it will be their first such success since 2015.

Iran to launch two satellites soon?

According to one Iranian official’s twitter feed, Iran has completed construction on two new satellites, both of which will launch “soon.”

The article also suggests that four more satellites are is being developed.

Such announcements from Iran must be treated with great skepticism, as they have been making them for years with little actual follow-up. In fact, the last time Iran launched a satellite into orbit successfully was 2015.

Protests in Iran against Islamic government

The protests in Iran continue, fueled by the admitted shooting down of a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing everyone on board, as well as what appears to be a clear opposition to the Islamic government and the terrorists its supports.

The link has good video of both the protests and the government’s violent reaction. However, the best and most illustrative video indicating where these protesters stand is the one that shows Iranian protesters refusing to walk on the American and Israeli flags, painted on the ground by the government in the hope that they would be trampled.

Meanwhile, other protesters have been ripping down posters of Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Quds forces and master Iranian terrorist leader whom Trump killed last week.

It is unclear what will happen next. The situation in Iran today reminds a great deal of the protests that took place in the Soviet bloc shortly before the fall of the Soviet Union, and helped bring that communist empire down. They also remind me of the same protests in China at the same time, which were met with vicious force, killing thousands, which allowed that communist dictatorship to maintain power.

We don’t know which route the Islamic leadership in Iran will take. They have clearly shown themselves willing to kill thousands. At the same time, they are presently as economically weak as the Soviet communists were, which doesn’t give them the resources needed for resisting an aggressive revolt.

Iran misses military targets, kill passenger jet instead

How typical for a terrorist nation: Iran, in its claimed revenge for the U.S. strike that killed terrorist Qassem Soleimani, failed entirely with its missile barrage to kill even one American or inflict any significant damage on any military target, managed however to shoot down a Ukrainian passenger jet, killing 176 innocent civilians.

More here.

There are also indications that the missile barrage was designed to avoid inflicting serious harm to U.S. facilities or troops, suggesting that the Iranians were merely doing it for propaganda purposes. With the mistaken murder of almost two hundred civilians however they have also failed in achieving that propaganda goal. Instead, they have once again shown their willingness to kill indiscriminately in order to maintain their power.

Meanwhile, here in the U.S. the Trump action in killing Soleimani has done a wonderful job of revealing the traitorous perspectives of many Democrats and the mainstream press. They are more concerned for Iran and the fate of this murderous thug then they are for the United States, freedom, or democracy.

U.S. kills leader of Iranian Quds Force

In response to Iran’s attack against the U.S. embassy several days ago, the U.S. today killed several key leaders in Iran’s Quds Force, central to that nation’s terrorist attack network.

Hajj Qasem, the “shadow commander,” Israel’s “most dangerous enemy,” has been killed in Iraq alongside his key disciple Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis. An airstrike near or at Baghdad International Airport targeted a motorcade with the men in it just days after their followers stormed the US Embassy compound and scrawled “Soleimani is our leader” on its walls. US President Donald Trump approved the airstrike. The Pentagon confirmed the US killed the Iranian Quds Force leader. The US said Iran was responsible for killing 608 US troops during the Iraq war.

…Reports emerged after four in the morning, Iraqi time. A mysterious airstrike near the airport had led to rumors of its closure hours earlier. Two flights were inbound at the time. A Pegasus and Iraq airways flight. Three or four rockets impacted near the airport. US helicopters were reported buzzing in the distance.

It appears a cryptic tweet from US Defense Secretary Mark Esper announced the US policy to begin pre-emptive strikes against Iranian adversaries or their proxies. “To Iran and its proxy militias: We will not accept the continued attacks against our personnel and forces in the region. Attacks against us will be met with responses in the time, manner and place of our choosing. We urge the Iranian regime to end malign activities.”

The article at the link provides a lot of good information about who these men were and what they have done for the past few decades to initiate violence and terrorist attacks throughout the Middle East.

Here’s the deal: We are still struggling with these bad guys because George Bush Jr. was a disaster as president. Had he been in charge after Pearl Harbor in 1941 he would have invaded France, but then stopped at the German border and declared victory, allowing Hitler and the Nazis to remain in power.

The simple fact is that unless you intend total victory you will lose every war you fight, and Bush demonstrated this fact starkly.

He was then followed by Barack Obama, who’s loyalties were aligned more with Iran and the Islamic terrorists than with the United States and its allies.

I have no idea if Trump understands this. I doubt it. However, it does appear that he is willing to meet violence with violence in the Middle East, the only negotiating tactic these thugs understand.

U.S. embassy in Iraq attacked

Militia linked to Iran today attacked the U.S. embassy in Bagdad, breaking into the compound while chanting “Down, Down USA!” and “Death to America” and “Death to Israel”.

