515 Loupe 1-8-2020

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President Trump said in his address to the nation today that the missiles Iran fired at Ain al-Assad and the Erbil base in Iraq (2020) was funded by the cash given in Obama’s Iran Nuclear Deal (2015) an assertion team Obama calls a lie, SO WHO IS TELLING THE TRUTH?

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Therefore the May 15th Prophecy reminds you with some INFO ON TAP 

InfonTap

     Iran Gives Green Light to Direct $1.7 Billion from U.S. to Military

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A debate has raged in recent weeks over whether the Obama administration’s $400-million payment to Iran in January – part of a $1.7-billion settlement over a decades-old arms deal – constituted “ransom” for five U.S. hostagesThe Wall Street Journal reported on August 3rd that the United States had sent the $400 million in cash on an unmarked cargo plane and that Tehran did not receive the money until it released the hostages. After being pressed over the suspicious timing of the exchange, the administration conceded that the money had been used as “leverage” to secure the hostages’ release, but rejected the accusation of ransom. Lost in the debate, however, is the purpose the money will ultimately serve.

Last week, Tehran finalized its 2016-17 budget, ending months of back-and-forth within the Iranian government over how the money would be used. Back in April, Iranian media reported that parliament had passed Article 22 of the budget, which required the executive branch to transfer to the military the funds it receives from settling legal disputes with foreign countries and companies. The following month, a member of the parliament’s presiding board confirmed that the legislature had indeed allocated $1.7 billion from legal settlements to the defense budget. As Bloomberg’s Eli Lake subsequently reported, the U.S. was “inadvertently paying” for a portion of Tehran’s military expenditures.

But in June, the government of President Hassan Rouhani requested that parliament eliminate Article 22 – a request parliament rejected. One parliamentarian argued that the Central Bank must allocate 50,000 billion rials (roughly equivalent to $1.7 billion) to the defense budget, saying this money belongs to the armed forces and that the executive branch’s excuse that it had already spent the money is unacceptable. He also revealed that Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei had approved the allocation to the military. In August, the executive branch yielded to parliament, keeping Article 22 in the final budget. Parliament passed the new amendment last week, and the Guardian Council – which must approve all legislation – ratified it a few days later.

There is no longer any doubt that the money the United States has paid to Iran will go to the Islamic Republic’s armed forces. It remains unclear how the military will spend it – potentially to prop up the Syrian regime, Hezbollah, Shiite militias in Iraq, or Houthi rebels in Yemen, or to buy heavy weaponry from Russia in contravention of the UN arms embargo.

Ultimately, the $400 million in cash that the U.S. has delivered to Iran – and the wider $1.7-billion settlement – will help finance Tehran’s overriding objectives: spreading its revolution and further destabilizing the Middle East.

What is clear are the benefits the regime draws from receiving these funds in cash. It would be far easier for Tehran to procure advanced weaponry from Russia and China, for example, if it can pay for it with hard currency rather than through the formal financial system, having to circumvent the UN arms embargo and U.S. financial sanctions. With bags of untraceable hard currency, Iran can more easily support its allies or illicitly procure missile and nuclear parts. Ultimately, the $400 million in cash that the U.S. has delivered to Iran – and the wider $1.7-billion settlement – will help finance Tehran’s overriding objectives: spreading its revolution and further destabilizing the Middle East.

KTT_Round2

515 Loupe 12-22-2019

InfonTap

Andrew Scott Cooper is the author of two well regarded books, The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East (Simon & Schuster, 2011) and The Fall of Heaven: The Pahlavis and the Last Days of Imperial Iran (Henry Holt and Co., 2016). In the past, Cooper has taught at Columbia University and worked at the United Nations and Human Rights Watch. Diwan caught up with him in early January to discuss the recent demonstrations in Iran as well as the legacy of the Iranian monarchy.

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Michael Young: What has intrigued you the most about the recent unrest in Iran?

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Andrew Scott Cooper: Though several factors fueled the unrest, I was particularly intrigued to see images of working-class and lower-middle-class Iranians in small towns and medium-sized cities calling for the overthrow of the Islamic Republic and chanting in support of the monarchy and the exiled Pahlavi dynasty. For many demonstrators, the wretched state of the Iranian economy and corruption provided the perfect vehicle for pent-up expressions of Persian nationalism.

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In the aftermath of the 2009 crackdown, many young Iranians became disillusioned with political Islam and found solace in pre-Islamic Persian art and culture. I was made aware of this phenomenon in 2013 when I spent time in Qom on sabbatical. The teaching staff at the city’s leading Islamic university lamented student fascination with pre-revolutionary Iran and the Pahlavi family. The regime employed various strategies to suppress, deflect, and coopt these trends, all to no avail. The scale of the unrest demonstrates that even social classes previously regarded as regime stalwarts have succumbed. At some point, it was inevitable that Persian-infused nationalism would burst into public view. I had been waiting for this moment and to see it happen was really something.

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Michael Young: How might the unrest affect Iran’s regional ambitions, if indeed it does?

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Andrew Scott Cooper: The men who run Iran have no choice but to reassess their regional ambitions. They will have to find ways to boost social spending. One way to do that is to redirect resources away from their proxies, who are the target of a great deal of domestic resentment, and back into the domestic economy. They have to focus on job creation, benefits, and housing. In the short term, at least, they may signal a desire to cut deals so as to wind down conflicts that are draining so much national treasure. The clergy can be flexible when they want to be. Who can forget Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s decision to “swallow poison” and end the war with Iraq?

