VFI News January 17, 2020

Israel Intel Used in Soleimani Assassination

“As righteousness leads to life, so he who pursues evil pursues it to his own death.” Prov. 11:19

The use of Israeli intelligence was reportedly involved in this month’s elimination of the head of Iran's Quds Force, Maj.-Gen. Qassem Soleimani. According to reports, informants in Damascus tipped off the CIA about exactly which plane Soleimani would be on, which Israeli intelligence verified.  After flying to Iraq from Damascus, he was killed in a targeted USA rocket attack on a convoy at Baghdad International Airport. According to media sources, PM Benjamin Netanyahu was the only USA ally informed about the impending assassination in a conversation with USA Secretary of State Mike Pompeo. Soleimani as head of the IRGC was crucial in spreading and sustaining Iran's influence in the region through acts of brutality and terrorism. His assassination has further ignited tensions between the USA and the Islamic Republic. (VFI News)

Iran Calls On Students to Sign Up For Suicide Missions

Leaflets were distributed this week at Iran’s Islamic Azad University urging students to sign up for Jihad assignments against the United States and Israel. The missions to be carried out, according to the flyer, are to avenge the USA–directed assassination of Iranian general Qassem Soleimani. “Registration for volunteers to commit a suicide attack against the United States and Israel,” it blares. “Anyone looking to volunteer for the mission is asked to leave their first and last name, birth certificate number, education level, current occupation, phone number and fill in an area marked “tell us about your talents.” News of the search for Jihadists was reported by Iranian media. (VFI News)

 “The words of the wicked are, ‘Lie in wait for blood.’” Prov. 12:6

Anti-Government Protests Erupt Across Iran

Anti-government protests erupted at Iranian universities across the country starting on Saturday 11 Jan. 2020, following Iran's claim that it unintentionally shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane with surface-to-air missiles, killing all 176 people who were on board. Some 82 Iranians, among several other Iranians with dual citizenship, were among the victims of the crash. Crowds of students chanted for the Revolutionary Guards to “let go of the country!” and also condemned deceased Gen. Qassem Soleimani, saying that he “was a murderer" and "his leader is too!” Students shouted for the resignation of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Protests continued in Tehran on Mon. 13 Jan. 2020 including students at a Tehran university who chanted "They killed our elites and replaced them with clerics", in reference to the Iranian students who had died on flight UA752. In a video surfacing on the internet, many Tehran university students openly refused to walk over the American and Israeli flags which have been the symbol of the country’s foreign policy of anti-Americanism and anti-Zionism since the inception of the Islamic Republic. The flags had been painted on sidewalks and streets so that protesters would walk over them.

On Saturday 11 Jan. 2020, USA President Donald Trump tweeted a message of support to the protesters, "To the brave, long-suffering people of Iran: I've stood with you since the beginning of my Presidency, and my Administration will continue to stand with you. We are following your protests closely, and are inspired by your courage." Trump also warned the Iranian government against any draconian reaction to the protestors. "The government of Iran must allow human rights groups to monitor and report facts from the ground on the ongoing protests by the Iranian people," Trump wrote. "There cannot be another massacre of peaceful protesters, nor an internet shutdown. The world is watching." (VFI News)

Pray for the protection and strength of all who are risking life and limb to make their voices heard against the oppressive Iranian government. Demonstrations that took place across the Islamic Republic last Nov. and Dec. resulted in brutal government crackdowns and the loss of an estimated 1,500 lives. The Internet was effectively blocked during that time.  

Preparing For the Worst

Israel is facing serious military threats posed by Iran and Iranian-backed terrorist groups.  This month’s growing tensions between the Islamic Republic and its most hated foes; the USA and Israel, continue to accelerate the need for all-out preparations in the event of a full-scale war.  VFI, as well as the entire nation, must be equipped for this possible crisis with emergency measures and supplies.  Please help us to prepare with a financial gift at www.visionforisrael.com. Your donations are vital and appreciated.

