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Thread: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    When You Can't Deal With The Devil
    A year later than I expected, the drum roll has begun towards a Western attack on Iran's nuclear capability. Despite the best efforts of Western diplomacy, the "moderate" option in Iranian politics expired last week with President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's triumphal consolidation of power.

    A combination of economic distress and external threats, Western capitals hoped, would strengthen the position of the loser in Iran's 2006 presidential elections, Hashemi Rafsanjani, and external pressure would undo the decision of the Iranian electorate. At best that would have been a deal with the devil; unfortunately, the devil was not returning phone calls last week.

    It never was to be. Iran has only two options: a sickening slide into economic decay and internal weakness as its oil-exporting capacity attenuates, or a regional adventure against the Sunni oligarchs of the Gulf oil-producing states. For the Iranian street, Ahmadinejad's constituency in the slums of Tehran and the Persian hinterland, this is the Shi'ite moment, the once-in-a-millennium opportunity to undo centuries of perceived oppression.

    European diplomats woefully concede that Rafsanjani, who maintained close ties to Germany in particular, no longer offers a viable alternative. Arab commentators are watching with alarm developments in Iran, beginning with the dismissal of Iran's nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani.

    Elias Harfouche wrote in the Lebanese daily Dal al-Hayat on October 28, "The unease that accompanied the replacement of Ali Larijani with Saeed Jalili as the head of the negotiating nuclear team was exceptional. Its importance was further reinforced by the comment made by Ali Akbar Wilayati, the former foreign minister and counselor to the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, and the statement of Mohamed Hashemi, the brother of Hashemi Rafsanjani on 'narrowing the decision-making circle' in the executive authority as a result of Ahmadinejad's decisions."

    As usual, the American media are slow to grasp how profoundly the landscape has shifted during the past week. Writing in the October 27 Washington Post, for example, David Ignatius argued, quite incorrectly, that Ahmadinejad "faces growing resistance, starting with former president Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. Sources tell me that Rafsanjani's allies have been advising officials in Europe and the Middle East that Ahmadinejad is weak and vulnerable." I do not know what Rafsanjani's allies have been saying of late, but I am certain that their credibility is exhausted.

    Ignatius worries that if the United States or Israel were to strike Iran's nuclear facilities, Iran would retaliate through such proxies as Hezbollah and various terrorist operations under its control.

    These fears are well-founded. In February 2006, I argued that a few sorties by American aircraft could put the Iranian problem to rest, but that the window for a clean military operation would not last long.

    The longer Washington dallies, the more resources Tehran can put in place, including:
    • Upgrading Hezbollah's offensive-weapon capabilities in Lebanon.
    • Integrating Hamas into its sphere of influence and military operations.
    • Putting in place terrorist capability against the West.
    • Preparing its Shi'ite auxiliaries in Iraq for insurrection.[1]

    One might add to this complications on the Turkish-Iraqi border, as Iran and its ally Syria have taken the Turkish side against Kurdish rebels, which Iran claims have the covert assistance of the United States.

    In early 2006, I predicted "war with Iran on the worst terms", and that is what the West is likely to get. I warned at the time, "if Washington waits another year to deliver an ultimatum to Iran, the results will be civil war to the death in Iraq, the direct engagement of Israel in a regional war through Hezbollah and Hamas, and extensive terrorist action throughout the West, with extensive loss of American life. There are no good outcomes, only less terrible ones. The West will attack Iran, but only when such an attack will do the least good and the most harm."

    Rafsanjani's dialogue with Berlin was the last, best hope of the anti-war faction in the West. One winces at the chagrin of the German partner in this relationship, given that Rafsanjani likes the Germans because he admires what Adolf Hitler did to the Jews of Europe. On October 5, Rafsanjani told Iranian television in a clip posted by MEMRI:

    Europe resolved a great problem, the problem of the Zionist danger. The Zionists constituted a strong political party in Europe and caused a lot of disorder there. Since they had a lot of property and controlled an empire of propaganda, they made the European governments helpless. What Hitler and the Nazis did to the Jews of Europe at that time was partly due to these circumstances with the Jews. They wanted to expel the Zionists from Europe because they were always a pain in the neck for governments there ... Their first goal was to save Europe from the evil of Zionism, and in this they have been relatively successful. [2]
    The leading Iranian "moderate", in short, is just as much the Islamo-Nazi as the Holocaust denier Ahmadinejad. Rather than deny the Holocaust, Rafsanjani applauds it. Reportedly, Rafsanjani believes that the threat of military confrontation of the West makes a bad gamble of Iran's nuclear development program, unlike Ahmadinejad, who is happy to take the risk.

    Deals with the devil simply do not work, even in the ethically challenged world of foreign policy. The devil will act according to his nature, whatever bargain one attempts to make with him.

