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Posts Tagged ‘Iran tension’

War in August? US sends fourth aircraft carrier and dozens of underwater drones towards Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 13, 2012

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (AFP Photo / US Navy)

The Nimitz-class aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis (AFP Photo / US Navy)

The US Navy has unexpectedly dispatched a fourth aircraft carrier to the Persian Gulf, along with a fleet of underwater drones in what is being considered just the latest move in a series of escalations leading towards a potential war with Iran.

The deployment of dozens of small, unmanned submarine-like watercraft was confirmed by the Los Angeles Times this week, which cites military officials speaking on condition of anonymity.

This particular type of craft, unmanned SeaFox submersible, are reported to be sent to the Gulf so that the US military can detect and destroy any mines that may be planted in the waterway by Iranian officials if they escalate efforts to block the Strait of Hormuz, a strategically important narrow stretch of water that exists as an immensely important conduit for any resources being moved in or out of the Middle East.

The Times says that the subs, at only 4 feet long and fewer than 100 pounds apiece, can move at speeds up to six knots at depths of 300 feet. The price-tag is reported to be $100,000 each, which includes an intricate waterproof television camera and a homing sonar system. The US rush-ordered a shipment in May in a deal with Germany under the direct of Marine Gen. James Mattis, the top US commander in the Middle East. It is reported that a fleet of SeaFox subs were deployed overseas several weeks back, but has only been confirmed now.

The United States has already sent three massive aircraft carriers to the waterways outside of Iran, including the USS Enterprise, the USS Dwight D. Eisenhower and the USS Abraham Lincoln, and will now add the USS John C Stennis to that fleet in August. Unlike these behemoth ships equipped with billions worth of weaponry and service personnel, America’s other new addition to the battlefront is invisible to those on land and can be controlled from anywhere in the world. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran boasts it could wipe out US presence in Middle East in minutes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 5, 2012

In a picture obtained from Iran's ISNA news agency on July 3, 2012, shows AN Iranian short-range missile (Fateh) launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-7, for Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location in Iran's Kavir Desert. (AFP Photo/ISNA/Arash Kyamoushi)

In a picture obtained from Iran’s ISNA news agency on July 3, 2012, shows AN Iranian short-range missile (Fateh) launched during the second day of military exercises, codenamed Great Prophet-7, for Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards at an undisclosed location in Iran’s Kavir Desert. (AFP Photo/ISNA/Arash Kyamoushi)

Iran claims it has the capability to destroy US bases “within minutes” after concluding a massive military exercise in which it launched hundreds of missiles.

“[US] bases are all in range of our missiles, and the occupied lands [Israel] are also good targets for us,” Amir Ali Haji Zadeh, commander of the elite Revolutionary Guard told the FARS news agency.

The three-day Great Prophet 7 training exercise wrapped up on Wednesday. It simulated rapidly releasing batteries of guided missiles and Iran-made drones at mock-ups of US bases.

Haji Zadesh claimed that 35 US bases are within the 2,000 km range of Iran’s rockets, although the actual number of bases within this area is closer to 10.

The aggressive rhetoric comes on the back of a spike in tension between Iran and the US, already locked in a long-running stand-off over Iran’s nuclear program. Washington and the EU believe it is aimed at producing nuclear weapons, while Tehran denies the accusations. Read the rest of this entry »

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Pentagon ‘prepared’ to attack Iran – Panetta

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 28, 2012

Leon Panetta (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb / Files)

Leon Panetta (AFP Photo / Saul Loeb / Files)

Leon Panetta has stated that the US is ready to do everything it can to prevent Iran from developing a nuclear weapon. The American envoy to Israel earlier said that the military option is “fully available” and the necessary planning has been done.

“We will do everything we can to prevent them from developing a weapon,” Panetta told ABC News.

Panetta thus confirmed US Ambassador Dan Shapiro’s comments on Israel’s Army Radio on May 17, that Washington has a military contingency plan in case “diplomatic talks” fail to “pressure” Iran successfully. Shapiro said the option is not only “fully available”, but “ready.”

Now, a week on, Panetta said US officials “have plans to be able to implement any contingency we have to in order to defend ourselves.”

However, Panetta said that the US still hopes that the conflict over Iran’s nuclear ambitions can be “resolved diplomatically.”

Israel is the only country insisting on using military force to pressure Iran away from a suspected atomic weapon.

Tel Aviv reaffirmed its position on May 23, the first day of a new round of talks between the P5+1 group and Iran. Defense Minister Ehud Barak said the negotiations only let Iran to buy time and get in the way of Washington and Tel Aviv.  Read the rest of this entry »

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IAEA: Iran moving closer to nuclear missile production

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 26, 2012

Iranian technicians at the Fordo enrichment plant (Reuters)

                                                                             Iranian technicians at the Fordo enrichment plant (Reuters)

The IAEA suspects that Iran has raised its enrichment threshold towards weapons-grade level. The hunch is based on evidence found at the Fordo enrichment plant a day after P5+1-Iran talks ended with no agreement.

The UN’s atomic agency reportedly found traces of uranium enriched up to 27 per cent, diplomats told AP. This is seven percent higher than Iran’s known enrichment grade.

