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Thread: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

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    Joint Chiefs Chairman: U.S. Can Strike Iran
    News Max ^ | Friday, October 19, 2007 11:01 AM | Newsmax staff

    The new Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said that despite the commitment of U.S. forces elsewhere, the military is capable of conducting operations against Iran if called on to bomb nuclear facilities and other targets.

    Adm. Michael Mullen told reporters at the Pentagon on Thursday: �From a military standpoint, there is more than enough reserve to respond if that, in fact, is what the national leadership wanted to do, and so I don�t think we�re too stretched in that regard.

    Defense and military officials have been preparing American forces within striking distance of Iran, according to the Washington Times. Attacks on the Islamic Republic would be carried out largely by the Navy and Air Force.

    Officials say one target of any U.S. military action would be Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps facilities because of their role in providing insurgents in Iraq with armor-piercing roadside bombs. One official said the factory where Iranian bomb materials are being produced has been located.

    A second target would be Iran�s nuclear facilities, which are chiefly underground and spread across the country.

    Appearing with Mullen at the Pentagon, Defense Secretary Robert Gates warned that if Iran acquires nuclear weapons, it would probably spur other nations in the region to obtain those weapons themselves. That in turn would raise the risk of nuclear materials falling into the hands of terrorists.

    But Adm. Mullen said the use of military force against Iran would be an option of the last resort.
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    Cheney: 'We Will Not Allow Iran to Have a Nuclear Weapon'
    FOX News/AP ^ | Oct.21, 2007

    Cheney: 'We Will Not Allow Iran to Have a Nuclear Weapon'

    AP

    LEESBURG, Virginia: The United States and other nations will not allow Iran to obtain a nuclear weapon, U.S. Vice President Dick Cheney said Sunday.

    "Our country, and the entire international community, cannot stand by as a terror-supporting state fulfills its grandest ambitions," Cheney said in a speech to the Washington Institute for Near East Studies.

    He said Iran's efforts to pursue technology that would allow it to build a nuclear weapon are obvious and that "the regime continues to practice delay and deceit in an obvious effort to buy time."

    If Iran continues on its current course, Cheney said the U.S. and other nations are "prepared to impose serious consequences." The vice president made no specific reference to military action.

    "We will not allow Iran to have a nuclear weapon," he said.


    (Excerpt) Read more at foxnews.com ...
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    Advanced missiles from Iran have already been fired at U.S. helicopters in Iraq
    Worldtribune.com ^ | Monday, October 22, 2007

    The U.S. military has reported that Iran has smuggled advanced surface-to-air missiles into Iraq for the purpose of downing U.S. combat aircraft. Officials said Iran has transported man-portable SAM systems to Shi'ite allies in Iraq. They said some of the missiles have already been fired at U.S. Army helicopters.

    (Excerpt) Read more at worldtribune.com ...
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    Someone needed to say it
    Guardian ^ | October 21, 2007 | Oliver Kamm

    Far from sabre-rattling, Tony Blair's speech about the threat of a nuclear-capable Iran was simply telling it like it is.

    In his first major speech since leaving Downing Street, Tony Blair this week likened Iran to the emerging threat of fascism in the 1920s and 1930s. The ideology of Islamist extremism "now has a state - Iran - that is prepared to back and finance terror in the pursuit of destabilising countries whose people wish to live in peace".

    David Cox identifies in this speech an encouragement of "war fervour". Mr Blair's analysis of international relations is, in truth, acute and understated. It is entirely consistent with his message while in office. In 2001, three days after the terrorist attack on the World Trade Centre, Mr Blair warned the House of Commons that terrorists "would, if they could, go further and use chemical or biological or even nuclear weapons of mass destruction. We know, also, that there are groups or people, occasionally states, who trade the technology and capability for such weapons."