    My proposed mantra for President George W Bush, is, "There are no good options." To be precise, there are options that are considerably worse for others than for the United States. The use of force against Iran without doubt will make the Iraqi mess completely unmanageable. It will have spillover effects in Turkey, where the electoral majority that supported the Islamists in this year's elections will rise in outrage against the United States and Israel. It may reignite the war between Israel and Hezbollah. Nor should we have any illusions about Iran's terrorist capacities. Western civilians well may pay a heavy price for the excision of Iran's nuclear program in the form of terror attacks. The price may be steep, but it's worth it.

    The West has no choice but to attack Iran, because Iran believes that it has no choice but to develop nuclear weapons. Make no mistake: this attack will destabilize the entire region, past the capacity of the king's horses and king's men to reassemble it. The agenda will shift from how best to promote stability, to how best to turn instability to advantage.

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    Report: Washington concerned Israel gearing up to attack Iran
    Haaretz ^ | November 8, 2007 | Haaretz Service and News Agencies

    Washington officials are concerned that Tehran's announcement that it has 3,000 centrifuges fully working in its controversial uranium enrichment program will lead to an Israeli strike on Iran, the British daily The Times reported on Thursday.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced the landmark development on Wednesday. Pentagon sources in Washington fear Israel could move to attack the uranium enrichment plant, as U.S. officials and foreign media reports confirmed it did a suspected Syrian nuclear facilily on September 6.

    The Times report quoted military officials as saying that while the United States is hesitant to embark on an attack on Iran, Israel is a "different matter."

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

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

    Putin Warns US Against Attacking Iran
    Russian leader Vladimir Putin met his Iranian counterpart Tuesday and implicitly warned the U.S. not to use a former Soviet republic to stage an attack on Iran. He also said countries bordering the Caspian Sea must jointly back any oil pipeline projects in the region.

    At a summit of the five nations that border the inland Caspian Sea, Putin said none of the nations' territory should be used by any outside countries for use of military force against any nation in the region. It was a clear reference to long-standing rumors that the U.S. was planning to use Azerbaijan, a former Soviet republic, as a staging ground for any possible military action against Iran.

    "We are saying that no Caspian nation should offer its territory to third powers for use of force or military aggression against any Caspian state," Putin said.

    Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad also underlined the need for solidarity.

    "The Caspian Sea is an inland sea and it only belongs to the Caspian states, therefore only they are entitled to have their ships and military forces here," he said.

    A State Department spokesman, Tom Casey, said the United States is not planning military action against Iran.

    "We are pursuing a diplomatic course with respect to Iran that includes with respect to its nuclear program as well as with respect to its support for terrorism and other issues that are out there," he said.

    Putin refused to set a date for the start-up of Iran's first nuclear power plant, to be built by Russia.

    "I only gave promises to my mom when I was a small boy," Putin told Iranian reporters, when asked whether he could promise that the plant that Russia is building would be launched before his term ends next May.

    At the same time, he said, "We are not going to renounce our obligations."

    Putin's careful stance suggested that Russia is seeking to preserve solid ties with Iran without angering the West. A clear pledge by Putin to quickly finish the plant would embolden Iran and could complicate international talks on the nuclear standoff.

    Putin, whose trip to Tehran is the first by a Kremlin leader since World War II, warned that energy pipeline projects crossing the Caspian could only be implemented if all five nations that border the sea support them.

    Putin did not name a specific country, but his statement underlined Moscow's strong opposition to U.S.-backed efforts to build pipelines to deliver hydrocarbons to the West, bypassing Russia.

    "Projects that may inflict serious environmental damage to the region cannot be implemented without prior discussion by all five Caspian nations," he said.

    Other nations bordering the Caspian Sea and in attendance at the summit are: Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Azerbaijan.

    The legal status of the Caspian — believed to contain the world's third-largest energy reserves — has been in limbo since the 1991 Soviet collapse, leading to tension and conflicting claims to seabed oil deposits.

    Iran, which shared the Caspian's resources equally with the Soviet Union, insists that each coastal nation receive an equal portion of the seabed. Russia, Azerbaijan and Kazakhstan want the division based on the length of each nation's shoreline, which would give Iran a smaller share.

    Putin's visit took place despite warnings of a possible assassination plot and amid hopes that personal diplomacy could help offer a solution to an international standoff on Iran's nuclear program.

    Putin has warned the U.S. and other nations against trying to coerce Iran into reining in its nuclear program and insists peaceful dialogue is the only way to deal with Tehran's defiance of a U.N. Security Council demand that it suspend uranium enrichment.

    "Threatening someone, in this case the Iranian leadership and Iranian people, will lead nowhere," Putin said Monday during his trip to Germany. "They are not afraid, believe me."