Even though this is substantially below the 85 per cent (and often higher) level normally required for weapons-grade uranium, the IAEA suspects that Iran has moved closer to producing the material needed to arm nuclear missiles.

Meanwhile, no official comments from the agency have been given.

The latest move comes a day after the group of six and Tehran failed to produce a result, as both sides refused to budge.

The P5+1 appealed to Iran to suspend its 20 per cent uranium enrichment program, which the group sees as vital to the negotiations process.

Tehran considered the Western proposal “unbalanced,” rejecting it over what it called unfair demands, which offer little in return.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Congress opens door for US war with Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 19, 2012

Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters (Reuters / Handout)

                                                                Two U.S. Air Force F-22 Raptor stealth jet fighters (Reuters / Handout)

The US House of Representatives has passed a resolution on Iran that moves the United States much closer to a war footing against Iran as many experts and diplomats warn America is ready for attack.

The vote undermines the 5+1 Iranian nuclear talks scheduled for next week, in which the US will participate and which many in the pro-war camp want to sabotage.

Ahead of the vote Rep. Dennis Kucinich (D-Ohio), a tough critic of the resolution and one of the few who voted against it, warned that the US is “getting ready for war against Iran” with Thursday’s vote.

The non-binding resolution H.Res.568 that overwhelmingly passed 401-11, effectively calls for a military attack on Iran when it obtains “nuclear weapons capability.” The vague interpretation, critics say, already applies to Iran, not to mention Brazil, Japan, the Netherlands, and actually any other country with a civilian nuclear program.

Col. Lawrence Wilkerson, former Chief of Staff for Secretary of State Colin Powell, warned “This resolution reads like the same sheet of music that got us into the Iraq war, and could be the precursor for a war with Iran. It’s effectively a thinly-disguised effort to bless war.” Read the rest of this entry »

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Keep guessing: US deploying fighter jets to the Gulf?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 29, 2012

F-22 Raptor fighter jet (Lockheed Martin via Getty Images / AFP)

F-22 Raptor fighter jet (Lockheed Martin via Getty Images / AFP)

The US says it has deployed a number of its most modern jet fighters to an air base in Southwest Asia. The announcement alarmed many, who suspect the base is actually in the United Arab Emirates just 200 hundred miles from Iran.

The Air Force did not specify the exact number or location of the recently-deployed F-22 Raptors, but confirmed that they had been sent to a base in Southwest Asia, a region that includes the UAE.

“Such deployments strengthen military-to-military relationships, promote sovereign and regional security, improve combined tactical air operations and enhance interoperability of forces, equipment and procedures,” said Air Force spokesman Capt. Phil Ventura.

Numerous reports assert that the planes have been deployed in the United Arab Emirates, just 200 miles from Iran’s mainland.

The move is viewed by many as a precautionary measure ahead of crucial nuclear talks with Iran. Read the rest of this entry »

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New US spy service targets China and Iran

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 26, 2012

The Pentagon building in Washington, DC (AFP Photo)

The Pentagon building in Washington, DC (AFP Photo)

China and Iran are the high-priority targets for a new spy service created by the Pentagon. The Defense Clandestine Service is aimed at ramping up spying operations overseas, and suggests a shift in national threat assessment.

The plan approved by Defense Secretary Leon Panetta last week will see hundreds of case officers working alongside the CIA.

The military and civilian spy agencies will increasingly focus on similar threats. Read the rest of this entry »

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US missile defense plans may signal strike on Iran, Russia warns

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 6, 2012

Guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (AFP Photo / HO / PH3 Konstandinos Goumenidis / US Navy / Getty out)

Guided-missile destroyer USS McCampbell (AFP Photo / HO / PH3 Konstandinos Goumenidis / US Navy / Getty out)

A unified missile defense system comprising the United States and six Arab states is a signal that a military strike on Iran could be on the horizon, says the Chairman of the State Duma’s International Affairs Committee.

“The formation of the missile defense system is a new step to signal the possibility of a military strike on Iran, at least in a political context,”  Alexey Pushkov told a round table conference on Iran at the State Duma.

Pushkov was commenting on reports that the Pentagon has agreed to form a single missile defense system with six Arab states – Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, Bahrain, Oman, Kuwait and Qatar. Read the rest of this entry »

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Iran cuts off oil supplies to Britain, France

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on February 19, 2012

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) tours the Abadan oil refinery during the inauguration of a petrol making unit in the southwestern city of Abadan on May 24, 2011 (AFP Photo / ISNA / Amir Pourmand)

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad (C) tours the Abadan oil refinery during the inauguration of a petrol making unit in the southwestern city of Abadan on May 24, 2011 (AFP Photo / ISNA / Amir Pourmand)

The move was confirmed by the country’s Oil Ministry, with the spokesman saying that Iran will be “selling its oil to new customers”.

The decision is not expected to have a big impact, as France only bought three percent of its oil − 58,000 barrels a day − from the Islamic republic last year, and Britain buys less than 1 per cent.

But it was seen as a warning shot to other EU nations that are bigger consumers of Iranian oil, including Italy, Spain and Greece. The latter would be the most affected, should Iran go ahead with the cuts, as crisis-hit Greece gets more that 30 percent of its oil needs from the Islamic Republic. Read the rest of this entry »

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