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But why should the Saudis come to the table when they smell weakness in Tehran? Riyadh may be tempted to keep the pot boiling for a while longer. Unexpected fluctuations in the oil and gas markets, with flow-on effects for the Iranian treasury, will play an important role in what happens next.

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Michael Young: How do events today in the region compare with the period you covered in your first book, The Oil Kings: How the U.S., Iran, and Saudi Arabia Changed the Balance of Power in the Middle East?

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Andrew Scott Cooper: As ever, Iran is the driver of change: Where Iran goes, so goes the region. The 1979 Iranian revolution ushered in a period of intense sectarian conflict and unrest in the region. But a majority of the Iranian people appear to have tired of Khomeini-style political Islam, which regardless of its promise never lived up to its potential. Revolutionary slogans rarely do. Younger Iranians are embracing and reasserting their Persian national identity almost in reaction to the regime, and in ways that I think will impact the region for decades to come. So the post-1979 chapter in regional history has closed and a new chapter has started. If present trends continue, I see Iran heading our way again.

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Michael Young: In many regards, the mullahs in Iran appear to be Iranian nationalists first, just as the shah was. To what extent are there similarities between the Islamic Republic and the shah’s regime when it comes to the region?

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Andrew Scott Cooper: The mullahs discovered nationalism late in the game. Khomeini, of course, famously eschewed nationalism until he felt the need to rally Iranians during the war with Iraq. In recent years, we have seen the regime try (and fail) to coopt Iran’s Persian traditions. State media’s efforts to denigrate the Pahlavis backfired spectacularly by making it okay to talk about the family in public. In the aftermath of the large rally at the tomb of Cyrus the Great in Pasargadae in October 2016, which caught the authorities by surprise, a rather foolish attempt was even made to prove that the Prophet Mohammed was related to Cyrus. This suggests that the leadership is somewhat disoriented by events and unsure of how to respond.

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This trend marks a turnabout from the 1970s, when young Iranians rejected Shah Mohammed Reza Pahlavi’s Persian style and embraced all aspects of Shi‘a Islam. Today, the children and grandchildren of those revolutionaries are employing the old techniques used to undermine the shah, only this time against the mullahs. The clothes they wear, the music they listen to, the books they read, and the places they visit on vacation reflect their love of Persian culture and an implicit rejection of political Islam. In that sense, they know their history very well indeed.

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As far as similarities between the Islamic Republic and the Pahlavi regime, the desire to project Iranian influence throughout the region is obvious. But the shah was constrained by the Cold War and the liberal international order he pledged to uphold. The Islamic Republic is seeking to exploit the power vacuum left in the region by the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. The shah would be horrified if he saw Iran as it behaves today. One Pahlavi family member told me that he was glad the shah died before the start of the Iran-Iraq war because it would have completely devastated him.

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Michael Young: So you see a reassessment taking place in the country with regard to the shah’s legacy, and to the monarchy in general?

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Andrew Scott Cooper: I don’t think it is an exaggeration to say that Iranians if asked to choose between the shah’s regime and post-1979 Iran, would choose the shah in a landslide. But that is not what you hear from some Iranian expatriate intellectuals who can’t quite believe that many students and working-class Iranians might prefer the monarchy to the Islamic Republic. They still harbor a visceral distaste for the Pahlavis.

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For example, whereas they still lambaste the shah for sacking Prime Minister Mohammed Mossadeq in 1953, and for holding his party in the desert at Persepolis in 1971, many younger Iranians do not show the same level of interest in Operation Ajax and regard Persepolis differently. They view it with fascination and awe because it signified a time when world leaders came to Iran to pay their respects to an Iranian king who wielded immense power on the world stage.

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Further, I would argue that a key turning point in the evolution of unrest was the large turnout of young people at Pasargadae in October 2016, which I mentioned earlier. This remarkable exercise in mass mobilization was all but ignored by the Western media and Western-based Iran analysts. Crowd estimates ran as high as 100,000. Participants were filmed cheering and calling for the return of the Pahlavi family and the restoration of the monarchy. I offered to write an essay for Foreign Policy describing the significance of the event, why the Islamic Republic faced a crisis of legitimacy and how it most likely portended future unrest. My pitch was rejected because I was told, it lacked a timely news hook.

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Michael Young: The shah has been both reviled and to an extent defended over the years. As someone who has taken a more positive view of the man, how would you assess his rule almost 40 years after the Iranian Revolution?

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Andrew Scott Cooper: It’s important to remember that I am a historian, not a political scientist, journalist, or novelist. The declassification of documents from the Nixon, Ford and Carter administrations in the past decade meant that a review of U.S.-Iran relations during the Cold War was timely, necessary, and logical. How did we get to where we are today? That question has driven my research but it’s not an easy question to answer.

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We have to place the shah in the context of his time, as a leader caught in history’s riptide between the Cold War and Islam’s renaissance. He was driven by utopian dreams of delivering social justice for his people. He enacted remarkably progressive reforms in areas such as social policy, environmental protection, women’s rights, protection of minorities, and literacy. His capacity for denial was reflected in his handling of the security forces, though he ultimately vacated his throne rather than sanction a military crackdown that would have cost thousands of lives and may well have triggered a civil war.