    Iran's rejection of the council's demand and its previous clandestine atomic work has fed suspicions in the U.S. and other countries that Tehran is working to enrich uranium to a purity usable in nuclear weapons. Iran insists it is only wants lesser-enriched uranium to fuel nuclear reactors that would generate electricity.

    Putin's visit to Tehran is being closely watched for any possible shifts in Russia's carefully hedged stance in the nuclear standoff.

    The Russian president underlined his disagreements with Washington last week, saying he saw no "objective data" to prove Western claims that Iran is trying to construct nuclear weapons.

    Putin emphasized Monday that he would negotiate in Tehran on behalf of the five permanent U.N. Security Council members — United States, Russia, China, Britain and France — and Germany, a group that has led efforts to resolve the stalemate with Tehran.

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    Default Re: Iran the Next Battlefield - Thread Renamed

    Posted that one too, in the Russian area I think
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    Iran Announces New Long-Range Missile
    CBS2CHICAGO ^ | 27 NOVEMBER 2007 | AP

    TEHRAN, Iran (AP) ― Iran's military said Tuesday it has manufactured a new missile with a range of 1,200 miles capable of reaching Israel and U.S. bases across the Mideast, the official news agency IRNA reported.

    The defense minister, Gen. Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, did not say whether Iran had test fired the Ashoura or had plans to do so, according to the IRNA report. The name means "the tenth day" in Farsi, a sacred reference among Shiite Muslims to the martyrdom of Islam's third imam.

    Iran already had reported improvements in a previous missile that would give it the same range as the Ashoura, and Najjar did not elaborate about whether there are any differences between the two weapons.

    Analysts believe Iranian military production has benefited from assistance from Russia, China and other countries, but many of Iran's weapons development claims have not been independently verified.

    Iran launched an arms development program during its 1980-88 war with Iraq to compensate for a U.S. weapons embargo imposed after the Islamic Revolution. Since 1992, Iran has reportedly produced its own jets, torpedoes, radar-avoiding missiles, tanks and armored personnel carriers.

    Recent weapons development has been motivated by Iran's standoff with the U.S. over its controversial nuclear program, which Washington claims is a cover for developing an atomic bomb. Tehran denies that, saying the program is intended to produce electricity.

    Iran is known to possess a medium-range missile known as the Shahab-3, which means "shooting star" in Farsi, with a range of at least 800 miles. In 2005, Iranian officials said they had improved its range to 1,200 miles, equal to the new missile announced Tuesday.

    In September during a military parade, Iran unveiled the Ghadr missile, which it said has a range of 1,119 miles.

    Experts also believe Iran is developing the Shahab-4 missile, thought to have a range of 1,200-1,900 miles that would enable it to hit much of Europe.

    In Israel, there was no official reaction to Iran's statement. But missile expert Uzi Rubin, formerly head of the Arrow anti-missile project in Israel's Ministry of Defense, said the announcement had long been expected.

    Rubin said Israel already was in range of other Iranian missiles, so "the people who need to be really worried about the new missile are in Europe."

    While saying the Ashoura marks a "technological jump," Rubin said he doubted it is operational because a test of the missile would likely have been picked up by U.S. intelligence.

    "They are apparently at the initial stages," he said. "The system is not yet operational, but it doesn't mean that it can't be."
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    Iran restarted nuclear weapons program in 2004: dissident
    AFP by way of Google ^ | 11DEC07 | Agence France-Presse

    WASHINGTON (AFP) Iran resumed its nuclear weapons program in 2004, according to a US-based dissident who said Tuesday that US intelligence had failed to include his findings in a surprise about-face downgrading the Iranian threat.

    "The weaponization program is alive, is active, and has been resumed since 2004," Iranian opposition figure Alireza Jafarzadeh told AFP, contradicting the US National Intelligence Estimate released a week ago.

    "The NIE was only partly right," said Jafarzadeh, formerly the US spokesman for the National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI) and author of a book released in January called "The Iran Threat."

    "They (Iranians) were forced to pause in 2003 because of the tremendous pressure they were under," he said. "They suspended it to consider their next steps, and started again in 2004."

    In August 2002, Jafarzadeh first reported the existence of secret Iranian nuclear sites at Natanz and Arak, prompting denunciations of Tehran by Washington and hurried inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency.

    The Iranian regime maintains the NCRI is a "terrorist" front run by disaffected exiles. The group is the political wing of the Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization, which is banned in the United States and the European Union.

    Jafarzadeh was speaking as the United States continued to press for a third round of UN sanctions against Iran despite the new intelligence estimate, arguing that diplomatic pressure caused Tehran to halt its program in 2003.

    The NIE was a diplomatic bombshell that contradicted forceful US assertions that Iran's nuclear program was a gathering threat that raised the prospect of "World War III."

    While the NIE expressed with "moderate confidence" that Iran was not now trying to build nuclear weapons, Jafarzadeh said the program had only been suspended in 2003 to evade IAEA inspections.