Iraqi security forces made no effort to stop the protesters as they marched to the heavily-fortified Green Zone after a funeral held for those killed in the U.S. airstrikes, letting them pass through a security checkpoint leading to the area.

The mob of marchers, many of them in militia uniforms, shouted “Down, Down USA!” and “Death to America” and “Death to Israel” outside the compound, hurling water and stones over its walls. The mob set fire to three trailers used by security guards along the wall. AP journalists saw some try to scale the walls.

Others then smashed the gates used by cars to enter and dozens pushed into the compound. The protesters stopped in a corridor after about 5 meters (16 feet), and were only about 200 meters away from the main building. Half a dozen U.S. soldiers were seen on the roof of the main building, their guns were pointed at the protesters. Smoke from the tear gas rose in the area. [emphasis mine]

The protests were apparently in response to the Sunday U.S. airstrikes against Iran-backed militia in Iraq, launched in retaliation for the killing of an American contractor by those same Iranian militia.

That Iraq security allowed the protesters through their security checkpoints is a very bad thing. It suggests that Iraq, caught between the U.S. and Iran, is shifting its alliance toward Iran.

Protests in Iraq

Three days of protests in Iraq have now resulted in the deaths of 60 demonstrators, many shot by sniper fire.

The violence is the worst since Iraq put down an insurgency by Islamic State two years ago. The protests arose in the south, heartland of the Shi’ite majority, but quickly spread, with no formal leadership.

Security and medical sources gave a death toll on Friday of 60 killed across Iraq in three days of unrest, the vast majority of the deaths in the last 24 hours as the violence accelerated.

“It is sorrowful that there have been so many deaths, casualties and destruction,” Iraq’s most influential cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, said in a letter read out by his representative during a sermon. “The government and political sides have not answered the demands of the people to fight corruption or achieved anything on the ground,” said Sistani, who stays out of day-to-day politics but whose word is law for Iraq’s Shi’ites. “Parliament holds the biggest responsibility for what is happening.”

Populist cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, who leads the largest opposition bloc in parliament, ordered his lawmakers to suspend participation in the legislature until the government introduces a program that would serve all Iraqis.

Many government officials and lawmakers are widely accused of siphoning off public money, unfairly awarding contracts in state institutions and other forms of corruption.

It is suggested that the demonstrators are protesting government corruption. This could easily be true, since bribery, payoffs, embezzlement, etc, are very normal in Arab culture. At the same time, the factionalism that divides Iraq has not gone away, and these demonstrations could be a tactic by the opposition to damage the ruling party. Moqtada al-Sadr (who had been nicknamed “Mookie” by U.S. troops) has a long history of using force for his own political gain. I wouldn’t be surprised if he is behind these protests.

Apparent Iran launch failure

Just released satellite photos showing fire and smoke at an Iranian launchpad suggest that a rumored attempt by Iran this week to launch a satellite into orbit resulted instead in a launchpad failure.

[S]atellite images by Planet Labs Inc. showed a black plume of smoke rising above a launch pad there, with what appeared to be the charred remains of a rocket and its launch stand. In previous days, satellite images had shown officials there repainted the launch pad blue.

On Thursday morning, half of that paint apparently had been burned away. “Whatever happened there, it blew up and you’re looking at the smoldering remains of what used to be there,” said David Schmerler, a senior research associate at the Middlebury Institute of International Studies.

Schmerler told The Associated Press that the images of the space center suggested that the rocket either exploded during ignition or possibly briefly lifted off before crashing back down on the pad.

In July Iranian officials had said they would do three launches this year, with a communications satellite launch expected before the end of the summer. It would appear that this failure is of that launch.

Second orbital launch failure in a month for Iran rocket

According to U.S. officials, Iran has attempted and failed twice in the past month to place satellites in orbit.

Iran’s second try in less than a month to send a satellite into orbit apparently failed shortly after liftoff from a remote desert launch pad under daily surveillance from a fleet of commercial imaging spacecraft, according to U.S. government officials and independent analysts.

Images of the launch pad in north-central Iran taken by orbiting satellites owned by U.S. companies suggest a rocket launch occurred last week, but the U.S. military’s catalog of space objects registered no new spacecraft in orbit. A satellite launch attempt was expected in recent weeks based on statements from Iran’s government and observations of increasing activity at the launch site.

Iran has admitted to a launch failure on January 15, though it denies the failure last week, claiming instead that the February launch succeeded in placing its satellite in orbit, even though no new satellite has been detected.

Iran rocket fails to place satellite in orbit

The new colonial movement: According to their government sources, Iran today tried and failed to place a Earth imaging satellite into orbit with their Simorgh rocket.

The rocket carrying the Payam satellite failed to reach the “necessary speed” in the third stage of its launch, Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi said.