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After 1963, when he assumed executive rule, he missed an opportunity to build durable independent political and judicial institutions that might have shouldered the load when Khomeini made his bid for power. But for all its flaws, the record shows that Iran under the shah was stable, prospering, and at peace with its neighbors. In Beirut and Cairo, I have heard Arabs bless the shah’s memory and say they wish he never left. You hear the same in Tehran today.

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Michael Young: Given your knowledge of Iranian-Saudi relations during the 1970s, what would you see as necessary for the two countries to reach a new understanding in the Middle East, away from the polarization of today?

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Andrew Scott Cooper: Both leaderships are faced with serious internal challenges that, if left unresolved, may lead to internal rebellion and implosion. On the one hand, their proxy wars are a very expensive distraction from the main event. However, domestic reforms of the sort they envisage or will be obliged to implement will be difficult and painful. These regimes lack the sort of democratic “safety valves” that are essential to prevent popular unrest from spilling out into the streets. Thus, the temptation will be to embark on even riskier foreign adventures as a way of stoking nationalism and distracting people in the street from their hardships. It will take a breathtaking act of statesmanship from one side or the other to ease tensions.

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 Michael Young: As we look ahead, are we seeing the emergence of a hegemonic Iran in the Middle East?

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Andrew Scott Cooper: Is a hegemonic Iran on the horizon? Overconfidence in foreign policy, followed by overreach, is something of an Iranian tradition. I can show you dozens of panicky American news articles from 1974 and 1975 warning of the dangers of Iranian imperialism. We saw the same reaction during the era of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Our nervous reaction every time Tehran sneezes says as much about our own insecurities as it does about Iranian intentions. What sort of regime are we talking about, anyway, one that is apparently so unpopular that its own people would prefer to roll back the clock 40 years? Though Iran should not be underestimated, in some important ways it resembles the old Soviet Union. The Islamic Republic has entered its twilight. I think we need to start thinking about what comes next.

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515 Loupe 11-27-2019

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M15P4LDW understand this about The Iranian Moment

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 Iran’s supreme leader on Wednesday claimed without evidence that recent protests across the Islamic Republic over government-set gasoline prices rising were part of a “conspiracy”

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Starting Nov. 16, Iran shut down the internet across the country, limiting communications with the outside world. That made determining the scale and longevity of the protests incredibly difficult. While home and office internet has been restored, access on mobile phones remains rare.

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With the Internet access almost entirely cut off in attempts to conceal the “scope of the uprising and the scale of it brutality”, some 61 people have been reported dead in 10 cities, but the NCRI said it expects the actual number to be much higher, because most of the 61 deaths were recorded when the protests broke out on November 16, but those who have been killed since have not been recorded.

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Angry protestors in their thousands took to the streets, abandoning vehicles on motorways and blocking roads.

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Khamenei ordered the Revolutionary Guards and other suppressive forces to open fire on the demonstrations in different cities.

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Reports have come in of armed forced shooting indiscriminately at protestors in attempts to disperse crowds and gain access to streets.

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All active duty members of the Revolutionary Guard have been recalled from annual leave and dispatched to protest scenes.

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Protesters torched the Iranian consulate in the holy city of Najaf late on Wednesday. The demonstrators removed the Iranian flag from the building and replaced it with an Iraqi one. 

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The incident marked an escalation in the demonstrations that have raged in Baghdad and across the mostly Shiite southern Iraq since the start of October.

The protesters accuse the Shiite-led government of being hopelessly corrupt and complain of poor public services and high unemployment. They are also decrying growing Iranian influence in Iraqi state affairs. 

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At least 350 people have been killed and thousands wounded in what has become the largest grass-roots protest movement in Iraq’s modern history.

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Protesters are occupying three key bridges in central Baghdad, Jumhuriya, Ahrar and Sinar in a stand-off with security forces. On Wednesday, they also burned tyres on Ahrar Bridge to block security forces from accessing the area.

InfonTap

Hong Kong, Chile, Iraq, Lebanon: protests erupt around the world

515 Loupe 11-12-2019

M15P4LDW TAKE A LOOK at President Trump telephone call conversation with President
Zelenskyy of Ukraine
EyeRoll

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President Trump: Congratulations on a great victory. We all
watched from the United States and you did a terrific. job. The
way you came from behind, somebody who wasn’t given much of a
chance, and you ended up winning easily. It’ a fantastic
achievement. Congratulations.

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President Zelenskyy: You are absolutely right Mr.
President. We did win big and we worked hard for this. We worked
a lot but I would like to confess to you that I had an
opportunity to learn from you. We used quite a few of your
skills and knowledge and were able to use it as an example for
our elections and yes, it is true that these were unique
elections.

We were in a unique situation that we were able to achieve a unique success. I’m able to tell you the following; the first time, you called me to congratulate me when I won my presidential election, and the second time you are now calling me when my party won the parliamentary election. I think I should run more often so you can call me more often and we can
talk over the phone more often.

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President Trump: [laughter] That’s a very good idea. I think your c·ountry is very happy about that.

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President Zelenskyy: Well yes, to tell you the truth, we
are trying to work hard because we wanted to drain the swamp
here in our country. We brought in many many new people. Not the
old politicians, not the typical politicians, because we want to
have a new format and a new type of government .. You are a great
teacher for us and in that.