    Six years later, Iran's activities confirm Blair's diagnosis. At a minimum, Iran's Revolutionary Guards are equipping Shi'ite terrorists in Iraq with improvised explosive devices to attack Iraqi and US troops (who are, let it be recalled, discharging a UN mandate). Support for terrorism ought also to be considered alongside Iran's nuclear ambitions and serial deceptions. Last month, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, Mohamed El Baradei, told the organisation's conference: "Contrary to the decisions of the security council, calling on Iran to take certain confidence building measures, Iran has not suspended its enrichment related activities, and is continuing with its construction of the heavy water reactor at Arak."

    Adopting a tone that Cox will doubtless find bellicose and threatening, El Baradei concluded: "This is regrettable."

    (Excerpt) Read more at commentisfree.guardian.co.uk ...
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    'U.S. to strike Iran' if diplomacy fails
    WorldNetDaily.com ^ | October 26, 2007 | Aaron Klein

    JERUSALEM A senior Palestinian intelligence official said that based on meetings with American diplomats he "understood" the U.S. plans to target Iran's suspected nuclear installations in two to three months if negotiations with Tehran don't generate a major breakthrough.

    The official, speaking to WND yesterday on condition of anonymity, said according to what he "understood," the U.S. will "pay" for Arab support for a U.S. strike against Iran by creating a temporary Palestinian state in the Gaza Strip and most of the West Bank by next summer.

    The official met last week with U.S. secretary of State Condoleezza Rice during her trip here earlier this month to prepare for a U.S.-sponsored Israeli-Palestinian summit slated for next month in which Israel is expected to outline a future Palestinian state in most of the West Bank.

    Israeli leaders, including Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, in recent weeks hinted at willingness to give away sections of Jerusalem.

    The Palestinian intelligence official would not say if he was basing his information on any specific statements by U.S. officials that a military operation against Iran was in the works.

    "It's based on what I understood from the Americans," he told WND.

    His statements come as the Bush administration today imposed a series of new sanctions on Iran, accusing the country of an illicit nuclear program and supporting terrorism throughout the Middle East.

    The sanctions specifically single out the elite al-Quds division of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a terror entity guilty of weapons proliferation and aiding terrorism, including attacks against U.S. troops in Iraq and aid to Palestinian terror groups and the Lebanese Hezbollah militia.

    (Excerpt) Read more at worldnetdaily.com ...
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    France rejects nuclear watchdog claims on Iran
    AFP via IC Publications ^ | October 29, 2007 | Staff


    French Defence Minister Herve Morin on Monday dismissed comments by the head of the UN atomic watchdog that there was no evidence Iran is building nuclear weapons, saying Paris has evidence to the contrary.

    "Our information, matching those of other countries, gives us the opposite feeling," Morin told a news conference in Abu Dhabi at the end of a short visit to the United Arab Emirates.

    Mohamed ElBaradei, head of the UN atomic watchdog the International Atomic Energy Agency, said in an interview with CNN on Sunday that he had no evidence that Iran is building nuclear weapons and accused US leaders of adding "fuel to the fire" with their bellicose rhetoric.
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    FOXNEWS.COM HOME > WORLD
    U.S. Military: Iranian-Made Rockets Hit Base Near Baghdad

    Sunday, October 28, 2007

    Rockets fired at a U.S. base southeast of Baghdad were manufactured in Iran, showing again that countrys continued logistical support for insurgents inside Iraq, U.S. military officials said on Saturday.

    Nobody was injured in the October 23rd attack on Combat Outpost Cashe, but one U.S. vehicle was damaged, officials said.

    According to the military, the 107mm rocket was made in Iran sometime in March. Troops investigating the launch site seized six rocket rails used to aim and launch the rockets, an unfired rocket and a timing device.

    The seized rocket is the 40th Iranian manufactured rocket that soldiers have captured in the last four months, the military said.
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    Iranians Dismiss Sanctions From U.S.
    NYT ^ | October 27, 2007 | Nazila Fathi

    TEHRAN — Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator on Friday dismissed the sweeping new sanctions announced by the Bush administration against an elite unit of the Revolutionary Guard in Iran as insignificant and said they would have no effect on the country’s nuclear policies, the news agency ISNA reported.