    Under the control of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, the top-secret weapons program was in fact moved from one site at Lavizan-Shian and scattered across various underground installations in 2004, he said.

    Jafarzadeh said he had shared his analysis with contacts in the US intelligence community before the NIE's publication, but suggested a "certain agenda" by some in the community anxious to downplay Iran's threat.

    "We've gone back and checked every site that we knew of... since 2002 to see if any of those activities were halted in those sites," he told a press conference, presenting slides purporting to show ongoing nuclear activity.

    "With the exception of Lavizan-Shian... no other site was ever shut down," the Washington-based Jafarzadeh said, arguing that the US intelligence assessment "needs to be fixed."

    "I don't think the international community, I don't think the United States government can afford to make such mistakes and provide the opportunity for the mullahs to get the bomb before we all know."
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  7. December 19th, 2007, 23:14


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    Israel "would not dare attack Iran": Ahmadinejad

    Thu Jan 17, 2008 6:44pm EST

    DUBAI (Reuters) - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Thursday that Israel "would not dare attack Iran", after Israel said it tested a missile and warned against Tehran's nuclear program.

    "The Zionist regime ... would not dare attack Iran," Ahmadinejad told Al Jazeera television in remarks translated into Arabic, referring to Israel.

    "The Iranian response would make them regret it, and they know this."
    "It knows that any attack on Iranian territories would prompt a fierce response," he added.

    Israel tested a missile on Thursday and urged the West to work harder to prevent "the appearance of a nuclear Iran".

    Israel Radio said the missile tested was capable of carrying an "unconventional payload" -- an apparent reference to the nuclear warheads Israel is assumed to possess, though it has never publicly confirmed their existence.

    Ahmadinejad said Israel was a "criminal regime" which would not gain legitimacy through threats. "It has lost its philosophical reason to exist," he said, adding that regional countries rejected Israel for occupying Palestinian territories.

    The Iranian president also said Iran was also prepared for any possible U.S. military strike.

    "But we are not worried about this kind of talk...because it is aimed at American domestic consumption as they need it in the upcoming presidential elections," he said.

    http://www.reuters.com/article/newsO...81409020080117

    Jag

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    Global government, mankind's gravest need - Ahmadinejad
    Islamic Republic News Agency ^ | January 22, 2008 | IRNA

    IRI President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said here Monday evening at the inauguration ceremony of new head of National Center for Globalization Studies, "mankind's gravest need today is a global government." Appreciating the services rendered by the former head of that center (formerly called the International Center for Dialogue among Civilizations), Dr. Mohammad Nahavandian, the President said that choosing Esfandiar Rahim-Masha'ie was "based on precise calculations, and in accordance with a plan for the center."

    The president added, "The Center for Globalization Studies must be a very dynamic center, able to take long studies forward, thanks to the presence of thinkers and intellectuals from various academic fields, able to pursue globalization discussions throughout the world."

    Pointing out that God has definitely been pursuing objectives in creation of man, he stressed, "Almighty Allah has drawn the horizons of man's blessed life in this world and how to achieve that objective, based on man's innate desires and in the framework of his social relations with the others."

    The President emphasized, "Man is created to be a global creature, as all divine religions are global, and if he would be deprived of this aspect of his personality, neither anything would remain of his humanity, nor any of his potentials and talents would find a proper ground for manifestation."

    Proposing that the rule of single law in the entire world is a bare necessity for the mankind, he said, "The existence of a thousand laws in the world, and then expecting that the global society would reach a status of equilibrium, justice, and tranquility is wishing for the impossible."

    He added, "It is not possible to observe global justice under such conditions that each country is ruled based on a different set of laws."

    Ahmadinejad said, "The entire monotheist Arch-Prophets (PBUT) were leaders for the whole mankind, and accordingly, so long as a single law would not be put to effect globally, and a single perfect, and noble human being would not take the charge of a global government, the God given talents of the people would not be materialized, and there would be no sign of divine justice in the world."

    He considered mankind's progress throughout history "a constant move towards perfection", reiterating, "Today, globalization has become an issue for daily talk of even ordinary folks, under such conditions that signs for accelerating move of the mankind towards the peaks of perfection are countless, and ever increasing." The IRI President stressed that pure Mohamedan Islam has answers to modern man's entire questions, adding, "World nations would accept Islam in large groups if pure Islam would one day be presented to them free from all non-Islamic attachments."

    Ahmadinejad said, "The entire developments in the world are pieces of a puzzle, being fit in their place in order to complete God's general scheme for a perfect world for the mankind, but in the process of this completion some people achieve perfection, while others fall in the abbeys of annihilation, and nowhere is ever devoid of God's will and Divine Rule, nor of his Caliph on earth." He said that the era for drawing border lines between Islam, Christianity, and Judaism is now over, reiterating, "Unadulterated Christianity and Judaism are the same as they are entirely manifestations of the same Divine Truth."