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President Trump: Well it is very nice of you to say that. I
will say that we do a lot for Ukraine. We spend a lot of effort
and a lot of time. Much more than the European countries are
·doing and they should be helping you more than they are. Germany
does almost nothing for you. All they do is talk and I think
it’s something that you should really ask them about. When I was
speaking to Angela Merkel she talks Ukraine, but she doesn’t do·
anything. A lot of the European countries are the same way so I
think it’s something you want to look at but the United States
has been very ·very good to Ukraine. I wouldn’t say that it’s
reciprocal necessarily because things are happening that are not
good but the United States has been very very good to Ukraine.

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President Zelenskyy: Yes, you are·absolutely right not only 100%, but actually, 1000% and I can tell you the following I did talk to Angela Merkel and I did meet with her. I also met and talked with Macron and I told them that they are not doing
quite as much as they need to be doing on the issues with the
sanctions. They are not enforcing the sanctions. They are not
working as much as they should work for Ukraine. It turns out
that even though logically, the European Union should be our
biggest partner but technically the United States is a much
bigger partner than the European Union and I’m very grateful to
you for that because the United States is doing quite a lot for
Ukraine. Much more than the European Union especially when we
are talking about sanctions against the Russian Federation. I
 would also·like to thank you·for.your great support in the area
of defense. We. are ready to continue to cooperate for the next
steps. specifically, we are almost ready to buy more Javelins from
the United· States for defense purposes.

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President Trump: I would like you to do us a favor though
because our country has been through a lot and Ukraine knows a
lot about it. I would like you to find out what happened with
this whole situation with Ukraine, they say Crowdstrike. I guess
you have one of your wealthy people. The server, they say
Ukraine has it There is a lot of things that went on, the whole situation

I think you are surrounding yourself with some
of the same people. I would like to have the Attorney General call you or your people and I would like you to get to the bottom of it.

As you saw yesterday, that whole nonsense ended with a very poor performance by a man named Robert Mueller an incompetent performance.

But they say a lot of it started with Ukraine. Whatever you can do, it’s very important that you. do it if that’s possible.

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President Zelenskyy: Yes it is. very important for me and
everything that you just mentioned earlier. For me as a
President, it is very important and we are open to any future
cooperation.

We are ready to open a new page on cooperation in relations between the United States and Ukraine for that purpose, I just recalled our ambassador from the United States and he will be replaced by a very competent and very experienced ambassador who will work hard on making sure that our two
nations are getting closer.

I would also like and hope to see him having your trust and your confidence and have personal relations·with you so we can cooperate even more so. I will
personally tell you that one· of my assistants spoke with Mr.
Giuliani just.recently and we are hoping very much that Mr.
G1uliani will be able to travel to Ukraine and we will meet once
· he comes to Ukraine. I just wanted to assure you once again that
you have nobody but friends around us. I w.ill make sure that I
surround myself with the best and most experienced people.

also wanted to tell you that we are friends. We are great friends and you Mr. President have. friends in our country so we can continue our strategic partnership. I also plan to surround
 myself with great people and in addition to that investigation, I guarantee as the President of Ukraine that all the investigations will be done openly and candidly That I can assure you.

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President Trump: Good because I heard you had a prosecutor
who· was very·good and he was shut down and that’s really unfair.
A lot of people are talking about that, the way they shut your
very good prosecutor down and you had some very bad people
involved. Mr. Giuliani is a highly respected man. He was the_
mayor of New York City, a great mayor, and I would like him to call you.

I will ask him to call you along with the Attorney General. Rudy very much knows what’s happening and he is a very capable guy. If you could speak to him that would be great.

The former ambassador from the United States, the woman, was bad news and the people she was dealing with in Ukraine were bad
news so I just wanted to let you know that.

The other thing, There’s a lot of talk about Biden’s son, that Eiden stopped the prosecution and a lot of people want to find out about that so whatever you can do with the Attorney General would be great.
Biden went around bragging that he stopped the prosecution so if you can look into it. It sounds horrible to me.

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President Zelenskyy: I wanted to tell you about the
prosecutor. First of all, I understand and I’m knowledgeable
.about the situation. Since we have won the absolute majority in
our Parliament; the next prosecutor general will be 100% my
person, my candidate, who will be approved, by the parliament and
will start. as a new prosecutor in September. He or she will look.
into the situation, specifically to the company that you
mentioned in this issue.

The issue of the investigation of the case is actually the issue of making sure to restore honesty
so we will take care of that and will work on the investigation of the case.

On top of that, I would kindly ask you if you have
any additional information that you can provide to µs, it would_
be very helpful for the investigation to make· sure that we
administer justice in our country with regard: to the Ambassador
to the United States from Ukraine as far as I recall her name
was Ivanovich. It was great that you were the first one. who told
me that she was a bad ambassador because I agree·with you 100%.
Her attitude towards me was far from the best as she admired the
previous President and she was on his side. She would not accept
me as a new President well enough.

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President Trump: Well she’ s going through some
things. I will have Mr. Giuliani give you a call and I  am also
going to have Attorney General Barr calls and we will get to the
bottom of it.

I’m sure you will figure it out. I heard the
the prosecutor was treated very badly and he was a very fair prosecutor so good luck with everything.