    The United States on Thursday designated the Quds Force of the Revolutionary Guard and four state-owned Iranian banks as supporters of terrorism, and the Guard itself as an illegal exporter of ballistic missiles. The decision raised the temperature in America’s confrontation with Iran over terrorism and nuclear weapons.

    “These sanctions are nothing new,” Saeed Jalili, who was appointed as Iran’s negotiator last week, said after returning to Tehran from Rome, ISNA reported. “Sanctions have been imposed on us for the past 28 years. The new sanctions, like those before, will have no effect on Iran’s policies.”

    Also reacting to the announcement by the United States, the head of Iran’s Revolutionary Guard, Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, warned that it was ready to defend the country if it came under attack. ISNA quoted him as saying the Guard would respond to any attack “fiercely.”

    Iran’s prior nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani, who accompanied Mr. Jalili to talks in Rome with the European Union about Iran’s nuclear activities, said the negotiations were favorable. While Iran’s relations with the United States remain troubled, he said, Iran intends to continue its cooperation with the United Nations nuclear agency.

    (Excerpt) Read more at nytimes.com ...
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    Iran Sanctions Are Meant to Prevent War, Bush Aides Say
    WP ^ | October 26, 2007 | Michael Abramowitz and Robin Wright

    In approving far-reaching, new unilateral sanctions against Iran, President Bush signaled yesterday that he intends to pursue a strategy of gradually escalating financial, diplomatic and political pressure on Tehran, aimed not at starting a new war in the Middle East, his advisers said, but at preventing one.

    Bush believes Tehran will not seriously discuss limiting its nuclear ambitions or pulling back from its involvement in Iraq unless it experiences significantly more pressure than the United States and the international community have been able to exert so far, according to administration officials and others familiar with the president's thinking.

    With yesterday's actions, which included the long-awaited designations of Iran's Revolutionary Guard Corps as a proliferator of weapons of mass destruction and of the elite Quds Force as a supporter of terrorism, Bush made clear that he is willing to seek such leverage even without the support of his European allies.

    "The president does not want to be stuck -- and doesn't want his successor to be stuck -- between two bad choices: living with an Iranian nuclear weapon or using military force to prevent Iran from building nuclear weapons," said Peter D. Feaver, who recently left a staff position on the National Security Council. "He is looking for a viable third way, negotiations backed up by carrots and sticks, that could resolve the Iranian nuclear file on his watch or, failing that, offer a reasonable prospect of doing so on his successor's watch."

    Even so, the administration's actions yesterday immediately rekindled fears among Democrats and other countries that the administration is on a path toward war.

    (Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
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    Iran shows confidence US will not attack in standoff over nuclear program
    AP via IHT ^ | October 26, 2007 | Staff

    TEHRAN, Iran: Iran's leadership boasts it is safe from U.S. military action, saying Washington knows an attack would find no world support and send oil prices skyrocketing. That confidence is buoying the government in its standoff with the West, despite new sanctions.

    Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, on Friday dismissed the U.S. announcement a day earlier of new sanctions, saying "Washington will isolate itself" with the measures.

    "They have imposed sanctions on us for 28 years. The new sanctions are just in the same direction," Jalili said as he returned from talks with European officials in Germany and Italy, according to the state news agency IRNA.

    President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is taking a hard line in the confrontation with the West over its nuclear program, apparently confident Washington's main pressure tools — sanctions and the threat of military action — are ineffective.

    It could be a risky bet. Ahmadinejad's main vulnerability is domestic: rising criticism from a public angry over the country's poor economy and from politicians disillusioned by what they call his mismanagement. Even some conservatives have expressed fears Ahmadinejad is pushing Iran into future trouble over the nuclear issue.

    Further sanctions, even unilateral ones from the U.S., could hurt the economy more by further isolating it from international finance — and Iranians were already expressing worries over the new measures.