    The President stressed, "The single and solid plan and order that we should present for the lives of the world people should be in a way to be acceptable by the pure innate nature of the entire mankind, and such laws need to be based on divine teachings."
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    In about turn, U.S. says Iran may be able to make nukes by 2009
    IMRA/Haaretz ^ | 2-8-08 | Amir Oren

    The head of American intelligence said Tuesday that it is unclear whether Tehran has returned to its production of nuclear weapons in the past six months, and warned that Iran "would be technically capable of producing enough highly enriched uranium for a weapon" by the end of next year.

    Speaking two months after an American intelligence report cast doubt on Tehran's nuclear ambitions, National Intelligence Director John Michael McConnell made his remarks during an appearance before the Senate Intelligence Committee to present an annual report on threats to the U.S.

    A National Intelligence Estimate report released in December said that Iran halted its nuclear weapons development program in the fall of 2003.

    "We remain concerned about Iran's intentions and assess with moderate-to-high confidence that Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapons," the report said.

    "We assess with high confidence that Iran has the scientific, technical and industrial capacity eventually to produce nuclear weapons," it said, adding that the only realistic way to prevent Iran from producing such weapons was "an Iranian political decision to abandon a nuclear weapons objective."

    (Excerpt) Read more at imra.org.il ...
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    Intelligence official revives Iran doubts
    Financial Times (UK) ^ | Published: February 6 2008 03:05 | Last updated: February 6 2008 03:05 | By Demetri Sevastopulo in Washington

    The senior US intelligence official on Tuesday stressed that a recent report on Iran had concluded that Tehran had halted only one part of its alleged nuclear weapons programme.

    Admiral Michael McConnell, director of national intelligence, said the November national intelligence estimate had concluded that Tehran had ceased only efforts to covertly enrich uranium and design nuclear warheads. “The only thing that they’ve halted was nuclear weapons design, which is probably the least significant part of the programme,” he told the Senate intelligence committee.

    (Excerpt) Read more at ft.com ...
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    Russia says Iran missile raises nuclear suspicions
    afp ^

    MOSCOW (AFP) A missile fired into space by Iran earlier this week raises "suspicions" over Tehran's claims to have no ambitions to build a nuclear weapon, a Russian foreign ministry official told domestic news agencies Wednesday.

    "Any movement on creating a weapon of such potential of course worries others too, and, in addition, raises suspicions concerning Iran over its possible desire to create a nuclear weapon," Deputy Foreign Minister Alexander Losyukov was quoted as saying by Interfax and RIA Novosti.
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    NUKES IN FOUR YEARS
    Nealz Nuze ^ | February 6, 2008 | Neal Boortz

    While we were all fussing over the Super Tuesday primary yesterday, an announcement came out of Israel. It seems that the Israeli spy agency feels that Iran will develop a nuclear weapon within three years. Three years. Hmmmm. Let's see. That would mean that Iran might possibly have nukes during the term of the president we're going to elect this year. So .. .who would you want in the White House dealing with this problem? Obama? Oh yeah. He'll go talk to them. Hillary? Sure, let me know how that works out for you ... or us, I should say.

    A Republican? Right! And that means any Republican over MoveOn Democrats.
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    Iran testing advanced centrifuges at Natanz plant
    http://www.ynetnews.com/articles/0,7...503685,00.html ^

    Iran is testing an advanced centrifuge at its Natanz nuclear complex, diplomats said on Wednesday, a move that could lead to Tehran enriching uranium much faster and gaining ability to build atom bombs.

    Tehran's quest to produce usable amounts of nuclear fuel has been hampered by its use so far of a 1970s vintage of centrifuge, the "P-1", prone to breakdown. A senior diplomat familiar with the International Atomic Energy Agency's file on Iran confirmed it recently began testing centrifuges based on a "P-2" design, used more recently in the West and able to enrich uranium 2-3 times as fast as the P-1. (Reuters)
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    US intel links Iran with nuke bomb bid
    Yahoo/AP ^ | Feb. 14, 2008

    US intel links Iran with nuke bomb bid

    By GEORGE JAHN, Associated Press Writer

    The U.S. has recently shared sensitive information with the International Atomic Energy Agency on key aspects of Iran's nuclear program that Washington says shows Tehran was directly engaged in trying to make an atomic weapon, diplomats told The Associated Press on Thursday.

    The diplomats said Washington also gave the IAEA permission to confront Iran with at least some of the evidence in an attempt to pry details out of the Islamic republic on the activities, as part of the U.N. nuclear watchdog's attempts to investigate Iran's suspicious nuclear past.