Your economy is going to get better and better I predict. You have a lot of assets. It’s a great country. I have many Ukrainian friends, their incredible people.

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President Zelenskyy: I would like to tell you that I also
have quite a few Ukraine friends that live in the United·
States. ·Actually last time I traveled to the United States, I
stayed in New York near Central Park and I stayed at the Trump Tower, I will talk to them and I hope to see them again in the future.

I also wanted to thank you for your invitation to visit the United States, specifically Washington DC.

On the other hand, I also want to ensure you that we will. be very serious
about it. the case and will work on the investigation, as to the economy, there is much potential for our two countries and one of the issues that are very important for Ukraine is energy independence.

I believe we can be very successful. and
cooperating on energy independence with the United States. We are already working on cooperation.

We are buying American oil but I am very hopeful for a future meeting, we will have more time and more opportunities to discuss these opportunities and get to know each other better. I would like to thank you very much for your support

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President Trump: Good. Well., thank you very much and I appreciate that. I will tell Rudy and Attorney General Barr to call. Thank you. Whenever you would like to come to the White House feel free to call. Give us a date and we’ll work that out. I look forward to seeing you.

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President ·zelenskyy: Thank you very much. I would be very
happy to come and would be happy to meet with you personally and
get to know. you better.

I am looking forward to our meeting and I also would like to invite you to visit Ukraine and come to the city of Kyiv which is a beautiful city. We have a beautiful country Which would welcome you. On the other hand, I believe that on September l we will be in Poland and we can meet in
Poland hopefully.

After that, it might be a very good idea for
you to travel to Ukraine. We can either take my plane and go to
Ukraine or we can take your plane, which is probably much better
than mine.

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President Trump: Okay, we can work that out. I look forward
to seeing you in Washington and maybe in Poland because I think
we are going to be there at that time.

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President Zelenskyy: Thank you very much, Mr. President.

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President Trump: Congratulations on a fantastic job you’ve done. The whole world was watching. I’m not sure it was so much of an upset but congratulations.

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President Zelenskyy: Thank you Mr. President bye-bye

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515 Loupe 8-24-2019

Iran’s Bavar-373: A Profile

A wholly indigenous system

Despite Russia finally delivering the S-300PMU-2 to Iran in December 2016, the Bavar-373 is commonly conflated with being simply a copy of the S-300. Iran had displayed numerous Bavar subsystems before the S-300PMU-2 delivery in December 2016, and even made a partial unveiling of numerous radars, missiles, and a restricted view of the launch cells in August 2016 – also on Defence Industry Day. Although Iran is suspected to have acquired an S-300PT system from Belarus, that is a 1980s-vintage system, with dated radars and 5V55K/R missiles up to a maximum range of just 90 km. While it is possible that Iran learnt some concepts and technologies by studying this system, any real relation between the S-300PT and the Bavar-373 is out of the question, not least because the Bavar-373 is far more capable, being closer to the S-300PMU-2 and S-400 in terms of performance and sophistication.

Not only does Bavar-373 sport AESA radars and a 200 km range missile in the form of Sayyad-4, but very clearly all these key subsystems look physically different and distinct from their foreign counterparts. Bavar-373 also has indigenous vehicles, and the missiles are launched directly (‘hot launch’) from square launch cells, rather than the gas ejection (‘cold launch’) system of the S-300’s circular missile tubes.

To help clear up any confusion I made this handy comparison chart.

Comparison showing Bavar-373 and S-300 equivalent subsystems side-by-side: (Top to Bottom) TELs, Engagement Radars, Acquisition Radars, Battle Management Radars

Characteristics

While the Bavar-373 is an Iranian system, it certainly does take some conceptual nods from the S-300.

Bavar-373 is a large, top-of-the-line system, and therefore not as easily hidden as the Sevome Khordad system that shot down an American RQ-4 UAV in June. However, it is still highly mobile, with the large 10×10 Zoljanah acting as the TEL vehicle, and most radars and command and control (C2) equipment being mounted on the Zafar 8×8 vehicle. Both trucks are clearly off-road capable. This is an important capability as although Iran has a large road network, it means Bavar-373 can be deployed almost anywhere. The only ‘semi-mobile’ component of Bavar-373 is the large Meraj-4, which is a battle-management radar with a similar role to that of the 64N6E/91N6E ‘Big Bird’ radar. That is mounted on a semi-trailer pulled by a civilian type tractor truck. This is not so much of an issue though, with its long range allowing it to sit in a deeper position and therefore have greater security compared to the ‘front-line’ radars.

Meraj-4 Battle Management Radar

In reality the Meraj-4 is not strictly an integral part of Bavar-373. But it is closely related to the system and has appeared throughout Bavar-373’s development, including alongside it in Bavar’s partial unveiling in 2016. It is a higher tier IADS asset, and its job is to control large swathes of airspace providing information to systems in its vicinity. It is a large array size, S-band linear AESA  that can reportedly track up to 100 targets simultaneously. Along with this come advanced features that are detailed on a website called kowsartrading, which seems to be the successor to the short lived Iran Electronic Industries website. With ECCM capabilities including “Burn Through, SLB and SLC, Frequency Hopping, PRF Jitter, PRF Staggering, JATS, Pulse Compression, MTI, CFAR, Clutter Map, Low SLL Antenna,” Meraj-4 should be a resilient radar.