    Ahmadinejad, who faces elections in 2009, knows "jobless and poor people will not vote for him if his policies bring them more difficulties," said Ahmad Bakhshayesh, a political science professor at Tehran's Azad University.

    But he believes "unilateral economic sanctions by Washington are not strong enough (to hurt Iran) due to Iran's widespread economic relations with the world."

    (Excerpt) Read more at iht.com ...
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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    9 November 2007, 6:03 PM EST.


    That's the time the new moon starts.

    Once more in December.

    Keep your eyes on that date.
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    Europeans Ponder Sanctions Against Iran
    WP ^ | October 27, 2007 | Jamey Keaten

    PARIS -- Britain and France are leading a push for new EU sanctions to punish Iran over its nuclear program. But while European nations increasingly fear a war in their backyard, the continent is divided over how to deal with the crisis.

    The United States raised the stakes this week with new sanctions targeting the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, which Washington accuses of supporting terrorism by backing Shiite militants in Iraq. The announcement raised the question of whether the European Union would follow suit.

    France, long viewed as too busy making money in Iran to punish it over its nuclear program, is now seeking to hurt Tehran economically. Britain also sees tougher sanctions as essential.

    But few other European nations are clamoring to support stepped-up EU sanctions. The divisions mirror those that split the continent over Iraq, though the fault lines have shifted.

    "It's not unthinkable that (Europe) could reach symbolic sanctions, but it will be complicated to get much further. There's just too much division," said Philippe Moreau-Defarges of the French Institute for International Relations. "France is pretty isolated, aside from Britain."

    Since the United States first slapped sanctions on Iran in 1979, European companies have continued to rake in profits from business in Iran, from the oil sector to banking deals.

    While corporate rivals in Asia or elsewhere could fill a void left by the possible loss of European companies in Iran, EU expertise in the financial or industrial sectors would be missed, analysts said. Iran already faces limited EU sanctions and visa bans.

    Concerns have been rising in some European corners that the United States or Israel might attack to prevent Iran from developing atomic bombs. But few EU members agree on what measures to take to make sure war does not break out.

    (Excerpt) Read more at washingtonpost.com ...
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    Iran Steps Up Preparations For US War
    The Telegraph (UK) ^ | 10-28-2007 | Tim Shipman - Kay Biouki
    Iran steps up preparations for US war

    Tim Shipman in Washington and Kay Biouki in Teheran
    Last Updated: 1:03am GMT 28/10/2007

    Iran's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is stepping up preparations for possible war with America by replacing a string of moderate regime officials with hardliners who more closely share his views.

    After months in which his government has played down the risk of war over Iran's nuclear programme, officials have also begun making bellicose pronouncements in an apparent attempt to ready public opinion for a military clash.

    President Ahmadinejad (right) welcomes new Revolutionary Guards leader Mohammad Ali Jafari

    Last week's resignation of Ali Larijani, Iran's chief nuclear negotiator, and his replacement by Saeed Jalili, an Ahmadinejad ally who is a member of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards, was merely the most visible of a series of discreet personnal changes, diplomats have revealed.

    In recent weeks Mr Ahmadinejad has fired ministers responsible for oil and heavy industry, and forced out the governor of Iran's central bank for refusing to back his policies. Last week he also quietly brought in hardliners to the justice and foreign ministries. "We don't need people with specialities, we need people who are devoted," he said.

    But the lack of worldly experience among his appointees has unnerved US officials.

    The new nuclear negotiator speaks little English and had not travelled to the West before Mr Ahmadinejad was elected president, according to Mehdi Khalaji of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy.

    Western diplomats have also been alarmed by the appointment of General Mohammad Ali Jafari, who took part in the storming of the US Embassy in Teheran in 1979, as head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps, one of the most powerful institutions in Iran. A Pentagon adviser compared him to the US general in charge of forces in Iraq. "He is the Iranian Petraeus. He has studied counter-insurgency warfare."