Jahromi said the rocket had successfully passed its first and second stages before developing problems in the third. He didn’t elaborate on what caused the rocket failure but promised that Iranian scientists would continue their work.

I wonder how much of a failure this launch is. If they were testing an ICBM capability, then the successful operation of the first and second stages would likely rank this as a success. And even if their main goal wasn’t ICBM testing, in the end they have done so, as they can apply what they learn here to all military missile technology.

Update: You can see video of the launch at this Iranian press story, along with other details about Iran’s space effort. I found the comments there most educational however. Here’s one sample: “Iran needs to use its space technology to fire invincible hyper-sonic missiles from space at the Jews in Israel.” The comments are all not like this, but there are enough to give you a sense of Iran’s social culture.

Farrakhan leads “Death to America” chants in Iran

They’re coming for you next: Louis Farrakhan, friend and ally to the Democratic Party and its leadership, this week visited Iran where he led of chants “Death to America” and “Death to Israel.”

Nation of Islam leader Louis Farrakhan led a chant of “Death to America!” on a solidarity visit to Iran this weekend, according to Iranian news sources. He also led a chant of “Death to Israel!”

Farrakhan visited Iran ahead of the renewal of U.S. sanctions against the regime at midnight on November 5. The renewed sanctions are the result of the American withdrawal from the agreement negotiated by the Obama administration, which purported to prevent Iran’s development of nuclear weapons but merely delayed it.

Any vote for any Democrat on election day will essentially be an endorsement of this behavior, as the Democratic Party at all levels for many years has shown strong ties and sympathy for Farrakhan and his brand of bigotry and anti-American hate.

Satellite images of Iran’s missile program

Using images produced by the private satellite company Planet, experts have exposed Iran’s secret rocket program.

The images are fascinating and definitive. They even reveal what must be solid rocket motor test stands, with the ground scars left over after tests.

These pictures were the proof outlined in a recent news article that showed the joke that was the Iran nuclear deal.

ICBMs are not defensive weapons. They are by nature offensive weapons, used as a deterrent in some contexts, but the deterrent value lies in their offensive nature. They are designed to strike long distances away from borders and frontiers as a means of extending offensive capabilities. Paired with a nuclear-weapons program, they become an even greater offensive threat, one that would destabilize the entire region.

Defenders of the [nuclear deal] will argue that the deal eliminated the threat of that pairing, but that’s nonsense. Even if Iran abided by the terms of the [deal], it would only have had to wait ten years to produce a nuclear weapon. Having an ICBM platform available for a nuclear warhead to fit it would fit perfectly into a strategy of dominating the region by nuclear blackmail, and would force others in the region to develop or acquire their own systems to counter it.

This is just another reminder that we cut a deal with a terrorist state that didn’t do anything to restrict its terrorist or its ability to develop platforms for later use against us. If anything, the [nuclear deal] provided financial support for these efforts and others in the region, fueling conflict and pushing Iranian hegemony all the way to the Mediterranean, all without getting anything in return other than a piece of paper. We didn’t even get American detainees out of Iran. It’s a complete debacle, only becoming even more apparent with the passage of time.

But the leftist elitists who run our cultural and intellectual communities continue to think Trump is an idiot for pulling out of the deal. I ask, who is the real idiot here?

The Middle East following Trump’s rejection of Iran deal

Many pundits had predicted that Donald Trump as president would lead to war with North Korea.

They were wrong. Completely, utterly, and foolishly. Instead, Trump’s hardline approach finally forced North Korea’s allies to force that nation to come to the negotiating table. For the first time in decades it appears we are going to see some substantive and positive changes in North Korea’s relations with the world.

This same pundit class, all operatives of the Democratic Party, have for the last few days been screaming that Trump’s exit from the Iran nuclear deal would also lead to war. Will these predictions be right this time? At this moment it is hard to say. Almost immediately after Trump’s announcement Iran and Israel exchanged missile fire. Overall, however, that exchange has turned out badly for Iran, the world’s biggest financier of terrorism and the instigator of most of the problems that presently exist in the Middle East.

First, it appears that militarily Iran did badly in the missile exchange, with Israel doing their capabilities in Syria serious harm. Second, Iran apparently did not tell anyone in Syria it was going to do use that country as a military launch site, and this is already causing them problems with their allies. For example, Russia announced today that it will not deliver new missiles to Syria, despite an earlier promise to do so.

Finally, a host of Arab Middle East countries have not only celebrated Trump’s actions, it has prompted some to reveal support for Israel, something that would have seemed impossible only two years ago.

It remains unclear if Trump’s actions will have the same positive effect on Iran as his actions did on North Korea. The two situations are not identical. Iran’s leaders have more flexibility and options that North Korea’s. Still, what Trump has accomplished is to get some important Arab nations to move to our side against Iran, and in doing so to increasingly ally themselves with Israel as well. This cannot be a bad thing.