Meraj-4 in full view in 2016
The latest iteration of Meraj-4, seen here in a new folded configuration, was present at the Army Parade in April 2019
Spec sheet for the Meraj-4 radar

Subsystems

The core of the battery-level Bavar-373 system is 1x Command and Control Vehicle, 2x Radars (Acquisition and Engagement), and up to 6x TELs, each carrying 4 missiles for a total of 24 missiles.

Sayyad-4 Surface-to-Air Missile

The Sayyad-4 was first seen in 2014 in TV footage that displayed even some of the early iterations of Bavar-373’s radar systems. At this time, it appeared as a very large white missile with باور-۳۷۳ (Bavar-373) just about visible on the body of the missile. It appeared alongside another new missile, the red Sayyad-3.

Sayyad-4 missile (right) in 2014

Sayyad-4 has a 200 km range, and maximum engagement altitude of 27 km. It is vertically launched from the Zoljanah TEL. It likely uses a form of Semi-Active Radar Homing, probably TVM (Track-Via-Missile) or SAGG (Seeker-Aided Ground Guidance). While ARH (Active Radar Homing) would have been an easier solution for a long range SAM, it would have been susceptible to jamming, and not been as effective against stealth targets (this is explained later in this blog post).

One of the more mainstream benefits of SAGG is that because guidance calculations can be calculated by both the missile and the ground radar, there is an added layer of redundancy that makes it more resistant to jamming. SAGG also tends to not give a missile launch warning to RWRs (Radar Warning Receivers), only letting them on that their aircraft is being illuminated. The inherent LPI (Low Probability of Intercept) characteristics of AESA radars enhances this advantage.

As of yet, it is unclear whether Bavar-373 has TVC (Thrust Vectoring Control) as in the S-300’s 48N6 missile. It is unlikely to have this feature, as its ABM role is only secondary, and unlike the Russian system there is no requirement for Bavar-373 to engage low-flying cruise missiles at short range, which is part of the reason why the S-300 has a cold launch system and why TVC activates immediately after ejection to orient the 48N6 to fire in the right direction. Iran already has shorter range systems without VLS, like the Sayyad-2 and Sayyad-3 missiles, that are more suited to low-altitude/short-range interception.

The Sayyad-4 missile (serial no. SD4AM M4A) at Bavar’s official unveiling in August 2019
Comparison of Sayyad-4 (top) and 48N6 (bottom) missiles. The Sayyad-4 has a completely different fin assembly, no confirmed TVC, and slightly more tapered nose.
Sayyad-4 making a sharp turn after launch

Unnamed X-band Radar

Judging by the small array size of this AESA, it can be judged that the pictured radar is an X-band radar. X-band radars are used as engagement radars in modern military systems like air defence systems and combat aircraft. There are few specifications for this radar, but in normal operation, this X-band radar would be able to engage conventional (non-VLO) aircraft out at ranges of 200 km on its own, engaging 6, guiding 12 missiles (so 2 missiles per target, ala S-300). This radar would likely be able to operate on its own against conventional targets, but for redundancy purposes. Against VLO aircraft it could have a special mode of operation in conjunction with the S-band radar which I will talk about later in this post.

One distinctive feature of this radar are the 4 additional arrays on the sides of the main array. It is unclear what purpose these have – they may be SLC (Side Lobe Cancelling) arrays, sub-arrays, or even data-link channels. If they are sub-arrays, then it is possible that the small main array of this X-band radar is deceiving. The inward angle of the sub-arrays suggests they could be creating an effect called constructive wave interference to produce higher gain and effective higher range. This allows the radar to remain compact and have relatively low power levels compared to brute force PESA solutions like the 30N6 Tomb Stone/92N6 Grave Stone. The AESA TRMs of this radar allow electronic beam steering to align the radar waves to make use of this effect correctly. The radar being an AESA also helps Iran push down the power requirements for the radar. Iran’s defence minister said in an interview that this radar has 10,000 “elements” (TRMs).

Bavar’s X-band radar array, with main components highlighted. main array in Red, possible sub-arrays in Yellow, and IFF array in Blue.

Unnamed S-band Radar

The next radar is an acquisition radar, and it doesn’t make much sense to have an X-band acquisition radar (much less to have 2 X-band radars). In addition to this its array size is noticeably larger, and added to the fact that Iran has been working on S-band AESAs for years now, it is reasonable to assume this next radar – the Acquisition radar – operates in the S-band. From this we can judge which of the official statistics apply to this S-band radar. Since it is the Acquisition radar, the specifications are likely to include the maximum targets detected (300), the range of detected targets (320 km), the range of tracked targets (260 km), and the maximum tracked targets (60). However, it is expected that the X-band radar would have its own limited acquisition and tracking (of course) capabilities for the sake of redundancy.
Some of these statistics (the last one, if at all) may belong to the X-band radar, but Iran did not bother to separate the statistics so there’s a bit of informed guesswork involved in doing this myself.

Against normal non-VLO targets, the S-band radar works how any acquisition radar works. It may not even be needed if the Meraj-4 is free to support the battery from the back line. However, its smaller size and therefore superior mobility on the Zafar 8×8 truck makes it a valuable battery-level asset on the front line and earns it a place in the Bavar-373 system. This S-band component makes Bavar-373 a dual-band system (similar to the latest versions of the Aegis Combat System). This has positive implications for its ability to be used against stealth aircraft.