    Saeed Jalili: Closer to President Ahmadinejad

    CIA and Pentagon analysts are fearful that Gen Jafari's views are reflected among the other senior appointments made by Mr Ahmadinejad. He has declared his wish to identify "martyrdom-seeking individuals in society" and warned: "Each of our suicide volunteers equals a nuclear bomb."

    Last week, Gen Jafari announced changes in the structure of the Revolutionary Guards and the feared Basij paramilitary forces, to make them better able to "defend the revolution against any kind of threat, whether domestic or foreign".

    At the same time a Revolutionary Guards general, Mahmoud Chahar Baghi, threatened to "fire 11,000 missiles at US targets in the region in the first few minutes of the conflict", and it was announced that Iran has signed a deal with China to purchase 24 J-10 fighter jets by 2010, which have the range to hit Israel.

    Michael Rubin, who was an adviser on Iran to the former US defence secretary, Donald Rumsfeld, said: "I don't think they fully understand the West.

    They have become overconfident about their strength and underestimate the US."

    Mr Rumsfeld's successor, Robert Gates, confirmed that "routine" planning was under way to give President George Bush options for striking at Iran. At the same time the president sought $88 million of congressional funding to modify B2 stealth bombers to carry a 30,000lb bunker-buster bomb, capable of damaging Iran's underground nuclear facilities.

    Iranian police has also shut and sealed several Teheran bookshops which also provide coffee and snacks to readers, telling one owner: "All the corruption in the country comes out of these cafés."
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    Australia to follow U.S. Iran sanctions
    Swissinfo ^ | October 27 2007 | Reuters

    SYDNEY (Reuters) - Many nations will follow the United States in slapping sanctions on Iran if it fails to suspend its nuclear enrichment program soon, Australia, a strong U.S. ally, said.

    Foreign Minister Alexander Downer's statement closely followed a strong defence on Friday by U.S. Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice of expanded U.S. sanctions on Tehran.

    "If their enrichment program isn't suspended some time fairly soon, as it's meant to be, then you will see a lot of countries introducing different types of measures and sanctions against Iran," Downer told ABC Television's Lateline program late on Friday.

    The United States slapped new sanctions on Iran on Thursday, accusing its Revolutionary Guard of spreading weapons of mass destruction.

    This sent New York oil prices surging on Friday to record highs above $92 a barrel on supply fears. Russian President Vladimir Putin added to tensions by criticizing the U.S. sanctions, ahead of Downer's statement.

    Downer told the ABC that Washington was not trying to set itself on a path to war with Tehran, although the Americans as a matter of doctrine never ruled in or ruled out military action.

    "What they're doing is applying much tougher sanctions against Iran," he said.

    The European Union, Japan and Australia would wait "for a little while" to see if further progress eventuated in negotiations with Iran on the nuclear issue, Downer said.

    The Australian Foreign Minister said he expected the global community to be looking at financial sanctions against Iran.

    "There is quite a preference for those sorts of measures," he said.

    On Thursday Washington imposed sanctions on more than 20 Iranian companies, banks and individuals as well as the Defence Ministry, hoping to increase pressure on Tehran to stop uranium enrichment and to curb "terrorist" activities.

    Australia's conservative government led by Prime Minister John Howard was an original backer of the U.S.-led invasion of Iran's neighbour Iraq in 2003, to counter weapons of mass destruction then believed to be held in Iraq.

    Australia sent 2,000 troops to Iraq in a decision that sparked the biggest anti-war protests in Australia since the Vietnam conflict. Australia still has more than 1,500 troops in and around Iraq.

    The decision to invade Iraq is a highly contentious issue in the Howard government's tough battle to win re-election in a national poll on November 24.

    The centre-left opposition Labour Party, which is far ahead of Howard's coalition in opinion polls, would also support "in the strongest terms" economic and political sanctions against Iran if it won office in November, Tony Burke, Labour's spokesman on immigration, said on the Lateline program.