Meanwhile, the anti-Semitic leader of Hamas announced yesterday that the protests next week in Gaza will be “decisive” and that many will die. Whether this really happens, it is apparent that such protests are not garnering Hamas the same worldwide support they once did. The same Middle East countries that have celebrated Trump’s actions have also made it clear they no longer support the terrorist tactics of the leaders in both the West Bank and Gaza. These Arab nations have quietly made it clear that they actually back Israel now.

Trump’s actions in the Middle East appear to have shifted the balance of power, and that shift has been in favor of Israel, the only democratically-elected nation in the area. This cannot be a bad thing.

Trump pulls U.S. from Iran nuclear deal

As he promised during the campaign as well as several times since he became President, Trump today announced that the U.S. is leaving the Iran nuclear treaty that had been negotiated by the Obama administration.

Laying out his case, Trump contended, “If we do nothing, we know exactly what will happen. In just a short period of time, the world’s leading state sponsor of terror will be on the cusp of acquiring the world’s most dangerous weapons.”

The administration said it would re-impose sanctions on Iran immediately but allow grace periods for businesses to wind down activity. Companies and banks doing business with Iran will have to scramble to extricate themselves or run afoul of the U.S. government.

…Trump, who repeatedly criticized the accord during his presidential campaign, said Tuesday that documents recently released by Netanyahu showed Iran had attempted to develop a nuclear bomb in the previous decade, especially before 2003. Although Trump gave no explicit evidence that Iran violated the deal, he said Iran had clearly lied in the past and could not be trusted.

The AP article at the link is a decidedly anti-Trump partisan hit job, less interested in reporting this news story than telling us how terrible Trump’s actions are. Nor should we be surprised, as two of the AP writers who contributed to the story are based in Tehran.

Is Iran on the edge of collapse?

Link here. This short essay outlines a range of financial, economic, and fundamental problems facing Iran’s government that might lead to that country’s entire collapse.

Before we wax too eloquent about the democratic aspirations of the great Iranian people, we should keep in the mind that the most probable scenario for Iran under any likely regime is a sickening spiral into poverty and depopulation. Iran has the fastest-aging population of any country in the world, indeed, the fast-aging population of any country in history. It has the highest rate of venereal disease infection and the highest rate of infertility of any country in the world. It has a youth unemployment rate of 35% (adjusted for warehousing young people in state-run diploma mills). And worst of all, it has run out of water.

We might be observing the birth of Iranian democracy in the protests of the past few weeks, but it is more likely that we are watching the slow-motion train wreck of a once-great nation in all its gory detail. As I noted in an Asia Times analysis this morning, the most violent protests, e.g. the burning of a police station near Isfahan captured on this video, happened in the boondocks where water has run out. The river that runs through Isfahan, a legendary city of gardens in the desert, literally has run dry. Some Iranian officials warn that tens of millions of Iranians will have to leave their homes for lack of water. The country has used up 70% of its groundwater and its literally drying up major rivers to maintain consumption. It’s the worst ecological disaster in modern history.

If this analysis is even close to correct, things are going to get deadly interesting in the coming years. And it might not be just Iranians who face death. Iran will be like a cornered animal. The world, the Middle East, and especially Israel, will be in great danger because this particular cornered animal will have nothing to lose by doing very evil and violent things.

An educated perspective on on the Iran protests

Link here. The author is a writer who has lived in Iran and seems very knowledgeable about the country and the specific cities where the protests are occurring. His comments about the city where the protests began, Mashad, are very revealing. They suggest that the Islamic mullahs that have been controlling Iran for the past few decades might have forgotten their base, and thus their base is now revolting.

He also notes this detail:

Now, there’s rioting in Qom. Qom is THE religious center for Shia Islam. Rioters burned a SEMINARY. Anti-mullah riots in Qom is a VERY BAD SIGN. That’s comparable to anti-Catholic riots in Vatican City. If you’re burning pictures of Khomeini and Khameini (two different people) in the religious center of Shia Islam… The Mullahs have lost their base and not just on the subject of payments.

So, this is, yeah, a very serious revolt. Not just some minor anti-government protests or some people arguing for better pay-offs. Posters weren’t being burned in Qom in the Green Revolution. (Which was very much centered on the middle class and students.) ‘Blue-collar’ protesters are chanting in favor of Reza Pahlavi, the guy who reestablished the Peacock Throne.

He also concludes by saying that if the mullahs do not stamp this revolt out soon this could very well end up to be a fight to the death.

Hat tip from reader Geoffrey Carman.

Update: More information here, including some details about why our mainstream press seems incapable of reporting on these protests with any knowledge or depth.

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