Very prominent is a large IFF-antenna on top of the radar array, a display of the radar’s high requirement for tracking range and numbers. It is a similar case on the X-band radar.

Bavar’s S-band radar array. Red area is the main array, blue area is the IFF array.

Command and Control (C2) Vehicle

The C2 cabin sits atop a 6×6 truck that seems slightly larger than the usual 6x6s Iran uses for its Talash and 15 Khordad TELs and radar vehicles. While we have not got a view of the inside of the cabin, the use of a dedicated C2 vehicle (in contrast with medium-range systems like 15 Khordad that have the C2 cabin with the radar cabin) is an indication of the sophistication of this part of Bavar-373. Curiously, there are no visible antennas on the C2 vehicle for long-range communication – this is not surprising however, as Iran (unlike Russia) deploys battery vehicles at one site rather than scattered over a wide area.

Foreground: Bavar’s C2 vehicle
Bavar-373 command structure

Zoljanah 10×10 TEL

Zoljanah was first seen in September 2012, sporting an unusual angular cab. In 2014 the current design was shown, with a much more sober cab design that was practically ahead of the front axle, instead of on top of it as the first iteration. This was possible to create more room for extra equipment behind the cab, seemingly for power generators and storage. Even when carrying a 30-ton payload, the 10×10 chassis is fully off-road capable. The quad missile canisters (twin in display and testing models) are approximately 7.5 metres long and extend to a vertical position for launch.

As the missiles are ‘hot launched’, there is an integrated blast deflector below the canisters, presumably to prevent too much dust being thrown up, or to protect any prepared surfaces that the Zoljanah TEL may be mounted at with its large hydraulic jacks. Possibly the most unusual thing about Zoljanah is that it needs a 5th axle at all – comparable vehicles for the S-300 need only 4, however, the most modern versions including the S-400 also use semi-trailers with 5 axles. Such a long vehicle potentially has additional space for growth if Iran needs to mount larger missiles on it.

Zoljanah’s 2012 iteration (top) and current design (bottom)
Rear of the Zoljanah TEL with quad missile canisters and blast deflector visible

Zafar 8×8 Radar Vehicle

Zafar was first shown in 2014. With a payload of 24 tons, probably the only thing preventing Zafar from being a TEL itself is the lesser length compared to Zoljanah. It is also fully mobile like the Zoljanah. The radars that can be mounted on this vehicle have a full 360° of rotation, with storage bins and other equipment supporting them. Each radar vehicle also has a command cabin at the rear, all equipped with beefy air conditioning units. The interior of these cabins is yet to be shown.

Zafar at its 2014 unveiling

Development

In the test-fire videos (likely from some years ago), we see several differences with the ‘final’ versions of Bavar:

  • None of the radars have their sub-arrays, additional equipment, or IFF antennas. Either these were still being developed, or were not required for the that testing phase.
  • The C2 cabin for the whole system sits on the ground between the radar vehicles, not mounted on any vehicle.
  • The Sayyad-4 missile is Red, likely for better visibility in cameras capturing the test.
  • The Zoljanah TEL only has 2 missile canisters, instead of 4 on the final version. These canisters are also slightly shorter, so that the missile tips are pointing out of them before launch. This has been observed in tests of Sayyad-2 and -3 missiles, likely to preserve the canisters or just out of not needing them for the test.

Mode of Operation versus Stealth Targets

Now we get to the special ‘anti-stealth’ feature I had been referring to earlier.
If Bavar uses a SAGG/TVM guidance method as expected, the presence of a separate S-band acquisition radar points to what is called a bi-static radar arrangement for engaging stealth targets. The S-band radar may not necessarily partake in this direction, but is still essential for its operation. 
Bi-static arrangements work by placing a radar receiver closer to the target than the emitter, allowing it to pick up the signal without the signal having to return to the emitter. This is advantageous because when the receiver is closer to the target, it has a higher chance of picking up a weak signal or a more accurate one. Most modern SAMs use this arrangement. The problem arises when X-band tries to illuminate a stealth target – it does not generate a return at anything greater than short ranges, as most stealth aircraft are optimised against the X-band, owing to its accuracy and therefore wide use in engagement radars. That’s where bi-static operation comes in.
The idea is that the better anti-stealth performance of the S-band radar will allow it to detect the stealth aircraft at relatively long-range, further aided by higher-tier IADS assets like the S-band Meraj-4 and VHF Malta ul-Fajr 3. The missile is fired, with target coordinates fed into its INS and updated periodically via a datalink. If the missile has a dual-band SAGG receiver (aka one that receives both X-band and S-band radar waves), it can be guided more accurately (with the bi-static effect) if the S-band radar has some illumination capability. This, however, is not essential but does make the system more robust.
But S-band radars are typically not accurate enough to guarantee a kill – that’s why X-band radars are used in engagement radars. But as we know, X-band radars are not usually effective against stealth aircraft. Under normal circumstances, the system can see the target, but not kill it.
So once the S-band radar guides the missile to the terminal stage – within about 5-10 km – the interception switches to X-band. Within 5 km the missile’s radar receiver will likely be able to receive the X-band waves that are illuminating the target, even if the X-band radar itself is not receiving them. That’s why another name for these extreme examples of the bi-static concept is “blind illumination”. The (X-band) radar itself is “blind”. It is not receiving any return from the stealth aircraft which is to say, 120 km away. But the missile and crucially, its radar receiver, is only 5 km away. It is close enough to receive the X-band radar waves being reflected back from the target. The rest is simple – with an X-band return, the missile is able to close down the target and destroy it accurately. That’s how the bi-static effect can be exploited to destroy stealth targets.
This diagram depicts bi-static radar operation, with the closest radar representing the missile’s radar receiver