    But the Labour Party has promised to withdraw frontline troops from Iraq if elected, although it still supports Australia's deployment of about 1,000 troops in Afghanistan.

    Reuters (IDS)
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    IAEA findings on Iran dismissed
    al-BBC ^ | October 30, 2007 | Staff

    France and the US have dismissed a finding by the head of the UN's nuclear watchdog Mohammed ElBaradei that there is no evidence of Iran building a bomb. French Defence Minister Herve Morin challenged Iran to allow UN inspectors unlimited access to sites.

    The US said Iran's efforts to enrich uranium rather than import it more cheaply, indicated that it really wanted nuclear weapons.

    Mr ElBaradei said on Sunday that Tehran was years away from developing a bomb.

    Iran denies it is seeking to build nuclear weapons and says it wants only civilian nuclear energy.

    Its refusal to stop enriching uranium - a process which can lead to a nuclear bomb - has led the UN Security Council to impose two sets of sanctions, which the US has followed up with unilateral penalties of its own.

    White House spokeswoman Dana Perino said Iran was "enriching and reprocessing uranium, and the reason that one does that is to lead towards a nuclear weapon".

    His remarks were later clarified by US National Security Council spokesman Gordon Johndroe, who was asked whether any country enriching uranium seeks nuclear weapons.

    "I would say that we're concerned about Iran doing this because they could have the capability to have a nuclear weapon. Each country is different, but obviously Dana was asked and was talking about Iran," he said.

    French scepticism

    The French defence minister said: "Our information, which is backed up by other countries, is contrary [to Mr ElBaradei's comments]."

    "If... ElBaradei is right then there is no reason that Iran stops ElBaradei and the IAEA [the UN nuclear watchdog] from carrying out inspections," Mr Morin told reporters on a visit to Abu Dhabi.

    "If [the nuclear programme] is only civil what would be the reason to stop international inspections?"

    The IAEA has some access to Iranian nuclear facilities but Tehran's refusal to allow intrusive inspections means the UN cannot verify the absence of undeclared nuclear material.

    The US Ambassador to the UN, Zalmay Khalilzad, said on Monday that Washington saw "no indication" Iran was moving towards suspending uranium enrichment.

    Eyes on ElBaradei

    Mr ElBaradei's deputy, Olli Heinonen, arrived in Tehran on Monday for a now round of talks on Iran's nuclear programme.

    There is tension between Western countries and Mr ElBaradei over an agreement he reached with Iran in August, drawing up a timetable for the country to answer questions about its past nuclear activities.

    This was seen as buying time for Iran, the BBC's Laura Trevelyan reports from the UN.

    Mr ElBaradei says he will report to the IEAE's board in mid-November on how much information Iran has provided.

    He warned Tehran of the importance of active co-operation and transparency.

    Diplomats say discussions on a third sanctions resolution are under way in case Iran stalls again.

    However it is not clear that Russia and China will support further sanctions, our correspondent adds.
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    Iran's Armed Forces to Give Crushing Response to Aggressions
    Fars ^ | 10/29/07 | Fars

    TEHRAN (Fars News Agency)- Any aggression against Iran's territorial integrity will receive a crushing response from the Iranian armed forces, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini said.

    Speaking to reporters during his weekly press conference here on Sunday, Hosseini pointed to the intensified military moves by the US troops alongside Iran-Iraq borders, and said Iranian armed forces would provide an appropriate response to any kind aggression to the country's territorial integrity.

    A recent report, quoting a senior Iraqi security official in Basra, said that the US has increased the number of flights and espionage operations along Iraq-Iran borders at Shalamche to gain more information about Iran's missile units and sites.

    US officials have alleged that their increased military operations in southern Iraq are aimed at preventing the smuggling of arms across the two countries' borders.

    "The adoption of such measures by the (Iraqi) occupiers is a blatant violation of the international rules and a breach of Iran's sovereignty and territorial integrity," Hosseini said.