    The decision by the U.S. administration to declassify its intelligence and indirectly share it with Iran through the IAEA was a clear reflection of Washington's' drive to pressure Iran into admitting that it had focused part of its nuclear efforts toward developing a weapons program.

    While the Americans have previously declassified and then forwarded intelligence to the IAEA to help its investigations, they do so on a selective basis.

    Following Israel's bombing of a Syrian site late last year, and media reports citing unidentified U.S. officials as saying the target was a nuclear installation, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei turned, in vain to the U.S. in asking for details on what was struck, said a diplomat who like others asked for anonymity in exchange for divulging confidential information.

    Shared in the past two weeks was material on a laptop computer reportedly smuggled out of Iran, said another diplomat, accredited to the IAEA. In 2005, U.S. intelligence assessed that information as indicating that Tehran had been working on details of nuclear weapons, including missile trajectories and ideal altitudes for exploding warheads.

    He said that after declassification, U.S. intelligence also was forwarded on two other issues the "Green Salt Project" a plan the U.S. alleges links diverse components of a nuclear weapons program, including uranium enrichment, high explosives testing and a missile re-entry vehicle, and material in Iran's possession showing how to mold uranium metal into warhead form.

    The material followed up on information on the projects shared by the Americans with key allies and the agency last year, said the diplomat

    Iran is under two sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, which it started developing during nearly two decades of covert nuclear activity built on illicit purchases and revealed only five years ago.

    Since then, IAEA experts have uncovered activities, experiments and blueprints and materials that point to possible efforts by Iran to create nuclear weapons, even though Tehran insists its nuclear project is peaceful and aimed only at creating a large-scale enrichment facility to make reactor fuel. Its leaders consistently dismiss allegations that they are interested in enrichment for its other use creating fissile material suitable for arming warheads.

    Instead of heeding Security Council demands to freeze enrichment, Iran has expanded its program. On Wednesday, diplomats told the AP that its new generation of advanced centrifuges have begun processing small quantities of the gas that can be used to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads.
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    The head of the U.N. atomic watchdog Mohamed ElBaradei, right, is welcomed by Frrench foreign minister Beranrd Kouchner at the Elysee Palace before their talks with French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Thursday Feb.14, 2008 in Paris. The talks come amid new signs that Iran's sensitive centrifuge activity is progressing, and after Sarkozy called sternly for further isolating Iran's president. (AP Photo/Francois Mori)

    Related News

    Full coverage »


    US Intel Links Iran With Nuke Bomb Bid

    By GEORGE JAHN – 1 hour ago


    VIENNA, Austria (AP) — The U.S. has recently shared new intelligence with the International Atomic Energy Agency on key aspects of Iran's nuclear program that Washington says shows Tehran was directly engaged in trying to make a bomb, diplomats said Thursday.


    One of the diplomats said Washington also gave the IAEA permission to confront Iran with at least some of the evidence in an attempt to pry details out of the Islamic republic, as part of the U.N. nuclear watchdog's attempts to investigate Iran's suspicious nuclear past.


    The diplomats suggested that such moves by the U.S. administration would be a reflection of Washington's' drive to pressure Iran into acknowledging that it had focused part of its nuclear efforts toward developing a weapons program.


    The U.S. is leading the push for a third set of U.N. sanctions against Iran. Tehran insists its program is intended only to produce energy and has refused U.N. demands that it suspend its uranium enrichment program — technology that can produce both fuel for nuclear reactors and the fissile material for a bomb.


    A recent U.S. intelligence assessment that Iran had a clandestine weapons program but stopped working on it four years ago has hurt Washington's attempts to have the U.N. Security Council impose a third set of sanctions.


    While the Americans have previously declassified and then forwarded intelligence to the IAEA to help its investigations, they do so on a selective basis.


    Following Israel's bombing of a Syrian site late last year, and media reports citing unidentified U.S. officials as saying the target was a nuclear installation, IAEA chief Mohamed ElBaradei turned in vain to the U.S. in asking for details on what was struck, said a diplomat who — like others — spoke on condition of anonymity in exchange for divulging confidential information.


    Over the past two years, the U.S. already has shared material on a laptop computer reportedly smuggled out of Iran. In 2005, U.S. intelligence assessed that information as indicating that Tehran had been working on details of nuclear weapons, including missile trajectories and ideal altitudes for exploding warheads.


    After declassification, U.S. intelligence also was forwarded on two other issues: the "Green Salt Project" — a plan the U.S. alleges links diverse components of a nuclear weapons program, including uranium enrichment, high explosives testing and a missile re-entry vehicle — and material in Iran's possession showing how to mold uranium metal into warhead form.


    Two of the diplomats said the material forwarded to the IAEA over the past two weeks expanded on the previous information from the Americans, but had no additional details.