Conclusion

Bavar-373 is an advanced anti-aircraft system. Iranian engineers appear to have made efforts to give it an anti-stealth capability. The system emulates the S-300 in how it is laid out and its mode of operation, but with key differences to suit Iranian needs. And on a subsystem level, it is completely indigenous. This will allow Iran to easily upgrade Bavar and integrate it into its air defence network. The next step for this system is active deployment.

Specifications

Maximum detection range: 320 km
Maximum tracking range: 260 km
Maximum engagement range: 200 km
Maximum engagement altitude: 27 km
Simultaneously detected targets: 300
Simultaneously tracked targets: 60
Simultaneously engaged targets: 6
Simultaneously guided missiles: 12
Maximum missiles per battery: 24

515 Loupe 6-25-2019

The Sanctions

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Amir Ali Hajizade,Aerospace Commander

Amir Ali Hajizadeh is the commander ofAerospace Force. He is a radical hardliner and an outspoken critic of President Hassan Rouhani’s administration. He is also the man in charge of Iran’s missile development program. He has been serving in this position for 10 years since 2009, meaning that Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who was also sanctioned on Monday, trusts him for the time being.

Hajizadeh is known for his staunch anti-US remarks. He has always opposed the nuclear deal with the West (JCPOA). He has said that the main objective of Iran’s missile program is striking Israel.

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IRGC Ground Force Commander Mohammad Pakpour

Mohammad Pakpour was on the list of Iranian commanders sanctioned by the US even before the 2015 nuclear deal. Like Hajizadeh, he was also appointed to his post in 2009 and is a highly decorated general. Khamenei awarded him a Victory medal.

He is one of the fewgenerals with good academic background and a Ph.D. degree in political geography. Unlike commanders such as Hajizadeh and Tangsiri, he has not been observed to trumpet anti-US rhetoric.

He was subjected tobefore the JCPOA, but sanctions on him were lifted after the 2015 deal.

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IRGC Naval Force Commander Alireza Tangsiri

Alireza Tangsiri is probably one of Khamenei’s most favorite commanders and one of the most radicalofficers. Khamenei appointed Tangsiri as the commander ofin September 2018.

He is known for his staunch anti-US views as well as his frequent anti-American speeches, and it is this aspect of his character that has made him popular at Khamenei’s headquarters.

Tangsiri has openly spoken about suicide missions against US warships in the Arabian Gulf. He has said he knows many individuals who can hit themselves, wrapped in explosives, on a US ship.

He was involved in most of the cases of detaining US, UK, Canadian and Australian military personnel in the Arabian Gulf.

During the past months, Tansiri has repeatedly threatened to close the Strait of Hormuz.

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Abbas Gholamshahi,Naval Commander

Abbas Gholamshahi has been the commander ofNavy’s first region in Bandar Abbas and in charge of defending the Strait of Hormuz since 2016.

He is a career naval officer and has served as the coordinating commander ofNavy’s first region before being appointed to his current post. This is a post Tangsiri left to become the commander of the entireNavy.

Gholamshahi’s unit is the closestunit to the strategic Strait of Hormuz.

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Ramzan Zirahi,Naval Commander, Bushehr

Ramzan Zirahi is the commander ofNavy’s second region in the vicinity of the Bushehr nuclear power plant and has held this post since 2017.

The main mission of his unit is protecting the Kharg Island oil terminal and ensuring continued oil export from that terminal.

His unit was involved in detaining 10 US sailors in 2016 near the Farsi Island and one of his officers was awarded a Victory Medal by Khamenei.

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Yadollah Badin, IRGC Naval Commander, Mahshahr

Yadollah Badin is the commander ofNavy’s 3rd region in Mahshahr, North of the Arabian Gulf and has held this post since 2016.

The area under his command starts at Port Mahshahr and ends at the mouth of the river Arvad at the border with Iraq all along the southern boundaries of Iran’s Khouzestan Province.

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Mansour Ravankar, IRGC Naval Commander, 

Mansour Ravankar has been the commander ofNavy’s 4th region in Asalouyeh since 2016. The territory under his command spans from Bandar Abbas to Bushehr and is located between the first and second naval regions of the IRGC.

The region became particularly significant since 2019 when the Iranian government attached more importance to protecting the South Pars gas fields.

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Ali Ozmaei, IRGC Naval Commander, 

Ali Ozmaei, is the commander ofNavy’s 5th region in the Arabian Gulf area and in charge of the security of Lesser and Greater Tunbs and Abu Mousa Islands which are the subjects of a long standing dispute between Iran and the United Arab Emirates.

The islands were part of theNavy’s region one, but in 2012 they became a new region in order to allocate more resources to the protection of the Strait of Hormuz.

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Organization, Leadership & Personnel

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Coming up through the ranks since 2012 

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