Iran Resorts to Brutality Against Protestors

Amnesty International said on Wed.15 Jan. 2020 it had evidence Iranian security personnel used “unlawful force” over the weekend during peaceful protests after Tehran admitted it accidentally shot down a Ukrainian airliner. The rights group cited verified images and eyewitness testimonies indicating authorities had targeted protesters with rubber bullets, tear gas and pepper spray, along with pointed air-gun pellets normally used for hunting. It said security forces also beat demonstrators with batons, kicked and punched them and made arbitrary arrests during protests the previous Saturday and Sunday. Amnesty cited verified videos in which people helping the wounded are heard saying they had been shot, as well as X-rays showing pellets lodged in two protesters’ legs. It added that the Iranian security and intelligence forces were “maintaining a heavy presence in hospitals raising fears they plan to arrest patients.”  Several protesters had not sought hospital treatment for wounds for fear of being detained, it added, while some facilities in Tehran had turned away the wounded, warning they could be arrested. News sources have reported that the Iranian families of the victims of the Ukrainian airliner crash have also been threatened and intimidated by Iranian security agencies. They have been told that if they want the remains of their loved ones, they must refrain from giving interviews to Persian-language media outside of Iran. Many families say that their every move is under surveillance and security forces even interfere in their private mourning ceremonies and make threatening calls. One family member said she was called several times and told to ask Persian-language media outside Iran to remove photographs of her loved ones from their sites. (VFI News / Times Of Israel)

“The wicked prowl on every side when vileness is exalted among the sons of men.” Ps. 12:8

Iran: Olympic Medalist, News Anchors Say “Enough”

Iranian female Olympic medalist Kimia Alizadeh, who won a bronze medal in taekwondo at the Rio Olympics in 2016, says she has defected. "I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran whom they've been playing for years," she wrote on social media. "I wore whatever they told me and repeated whatever they ordered. None of us matter for them, we are just tools."  Also this week, presenters working for the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) announced they have quit their jobs over coverage of the shooting down of the Ukrainian jetliner. Zahra Khatami said: "Thank you for accepting me as anchor until today. I will never get back to TV. Forgive me." Her fellow anchor Saba Rad said: "Thank you for your support in all the years of my career. I announce that after 21 years working in radio and TV, I cannot continue my work in the media. I cannot."  The Tehran-based Association of Iranian Journalists said: "The publication of false information has had a severe impact on public confidence and public opinion. This incident showed that people cannot trust official data." (Guardian-UK/BBC)

Iran to Reach Nuclear Military Capabilities in Two Years

Against the background of this month’s escalating concerns about the possibility of war in the Middle East following Iran’s shooting down of a civilian passenger jet and the USA targeted-killing of the head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard, tensions have been driven even higher following the publication of a security assessment by Israel’s Military Intelligence Directorate. The report released this week predicts Iranian nuclear weapons within two years. Tehran announced on Sunday 5 Jan. 2020 that it would no longer abide by any of the negotiated restrictions placed on its uranium enrichment. This has followed other breaches by the Islamic Republic, including, perhaps most significantly, the resumption of nuclear activities at the underground Fordow facility. In the wake of Iran’s most recent violations of the 2015 Nuclear Deal, European countries on Tue.15 Jan. 2020 triggered a dispute mechanism in their nuclear agreement with Iran, a move that could lead to the return of United Nations sanctions on Tehran. Britain, France and Germany said that they had been "left with no choice" but to make the move. (VFI/Media Line)

Pray that UN sanctions on Iran will indeed be reinstated.

Spotify To Remove Anti-Semitic Playlist Titles

Music streaming service Spotify announced last week that it would remove playlist titles deemed to contain anti-Semitic hate speech. The action took place following a report by Israeli media sources that users were ignoring Spotify’s ban on hateful lyrics by presenting them in the titles of playlists they produce. One such playlist was titled “Gas the Jews music.” Another was named “The Holocaust was an exaggerated game of hide-and-seek.” Several playlists contained titles that justified Hitler’s actions, such as “Hitler did nothing wrong.” A Spotify spokesman said in response to the media report: “The user-generated content in question violates our policy and is in the process of being removed. Spotify prohibits any user content that is offensive, abusive, defamatory, pornographic, threatening, or obscene.” Spotify provides access to over 50 million tracks of music. (VFI News) 

Pray that sharp-eyed individuals and groups - including those of you who read the VFI News issues and love Israel - will continue to identify and successfully challenge anti-Semitic tactics used by sources posting hate on radio, television and other electronic media outlets.