Anti-Zionism Conference Kicks off in Beirut

Dozens of experts, peace activists and thinkers from across the world have convened in the Lebanese capital city of Beirut where the 7th edition of international New Horizon Conference has kicked off.

The anti-Zionist conference opened on Monday and renowned figures from different countries, including countries in the Middle East, North and South America and Europe, are attending the event.

American academicians and activists are to address the conference via video conference due to an intimidation campaign by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), which has threatened to jail or fine them if they participated at the event in person.

Nader Talebzadeh, the renowned Iranian intellectual and journalist and secretary of the New Horizon Conference, and Russian analyst and strategist Alexander Dugin delivered speeches at the inaugural ceremony about Israel’s recent acts of aggression and the US support for the regime.

Talebzadeh and his wife have been put on the blacklist of US sanctions for holding the conference.

The three-day event focuses on issues, including the Israeli regime's influence on the US foreign policy, particularly during President Donald Trump's tenure, political rift in the United States, Washington's sanctions and their impacts on the world order and the role of religious convergence in dialog among civilizations.

The 6th session of the New Horizon Conference was held in the northeastern Iranian city of Mashhad in May 2018 in the presence of 60 renewed figures from 22 countries.

According to the organizers, US security agents had appeared at their doorsteps, warning them of consequences if they attended the conference.

Michael Maloof, a Virginia-based former Pentagon official and a frequent Press TV panelist, found FBI agents knocking at his door at 6:30 a.m., one day back in May, an article by Sander Hicks on Medium.com revealed on August 5.

Maloof, who had traveled to Mashhad to attend last year's conference, is one of the many guests invited to this year's event in Beirut.

However, the agents warned him of dire consequences if he decided to accept the invitation.

In July, the FBI sent agents to the Florida home of Scott Rickard, a former translator with the US Air Force and the US National Security Agency (NSA) who once attended the New Horizon in Iran.

He, too, was threatened by the bureau to either skip the conference or face arrest, according to Hicks.

The FBI has also approached former State Department diplomat J. Michael Springmann, asking him over the phone to attend a meeting and answer a few questions about the New Horizon, but he turned down the request.

“No Thank You,” he said before hanging up the phone, Hicks said in his article.

A former American diplomat said in August that Israeli elements within the United States government are behind the continued harassment of US citizens who are among the guests of the annual New Horizon Conference.

William Springmann, a former US diplomat in Saudi Arabia, was also among the individuals approached by the FBI over his participation in the New Horizon Conference.

Springmann confirmed to Press TV in an interview that the FBI had indeed called him earlier this year and asked him to answer their questions about the New Horizon Conference he attended in Mashhad last year, but he turned them down.

The former diplomat said the US Treasury’s sanctions against the conference meant that any American individual partaking in the event could looking at a wide range of punishments from fines of $50,000 for a civil rights violation all the way to years-long prison sentences.

The FBI has also raided the home of prominent African American author and scholar, Professor Vernellia Randall, who wrote the book Dying while Black.

The FBI started to officially go after possible guests of the conference in February, when the US Treasury sanctioned the event on unfounded charges of providing Iranian intelligence community with “a platform to recruit and collect intelligence information from attendees”. It also accused the conference’s organizers of anti-Semitism.

New Horizon Conference is run by Talebzadeh, who chairs the New Horizon organization. Over the years the event has hosted international dissidents and critics of US-Israeli policies.

In February, the NHC was sanctioned by the US Treasury over claims that it was a cover for Iranian intelligence agencies.

Talebzadeh has filed a petition with the US Treasury, appealing the decision. He has stressed that the sanctions were planned by “Zionists inside America”, including Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.

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