    Iran is already under two sets of U.N. Security Council sanctions for refusing to suspend uranium enrichment, which it started developing during nearly two decades of covert nuclear activity built on illicit purchases and revealed only five years ago.


    Since then, IAEA experts have uncovered activities, experiments, and blueprints and materials that point to possible efforts by Iran to create nuclear weapons, even though Tehran insists its nuclear project is peaceful and aimed only at creating a large-scale enrichment facility to make reactor fuel.


    Its leaders consistently dismiss allegations that they are interested in enrichment for its other use — creating fissile material suitable for arming warheads.


    Instead of heeding Security Council demands to freeze enrichment, Iran has expanded its program. On Wednesday, diplomats told the AP that Iran's new generation of advanced centrifuges have begun processing small quantities of the gas that can be used to make the fissile core of nuclear warheads.
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    Nasrallah during Beirut rally: If Israel wants war, so be it (Vows revenge for killing of a killer)
    The Jerusalem Post ^ | Feb 14, 2008 17:53 | DIMI REIDER

    Hizbullah's chief on Thursday vowed to retaliate against Israeli targets abroad after accusing Israel of taking the fight beyond Lebanese borders with its assassination of one of the group's top commanders, Imad Mughniyeh in Syria.

    "You have killed Hajj Imad outside the natural battlefield," Hassan Nasrallah said, addressing Israel and referring to Hizbullah's longtime contention it only fights Israel within Lebanon and along their common border.

    "You have crossed the borders," Nasrallah said in the fiery eulogy at the funeral of Mughniyeh in south Beirut. "With this murder, its timing, location and method - Zionists, if you want this kind of open war, let the whole world listen: Let this war be open."

    "Like all human beings we have a sacred right to defend ourselves," said Nasrallah, speaking in a videotaped message broadcast over a giant screen at the ceremony in a Hizbullah stronghold. "We will do all that takes to defend our country and people."

    Nasrallah warned that Israel's killing of Mughniyeh was a "very big folly" which Israel will eventually pay for it.

    "Mughniyeh's blood will lead to the elimination of Israel. These words are not an emotional reaction," he said, drawing roars from the crowd which raised fists into the air.

    (Excerpt) Read more at jpost.com ...
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    Iran says will bring powers "to their knees"
    reuteurs ^ | 2/19/08 | By Parisa Hafezi

    The Iranian president said on Wednesday Iran's determination to continue its disputed nuclear work had brought major powers "to their knees."

    (Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...
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    Iran warns against 'new game' in nuke dispute
    Khaleej Times ^ | February 22, 2008 | Staff

    TEHERAN - Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad warned the world powers against a new game in their nuclear dispute with his country, the Fars news agency reported Friday.

    Put an end to this game, but if you want to start a new game, you should know that if our nation decides something, then it will definitely be put into practice without the slightest concession, Ahmadinejad was quoted as saying.

    The warning by the Iranian president came just before the presentation Friday of the latest International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) report on Irans nuclear projects.

    Teheran is confident that IAEA Director General Mohamed ElBaradeis report would be positive and confirm its claims that it is pursuing only civilian and peaceful nuclear programmes.

    Ahead of the IAEA report, Britain and France delivered a new draft resolution to the United Nations Security Council, calling on additional sanctions against Iran for defying international demands to suspend its uranium-enrichment programmes. Highly enriched uranium can be used to produce nuclear weapons.

    The era that world powers violate Irans rights through intimidation and deception is definitely over, said Ahmadinejad, adding that regardless of how strong the world powers pressure would be, the nations will to proceed with its nuclear activities would be stronger.

    Ahmadinejad further charged the reformist administration of his predecessor Mohammad Khatami of having given in to worthless meetings and ransom-like concessions instead of defending the nations rights.
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    Massive forces sent to prevent Gazans from storming border
    JERUSALEM POST /IMRA ^ | 2-25-08 | Rebecca Anna Stoil

    Massive forces sent to prevent Gazans from storming border

    Rebecca Anna Stoil , THE JERUSALEM POST Feb. 24, 2008

    www.jpost.com /servlet/Satellite?cid=1203605160227&pagename=JPost%2FJPArticle%2FShowFull

    In preparation for a large-scaled Palestinian protest march planned for Gaza on Monday, security forces mobilized along the security fence Sunday night in an effort to head off a replay of last month's Rafah border-storming at the Erez or Kissufim crossings.

    An artillery battery was moved to the Gaza border for the first time in months, and rules of engagement were reviewed as troops prepared for the demonstration Hamas is calling a "human chain."

    A joint statement issued by the Foreign and Defense ministries blamed Hamas for fanning the flames and endangering Gazan civilians.