    "Meantime, we believe that the Iraqi officials and government are well informed of the importance of the two countries' good relations and will not allow their territories to be used for espionage operations against the neighboring countries," he added.

    Elsewhere, Hosseini noted the future of Iran-EU nuclear talks, and said that the newly appointed secretary of the country's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Saeed Jalili will continue talks with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana to resolve the nuclear standoff between Tehran and the West.

    "Considering that SNSC secretary should head Iran's team of negotiators in talks about the nuclear issue, Mr. Jalili will be the chief negotiator in the nuclear talks and will continue the trend of nuclear negotiations in future," Hosseini said.

    Asked to comment on the statements made by certain European officials that the presence of two Iranian negotiators could complicate the talks, he said, "This round of talks held in the presence of Mr. Larijani and Mr. Jalili was good and constructive and the single stance of our country's officials was displayed during the meeting."

    "But Mr. Jalili will continue the talks in future," he added.

    Hosseini reiterated that Jalili would continue the same trend of talks pursued by Larijani in dealing with all the issues under discussion by Iran and the EU, including the nuclear case and cooperation with the European Union.
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    7,500 Sailors Will Deploy Monday With Truman Strike Group
    The Virginian-Pilot ^ | November 1, 2007 | Cindy Clayton

    NORFOLK--The Harry S. Truman Carrier Strike Group will deploy Monday with nearly 7,500 sailors in support of maritime security operations.


    The strike group is commanded by Rear Adm. William E. Gortney, according to a Navy news release.


    Leaving from Norfolk will be the carrier Harry S. Truman, Carrier Air Wing Three, the guided missile destroyers Oscar Austin and Winston S. Churchill, the guided missile cruiser San Jacinto and the submarine Montpelier, the release said.


    The guided missile cruiser Hue City and the guided missile destroyer Carney will leave from Mayport, Fla. Also, the fast combat support ship Arctic will deploy from Naval Weapons Station Earle, N.J.
    Coalition forces from Great Britain will join the strike group.

    A Jewish captain leads Navy’s “Truman” into action.

    The one thing that is constant about life on an aircraft carrier is the noise. The constant roar of jet aircraft engines on the deck is complemented by other sounds heard throughout the ship and below deck: the explosive booms coming from the catapults launching planes and the reverberations of the restraining wires on the steel deck that enables others to land.

    Yet the sound that seems to garner the most attention on board the USS Harry S. Truman is, ironically, among the softest they will hear: the even tones of the voice of Capt. Herman "Herm" Shelanski.


    ""I've never heard him even raise his voice," confides one of Shelanski's officers, who admits that this low-key style is hardly typical of naval behavior when it comes to the person in charge. "But he's always in command of the situation. He's the sort of a person who makes you want to meet or exceed his expectations."


    As another officer put it, referring to the captain's average height (approximately 5 feet 7 inches), "His physical stature isn't so big. But his presence is huge. Everyone on board feels it."


    More...


    The ships being deployed are:

    USS Harry S Truman (CVN 75) Nimitz class nuclear-powered aircraft carrier
    USS San Jacinto (CG 56) Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser
    USS Hue City (CG 66) Ticonderoga class guided missile cruiser
    USS Carney (DDG 64) Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer
    USS Oscar Austin (DDG 79) Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer (Oscar Austin sub class)
    USS Winston S. Churchill (DDG 81) Arleigh Burke class guided missile destroyer (Oscar Austin sub class)
    HMS Manchester (D95) Manchester class Type 42 Batch 3 destroyer
    USS Montpelier (SSN 765) Improved Los Angeles class fast attack submarine
    HMCS Charlottetown(FFH 339) Halifax Class multi rols patrol frigate
    USNS Arctic (T-AOE 8) Supply class fast combat support ship
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    Bahrain says Iran wants the bomb
    AFP ^ | Nov 2 2007

    LONDON (AFP) — Bahrain's crown prince has claimed that Iran is developing atomic weapons or the capability to do so, British press reports said on Friday, the first time an Arab state in the Gulf has openly accused Tehran of lying about its controversial nuclear drive.