    "Hamas, not for the first time, is orchestrating a premeditated effort to put civilians on the front line. Israel does not get involved in demonstrations that occur within the Gaza Strip, but Israel will defend itself and prevent incursions into its sovereign territory. Israel is working to prevent an escalation, but has made it absolutely clear that if there is an escalation, the responsibility will be entirely on Hamas's shoulders," the statement read.

    The IDF was unwilling to confirm or deny a Channel 2 news report saying soldiers would be instructed to fire at protesters' legs should they approach the security fence, in order to prevent a recurrence of what happened at the Gaza-Sinai border on January 23.

    Hamas announced Sunday that it would mobilize the mass demonstration along the Salah-a-Din Route from Rafah on Gaza's Egyptian border to Beit Hanun in the north, to protest the continued embargo placed on the Strip. The protest is geared to attract more international attention than previous protests against the sanctions, due to its size and the photographic value of a chain stretching more than 60 kilometers along the entire length of the Gaza Strip.

    But security forces are concerned that the protesters - or organizers - will not be satisfied with the symbolic imagery and might try to make good on threats issued by a Hamas leader last month that the Erez crossing would become the next Rafah.

    In a worst-case scenario, Hamas activists could motivate the crowds to storm the Gaza security fence, particularly at "weak spots" where Israeli communities or army bases abut the strip. Areas such as the Erez crossing, Kissufim, Nahal Oz and Netiv Ha'asara are considered to be particularly at risk. IDF Chief of General Staff Lt.-Gen. Gabi Ashkenazi held a situation assessment with officers on Sunday night, including representatives of the Home Front Command, to finalize preparations for Monday's IDF response.

    Israel Police chief Insp.-Gen. David Cohen also held a late-night assessment, in which police decided to raise the national alert level. Some 6,500 police officers, one senior officer said, would be deployed to the Southern District on Monday morning to maintain order.

    While some Hamas officials have denied organizing an attempt to breach the border, others have hinted that such a human surge - involving women and children - might in fact occur.

    "The next time Gazan residents protest the ongoing siege, they will do so on the border with Israel, and not on the border with Egypt," Israel Radio quoted one senior Hamas official as saying on Sunday.

    Over the weekend, the IDF was already rushing large forces to the Gaza border in anticipation of civilian unrest after gasoline supplies in the territory ran out on Saturday for all but emergency service vehicles.

    Immigration Absorption Minister Ya'acov Edri (Kadima) said Sunday that the government was ready for any scenario resulting from Palestinians trying to breach the border crossings.

    Also Sunday, an all-day IDF operation in the southern Gaza Strip, near the defunct Dahiniye airstrip, bore fruit in the afternoon, when Givati infantry, Armored Corps units and combat engineers uncovered five tunnels used to smuggle arms from Sinai into Gaza. In the course of the operation, 50 Palestinians were detained for questioning on suspicion of involvement in a terrorist organization.

    Six Kassams were fired Sunday at the Negev.
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    Sderot boy severely wounded in Kassam rocket attack [10 year old]
    Jerusalem Post ^ | 2-25-08

    A ten-year-old boy was severely wounded by shrapnel when one of three Kassam rockets fired from Gaza landed in the center of Sderot on Monday afternoon.

    According to initial assessments, the boy was playing with his friends in a playground when the alarm sounded. He took cover under the roof of an underground shelter which was locked. A Kassam landed a meter away from the boy's position and he was hit in the shoulder by shrapnel.

    The 10 year old underwent an operation in Ashkelon's Barzilai Hospital and was listed in moderate-to-serious condition.

    A mother and her daughter who were lightly wounded in the attack were also evacuated to Barzilai. Ten people were sent into shock and were treated at the Sderot Trauma Center.

    Two more rockets landed in open areas in the western Negev Monday afternoon. No one was wounded and no damage was reported.

    Meanwhile, three hours after landing in Israel on Monday, and following a tour to Yad Vashem, Heidemarie Wiecorek-Zeul, Germany's federal minister for economic cooperation and development met with President Shimon Peres and expressed sympathy and outrage that rockets fired from Gaza had again caused harm to an Israeli child.

    She felt for the children and families in Sderot, she said, and would go there on Tuesday in a show of solidarity.

    She had intended to visit Sderot anyway, but now had a special purpose, she said, as she called on those who fired rockets from Gaza to end their attacks and to allow people who "want to live in peace, to do so."

    Overnight Sunday, the IAF killed three Palestinian gunmen in air strikes in the Gaza Strip .

    According to an Army Radio report, Palestinian sources in the Gaza Strip said one Hamas gunman was killed and two others were wounded in a strike in the southern town of Khan Yunis.

    Two other Hamas operatives were killed in a separate strike in northern Gaza, the report stated.

    The army confirmed both strikes, saying it had targeted gunmen and confirmed hitting them.

    Meanwhile, Army forces arrested eight fugitives in the West Bank Sunday overnight, the IDF said.

    The men were taken for interrogation.
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