    In interviews with correspondents for British newspapers in the capital Manama, Sheikh Salman bin Hamad al-Khalifa also urged a diplomatic solution to the standoff between the West and Bahrain's close neighbour. "While they don't have the bomb yet, they are developing it, or the capability for it," the crown prince said, warning that "the whole region" would be drawn into any military conflict.

    (Excerpt) Read more at afp.google.com ...

    He is the second Arab Leader to admit this.

    The first was Sheikh Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani, the Amir of Qatar
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    Iran's Army Turns Suicidal
    Pajamas Media ^ | November 2, 2007 | Meir Javedanfar

    A senior general in Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps declared this week that Iranian forces were prepared to carry out martyrdom operations in the Persian Gulf “if necessary.” PJM analyst Meir Javedanfar warns that the threat should be taken very seriously. Support Pajamas Media; Visit Our Advertisers

    By Meir Javedanfar

    Brigadier General Ali Fahdavi, a senior general in Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), issued a warning this week that “if necessary” the IRGC’s Baseej forces were ready to carry out suicide operations in the Gulf, amid rising tensions with the United States.

    Citing the spirit of Hossein Fahimi, a brainwashed 13-year-old Iranian child who carried out the first suicide operation during the Iraq vs. Iran war, Fahdavi said Fahimi’s spirit of martyrdom is “prevailing now throughout the Revolutionary Guards.”

    The Baseej, which is Iran’s equivalent of people’s militia forces, falls under the command of the IRGC. Conservative estimates put the number of its members at one million. During the Iraq vs Iran war, tens of thousands of Baseej members, many of whom were young kids from poor families living in the countryside, were brainwashed to walk over mines. Others were told to wrap grenades around themselves and throw themselves under tanks like Fahimi did. His story was told over and over again in Iranian schools and children’s TV programs as a way of encouraging others to follow his path; one which Iranian clerics promised would end in heaven.

    Fahdavi’s threat has a number of goals. First and foremost, Iran is becoming concerned about the growing chances of intensified sanctions placed against it - as well as the threat of war.

    (Excerpt) Read more at pajamasmedia.com ...
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    Ahmadinjead: Iran Has 3,000 Centrifuges Working at Enrichment Plant
    Intenrational Herald Tribune ^ | November 7, 2007 | Associated Press Staff Writer

    Iran has achieved a landmark, with 3,000 centrifuges fully working in its controversial uranium enrichment program, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced Wednesday.

    "We have now reached 3,000 machines," Ahmadinejad told thousands of Iranians gathered in Birjand, in eastern Iran, in a show of defiance of international demands to halt the program believed to be masking the country's nuclear arms efforts.

    Ahmadinejad has in the past claimed that Iran succeeded in installing the 3,000 centrifuges at its uranium enrichment facility at Natanz. But Wednesday's claim was his first official statement that the plant is now fully operating all those centrifuges.

    When Iran first announced launching the 3,000 centrifuges in April, the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency, the International Atomic Energy Agency, said Tehran had only 328 centrifuges up and running at Natanz's underground facility.

    In a recent report, drawn up by IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei, the agency put the number of centrifuges working in Natanz at close to 2,000, with another 650 being tested.

    Uranium gas, spun in linked centrifuges, can result in either low-enriched fuel suitable to generate power in a nuclear reactor, or the weapons-grade material that forms the fissile core of nuclear warheads.

    The U.S. and some of its Western allies believe Iran is using its civilian nuclear program as a cover for weapons' development. Tehran denies this, insisting its nuclear program is geared toward generating electricity, not a nuclear bomb.

    U.S. experts say 3,000 centrifuges are in theory enough to produce a nuclear weapon, perhaps as soon as within a year.

    (Excerpt) Read more at iht.com ...
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